Politics

Vermont legislative session may end early

Mitzi Johnson

House Speaker Mitzi Johnson, D-South Hero. Photo by Erin Mansfield/VTDigger

Lawmakers are largely in agreement on the only must pass bill of any legislative session — the budget — and that means the session could end a week earlier than anticipated.

The Senate is looking to shut down morning committee hearings on Friday. And that’s another sign that the first half of the biennium is winding up.

House Speaker Mitzi Johnson says she would like to see lawmakers leave by end of the first week of May, “but you never know.”

It costs about $250,000 a week for lawmakers’ modest salaries, travel expenses, accommodations and meals. As is typical, this year the Legislature is budgeted for 18 weeks, putting the end date at May 13.

If the legislative session ends a week early, on May 6, that money could be carried over to the next fiscal year and used to pay for a special session in October.

Johnson and Senate President Pro Tem Tim Ashe have said it’s possible a special session will be needed to address potential budget cuts from the federal government.

“We would love to save the week and the capacity in case we need it to come back, but we also have to get our job done for Vermonters,” Johnson said.

A joint rules committee formally sets the date for adjournment; no decision from the panel has yet been made.

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Anne Galloway

About Anne

Anne Galloway is the founder and editor of VTDigger and the executive director of the Vermont Journalism Trust. Galloway founded VTDigger in 2009 after she was laid off from her position as Sunday editor of the Rutland Herald and Times Argus. VTDigger has grown from a $16,000 a year nonprofit with no employees to a $2 million nonprofit daily news operation with a staff of 25. In 2017, Galloway was a finalist for the Ancil Payne Award for Ethics, the Al Neuharth Innovation in Investigative Journalism Award and the Investigative Reporters and Editors FOIA Award for her investigation into allegations of foreign investor fraud at Jay Peak Resort.

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