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House committee votes out Vermont jobs bill

first_imgThe House Committee on Commerce and Economic Development on Friday voted out its jobs bill with a favorable vote of 9-1-1. The bill assembles two dozen initiatives and focuses on the urgency of supporting business expansion and job creation in Vermont. It places special emphasis on enhancing the manufacturing and value-added agricultural sectors in Vermont.‘This bill sets forth a clear strategy for economic development and job growth,’ said Representative Bill Botzow, Chair of the Commerce Committee. ‘These are real, concrete programs we can employ even in times of constrained resources.’The bill enhances workforce training programs to help maximize opportunities for employees and provide a well trained pool of job applicants for employers. Workplace internships would be substantially expanded with state-wide coordination and administration. A tuition repayment program for graduates seeking jobs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics will encourage young people to stay or return to Vermont.Several elements expand and enhance programs to bring new capital into the market for business expansion in Vermont. A new initiative creates an Office of the Creative Economy will provide support to creative enterprises like software development, new media, and innovative commercial goods. The bill also streamlines the process for housing developers who include low and moderate income housing in designated neighborhoods.A substantial part of the bill focuses on expanding the value-added agriculture sector through support of the Farm-to-Plate initiative, local food coordinators for sales to institutional customers, skilled meat-cutter apprenticeships, and technical assistance for manufacturing compliance with good agricultural practices.The Committee worked closely with the House Committee on Agriculture to shape policy on the agricultural economy. The bill was drafted in collaboration with the new administration and was informed by testimony from a wide variety of businesses, agencies, industry groups, lenders, and advisors. The bill now heads to the House Ways and Means Committee for further consideration before heading to the full House for its approval.last_img read more

Under Maduro, Nearly all Venezuelans Live in Poverty

first_imgBy Noelani Kirschner/ShareAmerica September 02, 2020 The illegitimate regime of Nicolás Maduro has thrust 96 percent of Venezuelans into poverty, a new study found.The 2019–2020 National Survey of Living Conditions (ENCOVI, in Spanish), published by researchers at the Andrés Bello Catholic University in Caracas, shows that poverty levels in Venezuela spiked during 2019, officially rendering it the poorest country in Latin America and the Caribbean.In 2019, the average income in Venezuela was 72 cents per day. Based purely on income, the report says, 96 percent of Venezuelans live in poverty and 70 percent live in extreme poverty.“The results of ENCOVI are a sad reflection of the reality of Venezuela’s people,” said Interim President Juan Guaidó. “They are not isolated numbers, nor cold numbers, but the reflection of what we Venezuelans are suffering at this moment.”The study also calculated multidimensional poverty by looking at several other factors in addition to income, such as access to education and public services. By those measures, 64.8 percent of households in Venezuela live in poverty. In 2018, the report says, those numbers were 13 percent lower, illustrating how much further Maduro has sunk the Venezuelan economy in the past year.“Venezuela has moved considerably away from its South American peers, approaching the situation that some countries on the African continent have,” the report says.Only 3 percent of households in Venezuela are considered food secure, compared to 10 percent of households in 2018, according to the report. That means 97 percent of Venezuelans are unsure of where their next meal will come from or when it will arrive.last_img read more

Judge rules Florida counties must provide Spanish-language ballots for 2020 primaries

first_imgA judge has ruled that all Florida counties must provide Spanish-language ballots and voter registration cards in time for the 2020 primary elections.The ruling came in favor of Latino advocacy and civic engagement groups who filed a lawsuit against the state in 2018 for only providing voting materials in English.The groups reported that a majority of the Spanish-language speakers in Florida where left disenfranchised because 32 counties in Florida only provided voting materials in one language.The group also pointed to the federal Voting Rights Act which states that if a student is taught in an American school where the primary language is not English, as it is in Puerto Rico, the student can’t be denied the right to vote just because they cannot understand English.Over 30,000 Puerto Rican’s who are not proficient in English have moved to Florida between 2011 and 2015 the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey found.Many more Puerto Rican’s came to Florida after the devastation of Hurricane Maria.US District Court Chief Judge Mark Walker sided with the groups on Friday stating, that the English-only elections are in violation of the Voting Rights Act.Florida’s governor and secretary of state have started to process for the change which was applauded by Judge Walker, however, the judge believes the change needs to be made in time for the 2020 primary elections so all legal Florida residents have a fair opportunity to vote.last_img read more

