Senate Committee Advances Drivers’ IDs for Migrants

By Kirk Carapezza The Senate Transportation Committee on Friday advanced a bill that would grant driver identification cards to Vermont residents who are in this country illegally. The bill would allow people who can prove identity and residency in Vermont to get a “driving privilege card.” Under the bill, the state would authorize the Department [...]

House Budget Plan Passes Despite Opposition From Shumlin, GOP

By Kirk Carapezza The House approved a budget on Friday that increases state spending by roughly 5 percent. The budget makes investments in such areas as higher education, low-income heating assistance and health care, while limiting how long someone can collect welfare benefits. Republicans intended to offer an amendment that would have reduced spending growth. Money [...]

UPDATE: House Finalizes Budget; Senate Debates License Plate Readers

By Kirk Carapezza The House voted 91-49 on Friday in favor of a state budge that increases  state spending by roughly 5 percent. The approval came after some amendments offered by Republican legislators were withdrawn. Still, as VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports, the bill sets up a major disagreement with Governor Peter Shumlin over the funding [...]

House Bill Would Decriminalize Possession Of Small Amounts Of Marijuana

By Kirk Carapezza For the first time this legislative session, the subject of decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana has been before a key Vermont House Committee. The House Judiciary Committee heard testimony this morning on a bill that would replace criminal penalties with a $100 fine for those found carrying less than two ounces of [...]

UPDATE: House Advances Shoreland Protection Bill, Turns To Taxes

By Kirk Carapezza The Vermont House takes up a bill that would establish lake shoreland protection standards. Advocates say the bill would preserve the ecosystem and is needed to slow down and filter polluting run-off. They say the bill has been reworked to address property owners’ concerns by saying shorelands of the state owned by [...]

House Committee Approves Budget That Would Limit Welfare

By Kirk Carapezza The Vermont House is preparing to debate the budget and a number of new tax proposals this week, and House leaders are already trying to line up votes for a $1.3 billion plan that includes a contentious bid to cap welfare benefits. Since national welfare reform in the 1990s, Vermont hasn’t limited [...]

Senators Modify Renewable Energy Bill; House Takes Up Shoreline Protection

By Kirk Carapezza In what is seen as a major victory for wind proponents, the Vermont Senate has amended a bill that would have established a new, more rigid process for siting energy projects. The amendment, which passed 16-14, effectively strips the legislation of its major policy goal: to grant local control over energy development, [...]

All A Matter Of Timing

By Amy Kolb Noyes The Town of Lincoln has scheduled a special town meeting to ratify the results from Town Meeting Day earlier this month. And the following day a special election will be held to follow up on a Town Meeting Day decision. The special town meeting is necessary because Vermont law says the [...]

Work Resumes On St. Albans Streetscape

By Amy Kolb Noyes Construction work has resumed in downtown St. Albans. The Downtown Streetscape Project began last fall with the east side of Main Street, between Congress and Bank Streets. This construction season work will be completed on the west side, between Kingman and Hudson Streets. The entire project is scheduled to be completed [...]

Facing Budget Woes, House Passes Watered Down Weatherization Bill

By Kirk Carapezza Some lawmakers’ hopes of passing meaningful climate change legislation this session that might reduce greenhouse gas emissions have collided with the state’s fiscal reality. Rep. Margaret Cheney, D-Norwich, sponsored a thermal efficiency bill that originally would have, among other things, earmarked millions of dollars for the weatherization of homes and businesses in [...]