Thursday, April 3, 2014

WVTK Local & State News April 3, 2014

According to the CCTA drivers, they have approved the latest contract proposal. Drivers say buses will return to service tomorrow. The vote was 53 yes, 6 no. Under the new contract, drivers will only work 12.5 hours and there will be 15 part-time workers. Drivers say they hope to build a better relationship with CCTA.

Green Mountain Power is launching a streetlight pilot program in the Northwest section of Rutland. GMP says they are installing energy efficient streetlights with intelligent controls. The company is also installing 41 solar panels on utility poles. A press release says this new technology will alert Green Mountain Power when the lights fail or aren't working properly. The new lights will produce whiter lights and use 70% less energy. Once the project is complete, Green Mountain Power says they will meet with city officials to see if additional lights need to be installed to improve public safety.

Although Vermont primary elections have already been moved up, lawmakers are now thinking about making it even sooner, in order to comply with federal law. Primaries have been moved back from September to the last Friday in August. The consideration now, however, is to move it back to the first Tuesday in August instead, starting in 2016. Federal law requires absentee ballots be sent to members of the military 45 days before an election.

Although Burlington voters approved three ordinances on Town Meeting Day dealing with guns, state lawmakers will not do anything with it. State law requires legislative approval when a town or city wants to change its founding document, and those usually pass through, but not in this case. Testimony was heard Wednesday on the reforms, but lawmakers say there’s just not enough time to deal with the ordinances. Burlington voters overwhelmingly approved banning guns in bars, seizing firearms of those suspected of domestic abuse, and requiring guns to be locked up when stored inside homes.

Lake Champlain is still frozen over, and that’s causing some delay in spring high school and college sports. Last year at this time, northern Vermont high school and University of Vermont sailing teams had already been on the water for a month. For now, it means more workouts and indoor meetings while waiting for the lake to thaw. Sailboats at Burlington’s Community Sailing Center remain idle, and the UVM sailing team will get out on the lake as soon as ice clears from boat launches.