Vermont Senate Committee Rejects Roadside Saliva Test Bill

The Vermont Senate Judiciary Committee voted 4-1 against a bill to allow law enforcement officers to use a roadside saliva test to test drivers for cannabis impairment, the Burlington Free Press reports. Sen. Joe Benning, a Republican member of the committee and criminal defense attorney, said he opposed the measure because the test doesn’t prove whether a driver is “actually under the influence.”

The bill was approved by the House in March and is backed by Gov. Phil Scott and Commissioner of Public Safety Tom Anderson. In a joint statement with Vermont Association of Chiefs of Police President Jennifer Morrison and Vermont Sheriffs’ Association President William Bohnyak, Anderson called the committee’s decision “a loss for all Vermonters and inconsistent with a commitment to highway safety.”

“This bill is an important part of the state’s highway safety strategy, and its passage would ensure Vermont has a mechanism to effectively remove impaired drivers from our roadways and hold them accountable.” – Anderson, Morrison, and Bohnyak in the joint statement.

The measure was opposed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Vermont. The organization’s policy director, Chloé White, previously told the House Transportation Committee that the bill was “much more invasive of privacy and bodily integrity than a breathing test.”

Vermont’s legalization law takes effect July 1.

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