YCQM: February 10, 2013 - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

YCQM: February 10, 2013

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -

A GOOD SUNDAY MORNING IT TO YOU, I'M ANSON TEBBETTS. WE'RE GOING TO BE TALKING ABOUT A NUMBER OF ISSUES FACING THE VERMONT LEGISLATURE, SPECIFICALLY THE JU JUDICIARY COMMITTEE, JOINING US FROM OUTSIDE THE CHAMBER OF THE LEGISLATURE IS SENATOR DICK SEARS, SENATOR, THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR JOINING US.

>> ANSON, THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR HAVING ME.

>> SO ALL WEEK YOU'VE BEEN FOCUSING ON THE BILL, DEATH WITH DIGNITY OR END OF LIFE ISSUES OR DOCTOR-ASSISTED SUICIDE. WHERE ARE YOU ON THAT COMMITTEE NOW AND WHAT'S THE OUTCOME OF THAT?

>> WELL, FRIDAY MORNING, WE VOTED THE BILL OUT OF COMMITTEE, ADVERSELY, WHICH MEANS THAT WE WILL ASK THE SENATE TO REJECT ACT 77, THE END OF LIFE BILL, AND WE HOPE THAT OUR POSITION WILL PREVAIL. WE BELIEVE THAT A MAJORITY OF THE COMMITTEE, 3-1-1 VOTE, THE MAJORITY OF THE COMMITTEE BELIEVES THAT THIS BILL IS POOR PUBLIC POLICY AND SHOULD NOT BECOME LAW IN VERMONT.

>> THAT IS DIFFERENT FROM ANOTHER COMMITTEE IN THE SENATE. I BELIEVE THEY DID PASS IT, WAS OKAYED. WHAT IS YOUR VIEW OF WHY THIS PARTICULAR BILL IS NOT GOOD PUBLIC POLICY, AS YOU STATE?

>> WELL, I THINK THERE'S A NUMBER REASONS, IF I MIGHT, ANSON, AND NUMBER ONE, FOR ME, ANYWAY, IS WHAT I'VE HEARD FROM MY LOCAL DOCTORS AND FROM THE VERMONT MEDICAL SOCIETY, AND THEIR ANGST AND CONCERN ABOUT THIS BILL AND SHOULD IT PASS, THE OVERLEMMING MAJORITY OF OUR DOCTORS DO NOT SUPPORT THIS EFFORT. THE SECOND GROUP THAT I'VE HEARD FROM THAT I REALLY HAVE A GREAT DEAL OF RESPECT FOR IS THE DISABILITY COMMUNITY, AND THOSE WITH INCIDENTS ARE REALLY CONCERNED ABOUT THIS BILL AND THE IMPACT ON THEM AND THEIR CLIENTS, AND WHAT MIGHT HAPPEN IN LOOKING AT THE DIGNITY OF THEIR LIVES. AND ARE THEY LESS VALUED. THERE'S ALSO A CONCERN THAT IT WILL PUT PRESSURE ON PEOPLE TO HASTEN THEIR DEATH. AND THEN I BEGAN TO LOOK AND RESEARCH OTHER STATES, WHAT HAPPENS IN OTHER STATES, AND MY CONCERN IS EXPRESSED, I THINK, BY PEOPLE LIKE VICKY KENNEDY WHO WROTE A GREAT COLUMN IN MASSACHUSETTS AGAINST THEIR DEATH WITH DIGNITY REFERENDUM IN THIS PAST NOVEMBER, AND SHE CITED THAT TED KENNEDY RECEIVED A PROGNOSIS FROM HIS DOCTORS THAT HE HAD 2-4 MONTHS TO LIVE. HE ACTUALLY LIVED 15 MONTHS AND DID SOME GREAT THINGS DURING THAT PERIOD OF TIME, IN MY VIEW, THEY WERE GREAT THINGS. CONTINUED TO SERVE IN THE SENATE, DID A LOT OF THINGS. AND HAD HE TAKEN HIS LIFE IN THAT 2-FOUR-MONTH PERIOD THAT, WOULD HAVE BEEN GONE. THEY BASICALLY TOLD TED KENNEDY WHEN HE WAS FIRST DIAGNOSED, HE SHOULD GO HOME, KISS HIS WIFE, AND SAY GOODBYE TO HIS FAMILY. SO I THINK YOU LOOK AT THAT AND LOOK AT WHAT HAPPENED THERE, AND THE PROGNOSIS OF DOCTORS ISN'T THAT ACCURATE TOWARDS END OF LIFE. WE'VE ALSO URGED FROM OTHER FOLKS -- WE'VE ALSO HEARD FROM OTHER FOLKS, OTHER FOLKS ABOUT THE BILL. I'D BE HAPPY TO GO INTO IT.

