Helen Head

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Liquor-Lottery merger shelved

MONTPELIER — The House sidelined a bill Tuesday that would have created a working group to study a merger of the Department of Liquor Control and the state’s Lottery Commission. The Democrat-led House was set to debate and vote on legislation Tuesday to create a group to study the merger sought by Republican Gov. Phil Scott. The governor signed an executive order in January to merge the two entities, but the House passed a resolution last week that nullified it. House Speaker Mitzi Johnson, D-South Hero, said the House is also interested in a merger, but wants more details on what it would look like. The legislation up for debate Tuesday, H. 525, was a compromise, she said, that would have continued the conversation with potential action by the Legislature next year. Continue Reading →

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Watch: Capital Beat with Jason Gibbs and Rep. Helen Head

Rep. Helen Head, D-South Burlington, the chairwoman of the House General, Housing and Military Affairs Committee, and Jason Gibbs, chief of staff for Gov. Phil Scott, discuss a proposed merger of the Department of Liquor Control and the Lottery Commission. The House voted this week to reject an executive order signed by Scott that seeks such a merger. Continue Reading →

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Paid sick leave mandate heads to Gov. Shumlin’s desk

MONTPELIER — The House on Wednesday passed the Senate’s amended version of a paid sick leave bill a year after passing its own, sending it to Gov. Peter Shumlin’s desk to be signed into law — a dream that many on the left side of the political spectrum have waited years to achieve. The bill, H.187, had a relatively easy path to passage Wednesday after five separate amendments were withdrawn. All five amendments — including one from Rep. Alyson Eastman, an independent from Orwell, to include an exemption for small businesses — had already been rejected by the House General, Housing & Military Affairs Committee. Reps. Oliver Olsen, an independent from Londonderry, and Paul Dame, a Republican from Essex, also withdrew amendments, noting they were unlikely to pass. Continue Reading →

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House advances paid sick leave bill

MONTPELIER — A bill to provide workers with paid sick time cleared the House Wednesday after majority Democrats defeated several attempts by Republicans to delay action on the measure. After hours of debate, the chamber voted 76 to 66 in favor of providing earned sick time to most employees in Vermont. The bill would allow workers to earn a maximum of three days of paid time during the first two years of employment before increasing to five days. Those benefits would be available to workers after they put in 1,400 hours of work or after a year’s time with a company, whichever comes first. Under the legislation, workers would be able to take paid time off that they have accrued for sickness, to care for a sick person in their care or even to care for children when there is a snow day at school. Continue Reading →

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Paid sick leave bill languishes in committee

MONTPELIER — With two weeks to go before the Legislature’s crossover deadline, a House bill that would mandate paid sick leave for employers remains on the back burner without any immediate plan to consider it. Rep. Tristan Toleno, D-Brattleboro, introduced legislation that would require employers to allow workers to accrue paid sick time. It was touted by Toleno and advocates as a compromise compared to a Senate version that did not include some of the transition measures in the House bill. Toleno’s bill establishes a standard of paid leave workers can earn, but includes a 500-hour waiting period for employees before the benefit kicks in. That amounts to about three months of full-time work. Continue Reading →

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