Government & Politics

Gov-elect Phil Scott at a desk in 2016, and House Speaker Mitzi Johnson and Senate President Pro Tem Tim Ashe at a 2017 press conference.
Pete Hirschfeld / VPR Files

Both House Speaker Mitzi Johnson and Senate President Tim Ashe say a shutdown of state government on July 1 would be a disaster. And they've come up with a plan to avoid it.

The 2018 legislative session will be known as the year that Vermont took an important step towards reducing gun violence.

Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman is calling on Gov. Phil Scott to compromise on his "no new taxes" pledge to help facilitate a compromise at the Statehouse
Angela Evancie / VPR File

On Friday night, Gov. Phil Scott formally vetoed the tax and budget bills. Administration officials say Scott rejected a new compromise proposal because it includes an increase on the non-residential statewide property tax rate and they say Scott will never agree to any plan that raises taxes on Vermonters.

A stretch of road with a mini cell tower on a utility pole that a car is driving by.
Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR/File

Vermonters with cell phone service provided by CoverageCo continue to have spotty service. Now, a group of Vermont lawmakers is asking the Department of Public Service for more details on how the state’s going to deal with the ongoing problems.

Car keys on a wooden surface.
alfexe / iStock

When people fail to pay a court or administrative fine, most states can suspend that person’s driver’s license. According to a new report by the Washington Post, that may have happened to more than 7 million people around the country.

Sen. Bernie Sanders talks on his phone as he departs after a vote on Gina Haspel to be CIA director, on Capitol Hill, Thursday, May 17, 2018 in Washington.
Alex Brandon / AP

After months of speculation, Sen. Bernie Sanders made it official this week that he will be seeking a third term in November. He also plans to campaign this summer and fall for progressive candidates across the country. And the rumors are swirling about another Sanders run for President in 2020. 

Ethan Sonneborn, seen here outside the chamber of the Vermont House of Representatives, says he wants more young people to get engaged in the political process.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

At 14 years old, Bristol resident Ethan Sonneborn is by far the youngest candidate in the 2018 race for governor. And he’s using his platform to get more young people interested in civics.

Doug Brown and his brother Roger, right, operate Slopeside Syrup in Richmond. They're challenging a proposed federal label that would say maple syrup has "added sugar."
John Dillon / VPR

Maple syrup producers take pride in their pure, natural product. So when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration proposed new labels to say maple syrup contains “added sugar,” producers fought back.

Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman is calling on Gov. Phil Scott to compromise on his "no new taxes" pledge to help facilitate a compromise at the Statehouse
Angela Evancie / VPR File

Will Gov. Phil Scott and legislative leaders be able to reach an agreement on property taxes and next year's state budget?

We're talking with Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman about efforts to find a way forward before state government might have to be shut down on July 1.

Gov. Phil Scott called a special session, which started this week, after vowing to veto the state budget passed by lawmakers.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

The acrimony in Montpelier has been clear for weeks as Gov. Phil Scott stuck to his promise not to sign the budget passed by lawmakers. Now elected officials are back in Montpelier for a special session to resolve the budget impasse, but with familiar arguments on both sides of the divide, are they any closer to an agreement?

Gov. Phil Scott signs three pieces of gun control legislation amid boos and cheers on the front steps of the statehouse Wednesday, April 11, 2018.
Emily Alfin Johnson / VPR

In the last four days, 41 bills have become law in Vermont. Here's a breakdown of what they are, what they do and when they go into effect.

One out of five Americans say they personally know someone who has been addicted to opioids or prescription painkillers, according to a new report about the economic well-being of U.S. households.

The Federal Reserve report, based on a national survey, also found that exposure to opioid addiction was twice as likely among whites, regardless of education level, as among African-Americans.

Tax Commissioner Kaj Samsom, center, said in an email to employees Monday that their "anxiety" and "stress" over the prospect of a government shutdown is unncessary.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR file

Last week, after telling lawmakers he’d be vetoing their state budget proposal, Gov. Phil Scott sent a letter to legislative leadership, insisting the two sides “are very close to an agreement.”

It appears Scott may have misjudged the severity of the divide.

A sign in Nanci Leitch's home in Guilford that she rents out with Airbnb.
Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

A bill that would have placed new requirements on people who rent out their homes on websites like Airbnb will not likely survive this legislative session.

Looking up at the golden dome of the Vermont Statehouse on a cloudy day.
Angela Evancie / VPR File

Lawmakers and Gov. Phil Scott will meet again at the Statehouse Wednesday morning for a special session of the Vermont Legislature. 

Gov. Phil Scott says an anti-racism bill passed by the Legislature contains an unconstitutional provision. But though he vetoed the bill, he says he'll move forward voluntarily with an almost identical initiative.
Angela Evancie / VPR/file

Lawmakers head back to the Statehouse Wednesday morning for a special legislative session, but leaders in the House and Senate don’t anticipate an action-packed agenda this week.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Rep. Peter Welch has signed on to a bipartisan letter demanding that the Environmental Protection Agency released a study on the health effects of the chemicals PFOA and PFOS.

Gov. Phil Scott in April before signing three pieces of gun legislation into law. Today, he chose instead to veto legislation sent to him by the legislature.
Chip Allen / Times Argus

Gov. Phil Scott vetoed four bills Tuesday, including one that would have raised the minimum wage to $15 by 2024. Scott also vetoed legislation that would have created a mandatory paid family leave program in Vermont. 

Sanders announced in an email Monday morning he'll be seeking a third term in office. 

Auditor Doug Hoffer says it's hard to tell which Agriculture Agency programs are most effective at cutting phosphorus pollution from farms.
Jane Lindholm / VPR

A June 1 deadline is nearing for dairy farmers to sign up for a safety net insurance program that could help as milk prices remain low.

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