BURLINGTON, Vt. – The Burlington police department unilaterally decided to sever ties with a U.S. Department of Defense program that allows law enforcement agencies to procure surplus military equipment, freeing the department from one significant form of federal influence and control.Details
MONTPELIER, Vt. (May 1, 2015) – A bill taking an important first step against federal programs militarizing local police was passed by the Vermont state House last week.Details
MONTPELIER, Vt. (Mar 22, 2015) – A bill that would put strict limitations on tracking and surveillance through the use of automated license plate reader systems (ALPRs) and unmanned aerial vehicles (drones), and would impact some federal programs, passed unanimously through two Vermont state Senate committees last week.Details
A bill introduced in Vermont would authorize marijuana to be taxed and regulated similar to alcohol, legalizing the plant, and effectively nullifying the federal prohibition on the same.Details
MONTPELIER, Vt. (Mar 1, 2015) – Last week, a Vermont House committee held a hearing on a bill that would turn off resources to federal spying programs, including the NSA.Details
Vermont H.204 would deny “material support or resources” to the NSA and all federal illegal spying operations. It must pass successfully through the House Committee on Judiciary before it can receive a full vote in the state senate.Details
MONTPELIER, Vt. (Feb 16, 2015) – A bill filed in the Vermont House last week represents a transpartisan effort taking on the surveillance state. The legislation would not only support efforts to turn off NSA’s water in Utah, but would have practical effects on federal surveillance programs if passed.Details
Vermont Senate Bill 18 (S.18) would severely restrict government use of drones in the state of Vermont. It has been referred to the Senate Committee on Judiciary where it must pass successfully before it can receive a vote from the whole senate. PLEASE TAKE THE FOLLOWING ACTIONS – It doesn’t matter where you live in the…Details
A bill under consideration this year in the Vermont State Senate would restrict the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) by government officials, banning their use in surveillance by law enforcement without a warrant based on probable cause.Details
Ever since food became easier and more profitable to create by machinery the government has tried to regulate it in some sort of fashion. The first English regulation of such was the Assize of Bread and Ale around the year 1266. In America the first endeavour into regulating food came in 1862 when President Lincoln launched the Department of Agriculture and the Bureau of Chemistry. These two organizations operated in what today we call the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) or the Agriculture Department. Later on in 1906 the Pure Food and Drugs Act was passed and what we now call the Food and Drug Administration was formed. Through these early regulatory adoptions it was aimed to raise the standards in food and their truthfulness in packaging. The nutrition labels that we all now know were mandated in 1990 through the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act (NLEA) and amended by the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) of 2004.
But how far do we go in demanding how manufacturers produce and label their food? Specifically speaking, how far can we go on a federal level? On a state level? Already, we have numerous states with specific laws for food that is imported or exported from that state above and beyond the federal requirements.
This raises a question: should we rely on one-size-fits-all mandates from D.C.? Or would we be better served allowing states to determines the extent of their food labeling?
Considering the way big agribusiness manipulates the federal system, we might want to consider a more decentralized approach.
On March 26th President Obama signed HR 933 – called the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013 – into law to stop the shutdown of the American government. Buried in this bill, we find the Farmer Assurance Provision – aka the “Monsanto Protection Act.” Lawmakers sneaked in Section 735 giving special privileges to companies that deal with genetically modified organisms (GMO), even allowing them to continue producing crops even if a court finds them harmful – which very well may not entirely be the case. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) said that he will introduce legislation in the Farm Bill of 2013 to repeal the Monsanto Protection Act.Details