One of the things I love about chairing Senate Government Operations is that the subject matter is very diverse - municipal issues, elections, the structure of government, regulation of the professions, and just about anything else. This last week the Senate voted on a bill, S.66, that addresses the needs of the deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing. It was one of the many diverse issues before our committee.
While many realize that is has been an issue in Vermont for a long time, the closure of Austine School and the Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing brought it to the forefront. Over the past few weeks, our committee took testimony from state agencies, educators, spokespeople for the Deaf community, parents of deaf children and members of the Deaf community.
The Vermont Rail Action Network reported in their newsletter Thursday that there’s been some movement in the effort to bring back the train from Vermont to Montreal. According to Christopher Parker, executive director of VRAN, Vermont was granted a “pre-clearance customs agreement” that, if approved, will help to ensure that customs delays don’t happen at the border. Given that there is currently no train, this recent development might seem to be putting the cart before the horse, but perhaps it’s just a sign of things to come.
According to Parker, Senator Leahy was instrumental in making this happen, as he serves on both the Judiciary Committee (which has jurisdiction over Customs & Border Patrol) and the Homeland Security Subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee. Obtaining this pre-clearance agreement required that the Secretary of Homeland Security as well as the Canadian Minister of Public Safety meet in Washington to sign it. It’s not a done deal though — both the US Congress and the Canadian Parliament have to approve it before it comes into effect.
This week the Judiciary Committee on which I serve passed out a couple bills but one was major, had a lot of emotion and controversy and misinformation, took a lot of time and in the end I believe we had a good bill. At the beginning of the session, S.31 was introduced. Rather than amend and pass it, the decision of Chair Sears was to create a committee bill that contained essential parts of the bill. There are three main components.
On behalf of both the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation and Lt. Governor Phil Scott, we wish to invite you to attend the Southern Vermont Regional Economic Pitch Night. The event will be held at Vernon Elementary School in Vernon from 4pm-6pm on Monday, March 9th.
Southeastern Vermont has done extensive analyzing of and strategic planning for growing the Windham Regional economy through development of our Federally approved Comprehensive Economic Development Strategies. Now you are also invited to present ideas to legislators on how to move the Vermont State economy forward. Presentations will be limited to 5 minutes per person. This is an opportunity to provide positive ideas for improving Vermont's economy, and hopefully encourage new legislation.
Here is Governor Shumlin's address, 2015:
Mr. President, Mr. Speaker, members of the General Assembly, distinguished guests, and fellow Vermonters:
Thank you for the tremendous honor and opportunity to serve again as Governor. As a Vermonter who grew up, raised my daughters, and built two businesses here, it is the greatest privilege of my life to give back to the state that has given me so much. I love serving as Governor because I love Vermont.
With Legislative Session Approaching, Broad Statewide Coalition Forms to Support Regulating Marijuana Like Alcohol in Vermont
Local advocates and organization leaders will hold a news conference in the Vermont State House at 11 a.m. ET on Tuesday — the day before the general assembly convenes — to launch the Vermont Coalition to Regulate Marijuana
MONTPELIER — With the Vermont General Assembly set to convene this week, a group of citizens, organizations, and businesses from around the state is officially launching a coalition to support legislation that would end marijuana prohibition in Vermont and replace it with a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol.
Brattleboro. Vermont Partnership for Fairness and Diversity has revised its vision, mission, and position statements according to Dr. Ann-Marie White, president of the organization’s board of directors.
“We refined our vision, mission, and position statements after listening closely to the attendees at our 3rd Annual Vermont Vision for a Multicultural Future Conference held in early November,” states White. The participant-driven conference celebrated the completion of the first decade of Vermont Partnership’s four-decade in length Vermont Vision for a Multicultural Future Initiative. Formerly known as Facing Change: The Changing Face of Vermont, the initiative prepares the state, its leaders, and residents for an increasingly multi-racial/ethnic/lingual/cultural/abled landscape.
In an effort to revitalize the Tenney property, on Marble Hill Road in Fayston, as a working farm and forest in the Mad River Valley, the Vermont Land Trust has contracted with Deconstruction Works to remove one of two farmhouses located on the property.
Deconstruction Works is a team of deconstructionists, specialized in the salvage and repurposing of the built environment. The experienced team will carefully dismantle, salvage and repurpose components of the red farmhouse located at the top of Marble Hill Road. This undertaking is driven by the significant disrepair of the building and the financial burden that would be transferred to the next farm owner if it were left on the site.
State transportation records show 379 crashes resulting from electronic distracted driving from 2009 through 2013. There was one fatality.
Vermont became the 13th state to bar all drivers from handheld cell phone use.
Vermont Law S.314 Starts October 1, 2014
>All uses of handheld devices banned while driving (cellphones, MP3 players, iPods, etc.)
>Drivers under 18 banned from using “all handheld and hands-free devices” while driving
Brattleboro Citizens’ Breakfast
All About Transportation
Representative Mollie S. Burke
Transportation issues from recent sessions of the General Assembly, along with general transportation issues, current and future, related to safety, funding, and emissions as they impact local, state, and federal governments.
BURLINGTON, Vt., June 20 – Vermont religious leaders joined U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today to address the moral implications of extreme wealth and income inequality.
Bishop Thomas Ely, the Rev. Dr. Lynn Bujnak, Monsignor Roland Rivard and Rabbi Joshua Chasan joined Sanders to emphasize that increasing wealth and income inequality in the United States is one of the great moral issues of our time and is undermining the fabric of our nation.
On Thursday, July 10, 2014, the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD) and the Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA) will hold a public hearing from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., in the Select Board Meeting Room, Brattleboro Municipal Center, 230 Main Street, Brattleboro.
The purpose of the public meeting is to take public comment on utilizing a portion of the $10 million made available through the MOU between the State of Vermont and Entergy Vermont Yankee to establish a Windham County Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) administered by VEDA. The RLF would be part of the Windham County Economic Development Program under development by ACCD to implement the MOU.
Brattleboro Citizens' Breakfast Invitation
All about Transportation in VT
The "Brattleboro Citizens' Breakfast" will take place on Friday, June 27, 2014 at the Gibson Aiken Center, downstairs, hosted by Senior Meals. Doors open at 7:30am.
State Representative Mollie Burke (Brattleboro District 2), member of the Vermont House Transportation Committee will speak on transportation issues from recent sessions of the General Assembly, along with general transportation issues, current and future, related to safety, funding, and emissions as they impact local, state, and federal governments.
MIDDLESEX – June 9, 2014 -- Surrounded by supporters at the locally owned Red Hen Bakery, Gov. Peter Shumlin today signed into law legislation phasing in an increase in the state’s minimum wage from the current $8.73 per hour to $10.50 per hour by 2018.
Gov. Shumlin and other New England Governors appeared with President Obama earlier this year in Connecticut to call for a national increase in the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10. However, noting Congressional inaction on that proposal, Gov. Shumlin said, “States like Vermont realize that working people can’t support their families on the current minimum wage, and we’re moving ahead to do the right thing on our own.”
Barring any technical problems that might pop up during vetting of the bill by his staff (which is a common disclaimer with any bill that hits his desk), it was reported by his staff that Governor Peter Shumlin intends to sign the bill into law.