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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Gov. Phil Scott says an anti-racism bill passed by the Legislature contains an unconstitutional provision. But though he vetoed the bill, he says he'll move forward voluntarily with an almost identical initiative.
Angela Evancie / VPR/file

The legislature is nearing its Town Meeting Day break. At this halfway mark, we're talking to top political reporters on the status of key bills, including gun control, education financing, paid family leave, raising the minimum wage and water quality efforts.

Vermont State trooper cars parked.
Steve Zind / VPR file

The Vermont House has given initial approval to a bill that would allow law enforcement officers to administer a saliva test that would indicate the presence of certain drugs, including marijuana.

The House chamber of the Vermont Legislature
Angela Evancie / VPR/file

There are three ways at the moment that Vermont House members can vote on a bill or an amendment to a bill. But there's also talk of introducing an electronic voting system that could shake things up in Montpelier.

Rep. Peter Welch wants House Republican leaders to hold a vote on several gun control proposals
AP/Toby Talbot

When it comes to taking action on gun control legislation, Rep. Peter Welch says he believes this time is different.

Sec. of State Jim Condos discusses how states like Vermont could be vulnerable to election meddling, and what's needed to secure future elections.
Toby Talbot / AP File

Thirteen Russians face indictments for interfering in the 2016 presidential election. Last year, the Department of Homeland Security identified more than 20 states whose voting systems were compromised by Russian hackers. As they face concerns over election integrity both inside and outside the ballot box, how are Vermont officials keeping future elections secure?

A coyote walks in snowy wooded area.
LeFion / iStock

The ban on “holding or participating" in coyote-killing tournaments was included in a major fish and wildlife bill that passed the Vermont House this week.

Phil Scott puts his right hand up and is sworn in as Vermont's governor at the Montpelier Statehouse in January 2017.
Angela Evancie / VPR

Longtime VPR reporter Bob Kinzel is ready to answer your questions about the inner workings of the Legislature, state government and Vermont's political history.

Today's question was originally sent to our podcast, Brave Little State and inquires about the length of the state's gubernatorial term.

Gov. Phil Scott says an anti-racism bill passed by the Legislature contains an unconstitutional provision. But though he vetoed the bill, he says he'll move forward voluntarily with an almost identical initiative.
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.

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.

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.

Facing a $58 million funding gap, Vermont lawmakers and the governor have competing proposals to pay for Vermont's schools in the final weeks of the legislative session.
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.

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