Vermont Legislature

Senate Health and Welfare chairwoman Sen. Claire Ayer is backing a plan to allow Vermont to purchase some prescription drugs from Canada at much lower costs
Angela Evancie / VPR File

The Vermont Senate Committee on Health and Welfare has given its unanimous approval to legislation designed to save Vermont consumers and state government programs millions of dollars in prescription drug costs.

A sign posted at Vermont Public Radio showcases the rise in state minimum wage over recent years. The photo has a filter out areas of the document while leaving other parts in focus.
Photo: Emily Alfin Johnson; Photo Illustration: Meg Malone / VPR

A key Vermont Senate committee has given its approval to legislation increasing the state minimum wage to $15 an hour over a 6-year period. 

Senate Transportation chairman Dick Mazza says he'll oppose a primary enforcement seat belt law this year
Toby Talbot / Associated Press

Efforts to strengthen the enforcement of Vermont's seat belt law are running into opposition in the Vermont Senate.

Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

When Act 148 — the state's Universal Recycling Law — unanimously passed in 2012, it put a lot of new requirements on the state's waste haulers. Two years shy of the next key implementation deadline, the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee is considering a bill that would ease some of those requirements.

Georgia Mountain Wind

The head of the Vermont Department of Public Service says it would require significant resources for the state to take a more proactive role in tracking down businesses and individuals that violate their state permits when operating renewable energy projects.

And for now, it's just "not feasible."

Nearly 1,000 people showed up at the Statehouse Tuesday evening to argue for and against proposed legislation that would allow police to temporarily remove guns from someone arrested or cited for domestic violence.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

In the latest testament to the enduring salience of the politics of firearms in Vermont, nearly 1,000 people turned out at a public hearing in the Statehouse Tuesday evening to offer impassioned arguments for — and against — proposed gun legislation.

House Ways and Means chairwoman Janet Ancel is hopeful that this is the year for lawmakers to consider a new plan to fund education
Angela Evancie / VPR file

The Vermont House Committee on Ways and Means is taking a serious look at making some significant changes in the way education is financed in the state.

Will Lambek, left, and Enrique Balcazar, with Migrant Justice, say the new fair and impartial policing policy opens to door to increased collaboration between local police and federal immigration authorities.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Migrant farmworkers say a new policy to encourage bias-free policing in Vermont could actually end up increasing cooperation between state law enforcement agencies and federal immigration authorities.

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.

Senate Transportation chairman Dick Mazza says he'll oppose a primary enforcement seat belt law this year
Toby Talbot / Associated Press

The Vermont House has given strong initial support to a highway safety bill that includes the primary enforcement of Vermont's seat belt law.

Bradford Rep. Sarah Copeland Hanzas speaks at the Vermont Statehouse on Thursday, Jan. 25.
Jeb Wallace-Brodeur / The Times Argus

As the #MeToo movement continues to illuminate the prevalence of harassment and abuse that many women face in the workplace, a tri-partisan group of Vermont legislators is trying to make it easier for victims to report bad behavior.

The rate of incarceration in Vermont has dropped by a third over the last decade, according to a new survey by Pew Charitable Trusts. But officials with the Vermont ACLU says the state still jails far more people than it needs to.
txking / iStock

The Vermont chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has launched a campaign that will try to cut the state's halve the prison population in Vermont.

House Speaker Mitzi Johnson and Senate President Pro Tem Tim Ashe, center, flanked by Democratic colleagues in the Legislature, say they have concerns with Gov. Phil Scott's approach to the issue of cost-containment in public schools.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

With an executive branch in Republican hands, and a Legislature overwhelmingly controlled by Democrats, ideological conflict is part and parcel of state government these days. And it became clear Tuesday afternoon where that partisan divide is widest.

Secretary of Administration Susanne Young and Commissioner of Finance Adam Greshin told reporters Tuesday that the governor's fiscal year 2019 budget plan ties rate of growth in state spending to the increase in Vermonters' wages.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

In a budget proposal that one administration official describes as having “no bells … and no whistles,” Republican Gov. Phil Scott is calling for a $5.9 billion spending plan that pegs the rate of growth in the budget to the increase in Vermonters’ incomes in recent years.

Golden dome of the Vermont Statehouse on a cloudy day.
Angela Evancie / VPR file

Gov. Phil Scott delivered his 2018 budget address Tuesday afternoon at the Vermont Statehouse.

Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce CEO and President Tom Torti, at the podium, joined environmental and municipal leaders last week to call for a per-parcel fee, on every property owner in Vermont, to fund clean water projects.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Environmental advocates aren’t the only voices pressuring Montpelier to come up with a long-term funding mechanism for water quality projects. Members of the state's business community are also joining the call.

Gov. Phil Scott says he is confident Democratic leaders will drop their plan to raise the statewide property tax rate to avoid a government shutdown on July first
Bob Kinzel / VPR

Vermont has become the first state in the nation to legalize marijuana through an act of the Legislature.

Gov. Phil Scott, seen here in his Montpelier office on the one year anniversary into his two-year gubernatorial term.
Henry Epp / VPR

Gov. Phil Scott says he expects to sign the marijuana legalization bill that lawmakers sent him this week before Monday. But supporters of the legislation won’t get to celebrate at a public signing ceremony.

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

A mandatory reduction in staff at public schools across Vermont is among the list of “ideas” that Gov. Phil Scott is asking lawmakers to consider as his administration looks to stave off a projected increase in next year’s statewide property tax rate.

The Chittenden Regional Correctional facility could be closed under the plan proposed by the Scott Administration.
Courtesy, State of Vermont

Key legislative leaders say a new proposal by the Scott Administration to build a multi-purpose 925-bed prison in Franklin County is an ambitious plan that deserves a comprehensive review.

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