State deficit shrunk to "only" $55 million - Associated Press

House Speaker Mitzi Johnson told her fellow House members, on the first day of the final session of the 2019-2020 Vermont Legislature, that a budget deficit once feared to be upwards of $400 million is now about $55 million.

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Books with ‘implicit bias’ pulled from school library - VPR

The Springfield school district is in conflict over a third-grade book about race relations critics say is too negative about police. Meanwhile, the school district’s “equity committee” is pulling from school library shelves books it deems to have ‘bias’ or ‘implicit bias.’

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Teen vaping use up 14%, Legislature must ban flavored products - Rutland Herald

In 2019, Vermont teen vaping of tobacco products rose 14%. Some youth drug prevention leaders want the Legislature to follow through on a proposed ban of flavored vaping products they saw target youth.

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84% of VT inmates in Mississippi prison test positive for Covid - VT Digger

An “outsourcing” prison in the deep South is exposing Vermont inmates to Covid-19 to a degree unacceptable in Vermont facilities. But what’s to be done - set them free? Build a new prison in Vermont?

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DMV offices in Burlington, Montpelier, and Rutland to re-open - Fox 44

Happy days are here again! At long last, at least some of Vermont’s Department of Motor Vehicle offices will re-open. Who ever thought we would miss waiting our turn to pay for a new driver’s license?

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Should snowbirds be allowed to escape income tax? - WCAX

Gov. Phil Scott isn't too sympathetic to the idea that snowbirds afraid to go south for the winter should be given a year-long income tax holiday.

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Pandemic halts Vermont hotel construction- Burlington Free Press

Not only has business and tourism travel virtually died during the pandemic, but business travel may become a thing of the past as industry embraces the teleconference. Bad news for hotel projects.

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Trump to speak Friday night in Manchester (NH, of course) - Valley News

In a visit as close to Vermont and his many Green Mountain State supporters as he is likely to get, President Donald Trump plans to speak in an airport hanger in Manchester, NH this Friday night. His critics warn about coronavirus infection. But Gov. John Sununu says if BLM can hold meetings, so can President Trump.

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Commentary: Wind turbine opponent says GWSA bad climate policy - Reformer

Yet another downside of H688, the Global Warming Solutions Act, is that it would empower unelected state officials to require siting of wind turbines on Vermont ridgelines, Mark Whitworth of Energize Vermont says.

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U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service cancels plans to furlough 1000 Vermonters – Essex Reporter

This morning U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) cancelled the planned furloughs of more than 13,000 employees nationwide, including more than 1,000 Vermonters.

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Independent doctors are dropping out of OneCare health-reform effort – VT Digger

All pediatrician Brad Friesen wants to do is care for kids.

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Commentary: The expensive and untimely myth of ‘value-based health care’ and its Vermont promoters – VT Digger

Harrison says ‘value-based health care’ has little value for Vermonters

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Off-campus party leads to stabbing of three in Castleton - WCAX

Town leaders are looking at restricting social gatherings to 25 people - and not just because of the three people stabbed at a large gathering Monday night. Like everything else this year - Covid.

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2020 is “Year of the Woman,” Democrat candidates claim - WPTZ

Elect us, a group of (Democratic) women outside the State House urged Vermonters, through the media. 2020 is the “Year of the Woman,” newly anointed Dem superstar and Lt. Gov. candidate Molly Gray said.

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Human smuggling on Canadian border- WCAX

Coyotes are active in Vermont - the two-legged kind that smuggle illegal aliens into the U.S.A. One of them just got over 4 years in jail.

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Police ignore Covid snitch line reports - VT Digger

Of the 1,650 citizen complaints on the Vermont State Police snitch line, only 15 resulted in charges being referred for prosecution.

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Legislature poised to expunge marijuana convictions - VT Digger

If you’re going to make buying pot legal, then first expunge convictions of Vermonters who bought it illegally, social justice advos say. The Legislature is inclined to agree - at least on that point.

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Fleeing unsafe Big Apple, New Yorkers say they’ll stay in VT - WCAX

Thanks to the pandemic, another historic wave of New Yorkers have discovered that living in Vermont is, well, pretty cool.

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Scott, Levine open to mandatory Covid-19 vax - Vermont Daily

Both Gov. Phil Scott and Health Commissioner Mark Levine stopped short of endorsing mandatory vaccinations, when a safe, reliable vaccine becomes available. Just short.

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What to expect when the Legislature re-opens Tuesday - VT Digger

A $180 million budget deficit is just one big item on the Legislature’s agenda. Also up: commercial pot, Global Warming Solutions Act, Act 250, and police reform.

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