>> SUPPORTERS ARGUE WHY NOT GIVE SOMEONE THE CHOICE, IT'S THEIR CHOICE, AND IT SHOULD BE THEIR CHOICE OF HOW THEY WANT TO END THEIR LIFE. WHY NOT GIVE THEM THAT?

>> WELL, NUMBER ONE, I THINK THAT YOU ARE ASKING SOMEBODY ELSE TO BE INVOLVED IN THAT DECISION, AND THAT WOULD BE A DOCTOR. THAT, OR A -- A DOCTOR HAS TO BE INVOLVED. YOU'RE ALSO ASKING OTHERS TO GET INVOLVED. THERE IS NO LAW AGAINST SUICIDE. IS THERE NO LAW AGAINST ENDING EXTRAORDINARY MEASURES TO KEEP YOU ALIVE, FOR EXAMPLE, ADVANCE DIRECTIVES. THERE IS ALSO CONCERN ABOUT THE PAL TIFF CARE AND HOSPICE SERVICES AND SO FORTH THAT PEOPLE MAY NOT AVAIL THEMSELVES OF, AND I THINK THAT THE INDICATIONS THAT I GET FROM MANY DOCTORS AND SO FORTH IS THAT WE CONTINUALLY IMPROVE END OF LIFE CARE AND THAT THE BILL ACTUALLY MAY NOT BE NECESSARY. THAT THE IT IS NOT SOMETHING THAT THEY NEED IN ORDER TO HELP PEOPLE THROUGH THIS ARGUE. SO I WOULD PROPONENTS TO THE BILL THAT THERE ARE OTHER WAYS TO DEAL WITH THIS. PEOPLE ARE DEALING WITH IT DAILY. AND YOU KNOW, QUITE FRANKLY, MANY OF THE PEOPLE WHO TESTIFIED, REPORTED HELP AGO LOVED ONE THROUGH THIS IN A RATHER THAN, AND NOBODY HAS BEEN PROSECUTED SO I'M NOT QUITE SURE IT'S NECESSARY, FRANKLY.

>> YOU WERE IN A POSITION TO SPOT THIS BILL, EVEN THOUGH YOU RODE IT OUT WITH AN UNRECOMMENDED -- UNFAVORABLE RECOMMENDATION, IT WILL GO TO THE SENATE FOR DEBATE. WHY DID YOU TAKE IT UP AND VOTE ON IT AND HAVE THE FULL SENATE DO IT?

>> WELL, THIS WAS A DECISION THAT WAS MADE IN A CAUCUS MEETING IN DECEMBER OF THE SENATE DEMOCRATS, THERE WAS A LOT OF INTEREST AND A LOT OF FOLKS IN THE CAUCUS WHO WANTED A VOTE ON THE BILL, AND I COMMITTED TO ALLOWING A VOTE TO OCCUR TO BRINGING THE BILL OUT OF COMMITTEE AND NOT KEEPING IT IN. AS WOULD GENERALLY BE THE PRACTICE. IN GENERAL, WHEN A BILL IS NOT NOT APPROVED BY A COMMITTEE, IT DOES NOT COME OUT, IT DICE IN COMMITTEE, OR IS TERMINATED THERE, AND YOU DON'T HEAR OF IT AGAIN. IN THIS CASE, GIVEN THE LEVEL OF INTEREST IN THE STATE, I FELT LIKE WE DESERVED A VOTE ON THE SENATE FLOOR AND A DEBATE ON THE SENATE FLOOR. MY HOPE IS THAT THE POSITION IN THE SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE WILL PREVAIL AND THE BILL WILL BE TERMINATED AT THAT POINT.

>> THE GOVERNOR ALSO SUPPORTS THIS BILL. IT APPEARS TO BE SOME STRONG SUPPORT IN THE VERMONT HOUSE. WHAT IS YOUR READ AS FAR AS THE DEBATE ON THE VERMONT SENATE, WHERE IT WILL COME DOWN?

