Lawmakers consider bill to require paid sick leave

Vermont lawmakers are expected to consider legislation this session that would require businesses to provide paid sick leave.

Supporters say the legislation is about more than workers’ rights. It’s also about public health, worker safety and child well-being.

Proponent Stephanie Hainley of the Main Street Alliance said no one should have to choose between health and the ability to support oneself and their family

A paid sick leave bill failed to pass during the 2014 legislative session after opposition from business groups.

Employer Jeff Larson told Vermont Public Radio he offers his employees paid sick days, but he doesn’t feel a mandate is needed.

Regulators’ hearing on pipeline extension delayed

Vermont utility regulators have delayed hearings on the second phase of the Vermont Gas Systems project to extend a natural gas line south to Addison County and under Lake Champlain to serve a New York paper mill.

Vermont Gas had asked the Public Service Board to delay hearings on phase two of the project, which would run from Middlebury to Ticonderoga, New York.

The company made the request last month after it announced its cost for phase one was running about $154 million, up from an initial estimate of $86 million.

Vermont Public Radio reports the cost increase could cause the board to reassess its approval of phase 1 of the pipeline project.


Crime rate drops 15 percent; violent crime down 20 percent

Providence police say crime rates in 2014 were down significantly compared with the previous year.

Mayor Angel Taveras, Commissioner Steven Paré and Police Chief Colonel Hugh Clements said Friday overall crime rates fell more than 15 percent from 2013 to 2014.

They said the rate of violent crime, which includes murder, sex offenses, robbery and aggravated assault, fell by 20 percent.

Taveras said the Department of Public Safety and police department can be proud of their work to reduce crime.

Taveras is leaving office after a single term following an unsuccessful run for governor.

His successor, fellow Democrat Jorge Elorza, has said he intends to keep Paré and Clements in their jobs.


Governor’s daughter engaged to be married

Gov. Deval Patrick’s daughter is getting married.

Patrick and his wife Diane announced Friday that their daughter Katherine Wintersmith Patrick is engaged to Alisha Marie Lemieux of New Bedford.

Katherine Patrick is a graduate of Smith College and is studying for her doctorate in psychology at the Wright Institute in Berkeley, California. Lemieux is studying for her bachelor’s degree in sociology at Mills College in Oakland, California.

Patrick said the couple lives in the San Francisco Bay area.

It’s the second engagement Patrick has celebrated while governor. His daughter Sarah Baker Patrick Morgese was married in 2011 to Marco Morgese and gave birth to a son in 2013.

Governor’s Council grants two more clemency requests

The Governor’s Council has granted two more clemency requests, approving pardons for two convicts. The council voted 7-1 on Friday to pardon True-See Allah, who was convicted in 1991 of armed assault with attempt to murder for his role in a shooting that left a man paralyzed. He was not the shooter.

The panel approved Thomas Schoolcraft’s pardon on a 5-3 vote. Schoolcraft had received a suspended sentence and two years’ probation after being convicted of breaking and entering in 2006.


Tesla Motors plans to open another Supercharger site

Tesla Motors Inc. is opening a Supercharger site in Brattleboro, Vermont, where drivers of the company’s electric cars can recharge.

The Brattleboro Reformer reports the eight-bay charging station has been built in the Price Chopper parking lot. Tesla is waiting on its permit to attach the charging stations to the electric grid.

The Supercharger can charge a battery in one of the company’s Model S electric vehicles, halfway, in about 20 minutes.

Tesla has been adding to its Supercharger network since 2012. It has about 150 charging stations in the United States and hopes to have a station every 120-150 miles in the next few years.

– From news service reports

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