Founded in 1904, the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) is the oldest, nonpartisan professional organization of public officials in the United States. Members include the 50 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa and Puerto Rico. AttachmentSize Condos_white-paper-business-id-theft-0126121.pdf322.12 KB Secretary of State Jim Condos announces the release of a white paper, entitled ‘Developing State Solutions to Business Identity Theft: Assistance, Prevention and Detection Efforts by Secretary of State Offices.’ This report was completed by the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) Business Identity Theft Task Force. Secretary Condos, a member of this national task force, worked with other Secretaries of State, as well as outside stakeholders including cyber security and identity theft protection experts, law enforcement representatives, and consumer advocates to develop this helpful tool. Vermont Secretary of State, 2.1.2012 This report contains a series of basic recommendations that all states, including Vermont, can follow to help prevent the spread of business identity theft, including:Creating a statewide task forces to study business identity theft issuesDeveloping a legislative and procedural action plan for protecting state-held business recordsEstablishing a notification programs for businesses when public records are updated or changedImplementing clear steps for victim assistance and educationConducting outreach to raise awareness and urge prevention ‘Our office will be working with other Vermont stakeholders to determine the right actions for us to be taking. This is a very difficult crime to prosecute and many states, including Vermont, have not established a strong legal basis for these efforts,’ stated Condos. The NASS white paper on identity theft can be downloaded at www.nass.org(link is external).
Governor Peter Shumlin today named Bonnie Johnson-Aten, principal at Edmunds Middle School in Burlington since 2006, to the State Board of Education, joining the 10 member board on March 20. Johnson-Aten, who lives in Montpelier, replaces Fayneese Miller of South Burlington, whose term on the board expired in February. ‘Bonnie has years of on-the-ground experience in Vermont’s public school system, working with students from rural communities like Calais and East Montpelier, and currently in the Burlington district,’ Gov. Peter Shumlin said. ‘I’m pleased she has agreed to serve. Bonnie will bring a common-sense perspective to the board on the educational issues facing our schools.’‘I am very excited about having Bonnie Johnson-Aten join the State Board of Education,’ said Education Commissioner Armando Vilaseca. ‘Her extensive experience in education and perspective as a practitioner will serve us well.’She has previously worked as House Director at Champlain Valley High School, and Assistant Principal and Dean of Students at U-32 in Washington County. In addition, Johnson-Aten was Policy Analyst for former Gov. Howard Dean, and Diversity-Equity Coordinator for the Burlington School District. She received her Masters in Education from Union Institute & University at Vermont College in Montpelier. “I am very excited about the opportunity to serve at the state level. I believe that with the number of complex educational changes taking place, it is really smart of the Governor to appoint someone who is a practicing educator. I’m honored,’ Johnson-Aten said. More information about the State Board can be found at http://education.vermont.gov/new/html/mainboard.html(link is external). Governor’s office 3.16.2012
by Andrew Stein April 4, 2013 vtdigger.org A bipartisan group of doctors, patients and legislators gathered at the Statehouse on Wednesday to speak out against a law that gives the Green Mountain Care Board the power to regulate physician rates.Their overarching message?Change the law or the Shumlin administration and the board can expect a lawsuit.Dr. Dan McCauliffe of Rutland was one of a handful of doctors who spoke out on Wednesday at the Statehouse in opposition a key provision of Act 48. Photo by Andrew Stein‘ If the provision is not repealed, it’ s infringement on the economic freedoms of these doctors, and they may proceed to a legal challenge to protect their constitutional rights and the constitutional rights of patients,’ said Darcie Johnston, director of the anti-single payer group Vermonters for Health Care Freedom, who organized the press conference.The provision in question was written into Act 48, the landmark health care bill enacted in 2011 that set Vermont on a path towards a universal health care system and created the Green Mountain Care Board to control growing costs.The particular sections of the bill that Johnston and company take issue with give the board the power to ‘ set reasonable rates for health care professionals’ and establish that, ‘ except for cost-sharing, Vermonters shall not be billed any additional amount for health services covered by Green Mountain Care.’Green Mountain Care is the universal health care program that the Shumlin administration says it plans to implement in 2017. That is when the state could first receive a federal waiver to deviate from the requirements of the Affordable Care Act.Rep. Cynthia Browning, D-Arlington, proposed a bill this session that would have limited the board’ s authority to regulate rates. Specifically it would have prohibited the board from interfering ‘ with the ability of any Vermont resident to enter into a voluntary financial arrangement with the Vermont-licensed health care professional of his or her choice.’The bill was turned into an amendment, and the House voted it down.