Senate Approves Bioterrorism Bill

04/12/02 12:00AM



(Host) The Vermont Senate has strongly approved legislation that makes it a crime to use weapons of mass destruction in an act of terrorism in the state. The legislation is a scaled down version of the original bill which called for additional penalties for crimes that were motivated by terrorism. The Vermont Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union objected to that section of the bill and the Senate Judiciary Committee decided to drop it from the legislation.

Dick Sears, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, says it is still very important to pass the remaining portions of the bill:

(Sears) "The section that we're dealing with, which is weapons of mass destruction, which is your basic bioterrorism issues. I think everyone from the ACLU to the strongest law enforcement advocate thinks it's needed and one of the things it does is it treats bioterrorism similarly to gunshot wounds, in terms of reporting for pharmacists and doctors and the Health Department. We need that information to make sure we don't have something like that happening in Vermont."

(Host) The measure is expected to come up for final approval in the Senate on Tuesday. Then, it will be considered by the House Judiciary Committee.
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