Tim Ashe

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.

A group of Vermonters, including Justin Sinkevich, at right holding a sign, rallied in Montpelier last week in opposition to a carbon tax. While some lawmakers favor the concept, leadership in the House and Senate are resistant to the idea..
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

A growing number of climate advocates say increasing the price of fossil fuels is the surest way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but leaders in the House and Senate are resisting calls for a carbon tax in Vermont.

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

Paid family leave, a $15 per hour minimum wage and a tax-and-regulate marijuana system are expected to be some of the key issues decided on in this session of the Legislature. Vermont Edition speaks with Senate President Pro Tem Tim Ashe on the prospect of these and other issues.

Gov. Phil Scott called for a bi-partisan approach to dealing with the state's key issues during his inaugural address on Jan. 10, 2019
Jeb Wallace-Brodeur / Times Argus

During his inaugural address Thursday afternoon, Gov. Phil Scott urged lawmakers to support bipartisan solutions to many of the challenges facing the state of Vermont. Scott said the state's experience needs to stand in contrast to "a national political environment that's brought out the worst in the public process."

House Speaker Mitzi Johnson joins us to talk about her legislative agenda.
Oliver Parini / For VPR

The 2019 legislative session will inevitably include partisan fights and scathing floor debates, but on opening day at least, a spirit of unity prevailed in Montpelier.

Lawmakers this year will take up many of the same issues they debated in 2018, including paid family leave, a $15 minimum wage, and whether or not to tax and regulate cannabis.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

State revenues may be outpacing expectations this year, but the leaders of the House and Senate say growing demand for services could complicate the budget process during the 2019 legislative session.

House Speaker Mitzi Johnson, left, and Senate President Pro Tem Tim Ashe have competing views on the wisdom of moving to a tax-and-regulate model for cannabis sales in Vermont.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR file

Senate President Pro Tem Tim Ashe said lawmakers in his chamber will fast-track legislation that would create a retail market for cannabis sales in Vermont, but House Speaker Mitzi Johnson said she isn’t convinced Vermonters are ready for a tax-and-regulate system.

With a conservative majority now in control of the U.S. Supreme Court, Vermont lawmakers will look to codify abortion rights in the state constitution.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR file

A proposal from Vermont lawmakers to add an abortion-rights amendment to the state constitution has advocates on both sides of the issue gearing up for an emotional debate over the future of reproductive rights in the state.

Protesters represent two sides of the debate in front a Planned Parenthood clinic.
Matt Rourke / AP

The national debate over abortion rights will land in Vermont next year, when Senate Democrats plan to pursue either legislation or a constitutional amendment that would codify at the state level a legal right to abortion.

A sign for Progressive/Democrat Chris Pearson. Pearson is one of six incumbent state senators in Chittenden County running for re-election.
Liam Elder-Connors / VPR

Thirteen candidates are vying for the six state Senate seats in Vermont’s most populous county. 

From left, Sen. Richard Westman, Sen. Tim Ashe and Savi Van Sluytman, executive director of Lamoille County Mental Health Services, at a meeting in Morrisville Monday. Employees at the agency say they don't have enough funding to meet demand.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

The workers on the frontlines of Vermont’s mental health system say they’re struggling to meet increased demand for their services.

The House chamber of the Vermont Legislature
Angela Evancie / VPR/file

Lawmakers will be back at the Statehouse on Monday to try and find a budget settlement with Gov. Phil Scott. But that job got a lot harder after a bizarre set of events unfolded late Friday night in the House.

Tax Commissioner Kaj Samsom, center, said in an email to employees Monday that their "anxiety" and "stress" over the prospect of a government shutdown is unncessary.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR file

In an email sent Monday evening to rank-and-file employees at the Vermont Department of Taxes, Commissioner Kaj Samsom said their anxiety over a government shutdown is unnecessary, and that political forces — along with the media — are responsible for the unfounded alarm.

The statehouse in spring.
Emily Alfin Johnson / VPR

By June 30, Vermont needs a budget — otherwise there could be a government shutdown on the first day of the state's new fiscal year.

House Republicans held a press conference Tuesday after they voted to sustain Gov. Phil Scott's budget veto. GOP lawmakers say they'll continue to reject any spending plan that allows for the possibility of an increase in property tax rates.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Republicans may have minority status in the Vermont House of Representatives, but they showed Tuesday they’re still a force to be reckoned with.

The statehouse in spring.
Emily Alfin Johnson / VPR

With very little debate, the Vermont Senate Thursday afternoon gave its final approval to a state budget for next year. But Gov. Phil Scott has vowed to veto the bill.

Sen. Tim Ashe speaking during a 2016 special session.
Jeb Wallace-Brodeur / VPR

Legislative leaders and Gov. Phil Scott can't seem to agree on property tax rates or a state budget for next year. But they do agree that a state government shutdown on July 1 would be a disaster for Vermont.

Vermont Edition talks with Senate President Pro Tem Tim Ashe about efforts to settle this disagreement and avoid a shutdown. 

Gov. Scott delivered his 2018 budget address before a joint session of the Vermont Legislature.
Emily Alfin Johnson / VPR/file

Prior to this year, a Vermont governor had vetoed the budget only twice in state history. Gov. Phil Scott may soon match that number in 2018 alone.

Gov-elect Phil Scott at a desk in 2016, and House Speaker Mitzi Johnson and Senate President Pro Tem Tim Ashe at a 2017 press conference.
Pete Hirschfeld / VPR Files

Both House Speaker Mitzi Johnson and Senate President Tim Ashe say a shutdown of state government on July 1 would be a disaster. And they've come up with a plan to avoid it.

Tax Commissioner Kaj Samsom, center, said in an email to employees Monday that their "anxiety" and "stress" over the prospect of a government shutdown is unncessary.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR file

Last week, after telling lawmakers he’d be vetoing their state budget proposal, Gov. Phil Scott sent a letter to legislative leadership, insisting the two sides “are very close to an agreement.”

It appears Scott may have misjudged the severity of the divide.

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