What May Happen Next In Budget Standoff Over Vermont Teachers' Health Care?

May 17, 2017

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.

VPR reporter Peter Hirschfeld has been following the negotiations and attended the Wednesday conference, and he joined Vermont Edition to provide a status update on where things currently stand in Montpelier.

Vermont teachers' health care became a major focus in the dwindling weeks of the session after Gov. Phil Scott issued a proposal in late April which called for a statewide teacher health care contract as way to achieve a possible $26 million in savings.

The impact that proposed budget plans – both the governor's and a more recent one by House Speaker Mitzi Johnson – could have on collective bargaining rights has become a major point of discussion in this ongoing debate.

Update 3:15 p.m. The copy of this post was updated after its original publication to account for developments related to negotiations and clarify the discussion around collective bargaining.

Listen to this full conversation from Vermont Edition above. Broadcast live on Wednesday, May 17, 2017 during the noon hour; rebroadcast during the 7 p.m. hour.