Vermont Legislature

Stefan Hard / The Times Argus

A plan to use a new payroll tax to help reduce the Medicaid cost shift faces growing opposition at the Statehouse, which means a sugar sweetened beverage tax may be the preferred option. 

A wide-ranging bill designed to ensure Vermonters’ privacy in the digital age isn’t going anywhere soon, as lawmakers have largely abandoned the effort because of pressure on other issues.

The bill’s provisions related to issues such as drone surveillance and collection of consumers’ online data were quickly relegated to a summer study committee. But lawmakers will have a chance to research the topic with the hopes of legislating on the issue next year.

A lobbyist’s comments late last week to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee have launched a new round of attacks against the group Gun Sense Vermont and frustration for lawmakers looking to advance a gun bill in the Senate.

The committee heard testimony Thursday on an amendment to S.141, a bill that seeks to make it a crime in Vermont for some convicts to possess firearms and would require that people found by a court to be a danger to themselves or others be reported to a federal database.

Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

House Democrats on Monday afternoon put the finishing touches on their fiscal year 2016 budget proposal. As they do most every year, members of the Republican minority say the spending plan is more than taxpayers can afford. But the House GOP now says it’s prepared to offer Vermonters a fiscal alternative. 

Angela Evancie / VPR/file

Legislation that provides $35 million in new revenue to help balance the state budget will be debated by the House in the near future. And House Speaker Shap Smith strongly supports the plan.

Angela Evancie / VPR/file

The clock is ticking in Montpelier. In the next week, key decisions will be made about next year's budget, changes to the income tax, the fate of the sugar-sweetened beverage tax and a proposed payroll tax and a plan to clean up Lake Champlain.

Bob Kinzel / VPR/file

The House Education committee has come up with a new plan to cap local school spending over the next three years. The panel has replaced a rigid cap with a flexible approach that reflects a town's current spending level.

The committee decided to revise its original plan after a number of lawmakers complained that the proposal would have a devastating impact on their local schools.

Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Lawmakers are considering a bill designed to expand the raw milk market in Vermont. But health experts and dairy industry stalwarts say the proposal could inflict serious damage on the state’s agriculture sector.

Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

The Department for Aging and Independent Living provides services to about 5,000 Vermonters with disabilities every year. But critics say the budget proposal from the Shumlin administration won’t keep pace with growing need. And Vermonters with disabilities are speaking out.

I recently ran into an old student of mine. But because all of my former students are also former inmates, I tactfully waited for him to identify our connection.