>> I THINK IT'S AN EXTREMELY CLOSE VOTE. I THINK THERE ARE ABOUT -- THERE MAY BE AS MANY AS 13 STRONG VOTES AGAINST THE BILL AND ABOUT 13 STRONG VOTES FOR THE BILL. I THINK IT'S UP TO THREE OR FOUR SENATORS WHO AT LEAST SUB LIKELY SAY THEY'RE UNDECIDED. WE DO KNOW THAT THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR, IF THERE IS A TIE, WOULD VOTE NO OR WOULD VOTE WITH THE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE TO NOT MOVE FURTHER WITH THE BILL. I KNOW IT'S AN EXTREMELY CLOSE VOTE. ALL 30 OF US ARE -- IT'S A CLOSE-KNIT GROUP, WE'RE ALL FRIENDLY AND OUR DISCUSSIONS -- AND I -- FRIENDLY IN OUR DISCUSSIONS AND I CAN SAY THERE ARE SEVERAL SENATORS WHO ARE COMPLETELY UNDECIDED.

>> AND WHAT IS HAPPENING OUTSIDE THE STATE HOUSE? I SUSPECT THAT THIS IS A PART OF A NATIONAL EFFORT. HAVE YOU FELT THE HEAT, THE PRESSURE FROM GROUPS OUTSIDE OF VERMONT, CALLING YOU, LOBBYING YOU, LOBBYING OTHER SENATORS? I KNOW OTHER STATES ARE LOOKING AT THIS ISSUE AS WELL. I THINK THIS ARE SIX STATES AROUND THE COUNTRY LOOKING AT THIS ISSUE LIKE VERMONT.

>> THERE'S NO QUESTION THAT OUT OF STATE INTERESTS ARE INVOLVED IN PROMOTING THIS BILL AND OBVIOUSLY SOME OF THE WITNESSES WHO CAME HERE ARE FROM EITHER STATES, PARTICULARLY THE WESTERN STATES, LIKE OREGON AND CALIFORNIA. BUT BY IN LARGE, MOST OF THE CALLS AND MESSAGES I'VE HAD ARE FROM VERMONTERS, THROUGH OUR -- WHO ARE CONCERNED ABOUT THE BILL, EITHER ONE WAY OR THE OTHER, EITHER POSITIVE OR NEGATIVELY. AND THAT LEVEL IS NOT ANYWHERE NEAR WHERE IT WAS DURING THE CIVIL UNIONS DEBATE IN 2000, BUT IT CERTAINLY IS AS HIGH AS ANYTHING I'VE SEEN SINCE THAT DEBATE.

>> AND THIS IS NOT A PARTISAN ISSUE, RIGHT? IS IT SAFE TO SAY THIS IS A VERY PERSONAL ISSUE FOR A NUMBER OF SENATORS?

>> I THINK IT IS. I THINK ALL OF US COME TO THIS POSITION, WHATEVER VOTE WE TAKE IS ONE THAT IS VERY PERSONAL. BUT ALSO, LOOKING AT WHERE, YOU KNOW, OUR CONSTITUENTS ARE. FOR EXAMPLE, NOT THAT I TOOK A POLL, BUT HEARING FROM A MAJORITY OF MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS IN BENNINGTON COUNTY, CERTAINLY HELPS ME CONFIRM MY POSITION IN OPPOSITION TO THE BILL.

>> AND WILL BE ON THE FLOOR NEXT WEEK, AND WHAT WILL BE TELL YOUR SENATORS? HOW WILL YOU CONVINCE THEM THAT YOUR POSITION IS THE BEST POSITION?

>> WELL, I'M GOING TO TRY TO TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT WHAT I JUST SAID TO YOU AND ALWAYS FEW OTHER THINGS I WANT TO HAVE DISCUSSED, AND QUITE FRANKLY, I THINK THE BILL AS PRESENTED HAS PROBLEMS WITH IT AND ONE OF THOSE PROBLEMS IS THE DEATH CERTIFICATE AND NOT PUTTING DOWN WHAT REALLY HAPPENED AND WE HAVE A SYSTEM WHERE WE HAVE VITAL RECORDS AND WE WANT THOSE ACCURATE, AND YET, THE DOCTORS ARE GOING TO BE ENCOURAGED TO SAY 245 THE -- THAT THE PERSON DIED FROM NATURAL CAUSES AND NOT THE UNDERLYING DISEASE AND WHATEVER BARBITURATES OR WHATEVER MEANS ARE USED, AND THAT'S A CONCERN. IT'S ALSO A CONCERN OF MINE THAT WE HAVE A LAW THAT REQUIRES FROM PROFESSIONALS FALSIFY RECORDS.

