Government & Politics

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.

Michael Colby, right, of Regeneration Vermont, testifies about what he says is lax state oversight of large dairy farms.
John Dillon / VPR

One of the largest farm businesses in the state expanded its operation and constructed a manure pit in Franklin County last summer — without a permit or state oversight.

Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

Historically young people haven’t had the best reputation: Teens have often been characterized as too busy texting and tweeting to be aware of or to engage in current events.

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.

Allie Brown, a senior at Burlington High School, spoke at the rally. She urged her peers to call their state representatives about supporting a bill that would requre background checks for all gun purchases.
Liam Elder-Connors / VPR

While a number of planned walkouts were rescheduled Wednesday due to weather, rallies did take place across the state as part of a nationwide protest. 

The Cavendish community tapestry which shows a river, tree, gazebo and townspeople and says Cavendish 1761.
Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

A community art project in the tiny town of Cavendish was shown for the first time at this year's town meeting, but its longtime champion wasn't there to see it.

Liam Elder-Connors / VPR

Students across the country and around Vermont are planning school walkouts and other protest actions Wednesday morning, March 14.

"The Vermonter" travels from its northernmost stop in St. Albans through New England to Washington, D.C.
Vermont Agency of Transportation

Amtrak president and CEO Richard Anderson startled rail passengers and others who regularly use trains in Vermont when he said he "doubts" Amtrak would run trains on track that doesn't have a safety protocol known as PTC, or positive train control. Vermont is among the states that doesn't have PTC on its tracks.

A wooden gavel on a table with a blurry bookshelf in the background.
vladans / iStock

Last month, police arrested 18-year-old Jack Sawyer, after he was accused of plotting a school shooting at Fair Haven Union High School in Vermont. Among the charges Sawyer is facing: attempted murder. 

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.

More than three weeks after a school shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, left 17 people dead, students are demanding that Congress pass tougher gun laws, but so far U.S. lawmakers have failed to act.

In the absence of federal action, gun control advocates are urging states to take up the fight — and point to Connecticut as a successful model. After the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School more than five years ago, the state passed some of the toughest gun laws in the country, and advocates say they’re working.

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.

About 100 people filled Tracy Hall in Norwich for an informational town meeting on Monday night.
Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

An overwhelming majority of school budgets passed on Town Meeting Day, but the Scott administration says those budgets need be cut back further and placed in the hands of state policymakers.

House lawmakers say a proposed overhaul to education funding  would lessen reliance on the property tax, and discourage higher-spending districts from increasing their school budgets.
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.

Michael Roche, of Waterbury Center, urged fellow residents at town meeting Tuesday to consider higher pay for town officers. The meeting was in a gym.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Tuesday was Town Meeting Day for most towns in Vermont, and along with residents casting votes and voicing opinions, researchers and students from three colleges attended meetings to measure participation and “democraticness.”

I’ve been observing or reporting on Town Meetings in Vermont and New Hampshire since moving to the Upper Valley about 15 years ago.

Calais voters respond to a meeting to increase funding for battered women's shelter. We're talking about some of the results out of Town Meeting Day.
John Dillon / VPR

Before the glow fully fades, we're checking in with two reporters from VPR's team to talk about some of the results out of Town Meeting Day.

Miro Weinberger at Nectar's in Burlington on the night of Town Meeting Day 2018.
Liam Elder-Connors / VPR

Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger has won a third term in office, fending off challenges from two left-leaning candidates in independents Carina Driscoll and Infinite Culcleasure.

Town meeting 2018 in Calais
John Dillon / VPR

At town meetings around Vermont, 35 communities adopted a renewable energy resolution that originated with the climate action group 350 Vermont.

Vermont's gubernatorial race is beginning to take shape.
Angela Evancie / VPR

There's a big election on the horizon in Vermont. Parties will choose their candidates for Governor in an August primary, with the general election in November. It's still early, but the race is starting to take shape.