Child care, disabled services and after-school activities top budget hearing

MONTPELIER — Advocates for child care, after-school activities and the disabled called for greater funding for their causes during a hearing Thursday night at the State House. Perhaps it was due to the regional public forums happening next week, but Thursday’s hearing before the House Appropriations Committee drew a modest turnout. But, those people who did show up offered passionate testimony on behalf of their issues. Currently, the committee is reviewing the proposed budget from the Shumlin Administration for FY 2017, which includes a 3.1-percent increase compared with the current fiscal year, taking into account mid-year adjustments. According to Gov. Peter Shumlin, the proposed budget increase matches projected revenues. Continue Reading →

Senate passes paid sick leave bill, again

Kevin Mullin discusses paid sick leave on Wednesday.

MONTPELIER — Senate lawmakers once again approved a bill requiring employers to grant their workers paid sick leave. Wednesday afternoon, the Senate approved H.187, which will require all employers to offer three days of paid sick leave a year, beginning in 2018. “Tens of thousands of working Vermonters who have long lacked such basic protections as paid sick days eagerly await the bill being signed by Governor Shumlin to move us another step forward toward a society that protects health and human rights for all,” said Isaac Grimm, lead organizer at Rights and Democracy. The bill has had a long road, passing the House during the last legislative session before stalling in the Senate. This session, Senate lawmakers took up the bill, culminating with its passage last week. Continue Reading →

Sanders nets an eye-popping $5.2 million since New Hampshire polls close

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., smiles before he speaks during a primary night watch party at Concord High School, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016, in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

MONTPELIER — Sen. Bernie Sanders raised an eye-popping $5.2 million in the 18 hours following the closing of polls in New Hampshire, his campaign announced Wednesday. Sanders 22-point victory over Democratic rival Hillary Clinton Tuesday in New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary has shifted Sanders’ small-donor fundraising operation into an even higher gear. The 18-hour haul reported Wednesday is 25 percent of what the Vermonter raised in January. He out-raised Clinton last month by about $6 million. The significant victory for Sanders Tuesday is expected to deliver momentum heading into the Nevada caucuses and the South Carolina primary later this month. Continue Reading →

Story & Video: Sanders wins big in New Hampshire, looks ahead to challenging states

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., center, and his wife Jane, left, wave to the crowd as they take the stage during a primary night watch party at Concord High School, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016, in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

CONCORD, N.H. — Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders got the big win he was seeking against the juggernaut campaign of Democratic presidential primary rival Hillary Clinton Tuesday in New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary. Unlike Iowa last week, there was little suspense. The major news networks called the race for Sanders right as all polls officially closed at 8 p.m. — causing the crowd gathered at Concord High School to hear Sanders’ victory speech to explode with cheers. After that it was just a question of how large Sanders’ margin of victory would be. With 93 percent of the vote counted, the Vermonter had a decisive 60 percent to 38 percent lead. Continue Reading →

State start-up costs for legal pot: $2.2 million

Finance Commissioner Andy Pallito outlines the state's start-up costs to regulate legal marijuana.

MONTPELIER — State officials estimate the state’s start-up cost for legal marijuana to be $2.2 million dollars, paid for by future receipts, or what one lawmaker referred to as “deficit spending.”

On Tuesday, the Senate Finance Committee took testimony on what would be needed for the state to implement legal cannabis, with a target legalization date of Jan. 1, 2018. At $920,000, the largest of the expenditures would be for the Vermont Department of Taxes, which would be charged with developing a system to collect excise taxes from distributors. Also included is $500,000 for the Department of Health to do educational outreach to teens, including specific efforts to reach out to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered teens. According to the Vermont Youth Risk Behavior Survey, these populations are more likely to use marijuana than their peers. Continue Reading →

VIDEO: Sanders visits voters, leads media on a walk

en. Bernie Sanders visited a polling location on Green Street in Concord, N.H., Tuesday afternoon and was greeted by boisterous supporters and a throng of media. Sanders existed his SUV and walked through the crowd before leading media on a walk around the block in the shadow of the New Hampshire Statehouse. Sanders told reporters it was nice to take a walk — something he hasn’t been able to do for some time. Continue Reading →

Sanders makes final push in New Hampshire

Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. speaks during a campaign stop at Daniel Webster Community College, Monday, Feb. 8, 2016, in Nashua, N.H. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

CONCORD, N.H. — Sen. Bernie Sanders spent his final day campaigning ahead of New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary Tuesday with rallies in the state’s most densely populated areas aimed at bolstering his core message — and no mentions of rival Hillary Clinton. The Vermont senator was looking to protect what polls have shown is a significant, double-digit lead over the former secretary of state, senator and first lady in the Granite State. Speaking to hundreds of supporters at Daniel Webster College Monday morning, Sanders said the political world is now focused on New Hampshire. “Tomorrow, the eyes of the country and a lot of the world, by the way, will be right here on New Hampshire,” he said. Everyone, Sanders said, will be looking to see “whether the people of New Hampshire are prepared to lead this country in a political revolution, whether the people of New Hampshire are prepared to stand up to the billionaire class.”

“Tomorrow, the eyes of the country and a lot of the world, by the way, will be right here on New Hampshire.”
— Sen. Bernie Sanders“That’s what tomorrow’s election is about and I’m here today to ask your support to join with us in making that political revolution,” he said. Continue Reading →

Sanders makes SNL debut

ermont Sen. Bernie Sanders made his debut on Saturday Night Live this weekend, appearing alongside Larry David, the creator of “Seinfeld” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” in one sketch. The actor has made waves portraying Sanders because of their likeness. Sanders’ campaign took advantage of David hosting the show to give Sanders a national platform in a different light than the campaign trail. You can watch Sanders’ appearance below:

David also resurrected his own Sanders imitation to portray the senator in an SNL digital short. You can watch that segment below:

Sanders briefly left the campaign trail in New Hampshire to appear on the show. Continue Reading →

Sanders sees slight gain after Iowa review, Clinton still wins

Iowa Democratic Party Chairwoman Dr. Andy McGuire (Courtesy photo)

MONTPELIER — An audit of the Iowa caucuses results has helped Sen. Bernie Sanders edge closer to Hillary Clinton, but she remains the victor, according to the Iowa Democratic Party. The party issued a statement Sunday saying it conducted a review over the past week “to ensure the accuracy of results.” Sanders’ campaign had raised questions about the accuracy of results in a handful of the 1,681 precincts. The party said it worked with the campaigns on the review. A total of 14 precincts were reviewed “on a case-by-case basis,” the party said, by reaching out to the precinct and county chairs “for a full accounting of the results.” Nine of the 14 precinct results were confirmed, but in five precincts reporting errors were found. After the review, the results showed Clinton won the caucuses by securing 49.84 percent of the state delegates. Continue Reading →