>> WE'LL BE SEEING THAT ON THE SENATE FLOOR NEXT WEEK. LET'S TALK ABOUT GUNS, ANOTHER HOT BUTTON ISSUE THAT CAME UP IN THE LAST FEW WEEKS. THERE WAS A BILLED HEADED YOUR WAY IN THE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE ON BAN SOMETHING SORTS OF ASSAULT RIFLES THAT HAS SINCE BEEN WITHDRAWN. THERE IS NOW A BILL IN THE VERMONT HOUSE. WHERE DO YOU THINK THE LEGISLATURE IS NOW ON PICKING UP ANY LEGISLATION THAT'S RELATED TO GUNS? I THINK THERE IS INTEREST IN BACKGROUND CHECK, PARTICULARLY FOR THOSE WHO ARE DEEMED INCOMPETENT, A REPORT FOR THOSE ADJUDE INDICATED AS NOT GUILTY BY REASON OF INSANITY, RIGHT NOW VERMONT DOES NOT SEND THOSE NAMES TO THE INSTANT BACKGROUND CHECK. LAST YEAR WE LOOKED AT THE ISSUE OF GUNS FOR DRUGS AND I DID WATCH A RECENT SERIES THAT YOU RAN ON CHANNEL 3 REGARDING GUNS FOR DRUGS. WE THINK THAT'S A VERY REAL PROBLEM. WE WANT TO DO WHAT WE CAN TO ENCOURAGE SENATOR LEAHY TO PASS THE STRAW PURCHASER BILL, AND WE WILL I SUSPECT REVISIT THAT ISSUE IN THE SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE THIS YEAR TO MAKE SURE THAT ALL LAWS ARE ENFORCED AS WELL AS POSSIBLE ON THE GUNS FOR DRUGS TRADE. THAT'S A VERY REAL PROBLEM IN VERMONT.

>> A NUMBER OF FOLKS WOULD ARGUE THAT THERE ARE A ENOUGH LAWS ALREADY ON THE BOOKS AND LAW ENFORCEMENT EITHER IS NOT ENFORCING THE CURRENT LAWS OR THEY DON'T HAVE THE FORCE TO ENDORSE THOSE -- ENFORCE THOSE LAWS. WOULD YOU AGREE THAT THERE ARE LAWS ON THE BOOKS BUT WE'RE NOT ENFORCING THEM?

>> I WOULD AGREE THAT THERE'S AN ELEMENT OF ENOUGH LAWS ON THE BOOKS BUT I WOULD FOCUS ON WHAT VERMONT'S REAL -- I HATE THAT TERM, BUT GUN PROBLEM, BUT IF WE DO HAVE A PROBLEM, IT IS THE GUNS FOR DRUGS TRADE, WHICH IS GOING ON IN OUR LARGER COMMUNITIES. WE SAW IT IN BENNINGTON WHEN THE LARGE BUST OCCURRED A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO, WE'VE SEEN IT IN SHIPLAND COUNTY, RUTLAND COUNTY AND OTHER COUNTIES WHERE PEOPLE ARE COMING UP FROM NEW YORK WITH DRUGS FOR SALE AND THOSE DRUGS ARE OFTEN TRADED FOR GUNS. AND THE GUNS THEN GO BACK TO SOME OF THE SOURCE CITIES LIKE HOLIO MASS, NEW YORK, AND ARE USED FOR ILLEGAL PURPOSES AND I THINK WE INCREASE THE PENALTY FOR USE OF DRUGS IN A DRUG TRADE, WE WANT TO EXAMINE HOW THAT'S GOING AND WHETHER OR NOT WE SHOULD INCREASE THOSE PENALTIES AND FURTHER AND WHAT WE CAN DO. THIS WAS LAST YEAR'S GANG TASK FORCE BILL. IF I HAD TO IDENTIFY, AGAIN -- I THOUGHT YOUR SERIES ON THIS ISSUE WAS EXCELLENT AND I HOPE YOU'LL RUN IT AGAIN, BECAUSE REALLY THAT'S OUR PROBLEM.

