Education Statehouse

Passing Grade for Mascot Nondiscrimination Bill

A bill requiring the Vermont Agency of Education to stamp out racist, sexist, and repressive school mascots was approved 5-1 last week by the Senate Education Committee. Sponsored by Sen. Richard McCormack (D-Windsor), S139 will be up for review by the entire Senate on March 8, when the Senate returns from Town Meeting Week break.  The bill requires Read More…

Be Informed Statehouse

Race, Drug Bills Get Committee Review This Week

It’s the time of year when bills are being pushed through the committee approval pipeline ahead of the mid-March “crossover” deadline. Legislation getting committee time this week stands a fair chance of committee approval. Bills on House Committee agendas this week: In House General, Housing & Military Affairs: H96, creating the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Development Task Force to Read More…

Business & Economics Property Rights Statehouse

Housing Registry Veto Votes Postponed

Bills creating housing-related state registries are up against vetos by Gov. Phil Scott. Legislative voters may not have the votes they need to override.  Senate Rental Registry – Last year, Gov. Scott vetoed S79, “an act relating to improving rental housing health and safety.” As the name suggests, the Senate claims the S79 would let the State Read More…

Education Health

Orange County School Board Softens Vax Mandate / Rutland District Lifts Mask Mandate

An Orange County supervisory union board today rescinded a planned vote proposed requirement to vaccinate all employees for Covid-19. Instead, the Orange East Supervisory Union board adopted a more lenient vaccine mandate. Taking effect July 1, it would offer a testing option for those with religious or medical exemptions, and a testing requirement for other Read More…

Crime and Safety Statehouse

‘Criminal Threatening’ Bill Advances to Full Senate

The Vermont Senate today is scheduled to consider S265, the ‘criminal threatening’ bill that would impose prison sentences of up to two years for threatening public officials and others.  The bill was approved by Senate Judiciary this week by a 4-1 vote. Sen. Joe Benning (R-Caledonia) was the dissenting vote.  During committee discussions, Chair Dick Sears said Read More…

Education Health

Governor Won’t Back EUA Mandatory School Vaccines

Governor Phil Scott doesn’t support the vaccines under Emergency Use Authorization for mandatory use in schools.  At today’s press conference, Gov. Scott was asked by Vermont Daily Chronicle: “Is it ever appropriate for a vaccine under Emergency Use Authorization to be considered for mandatory requirement for public school enrollment?” Scott replied: “Not as far as I’m Read More…

Announcements Education Health

Petition: End Required Masking in Schools

Vermont Stands Up, a mask and vaccine freedom advocacy group, is circulating a petition to end the Vermont Agency of Education guidance for a universal school mask mandate on February 28. The petition reads: “We, the undersigned, are asking our school officials, from Commissioner Dan French and the State Board of Education, to school board members, superintendents, Read More…

Crime and Safety Tax Land

Senate Committee Would Expand Right To Sue Police

A bill that would expose police to lawsuits for exercising their duties is scheduled for review Wednesday 9 am in the Senate Judiciary Committee.  S254 would “create a private right of action [power to file suit] against law enforcement officers for violations of Vermont constitutional, statutory, and common law rights. This bill also proposes to waive Read More…

Business & Economics Property Rights

Green lobby targets Act 250 housing loophole

The Senate Natural Resources Committee will continue to review S.234, the Act 250 reform bill, all week this week. Last week, it reviewed the bill’s impacts on the state’s housing shortage, the Campaign for Vermont reports. The Vermont Natural Resources Council voiced concern about forest fragmentation due to subdivisions of housing. Between 2003 and 2009 found Read More…

Tax Land

Nonprofits control taxpayer money without much oversight

We usually think of nonprofit organizations as the local food shelf, summer stock theater, libraries, and the local hospital. I intended to take a sabbatical from writing about the Vermont nonprofit sector until I came across Vermont Business Magazine’s recent issue, 2021/2022 Giving Guide. The Guide had a plethora of data on the largest, by revenue, of Read More…

Be Informed Health

Prog bill wants transgender therapy without parental consent

A bill introduced by a freshman Progressive Tanya Vyhovsky (Essex) and Winooski Rep. Taylor Small (Progressive/Democrat), who identifies as transgender, would allow a minor to receive medical treatment for transgender conversion without parental consent. H659 “proposes to allow a minor who identifies as transgender to consent to receiving hormone blockers and other nonsurgical, gender-affirming care and Read More…

Health

VT hospital ICU doctor vents on Instagram against vax refusers

The University of Vermont Medical Center today responded to inquiries about the hospital’s chief of critical care’s social media criticism of vaccine-refusing patients. Dr. Gilman Allen, chief of critical care and a critical care specialist in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at UVMMC, wrote recently on Instagram: “What is more entitled and privileged than refusing Read More…

Statehouse Tax Land

New bill: multi-lingual state government

A “language access” bill introduced into the Vermont House today would require state agencies serving “a substantial number” of non-English speakers to offer translated materials and bi-lingual staff. H692 would require state agencies to “implement language access services, including the use of translated materials, bilingual staff, or contracted interpretation services, when the agency serves a substantial Read More…

Statehouse Tax Land VT Daily Chronicle

Bill increases per diem pay from $50 to $125

The number of Vermonters serving on state boards and commissions is growing. And so will their pay, if a new House bill becomes law.  H545, introduced Jan. 11 into the Vermont House, would increase the per diem pay for members of Vermont’s boards and commissions from $50 to $125. Most members of these appointed boards and commissions Read More…

Health

Health Dept. won’t release unvaccinated Covid death info

The Vermont Department of Health no longer reports the number of unvaccinated Vermont Covid-19 deaths on its daily dashboard or weekly reports. Nor will it, at least as long as the current surge of Covid-19 cases lasts.  Despite repeated references by state officials to the Vermont Covid-19 pandemic as “a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” and Read More…