Wednesday, June 5, 2013

WVTK Local & State News June 5, 2013

A bill allowing undocumented migrant workers to drive is now law.  Governor Peter Shumlin inked his name to the bottom of the measure just before noon today.  Those interested in obtaining the driver privilege card must still pass a written exam, a road test and insure their vehicle.  The only significant difference in the licensing is looser proof of residency standards.  The law will go into effect on July 1.  The card cannot be used as a legal ID for anything but driving.

Vermont is trying to protect student athletes.  The issue is when tough sports go too far and a student is hurt.  The State of Vermont wants schools to get serious about concussions.  Now schools will be required to report concussions, which is just one step of a new law which aims to keep students safe.  A licensed athletic trainer or health care provider must be at all elementary or secondary school's athletic events for collision sports.  Those are football, wrestling, lacrosse, and hockey.  The law also requires schools to plan for what to do when an athlete has a concussion and when he or she can play again.  Schools have until July 2015 to make sure to have that health care expert at their athletic events.

In a lawsuit brought by the Vermont Attorney General’s Office, a Vermont Superior Court judge has ordered R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company to pay the State of Vermont $8.3 million in penalties for violating Vermont’s consumer protection laws.  Judge Dennis Pearson imposed penalties based on Reynolds’ deceptive advertising of one of its tobacco products, Eclipse, as a “risk reduction” cigarette.  The judge also issued an injunction that prohibits Reynolds from making “risk reduction” claims for its tobacco products without supporting studies that have been accepted by the scientific community.

Governor Andrew Cuomo says it's time to restore the Empire State as a beacon of women's rights.  Governor Cuomo has introduced legislation he hopes will end discrimination based on gender.  The Women's Equality Act is a 10 point plan designed to achieve pay equity, stop workplace harassment, strengthen human trafficking laws, and reaffirm a woman's right to choose an abortion.  Opponents have argued that the equality act would expand abortion rights.  Cuomo says that's untrue.  It would only reaffirm under state law a woman's right to choose, established by the U.S. Supreme Court 40 years ago.

The Rutland Town Volunteer Fire Department will soon be demolished to make way for a brand new facility.  Voters signed off on the renovation in November.  The station stands empty and will be torn down. The new station will be rebuilt in the same location on Route 4 and will offer more space and parking.  Until it's finished, volunteers are setting up at a temporary location across the street.

Vermont State Police are searching for a trailer and the tools inside it, reportedly stolen from a work site on Route 7 early yesterday morning.  Sometime between 3 a.m. and 7:20 a.m., police say, a 14-foot green enclosed trailer was taken from the site on Route 7 in Pittsford.  Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the Vermont State Police.