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Vermont AG, Human Rights Commission release guide on the use of gender-based pricing

Fri, 07/01/2016 - 3:03am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Attorney General’s Office and the Vermont Human Rights Commission issued Guidance on gender-based pricing, which is the practice of charging different prices for goods or services based on the consumer’s gender. Gender-based pricing occurs right here in Vermont – from services such as haircuts and dry cleaning to goods such as personal hygiene products and children’s toys.

Berkshire Bank parent buys New Jersey bank

Fri, 07/01/2016 - 2:52am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Berkshire Hills Bancorp, Inc (NYSE: BHLB), parent of Berkshire Bank with branches in Vermont, and New Jersey-based First Choice Bank have announced that they have signed a definitive merger agreement under which First Choice Bank will merge into Berkshire Bank and its subsidiary, First Choice Loan Services Inc, will become a subsidiary of Berkshire Bank in an all-stock transaction valued at approximately $111.7 million.   

Vermont Railway prevails, mostly, in decision on Shelburne salt shed

Thu, 06/30/2016 - 4:49pm -- tim

by C.B. Hall Vermont Business Magazine In a US District Court decision handed down June 29, Vermont Railway has won the primary points in its litigation against the town of Shelburne, allowing the railroad to proceed with plans to build a transloading facility for handling road salt on a 32-acre site just north of Shelburne village. In the decision, Judge William Sessions addressed suits filed by both parties in the case.

Raymond James pays $5.95 million for Jay Peak-related EB-5 involvement

Thu, 06/30/2016 - 4:49pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Commissioner Susan L Donegan announced today that the Department of Financial Regulation (DFR) has reached a $5.95 million settlement with the securities broker-dealer firm Raymond James and Associates Inc. As the result of its investigation of securities concerns in connection with the sale of interests in Vermont limited partnerships tied to Jay Peak-related EB-5 projects, DFR found multiple instances of non-compliance with supervisory requirements and Vermont law. Vermont will get $1.45 million and the rest is earmarked for investors who might be reimbursed.

Black and Hispanic drivers in Vermont pulled over most often, but white drivers most likely to have contraband

Thu, 06/30/2016 - 2:22pm -- tim

by Jon Reidel A new study analyzing traffic stops in Vermont shows that black and Hispanic drivers are pulled over, searched and arrested far more often than whites, yet white drivers are more likely to be carrying illegal contraband. The independent study of racial disparities in traffic stops and outcomes by Vermont State Police between July 1, 2010, and December 31, 2015, found that black drivers were pulled over most often, followed closely by Hispanics.

Dunne unveils plan to overhaul Vermont’s healthcare system

Thu, 06/30/2016 - 2:11pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Matt Dunne, Democratic candidate for governor, today unveiled a comprehensive plan for overhauling the state’s healthcare system. Dunne released his healthcare plan at an event at the State House, where he was joined by universal healthcare advocates, including Deb Richter, MD, and James Haslam, Executive Director of Rights & Democracy.

Attorney general warns of scam power disconnection calls

Thu, 06/30/2016 - 1:15pm -- tim

Vermont Busness Magazine Vermont business owners in Newport, Jay, and North Troy have reported receiving a call from a person claiming to be from the Vermont Electric Cooperative, the businesses’ electric utility, demanding immediate payment of an alleged delinquent bill. The caller threatens that electric power will be disconnected unless immediate payment is made. The caller had account numbers for some of the businesses. These calls are not from the electric utility – this is a scam call.

Roper: Time to sue climate alarmists?

Thu, 06/30/2016 - 1:12pm -- tim

by Rob Roper In response to a lawsuit by sixteen Democratic and one Independent attorneys general (Vermont’s Bill Sorrell among them) claiming that Exxon Mobil committed “fraud” in regard to that company’s non-alarmist position on climate change, a group of thirteen Republican AGs made a salient counterpoint in an open letter to all Attorneys General: “If minimization is fraud, exaggeration is fraud.” What’s sauce for the goose could turn out to be sauce for the gander.

Shumlin celebrates Vermont’s universal Pre-K law

Thu, 06/30/2016 - 12:41pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Governor Peter Shumlin today at Union Elementary School in Montpelier celebrated a law that guarantees access to pre-kindergarten for all three and four year olds in Vermont. The law, which the governor signed in 2014, goes into effect July 1 and will ensure all Vermont kids have access to Pre-K this coming school year. Vermont is the first state in America to guarantee access to Pre-K for all three and four year olds.

Guy Page: Divestment was never supported by pension beneficiaries

Thu, 06/30/2016 - 12:33pm -- tim

by Guy Page This spring advocates of divestment of fossil fuel stocks by public pensions, led by Governor Peter Shumlin, pushed the legislature to legally change the Vermont Pubic Investment Committee (VPIC) mandate from maximizing returns for beneficiaries to making toothless political statements with public assets. Thankfully the administrators of Vermont’s public pension, who have studied divestment thoroughly, determined that making politically reflexive decisions is not a responsible way to manage public workers’ retirement security.

Bipartisan Green Climate Fund amendment passes US Senate Appropriations Committee

Thu, 06/30/2016 - 12:08pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The Senate Appropriations Committee has passed an amendment to the State Department and Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill that would fund the Green Climate Fund, an essential part of the international climate agreement reached in Paris last fall. The amendment was cosponsored by Senators Tom Udall (D-NM), Susan Collins (R-ME), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH).