"Three years ago, Peter Shumlin, the governor of Vermont, signed a bill creating Green Mountain Care: a single-payer system in which, if all goes according to plan, the state will regulate doctors’ fees and cover Vermonters’ medical bills. Mr. Shumlin is a Democrat, and the bill’s passage is a credit to his party. Yet a small upstart spent years building support for reform and nudging the Democrats left: the Vermont Progressive Party. The Progressives owe much of their success to the oddities of Vermont politics. But their example offers hope that the most frustrating dimensions of our political culture can change, despite obstacles with deep roots in American history."
More than 200 people filled the floor of the House chamber for the joint hearing by the Senate Agriculture and Judiciary committees on H.112, a bill that mandates the labeling of foods containing genetically modified ingredients.
The House passed the bill in May, and the Senate Agriculture Committee took the bill up beginning first week of the legislative session this January.
Sen. David Zuckerman, P-Chittenden, vice-chair of the committee, said Friday that the panel approved the bill, 4-1, without a trigger clause that would delay implementation of GMO labeling until other states pass similar bills. H.112 now goes to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
MONTPELIER — It started with what seemed like a simple request: State Auditor of Accounts Doug Hoffer wanted an exemption from Vermont’s public records law so he could protect the identities of state employees who report waste, fraud or abuse in their agencies.
But as testimony unfolded recently before the House Government Operations Committee, the subject mushroomed into a broader discussion about the concern many state employees have about coming forward to report problems in government.
Former Rep. Steve Howard, now the chief lobbyist for the Vermont State Employees’ Association, said the union surveyed members last year and found that fear of retaliation for speaking out in state workplaces is widespread.
MONTPELIER — When the first campaign finance reports for the 2014 election are filed in July, the office of the Secretary of State hopes candidates will be able to submit their reports electronically if they want.
Electronic filing of contributions and spending on campaigns would be voluntary, but state officials want this component of the new election system to be ready for testing. The campaign finance application will eventually allow the public to conduct searches across candidate reports, for example, to better understand how money is being spent on elections...
...Robert Millar, executive director of the Vermont Progressive Party, agreed that a searchable database of campaign contributions would increase transparency, but he was disappointed that a new campaign finance law allows bigger contributions. “It will be increased transparency of increased spending.”