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Rep,. Diane Lanpher: House concludes fruitful session

Posted on May 22, 2015 |
By Rep Diane Lanpher D-Vergennes



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Legislators mark some milestones: education, budget, other bills wrap up

Posted on May 21, 2015 |
By John Flowers



MONTPELIER — Lawmakers expected to take on a lot of important issues when they arrived in Montpelier for the legislative session in January. Education finance reform, economic development, energy, water quality, child protection and health care reform were all on the docket.

Over it all hung a fiscal year 2016 budget that showed signs of a big deficit before the end of the month.

As the Legislature adjourned on Saturday, state senators, representatives and the governor all could count some accomplishment in the session.

full story

Rep. Fred Baser: First year in Legislature spawns hope

Posted on May 21, 2015 |
By Rep. Fred Baser R-Bristol



The 2015 legislative session has ended. At times it felt like a rodeo, full of surprises. I serve on the Commerce and Economic Development Committee. We passed six bills out of our committee that became law. All these bills either benefit consumers or advance our state economy. My committee efforts were among the most satisfying times of the session.

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Editorial: A salute to steps forward in the legislature

Posted on May 14, 2015 |
By Angelo S. Lynn



The Shumlin Administration and the Vermont Legislature certainly have had their low points this session, starting with the governor abandoning his health care reform initiative and now being on the verge of scuttling the Vermont Health Exchange, as well as struggling to find ways to bridge a $130-plus million budget gap, but we’d be remiss not to note the few high points of the session, and to recognize the positive steps taken that move us forward.

Here are a few bills passed recently that will serve Vermont well.

full story

Opinion: Paid sick days a boon to Vermont

Posted on May 10, 2015 |
By Millard Cox



In the Addison Independent’s Legislative Review last week (April 30, 2015), Rep. Fred Baser concluded with comments in opposition to a House bill mandating paid sick days for Vermont workers. I happen to know Fred Baser and have sat across from him in labor negotiations. I am of the opinion that he is intelligent, personable and fair-minded, but I think that he is wrong in opposing paid sick days for Vermont’s workers.

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Editorial: Solar misfire; scrap it, try again

Posted on May 10, 2015 |
By Angelo S. Lynn



Robert Kennedy Jr. continued his nationwide anti-vaccine tour with a stopover in Vermont this Tuesday, spreading his campaign of misinformation and misguided claims that the Centers for Disease Control was corrupt and in the hip pocket of “big pharma.” A Vermont-based anti-vaccine group sponsored Kennedy’s visit to Montpelier, paying for his flight and expenses in a last-minute effort to dissuade the Legislature from cutting out the philosophical exemption that currently allows parents to avoid school-mandated vaccinations when children enter kindergarten.

full story

Carbon tax, solar arrays spur debate

Posted on April 16, 2015 |
By John Flowers



WEYBRIDGE — At the legislative breakfast at the Congregational Church of Weybridge on Monday, lawmakers discussed the future of education reform in Vermont (see story, here).

Other discussion at Monday’s breakfast focused on:

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Community Forum: State faces revenue, not spending challenge

Posted on April 16, 2015 |
By Jack Hoffman



This week’s writer is Jack Hoffman, a policy analyst for the Public Assets Institute, a non-partisan, non-profit organization in Montpelier.

All we’ve heard from Montpelier this year, from the governor to legislative leaders, is that Vermont has a spending problem, not a revenue problem. A new analysis by the Joint Fiscal Office (JFO) shows this conventional wisdom is wrong.

The JFO data show state spending has gone down as a percentage of the economy over the last 10 years.

full story

Lawmakers: Health reform is on track, but new taxes loom

Posted on April 9, 2015 |
By John Flowers



SHOREHAM — “It’s been extraordinarily frustrating,” Rep. Diane Lanpher said of Vermont Health Connect’s track record to date. The Vergennes Democrat gave those remarks during a discussion with other local lawmakers of the state’s health care exchange at a Legislative Breakfast in Shoreham Monday morning.

“What started as really good policy at the federal level could not be rolled out in a way that … met where the policy was going,” Lanpher added.

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State budget passes key hurdle

Posted on April 9, 2015 |
By John Flowers



SHOREHAM — Local lawmakers at Monday’s Legislative Breakfast at the Shoreham Congregational Church shared details the fiscal year 2016 state budget of $1.46 billion.

Rep. Diane Lanpher, D-Vergennes, a member of the House Appropriations Committee explained what was a difficult process of closing a $113 million revenue shortfall. The committee ultimately recommended $52.8 million in long-term cuts, $23.8 million in one-time cuts and revenues, $35 million in new fees and taxes, and $1.7 million in earnings from renting prison beds to the federal government.

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