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Vermont Legislature Passes 'Domestic Terrorism' Bill

The Vermont Legislature has approved a bill making it illegal to take "substantial steps" to threaten to kill or kidnap groups of people, legislation aimed at closing a loophole exposed when the state Supreme Court ruled a man charged with planning a school shooting in Fair Haven did not go far enough for it to be considered a crime.
Republican Governor Phil Scott has not indicated whether he will sign the bill given final approval Monday, but he had urged lawmakers to pass such a law after the most serious charges were dismissed against Poultney teenager Jack Sawyer.

Vermont Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union policy director Chloe White said Wednesday that the Legislature may have moved too fast without considering potential limitations of First Amendment rights.

The bill defines "substantial steps" as any conduct that corroborates a person's intent to murder multiple people or threaten a civilian population with mass destruction, mass killings or kidnappings.

Those convicted under the proposed law could face a maximum of 20 years in prison.

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