>> SENATOR, HOLD RIGHT THERE. WE'RE GOING TO TAKE A SHORT BREAK AND WE'RE GOING TO COME BACK AND TALK ABOUT MORE OF THE GUN ISSUE, AND WE'RE GOING TO HEAR FROM JENNIFER REDDING ABOUT THAT SPECIAL REPORT ON GUNS AND

>> WELCOME BACK TO "YOU CAN QUOTE ME". WE ARE TALKING WITH THE CHAIRMAN OF THE SENATE JU DACRARY COMMITTEE -- JUDICIARY COMMITTEE, DICK SEARS. BEFORE THE BREAK WE WERE TALKING ABOUT GUNS AND A CONNECTION TO DRUGS. WE HAVE A SPECIAL REPORT FROM JENNIFER REDDING ON THAT TOP STKPWHRAOEUBG STATISTICALLY, VERMONT IS A SAFE STATE AND GUN VIOLENCE IS LOW BUT TO MASSACHUSETTS, THEY ARE DIFFERING GUN LAWS, AND WE SHARE BORDERS. MOST VERMONTERS VISITING BOSTON ARE MET BY SKYSCRAPERS AND HISTORIC CHARM. THERE'S ANOTHER SIDE TO THE CITY. FIFTY-ONE PEOPLE WERE MURDER NERD BOSTON LAST YEAR, ROUGHLY 70 PERCENT KILLED BY GUNS. THIS DORCHESTER NEIGHBORHOOD WAS MOST VIOLENT WITH 17 MURDERS.

>> BOSTON'S MAYOR TOM BENINO SAYS VERMONT, NEW HAMPSHIRE AND MAINE ARE CONTRIBUTING TO THE PROBLEM. HE IS RALLYING MAYORS ACROSS THE COUNTRY TO JOIN THE COALITION CALLED MAYORS AGAINST ILLEGAL GUNS. MASSACHUSETTS ALREADY HAS SOME OF THE NATION'S TOUGHEST GUN LAWS, BUT VIOLENT CRIME REMAINS HIGH.

>> BECAUSE WE'RE THE ONES WHO HEAR THE GUN SHOTS, WE'RE THE ONES WHO HEAR THE POLICE SIRENS, WE'RE THE ONES WHO HAVE TO COMFORT FAMILIES WHEN THINGS HAPPEN. SO ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

>> THE COALITION IS PRESSURING CONGRESS TO TOUGHEN FEDERAL GUN LAWS, INCLUDING BANNING ASSAULT WEAPONS AND CRACKING COUNSEL ON -- DOWN OR INTERSTATE GUN TRACKING. MANY SAY A POLICY A NECESSARY TO KEEP GUNS FROM ILLEGALLY CROSSING STATE LINES.

>> GUNS DON'T STOP AT THE BORDER OF VERMONT AND MASSACHUSETTS. THEY KEEP COMING.

>> IN 2009 THE COALITION TRACKED HOW OFTEN GUNS FROM ONE STATE WERE RECOVERED FROM OTHER STATES, VERMONT RANKED 16TH NATIONALLY AND TOPPED EVERY STATE IN THE NORTHEAST, MORE THAN MAINE, NEW YORK, NEW BEDFORD'S MAYOR SAYS THE BLACK MARKET GUNS ARE INCREASING VIOLENCE ON OUR STREETS.

>> YOU ARE A YOUNG PERSON, YOU GOT A BEEF WITH SOMEBODY, YOU'RE INCLINED TO USE A GUN, YOU GO TO ANOTHER STATE, MAINE, VERMONT.

>> LAX GUN LAWS MAKE IT AREASER FOR GUNS TO FALL IN THE WRONG HANDS. GENE MARQUEZ, SPECIAL AGENT, IS TALKING ABOUT STRAW PURCHASES OR WHEN SOMEONE BUY AS GUN FOR AN INDIVIDUAL WHO CAN'T LEGALLY 11 -- OWN ONE. THE GUNS FOR DRUGS TRADE IS A CLASSIC EXAMPLE.

>> YOU GOT SOMEONE WHO IS A DRUG TRAFFICKER GETTING A GUN FOR SOMEBODY WHO HAD A DRUG ADDICTION PROBLEM.

>> ATF TRACKS GUN RUNNERS BECAUSE THE DRUG PRICES ARE CHEAPER AND GUN PRICES ARE HIGHER.

>> THAT CREATES A MARKET WHERE YOU HAVE DRUGS COMING IN, GUNS GOING OUT.

>> AS DRUG DEALERS GET MORE HOOKED ON CRACK AND HEROIN, PROPERTY BREAK INS RISE AS DESPERATE ADDICTS LOOK FOR GUNS TO STEAL.

