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

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.

According to campaign finance disclosures, Republican Gov. Phil Scott has raised more than twice as much money toward his 2018 reelection bid than any of the other four candidates challenging him for the office.
Jeb Wallace-Brodeur / The Times Argus

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott, a first-term Republican, has raised more than $120,000 toward his reelection campaign, according to the first campaign finance disclosures since last July.

Attorney General TJ Donovan announced a $28 million settlement with tobacco companies Thursday. Gov. Phil Scott and legislative leaders say they'll use $14 million to combat the state's opioid problem. They have yet to decide how to spend the remainder.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

A legal settlement with tobacco companies has resulted in a financial windfall for the state of Vermont.

Ed Wilson, in yellow, was one of nearly 200 gun rights advocates in the Statehouse cafeteria Tuesday evening. Wilson and others say proposed gun legislation in Montpelier would infringe on gun owners' rights.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

In their first show of political force in Montpelier since lawmakers began taking up new firearms legislation, about 200 gun rights advocates jammed the Statehouse cafeteria Tuesday evening to show their opposition to the bills.

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

The Republican governor says the school budgets approved at town meetings last week are too high, and he wants the Legislature to intervene, by requiring districts to reduce spending. But a group of lawmakers say they have a better plan.

Jace Laquerre, a 19-year-old freshman at the University of Vermont, told the audience at Ira Allen Chapel Thursday that, despite all the calls for gun control after Parkland, not all young people are in favor of new restrictions on gun ownership.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

The public debate over gun laws arrived Thursday evening on the campus of the University of Vermont, where both supporters and opponents of new gun legislation made their views known.

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

Town Meeting Day was kind to local schools this year, as all but five districts have won approval for their budgets. But while a majority of Vermonters may be okay with their local spending plans, the administration of Gov. Phil Scott is not.

A complaint filed by Ismina Francois in 2016 has put a magnifying glass on working conditions for employees of color at the state-run psychiatric hospital in Berlin.
Jane Lindholm / VPR File

The woman whose complaint put a spotlight on racial discrimination in the government workplace says the state of Vermont has yet to resolve the issues that led to her suit.

The dome of the Vermont Statehouse on a cloudy day with the Vermont flag flying.
Angela Evancie / VPR file

In a move that seemed almost unthinkable at the outset of the 2018 legislative session, elected officials in Montpelier appear to be on track to make universal background checks the law before the end of the year.

Bennington County Sen. Dick Sears, seen here on the Senate floor in a 2016 file photo.
Angela Evancie / VPR file

As lawmakers nationwide consider new ways to get guns out of the hands of dangerous people, the Vermont Senate has advanced a bill that would make it easier for police to seize firearms from people who pose an "extreme risk" to themselves or others.

courtesy, Brenda Patoine; courtesy, Christine for Vermont

Two candidates vying for the Democratic nomination for governor are carving out some early distinctions in their approaches to campaign finance, and fiscal oversight of state government.

In foreground, House Speaker Mitzi Johnson, left, and Bennington County Sen. Dick Sears, right , talk after a meeting on gun legislation Tuesday.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Vermont’s top elected officials have vowed to move ahead with new restrictions on gun ownership, but a debate between the House and Senate this week shows that finding consensus on firearms legislation will be easier said than done.

Gun control advocates demonstrate at the State House in Montpelier, on Tuesday Feb. 20, 2018.
Wilson Ring / AP

The conversation around gun control in Vermont has changed significantly in the days following the arrest of an 18-year-old for allegedly plotting a mass shooting in Fair Haven. Republican Gov. Phil Scott, who had resisted any changes to the state's gun laws, now has presented a set of proposals to tighten them, and lawmakers are already taking action. We’re talking about what might happen.

Jordan Verasamy, 14, of Essex, joined students from across Vermont at a press conference in Montpelier Thursday to call on lawmakers to pass legislation that would require background checks for private gun sales.
Jeb Wallace-Brodeur / The Times Argus

For decades gun control has been the third rail of Vermont politics — but almost overnight that appears to have changed — and recent events in Vermont and beyond have put gun legislation on a fast track in Montpelier.

Leah Sagan-Dworsky, 19, of Montpelier, was among the people calling for stricter gun laws at a rally on the steps of the Statehouse Tuesday. Sagan-Dworsky is holding a sign asking Sen. Dick Sears to move two bills out of commitee.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

A bill that would require background checks for private gun sales in Vermont has been stuck in the Senate Judiciary Committee since last year, but the legislation could be headed for a vote on the Senate floor even without the committee’s approval.

A complaint filed by Ismina Francois in 2016 has put a magnifying glass on working conditions for employees of color at the state-run psychiatric hospital in Berlin.
Jane Lindholm / VPR File

While allegations of racial harassment at the Vermont Psychiatric Care Hospital in Berlin made news last week, records show that they were hardly isolated incidents: The state regularly fields complaints of race-based harassment and discrimination at agencies across state government.

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

House lawmakers have advanced a bill that would prevent the state from handing over voter data to the federal government.

Solar trackers installed in South Burlington in a field on a cloudy day are pictured in this July 27, 2011
Toby Talbot / Associated Press

A new economic analysis shows that Vermont lost 232 full-time jobs in the solar industry last year.

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