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
6:03 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

DCF Head Tells Legislators Child Safety Is Top Priority

A special legislative committee met in Montpelier Wednesday to hear from a number of key players on child safety issues.

State police officials, local police chiefs and prosecutors were all represented at today’s hearings, which were spurred by two toddler deaths earlier this year that resulted from abuse. Dave Yacovone is the Commissioner of the Department for Children and Families. He says that despite recent problems, today’s hearings show the state’s commitment to child safety.

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The Frequency
4:59 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

New PAC To Boost Pro-Business Candidates

Two state representatives have launched a new political action committee that will try to play a decisive role in local House and Senate races this fall.

Stowe Republican Heidi Scheuermann and Middlebury Democrat Paul Ralston say their group, called Vision to Action Vermont, will lend financial support to the campaigns of candidates who vow to push for economic development initiatives in Montpelier.

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Health Care
5:37 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

Legislature To Conduct Independent Analysis of Health Care Costs

As Vermont heads down the path toward a single-payer health care system, lawmakers want to make sure the options are affordable for taxpayers and consumers. And the economic analysis about to be launched by the Legislature may duplicate similar work being performed for the Shumlin Administration.

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VPR News
5:00 am
Fri June 27, 2014

Ready Or Not, Part 5: Doing The Math

Cynthia Powers, grant writer for the Orange-Windsor Supervisory Union, is searching for funding for new preschool programs mandated by the state.
Charlotte Albright VPR

Ask any working parent: Child care can be expensive. While some low-income families qualify for subsidies, many middle-class families pay full tuition.

Between 2003 and 2012, rates have risen, on average, about 43 percent, from $140 to $200 per week. That’s one reason many public schools have started free half-day preschool programs, like the one at Lyndon Town School.

Charma Whitchurch, who has a master's degree in early childhood education, is the lead teacher.

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VPR News
6:02 am
Thu June 26, 2014

Ready Or Not, Part 4: Teaching The Teachers

Hundreds of evening workshops and classes are offered to child care workers throughout the state, but Northern Lights Director Nancy Sugarman says Vermont could still do better when it comes to training the teachers of our youngest children.
Tinica Thinkstock

Research shows that the young brain is developing at a faster rate than we previously thought, and that there are good and bad strategies to help children acquire language and the love of learning.

So Vermont’s child care providers are learning the best way to introduce books into a child’s daily routine.

One of those early literacy training sessions takes place at the Springfield Area Parent and Child Center. The teacher is Laura Lawson Tucker, an outreach specialist for the Vermont Humanities Council.

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VPR News
5:00 am
Wed June 25, 2014

Ready Or Not, Part 3: Reaching For 'Stars'

Katie Jackson gathers on her front porch with the children she cares for in her Springfield home. The 23-year-old is working with a more experienced provider to improve her program's rating.
Charlotte Albright VPR

Beginning in 2015, every public school district in Vermont will have to subsidize at least 10 hours of pre-kindergarten per week for 3 and 4-year-olds.

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Commentary
5:42 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

McClaughry: Legislative Review

The biennial legislative session adjourned a month ago, and it’s a good time to review the results.

The 2015 General Fund budget grew by 5.6% over the 2014 budget approved a year ago. That means that state spending is increasing about twice as fast as state revenues.

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Health Care
12:02 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Analysis: Remember The First Time Vermont Tried To Pass Single Payer?

The history of the process that followed the submission of the two health care reform plans in the mid-1990s -- one by Democratic House Speaker Ralph Wright, pictured here, right, with Gov. Howard Dean in 1996 -- is unrelievedly bleak.
Toby Talbot AP/file

An often-forgotten backdrop to the current focus on Gov. Peter Shumlin’s single-payer health care reform plan is that we have been through this exercise once already.

The first legislative effort to install a single-payer system came in January of 1991 when Sen. Cheryl Rivers, a Democrat from Stockbridge, introduced S-127, a Canadian-style single-payer plan for Vermont. Canadian style means that it would cover everybody in the state, it would be financed entirely by taxes and it would leave the delivery system – the doctors and hospitals – in the private sector.

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VPR News
6:12 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

Vermont Enters New Era In Drug Policy With Focus On Treatment, Not Incarceration

Gov. Peter Shumlin signed a law that would implement a new program that offers treatment and not jail to some people charged with a drug offense.
Bob Kinzel VPR

Prosecutors across the state hope to implement a new program that offers treatment and not jail to some people charged with a drug offense, under a new law signed Tuesday by Gov. Peter  Shumlin.

Vermont’s new law is patterned after a successful program that’s been in place in Chittenden County for the past four years.

The basic idea is to screen people who have been charged with the possession of opiates or heroin and offer them a strict treatment option as an alternative to being incarcerated. At the same time, the new law also imposes tougher penalties on drug dealers.

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VPR News
6:41 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

Milne Mounts GOP Gubernatorial Challenge As Slate For 2014 Elections Goes Final

For months now, the one question dominating the 2014 election cycle was, ‘Will Vermont Republicans have a candidate for governor?’

The answer finally arrived Thursday morning, when Republican Scott Milne announced his challenge to incumbent Democrat Peter Shumlin.

“I think there’s a lot of people that feel like I do, that are paying attention, that Vermont is either headed in the wrong direction, or least not headed in the right direction,” Milne said in an interview Thursday.

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