Secretary of State Deborah Markowitz today announced the publication of Municipal Law Basics, an easy-to-read handbook designed to help citizens better understand the basic laws that apply to Vermont s municipalities. Markowitz said, If you have ever wondered who oversees local government, or whether you are allowed to tape meetings of your selectboard, or whether citizens may petition the school board to change a policy, then Municipal Law Basics is a publication for you.Markowitz will be using the handbook during the upcoming Town Officers Education Conference series, sponsored by the UVM Extension Service. I receive many calls from people wanting to know how our cities and towns work, says Markowitz. Some of these callers are municipal officials who want to know where their responsibilities begin and end; some are members of the public who want to get involved and who need to know their rights as citizens or the mechanics of the process of governance. It is my hope that this booklet will be a useful resource for local officials and members of the public to help answer these important questions.Municipal Law Basics is available online at www.sec.state.vt.us/publications.html(link is external), or contact the Secretary of State s Office at 802-828-2363 to order a hard copy.
NZ Herald 28 May 2012Two MPs from opposing parties, National’s Nikki Kaye and the Greens’ Kevin Hague, have joined forces to develop a bill that would legalise adoption by gay couples. The National Party’s northern regional conference in Auckland at the weekend passed a remit in closed session supporting adoption by couples in a civil union. The party’s national conference in July is expected to debate a gay adoption remit, although such a matter would be a conscience vote in Parliament. It is possible that the Government could pick up the work Ms Kaye and Mr Hague are doing on adoption and surrogacy laws as a Government measure, while making some of the controversial issues a conscience vote. Prime Minister John Key told the Herald yesterday the passage of the remit reflected the changing face of the National Party.….The two MPs are drafting legislation to amend the Care of Children Bill 2004 based on a previous Law Commission report that looked at guardianship and adoption. The measure should be ready in a few months, Ms Kaye said, and would be a private member’s bill in her name or Mr Hague’s. It was a complex piece of work and there would be about 40 policy decisions. Some would be controversial, including the age of adoption, adoption by same-sex couples, adoption by single people, Maori adoption practices and issues relating to surrogacy. Labour list MP Jacinda Ardern has a bill in the private members’ bill ballot that would require the Law Commission to rewrite the law to allow gay couples to adopt.http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10808932Gay adoptions not a priority – PMNZ Herald 28 May 2012Prime Minister John Key said it wasn’t a top priority for the Government to promote a Bill legalising adoption by gay couples. Mr Key said he would vote for any Bill to progress to the Select Committee stage but would not confirm if he would vote for the bill to move further. “My own personal opinion is the issue of gay adoption is not hugely significant issue and it’s not because it doesn’t matter to those couples who might want to adopt children, but the truth is less than 200 non-family adoptions take place in New Zealand at the moment.” He said in the current economic climate it was not a priority for the Government.http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10809120