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Vermont Legislature
Follow VPR's statehouse coverage, featuring Pete Hirschfeld and Bob Kinzel in our Statehouse Bureau in Montpelier.

Legislature Faces Debates On Licenses, Drugs, GMOs

The House Transportation Committee voted 7-4 on Wednesday in favor of a Senate bill that would allow the state to grant driver identification cards to Vermont residents who are in this country illegally.

Last week, testimony before the committee turned sour when some farm owners questioned some of the migrant farming community’s behavior. Migrant farmers and their advocates characterized that approach as a last-ditch effort to block the legislation from moving forward.

The measure, which easily cleared the Senate, 27-2, now goes to the House Ways and Means Committee before a full debate in the House next week.

Earlier this week, Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber signed into law a similar bill that allows immigrants in that state to obtain driver’s authorization cards.

In the Senate, lawmakers will debate Thursday a bill designed to strengthen Vermont’s response to prescription drug addiction.

The bill passed by the House would provide wider access to the state’s prescription drug monitoring system and hold property owners accountable if they knowingly rent to drug dealers. It would also attempt to undercut the financing of the drug trade and increase treatment options.

The House turns its attention to genetically engineered organisms – or GMOs.

And the House Judiciary Committee is debating a bill that would change the way food sold in Vermont is labeled, requiring labeling of GMO products. At issue is whether the measure could become a legal challenge for the state. Supporters of the bill hope the Committee could vote on the bill tomorrow.

Any action on the House and Senate floor you can listen to on VPR’s legislative streams.

Follow our Vermont Legislature reporting team of Bob Kinzel, John Dillon, and Kirk Carapezza on Twitter and here at

Kirk is a reporter for the NPR member station in Boston, WGBH, where he covers higher education, connecting the dots between post-secondary education and the economy, national security, jobs and global competitiveness. Kirk has been a reporter with Wisconsin Public Radio in Madison, Wis.; a writer and producer at WBUR in Boston; a teacher and coach at Nativity Preparatory School in New Bedford, Mass.; a Fenway Park tour guide; and a tourist abroad. Kirk received his B.A. from the College of the Holy Cross and earned his M.S. from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. When he's not reporting or editing stories on campus, you can find him posting K's on the Wall at Fenway. You can follow Kirk on Twitter @KirkCarapezza.
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