Criminal threatening bill makes legislators ‘more equal’ than fellow citizens, lawmaker warns

By Guy Page

S.265, the criminal threatening bill, passed the Vermont House on Tuesday, but not without verbal pushback from two Republican lawmakers.

The bill doubles the maximum prison sentence from one year to two years for criminal threatening if the threatened person is a political candidate, elected official, or government employee (among other protected categories). It passed 89-32.

state of Vermont

State Reps. Pattie McCoy and Matt Walker

Due to changes in the House version, it now goes back to the Senate for reconciliation. It was sponsored by senators concerned about possible aggression against lawmakers and other public officials.

“I believe in and support the good intentions of this bill but I cannot vote to make myself more equal – even if just a little more equal – than my neighbors,” Rep. Matthew Walker (R-Swanton) said in explanation of his ‘no’ vote.

In George Orwell’s classic political satire Animal Farm, politically powerful farm animals explain their claim to special privileges by telling the other barnyard animals, “All animals are equal – but some are more equal than others.”

Rep. Pattie McCoy (R-Poultney) explained her no vote as follows: “A carve out to somehow hold ourselves above an existing law that already protects everyone, is something I cannot support.”

At least one legislator spoke in support of added protections for lawmakers. Rep. Barbara Rachelson of Burlington said: “Threats against State employees, elected officials, election workers, and others have increased in Vermont. These threats go against Vermont values and result in keeping people from serving or working, or drive people to stop serving or working. We’ve sadly already seen that happen right here in our Chamber. I voted yes to strongly send a message that this behavior is not okay and will not be tolerated.”

Guy Page is publisher of the Vermont Daily Chronicle. Reprinted with permission.

Image courtesy of state of Vermont

8 thoughts on “Criminal threatening bill makes legislators ‘more equal’ than fellow citizens, lawmaker warns

  1. How do they define a ‘threat.” Is it questioning what is being done in their so-called thinking of what is a public good? I think this is so open ended and vague that its unconstitutional. And that is a living threat to all decent people.

  2. Barbara Rachelson stated, “These threats go against Vermont values and result in keeping people from serving or working, or drive people to stop serving or working “. Some of those “Vermont values” may not be as admirable as one might think. Consider just a few:
    – Advocating the murder of the unborn by proposing an amendment to deem it a “right” under the state Constitution. (Re; Prop 5)
    -Promoting teaching matters of sex, gender identification, sexual orientation, racism, and other controversial issues with little or no regard given to parents’ stances on those matters.
    -Allowing the use of tax dollars as a funding source for items that do not benefit the state’s citizens.
    (Re :Ukraine aid)
    -Infringment on or denial of Constitutional rights with impunity.
    (Re; Covid restrictions, S.265, S.4, etc,)
    Are these examples of the “values” to which Barbara Rachelson is referring? If so, they are a sad testimony to what the state stands for.
    With regard to S.265, threats only become threats when they are perceived as such. S.265 would give a certain group of people carte blanche to impugn anyone who would strongly disagree with them or express dissatisfaction with their performance. This is dangerous legislation and a threat to basic freedoms. If it reaches the Governor’s desk it should vetoed without hesitation.

  3. All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others. – George Orwell


  4. Leftist cowards are just like their Nazi counterparts, they need to have
    special laws to protect them and Geheime Staatspolizei to protect them from
    the citizens their making unwanted laws against. If It walks like a nazi, talks
    like a nazi, act’s like a nazi it pretty apt to be a nazi. Vote them out or
    submit to their rule forever…the Dem/Prog/Socialist party is not your friend and
    hates on your independence..

  5. If the folks in our Legislature were doing things that are good for the citizen of our State then they probably would not get bad comments directed toward themselves.
    The rubber stamp liberals with a silver spoon have done a great deal of damage to my State, I may have to leave and then will they be willing to pay for their bright ideas themselves?

  6. Donald Trump was continually attacked even by members of the Republican party.

    We even had rinos in the state of Vermont supporting our turncoat governor Phil Scott …signing on to have Trump removed early from office over false allegations….

    I’m debating on who to support and vote for in the upcoming election…

    I just will not in good consciencesupport rinos in the state of Vermont…

    We are being destroyed by our own party.

    Vermonters wake up….

    It’s like Senator John Kennedy says…”You can’t clear up the creek untill you get all the pigs out of the water”

    Vermont needs a good cleansing!

  7. We all know Liberals can’t handle the truth, so when you question their nonsense,
    whoops, it’s a threat…………and we’ll put you in jail……….

    If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen, spineless politicians maybe they
    need to go back to their home state, they may live in the state but they really aren’t
    true Vermonters !!

    How about lower taxes and a balanced budget, then we may take you seriously

  8. What ever happened to equal protection under the law, oh that right Marxist’s need more protection under the law, they are so special.

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