Vermont Legislature

About 150 students from Montpelier High School walked out of class Wednesday afternoon to stage a rally on the steps of the Statehouse. Students across Vermont are calling on lawmakers to pass new gun legislation.
Jeb Wallace-Brodeur / The Times Argus

The school shooting in Parkland, Florida has given rise to a new wave of young activists. On Wednesday afternoon, House and Senate lawmakers heard from some of the Vermont students who are demanding action from Montpelier on gun control legislation.

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
Jeb Wallace-Brodeur / Times Argus

During the course of the week, the House is scheduled to review a Senate bill that raises the age to purchase a gun from 18 to 21.

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

In his second year in office, Gov. Phil Scott has called for limited spending and shared his change of heart on gun control laws. We're talking with the Governor about the surprises and changing priorities in Montpelier in 2018, and what he wants to accomplish in the rest of the legislative session.

Attorney General TJ Donovan announced a $28 million settlement with tobacco companies Thursday. Gov. Phil Scott and legislative leaders say they'll use $14 million to combat the state's opioid problem. They have yet to decide how to spend the remainder.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

A legal settlement with tobacco companies has resulted in a financial windfall for the state of Vermont.

Ed Wilson, in yellow, was one of nearly 200 gun rights advocates in the Statehouse cafeteria Tuesday evening. Wilson and others say proposed gun legislation in Montpelier would infringe on gun owners' rights.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

In their first show of political force in Montpelier since lawmakers began taking up new firearms legislation, about 200 gun rights advocates jammed the Statehouse cafeteria Tuesday evening to show their opposition to the bills.

The House chamber of the Vermont Legislature
Angela Evancie / VPR/file

The Republican governor says the school budgets approved at town meetings last week are too high, and he wants the Legislature to intervene, by requiring districts to reduce spending. But a group of lawmakers say they have a better plan.

Jace Laquerre, a 19-year-old freshman at the University of Vermont, told the audience at Ira Allen Chapel Thursday that, despite all the calls for gun control after Parkland, not all young people are in favor of new restrictions on gun ownership.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

The public debate over gun laws arrived Thursday evening on the campus of the University of Vermont, where both supporters and opponents of new gun legislation made their views known.

House lawmakers gave final approval to a wide-ranging gun bill Tuesday night. The legislation heads now to the Vermont Senate, which is expected to hold a final vote before the end of the week.
Angela Evancie / VPR file

Town Meeting Day was kind to local schools this year, as all but five districts have won approval for their budgets. But while a majority of Vermonters may be okay with their local spending plans, the administration of Gov. Phil Scott is not.

Looking up at the Vermont Statehouse with a blue sky background.
Angela Evancie / VPR file

The legislature is nearing its Town Meeting Day break. At this halfway mark, we're talking to top political reporters on the status of key bills, including gun control, education financing, paid family leave, raising the minimum wage and water quality efforts.

The dome of the Vermont Statehouse on a cloudy day with the Vermont flag flying.
Angela Evancie / VPR file

In a move that seemed almost unthinkable at the outset of the 2018 legislative session, elected officials in Montpelier appear to be on track to make universal background checks the law before the end of the year.

Bennington County Sen. Dick Sears, seen here on the Senate floor in a 2016 file photo.
Angela Evancie / VPR file

As lawmakers nationwide consider new ways to get guns out of the hands of dangerous people, the Vermont Senate has advanced a bill that would make it easier for police to seize firearms from people who pose an "extreme risk" to themselves or others.

Jared Cadwell, the Fayston selectboard chairman, holds papers at a desk and looks over the town's Town Meeting Day warning in the town's municpal building.
Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

If you take a quick scan at this year's Town Meeting Day warnings, you won't find too many ambitious projects that require long-term borrowing. Vermont town officials say ongoing debates in Washington and Montpelier are making it hard to plan too far into the future.

The House chamber of the Vermont Legislature
Angela Evancie / VPR/file

There are three ways at the moment that Vermont House members can vote on a bill or an amendment to a bill. But there's also talk of introducing an electronic voting system that could shake things up in Montpelier.

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.

Gun control advocates demonstrate at the State House in Montpelier, on Tuesday Feb. 20, 2018.
Wilson Ring / AP

The conversation around gun control in Vermont has changed significantly in the days following the arrest of an 18-year-old for allegedly plotting a mass shooting in Fair Haven. Republican Gov. Phil Scott, who had resisted any changes to the state's gun laws, now has presented a set of proposals to tighten them, and lawmakers are already taking action. We’re talking about what might happen.

Victoria Banerjee checks on a tank of wort, or unfermented beer, at Hermit Thrush Brewery in Brattleboro.
Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

Vermont's craft brewers are asking lawmakers to update the state's franchise law because they say it unfairly benefits beer and wine distributors.

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.

A coyote walks in snowy wooded area.
LeFion / iStock

The ban on “holding or participating" in coyote-killing tournaments was included in a major fish and wildlife bill that passed the Vermont House this week.

Leah Sagan-Dworsky, 19, of Montpelier, was among the people calling for stricter gun laws at a rally on the steps of the Statehouse Tuesday. Sagan-Dworsky is holding a sign asking Sen. Dick Sears to move two bills out of commitee.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

A bill that would require background checks for private gun sales in Vermont has been stuck in the Senate Judiciary Committee since last year, but the legislation could be headed for a vote on the Senate floor even without the committee’s approval.

Phil Scott puts his right hand up and is sworn in as Vermont's governor at the Montpelier Statehouse in January 2017.
Angela Evancie / VPR

Longtime VPR reporter Bob Kinzel is ready to answer your questions about the inner workings of the Legislature, state government and Vermont's political history.

Today's question was originally sent to our podcast, Brave Little State and inquires about the length of the state's gubernatorial term.

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