Tuesday, March 31, 2015

WVTK Local & State News March 31, 2015

A Vermont State Police trooper has been cited for driving under the influence with a BAC above 0.08. Vermont Attorney General's Office says the charge against Eric Rademacher, of Mendon, stem from an incident on March 2, 2015. He will be arraigned on April 13. Rademacher has been placed on paid administrative leave. The Attorney General's Office says they will be submitting charging documents to the Rutland Criminal Division before the end of the week.

During the past decade, Vermont has spent $675 million setting up Medicaid managed-care programs, but state documents say it has done such a spotty job monitoring them that they can't even be audited. State Auditor Doug Hoffer wrote to lawmakers last week about the problems highlighted in an internal report by the Agency of Human Resources in January. The report found that several agency departments lacked crucial data on how managed-care programs set up under the Medicaid waiver were operating, and whether they were delivering the desired outcomes.

U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer is pushing for $5 million in federal funding to support the New York State Maple Syrup Industry. A press release says the funding will help increase production, strengthen conservation, and drive efficiency in maple sugaring. Schumer says, “by tapping into New York’s maple industry and allowing it to expand, the potential to grow our state’s economy and provide income to hardworking Upstaters is truly astounding.” Across New York State, there are over 280 million maple trees with syrup-tapping potential.

State cuts in Vermont library funding could have a ripple effect that results in a loss of federal funding as well. Governor Peter Shumlin's budget contains a 17-percent cut in library funding in the upcoming fiscal year. The state usually receives 900-thousand-dollars from the federal government for libraries. However, officials say that number will be reduced because of the cut in state services that receive matches.

The latest Doyle Poll is out, and it shows Governor Peter Shumlin's approval rating at 21-percent. The unscientific poll has been conducted for many years by Washington County Republican Senator Bill Doyle. He received around eleven-thousand responses to this year's survey, which are passed out at polling places on Town Meeting Day. A recent Castleton Poll Institute survey shows Shumlin with a 41-percent approval rating, with 47-percent disapproving.