Wednesday, January 7, 2015

WVTK Local & State News January 7, 2015

The Vermont General Assembly convened for the start of the 2015 session today. The new Legislature took the oath of office this morning. One of the first orders of business will be to elect the governor tomorrow, a choice left to lawmakers after no candidate received 50-percent of the vote. Lawmakers are also expected to focus on a number of things, including education reform and property tax relief, and health care reform-even though single payer is off the table for now.

Vermont Gas has asked the Vermont Public Service Board to “reset” the timetable for the Addison Natural Gas Project by postponing hearings on Phase II of the project. New CEO of Vermont Gas Systems, Don Rendall, stated in a release the company was asking for the delay in part because of financial concerns. Rendall said, “We’ve been determined to get this job done effectively and to communicate it openly, honestly and quickly.”

The Vermont Health Department is urging those who have the flu to stay home to prevent others from getting sick. The Health Department says young children, people 65 and older, pregnant women, and people with certain medical conditions such as asthma, are at an increased risk of flu complications. Flu viruses are mainly spread through droplets in the air when people cough or sneeze. Someone can get the flu by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it.

Vermont's new GMO labeling law is facing its first legal challenge. Food manufacturers are suing the state, arguing that the law requiring labels on products made from genetically modified ingredients is unconstitutional and violates federal law. One central issue of the case is whether the state is exceeding its authority by trying to regulate the safety of food. Today’s hearing is not the start of the trial. The judge is considering the state's motion to dismiss the lawsuit and the plaintiff's motion to block the law from taking effect until after the outcome of the trial.

With extremely cold weather expected to affect the region tonight and into tomorrow, here are some tips from the American Red Cross to prevent your pipes from bursting:
- Close inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs, but keep the outside valve open;
- Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing;
- Let cold water drip from faucets that are served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe, even a trickle, helps prevent pipes from freezing;
- If you're going to be away from your home during cold weather, set the temperature no lower than 55° F.