Monday, November 17, 2014

WVTK Local & State News November 17, 2014

The Vermont Attorney General's Office is asking a federal court to uphold the state's law on labeling genetically engineered food. A press release says the state issued a filing last week stating that the court should dismiss the lawsuit against the law. Attorney General Bill Sorrell says, "The state's filing explains why Vermont's labeling law is constitutionally sound." Under the scheduling order signed by the Court, both sides will have an opportunity to submit additional filings over the next few weeks. The Attorney General's Office says a time for oral arguments over the law could be scheduled as early as mid-December. After oral arguments are heard, it will take weeks or months before a decision is issued.

A suspended Colchester police officer facing federal gun and drug charges is out of jail and on his way to a rehabilitation center in southern Vermont. Detective Cpl. Tyler Kinney was released from jail this morning and taken to federal court in Burlington where he was to be fitted with a monitoring device before he heads to the drug rehab facility. Kinney was released despite a request by federal prosecutors that he remain incarcerated. According to reports, Kinney made threats against the man to whom he allegedly provided guns and drugs from an evidence locker. Kinney was arrested last week. His lawyer agreed to GPS monitoring.

The Vermont Health Connect Website is back up and running. State officials took Vermont Health Connect offline in mid-September because it had been plagued with all kinds of problems. After a number of improvements and tests, the site went live on Saturday, just in time for open-enrollment to begin.

A key architect of Vermont's single-payer health system is at the center of a national controversy. MIT professor Jonathan Gruber is under fire for comments he made over the creation of Obamacare. Several videos have surfaced in which Gruber suggests the authors took advantage of an American public too dumb to understand the law. Gruber has also been involved in Vermont health care reform helping to write the report that was used as the basis for Act 48, the law that puts Vermont on course to move to single-payer. And he remains under a $450,000 contract to help develop the financing plan for single-payer in Vermont. Now a number of lawmakers and residents of the Green Mountain State are asking the Shumlin Administration to cut ties with Gruber.