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MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Vermont Senate negotiators dropped an amendment to bar illegal immigrants from coverage under a new state health care program, delivering a victory Monday evening to human rights activists who had rallied repeatedly at the Statehouse to demand the change.

Instead, the three senators serving on a House-Senate conference committee suggested studying the issues surrounding providing health care to an estimated 1,500 to 2,500 undocumented farmworkers in the state, as well as others in Vermont illegally. Their House counterparts readily agreed to the proposal.

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