Wednesday, January 14, 2015

WVTK Local & State News January 14, 2015

Voters in Brandon and Forest Dale approved a $2.5-million bond yesterday. The bond will be used to overhaul the town’s aging water system. Officials say the bond passed 196-27.

A group of Vermont mayors is calling for a reduction in the number of school districts in the state. Eight mayors visited the State House yesterday to call on lawmakers to reform school funding and governance. The mayors of Burlington, Rutland and Montpelier were among those on hand yesterday to call for reform. Vermont has more than 300 separate school districts.

Vermont Tax Commissioner Mary Peterson is set to testify before a legislative committee over the delinquent taxpayer list. The House Ways and Means Committee wants to know why Peterson did not release the amounts owed by the state's biggest tax scofflaws. Peterson only released the names on the top 100 individual and business tax scofflaw lists, not disclosing the amounts. The committee approved the bill authorizing the list released last year.

The Vermont Legislature is working on legislation that aims to expand background checks to the Internet and gun shows. Gun Sense Vermont, a group in support of the legislation, held a news conference at the Statehouse earlier today. They delivered a petition with close to 15,000 signatures to Gov. Peter Shumlin's office in support of the legislation. They said they want legislation that will “close the dangerous loophole in Vermont’s background check system that allows criminals, domestic abusers, and the seriously mentally ill to buy guns over the internet and at gun shows without a background check.” Federal law requires licensed firearms dealers to perform background checks.

Governor Peter Shumlin and federal officials are talking about a project that will help clean up Lake Champlain. The program being discussed is funded through the USDA’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program. It works to improve water quality and promote a sustainable working landscape. During last week’s inaugural address, Shumlin’s called for better efforts to clean up Lake Champlain.