News July 18

Senator Sanders

Citizens United Senate Republicans on Tuesday blocked a bill that would have required corporations to disclose donations that exceed $10,000. The bill was a response to the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United ruling. "These guys are not content to own the economy, to own the wealth of America, they now want to own lock, stock and barrel the political process as well," Sen. Bernie Sanders said on Current TV. VIDEO

Gas Prices Burlington-area gas dealers have used the state's environmental laws "to stifle competition" and stop Costco from opening a filling station at its Colchester site, the company asserted in a July 16 letter to Sen. Sanders. The Burlington Free Press also reported online that Sanders, a Senate energy committee member, will hold a field hearing on gas prices in Burlington. LINK

Heard on the Hill "He has the most integrity of anyone I've ever met. That's really rare for a senator," Donna Bailey, co-director of the Addison County Parent/Child Center in Vermont, said of Sen. Sanders in Roll Call. LINK

World

Top Aides to Assad Killed President Bashar al-Assad's brother-in-law and Syria's defense minister were killed on Wednesday when a suicide bomber attacked a crisis group of senior ministers and security chiefs set up to counter the 17-month uprising as it met in central Damascus after three days of fighting on the streets of the capital, The New York Times reported. LINK

National

Fed Dims View, Weighs Its Options Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke delivered a bleak new assessment of the U.S. economy to lawmakers on Tuesday but remained guarded about what, if anything, the Fed would do about it, The Wall Street Journal reported. LINK

White House Tweaks EPA The White House recently modified an Environmental Protection Agency proposal to limit soot emissions, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post, inviting public comment on a weaker standard than the agency had originally sought. LINK

Boy Scouts Keep Gay Ban The Boy Scouts of America reaffirmed its policy of excluding gays, The Associated Press reported. LINK

Vermont

F-35s Brig. Gen. Steven Cray of the Vermont Air National Guard wrote in a three-page open letter that a squadron of F-35 jets would be a boon to local business and would enhance national security. Cray's statement signals an official emergence of the Guard as an active advocate for the plane's being based in Burlington, the Burlington Free Press reported. LINK

Homeless Vets Vermont's Congressional delegation says a group that runs a residence for homeless veterans in Bradford is getting a $1 million grant from the Department of Veterans Affairs. The Worcester, Mass.,-based group Veterans Inc. will use the money to help serve 45 veteran families in Vermont, AP reported. LINK

State Slapped with Legal Bill Vermont must pay a medical data mining company $2.4 million in legal fees in a case in which the firm successfully argued a state law trying to restrict its activities violated the First Amendment, AP reported. The state already agreed to pay another company involved in the lawsuit $1.8 million in attorneys' fees and expenses, the Burlington Free Press reported. LINK, LINK 

Solar Power Real Goods Solar and Gestamp Solar announced plans to construct two solar installations in Vermont. Together the two installations are expected to generate 5,500 MW per year, The Wall Street Journal reported. LINK

Rutland Republicans are Sorry Rutland County Republican Committee Chairman Rob Towle apologized Tuesday for what the Rutland Herald called a racist Facebook post. It described a "Social Security Stimulus Package" made up of "two tomato seeds, cornbread mix, a prayer rug, a machine to blow smoke up my butt, 2 discount coupons to KFC, an ‘Obama Hope & Change" bumper sticker, and a ‘Blame it on Bush' poster for the front yard." LINK

Dot's Dot Restaurant, the heart of Wilmington, is on its way to recovering from Tropical Storm Irene, AP reported. The iconic landmark was built in 1832 as a post office, became a general store and diner before becoming a restaurant after being destroyed by a flood in 1938. The Preservation Trust of Vermont and the Friend of the Valley Foundation are fundraising to help rebuild Dot's. LINK