Vermont legislature

Legislature, administration cast wide net to find solutions to $18.6M budget gap

Jim Reardon, Justin Johnson and Stephen Klein speak about the $18.6 million gap on Thursday. Photo by Elizabeth Hewitt/VTDigger

From closing a prison to taking away bottled water, everything is on the table as officials scrounge to fill an $18.6 million gap left by revenue downgrade.

Education reform bill calls for 2 percent cap on per pupil spending increases

House Ed

The House Education Committee unanimously passed out a proposal that would require schools to attempt to form districts of at least 1,100 students.

UVM plans $1.4 million in repairs to Southwick Hall

Clarence Davis

University of Vermont intends to use the second half of its $2.8 million state capital appropriation to make repairs to the 80-year-old music building.

Amendment to H.40 freezes energy efficiency charge

Adam Greshin

Rep. Tony Klein said compromise was made to gain support for RESET program. “We took one for the team,” he said.

Sears lashes out at gun rights witness, then kills bill

Dick Sears

Opponents of a bill that would require background checks for all gun sales in Vermont won a major victory Wednesday, but one of them drew a heated rebuke by a powerful Senate Democrat.

AHS grant recipients face $10.9 million cut

mitzi johnson

Community-based organizations that provide services to Vermonters with HIV, the blind and visually impaired and more say that though the amounts may seem small, every dollar counts.

Vermont Republicans formalize request for federal review of health exchange spending

Joe Benning

Vermont GOP leaders send a letter requesting that the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services investigate whether federal money was used inappropriately in developing Vermont Health Connect.

Forum looks at disparity in student discipline

Max Barrows

Meeting focuses on disproportionate numbers of low-income, disabled and minority students subjected to school discipline.

Real cost of state’s renewable energy program unknown, economist says

Economist Tom Kavet. Photo by Anne Galloway/VTDigger

Hard to predict factors include the fluctuating price of fuel oil and electric rates.

Bill would let police take, sell assets of animal fighters

ASPCA photo

Senate bill would allow property to be seized from people convicted of fighting animals. Vermont ACLU opposes having the proceeds go to police.

Business groups oppose earned leave bill

The Church Street Marketplace in Burlington. Photo by Roger Crowley/for VTDigger

The Vermont Retail & Grocers Association opposes legislation, arguing that employers should decide benefits packages to suit their own needs and business models.

Margolis: Budget shortfall presents hard choices

Ways and Means Committee

With a state budget shortfall exceeding $100 million and much of the fat already cut, legislators will have to decide to cut spending or raise taxes — or both.

House Fish & Wildlife sends out tough water quality bill

David Deen

Bill would put in place new pollution control measures for farms, existing development and roads, but includes fees and taxes that face opposition.

More people being tested for drugged driving, report says

John Flannigan

Drug Recognition Expert Program credited for increase in blood tests for DUI-drugs, which have increased 1,000 percent since 2005.

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