Government & Politics

High school climate organizers seated in a radio studio
Bob Kinzel / VPR

A group of Vermont young people will hold what they're calling a "Youth Climate Congress" this Sunday at the Vermont Statehouse. They'll act like a legislative body, and plan to draft a resolution urging state lawmakers to do more to address climate change.

Updated at 4:30 p.m. ET

The former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine told Congress on Friday she was recalled after a smear campaign led by President Trump's allies — and Trump criticized her on Twitter even as she testified live on television.

Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch appeared at Democrats' second open impeachment hearing to discuss her career and the circumstances under which her posting to Kyiv was prematurely halted earlier this year.

Gov. Phil Scott, ANR Secretary Julie Moore, and other state officials at a press conference.
John Dillon / VPR

The state is spending more than $1 million to jumpstart technologies aimed at removing phosphorus from the environment. The money will go to five projects, selected as part of the state's "phosphorus innovation challenge," designed to capture the pollutant and make it into a marketable product.

Ten Democratic candidates will debate next week in the fifth primary face-off, which has increasing importance, with presidential hopefuls set to face voters in fewer than three months.

Two men hold up their right hands before a panel.
Jim Lo Scalzo / Pool Photo via Associated Press

VPR is airing live coverage of the public impeachment hearings on Capitol Hill this week. We want to know what you're seeing, and what you're thinking about this political moment.

Updated at 5:21 p.m. ET

A State Department staffer overheard President Trump asking a top diplomat about "investigations" he wanted Ukraine to pursue that he believed might help him in the 2020 election, another senior diplomat told Congress.

That staffer is expected to tell his story directly to House investigators at a closed-door deposition on Friday.

The new subplot about the overheard phone conversation was one of a small number of new details to emerge from Democrats' first open hearing in their impeachment inquiry into Trump on Wednesday.

Congressman Peter Welch poses for a portrait outside his office at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C.
Eman Mohammed for VPR

Updated Nov. 13 at 5 p.m.

Congressman Peter Welch blew up the Twittersphere when he invited President Trump to participate in his own impeachment hearings.

Updated on Nov. 13 at 8:49 a.m. ET

Public impeachment hearings begin Wednesday, and the first round of witnesses includes three career public servants who have testified behind closed doors that President Trump did link military aid and a White House meeting for Ukraine with a promise to investigate one of the president's domestic political opponents.

A man in a blue tie.
Elodie Reed / VPR file

There's a new scholarship fund at the University of Vermont honoring Sen. Patrick Leahy and his wife, Marcelle Leahy, but the corporations and foundations that have donated to the scholarship may have motives other than simply supporting higher education.

The golden dome of the Vermont Statehouse against blue sky
Ric Cengeri / VPR File

Democratic House Speaker Mitzi Johnson says the passage of a mandatory paid family leave bill will be a top priority in Vermont's 2020 legislative session, but Republican Gov. Phil Scott opposes the Democrats' approach to this issue.

Sen. Patrick Leahy walks with reporters around him.
Patrick Semansky / Associated Press

Earlier this week, the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary held a hearing on the USA Freedom Act, a bipartisan law passed in 2015 that will sunset at the end of this year if Congress does not renew it. Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Democrat and the senior member of the committee, is a co-sponsor on the 2019 version of the act along with conservative Republican Utah Sen. Mike Lee.

A woman stands in the center of children on a blue rug.
Elodie Reed / VPR

The smell of fish sticks, crayons, and the sweet-yet-slightly-grubby smell of small children. If you’re a parent, you know what we’re talking about. If you’re not? Welcome to child care.

Vice President Pence traveled to New Hampshire on Thursday to officially add Donald Trump's name to the first-in-the-nation primary ballot.

His visit comes as President Trump's GOP challengers see the primary as a place where they'll make a stand against Trump, especially as other states have canceled primaries and changed Republican National Committee convention delegate rules to prevent any sort of insurgent candidate from emerging.

Updated at 7:35 p.m. ET

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is weighing a late entrance into the Democratic presidential primary, reversing course from this spring, when he said publicly that he would not run.

Progressive/Democratic Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman speaks at a podium at the Democrats' Election Night event at the Hilton in Burlington.
Angela Evancie / VPR File

When Vermont's last legislative session ended, Progressive Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman said he was disappointed Democrats didn't pass a paid family leave plan or increase the minimum wage, failing to deliver what he says "voters asked for in the 2018 election." The lieutenant governor joins Vermont Edition to discuss Progressive priorities at the Statehouse in 2020. 

For decades, the cybersecurity community has had a consistent message: Mixing the Internet and voting is a horrendous idea.

"I believe that's about the worst thing you can do in terms of election security in America, short of putting American ballot boxes on a Moscow street," howled Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., on the Senate floor this year.

Updated at 3:20 p.m. ET

House Democrats have announced they will begin public hearings as part of the impeachment inquiry into President Trump next week.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., announced two days of hearings. The first will be with acting Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent on Wednesday, Nov. 13. On Nov. 15, the committee will hear from former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.

Vermont Attorney General TJ Donovan stands before a microphone.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR File

Attorney General TJ Donovan is advising Vermont towns to consider being part of a national lawsuit that seeks to make drug companies liable for creating an epidemic of opioid addiction.

The Trump administration has formally notified the United Nations that the U.S. is withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement. The withdrawal will be complete this time next year, after a one-year waiting period has elapsed.

"We will continue to work with our global partners to enhance resilience to the impacts of climate change and prepare for and respond to natural disasters," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement Monday.

New Hampshire's strict new limits on PFAS chemicals have been in effect for more than a month now. Officials say the regulations are based on sound science. But the court battle against them is only just beginning.

It's spearheaded by 3M, the chemical company that helped invent PFAS. Their partners in New Hampshire include a cattle farmer, a fertilizer company and a town water utility. 

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