Vermont Legislature

Commissioner of Finance Adam Greshin, right, and Brad James from the Agency of Education, second from right, brief lawmakers Monday on a plan that would try to reduce payroll costs in public schools by penalizing districts with higher staffing levels.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

The Scott administration unveiled a new plan Monday to curb costs in the public education system by cutting payroll in local schools.

Sen. Dick Sears, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, backs bill to expand domestic terrorism law to deal with cases like the alleged incident at Fair Haven Union High School
Angela Evancie / VPR

The Vermont Senate has given unanimous approval to legislation that updates the state's domestic terrorism laws as a way to help thwart future mass shootings.

 A gun rally drew more than a thousand people to Montpelier Saturday; some came in part to pick up a free high capacity magazine that will be banned under new legislation.
John Dillon / VPR File

A constitutional challenge of Vermont’s new ban on high-capacity magazines will hinge less on the Second Amendment than on Article 16 of the Vermont Constitution.

House Speaker Mitzi Johnson and Senate President Tim Ashe have a plan to avoid a government shutdown on July 1st if lawmakers are still at an impasse with Governor Phil Scott over property tax rates
Meg Malone / VPR File

Lawmakers were busy this week considering different ways to change Vermont's criminal justice laws in an effort to thwart future cases of mass violence.

And new information has emerged as to why former Education Secretary Rebecca Holcombe resigned earlier this month.

Julia Adams, a social studies teacher at Fair Haven Union High School, asked the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday the change the definition of what it means to "attempt" a crime.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

As Fair Haven Union High School prepares for the possible release of the teenager who allegedly planned to inflict mass casualties at the school, students from the school are asking lawmakers to update criminal statutes they say should have kept him behind bars.

Senate Judiciary chairman Dick Sears is looking to modify Vermont's domestic terrorism laws as a way to deal with future cases of violence
Angela Evancie / VPR File

After a Vermont Supreme Court ruling last week said Jack Sawyer could not be held without bail because his actions did not constitute "an attempt" to commit a crime, the Senate Judiciary Committee is exploring the state's domestic terrorism law as a way to charge similar crimes in the future.

Illustration of a hand holding a dollar sign between thumb and forefinger.
mhatzapa / iStock.com

The Vermont Senate has approved legislation that prohibits employers from asking applicants about their salary history. Backers say it would help reduce the pay gap between men and women.

Opponents and supporters of Vermont's new gun laws made thier voices heard at Gov. Scott's public signing of the bills into law.
Chip Allen / Times Argus

Gov. Phil Scott has signed three gun control measures into law, the first such rules for Vermont. We want to hear your thoughts on these laws and how you think they'll shape Vermont. 

Gov. Phil Scott signs three pieces of gun control legislation amid boos and cheers on the front steps of the statehouse Wednesday, April 11, 2018.
Emily Alfin Johnson / VPR

S.55, a bill that became the unexpected hot-button issue of the session so far, was signed into law Wednesday on the steps of the Vermont Statehouse.

Stowe High School student Sam Robertson holds an American flag and stands in front of a truck.
John Dillon / VPR

In just a few months, young people — some who can’t yet vote – have led the U.S. and Vermont on a dizzying pace of change around gun control legislation. Far less visible are the students who favor gun rights.

What's blockchain? The unqiue computer network is a new piece of financial technology that Vermont lawmakers believe offers big opportunities for the state.
MF3d / iStock

Bitcoin. Cryptocurrency. These and other buzzwords make headlines in the world of finance, but underlying it all is a new piece of financial technology called blockchain. And state lawmakers are betting this new technology could be Vermont's next moneymaker, much like the state's captive insurance market.

Rep. David Deen, center, listens to testimony last week on a water quality bill. Deen, who chairs the House Committee on Natural Resources, Fish & Wildlife, says his committee may unveil a water quality funding plan this week.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

From the governor on down, just about every elected official in Montpelier says Vermont needs more money for water quality projects. And that’s where the agreement ends.

The issue of how to pay for water funding has turned into one of the most intractable policy debates of the 2018 legislative session.

The Vermont Legislature is looking for ways to shift the educational fund burden from property taxes to income taxes. H.911 includes legislation that would spell out how that can be accomplsihed.
ParkerDeen / iStock

Ask any legislator in Montpelier and they'll probably agree that getting the state's education funding model right could be their most difficult task. Now a bill passed by the House sets about shifting some of the burden of paying for our schools from property taxes to income taxes.

The Vermont Statehouse with a cloudy sky, with people gathering in front of the building.
Liam Elder-Connors / VPR

Vermont lawmakers have given their unanimous approval to two additional gun control measures. Now those are headed to Gov. Phil Scott, who has previously announced support for the bills.

Two cranes lift the 14-foot statue of Ceres, the Roman goddess of agriculture, from the capitol dome as part of $2 million rennovation project.
Bob Kinzel / VPR

The golden dome that crowns Vermont's capitol building is undergoing a $2 million renovation. We're looking at what the project will accomplish with Statehouse Curator David Schutz.

Washington County Sen. Anthony Pollina discusses the Progressive agenda in Montpelier.
AP/Toby Talbot

Progressive leaders in Montpelier began the legislative session with a plan for Vermonters to pay their school taxes based on their income, rather than the value of their property. The plan failed to gain traction in both the House and Senate. We're talking with Progressive leaders about how their agenda has been received in the Statehouse this year.

Attorney General TJ Donovan says he backs legislation that would soften criminal penalties for simple drug possession.
Jeb Wallace-Brodeur / The Times Argus

As Vermont looks for new ways to combat the problem of opioid addiction, House lawmakers are considering legislation that would soften criminal penalties for possession of heroin and other drugs.

House Speaker Mitzi Johnson and Senate President Tim Ashe have a plan to avoid a government shutdown on July 1st if lawmakers are still at an impasse with Governor Phil Scott over property tax rates
Meg Malone / VPR File

Legislation creating paid family leave in Vermont has gotten a big boost at the Statehouse, as the head of the Senate Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs says the proposal is a top priority for the panel.

However, the outlook for the bill is still uncertain because Gov. Phil Scott opposes the legislation.

Speakers lined up at the Vermont Statehouse entrance at the "March for Our Lives" on March 24.
Liam Elder-Connors / VPR

The Vermont Senate has given final approval to a sweeping set of new gun control measures, and Gov. Phil Scott says he will sign the bill, titled S. 55. We're looking at what ended up in the wide-ranging bill. Plus, we'll also look at two more bills relating to guns, H. 422 and S. 221, that the Senate is still debating.

The Roman goddess of Agriculture, Ceres, has been weathering the winter storms for over 70 years atop Vermont’s Statehouse in Montpelier. Monday, she decended (with the help of two cranes.)
Bob Kinzel / VPR

The 14-foot goddess of Agriculture was removed from the top of the Statehouse dome by crane Monday as the first step of a $2 million renovation campaign.

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