Monday, March 2, 2015

WVTK Local & State News March 2, 2015

It's the traditional Town Meeting Day break, when Vermont lawmakers head home to report to their constituents at annual municipal meetings and rest up for the second half of the legislative session. This year's week off comes after lawmakers made progress on child protection, education, and renewable energy - but are voicing increasing worries about the state budget. This past week, the Senate approved legislation designed to strengthen the state's system for protecting children from abuse and neglect. The legislation follows the deaths of two toddlers last year. Efforts to reform school governance and slow education spending growth reached an early milestone with approval of a bill Thursday by the House Education Committee. And the full House endorsed a renewable energy bill.

A new poll shows support for Governor Peter Shumlin is slipping. commissioned the Castleton Poll, which found the Governor's approval rating at 43-percent. His disapproval is now at 47-percent. Among Democrats the poll found 62 percent approve of the Governor. But when it comes to independents, support is at 37-percent.

A fire this weekend on Weybridge Street in Middlebury kept crews busy through the overnight, Saturday into Sunday. Six departments from around Addison County responded to the call of an apartment building on fire. Middlebury College said five students escaped that home safely, and the college is now working to find them on-campus housing. Officials say the building is a complete loss. They are still investigating as to what caused the blaze.

Tomorrow is Town Meeting Day. Voters in many Vermont communities will be deciding issues large and small over the next several days during their annual Town Meeting Day votes. Over the years, Town Meeting Day has evolved in some communities to meeting over the weekend while others will vote tonight. Voters will be deciding town and school budgets, electing officials and deciding issues such as whether to buy a new piece of road equipment or appropriate small sums of money for local social organizations. Last year, more than three dozen communities rejected school spending plans.