Vermont Legislature

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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.

Lawmakers are considering a bill that would expand an employer's ability to administer drug tests to employees.
sercansamanci / istock

Vermont's laws on workplace drug testing make it difficult to test employees after they're hired. Now lawmakers are considering a bill expanding an employer's ability to test workers suspected of being under the influence on the job, or if they cause an accident. We're looking at Vermont's existing drug testing laws, the proposed changes and what it means for workers and employers.

Lawmakers elected Col. Greg Knight, of Huntington, to serve as the next adjutant general of the Vermont National Guard.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

The next leader of the Vermont National Guard said he plans to reform an organization that came under fire last year after a series of stories alleging sexual harassment and other misconduct.

Vogel: Act 250 Review

Feb 21, 2019
Ted Samuelsen / Housing Vermont

Now almost 50 years old, the Land Use and Development Act known as Act 250 has been largely successful in preventing suburban sprawl as well as preserving the forests and farms that are such a prominent part of the Vermont landscape and identity. But that success has been costly, adding considerable expense in time and money to large commercial projects and to housing projects with more than ten units.

Hundreds of Vermonters turned out for a public hearing earlier this month on an abortion-rights bill introduced in Montpelier. The Vermont House preliminarily approved the legislation by a vote of 104-40 Wednesday evening.
Jeb Wallace-Brodeur / The Times Argus

An abortion-rights bill approved by the House of Representatives Wednesday evening wouldn’t change the legal status quo in Vermont, but the legislation nonetheless spurred a six-hour debate on the House floor.

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.

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.

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.

Brittany Lovejoy, of Montgomery, wears a black veil at a public hearing in Montpelier Wednesday, where she urged lawmakers to reject legislation that would create a "fundamental right" to abortion in Vermont.
Jeb Wallace-Brodeur / The Times Argus

It’s been more than 45 years since the U.S. Supreme Court issued its landmark ruling in Roe v. Wade, but as Vermont House lawmakers learned at a public hearing Wednesday evening, the debate over abortion rights is as intense as it’s ever been.

An aerial shot of the House floor on the opening day of the Vermont Legislature in 2019.
Oliver Parini / For VPR

House lawmakers appear poised to grant a yearlong reprieve to about half of the Vermont school districts that face a fast-approaching deadline for complying with a controversial school governance mandate.

Marijuana plants.
gaspr13 / iStock

The Senate Judiciary Committee is quickly moving ahead with a tax-and-regulate marijuana bill, but the plan could face an uncertain future with the Scott administration because it doesn't include the driver impairment measures that the governor says must be part of the bill.

Northern Vermont University President Elaine Collins, seen here on the Johnson campus, says state colleges need more state funding in order to lower tuition rates and increase support services for students.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Elected officials will need to nearly double the state’s contribution to higher education if they want to ensure Vermont students have access to an affordable college education, according to the chancellor of the Vermont State Colleges System.

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