Wednesday, May 15, 2013

WVTK Local & State News May 15, 2013

The State Legislature ended their session late last night.  President Pro Tem Senator John Campbell says Vermonters have won, adding lawmakers worked together across party lines to improve the lives of the state's citizens.  The House worked very late, eventually passing a $1.4-billion dollar budget and enacting dozens of miscellaneous taxes.  The next session starts in January 2014, when some supporters vow to bring back campaign finance reform.

A detective in the city of Barre has been assigned to investigate allegations of criminal misconduct by current and former leaders of the Rutland Police Department.  The attorney general's office had received a request for an investigation from the Rutland police officers' union.  That was sparked by a lawsuit this year by Andrew Todd, a former Rutland officer, against former and current department officials, including Chief Jim Baker.  Todd alleges he was subjected to racial discrimination.  Todd now works for the Vermont State Police.  The union complained Baker and other current officials were remaining on the job, despite a department policy that requires individuals go on paid leave while criminal claims against them are investigated.

Gun owners in New York will need to file forms with the state if they don’t want their information to made public.  Starting today, the records of anyone who has requested an exemption from the state Freedom of Information Law will be kept secret.  But if gun owners haven't filed the form with local authorities, the information will be available.  This is part of New York's new gun laws requiring registration of military-style weapons.

The office of the Vermont Attorney General's Office is warning businesses about a false advertising scam.  The state has received multiple recent reports of a scam company that hires sales people to sell ads to area businesses based on the fraudulent claim that the ad cost will support the local school's drug prevention program or other programs.  The attorney general's office says the school has not authorized this ad, the sales person may not be paid, and the profits from the ad sales go right to the scammers.  Businesses in the Morrisville area, Middlebury and Montpelier have recently been targeted.

I-B-M workers are bracing for possible layoffs, with those at the plant in Essex saying significant cuts are imminent.  The company would not confirm, but did indicate in April cost-cutting measures would take effect after missing their earnings targets in the first quarter.  The last major job cuts in Essex was in 2009, when about 300 workers were let go.

There is a warning out about a financial scam targeting Vermonters by text message.  The attorney general’s office says it has received a number of reports of fraudulent text messages from the number 400999, saying there is a problem with the recipient's debit or credit card.  The text provides a phone number to call to "unfreeze" the account.  Like other so-called phishing scams, the message seeks personal information.  Anyone who has responded to the text message should contact their financial institution immediately to protect their accounts.