Neal Goswami


Neal is a a reporter for the Vermont Press Bureau. He also files reports for Vermont Public Radio.

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Nick Ut / AP

A proposal to charge a 10 cent fee for plastic and paper bags distributed to shoppers is on a path to be drastically scaled back.

The Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee heard from retailers and grocers Friday on the hardship the proposal would cause for smaller retailers that face challenges from online competitors and bordering states.

Committee members appeared Friday to be embracing a House proposal by Burlington Democratic Rep. Curt McCormack that would cut the fee in half.

The Republican State Committee has approved resolutions formally opposing Gov. Peter Shumlin's single-payer health care plan, and putting more pressure on Lt. Gov. Phil Scott, the party's only statewide candidate, to declare his own position.

One resolution approved Saturday at the Montpelier Elks Club urges "legislative and statewide candidates to publicly oppose single-payer/government run health care due to the negative impacts on the state's economy and the lives of Vermonters."

The state's 16 regional developmental service agencies must submit plans to the Shumlin administration by Friday, outlining how they intend to shave a total of $2.23 million from their budgets to help cover a higher caseload expected next year.

Projections indicate that new caseloads within the Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living will exceed what has been budgeted.

The Bennington Police and the FBI searched two spas in Bennington this week after allegations emerged of human trafficking and prostitution.

Police seized computers, cell phones, cash and business records. Neal Goswami has been following the story for the Bennington Banner and he spoke with VPR’s Mitch Wertlieb for our Friday Regional Report.

Click listen to hear the interview.