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

Vermont State trooper cars parked.
Steve Zind / VPR file

Vermont Attorney General TJ Donovan says no charges will be filed against the police officers who shot and killed an alleged bank robber in Montpelier in January.

Opponents and supporters of Vermont's new gun laws made thier voices heard at Gov. Scott's public signing of the bills into law.
Chip Allen / Times Argus

Elected officials in Vermont have historically paid a steep price for supporting gun control measures, but the politics of guns in a post-Parkland era may be shifting.

Gov. Phil Scott signs three pieces of gun control legislation amid boos and cheers on the front steps of the statehouse Wednesday, April 11, 2018.
Emily Alfin Johnson / VPR

S.55, a bill that became the unexpected hot-button issue of the session so far, was signed into law Wednesday on the steps of the Vermont Statehouse.

Rep. David Deen, center, listens to testimony last week on a water quality bill. Deen, who chairs the House Committee on Natural Resources, Fish & Wildlife, says his committee may unveil a water quality funding plan this week.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

From the governor on down, just about every elected official in Montpelier says Vermont needs more money for water quality projects. And that’s where the agreement ends.

The issue of how to pay for water funding has turned into one of the most intractable policy debates of the 2018 legislative session.

Fan Club co-chairs, Elizabeth and James in the latest installment of News Done Right - Fan Club.
screenshot from the latest News Done Right video

In April of 2017, a little less than four months after the inauguration of Republican Phil Scott, Vermont’s new governor got himself an internet “fan club.”

Attorney General TJ Donovan says he backs legislation that would soften criminal penalties for simple drug possession.
Jeb Wallace-Brodeur / The Times Argus

As Vermont looks for new ways to combat the problem of opioid addiction, House lawmakers are considering legislation that would soften criminal penalties for possession of heroin and other drugs.

Secretary of Natural Resources Julie Moore, left, says a federal rollback of fuel efficiency standards for vehicles sold in Vermont could thwart the state's push to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
John Dillon / VPR file

Vermont state officials say they'll vigorously oppose a move by the Environmental Protection Agency to roll back fuel efficiency standards. 

Chandler Matson, left, and Russell Barr, standing, are suing the state of Vermont for its alleged complicity in the largest fraud in Vermont history.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

The deadline by which a Stowe attorney promised to substantiate allegations of sexual misconduct by a Vermont government official has passed, but Russell Barr has yet to produce any evidence of the alleged crime.

Desks in a line in an empty classroom. Up close of one with books in it.
GlobalStock / iStock

Gov. Phil Scott said in a letter to the State Board of Education that experience with the public school system should "not necessarily" be a requirement for Vermont’s next secretary of education.

A 10-round, left, and 15-round magazine, center, and a semi-automatic handgun.
Rich Pedroncelli / AP

Attorney General TJ Donovan says a proposed ban on high-capacity magazines would be difficult to enforce. Donovan says he thinks lawmakers should adopt the provision.

Bennington County Sen. Dick Sears says he believes the gun bills on which lawmakers generally agree will do more for public safety than the gun legislation that has been more divisive.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

S.55, a piece of firearms legislation, has quickly become the most divisive issue in Montpelier. But not all the proposed gun measures under consideration this year are proving so controversial.

UVM Professor of Economics Stephanie Seguino says traffic-stop data from 2015 show significant disparities in the way police treat black and Hispanic drivers.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Black and Hispanic drivers in Vermont are significantly more likely than whites to be searched by police during traffic stops, but less likely to be found with illegal contraband, according to a study released Wednesday by researchers at the University of Vermont.

House lawmakers gave final approval to a wide-ranging gun bill Tuesday night. The legislation heads now to the Vermont Senate, which is expected to hold a final vote before the end of the week.
Angela Evancie / VPR file

The Vermont House of Representatives has given final approval to a slate of new gun restrictions.

The sign outside the Vermont Department of Public Safety headquarters.
Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR File

Commissioner of Public Safety Thomas Anderson says a 2014 investigation by the Vermont State Police’s Internal Affairs Unit found no evidence that a state official was arrested while on government business in China, as an attorney involved in a lawsuit against the state alleged.

Headshot of Vermont Education Secretary Rebecca Holcome pictured in 2014.
Taylor Dobbs / VPR File

After a four-year tenure in which she oversaw one of the most substantial school-governance overhauls in state history, Vermont Secretary of Education Rebecca Holcombe is departing state government.

A bump stock next to a disassembled .22-caliber rifle, shown in 2013. While the House passed a ban on bump stocks Friday, the Senate version of S.55 did not include such a provision.
Allen Breed / AP

On Friday evening, after 10 full hours of debate, House lawmakers voted 85-59 to approve sweeping changes to Vermont’s gun laws. But the bill, called S.55, still has some hurdles to clear in Montpelier. Here’s what’s next for S.55.

Lee Youngman, owner of "Yarn" in downtown Montpelier, stands next to her shop's credit card terminal. Youngman was told she'd have to pay $8,000 to cancel the lease agreement she signed with a company that leases credit card equipment.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Vermont lawmakers are considering new regulations on the credit card processing industry after a spate of complaints to the Attorney General’s Office.

About 150 students from Montpelier High School walked out of class Wednesday afternoon to stage a rally on the steps of the Statehouse. Students across Vermont are calling on lawmakers to pass new gun legislation.
Jeb Wallace-Brodeur / The Times Argus

The school shooting in Parkland, Florida has given rise to a new wave of young activists. On Wednesday afternoon, House and Senate lawmakers heard from some of the Vermont students who are demanding action from Montpelier on gun control legislation.

Stowe attorney Russell Barr, standing in Lamoille County Superior Court Monday, says he has evidence that a Vermont government official was arrested while on official business in China. State officials say they have no records of any such arrest.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Top state officials say they have no records indicating that a Vermont state employee was arrested for having sex with a minor while traveling on government business in China.

Chandler Matson, left, and Russell Barr, standing, are suing the state of Vermont for its alleged complicity in the largest fraud in Vermont history.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

A lawyer suing the state of Vermont on behalf of foreign investors who were defrauded in the Northeast Kingdom EB-5 scam dropped a bombshell allegation after a court hearing Monday.

Pages