Vermont Legislature

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Backers of the sugar sweetened beverage tax argue that one of the major benefits of their plan will be to reduce obesity in Vermont. They say this will happen because the tax will significantly increase the cost of these products and that consumers will look for less expensive and healthier alternatives.

But there are questions whether this taxing mechanism will actually change behavior.

Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

House lawmakers have spent the first two and a half months of the legislative session working on a $14 million water quality bill. But they still haven’t figured out a way to pay for it.

Our federal tax system was created in 1913. Allowances for charitable contributions quickly followed in 1917. At the time, one Congressman said, “If a man wants to make a gift to charity, he ought to be encouraged to do so and not discouraged.”

Angela Evancie / VPR/file

Vermont's Transportation Fund, which pays for both road repairs and new highway projects, faces two major threats.

The first is a projected $6.6 million shortfall of state revenue. The second is possible changes to the Federal Highway Trust Fund that could delay dozens of projects in the state this summer.

I’m constantly telling my graduate students there’s no such thing as a stupid question. If you think it’s stupid, I say, it’s probably not just astute – it’s almost certainly the query that gets to the heart of assumptions that deserve to be examined if only someone had the courage. So now I’m gonna take my own advice.

All eight of Vermont's mayors signed a joint letter to lawmakers last week urging them to remove non-medical exemptions to the state's mandatory vaccination policy for public schoolchildren.

The mayors say they have an interest in the removal of such exemptions because cities are more densely populated and could be more seriously affected by a disease outbreak.

Angela Evancie / VPR/file

It’s the time in the Legislative session when lawmakers are set to make some important decisions about taxes. This year, there are a number of big tax policy questions under consideration.

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.

Vermont State Police

The police response to protests in Ferguson, Mo. last year raised concerns nationally about the militarization of local law enforcement. And legislators in Vermont are taking a closer look at how military equipment is acquired by police here.

Taylor Dobbs / VPR

A bill in the Senate has triggered a debate between law enforcement officials and privacy advocates.

The legislation would limit the length of time Vermont police and prosecutors can retain millions of records of license plate scans collected statewide.