Vermont Legislature

Campbell: Unlikely Senate Will Address Medicaid Cost Shift This Session

Campbell: Unlikely Senate Will Address Medicaid Cost Shift This Session

Senate President John Campbell says it's very unlikely that the Senate will pass one of Gov. Peter Shumlin's top legislative priorities this session: making a significant reduction in the Medicaid Cost Shift.

Campbell says the governor's plan would have a detrimental impact on Vermont's business community.

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Sears: No Major Changes In Store For Sex Offender Laws

Sears: No Major Changes In Store For Sex Offender Laws

The release of a high-risk sex offender from prison last week is again raising questions about state sex offender laws. 

Inmate Richard Laws was set free because he maxed out his sentence, even though he refused treatment in prison. There are statutes that let the state keep prisoners like that behind bars, but they were passed after Laws was sentenced. 

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A Bill To Ban Alcohol? Weed Legalization Supporters Say It Makes A Point

A Bill To Ban Alcohol? Weed Legalization Supporters Say It Makes A Point

Representatives Chris Pearson and Jean O’Sullivan introduced a bill this week to reinstate the prohibition of alcoholic beverages in Vermont, but they don’t want it to pass.

The bill, which would make possession of alcohol punishable by up to 30 years in prison and fines of $1 million, is the latest rhetorical flourish by lawmakers hoping to legalize marijuana in Vermont.

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Senate Finance Committee Tweaks Tax Deduction Bill

Senate Finance Committee Tweaks Tax Deduction Bill

One of the key “must-pass” bills of this session is legislation that raises roughly $30 million to help reduce the state's $112 million budget gap. And now the Senate Finance committee is tweaking a proposal passed by the House.

The plan, developed by the House Ways and Means committee and passed by the full House last month, affects only those people who itemize their deductions. This represents about 27 percent of all taxpayers.

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Vermont Business Leaders Mount Campaign Against Plan To Limit Tax Deductions

Business leaders are mounting a campaign against proposed changes to the income tax code, and say the plan would deal a setback to the state’s fragile economic recovery.

House lawmakers have given approval to a plan that would limit the itemized deductions Vermonters can use to lower their tax bills. That means that people who customarily write-off major expenses like home mortgage interest, health care expenses or major charitable gifts, might have to pay more in taxes.

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As House Lawmakers Rethink Soda Tax, Health Reform Money At Risk

As House Lawmakers Rethink Soda Tax, Health Reform Money At Risk

Gov. Peter Shumlin is urging lawmakers to make huge new investments in health care reform. But the Vermont House has slashed his proposal dramatically. And even the pared down health reform initiative may now be in jeopardy.

It’s been almost two weeks since the House Committee on Ways and Means approved an approximately $20 million health care reform bill. The legislation, however, continues to languish in the House Committee on Appropriations. And House Speaker Shap Smith now says it’s possible the bill might never make it to the floor.

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State's Nonprofit Community Concerned About Proposed Tax Plan

Vermont's nonprofit community is strongly urging the Senate to oppose a tax plan passed by the House that caps income tax deductions. And the nonprofit organizations have an ally in Gov. Peter Shumlin.

The House tax plan is designed to raise roughly $32 million to help close the state's $112 million budget gap. It's a proposal that affects only those Vermonters who itemize their income tax deductions, roughly 26 percent of all taxpayers.

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Paid Sick Days Bill Is Back In Action

Paid Sick Days Bill Is Back In Action

It wasn’t too long ago that supporters of paid sick leave were bracing for yet another disappointing year in the Statehouse. But the legislation has suddenly sprung back to life. And House lawmakers appear poised to adopt a compromise measure that would require employers to provide most employees with at least some paid sick time every year.

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In Surprise Reversal, House Maintains Status Quo To Allow Teacher Strikes

In Surprise Reversal, House Maintains Status Quo To Allow Teacher Strikes

In a stunning reversal, the House has rejected legislation concerning teacher strikes that it passed late Wednesday afternoon. The bill that originally passed by 14 votes was defeated by 61 votes when it came up for final approval.

In the end, a large majority of House members decided that doing nothing on this issue was the best course of action.

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Declining Enrollment, Part 6: The Age-Old Consolidation Debate

Declining Enrollment, Part 6: The Age-Old Consolidation Debate

Over the past 25 years, there’s been a recurring battle at the Statehouse over whether the consolidation of school districts should be mandated by the Legislature. It's a debate that's surfaced once again this year.

Under a plan passed by the House last week, all school districts would have at least 1,100 students. To put this figure in perspective, right now, roughly 80 percent of all school districts in the state have fewer than 500 students and 30 percent have fewer than 100 students.

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