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Retooling workforce development for job creation

Thu, 02/06/2014 - 2:18am -- tim

by Hilary Niles Lawmakers are wrestling with how to best spend the state’s limited workforce training money. At issue is whether the money should be used to help people who have jobs increase their skills or to help businesses fill vacancies.
The House Committee on Commerce and Economic Development is proposing to move the Vermont Training Program and the Workforce Education and Training Fund more toward job creation than job retention and wage growth. The consideration comes as part of broader workforce development strategy in H.852.

Drafting error opens campaign finance bill up for changes

Thu, 02/06/2014 - 2:14am -- tim

by Anne Galloway Governor Peter Shumlin quietly signed the controversial campaign finance bill, S.82, into law on January 23 (it was the first bill of the session that he has enacted), but it turns out lawmakers will get another bite at the apple.
There was a drafting error ‘ the effective dates were incorrect ‘ and so House Government Operations must address the problem with Act 90 in H.640, a technical corrections bill that will be up for action in the coming days. The bill, however, has not yet been voted out of committee.

VTDigger launches searchable campaign finance database

Thu, 02/06/2014 - 2:10am -- tim

by Anne Galloway  When I wrote my first stories about money in politics, I ran up against the roadblock every political reporter in Vermont has faced: The difficulty of finding out just how much money individuals and their companies and family members give to candidates for office. 
The Vermont Secretary of State’s office uses an arcane system for tracking donations, and without investing many hours in the review of hundreds of spreadsheets, it’s nearly impossible to figure out which contributors donate the most to politicians.

House health care committee quashes bill to delay single-payer

Thu, 02/06/2014 - 2:05am -- tim

by Morgan True A bill that would delay the implementation of Green Mountain Care, the state’s planned universal public health care program, won’t make it out of committee. The bill was sent to the House Health Care Committee, which voted Wednesday on bills it plans to work through before crossover. H.858, which would push the governor’s single payer plan to 2019, didn’t make the cut.
‘It’s disappointing but not surprising,’ said Rep. Patti Komline, R-Dorset, the bill’s primary sponsor.

Pharmaceuticals in the water

Thu, 02/06/2014 - 1:08am -- tim

by Lori Fisher, LCC Executive Director Drugs are making their way from our medicine cabinets into our waters, and traces of pharmaceuticals have been found in the environment. Drugs may pass through our bodies unchanged or unused pills may be dumped down the toilet. Wastewater treatments systems were not designed to remove pharmaceuticals, and their ultimate environmental fate is unclear.

Rural Vermont releases 2013-14 report on raw milk production and sales

Thu, 02/06/2014 - 12:19am -- tim

Rural Vermont has released the 2013-2014 Report on raw milk production and sales. For the fifth year since the passage of Act 62, which enables the direct sale of raw milk by farmers to consumers, Rural Vermont has presented to the legislature an overview of how the current law is working for farmers and the economic impact of raw milk sales. Although, there is growing consumer demand for raw milk, Vermont famers consistently report that current regulations need to be amended to make raw milk production more economically viable for farmers and practical for consumers.

Advocates call for low income weatherization funding at $12 million level

Thu, 02/06/2014 - 12:03am -- tim

A coalition of 34 advocacy organizations and the Vermont legislative Climate Caucus is pushing the Legislature to continue to fund the Low Income Weatherization Assistance Program at its current level of $12 million. The governor's proposed budget would decrease the program's capacity by failing to maintain the funding level that has been bolstered by 5 years of "one-time" funding - first ARRA stimulus funding, and then funds from the GMP-CVPS merger.  

IBM expected to announce layoffs in Vermont later this month

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 12:34pm -- tim

After about a week of speculation by IBM employees and managers in Vermont, the union representing some IBM workers announced Wednesday that the technology giant will announce another round of layoffs on February 26. The Alliance@IBM website, which is run by the Communications Workers of America union, has accurately predicted layoffs in the past, including the large one in June 2013 in which 419 Vermont workers lost their jobs.

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters reports Q1 2014 results, record 5.1 million Keurig Brewers sold

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 11:32am -- tim

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc, based in Waterbury, Vermont (NASDAQ: GMCR), a leader in specialty coffee and single-cup coffee makers, today announced its results for the 13 weeks ended December 28, 2013. Results included net sales of $1.4 billion, up 4 percent over the same period a year ago, and earnings per share up 30 percent.
GMCR released the results after markets closed Wednesday. Shares traded heavily during the day and closed up slightly at $80.88.

Shumlin announces $2 million in Transportation Alternatives Program grants

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 10:09am -- tim

Governor Peter Shumlin and Transportation Secretary Brian Searles today announced the recipients of $2.2 million in federal funds for municipal grant projects under the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP). The majority of the funding will be used for construction projects in Putney, St Albans, Williston, Hyde Park, Cabot, Rutland City, Springfield, Montpelier, Readsboro and North Bennington.