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Week 11 - Leonine Legislative Update: COVID-19 help

Sat, 03/28/2020 - 9:08am -- tim

Leonine Public Affairs According to the Vermont Department of Health, the number of Vermonters infected by COVID-19 grew exponentially this week. As of Friday afternoon, 184 people have tested positive for the virus, and 10 people have died. As the number of those affected continues to grow, the administration and the legislature have been working around the clock to enact measures designed to slow the spread of the virus and help Vermonters cope with the impacts of the pandemic. 

Scott: Continuity crucial as schools pivot to remote learning

Fri, 03/27/2020 - 5:30pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Governor Phil Scott Thursday ordered the dismissal of in-person instruction at all Vermont schools for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. This latest decision extends the order Scott issued on March 18 calling for the temporary dismissal of preK-12 schools through April 6. Remote learning now will begin April 13.

Governor Scott address on closing schools for the year

Fri, 03/27/2020 - 5:00pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine At a press conference Friday, Governor Phil Scott and members of his administration provided an update on the governor’s directive to dismiss schools for in-person instruction for the remainder of 2019-2020 school year. “The education of our kids, along with the bonding and learning experiences they get at school, are incredibly important, so I fully understand and appreciate the impact this will have on our kids individually and families across Vermont,” said Governor Scott. “But from my vantage point, I believe it’s the right decision because it’s for the health of our kids, communities and the entire state. That’s why we’re doing this—to keep people safe, to slow the spread and to save lives.”

Tenth person dies of COVID-19, testing to be expanded

Fri, 03/27/2020 - 4:40pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Health Commissioner Mark Levine, MD, announced today that there are 25 new cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Vermont and that another person died of the virus Friday morning. He added that the VDH plans to make it easier for Vermonters who have mild or moderate symptoms of COVID-19 to get tested. However, this would not change the testing process of calling your health provider first. You are asked not to go straight to the hospital. Dr Levine additionally emphasized that the new coronavirus attacks the lungs, making it harder for people who smoke or vape – tobacco, cannabis or anything else – to fight off the virus, putting them at much greater risk of severe illness, even death.

House sends massive coronavirus relief package to the president

Fri, 03/27/2020 - 4:22pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The US House of Representatives passed a $2 trillion economic stimulus bill on Friday to help individuals, families, small businesses and hospitals mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The bill was passed by voice vote, which allowed most Members to stay at home and reduce the health risk to themselves and others by avoiding travel and a large gathering in the Capitol. The president signed the bill into law Friday afternoon.

PUC expands moratorium on utility disconnects, now includes water

Fri, 03/27/2020 - 4:00pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Today the Vermont Public Utility Commission (PUC) expanded the moratorium on utility disconnections to include non-residential ratepayers and regulated water companies. A previous order, issued on March 18, 2020, had directed utilities to stop any disconnection of residential utility service due to nonpayment of electricity, natural gas, and telecommunication bills.

Tax revenues for February on target, hit expected over next few months

Fri, 03/27/2020 - 3:49pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The state reported today that tax revenue collections for the month of February 2020 are still on track for the fiscal year. Administration Secretary Susanne Young acknowledged that the March results will give them a much better understanding of the COVID-19 impact. However, for February the General Fund was below its target as the personal income tax, the most important revenue source, was nearly 6 percent short. Meanwhile the Transportation and Education Funds were above their respective targets.

PFAS found in groundwater at BTV Air Force base, drinking water safe

Fri, 03/27/2020 - 3:26pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The draft final report of the 2019 Expanded Site Inspection (ESI) for per-and-polyfluoralkyl Substances (PFAS) at the 158th Fighter Wing installation and adjacent property has concluded that there are elevated levels of PFAS in multiple groundwater and surface water sites. Drinking water is not impacted. Drinking water for the installation and neighboring communities is supplied by the Champlain Water District (CWD).

Drug and alcohol treatment and recovery services available

Fri, 03/27/2020 - 12:09pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Department of Health has launched VTHelplink, a new, single source clearinghouse for Vermonters to receive free, confidential and personalized information and referrals to substance use prevention, treatment and recovery services throughout the state. VTHelplink features a call center of trained staff and clinicians. Callers can get information, referrals, resources and educational materials on substance use for themselves, family and friends, or on behalf of clients.

Jobless rate still 2.4 percent, COVID-19 impact coming

Fri, 03/27/2020 - 10:45am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Vermont’s unemployment rate held at 2.4 percent in February as the major indices remained sluggish, with the labor force and employed down and unemployed up, but in small numbers. This of course is expected to change for the worse dramatically with the COVID-19 pandemic. Already unemployment claims are spiking and are expected to increase exponentially in coming weeks.

Governor closes schools for rest of year

Thu, 03/26/2020 - 9:31pm -- tim
School districts to implement continuity of learning plans for remote learning by April 13
Vermont Business Magazine Governor Phil Scott Thursday evening directed schools to remain dismissed through the end of the 2019-2020 school year. Districts will close schools for in-person instruction and be required to implement continuity of learning plans for remote learning. This extends the governor’s previous directive dismissing PreK-12 schools from March 18 to April 6.