May 29, 2003 – News at a glance

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Budget bill stalled
A political spat has bogged down budget negotiators in the Legislature. The House and Senate failed to agree Wednesday on the budget bill, and House Speaker Walter Freed told representatives not to come to work on Thursday. The impasse means the 2003 Legislature won’t adjourn until late this week. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Senate passes Act 60 reform
By a vote of 27 to 1, the Vermont Senate gave its approval on Wednesday to the compromise Act 60 reform bill. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Vermont cases of Lyme disease
Lyme disease is a potentially debilitating illness, transmitted to humans mainly by the deer tick. The vast majority of infections occur to our south, from Massachusetts to Pennsylvania. But now researchers have found more deer ticks in Vermont, and they’re concerned about the disease spreading northward. (Listen to the story online or read the transcript.) (VPR)

Candidates for Supreme Court
Governor Jim Douglas says he’s interviewed all of the candidates presented to him to fill a vacancy on the Vermont Supreme Court. But Douglas says he’s not certain that he’ll pick a candidate from the Judicial Nominating Board’s list. (VPR)

Dean campaign
Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean says a new federal tax cut package is part of a “radical agenda” to dismantle Social Security, Medicare and national defense. Dean says the tax cuts set the nation up for impossible choices. Meanwhile, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute has ranked Dean second among Democratic presidential candidates. The group ranked former Illinois Senator Carol Moseley Braun first. (AP)

Sanders meets with librarians
Vermont Congressman Bernie Sanders is meeting Thursday with librarians in California to discuss legislation that would amend the USA Patriot Act. Sanders also will be receiving an appreciation award at the BookExpo America event in Los Angeles. (AP)

Circ Highway public comments
The public will get to comment Thursday night on the latest study of the Circumferential Highway. In the new assessment the federal Environmental Protection Agency has dropped complaints that could have blocked construction of the Chittenden County highway. (AP)

Defeated school budgets
School boards in Colchester and Williston will meet Thursday night to discuss their options after voters turned down their school budgets for the third time this year. The school boards are encouraging the public to attend Thursday’s meetings to help them decide what should be cut from the spending proposals. (AP)

Connecticut River dams
An eight-member panel will study whether the state should buy eight hydroelectric dams on the Connecticut and Deerfield rivers. The panel will be headed by Administration Secretary Michael Smith. The proposal was one of the last issues legislative conference committee members decided last night. (AP)

Dog to be euthanized
Time is running out for a southern Vermont woman to turn over a dog that local officials say needs to be euthanized. Twenty-three-year-old Susan Shepard is being ordered to turn over her Labrador retriever-pit bull mix no later than Friday. (AP)

Montpelier fire
A structural engineer has determined that a historic Montpelier building must be demolished. The Main Street building was destroyed by fire over the weekend. Downtown merchants who were affected by the fire are hoping to reopen soon. The brick building housed a music store and hair salon, both of which are looking for new space. Businesses adjoining the burned building are also temporarily closed. (AP)

Texas marriage law
The governor of Texas has signed a law preventing Texas from legally recognizing same-sex unions that are formed in other states. The new law denies same-sex couples who were joined in a marriage or civil union in another state the right to claim any legal protection or benefit granted to married people in Texas. (AP)

Missing flags
Vermont State Police are investigating the theft of several flags in Warren over the Memorial Day weekend. Police say an American flag and POW flag reportedly were stolen off the flagpole at the Warren post office. Another flag was taken from the fire department. Anyone with information is asked to call the Vermont State Police barracks in Middlesex. (AP)

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