"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.
Wednesday, December 11 2013 11:34 PM EST2013-12-12 04:34:11 GMT
Family and friends of victims Amanda Murphy and Jason Timmons -- gathered in Wilder Wednesday night for a candlelight vigil to mourn the loss of the recently engaged couple and their unborn child. MoreMore >>
Family and friends of victims Amanda Murphy and Jason Timmons -- gathered in Wilder Wednesday night for a candlelight vigil to mourn the loss of the recently engaged couple and their unborn child.More >>
Wednesday, December 11 2013 11:24 PM EST2013-12-12 04:24:55 GMT
Voting ends Thursday on a measure that could decide whether a major industrial wind project in the Northeast Kingdom moves forward. The Seneca Mountain project calls for 20 turbines on ridge lines inMore >>
Voting ends Thursday on a measure that could decide whether a major industrial wind project in the Northeast Kingdom moves forward.More >>
Wednesday, December 11 2013 10:42 PM EST2013-12-12 03:42:42 GMT
Vermont State Police say they're looking for a thief who made off with 50 gallons of diesel fuel. Authorities say it happened Wednesday morning at a farm on Shoreham Depot Road in Shoreham. They say anMore >>
Vermont State Police say they're looking for a thief who made off with 50 gallons of diesel fuel.More >>
Wednesday, December 11 2013 5:19 PM EST2013-12-11 22:19:28 GMT
Police say they've caught the man wanted for three bank robberies in the Upper Valley. James Oberfeldt, 30, of Claremont, is currently jailed in Massachusetts on a drug charge. Police say he's been identifiedMore >>
Police say they've caught the man wanted for three bank robberies in the Upper Valley.More >>
Wednesday, December 11 2013 6:54 PM EST2013-12-11 23:54:10 GMT
Two men are behind bars after a burglary in St. Albans. Police arrested James Perron, 27, of St. Albans, and Eric Walsh, 34, Tuesday for allegedly stealing a safe containing $15,000 in cash. It happenedMore >>
Two men are behind bars in connection with a burglary in St. Albans.More >>
Wednesday, December 11 2013 7:53 PM EST2013-12-12 00:53:13 GMT
Two Plattsburgh State students are under arrest in connection with a brawl outside a fraternity house. It happened last month outside the Alpha Chi Rho (AXP) house on Brinkerhoff Street. Police say itMore >>
Authorities say allegations of a sexual assault in Plattsburgh led to a brawl. Now, some fraternity brothers are facing charges and more could be coming.More >>