Monday, May 18, 2015

WVTK Local & State News May 18, 2015

The Rutland Police Department is investigating an armed robbery at Mac's Convenience Store located on South Main Street last night. Police say a man entered the store just before 11 PM, with a knife, and demanded money from the cash register. When the clerk didn't comply, police say there was a brief scuffle. The man left the store without any money. Police say they recovered the knife used during the robbery after tracking the man to a parking lot.

The Vermont legislative session is over. The 2015 session adjourned on Saturday, with a budget bill having been passed several hours before work wrapped up for the year. Lawmakers also approved a health care reform bill that will save the state more than three-million-dollars in the upcoming fiscal year. Governor Peter Shumlin addressed lawmakers at the end of the session, thanking them for their work on water quality, education and other key issues.

Senator Bernie Sanders plans to introduce legislation to make all public colleges free and decrease interest rates for college loans. He says the free tuition program would cost $70 billion, and include a grant program where the Federal government puts in 2 dollars for every 1 dollar by the states. The bill he's introducing tomorrow will include a transaction fee on large stock transfers. He will be holding a news conference tomorrow on Capitol Hill.

The Green Mountain Care Board is now reviewing the Vermont Health Connect plan rates for next year. For next year, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont has requested an average annual rate increase of 8.4 percent, while MVP Health Care has requested an annual rate increase of 3.0 percent over this year’s rates. Health insurers say the rise in costs are attributed to increasing medical and pharmacy prices and federal and state requirements. The Green Mountain Care Board has 90 days to review the filings and approve, modify, or disapprove the proposed rates. Decisions on proposed rates will be available no later than August 13.

There are some changes coming in how you can use your mobile device while behind the wheel of a car. Currently, the law allows you to text while you are stopped at stop sign or while stuck in traffic. But starting July 1st, you will not be able to use your mobile device unless your vehicle is off the road or highway.