Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan

Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan
VT AG T.J. Donovan/Facebook

Vermont was one of a few states cited by the Georgetown Law Center on Privacy and Technology that allowed the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement and other federal law enforcement agencies access to its Department of Motor Vehicle facial recognition software. That’s according to the New York Times and the Washington Post. In 2017, Vermont’s governor ordered the DMV to stop sharing the information after state Attorney General T.J. Donovan determined the practice violated state law.  In the second part of our interview with Donovan, he explains to WAMC North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley that while the state has suspended sharing biometric data, it still collaborates with federal agencies and law enforcement on a number of issues.

Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan
VT AG T.J. Donovan/Facebook

Reporting by the New York Times and the Washington Post this week review a study by the Georgetown Law Center on Privacy and Technology that assessed how federal law enforcement agencies accessed state motor vehicle facial recognition databases.  Among the states that provided information was Vermont, which provides a driver’s privilege card to undocumented workers in the state.  Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan says his office became aware of the practice in early 2017. After researching, they found it was a violation of state law and Governor Phil Scott ordered the DMV to stop sharing information with federal agencies.  Donovan, a Democrat, tells WAMC North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley that sharing the facial recognition database has been suspended since 2017.

Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan (file)
Pat Bradley/WAMC

This week, a Vermont Superior Court judge upheld the state’s large-capacity gun magazine ban signed into law by Governor Phil Scott in April 2018.  Judge William Cohen declined to dismiss a case the state has brought against defendant Max Misch claiming he was stockpiling weapons and had illegally imported two of the banned magazines into Vermont.  Misch had also argued a grandfather clause violated the state constitution’s Common Benefits Clause.  
Democratic Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan is pleased that the court upheld the constitutionality of the law. He tells WAMC North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley it’s an example of common sense legislation that promotes public safety.

Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The Vermont Attorney General's office says it will not prosecute a state trooper who shot and wounded a suspect who had fired multiple times at police earlier this year.

Pixabay/Public Domain

Vermont has launched a statewide alert system to warn residents of financial scams.

Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan
VT AG T.J. Donovan/Facebook

Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan has issued a new pamphlet for municipalities across the state.  Produced by his office and the state’s Immigration Task Force, the “Guidance to Vermont Cities and Towns Regarding Immigration Enforcement” provides information regarding localities’ “ability to prohibit and restrict certain actions with respect to working with the federal government on enforcing federal immigration law.”  Donovan explains why he felt it was important to provide the information to Vermont’s municipalities.