March unemployment remains steady at 3 percent

Vermont's unemployment rate stayed at 3 percent in March, showing no change from February. The state's unemployment rate is the sixth-lowest rate in the country and remains far below the national rate, which was 4.5 percent in March. The number of people employed increased by 600, and the number of unemployed increased by 100, according to the Department of Labor. However, those numbers are not statistically significant, the department said. The state's lowest regional unemployment rates, which are not seasonally adjusted, are Burlington-South Burlington and White River Junction (2.6 percent).

U.S. Supreme Court justices express caution, intrigue in death penalty case

U.S. Supreme Court justices wrestled Monday with the possible implications of siding with a Texas death row inmate who argues his case should have another chance in federal court because his appellate attorney neglected to bring up a trial error. The court appeared split along ideological lines during the hearing, with Justice Anthony Kennedy — often a swing vote — sharing the same concerns as the conservative justices. A ruling on the case is expected by the end of June, when the court's term ends. The origins of the case dates back to 2008, when Erick Davila fatally shot a rival gang member's 5-year-old daughter and mother during another girl's birthday party in Fort Worth. Davila, 30, claims he intended only to kill his rival, Jerry Stevenson.

Independent doctors form new advocacy group

Independent doctors have started an organization in Vermont dedicated to helping them keep their small practices in the face of what they consider pressure to sell out to hospitals. Doctors have created a Vermont chapter of the Association of Independent Doctors, a national nonprofit organization started in Florida in 2013 that says, “We fight a fight that doctors have neither the time, means, nor clout to pursue.”
The Vermont chapter will have 15 members, who are all current or former board members of HealthFirst, the nonprofit organization that represents the interests of independent doctors at the state level. Independent doctors are self-employed and own their own practices, as opposed to working in a hospital or for a practice that a hospital or hospital system owns. Insurance companies often pay independent doctors less money than hospital-employed doctors for performing the same procedures. The Vermont Legislature has passed three laws since 2014 seeking to have the Green Mountain Care Board, which regulates health insurance prices, force insurers to pay independent and hospital-employed doctors equitably.

GREENE: Losing their religion

Science, they say, is a left-brained endeavor. But, in light of Saturday's March on Science, The Colorado Independent sought out some decidedly right-brained conversations with three Coloradans working in various capacities around federally funded climate change research. Here's what they had to say about proposed Trump administration budget cuts, the role of scientists in a purportedly “post-truth” era, and how they're coping as national faith in their work takes some big blows. The catcher in the rye
Josh Tewksbury came to his job the long way. The former University of Washington ecologist spent 10 years researching why chilies are hot.

Joe Benning: The ever-changing education scene

Editor's note: This commentary is by state Sen. Joe Benning, a Republican who represents the Caledonia-Orange District in the Vermont Senate. As Vermonters slowly adjust to the school governance models dictated by Act 46, it was inevitable that some are dazed and frustrated by the idea of forced change to the familiar. We Vermonters, after all, are naturally suspicious of activity under the Golden Dome. But my daily walk reminds me that education governance and delivery are always changing. The road I live on is a hill, one of the earlier roads in town, built to reach a very old farmhouse perched on the top of that hill.

John McClaughry: Four new bills to levy a carbon tax

Editor's note: This commentary is by John McClaughry, the vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute. Not so long ago – 2015 – the carbon tax was all the rage among such organizations as VPIRG, Vermont Natural Resources Council, Conservation Law Foundation and Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility. Their argument was straightforward. Humankind's penchant for making use of fossil fuels is (so they believe) inexorably driving the planet toward catastrophic warming by the end of this century. The hour is late!

Michael Badamo: Growing Montpelier

Editor's note: This commentary is by Michael J. Badamo, of Montpelier, who was editor and publisher of The Watchman. He has been in and out of Vermont politics since 1976; in 2002 he ran for governor as a Progressive. In 1910 Montpelier actually was a walking city, a description today's planners and developers claim as a goal. One wishes it was true. In 1910 horses still plodded down State Street, a few automobiles edged slowly through pedestrians who walked freely just about everywhere, a small trolley loop ran around town.

House tentatively backs measure allowing lottery winners to remain anonymous

Texans who win big in the state lottery came one step closer to being able to hide from unwanted attention after the House gave the idea tentative approval Monday afternoon. House Bill 59 by state Rep. Ryan Guillen, D-Rio Grande City, which would let lottery winners of $1 million or more remain anonymous — though not from child support or tax obligations — was approved by voice vote on second reading with no debate. The measure needs final approval from the House before it can be considered in the Senate. Under the Texas Public Information Act, the Texas Lottery Commission must release to the public and the media the names of the prize winners, their city of residence and the amount of the prize won. “Due to the media storm surrounding large winnings, personally identifiable information about winners is spread across the state and sometimes the nation,” Guillen previously told The Texas Tribune.

National focus on Buffalo lead poisoning

Posted in Co-produced with WGRZInvestigative Post has reported for years that Buffalo is Ground Zero for lead poisoning in upstate New York. But a new report by Reuters designates Buffalo as among the “most dangerous lead hotspots in America.”
WGRZ's Michael Wooten interviews Investigative Post reporter Dan Telvock about his investigations and how President Trump's proposed cuts to lead programs could impede progress. Click here to read all of Investigative Post's reporting on the city's serious lead poisoning problem. The post National focus on Buffalo lead poisoning appeared first on Investigative Post. Leave a Comment