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Senate gives preliminary approval to Clean Heat Standard

Wed, 05/04/2022 - 5:02pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Today, the Vermont Senate voted to advance the Clean Heat Standard bill (H.715), 88-37, for further development by the Public Utility Commission, after adding a disappointing amendment that weakened the law by requiring it to be endorsed again in the 2024 Legislature. The Clean Heat Standard is a core plank of the state’s new Climate Action Plan, designed to help Vermonters access more affordable, cleaner energy solutions. Implementing action in the heating sector at the scale of the Clean Heat Standard is essential to meeting the state’s legal obligation to reduce climate pollution.

Vermont House passes the state’s first comprehensive environmental justice bill

Wed, 05/04/2022 - 4:55pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Today, the Vermont House took a critical step forward in addressing a long history of undue environmental injustice by passing Vermont’s first statewide Environmental Justice bill, S.148, by a vote of 109-31. The bill will next go back to the Senate to consider the changes made by the House. The Environmental Justice bill is a high priority of the environmental community this session, and will be critical in bringing Vermont in line with the majority of other states working to design meaningful solutions for justice through deep public engagement and partnership with those most impacted by undue environmental harm. The bill would create the first statutory definition of environmental justice in Vermont, build a framework for the state to better address structural inequities, and create a path for Vermont to work towards a future where a clean environment is prioritized and accessible for all.

Applications at UVM set all-time record

Wed, 05/04/2022 - 4:41pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The University of Vermont, for the first time in its history, received more than 30,000 applications for undergraduate admission, leading the university to be even more selective and setting the stage for the Class of 2026 to be the highest-achieving incoming class ever. The number of applicants to UVM also hit record levels in 2021, when the university attracted 25,500 applications, 38% more than the previous year. This year, the number of applicants jumped another 19% to 30,363. The Class of 2026 will arrive on campus with an average SAT score of 1347, average ACT score of 31, and average GPA of 3.8. It also includes the greatest number of students who identify as students of color (72 more students, 21% higher than in 2021-2022), first-generation students (296 students, making up 9% of the class), and students who come from outside of New England (182 more students, 13% higher than in 2021-2022).

AG Donovan secures $290K for Vermonters deceived by TurboTax

Wed, 05/04/2022 - 2:57pm -- tim

​Vermont Business Magazine Attorney General TJ Donovan today announced a settlement with TurboTax, Intuit Inc. (Intuit), for deceiving Vermont consumers into paying for tax services that should have been free. As a result of a multistate agreement, Intuit will pay $141 million in restitution to millions of consumers across the nation who were unfairly charged. In addition, Intuit must suspend TurboTax’s “free, free, free” ad campaign that lured customers with promises of free tax preparation services, only to deceive them into paying for services. Vermont consumers who were deceived into paying to file their federal tax return by Intuit will receive $289,863.62 in total restitution.

Treasurer Beth Pearce will not seek re-election after six terms

Wed, 05/04/2022 - 2:24pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Today Vermont State Treasurer Beth Pearce announced she will not seek re-election and will be retiring in January 2023, after six terms in office. She cited recent health-related issues in making this decision. In her time as Treasurer, Pearce served as President of the National Association of State Treasurers, President of the National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers and Treasurers, and as Chair of the Government Accounting Standards Advisory Council. She made her statement at a press conference in Montpelier on Wednesday morning.

AOE releases updated Annual Snapshot of Vermont student performance

Wed, 05/04/2022 - 1:32pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Agency of Education (AOE) has released an updated version of the Annual Snapshot. The Annual Snapshot is an online tool that presents quantitative data about Vermont schools. Vermonters can see how their school, Supervisory Union/District or the state as a whole is doing based on multiple measures. The Annual Snapshot can be found at Overall English and Science were meeting the performance standard while Math was not meeting the performance standard. In all three subjects, the Equity Index was not being met. As a tool, the Annual Snapshot is designed to show progress and change over time. Adverse impacts on education and assessment during the COVID-19 pandemic have made it harder to compare the data used to build the Annual Snapshot measures from one year to the next. This is an important caveat for users to keep in mind as they review this most recent version, as the interpretation of some indicators is impacted by this context. 

Vermont’s largest career fair results in more than 120 job offers

Wed, 05/04/2022 - 11:54am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Last week on Tuesday, April 26, the Associated General Contractors of Vermont (AGC/VT) hosted Vermont’s biggest hiring event at the Champlain Valley Expo, in Essex Jct. Within one week, Vermont employers extended more than 120 job offers, with more expected in the coming weeks. AGC/VT, which partnered with the Vermont Department of Labor (DOL), recruited nearly 200 employers from diverse fields including manufacturing, construction, hospitality, health care, education, public safety, and emergency response. Numerous state agencies also attended and promoted current job openings in state government. The one-day event attracted more than 1,200 job seekers, including hundreds of career center and college students. The average employer spoke with approximately 40 potential candidates, with about 10 Vermonters applying per job opening.  

Chef, restaurateur, television personality and author 
Emeril Lagasse reveals the secret recipe to success on 21st Century Business Forum May 11

Wed, 05/04/2022 - 8:54am -- katie

VermontBiz Emeril Lagasse is one of the most recognizable chefs in the nation. The celebrity restaurateur has built a vast food empire, with a portfolio of media, signature products and restaurants.

He shares his secret recipe for success on the 21st Century Business Forum on the May episode of 21st Century Business Forum.

House advances S.234, to make changes to Act 250

Wed, 05/04/2022 - 8:10am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont House of Representatives on Tuesday voted to pass S.234, a bill that takes a significant step toward improving Act 250, Vermont's comprehensive statewide land use law.  The vote was 99-43, with several members absent.  In particular, S.234 facilitates smart growth housing development by making state incentives more accessible for designated downtowns and villages. The bill promotes mixed-income and affordable housing developments in smaller towns to facilitate state incentives with increased density, and the bill provides funding for towns to modernize their bylaws to implement smart growth measures.

Casella announces offering of VEDA Solid Waste Disposal Revenue Bonds

Wed, 05/04/2022 - 8:00am -- tim

​Vermont Business Magazine Casella Waste Systems, Inc, based in Rutland, announced Tuesday an offering of up to $60.0 million aggregate principal amount of Vermont Economic Development Authority Solid Waste Disposal Revenue Bonds Series 2022 under an indenture between the Issuer and the bond trustee. Initially, $35.0 million in principal amount of Bonds is anticipated to be issued under the Indenture, and Casella intends to use the net proceeds of the Bonds to finance and/or reimburse Casella for certain costs of certain capital projects in the State of Vermont.

Scott signs ethics bill into law, vetoes tougher Burlington landlord bill

Tue, 05/03/2022 - 5:09pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Governor Phil Scott signed a handful of bills into law today, including the ethics bill, which he believes can still go further. However, he vetoed a charter change bill for Burlington that would have made it more difficult for a landlord to evict a tenant. Scott said he was concerned that landlords would simply avoid renting to some tenants in the first place to avoid a potential eviction down the road and thus cause an even tighter housing market than already exists in the city.

VDH: COVID cases over 300, hospitalization and ICU high, no deaths

Tue, 05/03/2022 - 4:32pm -- tim

by Timothy McQuiston, Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Department of Health today is reporting 304 cases of COVID-19 for Monday (98  Sunday, which tends to have the fewest reported cases). Vermont, meanwhile, has the lowest level of "natural immunity" from having contracted COVID in the nation at 29 percent, while the US average is over 60 percent with some states over 70 percent. He said this is from a combination of local mitigation measures and the subsequent high rate of vaccination uptake (number one in the nation in vaccine plus booster; second lowest death rate to Hawaii).