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Panic defense bill passes in Vermont House

Published: Mar. 12, 2021 at 6:52 AM EST
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MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) - A bill that would add protections to members of the LGBTQ community has passed the Vermont House.

Representative Taylor Small, P/D-Winooski co-sponsored the bill that passed Thursday 144-to-1, with five lawmakers not voting.

A ‘panic defense’ in court is a legal strategy that uses a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity as the reason for a violent crime. Small says watching all the ‘yes’ votes come in felt like a dream.

“What we saw was that 144 of the reps in Vermont were in support of this bill and only one was against this bill. So, I think when we do a roll call vote, we get to see how people truly feel about the legislation moving forward instead of not having to speak up or not having to have an opinion on it. But we are talking about human rights and you have to have an opinion,” said Small.

Rep. Rodney Graham, R-Williamstown, was the lone lawmaker that voted against the measure.

Now, the bill heads to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Vermont would be the 16th state to pass it if lawmakers give it approval.

Related Story:

Winooski representative introduces bill banning panic defense

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