Peter Shumlin

Gov. Peter Shumlin made a special trip to the offices of Vermont Health Connect on Wednesday  to raise the spirits of the frontline workers.

Vermont’s online health insurance exchange has been riddled with problems since its launch in 2013. And the project doesn’t exactly get a lot of good press.

But Shumlin says the issues aren’t the fault of rank-and-file employees at Vermont Health Connect. And with a key May 31 deadline bearing down, Shumlin dropped by the Essex Junction headquarters on Wednesday to offer some words of appreciation.

Angela Evancie / VPR/file

If you’re looking for a job, the IBM plant in Essex could be looking for you. On Thursday, the Vermont Department of Labor is holding a job fair in Burlington for IBM.

The company is hiring for about 100 positions that will later be transferred over to GlobalFoundries, the company that’s set to take over IBM’s chip-making division once the deal is finalized. But exactly how long will these jobs stay in Vermont?

Angela Evancie / VPR

The next few weeks could be a critical time for legislation that eliminates the philosophical exemption to Vermont's mandatory immunization law.

Gov. Peter Shumlin says he might drop his opposition to the plan if the House follows the lead of the Senate in supporting this bill.

Angela Evancie / VPR/file

As the Senate Finance committee considers a proposal to include professional services under the sales tax, Gov. Peter Shumlin says he'll strongly oppose the effort.

The lawmakers' plan would also reduce the sales tax rate.

John Dillon / VPR

Governor Peter Shumlin has proposed a $190 million package of federal and state funds to address the Medicaid cost-shift, but the idea hasn't gained enough traction with lawmakers at the Statehouse so far this session. We look at that issue in a live interview with Shumlin. We also look at the work to release two critical upgrades to the state health care exchange in the next six months, and  plan to cleanup Lake Champlain.

The decision by Gov. Peter Shumlin to abandon a single payer health care system is having an unexpected impact on Vermont's larger businesses. And lawmakers will now have to make decisions that Vermont's health care law never anticipated.

Angela Evancie / VPR/file

Gov. Peter Shumlin is urging lawmakers to make huge new investments in health care reform. But the Vermont House has slashed his proposal dramatically. And even the pared down health reform initiative may now be in jeopardy.

Angela Evancie / VPR/file

Over the past 25 years, there’s been a recurring battle at the Statehouse over whether the consolidation of school districts should be mandated by the Legislature. It's a debate that's surfaced once again this year.

Under a plan passed by the House last week, all school districts would have at least 1,100 students. To put this figure in perspective, right now, roughly 80 percent of all school districts in the state have fewer than 500 students and 30 percent have fewer than 100 students.

John Dillon / VPR

Gov. Peter Shumlin says a drug manufacturer has dramatically raised the prices of life-saving medication used to prevent deaths from heroin overdoses.

Emergency responders and the state police use naloxone – also known by the  trade name Narcan – to reverse the effects of overdose. But the cost of the drug has spiked 62 percent in the last month. At a news conference Wednesday, Shumlin called on the manufacturer to lower prices.

Screen shot / Vermont Health Connect

The Shumlin administration is working with the state’s health insurance carriers to reconcile millions of dollars in billing discrepancies resulting from Vermont Health Connect’s lack of key functions.

Angela Evancie / VPR File

Gov. Peter Shumlin says a health care package being developed by the House fails to take any meaningful action to address the rising cost of health care. The governor is urging lawmakers to reconsider the House approach.

Angela Evancie / VPR

Gov. Peter Shumlin joined AT&T executives on Thursday to call attention to progress in Vermont's efforts to expand cellular coverage in the state, but cell service has become something of a liability to Shumlin.

On his first day as governor, he launched a program he said would help him deliver on a promise.

Gov. Peter Shumlin banned all “non-essential state funded or state sponsored travel to Indiana” on Tuesday, following other states and private groups that have cancelled events or travel to Indiana over the passage of the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

The new Indiana law has drawn widespread criticism from advocates for equal rights, who say it creates a legal basis for businesses to deny service on the basis of sexual orientation.

Amid national controversy over Indiana’s new Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin has invited one of the many groups boycotting Indiana to host its national conference in Vermont.

Shumlin is courting the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. The union announced plans to change the venue for its 2015 Women’s Conference, originally scheduled to take place in October in Indiana.

Taylor Dobbs / VPR File

Gov. Peter Shumlin  has announced the departure of a top administration aide. 

Chief of Staff Liz Miller will leave state government at the end of the 2015 legislative session. 

Thirty-five-year-old Darren Springer, currently the deputy commissioner of the Department of Public Service, will take her place.

Springer says that he joined the Shumlin administration to work on renewable energy policy.

Taylor Dobbs / VPR

Officials from Vermont and Quebec signed a new agreement Monday that outlines how the two governments will continue to reduce pollution in Lake Champlain.

Angela Evancie / VPR/file

Vermont’s online health insurance exchange has been beset with problems since its launch a year and a half ago. In a surprise announcement on Friday, Gov. Peter Shumlin said Vermont will abandon Vermont Health Connect if it doesn’t start working properly soon.

Taylor Dobbs / VPR File

The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced a bill ahead of the Legislature’s Friday evening deadline for non-money bills on a 5-0 vote, ensuring the full Senate will consider a scaled back gun bill this year.

The legislation, supported unanimously in the committee Friday, seeks to ban some convicted criminals from possessing weapons and will require people found by a court to be a danger to themselves or others to be reported to the federal National Instant Criminal Background Check System. It would take effect on Oct. 1.

The Shumlin administration has asked state agencies and departments to identify up to 325 state jobs to be cut to obtain $10.8 million in labor savings.

Agency of Administration Justin Johnson made the request in a memo sent to agency secretaries and department commissioners Wednesday. The memo was first reported Thursday by Seven Days.

The state workers union is calling on Gov. Peter Shumlin to raise an additional $30 million in revenues next year. And other groups are joining the union's push for tax increases on the wealthy.