USC will need to live up to the hype

first_imgKatie Chin | Daily TrojanIf the past year has taught us anything about USC football’s reputation, it’s that it doesn’t take much to get the hype train rolling.For a program with a historic legacy, proud alumni and perennially high expectations, last season marked a return to glory for the Trojans that not even their most ardent supporters could’ve expected after a 1-3 start: an eight-game winning streak to end the regular season, capped off with a thrilling Rose Bowl victory for the ages. And in the process, USC discovered that Sam Darnold, the quiet redshirt sophomore who started as the backup quarterback last year, may end up as this year’s Heisman Trophy winner and one of the greatest players to ever don the Cardinal and Gold. Just like that, USC — a program three years removed from crippling sanctions and two years removed from firing a head coach over a drinking problem — is suddenly back, and the nation agrees. In the preseason Coaches Poll released at the beginning of August, the Trojans came in fourth, expected to compete for a national title at the end of the season against the likes of Alabama, Ohio State and Florida State.To be clear, this is all good. Every national championship-contending team wants — no, needs — to be hyped up. And the Trojans deserve it. They were the best team in college football during the final eight weeks, and had Darnold started from week one, USC could have played for a title.Instead, they had to settle for a Rose Bowl win. Yes, it was cool and all — USC regaining its rightful place as the victor in The Granddaddy of Them All. But it was just a bowl win. In a season that restored the Trojans to national prominence, they didn’t even win the Pac-12 South, let alone a Pac-12 or national championship.So they’ll have to prove they’re worth the hype this season, and there will be some hurdles. Darnold will have to deal with the attention that comes with being the Heisman favorite and try to fend off any type of “sophomore slump.” Meanwhile, teams have had a full offseason to gameplan for him. Head coach Clay Helton, who was on the hot seat after a turbulent 1-3 start last season, needs at least a Pac-12 Championship to solidify his position.They won’t have the help of arguably their two most explosive contributors from last season in leading wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and Adoree’ Jackson, the Draymond Green of football. Both declared for the NFL Draft a year early, leaving USC with uncertainty over who will step up as the top receiver and how the gaping hole left by Jackson’s presence in all three facets of the game will be filled. And the offensive line, tasked with protecting Darnold, was riddled with injuries in spring camp and is still very much in flux.But for all the potential issues that might flare up, USC is uniquely equipped to handle them because of who it has under center. A good quarterback can mask a lot of things. It’s no coincidence that when Darnold took over the job last season, the problems the team had with Max Browne as quarterback disappeared. Helton’s in-game decisions were no longer questioned. Smith-Schuster, who struggled early on, became himself again when he started working with a new quarterback. The offensive line, which was awful in the opener against Alabama, was largely spared because Darnold is basically impossible to sack. Even the tight ends, who historically have not played a key role in USC’s offensive scheme, started thriving with redshirt sophomore Daniel Imatorbhebhe, junior Tyler Petite and Taylor McNamara recording more receptions.This is not an attempt to disparage Browne, who was put in a tough situation and a rough early schedule. It’s not even an effort to portray Darnold as some kind of wonder healer who can patch up every bump and bruise, because there will eventually come a point this season where he will face adversity.And when that time comes, he’ll learn that winning a Heisman is as much a team effort as it is an individual accomplishment, like how the Trojans wouldn’t have won the Rose Bowl without unsung heroes like defensive back Leon McQuay. So they can’t answer every question that comes up this season with, “We have Sam Darnold.” They’ll need junior wide receiver Deontay Burnett to build off his Rose Bowl hat trick and become their go-to man, and for unproven receivers like sophomore Michael Pittman Jr. and quarterback-turned-wideout redshirt junior Jalen Greene to slide into reliable roles. They’ll need junior cornerback Iman Marshall to take over Jackson’s spot on defense and sophomore cornerback Jack Jones to try to beat Darnold for the Heisman, as he said he would. And they’ll need Michael Brown to be a trustworthy placekicker as a redshirt freshman, since Matt Boermeester, last year’s Rose Bowl hero, is off the roster. Sam Darnold can throw a football very well, but he can’t throw and catch the ball at the same time, play on defense or make field goals.We could go up and down the depth chart and look at what each player needs to do, but the point is that this will be a two-way street: For Darnold to win the Heisman, USC needs to be a championship contender; and for USC to be a championship contender, Darnold needs to play at a Heisman level.And the thing is, like the Lakers or the Yankees in their respective sports, USC might be seen as an evil empire by fans, but the Trojans doing well is a good thing for college football — good for debate, good for attention, good for ratings. So, you can expect the playoff committee to give the Trojans every benefit of the doubt when it comes to the final rankings.Now, can we expect the Trojans to avoid another 2012-like debacle and meet their lofty expectations? That remains to be seen, but we’d much rather talk about championship hopes than sanctions or head coaching changes.Welcome back to school, folks. This is going to be a fun ride.last_img read more