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.

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A change in Vermont’s Medicaid policy could soon deliver potentially life-saving treatment to many low-income patients with hepatitis C. But the reform won’t come cheap, and even with the changes, many patients still won’t have access to the costly cure.

Governor-elect Phil Scott has appointed former Burlington Police Chief Michael Schirling to serve as secretary of the Agency of Commerce and Community Development.

DenisTangneyJr / iStock.com

Vermonters will soon be a short drive away from easy access to legal marijuana in Massachusetts, and proponents of legalization in Vermont say it’s a game-changer for the legislative debate in Montpelier.

The former U.S. Attorney for Vermont tapped by Governor-elect Phil Scott to serve as the state’s next commissioner of public safety says combating the state’s opiate “epidemic” will be his top priority.

Environmental watchdogs say they’re heartened by Governor-elect Phil Scott’s pick to lead the Agency of Natural Resources, but that it’s too early to discern whether the incoming Republican administration is serious about cleaning up Lake Champlain and tackling some of the other major environmental issues facing Vermont.

Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Vermont’s incoming governor is among the many Republican officials who opposed Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy. But now that Trump has won, Governor-elect Phil Scott says he’ll be looking for ways to work together with the new president.

Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Activist groups focused on racial justice, climate change, reproductive rights and economic issues are trying to turn the election of Donald Trump into a unifying moment for their various movements.

Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

With less than a month remaining in office, Gov. Peter Shumlin is offering pardons to the thousands of people convicted of low-level marijuana offenses in Vermont.

Peter Hirschfeld / VPR/File

Next month, Vermont Treasurer Beth Pearce will unveil a much-anticipated legislative report that will tell lawmakers how to raise the $1.3 billion needed to clean up Lake Champlain and other polluted waterways. And Governor-elect Phil Scott may soon find himself at odds with Democrats — and environmental advocates — over how to come up with the money.

Bob Kinzel / VPR file

The man who helped spearhead health care reform efforts under outgoing Gov. Peter Shumlin is getting a major role in the administration of Governor-elect Phil Scott. 

Hailshadow / iStock

Health advocates are challenging a Vermont Medicaid policy that has restricted curative treatment for hepatitis C only to patients with advanced liver problems. And while state officials say they’re open to changing the policy, they say offering treatment to all low-income Vermonters could cost taxpayers as much as $25 million over two years.

Angela Evancie / VPR file

They haven’t been sworn into office just yet. But the newly-elected members of the Legislature gathered in Montpelier this week for a primer on state finances. Analysts say the fiscal road ahead might get rocky, and lawmakers are preparing to navigate policy, and partisan politics, as the 2017 session gets underway.

Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Gov. Peter Shumlin is urging President-elect Donald Trump to reconsider his pledge to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Angela Evancie / VPR file

House Majority Leader Sarah Copeland-Hanzas is abandoning her bid to be speaker of the house, clearing a path for Grand Isle Democrat Mitzi Johnson to be Vermont’s next speaker when the Vermont Legislature convenes in 2017.

Angela Evancie / VPR file

The advocates who have been pushing for paid family leave, free health care for young adults and other progressive initiatives had a clear choice in the race for governor: Democrat Sue Minter. Their candidate lost, however, advocates are now recalibrating a legislative strategy that will require them to win buy-in from Republican Governor-elect Phil Scott.

JJRD / iStock.com

More than 2,000 people in Vermont are enrolled in the state’s medical marijuana registry, but some lawmakers say many eligible patients still have trouble obtaining medical cannabis.

Proposed legislation would lower some of the barriers to access.

Trevor Smith / iStock.com

Two key lawmakers say they plan to resume the push to legalize cannabis in Vermont, but Governor-elect Phil Scott is urging them not to waste their time on the measure.

Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

In 2012, Vermont had 650 people in some form of treatment for opiate addiction. Today, according to Vermont Department of Health, that number has ballooned to more than 7,500. But the state still lacks the capacity needed to treat all of the addicts seeking help.

Elise Amendola / AP file

Two weeks ago, Gov. Peter Shumlin inked a deal with the federal government that could transform the health care landscape in Vermont. But the election of Donald Trump on Tuesday could topple some of the reform initiatives that the Shumlin team has spent six years building.

Angela Evancie / VPR

On Tuesday afternoon in the Statehouse, Republican Phil Scott gave his first news conference as the governor-elect of Vermont, and he says his resounding victory over Democrat Sue Minter gives him a clear electoral mandate.

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