Vermont Edition

All three members of Vermont's Congressional delegation voted for the January 2018 federal government shutdown, citing concerns over DACA recipients, the so-called "dreamers" of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Scott Kirkwood / National Parks Conservation Association

Elizabeth Hewitt covers Washington, D.C. politics for VTDigger. She was covering the Capitol as Vermont's Congressional delegation voted for what ultimately became a three-day shutdown of the federal government.

ThomasVogel / iStock

In the wake of the passage of Vermont's recreational marijuana law, Vermont Edition looked at the health impact of smoking cannabis.

Dr. Garth Garrison, a pulmonary disease specialist at the University of Vermont Medical Center, spoke about what is currently known about smoking, smoking marijuana specifically, and cancer.

A Vermont State Police cruiser watches for speeding drivers on I-89 in September 2015.
Steve Zind / VPR

Vermont lawmakers are taking up a new highway safety bill that could make failure to wear a seat belt a "stoppable offense," as well as introduce tougher penalties for young motorists using cell phones while driving.

The push comes after a third of victims in Vermont's fatal crashes last year weren't wearing seat belts, in what was the deadliest year on Vermont roads in four years.

Gov. Phil Scott has suggested capturing and selling phosphorus before it gets to the state's waterways and lakes.
VPR File

In his budget address on Tuesday, Gov. Phil Scott suggested Vermont should turn lemons into lemonade by capturing the phosphorous flowing into our waterways - and selling it.

Would that work? We’re talking about whether the suggestion is feasible, how phosphorus could be separated out and what the economics of the idea might look like.

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

Calling for consensus to avoid a property tax increase, Gov. Phil Scott's budget address outlined his spending priorities and principles for the coming year.

Vermont Edition digs into the details of just what the governor is proposing with his new budget, and how the math works out to pay for it without raising taxes or fees.

Sen. Patrick Leahy D-Vt., questions Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018, in Washington.
Jose Luis Magana / AP

Sen. Patrick Leahy was one of a minority of Senate Democrats to vote against the deal to reopen the government. He joined Vermont Edition to tell us why.

We're talking about what Vermont's marijuana laws could mean for employment and drug testing.
edwardolive / iStock

Gov. Phil Scott has signed Vermont's marijuana legalization bill into law. We're looking at what it could mean for workers, employers and drug test policies.

Samuel John / Flickr

Why does it get quieter when it snows? Can there actually be thunder and lightning during a snow storm? And how can smog and flooding happen in the dead of winter?

These questions cover just a few of the winter weather phenomena that Vermont Edition is looking into.

More than 100,000 Vermont workers don't have a workplace reitrement plan, according to AARP estimates.
USA-Reiseblogger / Pixabay

As many as 45 percent of Vermont private-sector workers don't have a retirement plan through their employer. To help Vermonters save — and to reduce reliance on public services when Vermonters go to retire — State Treasurer Beth Pearce is in the final phases of launching a new retirement plan aimed at Vermont's self-employed and those working for small businesses.

In addition to “widespread” flu outbreaks across the country this winter, the flu vaccine is only about 30 percent effective this year, according to Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine.
Toby Talbot / AP

Vermont and nearly every other state in the U.S. is experiencing "widespread" flu outbreaks this winter, and the state health commissioner says the peak of flu season is still to come.

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.

mohamed_hassan / Pixabay

Vermont Attorney General TJ Donovan has joined a lawsuit challenging the Federal Communications Commission's rollback of so-called “net neutrality” regulations. 

A new report finds enforcement of health and safety standards lacking in Vermont's rental homes.
Creative Commons / Pixabay

A third of Vermonters rent their homes, but a new report on substandard housing shows Vermont's aging rental stock and tight rental market can lead to poor health and few options for those facing health or safety violations in their rentals.

Vermont Edition looks at what happens when a rental problem becomes a health hazard, and why it can be so difficult to get it fixed.

Northwest State Correctional Facility, shown in this 2008 file photo, would be closed as part of the new proposal.
Toby Talbot / AP File

The Agency of Human Services has released a plan for a massive new “campus-style” facility in northwestern Vermont that could reshape the state’s mental health and corrections systems. We’re talking about the proposal and how it would work.

One challange for those with physical mobility issues is having snow plowed into handicap parking spots.
Ric Cengeri / VPR

Winter weather can be a drag for anyone in Vermont. Now, imagine the added challenge of using a wheelchair or having other physical mobility issues and having to navigate icy and snowy parking lots, ramps and sidewalks.

 Chittenden County State's Attorney Sarah George is arguing for the creation of supervised safe injection facilities, saying the effort would save lives.
zlisjak / iStock

It may sound counterintuitive, but a Committee headed by Chittenden County State's Attorney Sarah George recently came to the conclusion that a safe injection facility for drug users in Chittenden County would be an effective tool in addressing Vermont's opioid crisis.

The cover of "Llama Llama and the Bully Goat," one of Vermont author Anna Dewdney's hugely popular children's books.
Courtesy / Reed Duncan

A new animated series based on the popular Llama Llama children's books series debuts Jan. 26 on Netflix. Anna Dewdney, a southern Vermont author and illustrator and the series' creator, died in 2016 at the age of 50. Her longtime partner, Reed Duncan, spoke with Vermont Edition about how her work continues to find new audiences.

For four years, terminally ill patients in Vermont have been able to seek a doctor's help in hastening their death. In that time, 29 Vermonters have taken the patient choice prescription.
Pamela Moore / iStock

It's been four years since Vermont started allowing terminally ill patients to seek the help of a doctor to end their own lives. We're looking at how patient choice at the end of life is working in our state, and how Vermonters have used the program since it began in 2013.

Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman addresses supporters of a tax-and-regulate marijuana legalization plan at the Statehouse on Tuesday.
Bob Kinzel / VPR

Gov. Phil Scott has made education spending one of his top priorities, and he's vowed to oppose any plan to raise the statewide property tax rate to meet new budget pressures. 

Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman joins Vermont Edition to talk about property tax reform, and what he thinks of the governor's hard line. We also talk about health care, minimum wage and paid family leave — and the lieutenant governor's continuing push for a tax-and-regulate plan on marijuana.

Middlebury College has been at the center of some fierce debates over speech and diversity on campus this past year. Back in March, Charles Murray - a social scientist whose ideas are viewed by many as racist - was shouted down on campus, and a violent confrontation followed his talk. The incident focused national attention on the college.