Vermont News Highlights: Wednesday, May 9, 2018
Bennington Banner; “Withdrawal from Iran deal draws ire from Vt. delegation” 5/9, B3; In a Facebook live video, Sanders argued withdrawing from the agreement will be damaging to relations in the Middle East, and will undermine future diplomatic endeavors, such as the Trump administration’s attempt to negotiate with North Korea. Sanders asked “Why would any country in the world sign such an agreement with the United States and make the necessary concessions if they thought that a reckless president might simply discard that agreement a few years later?”
Articles of Interest:
Burlington Free Press; “Analysis casts doubt on Scott’s school plan” 5/9, 12A; A non-partisan analysis of Gov. Scott’s education finance plan argues that it’s based on dubious assumptions and pointed out “major technical errors” in the administration’s long-term projections. Such technical errors include the administration double counting special education savings and overestimating savings from a statewide school employee health plan—the Department of Taxes corrected some of these errors on Tuesday. Other issues with the plan centered on assumptions such as districts reducing their staff, without also outlining a mechanism to make those reductions happen.
Rutland Herald; “Single-payer movement focuses on primary care” 5/9, A5; A number of key Vermont legislators have thrown their weight behind what could be called a “single-payer light” program. S. 53 is a bill that would commit the state down a path toward universal primary care. This bill directs the state to develop a program framework, come up with a tax to fund it, and to institute universal primary care beginning in 2019. According to a 2015 study conducted by the state, universal primary care would cost about $200 million a year, assuming provider rates remain at their current levels.
Rutland Herald; “Vt. Oks new consumer protections” 5/9, A2; On Tuesday, the Vermont Legislature passed a bill that limits corporations and employers from forcing arbitration agreements on consumers and workers. The bill targets contract terms that lawmakers say place an unfair burden on those seeking legal remedies, but opponents argue that it will place an undue financial burden on businesses. The objectionable terms the bill targets includes requiring that disputes be adjudicated out of state, limiting the statute of limitations, prohibiting an individual’s right to seek remedies or punitive damages provided by the court, and requiring an individual to pay fees to file a claim. Governor Scott has not indicated whether he will sign the bill.
Newport Daily Express; “Planned Parenthood Sues Trump-Pence Administration” 5/8; Three Planned Parenthood affiliates filed a lawsuit in federal district court in D.C. against the Trump-Pence administration to fight for the four million people who depend on Title X. In Vermont, Title X makes a significant difference in health outcomes, serving 7,800 women annually. According to the Guttmacher Institute, without Title X-funded family planning services in Vermont, unintended adolescent pregnancies would be 139% higher, and unintended pregnancy and abortion would be 127% higher.
St. Albans Messenger; “Prescription drug take back day yields huge success” 5/8, 3: Vermonters turned in more than three tons of unused, unwanted and expired medication at nearly 70 collection sites across the state on National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on April 28. The 6,008 pounds of collected prescription medication marked the highest total in Vermont for the six Take Back Days since fall 2015.
Rutland Herald; “Vt. passes terror law after Sawyer incident” 5/9, A1: A domestic terrorism bill that will make it a crime to take “substantia steps” to “threaten any civilian population with mass destruction, mass killings or kidnappings” has been approved by both houses of the Legislature and will be sent to the governor for his signature. The bill was written in response to an alleged plot to commit a school shooting at Fair Haven Union High School.
Seven Days; “Nipped in the Bud” 5/9, 36: Immigration lawyer Erin Jacobson, an assistant professor at Vermont Law School, is among those from the legal, social services, and advocacy community who are concerned that the new marijuana law may have ramifications for noncitizens and new immigrants. Non-U.S. citizens are at risk of not being readmitted to the country, having their green card application rejected, losing a visa, and deportation if caught using, possessing, and selling marijuana or being involved in the marijuana industry, even in states where marijuana is legal.
St. Albans Messenger; “Vt announces quarantine of Invasive Emerald Ash Borer” 5/8, 3: Vermont has joined the United States Department of Agriculture’s 31-state quarantine boundary as part of the ongoing response to the recent discovery of the Emerald Ash Borer in the state.
Burlington Free Press; “Program that studies Lake Champlain qualifies for up to $1M” 5/9, 9A: The Lake Champlain Sea Grant Program, which studies Lake Champlain, has qualified as an “institute,” which could boost its federal funding 150 percent, from $400,000 annually to $1 million a year. The money will be used to help scientists understand and clean up the lake.
Caledonian Record; “Thousands pick up litter Saturday during Green Up Day” 5/7, A2; Green Up Day was started in 1970 by then-Gov. Deane Davis. This year organizers say more than 22,000 volunteers took part, picking up trash across the state.
Seven Days; “Poetic Injustice?” 5/9, 5; Slam poetry group Muslim Girls Making Change was invited to headline an event hosted by Women of UVM last week at the Elks Lodge in Burlington—where a club officer called the cops on them. The women stated that they were talking outside the lodge at the average volume of four teenage girls, whereas the lodge secretary said the girls were disrupting the Women of UVM’s meeting which had already begun. Lodge secretary Moe Decelles told the women “you’ve gotta go. I just called the cops and told them you guys were doing drugs.” MGMC believe it was racial profiling, saying “this kind of stuff happens all the time, and we’re sick of it.”