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Local legislators discuss key bills, Brian Smith not seeking reelection

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NEWPORT — At the last legislative breakfast of the 2024 session, held at the Eastside Restaurant on Monday, local legislators discussed various bills and honored Senator Bobby Starr for his 46 years of service in the Legislature.

House Representative Brian Smith of Derby announced that he would not seek reelection after serving four terms. Smith expressed gratitude to his constituents and friends in Derby for their support but felt that the recent legislative session was “a waste of a lot of money.”

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Bills discussed during the meeting included revisions to Act 250, the legalization of psychedelic drugs for therapy, efforts to subsidize programs through funds from fossil fuel companies, a library bill allowing 12-year-olds to borrow any book without parental notification, and a pay raise for legislators.

Senator Bobby Starr, representing the Orleans district and chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, discussed his committee’s work, including bills targeting pesticide use and farmers’ right to repair their equipment. The meeting concluded with a ceremony honoring Senator Starr’s 46 years of service, which included a slideshow of images from his career and the presentation of a plaque.

Other legislators in attendance included Senator Russ Ingalls, who discussed water quality initiatives in Newport; House Representative Mike Marcotte, who spoke about bills related to workforce development coordination and data privacy protection; Representative Mark Higley, who mentioned funding for the Salisbury fish hatchery and tax increases; Representative Woodman Page, who discussed the state’s $8.6 billion budget; Representative Larry Labor, who commented on the housing and opioid crises; and Representative Katherine Sims, who reflected on the challenging year and the passage of various bills.

The meeting concluded with Senator Starr’s retirement ceremony, where his colleagues praised his unique personality, legislative skills, and lasting legacy in the State House.

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