May 07, 2013 — The Vermont legislative session is winding down for the year, but lawmakers still plan to tackle some hot button issues over the next week.
The legislature plans to address physician assisted suicide, driver's licenses for migrant workers, and marijuana decriminalization before the session ends.
Here's where those bills stand.
The Senate and the House passed dramatically different versions of the end-of-life choices bill. The Senate's version was loaded with amendments, and only guarantees that family members and healthcare workers won't be liable if a patient ends his or her life. The House passed a version that's modeled on the Oregon law. Now the two bodies will have to agree on a draft if the bill is to go forward.
The Senate passed the migrant worker driver's license bill 27-2 last month. Gov. Peter Shumlin has indicated that he will sign the bill.
Danilo Lopez is a migrant worker-turned-activist from Mexico who came to Vermont to work on a dairy farm.
"Today we continue in the struggle for drivers' licenses and we are sure we're going to win," Lopez said through a translator.
The House will read the bill for the final time later today.
And, finally, there's marijuana decriminalization. The bill says that possession of up to two ounces of marijuana will be punished by a fine, not by criminal charges. It passed in the House last month and will be considered by the Senate later this week.