Cara Cheyette

The Reproductive Liberty Amendment, as seen through the eyes of a lawyer

The Reproductive Liberty Amendment, as seen through the eyes of a lawyer

To understand why objections to Proposal 5/Article 22 are unfounded, one has to delve into some foundational principles of our legal system. These include the question of how statutory rights differ from constitutional rights and how state laws differ from federal laws.

I recently heard some of the objections to Proposal 5/Article 22. If it passes in November, this ballot measure will amend the Vermont Constitution to explicitly protect reproductive freedom, which necessarily includes abortion.

Here's my attempt to respond to those objections, based on my professional experience studying and practicing law and informed by my personal experience wrestling with the weight of that freedom after two contraception failures, a topic I hope to tackle in another piece.

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Process and accountability

A lawyer representing 41 Halifax residents explains why they sued their town — and why they voluntarily dismissed the suit

In August, 41 Halifax residents sued their town concerning its handling of the resignation of a Selectboard member. Last week, they voluntarily dismissed their complaint. This story of “Resignationgate” - why the plaintiffs sued and why they dismissed their suit - can't be told without first telling the story...

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The myth of the meddlesome trust-fund babies

In Halifax, a heartfelt philosophical battle rages over whether to scrap the town’s zoning bylaws, culminating in a vote on Aug. 9. More than ever, these guidelines are needed to protect the property values of those who need it the most.

I've spent months trying to report about the intertwined policies, politics, and passions of the current land use debate in Halifax in advance of the Aug. 9 vote (by Australian ballot) of whether to repeal the town's zoning bylaw in its entirety. The vote is the result of a...

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Changes could be coming to Whitingham Senior Meals

A restive crowd of 70 people recently filled the Whitingham Municipal Center in the middle of the day, in the middle of the week. For most of them, it was just a normal Thursday when, for a voluntary contribution of around $3, they drove to Jacksonville to share a nutritious, home-cooked meal with family, friends, and friends who have become like family. But on this particular afternoon, their numbers had swelled. After 19 years of preparing and serving a sit...

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Selectboard still grappling with dog issue

On June 7, the Halifax Selectboard threw up their collective hands in frustration about the ongoing, unresolved issue of Shilo the dog. Shilo was the subject of public meetings and public debate starting in mid-April after he bit a local man. It was the second time this year that the dog had come to the town's attention. In January, he bit a DHL driver who delivered a package to the home. During the course of that investigation, Andy Rice, the...

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Hearing to discuss repeal of zoning regs set for June 21

On June 21, 2016, the Halifax Selectboard will hold a public hearing on whether to repeal all zoning. This is the final step before the issue is put to a vote at a special town meeting sometime later this summer. The process began with a public petition that was circulated before the March 1 Town Meeting Day. The petition, which was ultimately submitted to the Selectboard by Wayne Courser, garnered roughly 125 signatures. A copy of the petition is available...

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Board continues to grapple with disputes related to dog attacks

At a specially noticed public meeting of the Selectboard May 9, officials returned to the question of Shilo, a dog who has bitten two people this year and whose fate has been the subject of intense debate. In a shift in the town's position on the matter, town counsel Bob Fisher suggested the town work to come to an agreement with the dog's owner, Katie Bak - who strongly opposes killing Shilo and has proposed fencing him in instead -

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Deerfield Valley Rescue briefs Selectboard on service needs

Representatives from Deerfield Valley Rescue (DVR) gave an update at the April 19 Selectboard meeting. DVR Business Administrator Heidi Taylor opened her presentation by thanking the Halifax Volunteer Fire Department and Halifax EMS. Halifax is a significant distance from DVR's base in Wilmington. “We couldn't make it work,” she said, without those partners. Then she ran the numbers. On the service side, she said that of DVR's 884 calls in 2015, 41 were to Halifax; of the 170 subscription forms...

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