>> IT HAPPENS TO BE THE KIND OF CRIMINAL ACTIVITY THAT RAISES ONE OF THE BIGGEST PUBLIC SAFETY THREATS.

>> DRUG DEALERS CAN GET GUNS FROM STRAW PURCHASERS FOR $400, THEN TRADE THEM IN MASSACHUSETTS FOR DRUGS WORTH TWICE THAT. ATF GAVE US THESE PHOTOS OF A 2003 CLOSED CASE WHERE MASSACHUSETTS DEALERS WERE BUYING FIREARMS IN A SOUTHERN VERMONT FLEA MARKET IN EXCHANGE FOR CASH AND NARCOTICS. THEY WOULD RECOUP THEIR INVESTMENT BY TRIPLING PRICES BACK IN VERMONT. ACCORDING TO ATF, BETWEEN 2006 AND 2010, 126 VERMONT GUNS WERE RECOVERED AT CRIME SCENES HERE IN MASSACHUSETTS, BUT ATF OFFICIALS SAY THAT NUMBER IS CONSERVATIVE, BECAUSE MANY MORE GUNS ARE EVIDENCE WALKERS AND ARE NEVER TRACED.

>> NEW YORK'S POPULATION IS 30 TIMES THAT OF VERMONT, YET IT EXPORTED HALF OF MANY CRIME GUNS TO MASSACHUSETTS DURING THE SAME FIVE YEAR SPAN.

>> GUN SALES ARE MUCH MORE HIGHLY REGULATED IN NEW YORK.

>> IN COMPARISON, NEW HAMPSHIRE FLOODED MASSACHUSETTS WITH 527 CRIME GUNS, MAINE ADDED 425 MORE.

>> ONE GUN TRACKED ILLEGALLY IS ONE GUN TOO MANY.

>> INDIVIDUALS SHOULD BE KELD ACCOUNTABLE -- SHOULD BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE IF THEY'RE GOING TO GIVE THEM TO BAD GUYS.

>> FIVE YEARS AGO A WOMAN LIED TO A RUTLAND GUN SHOP, THE DEALER USED THE STRAW PURCHASE DURING A SHOOTOUT ON GROVE STREET, HE WAS KILLED, HIS MURDERER WAS NEVER THOUGHT. TAMMY HIN LEE WAS SENTENCED TO THREE YEARS PROBATION FOR BUYING THE GUN.

>> THAT'S NOT REALLY SOMEONE ACCOUNTABLE FOR THEIR ACTIONS.

>> THE DEADLY GUN BATTLE PROMPTED HIM TO BECOME VERMONT'S FIRST MAYOR TO JOIN BENINO'S COALITION.

>> DO YOU THINK VERMONTERS ARE AWARE OF THE IMPACT THE GUNS ARE HAVING OUT OF STATE?

>> PROBABLY NOT. I FOLLOW THE ILLEGAL GUN ISSUE AS CLOSELY AS ANYONE DOES AND FRANKLY IT TOOK ME BY SUR STKPWHRAOEUS THE MAYOR HAD BLUNT WORDS FOR VERMONT WHEN WE SPOKE TO HIM.

>> DO YOU THINK THERE'S SOMETHING THAT VERMONT COULD DO TO HELP OUT THE GUN CRIME AND THE GUNS COMING IN TO YOUR STATE?

>> MY HELP? YEAH, PASS LEGISLATION THAT WILL PREVENT THE ABILITY TO BUY GUNS SO EASILY IN VERMONT.

>> VERMONT'S U.S. ATTORNEY SAYS THERE IS NO FEDERAL LAW ON THE BOOKS AGAINST GUN TRAFFICKING. HE WANTS TO CHANGE THAT. AS WELL AS UP THE PENALTIES FOR STRAW PURCHASERS. BUT HE ADMITS THE PEST LAWS WON'T HELP UNLESS THE STATE'S DRUG ADDICTION DRIVING THE DEMAND IS ADDRESSED.

>> FUNDAMENTALLY, ONE OF THE BIG ISSUES HERE IS DRUGS AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE AND, YOU KNOW, THE REALLY DANGEROUS THINGS THAT SUBSTANCE ABUSE DRIVES PEOPLE TO DO.

