"I believe we've got about 50 bills in this committee, that means not all of them make it out," said Sen. Dick Sears (D-Bennington County).
Sears oversees the Senate Judiciary Committee. Legislators are expected to work out of the statehouse through May, but if bills don't leave committee by March 15th, they are unlikely to pass before next year. "Usually what we do is have arrangements with the house on certain high-profile issues," Sears said.
Friday, House Leader Shap Smith and Senate President John Campbell met in order to determine if such an agreement is possible for proposed marijuana decriminalization. There are currently bills in both chambers, but Senators say the legislation faces a stickier path through the house, so they're allowing debate to begin there.
"We're working very hard in the house judiciary committee to complete as much of our work as possible before crossover," said House Judiciary Committee Chair Rep. Bill Lippert (D-Hinesburg).
His committee is just as swamped as the Senate's. Rep. Lippert, said his group's first priority is dealing with several bills meant to tackle opiate and methamphetamine addiction. He hopes to streamline those measures with similar proposals in front of the human services committee. "Probably a dozen bills wrapped into one large bill -- We will take to the floor jointly from the two committees," he said.
Sen. Sears said his committee won't consider any gun legislation that doesn't originate in the House. A bill limiting magazine sizes and imposing background checks is currently sitting in Lippert's committee. But both concede other issues, like labeling for genetically modified foods, likely won't get serious attention until next year.
Legislators said the deadline is even tighter this year due to the late start at the capitol. However, they also said more exceptions to crossover can be made in the first year of each biennium.
Tuesday, May 21 2013 11:22 PM EDT2013-05-22 03:22:19 GMT
Residents in Sheffield say the news that three men have admitted to killing Pat O'Hagan in 2010 came as a shock, but it's information they thought would have come sooner. "A certain measure of reliefMore >>
Residents in Sheffield say the news that three men have admitted to killing Pat O'Hagan in 2010 came as a shock, but it's information they thought would have come sooner.More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 8:00 PM EDT2013-05-22 00:00:26 GMT
"It's right up there the top of the list of frustrating cases," said Bill Sorrell, D-Vt. Attorney General. Investigators say they've had three suspects in Pat O'Hagan's death since shortly after the Sheffield grandmotherMore >>
Federal court filings show the state may never charge the suspects in the murder of a Vt. grandmother, because there is not enough evidence. But the state's top prosecutor says convicting Pat O'Hagan's killers is still a top priority.More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 4:50 PM EDT2013-05-21 20:50:11 GMT
A St. Albans teen will spend at least a couple of years behind bars for a DUI accident that killed his passenger. James Companion, 17, changed his plea to guilty Tuesday. Companion told investigators heMore >>
A St. Albans teen will spend at least a couple of years behind bars for a DUI accident that killed his passenger.More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 7:32 PM EDT2013-05-21 23:32:20 GMT
A former animal control officer charged with two counts of prohibited acts was arraigned Tuesday morning. Gary Francis is accused of asking two women to show him their breasts for money. Francis pleadedMore >>
A former animal control officer was in court Tuesday, charged with soliciting women to expose themselves.More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 5:48 PM EDT2013-05-21 21:48:12 GMT
A pair of siblings pleaded innocent to a string of burglaries in Rutland that police say funded their heroin addiction. Todd Miller, 28, and his sister Amanda Miller, 30, pleaded not guilty. The pair isMore >>
A pair of siblings pleaded innocent to a string of burglaries in Rutland that police say funded their heroin addiction.More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 10:03 AM EDT2013-05-21 14:03:49 GMT
A Middlebury man has pleaded not guilty to federal arson charges stemming from a fire at a Pittsford car dealership back in July 2011. Police said they found 29-year-old Steven Browne behind the wheelMore >>
A Middlebury man has pleaded not guilty to federal arson charges stemming from a fire at a Pittsford car dealership back in July 2011.More >>