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The Power And The Perils Of A Supermajority

Toby Talbot
Speaker Shap Smith oversees a Democratic supermajority in the Vermont House.


Vermont's Legislature knows super majorities. The Republicans held one in the House and Senate for over 100 years from the mid-1800s through the mid-20thCentury. At times during that span, the House had over 200 Republicans and the Senate didn't have a single Democrat. More recently, the Democrats have enjoyed theuber-advantage. So how big a deal is having a supermajority?

Burlington Free-Press Reporter Candace Page and retired Middlebury College political science professor Eric Davis discuss the power and pitfalls that come with holding a supermajority. Retired State Archivist Gregory Stanford provides some historical context of super majorities in the state. And former House Speaker Ralph Wright reflects on the Democrats going from minority to supermajority.

Also on the program, Jack McCullough explains how the Mental Health Law Project provides specialized assistance to people in involuntary mental health proceedings at Vermont's six psychiatric hospitals, and for people living in the community who have become subject to the involuntary mental health system.