Vermont Legislature

Governor Phil Scott
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Vermont Governor Phil Scott discussed a number of issues while meeting with reporters at his ceremonial office in the Statehouse Wednesday.

Vermont Conservation Voters Common Agenda 2017 cover page
Vermont Conservation Voters

Vermont Conservation Voters is an organization that works to elect environmentally minded individuals and advocates for environmental policy.  It works each year with a coalition of 10 groups to create a Common Agenda of environmental priorities to present to lawmakers each session. The 2017 agenda, which focuses on toxic chemicals and renewable energy policy, was released this week at the Statehouse.  Vermont Conservation Voters Political Director Lauren Hierl says as the agenda is crafted, pressing issues become clear.

Vermont Statehouse
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The Vermont Legislature has approved a resolution that affirms abortion rights.

Photo of Vermont Statehouse in winter
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Key Vermont lawmakers are asking Republican Governor Phil Scott for an alternative budget proposal as it becomes increasingly clear that his won't pass in either the House or the Senate.

Vermont Statehouse
WAMC/Pat Bradley

Vermont lawmakers sustained Governor Peter Shumlin's veto of a bill that some believed would have slowed renewable energy development in Vermont, but then replaced it with one that's more to the Democratic governor's liking.

Vermont Statehouse
WAMC/Pat Bradley

Vermont lawmakers are preparing to return to Montpelier on Thursday for a one-day session to see if they can override the governor’s veto of an energy siting bill.

Vermont Statehouse
Photo by Pat Bradley

The Vermont Legislature adjourned its biennium just after midnight Saturday morning. Although lawmakers approved a spending plan that’s expected to raise $49 million in new revenue, they also failed to pass some major initiatives.

Vermont Statehouse
Photo by Pat Bradley

Vermont lawmakers have wrapped up their legislative session. Below is a transcript from Democratic Governor Peter Shumlin's End of Session Speech, delivered after midnight.

Picture of marijuana plant
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

The last vestige of hope for marijuana legalization advocates has fallen by the wayside as the  Vermont Legislature moves towards adjournment.

DNA strand
Pixabay

The Vermont House has approved legislation that expands the state DNA database by adding to the crimes that prompt collection of DNA samples from people convicted of crimes.

Picture of marijuana plant
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

The Vermont Senate has passed and moved to the House legislation that would legalize possession of small amounts of marijuana for recreational use.  The House Judiciary and Government Operations committees will take public testimony on the bill later this week.

Claus Rebler/Flickr

Governor Peter Shumlin signed a bill Wednesday making Vermont the fifth state to require employers to provide paid sick leave to workers.

tOrange

Vermont has become the fifth state to require employers to provide paid sick leave to workers.

Vermont Statehouse
WAMC/Pat Bradley

This is “Crossover Week” in the Vermont Legislature, the annual scramble to clear bills out of committees and onto the floor so that they can move to the opposite chamber for completion.

Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant
Courtesy NRC and Entergy Corp.

Photos obtained from a whistleblower and published in a Vermont newspaper have renewed calls for stricter oversight of Entergy and its management of the fund dedicated to decommissioning the closed Vermont Yankee nuclear reactor.

Picture of marijuana plant
US Fish and Wildlife Service/Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

The Vermont Senate Judiciary Committee recently voted to approve a bill that would legalize recreational marijuana in the state. The idea is so controversial that even members of the same party are divided over the issue.

Picture of a Vermont School Bus
Jared C. Benedict/Wikimedia Commons

With the clock ticking down for local school districts to prepare budgets, the Vermont House held a rare midnight session over the weekend to pass school spending legislation.

Picture of marijuana plant
US Fish and Wildlife Service/Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

Vermont legalized medical marijuana in 2004.  Now, some legislative committees are taking testimony on the controversial idea of legalizing recreational marijuana.  But there is considerable doubt whether the Legislature will actually approve a bill this session. 

With lawmakers back in Montpelier, the Vermont Mayors Coalition has issued its annual list of legislative priorities that need action or passage in the Vermont statehouse.

Vermont House Chamber
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The Vermont Legislature begins the second half of the 2015-2016 biennium today.  There are a number of issues up for debate, including recreational marijuana legalization and the possible suspension of a senator.  But the focus according to legislative leaders must remain on fiscal issues.

Photo of Fran Putnum of the Weybridge Energy Committee in front of boxes filled with postcards
VPIRG

World leaders are discussing the climate in Paris, but it’s very much on the minds of activists closer to home. Members of the Energy Independent Vermont Coalition delivered to the Statehouse what they claim were more than 25-thousand postcards calling for the creation of a carbon tax and Energy Independence fund in Vermont.

Vermont Statehouse
WAMC/Pat Bradley

An oversight committee of the Vermont Legislature held a hearing this week on issues relating to the Department of Children and Families, which is under the microscope following child deaths last year and the murder of a social worker in August.

Vermont Statehouse
WAMC/Pat Bradley

Staff at Vermont's Department for Children and Families received 85 threats from members of the public in the two months after a social worker was fatally shot in Barre.  The statistics are being highlighted as a Vermont legislative committee looks at several aspects of the state's child protection system — including how to keep social workers working in it safe.

Pixabay/Public Domain

Vermont's chief superior judge says he believes a child protection bill awaiting Governor Peter Shumlin's signature will help courts respond better to child abuse cases by providing them with more complete information.

WAMC/Pat Bradley

Vermont lawmakers passed a $5.5 billion budget with $30 million dollars in tax increases before ending their 2015 session Saturday night. WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley has a wrap-up.

WAMC

As the Vermont Legislature enters what are expected to be its final two weeks of the session, the House and Senate have yet to resolve several issues including taxes, water quality, education and vaccine exemptions.

WAMC/Pat Bradley

Vermont House Speaker Shap Smith says he wasn't taken aback last week when Governor Peter Shumlin called for $8 million more in budget cuts.

Flickr/Smarter's Photos

The Vermont Senate has agreed with House changes to new restrictions on firearms ownership in Vermont.

Supporters of a Vermont carbon tax say they've signed up the owners of more than 200 mostly small business owners who are advocating for the change.

WAMC/Pat Bradley

The Vermont House has advanced legislation to raise $35 million in new taxes by limiting deductions from the state income tax.

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