Wednesday, January 8, 2014

WVTK Local & State News January 8, 2014

The Vermont Senate Education Committee voted unanimously to support the Early Educators' Right to Organize bill earlier today.  The committee chose to pass a bill that mirrors the bill the committee supported last year as an amendment to the Miscellaneous Education bill.  This year, the Education Committee chose to offer a stand-alone bill.  The bill is expected to be referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee before moving on to the full Senate.

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin addressed lawmakers in his State of the State address today.  Gov. Shumlin says Vermont's economy is rebounding from the worst national recession since the depression, with unemployment being one of the lowest in the nation.  Vermont leads the nation in high school graduation rates and Gov. Shumlin wants to expand pre-kindergarten and day-care programs across the state.  Gov. Shumlin focused much of the State of the State address on the growing crisis of drug addiction and drug-related crimes in the state.  Shumlin says the best prevention is to provide a great education, good jobs, a thriving economy, and a good quality of life to all Vermonters.

Moriah Central School will have pre-kindergarten sign up through January 31. Parents may call the elementary office at 546-3301 ext. 701 to sign a child up for entry into the program.  Children must be born on or before December 4, 2010, to be eligible to enter.

Vermont lawmakers have reached a deal on campaign finance reform-- a bill that will actually increase the amount of money candidates can collect.  The agreement reached by House and Senate negotiators Tuesday would raise the amount of money that individuals can contribute to statewide candidates and political action committees from $2,000 to $4,000. The contribution limit rises to $10,000 for political parties.  Reform advocates had pushed for ways of reducing money in campaigns, but lawmakers who worked on the bill say in the era of unlimited spending by super PACs, the higher limits help level the playing field for candidates who don't get super PAC support.

The harsh weather so far this winter season has kept road crews busy and now some highway departments are running short on road salt.  Towns across the region have been forced to use more salt on the roads this season than usual. The town of Moriah is down to its last few tons of salt until more arrives.  While waiting on salt deliveries, Essex County is using sand on its roads and has borrowed some salt from the state transportation department.