Thursday, May 9, 2013

WVTK Local & State News May 9, 2013

A suspicious piece of mail has forced an evacuation at the Innovation Building in BurlingtonBurlington police say the package was discovered in the mailroom at the IRS.  No word on why the piece of mail is being deemed suspicious.  Police, fire and HAZZMAT crews are conducting an investigation. 

The Vermont Lottery has unveiled a new tri-state game called Gimmie 5!  A press release says the first drawing held on Wednesday, May 15.  The game will cost $1 to play with a top prize of $100,000.  Players will be able to purchase Gimme 5 tickets starting Sunday, May 12, at their favorite lottery agent or at one of the hundred WinStation's located throughout Vermont.

Gun opponents in Vermont say they'll be back for next year's legislative session and they'll be stronger.  No gun laws were passed this session, but it wasn't for a lack of trying.  The group called "Gun Sense Vermont" met at the Statehouse Wednesday, saying it's collected three-thousand signatures from people who want tougher laws.  Governor Peter Shumlin, who says the issue should be dealt with by the feds and not the state, says he'll meet with the group later this month.

More New Yorkers are taking to the web and filing their taxes online.  According to the tax department, e-filing was at an all time high this year.  At the end of April, nearly 90 percent of taxpayers e-filed their personal returns.   That's nearly 8 million by this year's deadline, a 200,000 increase more than last year!

Health organizations across the state are praising the Senate Finance Committee for passing an 80 cent tax increase on tobacco.  According to the American Cancer Society, nearly 20 percent of high school seniors smoke.  Experts say raising the tax is an effective way to prevent kids from smoking.  They say it also motivates others to quit.

The Vermont House of Representatives passed the nation’s strongest bill against chemical flame retardants (S.81, vote:141-0). The bill, if passed by the Senate, will ban the use of these chemicals in children’s products and home furniture.  Flame retardant chemicals targeted in this bill, migrate out of these products into air and dust, and from there enter our bodies.  The bill now heads back to the Senate, were it is expected to pass with the House-passed amendments.

The Vermont attorney general’s office says it has settled complaints that a Los Angeles company sent mailings to Vermont companies that appeared to be bills.  The state says Trademark Monitoring Services, Inc., mailed solicitations to Vermont businesses that misrepresented that the businesses owed it money for trademark-related services.  Attorney General William Sorrell says billing people for things they didn’t agree to buy is a violation of state law.  Under the settlement, the company must comply with Vermont and federal law and pay full refunds and $10,000 to the state of Vermont in penalties and costs.