Tim Ashe

Lawmakers adjourned the legislative session on Saturday, but they'll be back in Montpelier soon to try to resolve a budget impasse with Gov. Phil Scott.
Angela Evancie / VPR file

Gov. Phil Scott says he'll call lawmakers back to Montpelier for a special session next Wednesday, but the budget impasse between the Republican governor and Democratic lawmakers shows no signs of letting up.

Gov. Phil Scott says he is confident Democratic leaders will drop their plan to raise the statewide property tax rate to avoid a government shutdown on July first
Bob Kinzel / VPR

Gov. Phil Scott says he's confident that he'll be able to reach an agreement with Democratic leaders in an upcoming Special Session over the issue of education spending. But Scott says raising property tax rates will definitely not be part of any agreement.

Last week, Gov. Phil Scott asked Republican lawmakers to join him in opposing the Legislature's budget. Few heeded his request.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Democratic lawmakers have been severely critical of Gov. Phil Scott’s plan to avoid an increase in statewide property tax rates, but the Republican governor has also struggled to win buy-in from members of his own party.

Gov. Phil Scott addresses the Vermont Senate after lawmakers adjourned the legislative session Saturday night. Scott, who is expected to veto the state budget, says there's a "fundamental disagreement" between him and legislators.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

The $5.8 billion budget passed by the Vermont Legislature late Saturday night is supposed to fund government through the middle of 2019, but the spending plan will more likely have a shelf life of only a few days.

Millard Cox, of Ripton, speaks at a public hearing in the Vermont Statehouse in January. Cox is among the health care reform advocates urging the Legislature to adopt a publicly funded system for universal primary care.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

It’s been more than three years since then-Gov. Peter Shumlin abandoned his pledge to create a universal health care system in Vermont, but advocates are working this session to reignite the embers of the single-payer flame.

Gov. Scott delivered his 2018 budget address before a joint session of the Vermont Legislature.
Emily Alfin Johnson / VPR

The administration of Gov. Phil Scott says Vermont can reduce payroll expenses in public schools by more than $250 million over the next five years, without imposing a legislative mandate that requires districts to adhere to new staffing ratios.

According to campaign finance disclosures, Republican Gov. Phil Scott has raised more than twice as much money toward his 2018 reelection bid than any of the other four candidates challenging him for the office.
Angela Evancie / VPR file

Administration officials say Gov. Phil Scott will unveil a plan Tuesday to plug a nearly $60 million hole in the state’s education fund.

Gov. Phil Scott and legislative leaders are still at odds over key budget issues, including an estimated $58 million needed for education funding.
Jeb Wallace-Brodeur / Times Argus

Lawmakers are working on finalizing a budget in the closing weeks of the legislative session, but key disagreements on school funding and other programs have yet to be resolved. We're looking at how the state budget is taking shape and where lawmakers and Gov. Scott's administration disagree.

Senate Pro Tem Tim Ashe, left, and Speaker of the House Mitzi Johnson, Right with Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman and Gov. Phil Scott, center in January 2018.
Emily Alfin Johnson / VPR

Our veteran statehouse reporter Bob Kinzel is answering your questions about state government, history and politics.

A bump stock next to a disassembled .22-caliber rifle, shown in 2013. While the House passed a ban on bump stocks Friday, the Senate version of S.55 did not include such a provision.
Allen Breed / AP

On Friday evening, after 10 full hours of debate, House lawmakers voted 85-59 to approve sweeping changes to Vermont’s gun laws. But the bill, called S.55, still has some hurdles to clear in Montpelier. Here’s what’s next for S.55.

In foreground, House Speaker Mitzi Johnson, left, and Bennington County Sen. Dick Sears, right , talk after a meeting on gun legislation Tuesday.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Vermont’s top elected officials have vowed to move ahead with new restrictions on gun ownership, but a debate between the House and Senate this week shows that finding consensus on firearms legislation will be easier said than done.

Jordan Verasamy, 14, of Essex, joined students from across Vermont at a press conference in Montpelier Thursday to call on lawmakers to pass legislation that would require background checks for private gun sales.
Jeb Wallace-Brodeur / The Times Argus

For decades gun control has been the third rail of Vermont politics — but almost overnight that appears to have changed — and recent events in Vermont and beyond have put gun legislation on a fast track in Montpelier.

House Speaker Mitzi Johnson and Senate President Pro Tem Tim Ashe, center, flanked by Democratic colleagues in the Legislature, say they have concerns with Gov. Phil Scott's approach to the issue of cost-containment in public schools.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

With an executive branch in Republican hands, and a Legislature overwhelmingly controlled by Democrats, ideological conflict is part and parcel of state government these days. And it became clear Tuesday afternoon where that partisan divide is widest.

Senate President Pro Tem Tim Ashe strongly supports raising Vermont's minimum wage to $15 an hour over a period of years.
Bob Kinzel / VPR

The Vermont Senate could vote in the next few weeks on a bill that raises the state minimum wage from the current $10.50 an hour to $15 an hour over a period of several years. 

The legislation is a top priority for Senate President Pro Tem Tim Ashe, but the plan is opposed by Gov. Phil Scott.

Senate President Tim Ashe joins "Vermont Edition" to discuss his legislative priorities, including a $15 minimum wage and paid family leave.
Emily Alfin Johnson / VPR

Raising the state minimum wage to $15 an hour over a period of years is one of Senate President Tim Ashe's top priorities for this legislative session. Sen. Ashe joins Vermont Edition to discuss this and other key issues.

The Chittenden Regional Correctional facility could be closed under the plan proposed by the Scott Administration.
Courtesy, State of Vermont

Key legislative leaders say a new proposal by the Scott Administration to build a multi-purpose 925-bed prison in Franklin County is an ambitious plan that deserves a comprehensive review.

PIlls on a tabletop.
Tomas Nevesely / i-stock

A new Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont report shows there's been a dramatic reduction in the number of prescriptions being written for opioid pain medication in Vermont.

Blue Cross officials says new state prescribing policies, which went into effect July 1, 2017, are a major factor in the decline.

House Speaker MItzi Johnson welcomed lawmakers back to the Statehouse Wednesday morning. Legislative leaders have vowed to move ahead with major policy initiatives in 2018, but they're in many cases at odds over how to proceed.
Kate Alfin Johnson / For VPR

House Speaker Mitzi Johnson and Senate President Pro Tem Tim Ashe say they expect decisive action on major policy fronts during the 2018 legislative session, but as the session gets underway, it’s already clear that it’ll be tough to find consensus within the Legislature on many of those issues, let alone with Republican Gov. Phil Scott.

Senate President Pro Tem Tim Ashe says finding ways to reduce the cost of prescription drugs is a top priority for him in the new session
Angela Evancie / VPR FILE

Lawmakers return to Montpelier on Wednesday to tackle a number of key issues during the 2018 session. One bill that will receive close scrutiny could significantly reduce the cost of prescription drugs for all Vermonters.

Gov. Phil Scott says the commission's findings bolster his case for a statewide teacher contract.
Taylor Dobbs / VPR/file

House Speaker Mitzi Johnson and Senate President Pro Tem Tim Ashe say they’re considering potentially significant changes to the process used to investigate allegations of sexual harassment in the Vermont Statehouse.

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