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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Vermont Business Magazine The following message was shared with the University of Vermont community at about 10:30 am Thursday morning. A construction worker died after an early morning fall at a new residence hall construction site. The worker's name has not yet been released.
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).
Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets (VAAFM) has announced its adjusted fee schedule, from register and inspect lime products (up $10) to maple processor's fee (2,500 gallons or more for repackaging, up $50) to certification of seed potatoes (up $10 plus $1 per acre) to wild plants – ginseng licensing (up $15) to meat retail large vendor (up $40) to frozen dessert manufacturing (up $5) to many more. The Legislature approved the new fee schedule and it will go into effect Friday, July 1, 2016. VAAFM manages more than 50 fee-based programs. Most, but not all, fees increased. The Agency said in a statement that these services provide value to Vermonters, in accordance with the Agency’s mission: to support the growth and viability of agriculture in Vermont while protecting the working landscape, human health, animal health, plant health, consumers and the environment. The new fee schedule is available at the end of this article.
Vermont Business Magazine In May the Bennington Select Board adopted three new business and residential incentive programs that will directly impact the community’s downtown core. The three programs use funds already earmarked for economic and community development efforts, but put a fine point on a broad brush as to how a portion of these funds can be applied.
Vermont Business Magazine While gold prospecting is a fun summertime activity, the Agency of Natural Resources reminds the public that while anyone can pan for gold by hand, a state permit is required when using a sluice box. Recently, Environmental Enforcement Officers and Game Wardens made contact with several recreational mineral (gold) prospectors in and around streams in southeastern Vermont. Most prospectors were complying with Vermont law. However, three people were issued Environmental Citations for using sluice boxes in streams without a permit from the agency.