Peter Hirschfeld

Reporter

Peter Hirschfeld covers state government and the Vermont Legislature. He is based in VPR’s Capital Bureau located across the street from Vermont’s Statehouse.

Hirschfeld is a leading Vermont journalist who has covered the Statehouse since 2009, most recently as bureau chief for the Rutland Herald and Times Argus. He began his career in 2003, working as a local sports reporter and copy editor at the Times Argus.

Ways to Connect

A legislative panel has deferred action on a proposal that could have significant impacts on the future of ridgeline wind energy in Vermont.

Districts that have already negotiated employee health care plans, like the one that includes Stowe Middle and High School, will face some tough financial choices as a result of the budget compromise in Montpelier.
Ian Noyes / For VPR

Democratic lawmakers and Republican Gov. Phil Scott finally got a budget compromise on Wednesday, but in doing so, they’ve created a whole new set of financial dilemmas for school districts across Vermont.

Gov. Phil Scott and legislative leaders announced details of a compromise Wednesday that will require school districts across Vermont to cut spending by $13 million over the next two years.
Jeb Wallace-Brodeur / Times Argus

School districts across Vermont will be forced to reduce spending by $13 million over the next two years as part of a compromise in Montpelier that has cleared the political logjam holding up passage of the state budget.

A deal between Democratic lawmakers and the Scott administration has paved the way for passage of critical budget and tax bills.
Doug Kerr / Flickr

A tentative compromise between Democratic lawmakers and Republican Gov. Phil Scott over the issue of teacher health benefits appears to have resolved a weeks-long political standoff that had threatened passage of the budget and a key tax bill.

State Auditor Doug Hoffer says shortcomings in project management at the Department of Buildings and General Services have led to cost overruns on major construction projects.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR file

A new report from the state auditor’s office shows chronic cost overruns for major construction projects at the Vermont Department of Buildings and General Services.

Angela Evancie / VPR file

A political confrontation over the issue of teacher health benefits has become the signature issue of the 2017 legislative session, but it’s being resolved almost entirely outside of the formal legislative process. The closed-door negotiations between a handful of Democratic lawmakers and the administration of Republican Gov. Phil Scott have shrouded the policy making process from public view.

Angela Evancie / VPR file

Democratic lawmakers and members of the administration of Republican Gov. Phil Scott returned to the negotiating table Thursday to try to hammer out a deal over the budget and property tax bills that Scott vetoed last week.

Despite a host of troubles over the last few years, a recently released audit of Vermont Health Connect shows the program is meeting all requirements set forth by the federal government.
screenshot from Vermont Health Connect

A recently released external audit of Vermont Health Connect says the state-run insurance exchange has met all requirements set forth by the federal government.

Chittenden County Sen. Chris Pearson, left, wants Vermont to join a coalition of states seeking to affirm the United States' role in reducing global carbon emissions.
Toby Talbot / Associated Press/file

President Donald Trump’s withdrawal this week from a landmark international agreement to combat climate change has sparked state-level efforts, including in Vermont, to uphold the United States’ role in a global pact to reduce carbon emissions.

Anthony Roisman, a private attorney from Weathersfield with a background in environmental law, will serve as the next chairman of the Vermont Public Service Board.

Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Public health advocates say the discovery of a toxic chemical in private drinking wells in southern Vermont last year exposes shortcomings in state regulatory oversight. But an effort to bolster consumer protections fell short in the Legislature this year.

Gov. Phil Scott, seen here at a press conference in Montpelier in late May, says he didn't ask House Republicans to support a rules suspension during the veto session that would have allowed a new marijuana legalization bill to be debated on the floor.
Bob Kinzel / VPR file

Advocates for criminal justice reform hope a new law will curb racial disparities in police stops and incarceration rates.

Angela Evancie / VPR file

Republican Gov. Phil Scott says the next chairman of the Public Service Board will share his opposition to mountaintop wind energy.

Vermont lawmakers working on a bill to legalize marijuana say they have now presented a compromise to Gov. Phil Scott that would address many of the concerns he raised when he vetoed a legalization bill in May.
labuda / iStock

On Wednesday, Gov. Phil Scott announced his decision on the fate of a marijuana legalization bill that had made its way to his desk. That decision was to veto the bill – but the governor also said there's potential to revisit marijuana legalization if certain changes are made by the Legislature, which is planning to hold a veto session in June.

Gov Scott vetoed legislation that would have legalized possession of up to an ounce of marijuana in May. We're talking about whether compromise on a new bill can be reached for the June veto session.
Bob Kinzel / VPR

Republican Gov. Phil Scott has vetoed legislation that would have made Vermont the ninth state in the nation to legalize recreational marijuana — and the first to do so by an act of the Legislature, as opposed to a ballot initiative. 

House Speaker Mitzi Johnson, left, and Senate President Pro Tem Tim Ashe say they're trying to include as many lawmakers as possible in the negotiations with Gov. Phil Scott.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR file

Lawmakers won’t be back for their veto session until June 21, but Senate President Time Ashe says he hopes to have a resolution with Republican Gov. Phil Scott over the issue of teacher health care well before they return.

Labuda / iStock

The Vermont Legislature sent its marijuana legalization bill to the desk of Republican Gov. Phil Scott Thursday, initiating a five-day countdown during which Scott will have to decide whether to sign the legislation, veto it or allow it to become law without his signature.

Kirk Carapezza / VPR/file

The 2017 legislative session has adjourned, but Vermont’s fiercest political fight in recent memory has only just begun.

Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Vermont appears to be headed for its first budget veto in nearly a decade.

Angela Evancie / VPR file

A news conference was held Wednesday at noon in Montpelier by House Speaker Mitzi Johnson and Senate President Pro Tempore Tim Ashe to discuss the status of negotiations around Vermont teachers' health care and subsequently the Vermont state budget.

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