Shumlin should veto H.533
Editor of the Reformer:
House bill H.533 (An act relating to victim notification) was hijacked by the Senate Judiciary on Tuesday, May 3, introduce a multi page anti-hunting bill reportedly backed by the Humane Society of America.
This Senate amendment, updated further by the House Committee of Conference, was designed to give radical out-of-state lobbying groups (like HSUS and PETA) and radical Vermont anti-hunting groups (like POW and the Vermont League of Cities & Towns) input into the Vermont executive, legislative, judicial branches as well as direct control of law enforcement procedures, and to pay them compensation and expenses to those members chosen to fill these positions.
As other bills that received public input failed to pass this session, the only surefire way to pass legislation that a lobbyist wanted was to eliminate public input. This bill was modified between May 3 and May 6 by two committees, without any public knowledge of the amendment, then to the floor for final vote at 9 p.m.
The altered bill was passed 74 to 67 while the state website showed nothing about the altered bill except the vote. To this day, there is still no PDF of the Senate Amendment, or even the final version on the State of Vermont web page. The only record of what actually happened is in the House and Senate Journals (It's on page 2,820 of the Senate Journal, and page 3263 of the House Journal, if you want to try and find it). This bill change appears deliberately kept from public view.
In fact, the bill change was so secret, the last line of the Senate amendment states: "And that after passage the title of the bill be amended to read: An act relating to victims' rights and animal welfare." After passage, not before.
This bill is dangerous to the legislative process and a threat to hunting, trapping, and fishing in the state of Vermont. This legislative "slight-of-hand" procedural move is dangerous to the liberty of Vermonters. Members of Gun Owners of Vermont and other hunting and sportsmen's groups, along with other citizens who are simply disturbed by this deliberate "under the cover of darkness" legislative maneuver, are asking Governor Shumlin to veto H.533. Vetoing this legislation will go a long way to restoring faith that our legislators cannot simply run wild in Montpelier without public accountability.
Bob DePino, Vice President, Gun Owners of Vermont, Westminster West, May 10