Few things are more identifiable as part of Vermont’s identity than Act 250, the state’s development review law, which is why when people tinker with it, its defenders become a bit unhinged. It’s been the law for a half century; if it kept growth to a minimum, and protected the environment t…

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Vermonters value our strong communities. We celebrate the good times with cheers and hugs, and we lend a helping hand when times are tough. Taking care of our neighbors – that’s what we do. During a power outage, we check in on our neighbors. After a heavy snow, we help shovel stoops and pus…

In the past 10 days, I attended two quintessentially American events: the annual Fort Worth rodeo and the New Hampshire Democratic presidential primary. One was a display of remarkable human ability to stay in the saddle, ride violent spins and bucks, dodge powerful kicks and lasso elusive strays.

The future of Vermont’s transportation system is electric. On the House Transportation Committee we spent some time working on Electric Vehicle (EV) policy last year and that conversation is even livelier this year. We’re considering the Governor’s $3 million proposal to continue investments…

New Hampshire was not the win that Bernie Sanders would have hoped for; no Democrat has ever won the nation’s first primary with a smaller share of voters. He edged past former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar posted a surprisingly strong performa…

There is an honest debate emerging between the old guard in the town — made up, in part, of past selectboard members — and those trying to reimagine the future, a future that values working together more than working separately, and a future with a clear eye on what it takes to make our comm…

Emerson Lynn’s recent editorial (“Deal with it, please”) demands a response. As is often the case, Mr. Lynn makes excellent points. Yes, our Vermont State Colleges face big challenges, as do virtually all small, rural, residential colleges. Compared to other public higher education instituti…

At the time of this writing the governor has just vetoed the minimum wage bill. In order to truly understand a policy we must get into the details rather than just sound bytes. I am unaware of any legislator or statewide office holder who doesn’t want to help Vermonters. Contrary to Senate l…

When RiseVt recently reported the results of its second Body Mass Index [BMI] study it was noted that the results were roughly the same as the study done two years prior; a little over 40 percent of our first, third and fifth graders were overweight or obese. The good news was that the perce…

Legislation is advancing in the Vt. Senate that would allow Efficiency Vermont and the Burlington Electric Department to spend up to $2 million over the next three years, with the focus on transportation and heating projects. They are supposed to be “free to innovate.”

Do you think fishing helps the world? Well did you know that saltwater fishing alone gives over 1.7 million people jobs. Fishing is a fun sport and helps a lot of people in a lot of different ways. Over 3.5 million people across the world rely on the ocean as their primary food source and th…

Last week the Human Services committee continued testimony from the Agency of Human Services and the divisions thereof regarding their FY 21 budget requests. Overall it appears that the agency and its departments worked hard to present a budget that respects the reality that Vermonters’ wall…

It’s been a bad week for Democrats. Afrozen tick’s width from being horrible. The Iowa caucus was an unmitigated disaster, giving us an eternity’s worth of fresh Hillary Clinton based conspiracies. They failed in their impeachment proceedings. And the party’s leaders are staring down the bar…

As an 86 year old I recall my school days and remember being told time and time again to obey the rules.  Those included courtesy, honesty, and waiting your turn in line.  To this day when I’m at the supermarket deli counter and there’s a group of people and no designated line I always wait …

The trustees for the Vermont State College system are staring at what is being called the “most challenging” start to a budget year the system has seen in recent memory. The unexpected part of the challenge is an increase in health insurance costs, anticipated to be in the $2 million range. …

The Franklin County Legislative Delegation will be holding a Legislative Breakfast on Monday, February 10, 2020 at St. Albans City Hall.  The Breakfast will be from 8 am to 9:30 am.  The public is welcome to attend and hear about our latest legislative issues in Montpelier.  The Franklin Cou…

When Governor Scott vetoed a bill last spring that would have required a 24-hour waiting period for handgun sales, all I could think about was parents and children. My heart and my head ached. At that time, Governor Scott made it clear that he needed to see evidence proving that a waiting pe…