‘ I think it’ s very important that Vermonters have choice,’ Browning said. ‘ We have choice in many of our school systems, and I think we should have choice in health care. I had not earlier realized that the Green Mountain Care Board was given the power to regulate the rates not just of providers who are asking for reimbursement within their system, but even of providers who are not participating.’A group of physicians support Browning’ s bill, including Bob Emmons, a Burlington psychiatrist with 24 years of experience. He warned that the board’ s ability to regulate rates could affect the way physicians practice medicine.‘ The scientific evidence available does not demonstrate that the move from big insurance to big government will help physicians to take better care of their patients,’ he said. ‘ When the state controls how doctors are paid, it opens the door for the state to use an elaborate system of financial rewards and punishments to manipulate the clinical decision-making of doctors.’While Emmons said he would like to work out this issue by talking to state officials, he is not averse to settling the matter in court.‘ It seems to be difficult to get people in state government to change course based on feedback from physicians,’ he said. ‘ It would seem to me it’ s unconstitutional for the state to interfere with the right of two individuals to enter into a private financial arrangement.’The Green Mountain Care Board has not exercised the authority to regulate provider rates. Board Chair Anya Rader Wallack said the board is cautiously moving forward with this power and is first researching variations in the marketplace.Wallack did say, however, that it is a crucial tool for controlling health care costs.‘ I think it’ s going to be a very important mechanism for us and the state in the long run to make health care pricing more transparent and more understandable and reasonable across providers, and to me that’ s a really central goal of the law,’ she said. ‘ I think it would be a mistake to do away with it. Our approach to this has been cautious and to remain that way, but the underlying authority to address what is now a totally irrational system is important.’Wallack, who had a large hand in crafting Act 48, also supports the provision that limits providers from billing Vermonters for additional amounts under Green Mountain Care. The idea, she said, is to ensure that providers don’ t rip off Vermonters.
State Treasurer Beth Pearce announced that approximately $25 million of State of Vermont Citizen Bonds will be offered for sale on November 4. This number could be increased depending on demand from Vermont investors. The opportunity to purchase the general obligation bonds will be made available first to Vermont residents and businesses. Bonds may be purchased in $1,000 increments and must be bought through a registered broker/dealer. The bonds’ maturities will range from one to 20 years. The week of October 28, the Preliminary Official Statement for this offering will be available on the State Treasurer’s web site at BuyBonds.Vermont.gov. The offering is named: State of Vermont General Obligation Bonds, 2013 Series A (Vermont Citizen Bonds). Investors interested in the Vermont Citizen Bonds should contact their registered broker/dealer. The Treasurer’s office does not sell the bonds. Bonds are offered through a registered broker/dealer who is a part of the selling group. Morgan Stanley will serve as senior managing underwriter for this sale and BofA Merrill Lynch, Citi and J.P. Morgan will serve as co-managers. Seven additional firms will participate in the selling group. Those firms are: Fidelity, M.R. Beal & Company, Oppenheimer & Co, Raymond James, Rockfleet Financial Services, TD Securities and Wells Fargo. On the ‘Buy Bonds’ web site, interested buyers may view firm contact phone numbers through a printed announcement.Under no circumstances should this announcement of bond issuance be considered an offer to sell or a solicitation to offer to buy, nor shall there be any sales of the bonds in any jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation, or sales would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of any such jurisdiction. The bonds will be offered for sale by means of an Official Statement.
