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.

Addison County Sen. Claire Ayer says the state could use a publicly funded program to ensure universal access to primary care in Vermont.
Angela Evancie / VPR

A group of House and Senate lawmakers will try to lay the groundwork next year for a publicly funded system of universal primary care in Vermont.

The Vermont Supreme Court ruled a parent's behavior toward children can play a key role in determining whether they can be granted legal parental rights.
John Dillon / VPR File

Who is legally recognized as a parent? That's the question at the heart of a recent Vermont Supreme Court decision that a family law expert says exposes the gaps in Vermont's laws that affect modern families.

Colchester Rep. Pat Brennan says he thinks strengthening Vermont's seatbelt law could help reduce traffic fatalities.
Taylor Dobbs / VPR/file

The chairman of the House Committee on Transportation says he’ll push for more stringent seatbelt laws during the next legislative session.

Calais Rep. Janet Ancel, pictured here in 2015, is chairwoman of the House Committee on Ways and Means. Ancel says lawmakers will likely devote much of the 2018 legislative session to understanding what the federal tax overhaul means for Vermont.
Angela Evancie / VPR file

The chairwoman of the House Committee on Ways and Means says changes in the federal tax code could force some tough decisions for Vermont lawmakers next year.

Chittenden Sen. Chris Pearson says Vermont can reduce carbon emissions and stimulate the economy by increasing the price of gas and home heating oil, and lowering electric rates.
Angela Evancie / VPR/file

Backers of the latest proposal for a carbon tax in Vermont say lawmakers can increase the price of gasoline and home heating oil without inflicting financial stress on residents and businesses.

Gov. Phil Scott says it would be possible to avoid a statewide property tax increase by mandating a higher student to staff ratio
skynesher / iStock

Lawmakers are facing a situation in 2018 that they usually try to avoid: supporting a significant increase in the state's property tax rate in an election year.

In Vermont, lawmakers are responsible for investigating allegations of sexual harassment against sitting members. Some lawmakers say they need more training to conduct those investigations properly.
Kirk Carapezza / VPR/file

A wave of new allegations against members of Congress has prompted a sweeping review of sexual harassment policies in the nation’s capital. But in Montpelier, it’s a previously undisclosed incident from this past April that state lawmakers are trying to learn from.

Angela Evancie / VPR FILE

Live call-in discussion: Gov. Phil Scott closes out the year with a long to-do list for 2018. Friday on Vermont Edition, we're taking your calls and questions as we ask the governor about budgets, taxes, and his priorities for the coming year.

House Minority Leader Don Turner says House and Senate Republicans stand united in opposition against proposed legislation that would send the minimum wage in Vermont to $15 an hour.
Angela Evancie / VPR

The political battle lines are taking shape in what will likely be one of the more contentious policy debates of the 2018 legislative session.

Senate President Pro Tem Tim Ashe, seen here in a 2016 file photo, says he's throwing his weight behind a push to increase Vermont's minimum wage to $15 an hour.
Angela Evancie / VPR FILE

Senate President Pro Tem Tim Ashe says raising the state minimum wage to $15 an hour will be one of his top priorities for the 2018 legislative session.

In Vermont, lawmakers are responsible for investigating allegations of sexual harassment against sitting members. Some lawmakers say they need more training to conduct those investigations properly.
Kirk Carapezza / VPR/file

A few years ago, Vermont enacted a law that tries to give the general public a bigger role in the budget writing process, but one legislator says the Scott administration isn’t following the spirit of the statute.

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.

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