Thursday, March 26, 2015

WVTK Local & State News March 26, 2015

Vermont's Senate is supporting a measure that would ban violent felons from owning firearms. The bill approved yesterday makes it a crime for people with certain violent or drug related convictions to possess a gun. Some in the legislature say the law is repetitive, as federal law already bans felons from possessing guns. However, the bill was proposed because Vermont is the only state without a law mirroring the federal measure.

By a more than 2-1 margin, the Vermont House has defeated a proposal to raise about $12 million in new revenues by increasing income tax rates on Vermont's top earners. The amendment backed by a group of Progressives and Democrats went down by a vote of 98-to-43 as the House prepared to vote today on taxing and spending bills for fiscal 2016.

Governor Peter Shumlin's Chief of Staff Liz Miller is stepping down at the end of the legislative session. Governor Shumlin says Darren Springer, the current Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Public Service (DPS), will serve as his next chief of staff. Shumlin said, “four and half years and two jobs later, she has decided it is time to leave state government. She has been an amazing Chief of Staff, and while I wish I could keep her around longer. I’m thankful for her dedicated service to me and to Vermont over these past years.”

Vermont officials are calling for the creation of child saving of child savings accounts to help save for higher education. A press release says under the initial legislative proposal, Vermont kids would be able to withdraw funds once they turn 18 or enroll in a post-secondary education including, a college; university; vocational school; or any two or four-year degree program from an accredited educational institution. The money could then only be used for school expenses including, tuition; mandatory fees; books; supplies; and other costs associated with attending school.

Middlebury residents, the Town's contract for curbside recycling pickup with Casella ends on Tuesday, March 31, 2015. As of Wednesday, April 1st, residents will be responsible for having a licensed hauler pick up your recycling. A list of licensed haulers, with descriptions of the services they provide, is available at: