A short form bill was recently introduced into the Vermont House of Representatives that ought to have photographers curious, if not worried. That’s because this particular bill seeks to “make it illegal to [photograph] a person without his or her consent … and distribute it,” essentially outlawing most forms of public photography.
The bill was proposed by House representative Betty Nuovo in February, and just yesterday began making the rounds on Reddit thanks to user ArchersTest910.
As it stands, the wording of the bill leaves little room for interpretation:
This bill proposes to make it illegal to take a photograph of a person without his or her consent, or to modify a photograph of a person without his or her consent, and to distribute it.
Gay-rights advocates scored a major and unprecedented victory at the polls yesterday as voters in Maine, Maryland and Washington approved same-sex marriage. In Minnesota they defeated a proposed constitutional amendment, modeled on federal law, that would have banned same-sex marriage in the state.
With that, nine states—Connecticut, Iowa, Maryland, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, Washington—and the District of Columbia—have solidly approved same-sex marriage. Another 12 states permit ‘domestic partnerships’ or ‘civil unions,’ which provide varying degrees of rights. (The laws in New Jersey, California and Oregon give same-sex couples virtually all the state law rights opposite-sex married couples have.)
We all know Obamacare is Romneycare and Romneycare is Obamacare and that the Bay State has set the standard for everything health reform—from the individual mandate right down to ways to cut its gigantic medical bill. Or at least the media have passed along that narrative. The Wall Street Journal’s recent piece, “Same State, New Stab at Health Care,”was no exception. But it did not quite tell the whole story. The piece focused on what Massachusetts may be doing to reduce medical costs and overlooked what neighboring Vermont is already doing.
Let’s face it. Vermont is easy to dismiss. Its small population, liberal patina, and the fact that it has passed a bill that might lead to single-payer health care down the road make it a health reform outlier, far less muscular than its neighbor to the south. But we’re remiss in treating it as a stepchild when it comes to controlling health care costs. In many ways, it is trailblazer, and the press should recognize it as such.
The Journal’s piece gave the news: Massachusetts legislators unveiled legislation that would propose setting a target for the rate at which the state’s health spending should rise, which the Journal reported “would once again put the state in the forefront of efforts to remake the American health-care system.” The state, the Journal continued, is considered a laboratory, and if it manages to reduce spending, that “initiative too could eventually be imitated elsewhere.” It quoted a reliable observer from the health care cognoscenti, Paul Ginsburg, the head of a Washington think tank, the Center for Health System Change. Ginsburg said no state or initiative of the federal government has implemented such a broad effort. “There will be a lot of attention to what Massachusetts is doing,” Ginsburg told the Journal.
Anya Rader Wallack, who runs Vermont’s Green Mountain Care Board, took issue with that, telling me Ginsburg’s comment was “inaccurate.” “It leads one to believe there’s no other state working on it,” she said. “The introduction of a bill is seen as groundbreaking, when other states are already further ahead in addressing health care cost containment. “Vermont is one such state. The Green Mountain Care Board, created as part of last year’s legislation that put in place a plan for moving to a single-payer health system, “has broad responsibility and a fair amount of regulatory power,” she explained, and one of its tasks is to contain the state’s health care spending.
How is Vermont doing that?
Almost two decades after the National Trust for Historic Preservation put the entire state of Vermont on its list of endangered sites, citing big-box store development as a threat to its signature greenness, towns like this one are sizing up a new interloper: the chain dollar store.
While Wal-Mart has managed to open only four stores in Vermont and Target still has none, more than two dozen Dollar General, Dollar Tree and Family Dollar Stores have cropped up around the state. All three companies are thriving in the bad economy — between them, they have more than 20,000 outlets nationwide, selling everything from pet food and laundry soap to jeans, pool toys and school supplies. Their spread through Vermont, with its famously strict land-use laws, has caught chain-store opponents off guard.
Shawn Cunningham, a resident of rural Chester who is fighting Dollar General’s plan to open a store down the street from the town common, said that since dollar stores tend to be much smaller than big-box stores, they are often not precluded by local zoning rules meant to keep sprawl in check.
“It’s not like you’re bringing in a 100,000-square-foot supercenter,” said Mr. Cunningham, who started a group, Smart Growth Chester, to fight the Dollar General proposal.
