In a voice vote today, the Vermont Senate passed legislation that will legalize possession and home cultivation of marijuana. Under the legislation, adults 21 and up could possess up to one ounce of marijuana, and possess two mature marijuana plants or four immature plants. The bill was approved by the House last week. The vote makes Vermont the first state in the county to authorize recreational marijuana use by an act of the Legislature, rather than via a citizen referendum. The bill now heads to the governor’s desk for his signature.
Middlebury College and PEN America will present a panel discussion that will focus on issues facing Middlebury and other colleges and universities across the U.S., questions of inclusion, diversity, and free speech. The event, titled “Whose Freedom, Whose Speech? The Future of Community and Free Speech at Middlebury,” will take place in Wilson Hall in the Student Center at 5 pm tomorrow. The panel is open only to Middlebury students, faculty, and staff. Members of the public may watch the livestream in Dana Auditorium or online at http://go.middlebury.edu/stream.
Nearly $10 million in state aid is being given to New York municipalities for dissolving duplicate layers of government, including some towns in the North Country. It’s all part of the Citizen Empowerment Tax Credit, which was created in 2011 to give aid each year to municipalities that are moving forward with consolidating or dissolving. Governor Andrew Cuomo says these towns and villages are working together to “lower costs and tackle property taxes.” The governor’s office says at least 70 percent of the aid must be returned to residents in the form of direct property tax relief. Moriah is getting $350,609 for dissolving the Village of Port Henry.
The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department says recent cold weather has helped kick-start ice fishing season weeks earlier than in recent years. At least six inches of solid ice is recommended for safe ice fishing, and that much ice hasn’t been present for some time on most lakes until late January. But ice fishing enthusiasts are now finding ample ice on many smaller lakes and the bays of larger lakes. Even with all the ice, Fish & Wildlife say ice safety precautions are still very important.