Speaker insists Vermont Legislature will go home May 7

first_imgAnne Galloway is editor of vtdigger.org by Anne Galloway, www.vtdigger.org(link is external) April 27, 2011 Spring is in the air, and the internal atmosphere of the Golden Bubble is a little odd at the moment. Lawmakers have finished their hardest exams (the budget, tax and health care bills), but they still have all these assignments left that must be finished in order to avoid getting an incomplete. That doesn’t mean there won’t be changes made to bills in conference or that there won’t be differences of opinion over legislation that is still in motion on the House and Senate sides over the next 10 days.But, Smith said, ‘I don’t think we’ve seen the bill that could blow up.’The bills still in the hopper most likely to launch a volley once they’re in play: telecomm, energy, recidivism and the jobs bill. Several issues attached to those bills, namely a retroactive current use penalty reversal for a logging violation by the national corporation Plum Creek, and the governor’s plan to fund the Clean Energy Development Fund using a grant program instead of a tax credit could be trouble.Smith says it all comes down to timing. He’d like to get the energy and jobs bills out, but he seemed to indicate there could be a few incompletes in the offing. ‘Time is getting short,’ Smith said. ‘Energy is currently on the list. I hope it will pass.’There are still a number of items to check off the list, including the medical marijuana dispensaries bill (passed by the Senate, passed out of House Human Services on Tuesday, 8-2), the public records bill (expected to come out of Senate Government Operations today), the open meeting bill (passed by the Senate, now in the House), the palliative care bill (passed by the House, now in the Senate), and the childcare worker unionization bill. The latter, which Smith supports, is expected out of committee next Monday, whether it will meet muster before adjournment is an open question.Smith said he will ask lawmakers in the House to come in on Monday, which they typically have off, in order to make the May 7 deadline.Them’s the rulesThe House GOP, is small (48 members) and consequently unable to turn bills, but at the beginning of the session, Rep. Don Turner, R-Milton, minority leader, and Rep. Patti Komline, R-Dorset, assistant minority leader, made two demands of the Democratic leadership that have had lasting impact. One was a requirement that every bill come with a ‘fiscal note,’ a rundown of any budgetary impacts a piece of legislation might have from the Vermont Joint Fiscal Office.The second is a 24-hour rule for all legislation that comes to the floor. By rule, that’s the standard time in which legislation must be presented to members. Typically, though, as is the case in the Senate, rules are suspended in the interest of expediency. Turner has said members need a full day to read bills before they come to a vote.The House GOP has said, in no uncertain terms, that it will not allow the House Democratic leadership to suspend the rules to rush bills through the same day. Period. And, because the House needs a three-quarters majority to do so, it can’t move to suspend without GOP votes.A case in point? The health care reform bill, H.202, which was held up today because the House GOP wouldn’t suspend the rules to allow the bill to go to conference committee.House Speaker Shap Smith said his schedule has built-in the 24-hour rule in place.Turner is unshakable on this score. If it gets late in the session, and rule suspensions are called for to meet the May 7 deadline for adjournment, too bad. They remain immutable. ‘The Speaker controls the schedule,’ Turner said. ‘If bills sat in committee for three to four months we get blamed ‘ then we hear you didn’t suspend the rules, so it’s your fault.’Both the House and the Senate have named ‘conferees,’ or the representatives for conference committee.Another sticking point between the Speaker and the minority party is likely to be the appointees for the health care conference committee. Turner wants to make sure there is a GOPer in the mix, and he seems to think the Speaker won’t name a Republican on the committee. (Smith has yet to name the members.)Turner is ready to invoke the Mason’s legislative manual and call for a point of order if the Speaker makes that omission.Is the Speaker required to name a member of the minority party on conference committees? No, according to Smith. Will he name a Republican to the committee? ‘Someone from their team should have voted for the bill,’ is his ready response. Mason’s rules are trumped by the practice of the House, and in practice, lawmakers from the minority party who voted for the bill are appointed. Problem is, not a single member of the House GOP cast a yea for H.202. Smith said to expect a skirmish over that one.Turner points to an exception in 2009 when Rep. John Morley was named to the budget conference, even though he voted against it. Smith said he broke with practice that one time because he needed someone on the committee who could communicate directly with the administration ‘ the year the House overrode the budget over Republican Gov. Jim Douglas’ veto.Here’s a list of the conferees for the money bills.AppropriationsHouse: Heath, Johnson, Acinapura (R)Senate: Kitchel, Sears, Snelling (R)Miscellaneous taxHouse: Ancel, Branagan (R), SharpeSenate: Cummings, MacDonald, Ashe (P/D)Capital construction billHouse: Emmons, Myers (R), HooperSenate: Harwell, Mazza, Benning (R) last_img read more

