March 12, 2003 – News at a glance

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Racial profiling
A new report says that racial bias may be a factor in the arrests of African Americans in Vermont. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Act 60 reform bill
The House has rejected a Senate plan to include a school funding reform proposal in this year’s supplemental budget bill. Many House Republicans made it very clear they strongly oppose the approach taken by the Senate. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Renewable energy
Vermont lawmakers are considering a bill that would promote development of renewable energy. Advocates say the legislation would bring cleaner and more stable sources to Vermont’s energy mix. Others are concerned about the cost of renewable energy. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Education commissioner
A proposal in the Vermont Legislature could give the governor the authority to appoint the commissioner of education. (VPR)

Black Hawk crash
Pentagon officials say an Army Black Hawk helicopter crashed in upstate New York Tuesday. Officials say nine people were aboard; at least three of them have been transported to an area hospital for treatment. (AP)

Unemployment rate
Vermont’s unemployment rate is continuing to climb. The rate climbed half a point in January, to 4.1%. Unemployment in the state ranged from a low of 2.2% in Hartford to high of 8.4% in Newport. (AP)

Milk prices
Vermont’s two U.S. Senators want to know why milk prices at the store have stayed steady, but farmers are getting the lowest price for their milk in decades. Senator Patrick Leahy and James Jeffords have asked the General Accounting office to look at the issue. (AP)

Beer tax
A proposal to levy a two-cent tax on a bottle of beer to fund substance abuse programs in the state could face a difficult road in the Legislature. Efforts to raise the alcohol tax are under way in both the House and the Senate. (AP)

Education spending
The state of Vermont spends more money on its elementary and high school students than Maine or New Hampshire. The Census shows Vermont spent $8,706 per pupil in the 2000-2001 school year. Maine spent $8,178 and New Hampshire spent $7,065 per pupil. (AP)

Supervisory unions
State lawmakers are considering a bill that would reduce the number of supervisory unions from 62 to 15. Supervisory unions oversee the school districts in Vermont. The bill was introduced by state Representative Sylvia Kennedy (R-Chelsea). She wants to create one supervisory union for each county in Vermont except Chittenden County, which would have two. (AP)

Campaigns take a pause
Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean is cooling off his presidential campaign. The looming war is forcing Dean and the other Democratic hopefuls are rethinking their campaigns in the next few weeks. Even candidates’ few public events will be scrapped if war starts. (AP)

Sexton trial
A Vermont District Court judge is aiming for a July trial for Jacob Sexton, who is accused of killing a student from Saint Michael’s College in September 2000. Sexton, who is 21, is charged with second-degree murder. His lawyer wants to use an insanity defense at trial. (AP)

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