- Associated Press - Friday, May 6, 2016

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - The Latest on Vermont Legislature (all times local):

2:30 p.m.

Budget negotiators have signed off on their agreement on a state budget for the coming fiscal year, a clear sign that they’re on course to adjourn their 2015-2016 session this weekend.

As of Friday afternoon, House Appropriations Committee was being briefed on a budget that spends nearly $2.5 billion in state funds, about 3 percent above the current fiscal year.

The House and Senate were still at odds on a bill on renewable energy siting, with the main sticking point being what standards the Public Service Board should set for sound from wind power installations.

Also still unresolved is a bill affecting property tax rates for the coming year.

Lawmakers say they could stay into Friday night and likely finish up early Saturday, or go home Friday and finish up Saturday afternoon.

12 p.m.

The last vestige of hope for marijuana legalization advocates has fallen by the wayside at the Vermont Statehouse.

The Senate has sent a miscellaneous crime bill back to the House after removing a provision calling for a commission to study legalization.

The Senate’s chief legalization supporter, Judiciary Committee Chairman Richard Sears, has expressed frustration at the House’s unwillingness to liberalize Vermont’s marijuana laws, and pushed to remove all marijuana-related provisions from the legislation.

The upshot is no legalization, no nonbinding referendum of voters to see if they support it, no expansion of Vermont’s decriminalization laws and no commission to study those things.

Lawmakers are set to adjourn for the year on Saturday.



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