Governor Peter Shumlin today announced the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation will be awarding $504,279 in grants to 15 municipalities and non-profit organizations across Vermont for recreational trail projects. Grants are provided through the Recreational Trails Program, and more money is on the way.’ Recreational Trails Program funds come from the Federal Highway Administration, helping to improve livability for Vermonters.’ Funds may be used for the development, rehabilitation and maintenance of trails and trailhead facilities for non-motorized, motorized, and/or multiple compatible recreational trail uses. ‘ “Vermont’s outdoor recreation opportunities are so important to our way of life and our economy. These grants provide opportunities for Vermonters to spend more time on our trails, encouraging outdoor activity and healthy living,’ said Governor Shumlin.’ ‘By improving access to public lands and waters, these grants also support both local tourism and recreation businesses,’ said Forests, Parks and Recreation Commissioner Michael Snyder. ‘ About half of the grant funds are awarded to VAST (Vermont Association of Snow Travelers) for grooming, signage and safety patrol of the statewide system of snowmobile trails, with the other half divided between fourteen other project sponsors in increments of $20,000 or less. Sponsors are required to contribute at least 20% of the total project costs.’ Applications are reviewed and ranked by a five-member citizens’ committee based on rigorous criteria, and only the highest priority projects get funded.’ Fortunately, funding for this important program is made available to Vermont on an annual basis and the next grant funding cycle is ready to begin. Municipalities and non-profit organizations can now apply for Recreational Trails Program grant funds for fall 2014 and spring 2015 construction seasons. Applications are available online through the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation’s website at http://www.vtfpr.org(link is external) . The deadline for grant applications to be submitted to the Department is February 28, 2014.
Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) and Congressman Peter Welch (D-Vermont), who have advocated for additional home heating aid as near-record winter cold grips Vermont, Thursday announced the federal release of an additional $2.5 million in heating assistance to the state.Leahy, Sanders and Welch have long championed the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Thursday released $2,536,734 to Vermont, bringing the total federal funding for the state to $19,139,734 for fiscal year 2014. In a joint statement, Leahy, Sanders and Welch said: ‘With families across Vermont struggling to heat their homes during the brutally cold winter months, any relief is welcome, and we have pushed for this, and more. But more must be done, and we will continue to press for additional support for LIHEAP to ensure Vermonters are able to heat their homes.’ With cuts to LIHEAP in recent years, the delegation has continued to fight to restore funding. In December, Leahy and Sanders sent a letter to President Obama urging him to fund LIHEAP at no less than $4.7 billion in fiscal year 2015. Welch sent a similar letter in late January. Vermonters seeking home heating assistance may visit the website of the Department of Children and Families at http://dcf.vermont.gov/esd/fuel_assistance(link is external).WASHINGTON (THURSDAY, Jan. 30, 2014) ‘congressional delegation
President Karen Gross has announced that she will step down after eight years as President of Southern Vermont College effective October 1, 2014, to return to Washington, DC, where she spent 2012 working at the US Department of Education. The Board of Trustees of the Bennington college will announce a search firm and search committee within the next month, ensuring a smooth transition. A new president is expected to be named this fall.Chair of the Board of Trustees Deborah Wiley said, “On behalf of the Board of Trustees and the entire SVC community, we extend our heartfelt thanks to Karen for her passionate leadership. She leaves the College in excellent fiscal shape, with innovative programs in place, remarkable faculty and staff and growing student success in terms of retention and graduation rates.”President Gross said, “Southern Vermont College is proof positive that small in size does not equate to small in vision or accomplishments. I am proud of all that SVC has achieved over the past eight years. I am proud to have been the leader of a thriving institution that is so student centered and deeply committed to student success.”“I will miss the SVC community as I return to Washington to serve our nation and improve educational opportunity for all students across the educational pipeline, continuing the work I did previously at the Department of Education,” she added. “SVC will always be with me and our work together will inform all that I do in the future.”During President Gross’s presidency, the College has revitalized its mission and purpose, enabling the College to focus on a transformational educational experience for students through high touch, project-based engagement and preparation for the workplace of the future. Over the past eight years, the College expanded enrollment, improved retention and increased diversity. In 2011, the College established the Pipelines into Partnership Mountaineer Scholars program, a prize-winning initiative that supports access to and success in college for vulnerable students, many of whom are first generation and Pell eligible. Last year, the College announced the formation of a Veterans’ Scholar Program to welcome Veterans as SVC students, a program that is launching in September 2014.SVC has introduced new and expanded its existing healthcare programs that include Nursing and Radiologic Sciences and