Checking In: What Does the Senate Want to Pass Before Crossover?

By Steph Machado

Published 02/11 2014 06:13PM

Updated 02/11 2014 06:46PM

MONTPELIER - Vermont's legislative session is about a quarter of the way through, which means we're about a month out from crossover day on March 14.

Any bill in a House or Senate committee that hasn't "crossed over" to the other side by that date will be dead. We asked Senate President Pro-Tem John Campbell what the Senate's priorities are before the deadline.

He said the GMO labeling bill should pass the week of March 10. It would require foods made with genetically modified organisms be labeled as such. It has already passed the Senate Agriculture committee, but is now in the Senate Judiciary committee. The Vermont Attorney General says Vermont will likely be sued if the bill becomes law, so the committee is considering a "trigger clause" that would delay the law going into effect until other states also have a GMO labeling law in effect.

Also in the Senate Judiciary committee is S.295. Senator Campbell says this bill is part of the legislative effort to fight opiate addiction in Vermont. This risk-assessment bill would evaluate people arrested for drug crimes before their trials.

"We want to find out who are the people who need to be in jail versus who are the people who need to be in care and treatment for their addictions," explained Sen. Campbell. He says that bill should be approved by the committee next week.

The Senate Finance Committee is discussing options to lower the 7-cent proposed property tax increase.

"That, to me is unfathomable," said Sen. Campbell. "We are going to try and come up with some methods to see if we can find a way to reduce that," he said. Because this is a finance bill, it would not need to be passed by crossover day.

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