A bill that would provide free tuition to Community College of Vermont students with family or individual incomes under $100,000 has been greeted with a cold shoulder by legislators who think it’s unaffordable and in defiance of “fiscal reality.” That’s hardly surprising. The legislative bud…

So what that two former Vermont Democratic governors don’t endorse Bernie Sanders, although I was a bit surprised by Shumlin’s lack of support because Bernie stumped for him during his gubernatorial campaign. Shumlin even told Politico that Bernie “lacks loyalty to the Democratic party.” Act…

Before electric vehicles are in widespread use, we need to solve the problems of how to get electricity to them and how to pay for the roads they run on. So far these problems haven’t mattered because there are so few e-vehicles. In Vermont we are very well-positioned to deal with both problems.

Over the past fifty years I have seen a lot of bills introduced into the Vermont legislature. Of all the bills over all those years, the absolute worst was just introduced in the House, with 87 co-sponsors (all Democratic and Progressive). It’s titled the Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA, H.688).

The tobacco industry is pouring money into Vermont, the objective being to counter legislation that would ban flavored nicotine and vaping products, and, specifically, the ban on menthol cigarettes and e-cigarette products. The industry’s campaign includes, for Vermonters, an usual twist: In…

Vermont’s rural communities are intricately tied to our economy, identity and way of life. At the same time, all of Vermont suffers when our farm and forestry sectors falter.

I am a proponent of raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour in Vermont. While serving as a state representative in the 2013-14 biennium, I voted in favor of raising the minimum wage from $8.40 to $10.10 over three years and then a Cost of Living increase took over from there. Unfortunately,…

One of President Trump’s favorite tweets regards the passage of his tax cut which he likes to say is the “biggest tax cut in history.” It wasn’t. Not close. Another favorite is that the border wall is about to be finished and that it’s impregnable. It isn’t, and it’s not. But he plunges on. …

The Afterglow committee and the family of AJ Holzscheiter are extremely humbled and grateful for the outpouring of support we received for Afterglow and the last few months through sponsorships, donations, VIP Packages, and the purchasing of Afterglow/AJH “Shwag”. There are many people and b…

From a modestly selfish perspective, the best news for Franklin County in Gov. Phil Scott’s budget address last week was his pledge to put $2.8 million toward the construction of the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail [LVRT]. The money will be used to leverage another $11.3 million in federal dollar…

I spent most of 2018 running for office because I saw firsthand in my work how incremental change will never alleviate poverty.  It will never create economic justice.   

I ran as a Democrat because I was told that taking bold action on $15 minimum wage and paid family and medical leave ins…

A week from tomorrow voters in Iowa will traipse to their individual caucuses to give the nation its first report on who is leading among the Democrats running for the presidential nomination. Depending on the poll, the lead has bounced from Pete Buttigieg, to Elizabeth Warren to Bernie Sand…

In the fall of 2017 RiseVt took the unprecedented step of figuring out the body mass index [BMI] of every first, third and fifth grader in Franklin and Grand Isle counties, all 2,000 of them. The purpose was to establish a baseline number from which future numbers could be compared. The foll…

Between the years of 2011 to 2019 the average price of a condominium in New York City soared from $1.15 million to $3.77 million, according to The Atlantic magazine. Almost half of the condominiums that have come on the market in the last five years remain vacant. Meanwhile, New York City is…

Gov. Phil Scott’s budget address, delivered Tuesday, was a careful match of limited resources against pressing needs in an election year that, for Mr. Scott, summoned the same pledge common to his tenure, which is that it can be done without raising taxes.

Against the back wall of my UVM office sits an antique wooden desk. Its surface is bare of books and paper because it serves no mere utilitarian purpose. As the desk that once belonged to Vermont Sen. Justin Morrill, author of the Morrill Act of 1862 establishing the country’s first land gra…

The Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance, a priority for legislative leadership, is already sitting  in conference committee, before the first week of the Vermont 2020 Legislative session is over! As with all bills, there needs to be agreement between the Senate version and House version …