Bob Kinzel

Host, Reporter

Bob is a veteran Vermont journalist, specializing in political reporting. He is based in VPR’s Capital Bureau located across the street from Vermont’s Statehouse. Prior to joining VPR full time in 2002, Bob ran the Vermont News Service for 21 years. The service provided daily local news for eleven stations, including VPR. Bob started the News Service following a stint as news director for WNCS.

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John Minchillo / AP

NPR is reporting that "a federal grand jury has indicted 13 Russians and three Russian entities in connection with the attack on the 2016 presidential election."

Included in the indictment are details of how the accused allegedly used social media to disseminate information in support of Sen. Bernie Sanders' and Donald Trump's presidential campaigns.

According to the Vermont Commission on Women, 75 percent of women who report sexual harassment in the workplace say they've experienced retaliation for speaking up.
Kameleon007 / iStock

Sixty percent of women say they've experienced sexual harassment at work, according to the Vermont Commission on Women, and three out of four of those women report experiencing retaliation for speaking up. Now House lawmakers are updating Vermont's sexual harassment laws to protect victims' rights and ban settlements that can silence victims and favor employers.

The Vermont Senate has voted for a bill that raises the state minimum wage to $15 an hour over a 6 year period
Taylor Dobbs / VPR

The Vermont Senate has given preliminary approval to legislation that increases the state minimum wage to $15 an hour over a 6 year period.

Independent U.S. Senate candidate Brad Peacock says he's running for Sanders' senate seat because Sanders is encouraging young people to get involved in politics
Bob Kinzel / VPR

Sen. Bernie Sanders has encouraged young people to get involved in politics, and one Vermonter has answered that call — by challenging the sitting senator for his place in the U.S. Senate.

House Speaker Mitzi Johnson says passage of a property tax reform package is a top priority for this session
Angela Evancie / VPR file

A proposal is being developed representing the first major change to education financing in Vermont in over a decade, and House Speaker Mitzi Johnson says she's committed to making it a reality.

With tax day on the horizon, there are growing concerns that some people who are owed a tax refund might have their refund stolen if when criminals file for it first. Tax Commissioner Kaj Samsom joined Vermont Edition to discuss the scope of the problem and what the state does to protect against fraudulent filings and payments.

Broadcast live on Friday, Feb. 9, 2018 at noon; rebroadcast at 7 p.m.

The Vermont Statehouse looking up at the front of the building frmo the stiars.
Angela Evancie / VPR file

VPR reporter Bob Kinzel has been covering the Statehouse since 1981 — longer than any continuously serving member of the Legislature.

To take advantage of that institutional memory, we're kicking off a new periodic segment called "Ask Bob." First up: a look at the increasing number of lobbyists in the Vermont Statehouse.

House Speaker Mitzi Johnson joins "Vermont Edition" to discuss some of her priorities this legislative session.
Emily Alfin Johnson / VPR

House Speaker Mitzi Johnson says passing a paid family leave bill this year is one of her top priorities.

We're talking with Speaker Johnson about that bill, plus education funding, water quality, the push for a higher minimum wage and other big issues.

Senate Health and Welfare chairwoman Sen. Claire Ayer is backing a plan to allow Vermont to purchase some prescription drugs from Canada at much lower costs
Angela Evancie / VPR File

The Vermont Senate Committee on Health and Welfare has given its unanimous approval to legislation designed to save Vermont consumers and state government programs millions of dollars in prescription drug costs.

A sign posted at Vermont Public Radio showcases the rise in state minimum wage over recent years. The photo has a filter out areas of the document while leaving other parts in focus.
Photo: Emily Alfin Johnson; Photo Illustration: Meg Malone / VPR

A key Vermont Senate committee has given its approval to legislation increasing the state minimum wage to $15 an hour over a 6-year period. 

Senate Transportation chairman Dick Mazza says he'll oppose a primary enforcement seat belt law this year
Toby Talbot / Associated Press

Efforts to strengthen the enforcement of Vermont's seat belt law are running into opposition in the Vermont Senate.

An empty wooden desk facing a chalkboard.
Miatagirl / iStock

A new plan being developed by the Vermont House Committee on Ways and Means could make some significant changes to how Vermont finances education. The plan would shift some of the burden from property taxes to income taxes.

House Ways and Means chairwoman Janet Ancel is hopeful that this is the year for lawmakers to consider a new plan to fund education
Angela Evancie / VPR file

The Vermont House Committee on Ways and Means is taking a serious look at making some significant changes in the way education is financed in the state.

All three members of Vermont's Congressional delegation voted for the January 2018 federal government shutdown, citing concerns over DACA recipients, the so-called "dreamers" of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Scott Kirkwood / National Parks Conservation Association

Elizabeth Hewitt covers Washington, D.C. politics for VTDigger. She was covering the Capitol as Vermont's Congressional delegation voted for what ultimately became a three-day shutdown of the federal government.

A Vermont State Police cruiser watches for speeding drivers on I-89 in September 2015.
Steve Zind / VPR

Vermont lawmakers are taking up a new highway safety bill that could make failure to wear a seat belt a "stoppable offense," as well as introduce tougher penalties for young motorists using cell phones while driving.

The push comes after a third of victims in Vermont's fatal crashes last year weren't wearing seat belts, in what was the deadliest year on Vermont roads in four years.

Senate Transportation chairman Dick Mazza says he'll oppose a primary enforcement seat belt law this year
Toby Talbot / Associated Press

The Vermont House has given strong initial support to a highway safety bill that includes the primary enforcement of Vermont's seat belt law.

Jose Luis Magana / AP

It's now less than 10 months before the November election and still we're not sure Sanders will be seeking re-election to a third term.

Senate President Pro Tem Tim Ashe strongly supports raising Vermont's minimum wage to $15 an hour over a period of years.
Bob Kinzel / VPR

The Vermont Senate could vote in the next few weeks on a bill that raises the state minimum wage from the current $10.50 an hour to $15 an hour over a period of several years. 

The legislation is a top priority for Senate President Pro Tem Tim Ashe, but the plan is opposed by Gov. Phil Scott.

In addition to “widespread” flu outbreaks across the country this winter, the flu vaccine is only about 30 percent effective this year, according to Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine.
Toby Talbot / AP

Vermont and nearly every other state in the U.S. is experiencing "widespread" flu outbreaks this winter, and the state health commissioner says the peak of flu season is still to come.

Senate President Tim Ashe joins "Vermont Edition" to discuss his legislative priorities, including a $15 minimum wage and paid family leave.
Emily Alfin Johnson / VPR

Raising the state minimum wage to $15 an hour over a period of years is one of Senate President Tim Ashe's top priorities for this legislative session. Sen. Ashe joins Vermont Edition to discuss this and other key issues.

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