Healthcare Management. The College launched a new, four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program to educate nursing professionals and has developed a four-year Radiologic Sciences program, all designed to ensure students are prepared for the complexities of healthcare in the 21st-century. The new Nursing BSN degree program is provisionally approved by the Vermont State Board of Nursing and expects full accreditation this fall. The Radiologic Sciences program is JRCERT accredited.In addition, healthcare students are taught in state-of-the-art simulation and radiology labs housed in the Healthcare Education Center that opened in 2012. During President Gross’s tenure at the College, Hunter Hall—home to 110 students with open space for student activities, offices and a café—was constructed. The library, student dining hall, and campus store were all renovated. More recently, the College acquired the Gatehouse at the base of the College’s roadway; this building, part of the original Everett Estate, is being developed into a Welcome Center and Admissions Office, enhancing the College’s presence in the Town of Bennington.The faculty and staff have grown during President Gross’s term, including the hiring of many doctorally prepared faculty members across the disciplines. The Center for Teaching and Learning was improved to provide counseling, tutoring and advising for students as well as reflecting on the study and sharing of teaching and learning best practices. The College’s award-winning, first-year program, Quest for Success, was established to provide civic learning programs for new SVC students in community projects, consistent with the growth of the College’s commitment to community engagement that led to its being awarded the Community Engagement Classification designation by the Carnegie Foundation, one of only several such campuses in Vermont.Under her leadership, NCAA DIII athletics has grown and flourished on campus. The College was one of the original members of the New England Collegiate Conference, and many of the College’s now 11 teams have made it into the conference playoffs each season, and several teams have garnered regional and national rankings, including entry into NCAA and other regional post-season tournaments. Many of the College’s athletes have won conference and NCAA individual awards. The athletic success at SVC has fostered increased student and community engagement, and cheering the SVC teams on has become a campus and community-wide practice.President Gross has also been a tireless and successful fundraiser. The College received the largest gifts in its history during her presidency, and the endowment has grown considerably. Importantly, the College has remained fiscally buoyant over the last seven years, a tribute to her work and that of her team, particularly in challenging financial times.President Gross is also a prolific writer with opinion pieces in “Inside Higher Ed,” “The Hechinger Report” and “National Journal,” among other publications. She has her own blog on “Huffington Post” where she comments on issues affecting higher education. She is a frequent speaker at educational forums, most recently addressing ways to improve student financial aid to facilitate access to and success in college for vulnerable students.Founded in 1926, Southern Vermont College(link is external) offers a career-enhancing, liberal arts education with 16 academic degree programs for approximately 500 students. SVC recognizes the importance of educating students for the workplace of the twenty-first century and as successful leaders in their communities. SVC’s athletic teams are part of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III and the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC). The College is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges and has been designated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as a Community-Engagement Classification institution.Source: SVC 5.19.2014
University of Vermont,The agreement between The University of Vermont and the United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America, Local 267 (“UE”) has been ratified by the UE membership, according to a statement released Friday evening by UVM. The union represents service and maintenance workers at UVM. The new deal includes an overall pay increase of 8 percent over three years.“The new contract between the UE and UVM is a fair and mutually satisfactory one, and we are pleased that the membership has now completed the ratification process,” said Wanda Heading-Grant, Vice President for Human Resources, Diversity and Multicultural Affairs. “As I have said before, our service and maintenance workers are essential to the successful operation of the University. Completing the bargaining process represents yet another positive step in our relationship.”The contract with UE calls for an overall pay increase of 8 percent over three years, which breaks down as follows: FY15: 2.25% (retroactive to July 1); FY16: 2.75%; FY17: 3%. To maintain parity, non-represented staff and non-represented faculty also will receive an upward adjustment of 0.25% for FY 2015 retroactive to July 1. This does not include faculty in the College of Medicine, who are compensated on a separate funding formula.As announced earlier this year, a two-year contract agreement was reached in August between the University and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, which represents police officers, service officers, and dispatchers. The Teamsters FY15 increase also will be adjusted to 2.25 percent retroactive to July 1, 2014.The complex array of compensation changes for multiple groups of employees will appear in paychecks within the calendar year.Bargaining continues through formal mediation with United Academics regarding a contract for those full-time faculty represented by the union.
