Vermont Legislature

Vermont lawmakers face a number of critical decisions in 2018, related to clean water funding, property tax reform, and whether to raise the minimum wage.
Angela Evancie / VPR file

Here's what issues are top of mind as the legislative session begins, and what's planned for the opening days.

Whiskey bottle pouring into a glass with ice.
igorr1 / iStock

Prohibition might have been repealed in 1933, but modern-day bootleggers are still sidestepping state liquor laws. Now Vermont officials want heavier penalties for people trafficking booze from neighboring New Hampshire.

Changes in the federal tax code could make it harder for economists to predict how much Vermont will collect in state revenues next year.
Angela Evancie / VPR file

Vermont is about to generate the cash needed to pay for one of the biggest affordable housing initiatives in recent history.

Republican Randy Brock, seen here in 2011 announcing his ultimately unsuccessful bid for governor, has been appointed by Gov. Phil Scott to fill Franklin County's vacant seat in the Vermont Senate.
AP File/Toby Talbot

Randy Brock, the former Republican state auditor who unsuccessfully ran for governor in 2012, and for lieutenant governor last year, is making a return to Vermont’s political scene.

Addison County Sen. Chris Bray, left, says Vermont could get more electric vehicles on the road by providing a financial incentive to prospective buyers.
Angela Evancie / VPR file

Financial incentives for people who buy electric vehicles will be among several clean energy proposals up for debate in Montpelier next year.

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

One of the fiercest political debates of the last legislative session is set for a replay in 2018 after a special commission recommended this week that Vermont overhaul the collective bargaining system at public schools.

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.

House Speaker Mitzi Johnson and Senate President Pro Tem Tim Ashe say they're reviewing the policies that each chamber uses to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR file

House Speaker Mitzi Johnson and Senate President Pro Tem Tim Ashe have outlined their key priorities for the legislative session that begins in January.

Senate Health and Welfare chairwoman Sen. Claire Ayer is concerned that the elimination of the federal individual health care mandate will drive up private premiums in Vermont.
Angela Evancie / VPR

A group of House and Senate lawmakers will try to lay the groundwork next year for a publicly funded system of universal primary care in Vermont.

The Vermont Supreme Court ruled a parent's behavior toward children can play a key role in determining whether they can be granted legal parental rights.
John Dillon / VPR File

Who is legally recognized as a parent? That's the question at the heart of a recent Vermont Supreme Court decision that a family law expert says exposes the gaps in Vermont's laws that affect modern families.

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

The chairman of the House Committee on Transportation says he’ll push for more stringent seatbelt laws during the next legislative session.

Calais Rep. Janet Ancel, pictured here in 2015, is chairwoman of the House Committee on Ways and Means. Ancel says lawmakers will likely devote much of the 2018 legislative session to understanding what the federal tax overhaul means for Vermont.
Angela Evancie / VPR file

The chairwoman of the House Committee on Ways and Means says changes in the federal tax code could force some tough decisions for Vermont lawmakers next year.

Chittenden Sen. Chris Pearson says Vermont can reduce carbon emissions and stimulate the economy by increasing the price of gas and home heating oil, and lowering electric rates.
Angela Evancie / VPR/file

Backers of the latest proposal for a carbon tax in Vermont say lawmakers can increase the price of gasoline and home heating oil without inflicting financial stress on residents and businesses.

Gov. Phil Scott says it would be possible to avoid a statewide property tax increase by mandating a higher student to staff ratio
skynesher / iStock

Lawmakers are facing a situation in 2018 that they usually try to avoid: supporting a significant increase in the state's property tax rate in an election year.

Vermont Statehouse dome on a cloudy day.
Kirk Carapezza / VPR/file

A wave of new allegations against members of Congress has prompted a sweeping review of sexual harassment policies in the nation’s capital. But in Montpelier, it’s a previously undisclosed incident from this past April that state lawmakers are trying to learn from.

Angela Evancie / VPR FILE

Live call-in discussion: Gov. Phil Scott closes out the year with a long to-do list for 2018. Friday on Vermont Edition, we're taking your calls and questions as we ask the governor about budgets, taxes, and his priorities for the coming year.

House Minority Leader Don Turner says House and Senate Republicans stand united in opposition against proposed legislation that would send the minimum wage in Vermont to $15 an hour.
Angela Evancie / VPR

The political battle lines are taking shape in what will likely be one of the more contentious policy debates of the 2018 legislative session.

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

Senate President Pro Tem Tim Ashe says raising the state minimum wage to $15 an hour will be one of his top priorities for the 2018 legislative session.

Vermont Statehouse dome on a cloudy day.
Kirk Carapezza / VPR/file

A few years ago, Vermont enacted a law that tries to give the general public a bigger role in the budget writing process, but one legislator says the Scott administration isn’t following the spirit of the statute.

Sen. Christopher Bray is backing a per parcel fee on all property in Vermont to help fund water quality projects
courtesy / the Vermont Department of Health

The head of the Senate Natural Resources committee, Addison Sen. Christopher Bray, is backing a plan to boost funding for water quality projects throughout the state.

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