Public Policy

Proposal would change environmental permit process

David Mears

Provision would make it more difficult for opponents of certain projects to raise objections during appeal, but aims would to address objections earlier in process.

School boards voice opposition to governance reform bill

Cabot residents speak for and against closing the town's high school at a meeting Monday, March 4, 2013, in the school gym. After lengthy debate, they voted to keep it open. Photo by Alicia Freese.

Districts opposing H.361 send letters to governor, legislature imploring them not to take away their local decision-making powers.

Gun bill wins final approval after emotional speech


Rep. Sam Young shares story of mentally ill brother who shot himself as gun possession bill is passed by the House. Proposal must be reconciled with Senate version.

After auditor’s report, Shumlin, legislative leaders disagree on path forward for exchange

Peter Shumlin Mark Johnson

Gov. Peter Shumlin says decision whether to scrap Vermont Health Connect won’t come until next fall. House Speaker Shap Smith says May 31 deadline is vital for consumer confidence.

SCOV Law Blog: The technicalities of breath alcohol testing machines


In these consolidated cases, defendants appeal the trial court’s denial of their motions to suppress breath alcohol test results obtained by the DataMaster DMT machine.

House OKs gun bill after volatile debate

House lawmakers vote on a gun possession bill Thursday at the Statehouse. Photo by Erin Mansfield/VTDigger

A bill that make it a state crime for felons to possess firearms and require that people with severe mental illness be reported to a no-gun database wins preliminary approval, 79-60.

State report highlights shrinking forests

Michael Snyder

Since 2007, the state has lost about 75,000 acres of forest. Housing development and rural sprawl are mostly to blame.

VT Mayors Coalition urging strong Senate bill on education reform

Miro Weinberger and Thom Lauzon

Top goals for the bill include reducing the number of school districts and controlling rising education costs.

Auditor’s report: No guarantee state can complete Vermont Health Connect

State Auditor Doug Hoffer. Photo by Roger Crowley/for VTDigger

The report shows a management structure in flux, contracts that lack performance metrics or financial penalties, ongoing security shortcomings and an unsustainable reliance on expensive and inefficient manual processes.

Shumlin administration reversal on education reform galvanizes Senate panel

Ann Cummings

An Agency of Education official questioned whether the state could mandate reforms given the fact that local communities have not complied with earlier state mandates around moving transportation contracts and administration and special education services to the supervisory union level.

Senate Natural Resources approves water quality bill

Sen. Mark MacDonald, D-Orange, at a forum Tuesday in Randolph. Photo by Morgan True/VTDigger

Plan raises $10.2 million for a new Clean Water Fund through permit and registration fees and a flat $25 annual tax on all property owners, known as a per parcel fee.

Blue Cross pressures the state to reconcile millions of dollars in unpaid premiums

Don George (center), president and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont, Gov. Peter Shumlin and Nicole Ravlin, of Cabot Hosiery Mills kick off the 2013 Blue Socks for Kids project.

In a letter to the state BCBSVT said it expects that $3 million to $5 million in past due premiums from 2014 “will never be collected,” and the company would be billing VHC at the end of March, although it has not done so.

Gun rights groups cry foul on House Judiciary bill changes

Rep. William Jewett looks over a version of the redistricting map. VTD/Josh Larkin

The committee removed a waiting period for those who lose their right to possess firearms to get them back, but added a stricter standard of proof.

Laws’ release reignites concern about state sex offender statutes, registry

Dick Sears

State law requires sex offender treatment before offenders are released, but the mandate does not apply to a small number who were convicted and imprisoned before the law went into effect.

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