Michael Sirotkin

Recent Posts

State will soon file waiver to bypass health exchange for small business

MONTPELIER — Legislation to allow small businesses to continue bypassing Vermont Health Connect is headed to Gov. Peter Shumlin’s desk to be signed into law. The Shumlin administration sought legislation allowing the state to request a waiver from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services because the state’s online health insurance marketplace launched without the expected functionality to enroll small business customers. The Senate passed the House version of the bill Thursday by a unanimous voice vote. Sen. Michael Sirotkin, D-Chittenden, speaking on the Senate floor, told his colleagues the legislation is needed because the federal government set a deadline for small businesses to enroll through Vermont Health Connect by Jan. 1, 2017. Continue Reading →

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State start-up costs for legal pot: $2.2 million

MONTPELIER — State officials estimate the state’s start-up cost for legal marijuana to be $2.2 million dollars, paid for by future receipts, or what one lawmaker referred to as “deficit spending.”

On Tuesday, the Senate Finance Committee took testimony on what would be needed for the state to implement legal cannabis, with a target legalization date of Jan. 1, 2018. At $920,000, the largest of the expenditures would be for the Vermont Department of Taxes, which would be charged with developing a system to collect excise taxes from distributors. Also included is $500,000 for the Department of Health to do educational outreach to teens, including specific efforts to reach out to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered teens. According to the Vermont Youth Risk Behavior Survey, these populations are more likely to use marijuana than their peers. Continue Reading →

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