Government & Politics

The New Hampshire primary is tentatively scheduled for Feb. 11, 2020, which is only — or "still," depending on your tolerance for campaign coverage — about a year away.

And for the past half-century, one of the most recognizable symbols of the Granite State's early electoral contest has been Dixville Notch's midnight vote.

UVM professor Harvey Amani Whitfield, seen here in his office, has studied the history of slavery in Vermont.
Sawyer Loftus / VPR

Vermont is often thought as one of the first state's to abolish slavery. The state's constitution, drafted in 1777, outlawed slavery, but it existed in the state's early years. There's an effort in the Vermont legislature this session to eliminate all references to slavery in the constitution.

President Donald Trump speaking into a podium mircophone.
Susan Walsh / Associated Press

Members of Vermont's congressional delegation are speaking out after President Donald Trump declared a national emergency Friday morning to fund a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

New England activists and lawmakers say the Environmental Protection Agency's new plan to manage harmful PFAS chemicals isn't aggressive enough.

The EPA says this plan is a broad roadmap of goals for protecting people from exposure to the huge class of likely toxic PFAS chemicals.

These industrial chemicals were used for decades to make non-stick, waterproof and stain-resistant coatings, as well as firefighting foams and other industrial products.

Updated at 6:15 p.m. ET

Calling it "a great thing to do," President Trump declared a national emergency on Friday in order to help finance a long-promised wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. It's a highly unusual move from an unconventional president.

The Vermont Constitution may be amended to clarify its ban on slavery.
Wikimedia Commons

It's often repeated that Vermont's was the first state constitution to outlaw slavery, but the language of the document may actually have some caveats. Sponsors of a constitutional amendment want to change the language to make the ban absolute. We're talking about the history and the proposal.

Updated at 5:32 p.m. ET

Attorney General William Barr swore his oath of office on Thursday following his confirmation by the Senate earlier in the afternoon.

Senators voted 54-45 to confirm Barr to resume the post he first occupied in the administration of President George H.W. Bush.

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts then administered Barr's oath in a ceremony at the White House.

Updated at 3:13 p.m. ET

A critical new report from the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Inspector General finds the department's student loan unit failed to adequately supervise the companies it pays to manage the nation's trillion-dollar portfolio of federal student loans. The report also rebukes the department's office of Federal Student Aid for rarely penalizing companies that failed to follow the rules.

The spent nuclear fuel at Vermont Yankee is being moved from the cooling pools, shown in this photo, into dry cask storage.
Toby Talbot / AP/file

When you think about renewable energy, does a nuclear power plant come to mind? Probably not. But in a roundabout way,  Vermont utilities are using nuclear energy to meet the state’s renewable energy standards.

Porche: Devotion

Feb 14, 2019
Porche

When invited to offer a devotional at the Vermont State Legislature this year, I thought about how lately most every headline I read seems to carry a potentially lethal dose of venom. So I decided to present a love poem to devotion to even up the score a bit.

Spending negotiators may have reached an agreement on an outline to avoid a government shutdown, but the final legislation is still incomplete less than three days before the Friday deadline.

Lawmakers are drafting rules to regulate the cultivation, manufacture and sale of cannabis. But what Vermont's rules will be and if there's support to make them law remains an open question.
Seastock / iStock

Last year Vermont legalized the possession and personal use of small amounts of marijuana. Now Vermont lawmakers are drafting rules for a legal and regulated system to buy, sell and grow cannabis. We're looking at what's being proposed for commercial cannabis in Vermont.

Updated 4:14 p.m. ET

President Trump said on Tuesday that he's not "happy" with a potential budget deal being worked out by congressional negotiators but added that he doesn't think there will be another partial government shutdown.

A view from a boat on Lake Champlain, looking at a piece of tree-covered land jutting out.
Meg Malone / VPR File

Gov. Phil Scott’s long-term plan for clean water funding may have gotten a chilly reception in Montpelier, but the administration’s proposal has received a tentative stamp of approval from the federal agency overseeing Vermont’s pollution-reduction efforts.

Attorney General TJ Donovan announced the results of the investigation into the alleged racial harassment of former state Rep.  Kiah Morris on Januart 14, 2019.
Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

Local branches of the NAACP and the American Civil Liberties Union are calling on state officials to investigate the Bennington Police Department.

Looking into the empty interior of the Vermont Senate chamber. A chandelier hangs from the ceiling and green curtains adorn the windows.
Oliver Parini / For VPR, File

The Vermont Senate has given its final approval to legislation that would impact how voters in Chittenden County are represented in that chamber.

Four bills being considered at the Statehouse have the reduction of plastic waste in their sights.
brunorbs / iStock

Four bills have been introduced in the Vermont Legislature that are trying to reduce the use and waste of plastics. These range from bills targeting plastic bottles, bags and straws, microplastics and buoys and docks. We'll discuss how to reduce plastic use and waste and the bills aimed at this goal.

AP/Toby Talbot

Vermont’s on and off again winter has overloaded some of the state’s aging waste water treatment systems, resulting in hundreds of thousands of gallons of sewage spilling into rivers and streams.

Testimony is heard on the House floor.
Toby Talbot / AP

This week House lawmakers gave an extension to some—but not all—school districts that have yet to merge under Act 46, giving some districts as much as an additional year to comply with the state's school district merger mandate.

In her response to President Trump's State of the Union address, Stacey Abrams went through some of the top issues for the Democratic Party.

Health care. Climate change. Gun safety.

Then she brought up a topic Democrats are planning to spend a lot of time on over the next two years: voting.

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