>> IN A STATE FULL OF GUN OWNERS, VERMONT'S SENIOR SENATOR IS WALKING A FINE LINE, PATRICK LEAHY HAS INTRODUCED LEDGESATION TO CRACK DOWN ON STRAW PURCHASE, THE BILL WOULD GIVE POLICE BETTER TOOLS TO INVESTIGATE CRIMES. GUN LEGISLATION IS AN EMOTIONAL TOPIC. I WANT TO POINT OUT THAT EVERY LAWMAKER I SPOKE TO, BOTH IN MASSACHUSETTS AND VERMONT, STRESS THAT THE REFORM THAT THEY WANT DOES NOT TAKE AIM AT THE SECOND AMENDMENT OR LAW-ABIDING CITIZENS. THEY SIMPLY WANT BETTER TOOLS TO KEEP GUNS OUT OF THE HANDS OF CONVICTED FELONS AND DEALERS, JENNIFER REDDING, BURLINGTON.

>> LET'S HEAD BACK TO THE STATEHOUSE WITH SEN TOMORROW DICK SEARS. LET'S FOLK OUNCE THE SUBSTANCE ABUSE PART OF THAT REPORT. YOU RECENTLY IN BENNINGTON COUNTY, THERE WAS A ROUNDUP OF SEVERAL PEOPLE ROUNDED UP, CHARGED WITH DRUG TIMES. AND SOMETHING THAT CAME OUT OF THAT WAS THERE WAS A BIG STRESS ON GETTING TREATMENT FOR THOSE PEOPLE, BECAUSE THEY WERE LOCKED UP DURING THAT PERIOD, AND IT WAS A BIG STRESS ON SOME OF THE HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS THAT PEOPLE NEEDED TREATMENT. WHERE ARE WE AS FAR AS GETTING TREATMENT FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE HOOKED ON DRUGS?

>> I THINK WE'VE HAD A MISERABLE RESPONSE SO FAR, ANSON. AND I THINK THAT HITS THE NAIL RIGHT ON THE HEAD. IF THERE WASN'T THE DEMAND FOR THE DRUGS, THERE WOULDN'T BE THE DRUG SALES OR WHAT HAVE YOU. AND WHILE I REALIZE THAT TREATMENT ISN'T SUCCESSFUL IN ALL CASES, WHILE WE ARGUE ABOUT A METHADONE TREATMENT CLINIC IN RUTLAND, ABOUT A METHADONE CLINIC IN BENNINGTON, WHILE WE ARGUE FOR A YEAR OVER A METHADONE CLINIC IN CHIPMAN COUNTY, WE SIT HERE AND BEMOAN THE TRAFFICKING, THE GUNS FOR DRUG SALES AND ALL THESE THINGS. I THINK IT'S TIME TO STOP THE NOT IN MY BACK YARD AND MOVE FORWARD. I THINK THAT THE U.S. ATTORNEY HITS THE NAIL RIGHT ON THE HEAD THAT YOU WOULDN'T HAVE THIS TRADE, YOU WOULDN'T HAVE THIS, WITHOUT THAT DEMAND. AND I RECOGNIZE THAT IT'S VERY DIFFICULT TO HAVE SOMETHING IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD THAT IS UNPLEASANT, BUT THE RECORD INDICATES THAT PEOPLE ARE GOING THERE FOR TREATMENT, NOT TO BUY DRUGS, AND I THINK THAT WE NEED TO START TO BEGIN TO LOOK OUTSIDE THE BOX IN THE LEGISLATURE ON HOW TO PROVIDE THIS TREATMENT. RIGHT NOW, IN BENNINGTON, ONE OF THE MOST WIDELY USED DRUGS IS SABOXIN. WHY IS IT SO WIDELY USED? IT'S THE ONLY THING OUR DOCS CAN PRESCRIBE TO HELP THE ADDICTS, AND BECAUSE OF THAT, AND BECAUSE OF THE WAY IT'S MANUFACTURED, A DOCTOR HAS TO SPEND SIGNIFICANT AMOUNT OF TIME TRYING TO FIGURE OUT IF THE ADDICTED PERSON IS TAKING THE RIGHT AMOUNTS OR WHETHER IT'S BEING DIVERTED. AND I KNOW THAT IT'S TIME CONSUMING FOR FO -- DOCS AND LIMITS THE NUMBER OF FOLKS WE CAN SEE, AND YET THEN WE TRY TO PUT IN LEGISLATION, AS SENATOR ASH AND I HAVE INTRODUCED, THAT WOULD REQUIRE BLISTER PACKS, TO HELP THE DOCS WITH THIS PROBLEM. WE GET FRAUGHT WITH THE DRUG INDUSTRY. IT'S TIME WE TAKE AN ACTIVE ROLE IN LOOKING FOR OTHER MEANS TO GET HERE. BUT AS I SAID EARLIER, WHEN YOU HAVE THREE OF THE MOST POPULIST AREAS IN THE STATE JUST REFUSING TO PROVIDE CLINIC S, IT'S A PROBLEM.

