Vermont Legislature

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

Follow our Vermont Legislature reporting team of Bob Kinzel and John Dillon on Twitter and here at VPR.net.

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; the streams are quiet otherwise.

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VPR News
5:00 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Lawmakers Set New Deadline For Single-Payer Financing

Legislative leaders are ramping up the pressure on Gov. Peter Shumlin to provide answers on how he plans to finance his single-payer health plan.

The pressure includes detailed questions about how the plan could affect the economy, and a proposed deadline for the financing plan to be delivered.

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VPR News
5:17 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

Thousands Of Vermont Health Connect Customers Stuck On Service Backlog

Vermont leads the nation when it comes to per-capita enrollment in the new health insurance exchange. But for many customers, the transition to Vermont Health Connect has been anything but smooth. And thousands of Vermonters are now stuck in a sort of insurance limbo as the state works to iron out wrinkles in the system.

Nearly a sixth of the state’s population will soon be getting its health coverage through plans sold on the new online exchange. And officials in the Shumlin Administration say they’ve exceeded their enrollment targets.

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VPR News
5:51 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Lawmakers Put Pressure On Shumlin To Clean Up Lakes

House lawmakers have given final approval to legislation that aims to expedite the clean-up of Vermont waterways. But the bill that passed the floor Thursday doesn’t include any funding for the effort. And even its chief proponent says it won’t address the pollution crisis unfolding in places like Lake Champlain.

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VPR News
5:00 am
Thu April 17, 2014

Hand Held Cell Phone Ban For Drivers Is Stalled At Statehouse

VPR/Angela Evancie

Two key Senate committees have fundamental differences about the scope of a bill that would ban cell phone use while driving. Those differences could derail the legislation for the session.

Earlier this year, the House overwhelmingly supported legislation that prohibits drivers from using hand-held phones and other electronic devices.

One of the primary goals of the legislation is to give law enforcement officials a new tool to crack down on drivers who text while operating a car.

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VPR News
6:16 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Lawmakers Look To Boost Pay For Construction Workers

Members of the Vermont House want to boost the wages of laborers working on many state-funded projects. But leaders in the Senate are worried about how the proposal would impact local construction firms. And supporters of the legislation are running out of time.

The bill could pump as much as $3 million into the wallets of construction workers, according to an analysis conducted by the legislative analysts. It would do so by requiring firms who bid on some state-funded capital projects to pay prevailing wages as determined by the federal government.

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VPR News
5:56 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Vermont On Course To Be First To Require GMO Labels

Vermont is poised to become the first state in the country to require the labeling of food products made with genetically modified organisms.

After nearly two hours of debate, a strong bipartisan coalition of senators gave their preliminary approval to the bill by a vote of 26 to 2.

Under the bill, the labeling requirements would go into place in July of 2016 and would affect virtually all food products sold in Vermont.

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VPR News
5:42 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Legislative Memo Outlines Single-Payer Alternative

It’s only three and a half pages long. And it’s much more of a conceptual outline than a fully formed plan. But a March 24 memo, authored by a policy analyst hired by the Legislature earlier this year, shows that at least some lawmakers are already considering alternatives to the single-payer proposal Gov. Peter Shumlin will drop on their desks next year.

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Vermont Edition
12:00 pm
Fri April 11, 2014

One Month To Go: Legislative Update

House Chamber seen from the visitor's gallery at the Vermont Statehouse in Montpelier.
Toby Talbot AP

Lawmakers say they need four to five weeks to finish the business of this legislative biennium. That puts a deadline on the bills that will pass and those that won't. Legislators, lobbyists and activists continue to work on issues like banning on drivers using cell phones, requiring GMO products to be labeled, consolidating school systems, and requiring paid sick days. 

We talk with some of Vermont’s best Statehouse reporters learn the details. The panel is Neal Goswami of the Vermont Press Bureau, Terry Hallenbeck of the Burlington Free Press and VPR's Peter Hirschfeld.

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VPR News
5:31 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

House, Senate Ponder Single-Payer Details

Less than three years from now, Vermont is scheduled to make the transition to a single-payer health care system. And while the all-important question of how to pay for it has been put off until 2015, lawmakers say it’s time to start making some tough decisions about what that future system will look like.

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VPR News
6:36 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

State Workers Union Alleges Retaliation By Management

John Howe is pictured in a VSEA Facebook post.

John Howe has spent 18 years in state government helping disabled and financially needy clients find employment, medical care and shelter. He earned an “excellent” rating in his last employment review, and even got a $500 merit bonus.

So when Howe was abruptly placed on paid administrative leave late last month from his position as a  counselor at the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation, he says he could attribute the sanctions to only one thing.

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