Men and women from around the state gathered in Montpelier to fight what’s been called ‘the war on women’. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders let out this battle cry, “we have made significant progress in this country and the message of today is we are not going backwards!”
Senator Sanders told the women of Vermont he’s ready to start a war, but he needs women to man the front lines. “Vermont will be remembered as the state that led this country toward gender equality and the rights of all people, that is our mission and that is a goal in which we will succeed” Sanders said.
Sanders spoke at the women unite rally on the capitol steps Saturday. Every state in the nation held a rally to fight back against what’s been deemed ‘the war on women’ by politicians. Former Governor Madeline Kunin said “I never thought that I would be speaking out in 2012 for the right to have access to contraception.” Kunin thanked Rush Limbaugh, oddly enough, for bringing women to activism. The talk show host infamously called law school student Sandra Fluke a prostitute and a slut for supporting women’s access to contraception. “Rush Limbaugh helped ignite this debate and Sandra Fluke had the courage to fight back” Kunin said. The former governor says Vermonters are lucky because the state enjoys an equal rights mentality — unlike our ‘sisters’ as she calls them in other states. She told the women “we have to speak out not only for us but for them because the future, not only of Vermont, but of this country is at stake.”
Vermont lawmakers are considering eliminating the “philosophical” exemption to the vaccination requirements that usually apply to children attending school and day care in the state. Vermont has one of the highest rates in the country of children who aren’t vaccinated according to the schedule recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and supporters of ending the exemption (which essentially allows parents to opt out of some or all of the recommended vaccinations on behalf of their children) argue that low vaccination rates contributed to an outbreak of pertussis in the state earlier this year.
Vermont Public Radio reports that “the vast majority of parents who choose not to vaccinate cite philosophical opposition.” Twenty states allow an exemption for those who object to immunizations because of personal, moral or other beliefs.
If Vermont were to end the philosophical exemption, it would be a reversal of recent trends — in the last decade, states have tended toward loosening their vaccination requirements, with Texas and Arkansas adding exemptions for personal beliefs, as opposed to religious or medical reasons, in 2003. (Every state except Mississippi and West Virginia allows parents to proclaim a religious reason for not vaccinating a child.) Parents citing nonreligious reasons for the choice not to vaccinate often opt for some vaccinations, but not others, or vaccinate according to a different schedule. Parents with religious beliefs that preclude vaccination are more likely not to vaccinate their children at all.
Studies have estimated that converting manure from the 95 million animal units in the United States would produce renewable energy equal to 8 billion gallons of gasoline, or 1% of the total energy consumption in the nation. Because more and more farmers and communities are interested in generating renewable energy from farm waste, there is a growing need for information on the economic feasibility and sustainability of such programs.
Sandra Manzke paused a moment as an ATV whizzed by her small farm in Wardsboro, Vermont.
With no hot water or electricity, Manzke took stock of her situation Wednesday, three days after the remnants of Hurricane Irene left the town largely marooned.
She had a generator. Her two horses were alive. Eight inches of water in the basement was mostly gone.
“I am lucky,” she told CNN by phone. “There are people with houses in the water. They’ve lost everything.”
Officials in the Green Mountain State said they have reached a dozen communities that were cut off by the storm. They plan to open a makeshift road to Wardsboro, the last of them, on Thursday. Many people in the community of about 900 could not leave their property because of road damage, Manzke said.
Last month, the Vermont Senate passed legislation, approved earlier by the House, that would establish a single payer health care system in the state. The legislation would make Vermont the first state in the nation to, as Gov. Peter Shumlin (D) said, make health care “a right and not a privilege.”
The governor’s office just confirmed for ThinkProgress that Shumlin signed the legislation into law this morning, making the state the first in American history to pass legislation that will establish a single payer health care system to provide care to all citizens. Now that the law is signed, Vermont will spend the next four years setting up the system and preparing it for implementation.
Some wild quotes in this debate-Such as Cris Ericsun advocating for “swimming lanes” in lakes, and a declaration of no abaortions for any reason, “its Gods child”. And from another candidate a promise to never invade New Hampshire should the Vermont National Guard be called home by the Governor. I’m not sure how comprehensive this clip is I’ll be looking to add more as the evening progresses. Watch for updates