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The Vermont House on Thurdsay passed an amended bill that would allow the confiscation of firearms from defendants cited in emergency restraining orders.

The vote on H 133 was on a ” strike-all” amendment to the bill. It stipulates that upon “a finding that there is an immediate danger of further abuse,” a judge may order the plaintiff “to immediately relinquish ... all firearms that are in the defendant’s possession, ownership, or control, and to refrain from acquiring or possessing any firearms while the order is in effect.”

Proponents said the measure codifies actions that judges are allowed to take when addressing an emergency protective order. Opponents of the bill said it did not offer enough due process to plaintiffs facing being disarmed.

The measure passed 101-41 on a roll-call vote.

In a busy session, the House picked up where the state Senate left off Wednesday in rushing through language allowing the state to continue paying extended federal COVID-19 unemployment funds.

As the Senate did a day earlier, the House suspended its rules to consider and pass S. 110. The bill allows unemployment claimants collecting Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits retroactive to Jan. 1.

The bill prevents the state Department of Labor from having to process claims manually, and from tapping into the Unemployment Trust Fund, presently at $217 million.

Also passing on Thursday was a bill prohibiting defendants from using knowledge or perceived knowledge of another person’s sexual orientation or gender identity to justify use of force against another person. That bill passed 144-1, with only Rep. Rodney Graham, R-Orange 1, voting no.

Greg Sukiennik covers Vermont government and politics for New England Newspapers. Reach him at

Greg Sukiennik has worked at all three Vermont News & Media newspapers and was their managing editor from 2017-19. He previously worked for, for the AP in Boston, and at The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, Mass.