News June 5

Senator Sanders

Immigration Sen. Bernie Sanders on Tuesday commended a Senate immigration reform bill’s “strong components” and said he supports a path to citizenship for people in the country illegally. He also supports provisions that would help Vermont’s dairy farms and apple orchards that depend on foreign labor. But Sanders said he opposes a “massive increase in temporary guest-worker programs that will allow large multinational corporations to import hundreds of thousands of temporary blue-collar and white-collar workers into this country from overseas,” the Burlington Free Press reported. LINK

Immigration Sen. Marco Rubio said Tuesday that there aren't 60 votes to pass the immigration bill he wrote. As the Senate gears up for a vote next week, conservatives and liberals have begun to publicly take shots at the bill. Sen. Sanders on Tuesday said he backs legalizing illegal immigrants but fears that skilled-worker visas could triple and the influx of blue-collar foreign workers could rise eightfold under the bill, The Washington Times reported. "At a time when the youth unemployment rate is more than 16 percent and the teen unemployment rate is over 25 percent, many of the jobs that used to be done by young Americans are now being performed by temporary guest workers," the senator said. LINK

House Passes Abuse Claims Bill for Veterans The House passed legislation Tuesday to recognize sexual assault cases for veterans seeking financial compensation. Named after veteran Ruth Moore, the bill would help veterans with depression and post-traumatic stress due to sexual assaults. Moore’s case was resolved after a 23-year struggle when she sought help from Sen. Sanders, Congressional Quarterly reported. LINK

March against Monsanto The (St. Crois, Wis.) Sun reported Tuesday that around 50 area residents joined a “March against Monsanto” protest to “inform the greater public of the health risks and environmental concerns associated with genetically modified organisms.” Sen. Sanders introduced an amendment to let states require labels for GMOs, but it failed in the Senate. LINK

Strolling of the Heifers The 12th annual Strolling of the Heifers parade on Saturday includes scores of colorfully-bedecked heifer calves. After the parade, the heifers and other farm animals will congregate in the shady area at the east end of the Brattleboro Common, where the public is invited to meet them up close. At about 12:15 p.m. at the Commons, Sen. Sanders will join local celebrities in the annual celebrity milking contest, near the bandstand, the Brattleboro Reformer reported. LINK

F-35s The Caledonian-Record recited criticism of the F-35 fighter jet and the Air Force selection process that could base the planes at the Vermont National Guard base in Burlington. The editorial noted that Gov. Peter Shumlin, Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger, Rep. Peter Welch and Sens. Sanders and Leahy all reaffirmed their enthusiastic support for the plane as "good both for the Air National Guard and for Vermont's economy." LINK


Egypt Convicts US Workers Sixteen Americans were included in the 43 convicted in Egypt on Tuesday for “illegal interference in the nation’s affairs,” reported NPR. All worked for nonprofit organizations promoting democracy in Egypt. LINK

UN Raises Stakes in Syria United Nations investigators reported Tuesday that there were “reasonable grounds” to believe that chemical weapons were used by pro-Assad forces in Syria, according to Reuters. LINK

Tiananmen Square Tens of thousands gathered in Hong Kong for the 24th anniversary of the protest heard around the world in Tiananmen Square, China, reported The New York Times. LINK


Senate’s Last WWII Vet to be Buried in Arlington Sen. Frank Lautenberg, the Senate’s last World War II veteran, will be honored at a burial in Arlington National Cemetery, the United States’ national military cemetery, reported Roll Call. After his New York funeral on Wednesday, Lautenberg will join the hundreds of thousands of veterans laid to rest in Arlington’s hallowed ground. Gov. Chris Christie called a special election this October, drawing a muted reaction from fellow Republicans and applause from national Democrats, The Wall Street Journal reported. LINK, LINK

National Security Shakeup Tom Donilon is resigning as President Barack Obama's national security adviser and will be replaced by Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, The New York Times reported. An unflattering profile in Foreign Policy magazine cast Donilon as a sharp-elbowed infighter and a domineering boss, who had strained relationships with colleagues, including his former deputy, Denis R. McDonough, now the White House chief of staff. LINK 

Education Renewing the effort to revise No Child Left Behind, the signature Bush-era federal education law, Sen. Tom Harkin introduced a new version on Tuesday that he said would “replace the failed tenets” of the law, The New York Times reported. LINK

Military Sexual Assaults Crisis Top military officers said Tuesday that the military had a “crisis” on its hands with the wave of sexual assaults, reported Reuters. Still, officers at the hearing advised against changing controversial rules that leave sexual assault cases in the military under the jurisdiction of unit commanders. LINK

GMO Food A Kansas farmer sued seed giant Monsanto over last week's discovery of genetically engineered experimental wheat in an 80-acre field in Oregon, claiming the company's gross negligence hurt U.S. growers by driving down wheat prices and causing some international markets to suspend certain imports, The Associated Press reported. LINK

More Bad Jobs Data from the International Labor Organization’s 2013 economic report indicates that increases in job quantity were accompanied by decreases in job quality from 2007-2011. Many nations, including the United States, lowered unemployment by adding “lower-quality jobs, including part-time gigs with lower benefits,” reported The Washington Post. In Spain and Ireland, job quality increased alongside rising unemployment. LINK

Medicaid and Obamacare States which opt out of new Medicaid funds offered under the Affordable Care Act “will spend much more, get much, much less, and leave millions of their residents uninsured,” according to Ezra Klein and Evan Soltas of The Washington Post’s Wonkbook. A new study by the Rand Corporation finds that these states will lose $8.4 billion in federal funding, have to spend an additional $1 billion in health care costs, and leave 3.6 million fewer citizens uninsured. LINK

Violent Crime Up, Breaking Streak Violent crime rose in 2012 after six years of steep declines, according to the FBI. The largest increases occurred in cities with populations between 500,000 and one million, reported The New York Times. LINK

Anti-Keystone Campaign Billionaire climate activist Tom Steyer will target voters who reelected President Obama in an advertisement campaign opposed to the Keystone XL pipeline, reported The Hill. LINK

IRS Spent $4.1 Million on Conference The Internal Revenue Service spent $4.1 million on a single conference in Southern California in 2010, paying top dollar for hotel rooms, $27,500 for a keynote speaker and tens of thousands of dollars for gifts to the 2,600 people who attended, according to a Treasury Department audit summed up in The New York Times. LINK


Hearing Set on Food Safety Rules The Food and Drug Administration is organizing public hearings in New England for farmers who are concerned that proposed safety rules could hurt their businesses. The hearings will focus on proposed rules for implementing the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act, which aims to increase the safety of the nation's food supply. A May 28 letter sent to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg from 16 senators and representatives from New England says the rules could hurt farmers financially in the region, The Associated Press reported. LINK

Immigrant Drivers Gov. Peter Shumlin is set to sign a bill today to allow immigrant farmworkers who are in the country illegally to drive in Vermont, with a new type of driver's privilege card. The bill is designed to allow workers who are in the country illegally but providing crucial labor on Vermont's dairy farms to get a new type of state driver's license, according to AP. LINK

Best Season for Ski Areas Since 2001 Vermont’s ski areas told The Associated Press Tuesday that last winter was the best season since 2001. With early snowfall, resorts attracted 4.5 million skier and

rider visits. LINK

ACLU: Racial Profiling in Marijuana Arrests Vermont’s chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union used federal crime statistics to determine that African Americans were more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana charges, reported The Associated Press. Specifically, the report claimed that Rutland County had a particularly high disparity. African Americans were 16.8 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than whites in the county. LINK