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Judge to decide fate of defiant Newport store owner

Published: Mar. 9, 2021 at 4:30 PM EST
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NEWPORT, Vt. (WCAX) - The fate of a former UPS store franchise owner in Newport is now in the hands of a judge.

Andre Desautels was cited by the state of Vermont to appear in court after refusing to follow the governor’s mask mandate. His attorney, Deborah Bucknam, argued the mask order was a case of government overreach and unconstitutional. “The problem with the emergency management statute is that the governor can declare an emergency and the governor makes that decision, and then the governor, once the governor makes that decision with essentially no limitations,” she said.

The state argued that the order was within its rights and that the Legislature has the power to reallocate certain powers if they seem threatened. “The Legislature is currently looking at amending the emergency management statute, but only to make non-substantive changes. Again, doesn’t prove but does suggest that the Legislature doesn’t find that its powers have been unconstitutionally usurped,” said Assistant Attorney General Rachel Smith.

The state and the defense wrapped up their arguments Tuesday and it is now up for the judge in the case to make a ruling.

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