By Jason McLure
(Reuters) – Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin signed a bill Thursday that made the state the 17th in the United States to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana.
Under the law, possession of less than 1 ounce of marijuana (28.3 grams) would be treated as a civil penalty with fines akin to a traffic ticket. Previously, possession of up to two ounces (56.6 grams) of pot was a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail for a first offense and up to two years in jail for later offenses.
By Jason McLure
(Reuters) – Vermont on Monday became the fourth U.S. state to end legal penalties for doctors who prescribe medication to terminally ill patients seeking to end their own lives.
The law, which includes a number of safeguards over the next three years as the state adapts, marked the first time a U.S. state has used the legislative process to make assisted suicide legal. Oregon and Washington have similar laws passed through ballot measures and a Montana court authorized the practice in 2009.
LITTLETON, New Hampshire (Reuters) – In December James Cleaveland made an unusual New Year’s resolution: to do all he could to keep police in the city of Keene, New Hampshire, from issuing parking tickets.
Cleaveland and a group of friends took to the streets with pocketfuls of change and began shadowing the city’s three parking enforcement officers, stuffing coins in expired meters before they could issue $5 tickets.
LITTLETON, New Hampshire (Reuters) – A 45-year-old Greek citizen who fled the United States more than two decades ago, the day before he was convicted of murdering his 2-year-old stepson, has been retried in his home country and sentenced to 18 years in a Greek jail, U.S. law enforcement officials said on Friday.
The conviction and sentencing of the man, Steven Kamberidis, was the result of years of negotiation between the Federal Bureau of Investigation — which knew the man was in Greece — and Greek authorities, FBI officials said.
LITTLETON, New Hampshire (Reuters) – A New Hampshire state representative apologized on Wednesday for using “vagina” as a synonym for “woman” in a mass email to lawmakers as part of a gun-law debate.
Representative Peter Hansen was responding to fellow Republican Representative Steve Vaillancourt, who had urged repeal of the state’s Stand Your Ground law. The 2011 law allows use of deadly force even if people could safely retreat from a threatening situation.
LITTLETON, New Hampshire (Reuters) – A New Hampshire jury on Tuesday found Exxon Mobil Corp liable for $236.4 million in a civil lawsuit that charged the oil company had polluted groundwater in the state with a gasoline additive used to reduce smog in the 1970s and 1980s.
Following a three-month trial, jurors deliberated less than two hours before finding that the world’s largest publicly traded oil company acted negligently in contaminating the groundwater with the additive MTBE, said Jessica Grant, a lawyer who represented the state.
LITTLETON, New Hampshire (Reuters) – New Hampshire’s Democrat-controlled House of Representatives narrowly voted on Wednesday to repeal a controversial 2011 law that expanded the rights of citizens to use deadly force rather than retreat when they felt threatened.
The National Rifle Association and gun rights supporters had campaigned to defeat the bill repealing the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law, arguing the change would embolden criminals and lead to greater violence against women.
LITTLETON, New Hampshire (Reuters) – The family of a New Hampshire teenager who was assaulted and forcibly tattooed on the buttocks by four older students during school hours hope to reach a settlement with the school district, their lawyer said on Thursday.
Michael and Tammy Austin had sought unspecified damages from the district in Concord, New Hampshire, which they say failed to provide a safe environment for their son, who had been bullied leading up to the May 2010 incident.
CONCORD, New Hampshire (Reuters) – A bill that would have required New Hampshire school districts to vote on whether to allow teachers and other employees to carry concealed firearms on school property was defeated in a rare setback for the gun lobby in the New England state.
Under the proposed law, individual districts would have been required to decide whether to allow school employees who are licensed to carry a concealed weapon to do so on campus.
LITTLETON, New Hampshire (Reuters) – New England’s once mighty fishing industry suffered a blow on Wednesday after a council voted to cut cod fishing quotas by more than 50 percent this year amidst sharply declining North Atlantic stocks of the bottom-feeder.
At a meeting in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, the New England Fishery Management Council voted to slash the legal harvest of cod in the Gulf of Maine by 77 percent to 1,550 metric tons for the fishing season beginning May 1, said Pat Fiorelli, a spokeswoman for the council.