BURLINGTON, Vt. One of the biggest stories this week was the two deaths of Christopher and Nicholas Louras, one in Salisbury and the other in Rutland. Police have not given any more information since Thursday. 34-year old Nicholas Louras was found shot dead Tuesday in Salisbury. Christopher Louras died in a shootout with city and town police. Christopher was the son of former Rutland mayor Chris Louras. Governor Scott says this could be drug related, but police are not confirming it. They are confirming, the two men were cousins. It is an ongoing investigation and police will continue to keep information close until they can confidently confirm, or deny any other facts. A large focus is on Christopher's motives such as why he shot at the Rutland police station, what was found in the car he used in the chase and how he obtained the weapon, as well as, who killed Nicholas.
Earlier this week the American Civil Liberties Union in Vermont pitched sweeping changes to the state's criminal justice system. The ideas pitched would largely reduce the state's prison population. There are 1,735 people behind bars right now. If them, 1,028 are doing time for the most serious offenses like aggravated assault, aggravated sexual assault and murder. The second biggest category is property felonies like, burglary, grand larceny and arson. The third is felonies against people like, assault and robbery and lewd and lascivious conduct. The ACLU wants to take that 17-hundred and get it down to 11-hundred inmates behind bars creating a reduction of about forty percent. The organization acknowledges overhauling the system is incredibly complex, involving the legislature, law enforcement and the department of corrections. Commissioner Mike Touchette says, "those two first top categories of people that are in the system are indicative of really risky and challenging cases, and I think we need to be mindful of how we re-enter those people appropriately, safely, make sure that our communities are safe and that that our victims feel support." The ACLU wants more data collected from the D.O.C., the attorney general's office and police, but the D.O.C. says it doesn't always have the ability and resources to dig up and interpret data on inmates.
Burlington's mayor is calling for a statewide carbon pollution fee. This is all in part of Burlington's Net Zero Energy Roadmap released last month. A new study shows a new fee on heating and transportation fuels could lower emissions more than 20 percent by the year, 2040. The study also argues the state's economy and jobs would not be hurt. Mayor Miro Weinberger says revenues would not go to the state, but instead back to the people and businesses as rebates. Mayor Weinberger said, "the idea to put a fee on the cost of oil and gas companies doing business in Vermont, but not to raise government revenues from Vermonters who are already very heavily taxed." The mayor's office would still need to work out the mechanics and timeline of the rebate and the city also says they will also begin using an internal carbon price to evaluate major city purchasing decisions.