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Scott vetoes bills on drug advisory board, criminal records

May 20, 2022 GMT

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Vermont Gov. Phil Scott vetoed a bill that would have created a drug use standards advisory board within the state sentencing commission, saying it “places no limits on which drugs can be contemplated for legalization or the amounts.”

The board would determine “the benchmark personal use dosage and the benchmark personal use supply” for regulated and unregulated drugs, with a goal of preventing and reducing the criminalization of personal drug use, according to the bill.

Scott, a Republican, said in his letter Thursday to the General Assembly the bill includes “absolutely no recognition” of health and safety impacts of using fentanyl, heroin, and other drugs, or acknowledge law enforcement’s role in stopping dealers.

Scott also vetoed a bill that would have expanded eligibility for the expungement of criminal records for non-violent crimes.

“Ultimately, I find this bill inconsistent with the State’s responsibilities to keep the public safe,” he wrote.

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Rep. Selene Colburn, P-Burlington, who supported both bills, said she was upset about the outcome, WCAX-TV reported.

“We are not talking about reducing penalties for violent crimes or changing expungement eligibility. We are simply talking about treating people who have used drugs and who have struggled with substance use disorder with dignity and respect and the basic belief that their lives are valuable,” she said.