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State budget cuts continue to shape legislative session

Posted on March 12, 2015 |
By John Flowers



 

MIDDLEBURY — School financing and the state’s budget woes continued to dominate conversation at the Bridport Grange’s legislative breakfast series, the most recent edition of which was held on Monday at the Middlebury American Legion headquarters.

Lawmakers have been told there is a $118 million revenue shortfall for the state budget that is to take effect July 1. The Legislature’s money committees are considering cuts to the current budget draft, along with some possible fee and tax increases.

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Rep. Sharpe pushes change in education through H.361

Posted on March 9, 2015 |
By Zach Despart



Sharpe at town mtg.jpg

ADDISON COUNTY — Rep. David Sharpe doesn’t give off the aura of a salesman. His elbow-patched blazers may echo Willy Loman, but the soft-spoken, veteran legislator isn’t in the business of sweet-talking his way to a few bucks.

But however unnatural it may come to him, selling was exactly what Sharpe set out to do at town meetings in his district this week. It’s not goods the Bristol Democrat is hawking, but an education bill that would drastically change the organization of Vermont’s schools and alter how they are governed.

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Substantial state spending cuts loom

Posted on March 5, 2015 |
By John Flowers



TMferrisb0010 Diane Lanpher.jpg

WHITING — Town officials hoping for some sort of financial life preserver this year from the state for ailing municipal and/or school programs had better learn how to tread water.

That’s because local lawmakers on Monday served notice they are trying to erase a $112 million shortfall in the fiscal year 2016 state budget. And unlike past years, there is no federal stimulus money, nor better-than-anticipated tax revenues to close the gap.

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Opinion: Vt. gun laws in need of updating

Posted on March 4, 2015 |
By Bobbi Loney



In January 1,400 letters and 12,000 petition signatures were hand delivered in Montpelier in support of a bill to be sponsored by, among others, our Sen. Claire Ayer. The bill, S.31, is about to be re-drafted to focus on two of the three provisions originally included.

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Opinion: Sheldon thanked for water bill vote

Posted on March 2, 2015 |
By Peter Diminico



I would like to thank Rep. Amy Sheldon for her vote and strong support for H.35. This water quality bill passed through the House Fish, Wildlife & Water Resources Committee with a resounding 7-2 vote, with Rep. Terenzin (Rutland) and Rep. Willhoit (St. Johnsbury) representing the opposing votes. This bill (pending,we have a long way to go) gives the Agency of Natural Resources and the Agency of Agriculture new powers with reasonable requirements to implement and enforce the clean water laws in the state of Vermont.

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Legislative Review: Energy policy shift could be costly

Posted on February 26, 2015 |
By Warren Van Wyck



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Legislative Review: Lake, budget among top issues

Posted on February 26, 2015 |
By Rep. Fred Baser of Bristol



Entering the Town Meeting break there are three topics that have percolated to the top of legislators’ lunch break discussions. Those subjects are solving the state revenue projected shortfall, changes in public education, and water quality issues, especially surrounding Lake Champlain. What are my thoughts on these issues?

MONEY SHORTFALL

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Opinion: Supporters of gun control bill find it tough to testify

Posted on February 23, 2015 |
By Anna Rose Benson



A lot of the people at the hearing on Senate Bill 31 last Tuesday at the Statehouse seemed too happy from the start — and yes, I’m talking mostly about the “Orange People.”

Too happy, I thought, because this hearing was about the risks Vermonters can face from dangerous people with guns, whatever color they choose to wear.

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Editorial: Education bill sets the stage for Town Meeting discussion

Posted on February 19, 2015 |
By Angelo S. Lynn



Consider how it might work if a legislative proposal to create a single school board per school district were approved this session. The measure, for example, would phase out the seven elementary school boards in the Addison Central Supervisory Union, the UD-3 board (representing the Middlebury Union Middle School and the Middlebury Union High School), and the supervisory union board. In their place, one district board would represent that seven-town constituency with one combined budget.

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Lawmakers weigh costs of school consolidation

Posted on February 12, 2015 |
By Evan Johnson



MIDDLEBURY — The Vermont House Education Committee is “up to our eyeballs in education policy,” committee chairman Rep. David Sharpe told a group of around 40 at the Legislative Breakfast at the Middlebury American Legion hall on Monday. The Bristol Democrat said that changes to the way Vermont schools are governed and financed is high on the legislative agenda.

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