In the Media

Articles from outside news and opinion sources.

Legislators affirmed state’s social liberalism

May 16, 2013; Peter Hirschfeld; Rutland Herald

But so far at least, the Vermont Democrats running the show in Montpelier seem content to save their liberalism for the social arena. And progressive lawmakers are beginning to wonder whether one-party rule will ever translate into new public investments to bolster human services, combat climate change, or expand access to health care.

“The primary focus for progressives, whether you’re a large ‘P’ or a small ‘p,’ is economic issues,” said Sen. David Zuckerman, a Progressive/Democrat from Chittenden County. “And in that arena, the bodies were relatively conservative.”

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Bill would drop outdated language from Vt. laws

April 12, 2013; Times Argus

MONTPELIER — Outdated, offensive words to describe people including “lunatics” and “retarded” that are still on the books in Vermont are being sought out so lawmakers can strike the passages from the law.

The Senate has already passed a bill calling for respectful language to be used, and a House committee reviewing it heard testimony Thursday.

“There are certain words that are no longer acceptable,” said Sen. Anthony Pollina, of Washington County.

In one instance, a law says a marriage could be annulled if it could be shown that one of the partners was a “lunatic” or was “distracted” at the time of the wedding.

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Vermont lawmakers consider early August primary election date

April 8, 2013; Terri Hallenbeck; Burlington Free Press

Progressive Party Executive Director Robert Millar said he has concerns about the earlier primary.

"It pushes the primary even earlier in the summer, when few folks are likely to be thinking about politics, which is bad for voter engagement and turnout. This change effectively favors incumbents over challengers."

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No Laughing Matter: In the Vermont Senate, the Joke's on Campaign-Finance Reform

April 3, 2013; Paul Heintz; Seven Days

What’s so funny about banning corporate contributions to political candidates?

That’s what Sen. Dave Zuckerman (P/D-Chittenden) was wondering last Thursday night when several colleagues began to chuckle during a roll call vote on a tough new campaign-finance rule.

For years, the Vermont Senate had resisted taking up an amendment that would prohibit corporations from donating directly to political campaigns. Incumbent politicians didn’t want to end a practice that benefits them — but they certainly didn’t want to go on record opposing limits on corporate money in politics.

On Thursday, the question was finally called.

Late in the evening, after hours of debate on a comprehensive campaign-finance bill, the Senate voted 21 to 8 in favor of an amendment offered by Sen. Peter Galbraith (D-Windham) banning direct corporate contributions.

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Bill would have state collect data on gas prices, market

April 2, 2013; Nancy Remsen; Burlington Free Press

MONTPELIER— Gasoline prices in the Burlington area ranged from $3.57 cents per gallon of regular to $3.79 on Tuesday — with an average price of $3.65 which was below the statewide average of $3.70 and close to the national average of $3.63.

More typically the fuel prices in Chittenden County have been higher than other parts of the state over the past year, which is why Rep. Christopher Pearson, P-Burlington, urged the House Transportation Committee to consider his bill calling for the collection of data on fuel pricing, mergers and market share.

The committee held hearings in January on gasoline price differences.

“There are a lot of theories about why our gas prices seem to be inflated,” Pearson told the panel. “This is trying to peel back the layers of this mystery of why we pay more.”

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Vermont House considers marijuana decriminalization bill

March 29, 2013; Terri Hallenbeck; Burlington Free Press

Vermont would hardly be in the forefront if it decriminalizes marijuana, Rep. Chris Pearson, P-Burlington, lead sponsor of the bill, told the committee. He pointed out that Maine has had such a law since 1976 and New York since 1977.

Pearson said that means those caught with a small amount of marijuana won’t face a lifelong criminal record that could hurt their chances at college loans, jobs and housing.

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