Maida Townsend

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House advances ethics commission

MONTPELIER — The House has approved creation of an ethics commission to oversee political entities in Vermont following a lengthy debate on the floor. The bill, S.8, was passed on a voice vote after about two hours of debate Monday. Some lawmakers raised concerns about having to disclose certain information, particularly the sources of income of spouses or domestic partners. Rep. Maida Townsend, D- South Burlington, chairwoman of the House Government Operations Committee, told her colleagues Vermont is among a small group of states that do not have a central ethics policy or an ethics commission. She said Hawaii became the first to enact such measures in 1968. Continue Reading →

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House OKs recount of Orange House race

MONTPELIER — The Vermont House approved a resolution Wednesday after hours of pointed debate that calls for a recount in the Orange-1 House district race between Robert Frenier and Susan Hatch Davis that was decided by seven votes. Frenier, a Republican who was seated as a House member last month, beat Hatch Davis, a five-term Progressive incumbent, by an eight-vote margin on Election Day. A recount sought by Hatch Davis narrowed Frenier’s victory to a seven-vote margin, but was certified by a judge. Hatch Davis remained unconvinced, however, and sought another recount, which was rejected by Orange County Superior Court Judge Mary Miles Teachout. Hatch Davis then contested the election with the House, which has the authority to “judge” the election and qualifications of its members under the Vermont Constitution. Continue Reading →

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