Government & Politics

Gov. Phil Scott, addressing reporters from a podium at a press conference
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

In his first public comments since vetoing legislation that would have instituted a 24-hour waiting period for handgun purchases, Gov. Phil Scott said Wednesday that he remains open to new restrictions on gun ownership in the future.

The Vermont Historical Society

In summer, our road up Jewell Hill fits the name. It's a gem of a path running along a meadow – and to my eye, it's much more attractive than any strip of blacktop. But last winter, for a time I literally couldn't get home. The nasty brew of snow, ice, slush, and mud was too much for my trusty all-wheel drive car. At times even the plow couldn't make it up to our driveway.

The exterior of the Green Monutain Power building
Emily Alfin Johnson / VPR File

State utility regulators have asked Green Mountain Power to tell its customers about the full impact of all the rate increases that could hit this fall.

Updated at 4:30 p.m. ET

The House voted on Tuesday to authorize its committees to sue the Trump administration and others in pursuit of witnesses and documents for their manifold investigations into President Trump.

Looking up at the front of the Vermont Statehouse.
Angela Evancie / VPR File

Republican Gov. Phil Scott has vetoed legislation that would have made Vermont the 10th state in the country to institute a waiting period for gun sales.

The House of Representatives is expected to vote Tuesday on a civil contempt resolution against Attorney General William Barr and former White House counsel Don McGahn.

Here's what you need to know about what it means and how it came about:

Democrats vs. DOJ

Democrats, who control the majority in the House, want Barr to give them an unredacted copy of the report filed by former special counsel Robert Mueller on his Russia investigation.

They also want the underlying evidence that Mueller's office developed.

A boat floats on a lake.
Elodie Reed / VPR

Now that elected officials have finally come up with most of the money needed to address water quality issues in Vermont, the state faces another clean-water conundrum: how to spend it.

A child drinks from a water fountain.
Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

The Vermont Department of Health is asking schools to prepare for statewide water testing that is expected to take place in September.

State Treasurer Beth Pearce
Angela Evancie / VPR file

In her eight years in office, State Treasurer Beth Pearce has pushed Vermont to tackle its critical financial issues head-on, like confronting the real costs of clean water programs and the state's multi-billion dollar retirement and pension obligations. We're talking with Treasurer Pearce about the state's fiscal outlook and why her office has gotten involved in some major environmental issues.

The exterior of the Edward J Costello Courthouse building, facing the front doors
Emily Corwin / VPR

Following the recent dismissal of three pending cases by the Chittenden County State's Attorney, Gov. Phil Scott is asking Vermont Attorney General TJ Donovan to intervene.

St. Albans City Manager Dominic Cloud
Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

Leaders in St. Albans have been sparring with Vermont's state auditor about the city's implementation of a downtown revitalization program. Doug Hoffer says the city isn't playing by the rules, while local officials say Hoffer is trying to change the rules partway through the game.

Gov. Phil Scott, seen here in 2018 signing several controversial gun bills into law at a table outside the Vermont Statehouse, while others look on.
Emily Alfin Johnson / VPR file

Gov. Phil Scott has five days to decide whether Vermont will become the 10th state in the country to have a waiting period for gun purchases.

For roughly 40 million Americans, SNAP benefits are a lifeline.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps, delivers about $60 billion in aid each year. And retailers that accept SNAP benefits are required to stock a variety of staple foods — including a minimum number of fruits and vegetables, meat, dairy and grain options.

New York lawmakers have voted to ban the declawing of cats, and the state will be the first in the country to prohibit the controversial practice if the governor signs the measure.

The bill sailed through both houses of the Legislature on Animal Advocacy Day, though it has been several years in the making with previous efforts falling short.

"Cat declawing is a horrific, yet often practiced surgery that leads to a lifetime of pain and discomfort for thousands of cats," Democratic Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal of Manhattan, who sponsored the bill, told NPR.

Bobbie Lanahan

Roz Payne was fearless. And she made a difference. In fact, much of the culture we value in Vermont today was influenced by her passions. She contributed to the founding of the Onion River Co-op, now Burlington’s City Market and helped organize the People's Free Clinic, now the Community Health Center. And both, in turn, have inspired similar community-based assets throughout our region.

A years-long government inquiry says human rights abuses "perpetrated historically and maintained today by the Canadian state" has led to violence against Indigenous women and girls that amounts to genocide.

It's the conclusion of more than two years of research involving at least 2,380 people who shared their stories or artwork with the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

The Vermont Statehouse with lawmakers seated
Oliver Parini / For VPR, File

The failure of Democratic leaders at the Statehouse to pass legislation raising the state minimum wage and paid family leave is causing a serious split between Progressives and Democrats. This rift could mean that more Progressives and Democrats will run against each other in House races in 2020.

David Ainsworth among a group
Toby Talbot / Associated Press File

Former South Royalton Rep. David Ainsworth died Friday at age 64. He was one of the last few dairy farmers to serve in the Vermont Legislature.

Will Lambek, José Luis Cordova Herrera, and woman who identified herself as Olga, from left, testified in the Legislature in January. They say migrant farmworkers fear that local police will out them to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Jeb Wallace-Brodeur / The Times Argus

Research by a UVM anthropologist suggests that a majority of migrant farmworkers in Vermont face serious barriers to accessing nutritious food – in addition to other enormous challenges. We're talking to Teresa Mares about her new book Life On the Other Border: Farmworkers and Food Justice in Vermont.

Sen. Bernie Sanders speaking at a campaign rally in Montpelier. People hold Bernie signs behind where he stands at a podium.
Liam Elder-Connors / VPR

Former Vice President Joe Biden's entry in the Democratic presidential race has upended that contest, and it appears that the candidate most affected by Biden's decision could be Sen. Bernie Sanders.