Government & Politics

VTDigger’s Final Reading newsletter returns for 2023 legislative session

VTDigger political reporter Lola Duffort, right, interviews Sen. Phil Baruth, D/P-Chittenden, at the Statehouse in Montpelier in 2019. State senators are expected to elect Baruth as president pro tempore on Wednesday. File photo by Glenn Russell/VTDigger

Well, would you look at the calendar? Somehow, already, it is time to resume our Final Reading programming for Vermont’s 2023 legislative session.

Our most loyal Final Readers already know the drill. But for anyone new around here, here’s what to expect: Every day the Legislature is working in Montpelier, we deliver the day’s top political news to your inbox. That means new emails Tuesday through Friday, January through usually-sometime-in-May, with a break midway for Town Meeting week.

Our reporters keep tabs on a range of bills in every area of policy, from criminal justice, to education, to health care, to climate and more. And of course, we have our eyes on the B-word (that’s the budget).

2023 is already slated to be a busy year under the golden dome. For one thing, we’ll be back in the building, for real this time — although proceedings will still be livestreamed.

It’s also a new biennium, and with this one comes a historic level of turnover in state government. Many of Montpelier’s highest ranking offices will see fresh faces, in both the executive and legislative branches.

Along with Democratic House Speaker Jill Krowinski, one other leader remains in top brass: Republican Gov. Phil Scott prevailed in his fourth election. But this session, he will have to contend with a record-breaking, veto-proof Democratic majority.

Also consistent from last session: Your dedicated VTDigger reporters will be lurking all session in the Statehouse halls. Don’t be strangers! Our contact info is below.

— Sarah Mearhoff


Here’s who’s covering what for VTDigger this legislative session. Send us tips, feedback, gossip — or just drop us a line to say hello.


If you’ve read this far, I know you’re hungry for some hard news. Here’s a bite: U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy banged the Senate gavel one final time on Tuesday, concluding the 117th Congress and his own historic, 48-year career. His final action in the chamber was to escort his successor, U.S. Sen. Peter Welch, to Welch’s swearing-in Tuesday afternoon.

Meanwhile, U.S. Rep.-elect Becca Balint is stuck in limbo, thanks to House Republicans’ inability to coalesce around a nominee for speaker. After three failed votes on Tuesday, the House adjourned without electing a speaker. Balint can’t be sworn in until there is a leader in place. And so she waits.

Read more here.

— Sarah Mearhoff


Wednesday, Jan. 4

  • The House and Senate are scheduled to convene at 10:00 a.m. New members will be sworn in. House members are expected to reelect Krowinski as speaker, and senators are expected to elect Sen. Phil Baruth, D/P-Chittenden, as president pro tempore. Both are slated to give opening remarks.

Thursday, Jan. 5

  • David Zuckerman is scheduled to be sworn in for his second stint as lieutenant governor at 11:30 a.m. in the Senate chamber.
  • At 2:00 p.m., Scott is scheduled to take the oath of office, kicking off his fourth term as governor. Scott will then administer the oath to four executive officers: incoming Secretary of State Sarah Copeland Hanzas, incoming Attorney General Charity Clark, incoming Treasurer Mike Pieciak and returning Auditor Doug Hoffer. Scott will then deliver his inaugural address.

Read more here.

Your trusty Final Reading writers Sarah Mearhoff, left, and Riley Robinson. VTDigger photos

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Sarah Mearhoff

About Sarah

Sarah Mearhoff is one of VTDigger's political reporters, covering the Vermont statehouse, executive branch and congressional delegation. Prior to joining Digger, she covered Minnesota and South Dakota state politics for Forum Communications' newspapers across the Upper Midwest for three years. She has also covered politics in Mississippi, New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. Born and raised in Pennsylvania, she is a proud alumna of the Pennsylvania State University where she studied journalism.


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