House Speaker Shap Smith today announced tri-partisan support for public hearings to investigate the cost of gasoline in Northwestern Vermont, which can be up to 30 or 40 cents higher than prices found in other parts of the state. The hearings will be held on Thursday, January 22 from 5–7 pm in Room 11 of the State House. According to vermontgasprices.com, the average price of gasoline in Vermont today is $2.48 per gallon. The lowest prices were $2.15 in Troy, Barton and Jay in the Northeast Kingdom; $2.17 in Brattleboro; and $2.19 in White River Junction. The highest recorded in Chittenden County is $2.69.“Folks who live or travel around Northwestern Vermont ask why filling up at the pump is so expensive,” explained Speaker Smith. “Although fuel prices have dropped nationally and across Vermont, the cost reduction has not kept pace in our Northwest communities. I have instructed the House Transportation and Commerce Committees to hold a public hearing to investigate this matter and report back with recommendations for next steps.”The Chair of House Transportation, Rep. Pat Brennan, and the Chair of House Commerce, Rep. Bill Botzow, held hearings in 2013 to investigate why consumers in Northwest Vermont paid significantly more for gasoline than consumers in other parts of the state. While fuel prices have declined nationally since the 2013 hearings, regional cost disparities still exist throughout Vermont.“Gas prices in Northwestern Vermont are out of balance,” noted Rep. Pat Brennan of Colchester. “Price per gallon can vary anywhere from 20 to 40 cents. Our constituents’ concerns have compelled us to take another look at this important issue.”Rep. Botzow noted the price difference he sees during weekly commutes from Bennington County to more northern counties. “Competition is key,” Botzow acknowledged. “We want to make sure that Vermonters are treated fairly and the economic engines of Vermont are running smoothly.”Rep. Chris Pearson also lent his support to the hearings: “Those of us in Northwestern Vermont consistently pay more at the pump, and I look forward to working with legislative leaders and the Attorney General to see if we can figure out how to end what seems to me like price manipulation,” he concluded.The gas hearings will be held at 5:00pm on Thursday, January 22 in Room 11 of the State House. Details can be obtained by contacting Shirley Adams at [email protected](link sends e-mail).
by Erin Forbes, DVM Vermont Veterinary Medical Association April is Prevent Lyme Disease in Dogs Month. Most people have heard of Lyme disease and know how prevalent it is in Vermont, but may not know much about it. Lyme disease is spread through deer tick bites and caused by a bacteria called borrelia burgdorferi. This disease can cause your dog to be lame, lethargic, and not want to eat. In more severe cases, it can lead to kidney disease and rarely death. Preventing Lyme disease through vaccines and preventatives is the best way to keep your dog healthy.Knowing the signs of Lyme disease is crucial as immediate treatment can prevent many of the complications associated with the disease. One of the first signs seen are signs of joint pain. This includes an unusual gait, favoring one leg, difficulty walking, or walking with an arched back. Your dog may be sensitive to being petted or may cry out when jumping. Other signs include a fever, acting tired, or not wanting to eat. Some dogs develop kidney problems and will pee and drink more than normal, start vomiting, or develop acute kidney failure and stop peeing altogether.The best way to keep your pet from getting sick is preventing Lyme disease. There are three main ways you can do this: using flea and tick prevention, getting your dog vaccinated, and checking your dog for ticks whenever she comes inside.Inspecting your dog every day for ticks is crucial in prevention. In most cases, a tick must be attached for 36 hours to transmit the disease, so if you check every day for ticks you should be able to find any attached ones (that are large enough to be seen) and remove it. Removing a tick from a dog is best done using a tick removal device or tweezers. Grasp the body with tweezers and gently pull the tick out. You want to remove the entire tick when doing this.Flea and tick preventatives are the best way to keep your dog from contracting Lyme. There are many different types of flea and tick prevention, including topical, oral, and spray products. Topical products are the ones you put on the back of the neck and generally last for one month at a time. Oral products are treats that you give once a month or every 3 months, depending on the brand. There are sprays available, however, these generally need to be applied every day. Sometimes it is good to use these as a supplement–if you are planning on taking your dog in a heavily wooded area, applying the spray before the hike is a great idea. However, you should still use a monthly preventative. Ask your veterinarian for recommendations for preventatives as there are many out there and some work better than others.Dogs can be vaccinated against Lyme disease as well. This is an annual vaccine and can help prevent your dog from getting sick. If you are interested in this vaccine talk to your veterinarian about it.Please contact your veterinarian for advice about prevention, vaccines, and any other questions about Lyme disease and your dog’s health.Celebrating 120 years of service in Vermont! The Vermont Veterinary Medical Association (VVMA), founded in 1898, is a professional organization of 370 veterinarians dedicated to compassionate animal care and quality medicine.