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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The Vermont Legislature didn't technically adjourn the legislative session Friday. But House Speaker Mitzi Johnson said her chamber won't be returning to the Statehouse again until 2020, which means paid leave and minimum wage bills are dead for 2019.
Toby Talbot / AP

After winning supermajorities in both chambers of the Vermont Legislature last fall, House and Senate Democrats have failed to deliver on the two issues that many voters in their party elected them to pass.

Michael Pieciak
Hilary Niles / For VPR

Criminal fraud charges filed this week against four defendants over their involvement in an EB-5 investment scheme in the Northeast Kingdom are a step toward closure, according to Vermont Commissioner of Financial Regulation Michael Pieciak.

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

Things got a bit chaotic at the Vermont Statehouse Friday as House and Senate leaders took differing plans of action in moving toward the conclusion of the legislative session.

As the first year of the biennium comes to a close, "Vermont Edition" looks at what was accomplished at the Statehouse.
Ric Cengeri / VPR FILE

As Vermont's legislative session comes to a close, the House and Senate have negotiated and modified bills in the hopes of getting them to the governor's desk. We’ll hear from some of the state's top political reporters on the last-minute maneuvering that took place in Montpelier.

Updated at 6:15 p.m. ET

The Trump administration will provide $16 billion in aid to help keep farmers afloat as they reel from the yearlong trade war between the U.S. and China, the latest sign that the world's two largest economies are still far from striking a long-term trade agreement.

The bulk of the support, or about $14.5 billion, is direct aid to farmers, which producers will start to see some time this summer, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told reporters in a briefing on Thursday.

Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

It’s been nothing but bad news for the school districts that were fighting forced mergers under the state’s controversial law, Act 46.

Gov. Phil Scott faces decisions about which bills to sign, veto or allow to become legislation without a signature.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

As the legislative session comes to a close, some of the most widely-watched bills are nearing the finish line in Montpelier – including minimum wage, paid family leave, and a bill preserving abortion rights. We're talking to Gov. Phil Scott, who faces a number of decisions on whether to sign, veto, or allow legislation to pass without his signature.

A sign for PeakCM construction with an illustration of a proposed AnC bio building.
Angela Evancie / VPR File

A federal grand jury has filed criminal charges against former Jay Peak developers Ariel Quiros and Bill Stenger and two other men, more three years after regulators unmasked their "Ponzi-like" investment scheme.

A deer head mounted on a wall next to a door that says Fish, Wildlife And Water Resources
Toby Talbot / Associated Press File

This year the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department proposed significant changes to hunting laws. The new proposal includes reducing the annual buck limit to one, and increasing the number of antlerless deer that can be harvested.

In March and April, the department presented the proposal at meetings across Vermont. Erica Heilman drove to Orleans to sit in on one of these meetings.

Mark Tenally / AP

In 11 years of reporting for CNN, I did my share of stories on abortion. And when the day-after abortion pill became available, I remember thinking that because early stage pregnancies could be ended with just a pill, the dynamics of the abortion debate would change. And they did – just not in the way I expected.

An aerial view of Lake Champlain
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR file

After considering a variety of new taxes to fund water quality efforts in Vermont, lawmakers now say they can clean up the state’s waterways without raising a dime.

Glenn Russell

This spring I watched the Vermont Legislature through the eyes of twenty-five college students. Each week students traveled to the state’s capitol to watch and write about how bills become law – or not.

A planner with a spot for each day of the week, set on a purple background
csy302 / iStock

Vermont lawmakers have been putting in long hours at the Statehouse this week, trying to wrap up work on a number of complex policy bills. While the Legislature had been hoping to adjourn this weekend, House Speaker Mitzi Johnson said they're going to have to come back for at least a couple days next week.

Exterior of the Vermont Gas building.
Taylor Dobbs / VPR File

Will it matter if a major pipeline company has a larger stake in the parent companies of Green Mountain Power and Vermont Gas? Climate activists and opponents of gas pipelines think so.

Congressman Peter Welch makes phone calls in his office in Washington, D.C.
Eman Mohammed for VPR

Costs for generic medications have skyrocketed in recent years, with some increasing by as much as 8,000%. The explosion in drug costs is the leading factor behind the nearly 16% rate hike Blue Cross Blue Shield Vermont requested this month for participants in Vermont Health Connect.

Now Congressman Peter Welch is co-sponsoring several bills to reign in prescription drug costs at the federal level.

Updated at 3 p.m. ET

The Trump administration has reached a deal to lift tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada and Mexico, in a move that could put the three nations a step closer to ratifying the USMCA trade deal that would replace NAFTA.

The tariffs will be lifted within two days, according to a joint U.S.-Canada statement posted by Canada's foreign ministry.

The Did It Work? logo in white text on a blue background with the VPR logo in the corner
Meg Malone / VPR

This week on All Things Considered, VPR host and reporter Henry Epp has been exploring a singular question about publicly-funded programs in Vermont, both big and small: "Did it work?"

The weeklong series follows up on a handful of initiatives over the past few years and looks how much bang — if any — Vermonters got for their buck.

The House floor during opening day of the Vermont Legislature on Jan. 9, 2019. We're talking with Republican leaders in the statehouse to get their thoughts as the legislative session nears its end.
Oliver Parini / VPR

Lawmakers are wrapping up the legislative session and we're talking with Republican leaders in the House and Senate about what they want to accomplish in their final days in Montpelier. 

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