Even though lawmakers are coming back next week, the action on some key bills this week revealed a lot about the dynamics we’ve seen in the Statehouse all year. On this week’s podcast, VTDigger political reporters Kit Norton and Xander Landen break down two key days of movement in Montpelier.
Conditions at Vermont's only women's prison have been a concern since inmates were first moved there. But a new wave of complaints has lawmakers and advocates debating how to move beyond the aging facility.
Guests: Amanda Sorrell (former Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility inmate), Liz Swavola (Vera Institute for Justice), Kit Norton (VTDigger)
A Vermont Supreme Court case and a wave of recent police investigations revolve around the use of body camera footage. All together, they reveal that bodycam use can raise more questions than it answers.
Schools across the state are ditching A-through-F report cards and letting students retake tests to emphasize learning over seat time. But each district’s interpretation of proficiency-based learning looks different.
Guests: Mike McRaith (Montpelier High School), Kevin Coen (Springfield High School), Eva Jessup (U-32 Chronicle), Andrew Crompton (U-32 Chronicle), Elizabeth Hewitt (VTDigger/Hechinger Report)
“If we failed, we were going to fail history,” then-House Speaker Shap Smith says about the climactic vote in 2009 that legalized same-sex marriage in Vermont.
Guests: Shap Smith, Beth Robinson (Vermont Supreme Court Justice), Rep. Bill Lippert (D-Hinesburg), Patti Komline (former representative, R-Dorset)
There’s no single reason for the $150 million the state has to pay each year, on average, until 2038. But the decision to ignore financial advice in the 1990s plays a major part.
Guests: Sen. Jane Kitchel (Appropriations Committee), Beth Pearce (State Treasurer), Gov. Howard Dean, Gov. Jim Douglas, Colin Meyn (VTDigger)
Vermont lawmakers want to limit the involvement of large, out-of-state companies in a proposed retail marijuana market. But recent reporting by the Boston Globe shows that similar efforts in Massachusetts are falling short.
Guests: Beth Healy, Boston Globe Spotlight team
As mayor of Denver and as a two-term governor, John Hickenlooper oversaw and managed a major period of sustained growth in Colorado. This month he announced he's running for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. On Saturday he sat down at the Flynn Center in Burlington for a conversation with Jen Kimmich, the co-founder of The Alchemist brewery, about economic development, retail marijuana, the presidential race, and lots more.
State officials say mismanagement played a major role in Springfield Hospital's financial collapse. But broader trends are putting pressure on hospital finances across the state.
Guests: Kevin Mullin (Green Mountain Care Board), Al Gobeille (Agency of Human Services), Mike Faher and Katy Savage (VTDigger)
Senate leader Tim Ashe, House Speaker Mitzi Johnson, and Gov. Phil Scott have all predicted that there will be friction over the details of some policy and budget proposals before the end of the legislative session. But they’re in agreement that the dynamic has changed this year.
Guests: VTDigger political reporter Xander Landen, Senate President Pro Tem Tim Ashe, and House Speaker Mitzi Johnson.
Southern Vermont College is only the most recent in a wave of troubled New England Colleges planning to close. Some observers say it won’t be the last.
Tom Greene, president of the Vermont College of Fine Arts
Lola Duffort, VTDigger education reporter
Vermont's proposed abortion protections would solidify the role of the state's medical establishment in deciding where to draw ethical lines on terminating pregnancies. The head OB-GYN at Vermont's largest hospital says that's how it should be.
One year after a contentious public debate led to historic gun reforms in Vermont, lawmakers are proposing new bills that would make more changes to the state's firearm restrictions. The governor has already said he doesn't believe gun bills should be a priority. But legislators believe these changes would address urgent issues — regardless of last year's efforts.
A Congolese asylum seeker named Bienfait fled death threats in his home country. But his journey to Canada was cut off in Vermont due to a 9/11-era border security agreement. Now, some Canadian politicians are wondering whether that policy is sending refugees into a hostile U.S. immigration system, while Bienfait wonders whether he'll be sent back to Africa.
Gov. Scott's budget proposal released this week marks a major change in approach from his first two years in office. Will it make for a smoother session? VTDigger's political team — Anne Galloway, Xander Landen, and Colin Meyn — breaks it down.