Angela Evancie / VPR

Legislative leaders are ready to pull the plug on Vermont’s health insurance exchange if a key component isn’t working by May 31. But Gov. Peter Shumlin doesn’t think the fate of Vermont Health Connect should rest entirely on the new deadline, even though he’s the one who set it.

Shumlin issued the ultimatum last month, saying that if Vermont Health Connect couldn’t meet two key milestones, then he’d begin the transition to a federal version of the online insurance exchange.

Audio for this story will be posted at approximately 11 a.m. on Wednesday, April 22

Angela Evancie / VPR/file

It’s been a long, busy legislative session in Montpelier, and it’s not over yet. A few months ago, we tagged along with two freshmen state lawmakers — elected just last fall — on one of their first commutes to the Capitol. Recently, we talked to them over lunch about how they’ve been working to change Montpelier — and how it's changing them.

Nerthuz / iStock

The Vermont Crime Information Center has a wide range of responsibilities: maintaining the state's sex offender registry, overseeing marijuana dispensaries, running criminal record checks, and more. 

What's more, in the past several years, a lot under the VCIC's purview has been changing. The sex offender registry has gone through big changes, and has come up short in state audits of its accuracy.  And the arrival of medical marijuana dispensaries has added a complex new layer of oversight to the center's responsibilities.

Vermont’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell 0.1 percent in March, to 3.8 percent.

Nationally, the March unemployment rate stood at 5.5 percent.

While the number of employed Vermonters increased by 250 from February to March, the state’s civilian labor force declined by 250 during that period - and fell by 700 from March 2014 to March 2015.

According to the Vermont Department of Labor, the jobless rates for the state’s 17 labor market areas ranged from 2.9 in the Burlington area to 7.6 in Derby. The market area rates are not seasonally adjusted.  

Nina Keck / VPR

Phoenix Books will open a 2,400-square-foot store in downtown Rutland by September. City officials say it's the latest step in collaborative efforts to revitalize the city.

Vermont Gas Systems made some changes in its cost estimates related to the company's pipeline from Chittenden County to Addison County, according to the latest filings with regulators, but the total cost of the project seems to have stopped rising. The filing shows a major increase in project management costs, largely offset by savings elsewhere in the project.

The new filing also shows the major costs related to the recently canceled second phase of the pipeline.

Patti Daniels / VPR

Vermont Health Connect, the state's health care exchange, has been expensive to build, frustrating to use, and a target of criticism ever since it went online in October 2013. 

Steve Zind / VPR

From a pound of tomatoes to a tank of fuel oil, it’s the job of the Agency of Agriculture’s Weights and Measures Program to assure Vermonters get what they pay for. 

That requires keeping tabs on the thousands of scales, meters and pumps and even the occasional glass of beer.

Cat_Chat / iStock

Although nights may not be as bitter cold, new challenges face Vermont’s homeless population now that spring has sprung.

Elizabeth Ready, director of the John Graham Shelter in Vergennes, sees those challenges every day and is working to help find a safe, permanent home for Vermont’s homeless population.

Taylor Dobbs / VPR

Senate leaders are exploring a major change to Vermont's sales tax. The goal of the plan is to give the state a more sustainable revenue base in the future.

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