Politics

VTDigger regularly publishes stories about Vermont politics. We cover state elections, the Vermont Legislature, the governor’s office, state agencies and major political parties. Anne Galloway covers politics for VTDigger. She can be reached at [email protected]

Hundreds join May Day demonstration at Statehouse

Protesters gather at City Hall in Montpelier before marching to the Statehouse. Photo by John Herrick/VTDigger

-+*Protesters from the Vermont Workers’ Center, the Vermont State Employees Association and more enter the building to demand changes in tax policy and health care.

Governor signs bill on gun possession in private

Peter Shumlin

-+*Gov. Peter Shumlin said at the start of the session that Vermont doesn’t need to update its gun laws, but his position softened in recent weeks.

Margolis: Bernie’s bid is no laughing matter (+ video)

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., announces his intention to run for president in 2016. C-SPAN screenshot

-+*Can a bombastic, 73-year-old, quasi-socialist junior senator from Vermont win the White House? Probably not. But now that Bernie Sanders is challenging Hillary Clinton, the game is afoot.

At 11th hour, Shumlin rejects tax proposal, wants millions of dollars more in budget cuts

Gov. Peter Shumlin signed an executive order Tuesday. Photo by Elizabeth Hewitt/VTDigger

-+*While it’s the governor’s prerogative to influence the legislative process and ultimately sign or veto the legislation, Shumlin’s down-to-the-wire timing perplexed insiders who say the governor has had four months to influence the budget and tax bills, and has not made a concerted effort to do so until now.

Sanders to run for president as Democrat, sources say

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks as a group of VPIRG canvassers gathers behind him Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013, at the Statehouse in Montpelier. Photo by Viola Gad/VTDigger

-+*Vermont’s junior senator Bernie Sanders is expected to announce his candidacy Thursday. He will face Hillary Clinton, and possibly others, in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary.

VSEA says failure to register as a lobby group was an oversight

-+*Notably absent from this week’s first-quarter lobbying disclosures were reports from the Vermont State Employees Association, which has lobbied heavily against potential cuts to the state workforce. That’s because the VSEA had not registered as a lobbying group until Tuesday when VTDigger brought it to the union’s attention that their reports weren’t included in the […]

In an about-face, Vermont Attorney General calls for outside review of campaign charges against him

Bill Sorrell

-+*Under pressure from a Senate panel, Gov. Peter Shumlin will likely appoint an independent investigator to review allegations that Bill Sorrell violated campaign finance laws.

Legislative preview: Money bills coalesce in Senate, child protection, health care bills hit House floor

Hidden in one of the columns in the Statehouse portico is a 165-year-old time capsule containing information about the construction of the third Statehouse, contemporary newspapers, a legislative record of the fire that destroyed the second Statehouse and the debate authorizing the new construction, and the names of the men who designed and built Vermont's current capitol. The time capsule has never been opened. Photo by Nancy Graff

-+*Adjournment can’t come soon enough for lawmakers this session. No one likes the budget cuts. The education restructuring is politically odious. And health care reform plans fizzled. Worst of all, legislators have to raise taxes.

First-quarter lobbying reports show heavy spending to oppose beverage tax

Coke machine slider

-+*The American Beverage Association, which opposes a tax on sugary drinks, leads all spenders with $500,000 through March 31. Organizations spent $3.8 million on lobbying overall.

Campaign finance complaint against Sorrell spurs call for election commission

Bill Sorrell

-+*Senators will hold a hearing on Tuesday for a proposed oversight panel that would enforce campaign finance statutes in the wake of allegations that the Vermont Attorney General has flouted state laws. Bill Sorrell has refused to appoint an independent investigator.

Vermont GOP calls for independent counsel to investigate Vermont Attorney General Bill Sorrell

Vermont Attorney General Bill Sorrell. Photo by Roger Crowley

-+*“As I’ve said repeatedly I try very hard to be in compliance with our campaign finance laws,” Bill Sorrell said, adding that he would “fully comply” with any investigation that is undertaken.

Margolis: The theater of public and press involvement

The press mosh in the House gallery. Photo by Roger Crowley

-+*While legislators are rarely persuaded to change their minds by the overpowering logic of advocates at public hearings, they are occasionally terrified into changing their votes by the sheer numbers of angry voters who jam those public hearings.

Legislative preview: Close votes expected on paid leave bill, immunization amendment

Shap Smith

-+*Meanwhile, the Senate finance and budget committees are finalizing the must-pass money bills. Senate Education is expected to advance a reform bill on Tuesday. Health care legislation remains in limbo.

O’Donnell resigns from Vernon Selectboard

-+*Editor’s note: This article is by Michael Faher, of the Brattleboro Reformer, in which a longer version was first published April 8, 2015. VERNON — Declaring that “I’m not playing this game anymore,” embattled Vernon Selectboard member Patty O’Donnell announced her intention to resign from the board Monday night. O’Donnell, the board’s former chairwoman, had […]

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