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

Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Democratic House Speaker Mitzi Johnson has unveiled a plan she hopes will end the month-long standoff in Montpelier over the issue of health benefits for public school employees. But Democrats’ efforts to appease Republican Gov. Phil Scott could cost them a key political ally in the process.

Patti Daniels / VPR

South Burlington voters have rejected two school budgets amidst the ongoing debate over the changing of the high school's "rebel" nickname. They'll vote on a third in June.

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

A seemingly unbridgeable divide between Republican Gov. Phil Scott and Democratic lawmakers has again postponed legislative adjournment, forcing the two sides back to the Statehouse next week to try to negotiate a compromise over the issue of teacher health care benefits.

Lawmakers and Republican Gov. Phil Scott are in a late-session standoff over the issue of Vermont teachers' health care plans.

Angela Evancie / VPR file

As they battle with Republican Gov. Phil Scott over the issue of teacher health benefits, Democratic leaders in the House and Senate are trying to cast themselves as champions of property tax relief with a new plan for guaranteed savings in the education system.

An impasse over the issue of teacher health plans continues to thwart a budget compromise between Democratic lawmakers and Republican Gov. Phil Scott, but both sides are back at the bargaining table this week.

Angela Evancie / VPR file

A bill that would legalize possession and cultivation of limited amounts of marijuana has won joint approval in the Vermont Legislature, leaving Republican Gov. Phil Scott as the final hurdle to passage of a legalization law in 2017.

Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

A push to drive down health care costs for public school employees has suddenly taken over the political debate in Montpelier, but efforts to control those expenses have actually been going on behind the scenes for two years now.

Facing skepticism from Democratic lawmakers over his controversial plan for teacher health care benefits, Gov . Phil Scott is trying to convince the Legislature — and the public — that the estimated $26 million in savings projections are realistic.

Brennan Linsley / AP

The Vermont Senate has resurrected a bill that would legalize possession and cultivation of small amounts of marijuana, but it’s unclear whether the late-session compromise measure has the support needed to pass in the House.

Efforts to close out the 2017 legislative session by the end of this week have fizzled in Montpelier, where an impasse between Democratic leaders and Gov. Phil Scott over the issue of teacher health contracts has delayed adjournment until at least next week.

Angela Evancie / VPR file

Late Wednesday night, the Democratically controlled Vermont House of Representatives almost did the unthinkable by passing a proposal put forth by Republican Gov. Phil Scott that would drastically overhaul the collective bargaining process for public school teachers.

At least 15 Democrats joined forces with independents and Republicans in the Vermont House of Representatives Wednesday night to nearly give Republican Gov. Phil Scott one of the biggest victories of his young tenure.

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

The prospect of a gubernatorial veto is suddenly looming large over budget negotiations in Montpelier, where intractable differences over the future of teacher health care benefits are threatening to derail a late-session compromise between Republican Gov. Phil Scott and Democratic leaders in the House and Senate.

The golden dome of the Vermont Statehouse with a blue sky background.
Angela Evancie / VPR file

Vermont lawmakers are hoping to end the legislative session by the end of this week, but there are some big issues still being debated.

Angela Evancie / VPR file

A late-session budget proposal from Republican Gov. Phil Scott has Democratic lawmakers suddenly contemplating new ways to book savings in the public education system.

Angela Evancie / VPR file

The Vermont House is expected to pass legislation this week that would create a statewide paid family and medical leave program. But the bill will face a number of hurdles to passage when the Senate takes up the proposal next year, and might see its progress hampered by a corresponding push to raise the minimum wage.

Over 200 years ago, the Spitfire, a Revolutionary War-era gunship, sank to the bottom of Lake Champlain after being damaged during the Battle of Valcour Island. Now, researchers are proposing a plan to raise the ship, restore it and put it on display.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR/File

A former regulator at the Environmental Protection Agency says budget cuts proposed by President Donald Trump would have a “devastating” impact on efforts to reduce the flow of pollution into Lake Champlain and other Vermont water bodies.

Senate lawmakers voted unanimously Thursday to confirm Robin Lunge to the Green Mountain Care Board, despite legal concerns from Gov. Phil Scott that her appointment may have been tainted by a clerical error.

Senate lawmakers have given unanimous approval to a state budget that includes funding for a range of spending initiatives that did not make it into House’s spending plan. But the accounting tactic used by the Senate to fund those programs will be a major point of contention as legislative leaders enter negotiations for a consensus budget plan.

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