Under a snow-covered capitol dome Friday, legislators covered a controversial topic. Vermont could become the third U.S. state to allow terminal patients in chronic pain and with signoff from doctors the option to take a lethal dosage of pills.
"The bill as drafted is flawed, and needs to be-- a number of areas need to be clearer," said Sen. Dick Sears, D-Bennington County, who is chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Sears says he's against the concept of the proposed law, as are a majority of his committee colleagues. Normally, that would spell the end of a bill, a fate prior versions met in previous sessions.
"But I really believe Vermonters have the right to have the entire senate engaged in the debate," said Sen. Joe Benning, R-Caledonia County.
The committee needed procedural clarification to make that a reality, as it held an unusual vote on whether to recommend that the full Senate reject the bill.
"No... Wait, yes," laughed Sen. Alice Nitka, D-Windsor County.
With three in support, one against and one absent, that question will now land in front of the full body next week.
"I would want the opportunity to correct the bill in ways that I think can improve the bill whether you're for it or against it," said Sen. Tim Ashe, D/P-Chittenden County.
Because the committee is not recommending the bill pass, amendments could not be made Friday. Ashe will get that chance though if the Senate votes to keep the bill in play.
About five senators have not publicly expressed their views on the legislation, making its fate next week unclear. In the event of a tie, Sears says he expects Lt. Governor Phil Scott would cast a decisive vote against the bill.
Sunday, May 19 2013 8:39 PM EDT2013-05-20 00:39:09 GMT
"Awesome -- I lost it when I finished I have to say, but it was great. It was great," said Amy Sullivan. The 2013 Boston Marathon runner was all smiles as she and 450 other runners crossed the finishMore >>
A race in southern Vermont Sunday gave runners who were unable to finish the Boston Marathon a second chance at the finish line.More >>
Sunday, May 19 2013 8:38 PM EDT2013-05-20 00:38:13 GMT
They come from all over the state and wait in line for hours. "It's become sort of a yearly event for us. We've been doing it for eight or nine years now -- we're having a blast," said Ed Sayers ofMore >>
Dozens of drivers gathered in Chelsea for a record setting road rally -- full of riddles that keep drivers and passengers on their toes.More >>
Sunday, May 19 2013 8:36 PM EDT2013-05-20 00:36:52 GMT
College graduation season is in full swing -- and Sunday in Burlington it was a big one. A crowd of nearly 10,000 attended the 211th commencement ceremony at the University of Vermont.In all, more thanMore >>
A crowd of nearly 10,000 attended the 211th commencement ceremony at the University of Vermont.More >>
Sunday, May 19 2013 8:28 PM EDT2013-05-20 00:28:28 GMT
Fire destroyed a barn in Clinton County, New York Sunday morning.It happened in the town of Mooers. Officials say the barn on Eddy Road was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived just before 11:30More >>
Officials say the barn on Eddy Road was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived just before 11:30 a.m.More >>
Sunday, May 19 2013 8:27 PM EDT2013-05-20 00:27:13 GMT
A Berlin, New Hampshire man is dead following a kayaking accident.It happened on a stretch of the Upper Ammonoosuc River in the town of Dummer. Officials say Keith Whitten, 58, was paddling with his wifeMore >>
A Berlin, New Hampshire man is dead following a kayaking accident.More >>
Sunday, May 19 2013 8:26 PM EDT2013-05-20 00:26:39 GMT
Woodchuck Hard Cider is taking legal action to protect its furry mascot.Last week the Middlebury company filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against South Burlington-based Woodchuck Coffee RoastersMore >>
Woodchuck Hard Cider is taking legal action to protect its furry mascot.More >>
Sunday, May 19 2013 8:17 PM EDT2013-05-20 00:17:27 GMT
Vermont State Police have charged 22-year-old Adam Page of Newport for stealing the Newport City Elementary School bus, which has now been declared totaled. A stolen dog was also recovered in the busMore >>
State Police say he is also being charged with the theft of two other vehicles and a woman's dog.More >>