Vermont Legislature

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Barre mother Nina Lemieux sits with her three kids, Billie, Brightlynn and Boston (from left). Shortly after Lemieux's daycare provider shut down unexpectedly in 2017, Lemieux lost her job, her savings and her apartment.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

House lawmakers last month approved a substantial increase in funding for childcare services, but leaders in the Senate say they aren’t ready to commit to the proposal.

Blue-green algae blooms in the summer of 2014 in Lake Champlain.
Taylor Dobbs / VPR FILE

Vermont lawmakers agree the state needs millions of dollars' worth of clean water projects. But there's less agreement on where Vermont will get the roughly $60 million it needs to fund them. We're talking about clean water plans advancing in Montpelier and what the options are to pay for them.

A July 23, 2018 file photo from Greenfield, Mass.
Elise Amendola / Associated Press

A bill under consideration by the Vermont Legislature would decriminalize the possession of unprescribed buprenorphine, a drug used to treat opioid use disorder. Proponents say the bill would save lives; critics say it would send a dangerous message.

Lawmakers face some tough choices to identify a long term funding source for the state's Clean Water Fund
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR/File

As the legislative session enters the home stretch, lawmakers still have not figured out how to pay for what most insist is a top priority — cleaning up Lake Champlain and other waterways.

The exterior of the Vermont Statehouse
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR file

House lawmakers Thursday advanced legislation that would create a statewide paid family and medical leave program in Vermont, but the bill faces some of the same political hurdles that derailed a similar proposal last year.

olm26250 / iStock

Without a doubt, times have changed. Time was when access to the internet was considered a luxury - even a novelty – but those days are long gone. Today, fast, reliable and affordable access to the internet is as much a necessity as electricity. And the digital revolution touches all aspects of our lives – from our children needing access to do their homework, to businesses requiring a connection to serve their customers and everybody’s need to stay connected with friends and family.

Vermont Business Magazine

Just last week I was standing in a meeting room at a prominent Burlington-area hotel and I could not get onto the Internet. I went over to a window. Still nothing. I finally had to track down a password to access their WiFi.

House lawmakers Wednesday approved a doubling of the tax on heating fuels Wednesday to raise revenue for a low-income weatherization program.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR file

The Vermont House of Representatives has approved legislation that would boost funding for home weatherization programs. But opponents of the bill say the tax on heating fuel used to pay for it will drive up the cost of living for the people who can least afford it.

Stock image of fiber-optic cables.
kynny / iStock

The Vermont House on Tuesday overwhelmingly backed a bill designed to spread broadband internet throughout rural parts of the state.

Eric Boen, ECFiber broadband engineer, looks at the camera while working on a house in East Thetford, Vermont.
John Dillon / VPR

As lawmakers look for ways to get more Vermonters connected with high-speed broadband, they’re increasingly turning to community-based solutions. ECFiber, a nonprofit in the Upper Valley, has paved the way.

A picture of narcotics seized by police. Some Vermont lawmakers want to decriminalize possession of buprenorphine, an opioid that's often used to treat substance use disorder.
AP/Toby Talbot

The House Judiciary Committee has approved legislation decriminalizing possession of buprenorphine. But some law enforcement officials say non-prescribed use of the drug, which is used to treat opioid use disorder, should remain a crime.

A snow-covered Vermont Statehouse, with an American and Vermont flag flying in front.
Oliver Parini / For VPR

This past Town Meeting Day, voters in South Burlington backed a plan to tax rental cars. However in a case like this, where local residents vote to make a change to their town charter, it still needs to be approved by the Vermont Legislature before it can go into effect. So why is that? And might that process change? 

Rodney Chayer, of Duxbury, at a public hearing regarding gun legislation at Vermont Technical College in Randolph, Vt.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

About 200 gun rights advocates traveled to Randolph Tuesday evening to weigh in on proposed gun legislation that they say violates their right to bear arms.

We're talking about what's been accomplished and what's still to come this legislative session.
Ric Cengeri / VPR

Lawmakers will return to the State House next week for the second half of the legislative session to consider a number of issues, including a tax-and-regulate marijuana plan, paid family leave, raising the state minimum wage and changes to Vermont's tax structure.

Watts: Vape Tax

Mar 5, 2019
Christa Guzman / The Vermont Cynic

Vaping as it’s called - the act of sucking in flavored water vapor laced with nicotine - has become quite the rage among young people. As I walk across campus, little puffs linger in the air as students’ draw at their e-cigarette devices.

Marijuana plants.
Labuda / iStock

By a vote of 23 to 5, the Vermont Senate gave its preliminary approval to a so-called tax-and-regulate marijuana bill Thursday. Under the bill, pot could be legally sold in retail outlets beginning in 2021.

Alyssa and Rob Black, whose 23-year-old son died by suicide in December, asked lawmakers Thursday to create a waiting period for gun purchases in Vermont.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

The parents of a 23-year-old man who committed suicide last December are asking lawmakers to create a waiting period for gun purchases in Vermont.

John Dillon / VPR

Town meeting debate in several towns next week may turn to trash talk. Trash, that is, in the form of single-use plastic bags. Communities from Manchester to Burlington are considering measures that could lead to local bag bans.

At the opening of an affordable housing development in Milton in 2017, Gov. Phil Scott said investments in affordable housing are important for Vermont's economy. Lawmakers this year are considering another major bond to spur housing development.
Taylor Dobbs / VPR file

Vermont lawmakers this year are considering another major affordable housing bond, but State Treasurer Beth Pearce said taking on more long-term debt now could compromise the state’s financial position.

Jenny Green sits in front of a laptop computer that's loading a New York Times web story.
John Dillon / VPR

The promise of modern communications has bypassed many people and many rural communities in Vermont. And once again, the Legislature and the governor are promising to do more to deliver broadband to underserved areas.