by John Herrick vtdigger.org The Senate approved a bill Friday to expand a program that allows ratepayers to generate their own electricity and sell power to utilities. The bill, H.702, expands the state’s net metering program.
by Ayla Yersel Vermont Business Magazine Once again, March is looking like a great month for skiing and riding as a fresh dump of snow is making for ideal conditions. Vermont ski resorts would like to see such snow earlier in the season.
by Anne Galloway vtdigger.org Saturday, March 15, is the last day to sign up for April 1 health coverage through Vermont Health Connect. Individuals who extended coverage through the end of March, must purchase new insurance through the exchange under state law.
The Department of Vermont Health Access has announced that hours for the customer support center have been extended on Saturday.
Keurig Green Mountain, Inc (Keurig) (NASDAQ: GMCR), formerly Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, has announced two new deals with major retail brands Starbucks and Peet's.
Keurig and Starbucks Coffee Company (NASDAQ: SBUX), the global leader in the premium single cup coffee category, announced today amended terms to the companies' existing five-year agreement.
by Anne Galloway vtdigger.org
Governor Peter Shumlin proposed a 5 percent budget increase in January, which included $14 million in new revenues and an array of spending initiatives. As the deadline for the Big Bill in the House approaches, it has become clear that lawmakers have no interest in raising taxes for new spending.
New unemployment claims fell last week, but the impact of recent layoffs at IBM in Essex Junction and Plasan in Bennington over the last few weeks may still have to play out. Weekly claims had decreased for seven consecutive weeks, or every week since the end of 2013 until the recent upturn. For the week of March 8, 2014, there were 915 new, regular benefit claims for Unemployment Insurance in Vermont. This is a decrease of 94 from the previous week's total, and 17 fewer than they were a year ago.
Vermont Housing Finance Agency recently introduced two new programs that will extend affordable home financing to more Vermonters in time for the start of Vermont’s 2014 peak “home buying season.” The arrival of spring has long been a time of heightened home buying activity in Vermont.
by Laura Krantz vtdigger.org Three women have sued the Vermont Department of Corrections alleging they have more seniority but are paid as much as $10,000 less than a male employee who performs the same job.
The suit also alleges the department breeched hiring protocol by hiring an over-qualified employee for a food service job and allowed him to keep an overinflated salary when he transferred to a different job within DOC.
by Morgan True vtdigger.org Representative Cynthia Browning, D-Arlington, isn’t satisfied with Governor Peter Shumlin’s decision to delay the presentation of financing options for single-payer to lawmakers before the end of the legislative session.
by Morgan True vtdigger.org Health care providers and insurers joined Governor Peter Shumlin Wednesday to announce two new programs they hope will contain system-wide costs and improve treatment quality.
“We all know that as we move to the first sensible health care system in America we’ve got to find a way to deliver better quality care for less of a cost increase,” Shumlin told a group of reporters at the Green Mountain Care Board offices in Montpelier.
by Anne Galloway vtdigger.org Burlington area bus drivers are scheduled to go on strike March 17. Members of the drivers’ union, Teamsters Local 597, voted 54-0 on Wednesday to reject the latest offer from the Chittenden County Transit Authority. CCTA has 68 drivers; all are in the union.
by Hilary Niles vtdigger.org
Lawmakers are considering letting Vermonters keep more money they earn from part-time work while they collect unemployment insurance benefits.
House Commerce Chair Bill Botzow, D-Bennington, said Wednesday afternoon that his committee has “great interest” in increasing the “earnings disregard” — the amount of earnings kept out of calculations that set a worker’s unemployment benefits.
Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger has announced his support of Champlain College’s Eagles Landing project, based on the project’s furthering two key Administration goals: repairing the City’s finances and addressing Burlington’s housing shortage. A letter from the Mayor to the City’s Development Review Board follows and a PDF copy of the letter is attached.
Nine Vermont companies have joined a Continuous Energy Improvement partnership with Efficiency Vermont. The first of its kind in the Northeast, the partnership provides participating companies with technical assistance and support to develop a comprehensive approach in energy management to reduce waste and improve energy performance over time.
by John Herrick vtdigger.org Vermont lawmakers passed a committee bill Wednesday that sets a plan to restore Lake Champlain’s water quality and raises some money to back it up. Federal regulators have ordered the state to clean up the lake.
by John Herrick vtdigger.org Rutland Superior Court awarded $1 million in December to landowners challenging the state’s transmission line company after it constructed a radio tower on their mountaintop property in Wells.
Senators Patrick Leahy (D–Vermont) and Bernie Sanders (I–Vermont) are part of a bipartisan coalition of US senators who are asking US trade negotiators to block an initiative by the European Union (EU) to prohibit the use of generic cheese names, like Muenster, Havarti, feta, Brie or ricotta, on cheeses made in Vermont and across the country.
The Small Business Administration announced today it will award grants to state and local economic development agencies, business development centers, colleges and universities to support programs for innovative, technology-driven small businesses under SBA’s Federal and State Technology partnership program. Applications for the grants are open to Vermont entities through April 11.
Although Vermont’s populations of cave-dwelling bat species continue to drastically shrink in number every year, the rate of decline may be slowing down. Biologists with the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department are working to determine if some individuals that remain are naturally resistant to the syndrome that has killed millions of bats to date.
by Deb Markowitz, Secretary, Vermont Agency of Natural Resources and Dorothy Allard, Chair, Vermont Endangered Species Committee A little over 40 years ago, the federal Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA) was passed into law. In Vermont, it is common to see osprey and loons, so it is hard to believe that merely a few decades ago, these birds were vanishingly rare in our state.
by John Herrick vtdigger.org
Montpelier hopes to become the nation’s first state capital to be powered entirely by renewable energy. City officials announced a plan to turn Montpelier into a net zero city at a news conference at City Hall Monday. The city is counting on myriad efficiency and renewable energy generation projects to help transition off fossil fuels by 2030.
The Vermont Agency of Education announced a collaborative partnership with three regional professional development organizations, collectively known as the Vermont Professional Learning Network (PLN). Our shared goal is to provide statewide access to high quality professional learning.
by John Herrick vtdigger.org Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, joined more than two dozen Senate Democrats to bring attention to the issue of climate change in a 15-hour all-night talkathon on the Senate floor Monday night.
The “crisis” of climate change, Sanders said, is an issue the nation must confront.
Flags to be lowered to half staff per order of Governor Peter Shumlin in honor of Franklin S Billings Jr.
Where the flags will be lowered:
The Vermont State House, all Federal and State Facilities around the state and public buildings and grounds around the state.
Governor Peter Shumlin and Green Mountain Care Board Chair Al Gobeille announced today the launch of two new “shared savings programs” for Vermont health care providers. The programs will help Vermont move away from the fee-for-service model, and instead provide incentives for groups of providers to work together, improve outcomes for patients and reduce health care cost growth.
Vermont State Police: Interstate 89 in Georgia has re-opened. Thursday morning (8:57 am) VSP closed Interstate 89, southbound near mile 107 as it is blocked due to a tractor-trailer crash. The southbound lane will be closed from exit 19 (St Albans) to exit 18 (Georgia) while the crash is investigated and cleared.
by Anne Galloway vtdigger.org The mad dash is on. It’s crossover week and lawmakers are in no mood to dilly-dally. After weeks of testimony, discussion and drafting, bills are suddenly getting the go-ahead or the kibosh with unusual resoluteness.