Vermont News: May 29

Vermont News Highlights: Tuesday, May 29, 2018


Burlington Free Press; Editorial: “Ok, Bernie Sanders, what about 2020?” 5/27, 8A; Aki Soga, of the Burlington Free Press, writes about Sanders’ “high national profile” and Senate re-election bid.

Burlington Free Press; Opinion: “Welch’s conflict of interest: dismissive lack of insight or disingenuousness?” 5/27, 24A; Daniel Freilich, who is challenging Congressman Peter Welch for the Vermont seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, writes, “A number of Democrats are stepping up trying to propagate a movement of better governance in which elected officials decline corporate contributions (Senators Sanders, Warren, Booker, and Gillibrand, Congressman O-Rourke (challenging Senator Cruz); and many ‘Justice Democrats.’”

Rutland Herald; Opinion: “Vermont’s tryst with Canada” 5/26, C6; Meg Hansen, the executive director for Vermonters for Health Care Freedom, offers a critical perspective on Sanders’ influence on Vermont’s recent drug importation bill.

Bennington Banner; Column: “Bernie should enroll with the National Speakers Bureau” 5/27, A5; Columnist Don Keelan urges Sanders to enroll with the National Speakers Bureau. Keelan writes, “In the past four years, throughout America, Bernie has done remarkably well in attracting audiences to hear his message.”

Burlington Free Press; Opinion: “A front porch daydream… of the Vermont Air National Guard” 5/27, 25A; Rosanne Greco, a retired Air Force colonel and a former chairwoman for the South Burlington City Council, writes in opposition to the planned F-35 basing in Burlington.

Articles of Interest:

Burlington Free Press; “Governor Vetoes State Budget and Property Tax Bill” May 27, 2018, 22A; Governor Scott rejected a proposal introduced by Democratic leaders of the Legislature that could have brought an end to the standstill over the state budget and property tax legislation.  Scott vetoed the property tax and state budget bills because they would have resulted in what he described as an “unnecessary and avoidable” increase in state-wide property tax rates.

Brattleboro Reformer; “Zero Property Tax Rate Increase for Vermont Households Floated” May 27, 2018, A5; In an effort toward compromise between lawmakers and Gov. Scott in the ongoing special legislative session, the House Ways and Means Committee is working on a proposal that would harness surplus money to buy down property tax rates for households next year.  The plan uses $14 million of one-time money to prevent residential property tax rates from going up next year.

Valley News; “Scott Signs Trafficking Bill Into Law” May 25, 2018, B1; Unlike an array of funding bills this legislative session, a bill addressing the effects of human trafficking found wide support.  During the signing on Wednesday at the Statehouse, Scott commented, “This bill is another important step in protecting vulnerable Vermonters” against “this type of dehumanization and the suffering that comes along with it.”(VTDigger)

Rutland Herald; “Farmers Urged to Look at Safety Net” May 29, 2018, A3; A June 1 deadline is approaching for dairy farmers to sign up for an insurance program that could assist them as milk prices remain low.  Diane Bothfeld, director of administrative services and dairy policy for the state Agency of Agriculture, notes that lawmakers “adjusted the premium rates lower, so farmers could buy better insurance at a lower rate.”

Rutland Herald; “VT Leads US in Local Food Consumption” May 29, 2018, A3; The nation’s leading states in consuming locally produced food are Vermont, Maine, Montana and Oregon, in that order.  “Vermont has led the index since its inception in 2012,” said Martin Langevald, principal researcher and compiler of the Index.

Valley News; “Border Patrol Boards Amtrak” May 25, 2018, A1; Border Patrol agents asked Amtrak train passengers about their citizenship in White River Junction two weekends ago.  According to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol spokesperson Stephanie Malin, no arrests were made during the checks.  James Duff Lyall, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Vermont said these recent checks indicate a potential “increase under this administration of enforcement activity far from the border.” (VTDigger)

Newport Daily Express; “Department of Defense Office of Economic Adjustment Grant of $1.5M Awarded to New England States for Regional Defense Industry Collaboration” 05/29, B4; Vermont, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island have received a joint grant of $1.5 million from the U.S. Department of Defense to create the New England Regional Defense Industry Collaboration. Over the next eighteen months, the organization will use these funds to coordinate the growth of defense-related businesses across the New England region. 

Brattleboro Reformer; “’Substantial’ grant for public housing” 05/29, 1; Brattleboro Housing Partnerships is set to receive a $532,792 grant through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Capital Fund Program. The grant, which is received annually, was almost $200,000 more than anticipated. BHP authorities say they plan to use the funds to purchase capital items such as sprinklers and surveillance systems.

St. Albans Messenger; “Vermont town gets federal grants, loans for water system” 05/25, 5; The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced last week that the town of Fairlee would receive $3.7 million in federal grants and loans to repair its water system. The town had filed a lawsuit in December 2017 to recover money from the compromised water tank, which was installed in 2004 and had been expected to last for 100 years. 

Rutland Herald; “State can’t resolve Lake Champlain cleanup financing” 05/29, A3; Efforts to come up with a long-term funding source for Lake Champlain’s cleanup fizzled this legislative session, as Governor Scott called for no new taxes or fees. The state estimates that the cleanup, which has been mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency, will require $25 million annually over the next 20 years.