With the calendar change, comes fewer penalties for pot smokers - it's still illegal and will be seized, but starting July 1st, having under an ounce of marijuana will get you a $200 ticket, instead of a criminal charge. If you're caught twice, 300 bucks, and for every time after that - five hundred dollars. Police say it will give consistency to the system.
"A lot of those smaller amount haven't been dealt with at all. Just an outright dismissal of the case, and now these are going to be brought into the courts, so there could be an uptick in those types of cases now," Vermont State Police Sergeant Garry Scott said.
Troopers likely won't carry scales in the squad cars - but will issue a ticket if it's more than an ounce, after being weighed back at the station.
Also starting July 1st, no cell phones in construction zones, no talking, no texting, nothing - doing so could get you up to a $250 fine.
"We average about 50 crashes a year in construction zones," Sgt. Scott said.
One VTrans employee estimated six out of ten drivers are on their phone - some of those distracted drivers are striking workers.
"There's one co-worker who's been pretty severely injured," Dan Shepard said.
There are also more rear-end collisions in work zones. That results in even more delays and frustration.
"One lady, I believe it was 27 road cones that she hit," Shepard said.
And finally, a new law that aims to better the environment - leaving your car idling for more than five minutes when you run into the store could get you a ticket.
As for the marijuana decriminalization law, any amount will still be illegal for people under 21. There's also a change to health insurance for same sex couples.
Here's a complete list of new laws, as of July 1st:
Misc 2013 Vermont State Laws Taking Effect 7/1/2013
Act 2- New statutory regulation providing for civil forfeiture of retirement
payments of public employees who have committed civil crimes.
Act 6 - Allow receipt of temporary workers' compensation payments by
electronic payroll prepaid benefit card or direct deposit
Act 15 - Clarification of Department of Labor regulation of employers for
nonpayment of wages. Increases employer penalty from 5500.00 to 55,000.
Act 17 - Changes in statutes related to domestic relations relief from abuse
orders, orders against stalking and sexual assault, and orders against abuse of a
Act 20 - Update of commercial motor vehicle licensing laws to comply with
current federal regulations
Act 30 -Establishment of requirement that persons who sell or exchange cats,
dogs, or wolf-hybrids must obtain a pet dealer permit from the municipal clerk
Also includes other changes to statutes pertaining to entities that maintain or
keep domesticated pets that the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets
Act 31 - Equal Pay Act - Prohibits employers from retaliating against
employees who oppose unlawful employment practices, who disclose their
wages or inquire about or discuss the wages of other employees. Entities
contracting with state must certify they are in compliance with the act.
Act 32- Anatomical Gifts - Repeals law enabling a physician to request a body
for anatomical gifts. Provides for cremation of remains of a body when there is
iiOWritten directive and for the Iviedical Examiner to retain resulting remains
for three years. If no party claims remains the ME is to arrange for their final
burial. Requires Commissioner of Health to increase organ and tissue
donations and establishes Organ and Tissue Donation Working Group to
coordinate efforts related to the donation and transplantation of organs and
tissues. Also establishes Organ Donation Special Fund
Act 35 - Health Insurance for Same Sex Couples - To the extent permitted
under federal law, prohibits discrimination in the delivery of health insurance
to same-sex married and civil union couples in comparison to opposite-sex
Act 40- Directs Vermont Department of Health Access and the Green
Mountain Care Board to consider implementation of telemedicine pilot
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Act 42 - New temporary (till March 1, 2014) provisions authorizing expedited
partner treatment for chiamydia and gonorrhea and directing the Commissioner
of Health to adopted (by that date) new standards for expedited partner therapy
and the diseases for which it can be used
Act 43 - New directive to insurance companies to identified matches for
unclaimed life insurance benefits
Act 44 -Consumer Protection: New propane sales related consumer protection
provisions; new state law protection (paralleling federal law) for solicitations
that are falsely designed documents that look like invoices or bills to
Act 49- Miscellaneous changes to the regulation of sheriffs and deputy
sheriff's role in the service of process
Act 65 - Extension of moratorium on certificates of need for home health
agencies until Jan 1,2017 or until the General Assembly lifts the moratorium.
An exemption is provided for licensed homes for the terminally ill.
Act 69- Two-year rules for automated license plate recognition readers
Act 70 -Criminal Investigation Records - Adoption of release standards of
criminal investigation records nearly identical to those set forth in the Federal
Freedom of Information Act
Act 76 - Civil Offense for One Ounce Possession of Marijuana (also changes
for other marijuana possession related offenses)
Act 85 - New and expanded regulation of octaBDE, pentaBDE, decaBDE and
the flame retardant known as Tris is consumer products
Act 85- Creates presumption for firefighters and rescue or ambulance workers
that disability, or death, resulting from lung disease or infectious disease,
either of which is caused by aerosolized airborne infectious agents or bloodborne
pathogens, is compensable under the workers' compensation statutes
Act 88 - Clarifies the scope of regulation under section 248 of Title 30 of the
Vermont Statutes of plants using methane derived from an agricultural
operation. The section's applicability in this instance would be limited to
equipment used: (1) to generate electricity from biogas or (2) to refine biogas
into natural gas, the structures housing such equipment, and the
interconnections used to connect the equipment to electric and natural gas
distribution and transmission systems. Section 248 would not apply to the
methane digester, the digester influents and non-gas effluents, the buildings
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and equipment used to handle such influents and non-gas effluents, or the onfarm
use of heat and exhaust produced by the generation of electricity