Starting Today, July 1st, 21 Bills Become Law

Starting Today, July 1st, 21 Bills Become Law

Today is July first, and several new laws take effect. The Vermont legislature spent months drafting bills, and today, 21 of them take hold.
Today is July first, and several new laws take effect. The Vermont legislature spent months drafting bills, and today, 21 of them take hold.

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.

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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

vulnerable adult

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

regulates.

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

married couples

Act 40- Directs Vermont Department of Health Access and the Green

Mountain Care Board to consider implementation of telemedicine pilot

proj ects

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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

consumers

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

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