Monday, February 11, 2013

WVTK Local & State News February 11, 2013

The controversial doctor-assisted suicide bill is going to the floor before the full Senate.  Despite having enough votes to stop it, the Senate Judiciary Committee allowed the measure to go ahead.  It's part of an agreement reached in the Senate Democratic caucus before the measure began, allowing the full Senate to debate it.  That begins on Tuesday, with a final vote possible late next week.  The bill would allow terminally-ill patients to get a doctor's prescription to end their lives.

Senator Bernie Sanders is about to unveil what he calls "the boldest piece of legislation" to move the nation's energy systems away from fossil fuels.  Sanders say the bill is needed to combat climate change.  It includes a tax on emissions.  Sanders adds dramatic cuts are needed in greenhouse gas emissions and the country needs to transition away from fossil fuels and focus more on renewable energy projects such as wind, solar and biomass.  Sanders plans to release details of the bill in the coming weeks.

Essex County's new emergency communication system will cost more.  The original price tag was $16 million, but now the Plattsburgh Press-Republican reports new technology, and an increase in attorney fees, has added another $1.7 million.  The Board of Supervisors will vote on the increased costs at a later date, and construction should begin this spring.

A Vermont fugitive wanted in a 2010 armed robbery in South Burlington has been arrested in Charlotte.  The U.S. Marshals Service says 57-year-old Kevin "Buster" Beaupre was arrested Friday morning.  Authorities say Beaupre has been on the run since May 2012 after he was convicted of assault and robbery with a weapon. Police say he entered a dwelling and robbed the resident at gunpoint in 2010.

If you're a Vermonter eager to file your taxes and get your refunds then you'll be happy to hear state tax forms are now available online.  Because of the fiscal cliff, paper forms will be distributed later than normal this year.  In the meantime, everything you need now is available electronically.  Officials say the personal income tax return booklet, as well as other helpful information, may be downloaded and printed from the Vermont Department of Taxes website.

The Vermont state panel that regulates utilities is beginning a new round of technical hearings on the future of the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant.  The Public Service Board is meeting in Barre to hear witnesses on behave of Entergy’s bid for a certificate of public good to operate the Vernon reactor until 2032.  The hearings begin today and will move back to Montpelier for four days next week.  Entergy is trying to get a state permit to match its federal license.  The plant has been embroiled in a series of legal battles with the Shumlin administration and the Legislature.

If you look up into the sky for the next 2 weeks, weather premitting you should be able to see the planet Mercury.  The show begins about a half hour after sunset.  If you look to the west, you should be able to see Mercury should pop out of the twilight as a bright pink light.  If you are having problems finding it tonight, just look for the moon and you will find Mercury just below it.