Review: First Ascent Heyburn 2.0 Ski Pant

first_imgBorn in 1900, Eddie Bauer the man invented the down jacket, held over 20 patents on sporting equipment in the 1930s, and – for better or worse – single handedly popularized badminton in America. Born in 1920, Eddie Bauer the company started as a tennis shop, outfitted the U.S. Army, and equipped the first American ascent of K2 and Everest among other expeditions. The company was sold and bought several times over during the freewheeling 1980s, and eventually went bankrupt in 2009. Rising from the ashes, Eddie Bauer the company sought to regain its mountaineering and expedition heritage with the launch of sub-brand First Ascent, dedicated to producing technical outerwear for the most hardcore alpinists and adventurers in the world, many of which they hired as ambassadors and consultants.Getting back to one’s roots can be liberating – the philosophy and plan are all laid out by past generations, all you have to do is execute a modern version – and it has paid off for Eddie Bauer. The First Ascent line was created by athletes, for athletes, a trite cliché in the outdoor gear market for sure, but significant in this case none the less. Re-engineered from the ground up, the Heyburn 2.0 ski pant is a fine example of the commitment to its technical outerwear past and the attention the First Ascent team pays to detail.First Ascent Heyburn 2.0 Pant Review from Summit Publishing on Vimeo.The Heyburn’s exterior is made from a waterproof 70-denier shell and rates at 10K/10K – without getting too technical, this means its pretty good at keeping water out while letting moisture escape – and finished with DWR for extra water resistance -ness-ability. Two cargo pockets flank each leg and the hand pockets are fleece lined for comfort. Zippered vents in the inner thigh help regulate temps on the slopes and the boot gaiters are adjustable to accommodate any size ski or snowboard boot and still keep the snow out. These are crucial features, but the Heyburn really shines when you take a closer look at the little details that matter, but may not be noticed at first.Take the waist for example: with the adjustable, stretch heavy duty Velcro inner belt, you can cinch the waist to optimize the fit. The seat of the pant extends up the lower back and is doubly stiff to add extra protection against the elements, especially for snowboarders who spend a lot of time on their backside. Small loops integrate with a jacket’s powder skirt so nothing can get in, even when you scorpion into a tree well on a powder day. The bottom cuffs are lined with Cordura to prevent any fraying and the insides are double lined so they won’t get cutup by boot buckles, giving the pants extra life and more bang for the buck. Added insulation at the seat and knees keep you warm when riding the lifts or waiting for your buddies at the lodge. The fit is relaxed, but not so baggy that it gets in your way and the color options range from conservative navy blue to howling neon green.Individually, these features are nice, but throw them all together and they are great. It’s great to have a warm butt and watch water bead up on your thighs on a chair lift; it’s great to not have snow down your crack when you strap on your bindings; it’s great to not have to roll up your cuffs so they don’t get ruined by a mix of dirt, gravel, and salt while grabbing a slice in the village. Basically it boils down to having a piece of gear you don’t have to worry about: like a boxing referee, if you notice it, it’s not doing its job. You won’t notice the Heyburn pant while your riding, and that’s a good thing. If you choose the limeade color, however, people will surely notice you.$199; eddiebauer.comlast_img read more

T&T head coach hints at role for retiring Kenwyne Jones

first_imgPORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) – Trinidad and Tobago head coach, Dennis Lawrence, has left the door open for retiring national forward Kenwyne Jones to play a role in the country’s development programme.Speaking following Jones’ shock retirement from the game earlier this week, Lawrence said the 33-year-old possessed an abundance of experience which could be used to help develop the new generation of players.“It’s not just about being on the football pitch. People play different roles and sometimes it’s off the football pitch,” Jones told the Guardian newspaper here. prolificKenwyne has an undisputed amount of experience and it’s something he can pass on to this generation so as long as Kenwyne is around and willing, he will always have a part to play with me because I think we cannot afford to let these type of people walk out of our football.”Jones played 89 times for T&T, scoring 23 goals, and was involved in the national team as recently as their failed qualifying campaign for next year’s FIFA World Cup in Russia.He was also a member of the historic squad which qualified for the 2006 World Cup in Germany, while suiting up for three CONCACAF Gold Cups.The six-foot, two-inch striker played extensively in the English Premier League, representing the likes of Sunderland and Stoke City, and also turned out for Bournemouth and Cardiff City in short stints.Lawrence said it was this type of quality record that was hard to ignore.“He played the highest level you could get in world football. This guy has been involved in the English Premier League, he’s been at a World Cup and he’s done himself no in-favours whatsoever; so I think he’s done well and I’m delighted for him,” said Lawrence, who has played alongside Jones in the past during his time as a national defender.“We need to focus on every positive thing he’s done for himself, he’s done for T&T football and let that be the legacy that Kenwyne has left.”last_img read more