Coup de grass

Summary

Vermont General Assembly Democratic and Republican support for Senate Bill S.241 legalizing recreational marijuana evaporated during nearly ten weeks between Senate and House voting. Only Progressives stood firm.

150 House seats and 30 Senate seats are apportioned by population. If House support had equaled Senate support for S.241, about five representatives would have supported it for each senator who did.

In Windsor County, just three representatives per senator supported S.241: 60% of Senate support. Similarly, in Windham County, House support was 50% of Senate support. In Chittenden County, House support was 40% of Senate support.

In Addison, Bennington, Caledonia, Lamoille, Orange and Washington Counties, House support was 20% of Senate support.

In Rutland County, there was no Senate support for S.241.

In Essex and Orleans Counties, there was no House support for S.241.

In Franklin and Grand Isle Counties, there was no legislative support for S.241.

Marijuana advocates did not light up enough Vermonters.

Analysis

Advocated and backed by Gov. Shumlin, who is a former state representative, senator and senate president pro tempore, considered by our legislators during an entire legislative biennium, the first legalization of recreational marijuana by a state legislature garnered just 45 supporters among 180 members of the Vermont General Assembly: 25 percent!

Speaker Smith rightly declared that Senate Bill S.241 had no chance of passage by the House.

Sen. Sears made a parliamentary move to force an S.241 vote by the other chamber.

Now everyone knows the actual degree of current legislative support for legalization of recreational marijuana.

Seventeen Senate supporters of S.241 (Journal of the Senate, Feb. 25, 2016, p. 227):
12 of 18 Democratic senators (67%);
3 of 3 Democratic/Progressive senators (100%);
2 of 8 sitting Republican senators (25%);
17 of 29 sitting senators (59%).

Twenty-eight House supporters of S.241 (Journal of the House, May 3, 2016, pp. 1895-1896):
22 of 85 Democratic representatives (26%);
Nil of 6 independent representatives;
6 of 6 Progressive representatives (100%);
Nil of 53 Republican representatives;
28 of 150 representatives (19%).

Windsor County (4 votes for S.241)
3 representatives per senator: 60% of Senate S.241 support
D: Sen. McCormack
D: Rep. Zagar of Barnard
D: Rep. Bartholomew of Hartland
P: Rep. Haas of Rochester

Windham County (7 votes for S.241)
2.5 representatives per senator: 50% of Senate S.241 support
D: Sen. Balint
D: Sen. White
P: Rep. Burke of Brattleboro
D: Rep. Toleno of Brattleboro
D: Rep. Trieber of Rockingham
D: Rep. Manwaring of Wilmington
D: Rep. Partridge of Windham

Chittenden County (15 votes for S.241)
2 representatives per senator: 40% of Senate S.241 support
D/P: Sen. Ashe
D: Sen. Baruth
D: Sen. Lyons
D: Sen. Sirotkin
P/D: Sen. Zuckerman
D: Rep. Cole of Burlington
D: Rep. Donovan of Burlington
D: Rep. Krowinski of Burlington
D: Rep. McCormack of Burlington
D: Rep. O’Sullivan of Burlington
D: Rep. Rachelson of Burlington
P: Rep. Pearson of Burlington
D: Rep. Sullivan of Burlington
D: Rep. McCullough of Williston
P: Rep. Gonzalez of Winooski

Bennington County (4 votes for S.241)
1 representative per senator: 20% of Senate S.241 support
D: Sen. Campion
D: Sen. Sears
D: Rep. Corcoran of Bennington
D: Rep. Miller of Shaftsbury

Washington County (4 votes for S.241)
1 representative per senator: 20% of Senate S.241 support
D: Sen. Cummings
P/D: Sen. Pollina
D: Rep. Klein of East Montpelier
D: Rep. Patt of Worcester

Addison County (2 votes for S.241)
D: Sen. Ayer
D: Rep. Sharpe of Bristol
1 representative per senator: 20% of Senate S.241 support

Caledonia County (2 votes for S.241)
R: Sen. Benning
D: Rep. Troiano of Stannard
1 representative per senator: 20% of Senate S.241 support

Lamoille County (2 votes for S.241)
1 representative per senator: 20% of Senate S.241 support
R: Sen. Westman
D: Rep. Woodward of Johnson

Orange County (2 votes for S.241)
1 representative per senator: 20% of Senate S.241 support
D: Sen. MacDonald
P: Rep. Davis of Washington

Rutland County (2 votes for S.241)
No Senate S.241 support
D: Rep. Carr of Brandon
P: Rep. Chesnut-Tangerman of Middletown Springs

Essex-Orleans Counties (1 vote for S.241)
Nil representative per senator: 0% of Senate S.241 support
D: Sen. Rodgers

Franklin County (No votes for S.241)

Grand Isle County (No votes for S.241)

Though Sen. White of Putney was principal sponsor of S.241, Reps. Deen and Mrowicki for Dummerston, Putney and Westminster opposed it.