Government & Politics

The Vermont Legislature

Follow VPR's statehouse team, Pete Hirschfeld and Bob Kinzel in at our Statehouse Bureau in Montpelier on Twitter. Explore our full coverage of the Vermont Legislature.

Follow #vtpoli for the latest news from newsmakers, reporters and Vermonters across the state.

Listen In On The Statehouse

VPR provides live streaming feed of the House and Senate proceedings, without editing or commentary. The streams are active when there's a meeting in the House or Senate and the chamber microphones are turned on; otherwise, the streams are quiet.

Click to listen to the Vermont House | Vermont Senate | Full Audio Player | More Options

Explore Major Vermont Political Issues

Act 46 | Water Quality | Guns | Marijuana | Immigration

Check Out Ask Bob

VPR reporter and Vermont Edition host Bob Kinzel has been covering the Statehouse since 1981 — longer than any continuously serving member of the Legislature. To take advantage of his wealth of institutional knowledge, he answers your questions on our series — Ask Bob. Check out past questions and submit your own here.

Catch Up With Vermont's Congressional Delegation

Sen. Patrick Leahy | Sen. Bernie Sanders | Rep. Peter Welch | Congress

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A sign saying the beach is closed due to blue green algae.
Elodie Reed / VPR

Temperatures boiled above 90 degrees Fahrenheit Friday afternoon, so sisters Margaret and Rosemary Mannix fancied a swim.

The pair — visiting their mother from Alaska and Oregon, respectively — took a drive over to Oakledge Park's Cove Beach in Burlington. That's where they saw the red signs staked into the ground: "Beach Closed Due To Blue Green Algae."

Rebecca Holcombe, former Education Secretary, is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor in 2020..
Taylor Dobbs / VPR File

While a number of contenders are considering running for governor in 2020, former Education Secretary Rebecca Holcombe is the first to declare her candidacy. Holcombe served as secretary of education under Gov. Peter Shumlin and Gov. Phil Scott, before resigning in 2018. She now says that she left the position over policy differences with Scott. She will seek the Democratic nomination for the governorship. Scott has not declared his intentions.

Updated at 12:45 p.m. ET

Members of Congress likely won't confine themselves to former special counsel Robert Mueller's report when they question him next week in two open hearings, staffers said.

Mueller, who is reluctant to appear, has said he would confine himself to what he's already written — but the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence won't.

The lineup is now set for the second series of Democratic presidential primary debates, at the end of the month.

On the first night, progressive favorites Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren will be on stage together for the first time, while upstart South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg will be trying to continue his improbable rise.

Envisioning what Vermont's transportation needs will be like in 2030 is what the Agency of Transportation is working on now.
Lisa-Blue / iStock

Live call-in discussion: To meet Vermont's transportation needs for 2030, we have to start planning today. The Agency of Transportation is conducting a public survey to help determine how public transportation should be expanded in the next decade. We'll hear about that on Vermont Edition.  

Updated at 6:12 p.m. ET

Homeland Security acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan says the U.S. has apprehended more than 800,000 migrants attempting to enter the country since last October, calling the numbers staggering and unprecedented, and that the influx has "challenged and overwhelmed every aspect of our border and immigration enforcement system."

Still, McAleenan said DHS "made significant strides in its effort to secure the border and help and protect migrants in our custody."

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

Vermont Rep. Peter Welch is calling for President Donald Trump's impeachment.

Housing Vermont

Trying to rent an apartment in Vermont can be frustrating, given the shortage of apartments and the high monthly rents. And once people discover how expensive housing in Vermont has become, some potential employees turn down otherwise attractive, job offers. Representative Peter Welch has joined with a number of Democratic and Republican colleagues to co-sponsor a bill that aims to increase the Low Income Housing Tax Credit or LIHTC by 50%.

Rebecca Holcombe, former Education Secretary, is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor in 2020..
Taylor Dobbs / VPR File

Rebecca Holcombe, former education secretary, will run for governor of Vermont.

The US Department of Homeland security logo printed on a piece of paper
Andrew Harnik / Associated Press

The U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform held a hearing Friday regarding Border Patrol detention centers. The hearing comes as the result of a report from Homeland Security's Office of Inspector General, which raised concerns about conditions at facilities near the country's southern border.

Vermont Rep. Peter Welch is a member of the committee.

Updated at 6:55 p.m. ET

President Trump announced Thursday he would sign an executive order to obtain data about the U.S. citizenship and noncitizenship status of everyone living in the United States.

In a Rose Garden ceremony, Trump said he would drop efforts to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census. Instead, his executive order will direct all U.S. agencies to provide the Department of Commerce all information they have on U.S. citizenship, noncitizenship and immigration status.

The Vermont Statehouse with its golden dome.
Ric Cengeri / VPR File

Walt Garner teaches fifth through eighth grade English at Tunbridge Central School, while Barbara Drufovka teaches humanities at Woodstock Middle School. This spring, both teachers took groups of students to visit the Vermont Statehouse to see the Legislature in session.

Americans owe about $1.6 trillion in student loan debt. That's about twice the current budget for the Defense Department and around 22 times the budget for the Education Department.

An angled view looking up at the Vermont Statehouse.
Ric Cengeri / VPR File

A prosecutor's decision last month to drop three high-profile criminal cases in Chittenden County has prompted a legislative review of the state's justice system.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and Sen. Kamala Harris stand on a debate stage
Wilfredo Lee / Associated Press

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and California Sen. Kamala Harris have seen their poll numbers increase as they take away support from former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

But though the dynamics of the Democratic presidential race have shifted, the Sanders campaign is sending out a very clear message to the other Democratic candidates: they're in it for the long haul, and they've got plenty of money.

Albright

Norwich is a talkative community – on sidewalks, in the Post Office, around kitchen tables, and especially on the town’s email listserve, where thorny issues get thrashed out in public on a daily basis. This summer, what’s got people riled up is a plan to install two sets of solar-powered blinking lights that pedestrians could activate with buttons, at busy cross walks. They’d be the only traffic lights in town.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents mine millions of driver's license photos for possible facial recognition matches — and some of those efforts target undocumented immigrants who have legally obtained driver's licenses, according to researchers at Georgetown University Law Center, which obtained documents related to the searches.

Gov. Phil Scott stands near his 14 car at Thunder Road.
Wilson Ring / Associated Press File

After taking most of last year off, Gov. Phil Scott is back racing at the Thunder Road track in Barre.

A woman stands next to a marijuana plant.
Elodie Reed / VPR

In the past, Leigh Girouard's gardening experience was limited to the basics –  tomatoes, zucchini, the occasional onion. Now, however, she is digging into a new project: cannabis. 

Two men seated at a table, and one standing at a podium, during an indoor press conference
Liam Elder-Connors / VPR

The Burlington police officers union says body camera footage of a fight between an officer and a man who later died shows the officer did nothing wrong. The union released the footage to the media Wednesday.

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