Vermont depends on the federal government for about a third of its budget.
More children are becoming wards of the state, mainly due to the opiate crisis.
Leaders say they’ll pursue reduction of phosphorus pollution in Lake Champlain even though the state doesn’t know how much the Trump administration may help.
Full coverage of last week’s key events at the Statehouse.
House Speaker Mitzi Johnson and Senate President Tim Ashe led a changeover in the state’s top four jobs. They identified a reduction in poverty as a priority, along with addressing budget gaps.
The new House speaker created an Energy and Technology Committee and moved mental health jurisdiction to the health care committee.
Legislative preview: Rural development initiatives, independent contractor bill top economic development list
Lawmakers will also consider legislation that would require all businesses to provide 12 weeks of paid parental leave and short-term disability coverage to employees.
Legislators are expecting to address policies concerning inmates with mental health issues and to look at the way the judiciary functions in Vermont. Marijuana legalization is likely to come up again too.
Medicaid spending will once again be a driving factor in a projected $55 million to $75 million budget gap.
The presumptive next House speaker plans a deliberative process for legislation and budgeting, suggesting many committees haven’t looked hard enough at the effectiveness of agencies and programs.
Budget writers have the painful task of shaving here, stretching out there, providing less, and trying to kick the fiscal can down the road.
Rep. Sarah Copeland-Hanzas, who most recently served as Majority Leader and was a frontrunner for the position for months, nominated Johnson.
Sarah Copeland Hanzas abandoned her bid after recognizing Mitzi Johnson had more support within the caucus. Democrats meet Saturday to make their choice.