The Frequency

Taylor Dobbs / VPR File

Lawmakers are taking a step they hope will increase voter participation.

By a vote of 20 to 7 Thursday afternoon, the Senate gave preliminary approval to a bill that would allow residents to register to vote on the day of an election. Currently, an individual who wishes to cast a vote on a Tuesday must have registered to vote by the previous Wednesday.

Taylor Dobbs / VPR File

Gov. Peter Shumlin  has announced the departure of a top administration aide. 

Chief of Staff Liz Miller will leave state government at the end of the 2015 legislative session. 

Thirty-five-year-old Darren Springer, currently the deputy commissioner of the Department of Public Service, will take her place.

Springer says that he joined the Shumlin administration to work on renewable energy policy.

Vermont’s Public Service Board is considering a $35,000 fine for Vermont Gas Systems because of the company’s handling of major cost overruns that have raised the estimated cost of the Addison County pipeline by about 80 percent over the past year.

In question is whether Vermont Gas Systems behaved responsibly in developing a new cost estimate last summer. The company knew about the increase as early as last March, but didn’t tell regulators about it until July.

Taylor Dobbs / VPR/file

Attorney General Bill Sorrell has filed a lawsuit alleging that a candidate who used public money to run for lieutenant governor last year violated campaign financing laws.

Sorrell says Progressive Democrat Dean Corren illegally sought help from the Democratic party.

Between Catamount Arts' PoemTown celebration and a full slate of events offered by Northeast Storytellers, National Poetry Month will be a busy time in St. Johnsbury. April events range from poetry slams to a Robert Frost remembrance and are open to all, from poetry novices or aficionados.

The Vermont Department of Health is calling attention to disparities in community health across the state.

In a news release Wednesday, the department pointed to the latest County Health Rankings & Roadmaps data from the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Middlebury Police Eye Robert Durst In Student's 1971 Disappearance

Mar 25, 2015
Gerald Herbert / AP

The New Orleans arrest last week of multi-millionaire Robert Durst on charges of first-degree murder heightened Vermont investigators’ interest in Durst in connection with the 1971 disappearance of Middlebury College student Lynne Schulze.

“Durst is a person who is very interesting to us,” Middlebury Police Chief Tom Hanley said in a press briefing Tuesday in a room packed with reporters from local and national media outlets. “It is classified as a missing person case, but we’ve opened it as a criminal investigation.”

Chloe Boyce / Green Up Vermont

Saturday, May 2 will be Vermont's 45th Green Up Day. The annual day of statewide sprucing up is sponsored by the nonprofit Green Up Vermont, and for the first time this year you can make a donation to that effort on your state tax return.

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.