Mitzi Johnson

Gov. Phil Scott and legislative leaders announced details of a compromise Wednesday that will require school districts across Vermont to cut spending by $13 million over the next two years.
Jeb Wallace-Brodeur / Times Argus

School districts across Vermont will be forced to reduce spending by $13 million over the next two years as part of a compromise in Montpelier that has cleared the political logjam holding up passage of the state budget.

A deal between Democratic lawmakers and the Scott administration has paved the way for passage of critical budget and tax bills.
Doug Kerr / Flickr

A tentative compromise between Democratic lawmakers and Republican Gov. Phil Scott over the issue of teacher health benefits appears to have resolved a weeks-long political standoff that had threatened passage of the budget and a key tax bill.

Angela Evancie / VPR file

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.

Angela Evancie / VPR file

Democratic lawmakers and members of the administration of Republican Gov. Phil Scott returned to the negotiating table Thursday to try to hammer out a deal over the budget and property tax bills that Scott vetoed last week.

House Speaker Mitzi Johnson, left, and Senate President Pro Tem Tim Ashe say they're trying to include as many lawmakers as possible in the negotiations with Gov. Phil Scott.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR file

Lawmakers won’t be back for their veto session until June 21, but Senate President Time Ashe says he hopes to have a resolution with Republican Gov. Phil Scott over the issue of teacher health care well before they return.

Kirk Carapezza / VPR/file

The 2017 legislative session has adjourned, but Vermont’s fiercest political fight in recent memory has only just begun.

Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Vermont appears to be headed for its first budget veto in nearly a decade.

Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Democratic House Speaker Mitzi Johnson has unveiled a plan she hopes will end the month-long standoff in Montpelier over the issue of health benefits for public school employees. But Democrats’ efforts to appease Republican Gov. Phil Scott could cost them a key political ally in the process.

House Speaker Mitzi Johnson, left, and Senate President Pro Tem Tim Ashe say they're trying to include as many lawmakers as possible in the negotiations with Gov. Phil Scott.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR file

A seemingly unbridgeable divide between Republican Gov. Phil Scott and Democratic lawmakers has again postponed legislative adjournment, forcing the two sides back to the Statehouse next week to try to negotiate a compromise over the issue of teacher health care benefits.

Angela Evancie / VPR file

As they battle with Republican Gov. Phil Scott over the issue of teacher health benefits, Democratic leaders in the House and Senate are trying to cast themselves as champions of property tax relief with a new plan for guaranteed savings in the education system.

Angela Evancie / VPR file

VPR's comprehensive coverage of the last days of the legislative session continues on Monday when House Speaker Mitzi Johnson is our guest on Vermont Edition.  We get her perspective on the dramatic last-minute twists in state budget negotiations, teacher health care and marijuana legalization.

Angela Evancie / VPR file

Late Wednesday night, the Democratically controlled Vermont House of Representatives almost did the unthinkable by passing a proposal put forth by Republican Gov. Phil Scott that would drastically overhaul the collective bargaining process for public school teachers.

At least 15 Democrats joined forces with independents and Republicans in the Vermont House of Representatives Wednesday night to nearly give Republican Gov. Phil Scott one of the biggest victories of his young tenure.

House Speaker Mitzi Johnson, left, and Senate President Pro Tem Tim Ashe say they're trying to include as many lawmakers as possible in the negotiations with Gov. Phil Scott.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR file

The prospect of a gubernatorial veto is suddenly looming large over budget negotiations in Montpelier, where intractable differences over the future of teacher health care benefits are threatening to derail a late-session compromise between Republican Gov. Phil Scott and Democratic leaders in the House and Senate.

Senate lawmakers have given unanimous approval to a state budget that includes funding for a range of spending initiatives that did not make it into House’s spending plan. But the accounting tactic used by the Senate to fund those programs will be a major point of contention as legislative leaders enter negotiations for a consensus budget plan.

Angela Evancie / VPR file

With less than two weeks left in the legislative session, Gov. Phil Scott is calling on lawmakers to overhaul the collective bargaining process for public school teachers, so that his administration can try to extract $26 million in health care savings from the education system next year.

Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Gov. Phil Scott says that after 100 days in office, he’s already transforming culture in state government and bringing needed fiscal restraint to the state budget. But the new Republican executive is still struggling to bring the Legislature on board with some of his most sweeping proposals.

Angela Evancie / VPR file

A budget plan put forward by the House of Representatives this week has won nearly unanimous support across party lines, but the bipartisan harmony over fiscal issues may be short-lived.

Angela Evancie / VPR file

There have been no snow days for elected officials this week, and that’s probably because they have some big legislative deadlines to hit in the next few days.

Taylor Dobbs / VPR file

A key legislative committee is recommending $31 million in new taxes and fees annually to clean up Lake Champlain and other Vermont water bodies, prompting a swift rebuke from a Republican governor who says the “baffling” proposal will hurt businesses and “make Vermont less affordable.”

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