February 6, 2002 – News at a Glance

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Reapportionment Plan
Senate President Pro Tempore Peter Shumlin says the Senate will not accept the current redistricting plan from the House. (VPR)

Champion Lands
The Senate passed a bill that reaffirms recreation and hunting on the Champion lands. It voted down an amendment that would have led to logging on the state-owned portion of the land.

Dean Will Veto Logging
Governor Howard Dean says he will veto a budget adjustment bill that allows logging on the state’s share of the Champion lands. (VPR)

Juvenile Justice System
Leaders in the Vermont Senate want to reform the way the state deals with young people in trouble with the law. (VPR)

President’s Budget Proposal
Governor Howard Dean says he is “alarmed” by the fiscal future of the country under President Bush’s proposed budget. Dean says he will fight against health care and transportation cuts that will have a local impact. (VPR)

Judges Reviewed
Joint Committee on Judicial Retention has begun seven days of hearings that will review the performance of individual judges. (VPR)

Budget Revisions
Vermont lawmakers continue to work on budget revisions. The House has refused to restore deleted money to a petroleum cleanup fund and to mental health programs. (AP)

Debt Reduction Fraud
Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell is suing a Bennington law firm for fraudulent practices in a “debt reduction program”. The program had promised to reduce consumer debt load by 50% and help consumers avoid bankruptcy. (AP)

Teacher Settlement
Former Green Mountain Union High School teacher Jay Van Stechelman will get two years pay but lose his job under a settlement with the school board. The social studies teacher was fired for showing films with explicit sexual content to students without their parents’ permission. (AP)

Tax Dept. Errors
More problems have been reported in the Vermont Tax Department. Erroneous forms have been mailed to some taxpayers. State officials blame the trouble on computer problems. New forms will be sent out. (AP)

Victory Ordered to Pay Taxes
A court has ordered the Town of Victory to pay its 1999 school taxes. The town had argued unsuccessfully that since it doesn’t have a school and buses its students away, the rules of the Act 60 school funding law do not apply in Victory. (AP)

Judicial Retention
The Joint Committee on Judicial Retention heard public input last night on the bench conduct of three judges. The committee heard testimony that one judge should not be reappointed because he makes prosecutors move too fast in presenting their cases. Judges are reviewed every six years. (AP)

Fell’s Trial Date Set
The trial of suspected murderer Donald Fell has been set for September. He’s facing federal charges for kidnapping a woman in Vermont and killing her in New York State. (AP)

Federal Budget
Governor Howard Dean says the president’s new budget will cost America jobs, and will add more to the burdens of state budgets. Dean says he is particularly concerned about cuts in road projects and health care. (AP)

Anti-Terrorism Fund
Vermont’s share of the new anti-terrorism fund set up by the president will be $6.8 million, according to Senator Jim Jeffords. The money will be used to improve local response to potential bioterrorist attacks. (AP)

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