03.27.09

The Leahy Letter - March 27, 2009

Senator Patrick Leahy's Update from the Nation's Capital

Second American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Workshop

Leahy To Host
Second American Recovery And
Reinvestment Act Workshop

Senator Leahy, Governor Douglas and Vermont Senate President Pro Tem Peter Shumlin will open Monday's free conference to help Vermonters get an early start in learning how to access the funds available in the recently enacted

economic recovery act. This second conference was organized after more than 700 Vermonters attended the earlier March 6 conference in northern Vermont, also organized by Leahy and Douglas. Nearly 500 Vermonters are registered for Monday's conference. Leahy, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, has said that Vermont will receive more than $700 million in direct federal investments under the new law in infrastructure improvements and social services. The conference is scheduled for Monday, March 30th, from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Latchis Theater and at the Marlboro College Technology Center. Materials from the conference will be available on Monday.

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Leahy Secures $1 Million More
For Vermont Drug Task Force

On March 18, Senator Leahy announced that the Vermont Drug Task Force will receive $1 million in new federal grant funding. He secured the grant from the Edward Byrne Discretionary Grant program in the FY 09 appropriations bill signed into law earlier this month by President Obama. The day before the announcement, the Task Force led a drug sweep in St. Albans that led to 16 arrests. Click here to find out more about the grant and to watch a video of Senator Leahy speaking on the importance of this Task Force to Vermont.

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Serve America Act

Earlier this week, the Senate passed the "Serve America Act," which will expand the opportunities for Americans to serve by boosting AmeriCorps programs, engaging youth and low-income individuals to participate in Summer of Service or Semester of Service programs, making expansions to programs for retirees, and authorizing a program for short-term international service opportunities. Service programs, such as YouthBuild, help thousands engage in their communities, and passing this bill promotes even greater participation. To read Senator Leahy's statement on this bill, click here.

***TAX TIME***
April 15th Is Just Around The Corner

If you have questions about your taxes, or want to find out if you need to file taxes, know that help is available. The Internal Revenue Service has plenty of information online. Visit Senator Leahy's website for assistance with forms, contact information, or to watch a video on how to e-file your taxes. For more information, click here.

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Organic Trade Association Award

On March 25, Senator Leahy was honored for his leadership by the Organic Trade Association at their 2009 Annual Policy Conference and presented with the new 'Patrick J. Leahy Award.' Through Senator Leahy's "Organic Foods Production Act" that became part of the 1990 Farm Bill, and in the years since, the organic industry has seen an astoundingly steady growth rate of 20 percent each year over the past decade. Organics are quickly becoming a thriving sector in Vermont and American agriculture. Nearly $24 billion in sales of organic food were realized in 2008 thanks to American consumer demand.  Consumers know that the new USDA organic label is backed by a strong rule and means that products are held to the highest standards of the organic community. Click here to read more about organics.

Senator Leahy with Bob Gray, Julia Sabin, and Christine Bushway discussing organics
From left to right: Bob Gray; Julia Sabin, President of the OTA Board; Senator Leahy; and Christine Bushway, OTA Executive Director.

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Protecting The Public's Right To Know

March 15 through March 21 marked the fifth annual Sunshine Week, a weeklong commemoration of open government, freedom of information and the public's right to know. Senator Leahy has been a long-time advocate for the public's right to know and the free flow of information. On March 16 he received the Robert Vaughn FOIA Legend Award at American University. Click here to read more about Senator Leahy's efforts to strengthen the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and ensuring the public knows what their government is doing.

Press Contact

David Carle: 202-224-3693