A few years ago, Vermont enacted a law that tries to give the general public a bigger role in the budget writing process, but one legislator says the Scott administration isn’t following the spirit of the statute.
A political confrontation over the issue of teacher health benefits has become the signature issue of the 2017 legislative session, but it’s being resolved almost entirely outside of the formal legislative process. The closed-door negotiations between a handful of Democratic lawmakers and the administration of Republican Gov. Phil Scott have shrouded the policy making process from public view.
Backers of legislation that would create an Ethics Commission in Vermont say they're optimistic about the future of their bill. But some critics argue that the proposal doesn't go nearly far enough to restore public trust in the operations of government.
A proposal to create a Vermont Ethics Commission has been significantly scaled back at the Statehouse. But backers of the original plan still feel the stripped down approach is an important first step to help reduce conflicts of interest by public officials.
Progressive leaders at the Statehouse are backing a plan to make major changes in the way that Vermonters pay for education. As a first step, they're asking the House and Senate to support a comprehensive study of their proposal.
Vermont is one of just three states across the country without an ethics commission in place. Backers of the plan say this kind of panel is needed before major ethical problems emerge. But some key lawmakers remain skeptical about the idea.