Public Policy

Legislative Wrap: Child protection reforms topped criminal justice agenda

Senate Judiciary

-+* The House and Senate judiciary committees banned revenge porn, passed a new law that prevents certain criminals from purchasing guns and tightened sex offender policies. Plenty is left on the to-do list for the second half of the biennium.

Vermont Gas-owned wetland allegedly altered by former owner

The wetland in Colchester owned by Vermont Gas.

-+*Agency of Natural Resources investigating alleged dumping of clay soil and tree stumps by excavation company into wetland Vermont Gs had purchased to mitigate for wetlands lost during Addison pipeline construction.

Agency of Education completes educator equity plan

Amy Fowler, deputy secretary of the Vermont Agency of Education, speaks during the Legislative session to the House Education Committee about educator equity in Vermont. Photo by Amy Ash Nixon/VTDigger

-+*Survey looks at the impact of less-experienced teachers in high-poverty areas of Vermont.

Vermont joins international climate change pact

NYC Climate march, Sept. 21, 2014. Photo by Don Hooper

-+*Vermont joined 11 other states, cities and provinces Thursday to make an nonbinding commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent to 95 percent of 1990 levels by 2050.

Obama nominates Eric Miller as U.S. Attorney

-+*Burlington attorney Eric Miller has received the president’s backing to be Vermont’s next U.S. Attorney. President Barack Obama nominated Miller on Thursday. Obama described the attorney’s career as “distinguished and impressive” in a statement. “I am confident that, as a U.S. Attorney, he will be relentless in his pursuit of justice and serve the people […]

SCOV Law Blog: An appeal for bail

Gavel

-+*Three justices of the Supreme Court consider whether to affirm a lower court’s ruling to hold without bail a man accused of felony aggrevated domestic assault.

Website ranks Vermont colleges among 100 most affordable in U.S.

Johnson State College is No. 61 on a list of most affordable small colleges. Courtesy photo

-+*The 100 most affordable small colleges in the country includes all three of the Vermont State College system’s 4-year institutions: Castleton, Johnson and Lyndon.

Following Uber arrest, Burlington to bulk up taxi laws

Burlington

-+*Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger called for the city’s police department to step up regulations for 90 days, and then produce recommendations following that on how the city can improve taxi safety, after an Uber driver was arrested in connection with a sexual assault.

Legislative Wrap: Water quality law gets mixed review from environmentalists

Only three young swimmers were using the St. Albans town beach on a sunny July  Friday. The beach used to be a state park, but was abandoned in the 1970s because of water pollution. The town took over the park but algae blooms and  weed growth continue to discourage swimmers. "Eeeew, I just stepped right in seaweed," Jack Messier (in red shirt), 10, of Jeffersonville, exclaims to his friends Bryce (left), 10, and Reed 7, Conger. Photo by Candace Page.

-+*The Agency of Agriculture still has the discretion to enforce water pollution laws, which is a fundamental concern for environmental groups that say the agency has been understaffed or unwilling to take action.

Vermont’s prison population at its lowest in over a decade

Creative Commons photo

-+*A population count this week showed the number of Vermonters in correctional facilities dropped to 1,892 – about 350 fewer inmates than there were at state’s peak in 2010.

Legislative Wrap: Education reform dominates session

Students

-+*Lawmakers spent much of the session attempting to address voter concerns over declining public school enrollment and rising education property taxes. The results are mixed.

Mental Health Commissioner Paul Dupre to step down next month

-+*Department of Mental Health Commissioner Paul Dupre is stepping down June 12, he said Wednesday. A spokesman for Gov. Peter Shumlin said Agency of Human Services Secretary Hal Cohen is in the process of interviewing candidates to replace the outgoing commissioner. Cohen said Wednesday that over the past few months he’s been “putting out some […]

Shumlin signs physician-assisted suicide bill with Maggie Lake’s family

Gov. Peter Shumlin signs the updated physician-assisted suicide bill at a store owned by Katy Lesser, the sister of Maggie Lake, who used a lethal prescription to end a long battle with cancer earlier this year. Photo by Erin Mansfield/VTDigger

-+*SOUTH BURLINGTON — Gov. Peter Shumlin signed into law Wednesday a bill that makes permanent a series of protections in the state’s physician-assisted suicide law. Physician-assisted suicide passed the Legislature in 2013 and became Act 39, but the procedural requirements and additional safeguards in the bill were set to sunset in 2016 without legislative action. […]

Shumlin touts dual enrollment program for high school students

Jeb Spaulding (left), chancellor of the Vermont State Colleges, and Gov. Peter Shumlin speak at a news conference on dual enrollment. Photo by Erin Mansfield/VTDigger

-+*Education leaders joined the governor in encouraging students to take advantage of state program that lets high school students take college courses for free.

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