Vermont Legislature

VPR covers the Vermont Legislature with live streams from the Statehouse chambers and news coverage from our capital bureau.

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VPR provides live streaming feed of the House and Senate proceedings, without editing or commentary. The streams are active when there's a meeting in the House or Senate and the chamber microphones are turned on; otherwise, the streams are quiet.

Sen. Christopher Bray is backing a per parcel fee on all property in Vermont to help fund water quality projects
courtesy / the Vermont Department of Health

The head of the Senate Natural Resources committee, Addison Sen. Christopher Bray, is backing a plan to boost funding for water quality projects throughout the state.

The issue of whether to levy a tax on carbon pollution hasn't gained much traction yet in Montpelier. Vermont Businesses for Social Responsiblity is trying to broaden support for the concept.
Angela Evancie / VPR file

The idea of a tax on gasoline and heating oil is politically fraught, to say the least, but one Vermont business group says it’s time for elected officials to embrace the carbon tax.

John Cotter, Margaret Cheney and Tom Knauer, from left, of the Public Utility Commission. On Thursday, a legislative panel approved the commission's proposal for stricter sound limits for wind turbines.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR file

In approving stricter sound limits for ridgeline wind turbines Thursday afternoon, the Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules has managed to upset both sides on the wind energy debate.

John Cotter, Margaret Cheney and Tom Knauer, from left, of the Public Utility Commission. On Thursday, a legislative panel approved the commission's proposal for stricter sound limits for wind turbines.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR file

The future of ridgeline wind energy in Vermont hinges in part on proposed sound standards for large turbines, but a special legislative committee is struggling to decide whether or not to accept the new rules.

The issue of whether to levy a tax on carbon pollution hasn't gained much traction yet in Montpelier. Vermont Businesses for Social Responsiblity is trying to broaden support for the concept.
Angela Evancie / VPR file

A group of lawmakers has begun laying the political ground work for an increase in Vermont’s minimum wage. But legislators are struggling to find support in the business community for a plan that would take it all the way to $15 an hour.

According to a new report, 63 percent of those hosts are women; the average age of Airbnb host is 50 and 29 percent of the Airbnb hosts are over the age of 60.
Wachiwit / iStock

A newly issued legislative report says online home sharing services like Airbnb should be regulated locally. But one of the lawmakers who requested the study says oversight should happen on a statewide level.

The Bellows Falls Police Department arrested a man recently with about 1,000 bags of heroin in his car. Police Chief Ron Lake, pictured above, asked this year for a new officer to combat the heroin crisis but the voters rejected his request.
Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

The Senate Government Operations Committee is holding a series of meetings across the state to look at how Vermont pays for and uses its law enforcement services.

Teachers picketed outside the Sustainability Academy at Lawrence Barnes in Burlington on Sept. 14. A new bill to be considered during the 2018 session would prohibit teachers from striking in Vermont.
Taylor Dobbs / VPR

More than half of the states in the U.S. prohibit teachers from striking. Should Vermont join them?

A screenshot of the Airbnb website, taken Sept. 20, shows some available rentals in Vermont. A Vermont working group is studying short-term rentals, prompting Airbnb to reach out to Vermont hosts registered on the site to share their experiences.
Screenshot from Airbnb.com

Airbnb says more than 3,600 people across the state use the online service to rent out their homes. Now the company is asking those homeowners to get involved with a statewide study that could impact the future of home sharing in Vermont.

In 2007, the state of Vermont established a goal of cutting the child poverty rate in half over a 10-year span. The Vermont Child Poverty Council was formed to study and recommend policies to succeed in this effort — but when the deadline was reached this June, the state had not met the goal it set a decade ago.

Earlier this summer, photos of Christopher Hayden were posted at the Vt. Democratic Party's Montpelier offices after Hayden sent death threats to the party's Vermont chairman, Faisal Gill. Hayden has recently been sending racist emails to state lawmakers.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR/File

A Burlington man has been directing a barrage of racist emails to members of the Vermont Legislature.

Tom Kavet, an economist working for the Vermont Legislature, says there are challenges to forecasting the economic effects of a $15 minimum wage.
Taylor Dobbs / VPR File Photo

As the Vermont Legislature prepares for a debate next year over raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, lawmakers are trying to figure out how the proposal would affect the Vermont economy.

Earlier this summer, the state's economist told the Vermont Legislature that the revenue forecast for the rest of the year had been downgraded to the tune of $28 million.

Some of that gap had already been anticipated and addressed by lawmakers, but Gov. Phil Scott had to come up with a plan for how to cut the remainder out of the current budget. Last Thursday, Scott presented his plan to the LegislatureVermont Edition spoke with VPR's Peter Hirschfeld about how it went.

Gov. Phil Scott is reconsidering his opposition to a primary enforcement seat belt law.
Angela Evancie / VPR

Throughout his political career as a state senator, lieutenant governor and now as governor, Phil Scott has always opposed legislation that would allow police to stop drivers who are not wearing a seat belt. But the governor says he's now rethinking how he feels about this issue.

When you're the economist for the Vermont legislature, sometimes you have to deliver unwelcome news to lawmakers.

Tristan Toleno, left, Annmarie Christensen and Rodney Graham serve in Vermont's House of Representatives.
Angela Evancie & Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Vermont’s citizen legislators get paid about $12,700 for five months of work. So, if you have a career and/or a family, how do you pull it off?

The issue of whether to levy a tax on carbon pollution hasn't gained much traction yet in Montpelier. Vermont Businesses for Social Responsiblity is trying to broaden support for the concept.
Angela Evancie / VPR file

Supporters of a bill that would raise the minimum wage in Vermont to $15 an hour hope a new summer study committee will lay the groundwork for passage in 2018.

Vermont will study how so-called 'rape kits' are processed into evidence, as part of a new law that Gov. Phil Scott signed on Tuesday, July 17, 2017.
Rick Bowmer / AP

The governor signed two bills on Tuesday that extend protections for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. Some of the changes have been long in coming for the advocates who work on these issues.

Gov. Phil Scott says he's troubled by President Trump's comments about the violence in Charlottesville last weekend
Bob Kinzel / VPR file

Vermont has a state budget for the new fiscal year that didn't raise any new taxes or fees, but some elected officials – including Gov. Phil Scott – are already thinking ahead to the financial impact that cuts at the federal level could bring to the state.

Lisa Rathke / Associated Press

Gov. Phil Scott and lawmakers finally compromised on the state budget last week, but the outcome creates a whole new set of financial dilemmas for school districts across Vermont. And the governor's veto of pot legalization disappointed supporters who thought it had a chance. We examine both controversies in a live interview with the governor.

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