Vermont Legislature

Vermont House meets in special session 6-21-17
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Lawmakers headed back to Montpelier Wednesday as the Vermont Legislature met for a special veto session.  After a long day of twists and turns, the House and Senate eventually approved the 2018 state budget, which includes an adjusted teacher health care deal that the governor wanted included in the fiscal plan.

Vermont Statehouse
WAMC/Pat Bradley

The Vermont Legislature adjourned on May 19th with the threat of a budget veto by the governor and a special session planned at the end of June to deal with vetoes.  Although the session ended with the focus on teacher health care contracts, the leaders of the legislature say the controversy overshadowed a number of legislative accomplishments.

Governor Phil Scott announces marijuana bill veto
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Governor Phil Scott today vetoed Vermont’s first-in-the-nation legislatively approved marijuana legalization bill.  WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley was in Montpelier today as the governor explained why he is sending the legislation back.

Vermont Statehouse
WAMC/Pat Bradley

The Democratically-controlled Vermont Legislature adjourned last Friday despite budget veto threats from the Republican governor over the failure to reach a deal on a new teacher health insurance negotiation plan.

Vermont Statehouse
WAMC/Pat Bradley

Vermont lawmakers returned to the statehouse Wednesday to try to wrap up the session. Among the issues they were expected to review is the governor’s last-minute proposal to change how teachers' health insurance plans should be negotiated.

Despite a flurry of activity and work remaining on a number of bills, the Vermont Legislature is targeting adjournment by the end of this week.

Alexander Torrenegra/Wikimedia Commons

Popular ride sharing companies Uber and Lyft are opposing a Vermont bill that would require the companies to greatly increase their insurance coverage for personal injuries when drivers are between rides.

Governor Phil Scott talks about his first 100 days
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Now that he has been in office for 100 days, Vermont Governor Phil Scott held a press conference this morning to outline what he sees as his successes so far.

Vermont House Majority Leader Jill Krowinski
Verrmont Legislature

The Vermont House Appropriations Committee unanimously voted 11-0 Monday to send the proposed state budget to the House floor.  In advance of the debate House leaders are previewing the budget highlights.  House Majority Leader Democrat Jill Krowinski talks about what’s anticipated during the debate over the $5.8 billion fiscal plan.

Vermont Governor Phil Scott
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The Vermont Legislature has reached the midpoint of its current session.  The governor’s weekly press conference at the Statehouse on Thursday included a look at what progress has occurred since the session began in January.

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.

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