>> SOME WOULD ARGUE WHERE IS THE LEENFORCEMENT ISSUE, AND THE PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY WITH THIS. WOULD YOU SUPPORT TOUGHER LAWS, MORE JAIL TIME? AND ON THE OTHER SIDE, YOU WOULD HAVE MORE TREATMENT.

>> YEAH, I DON'T SUPPORT IO I MEAN, I THINK -- I THINK THE LAWS HAVE BEEN CHANGED DRAMATICALLY IN THE LAST FEW YEARS REGARDING DRUG TRAFFICKING, REGARDING GUNS FOR DRUGS AND THE STRAW PURCHASES NEEDS TO BE A FEDERAL LAW, AND WE'RE EYEING SENATOR LEAHY'S WORK. I COMMEND HIM FOR TAKING THISLE CHA EVENING. BUT IT DOES NEED TO BE ON THE FEDERAL LEVEL. BUT ON THE VERMONT SIDE, LOOKING AT THE GUNS FOR DRUGS, WE CONTINUE TO DO THAT, AND THE TOUGHER PENALTIES FOR DRUG TRAFFICKING, WHICH WE INSTITUTED A FEW YEARS BACK, HAVE HAD SOME EFFECT. BUT UNTIL YOU HAVE THE TYPES OF RAIDS THROUGH THE DRUG TASK FORCE AND THE GANG TASK FORCE THAT WE SAW IN BENNINGTON, IT SENDS AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE TO THOSE WHO COME FROM OUT OF STATE, BUT AS I HAVE SAID REPEATEDLY, THEY WOULDN'T BE COMING FROM OUT OF STATE IF THERE WASN'T A DEMAND HERE.

>> IS THAT THE SITUATION WHERE IT'S JUST A QUICK HIT AND ANOTHER SIX WEEKS, ANOTHER MONTH, THEY'RE GOING TO BE BACK AT IT AGAIN? DID THAT REALLY SOLVE ANY ISSUES IN YOUR PARTICULAR COUNTY WITH THIS RAID?

>> WELL, I'M AFRAID IT MIGHT HAVE DRIVEN THEM SOMEWHERE ELSE. AGAIN, YOU KNOW, YOU HAVE AN ADDICTION PROBLEM, AND ADDICTION IS REALLY HARD TO DEAL WITH. ANY OF US WHO SMOKED CIGARETTES IN OUR YOUTH REALIZE WHAT AN ADDICTION PROBLEM IT IS, AND HOW DIFFICULT IT IS TO GET OVER IT. WHEN YOU MULTIPLY THAT WITH THE ADDICTION TO HEROIN AND OTHER OPIATES, IT'S A DIFFICULT THING TO OVERCOME, BUT IT CAN BE DONE. AND A LOT OF PEOPLE DO OVERCOME THAT. WE NEED TO SUPPORT OUR TURNING POINT CLUBS. WE NEED TO PORT OUR -- SUPPORT OUR EFFORTS AT ADDICTION RELIEF IN VERMONT. ONE OF THE WAYS WE CAN DO THAT IS THROUGH METHADONE CLINICS AND WITHOUT THEM WE'RE HURTING OURSELVES.

>> SENATOR, WE HAVE RUN OUT OF TIME. WE HAVE A NUMBER OF ISSUES WE WANTED TO GET TO, BUT SOME HEAVY LIFTING DOWN THERE DEALING WITH IMPORTANT ISSUES, DRUGS AND CRIME, AND THINGS BEFORE THE SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE. HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND AND THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

>> THANK YOU VERY MUCH, ANSON.

>> SENATOR DICK SEARS FROM THE STATE HOUSE. WE WILL BE FOLLOWING ALL THESE PARTICULAR ISSUES IN THE COMING WEEK ON WCAX AND ALSO, THROUGHOUT THE LEGISLATIVE SESSION. IF YOU HAVE ANYTHING YOU WANT TO RELAY TO US, YOU CAN DO THAT BY JUST E-MAILING US AT NEWS AT WCAX.COM, UNTIL NEXT TIME, I'M ANSON TEBB IT'S. HAVE GREAT WEEKEND.

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