T.J. Donovan

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State officials warn of potential scammers

BARRE — Attorney General T.J. Donovan and other state officials are urging Vermonters to be vigilant against scammers as the state and federal tax filing deadline nears. Donovan joined Vermont Tax Commissioner Kaj Samsom and others at a news conference at Capstone Community Action in Barre Monday to raise awareness of tax scams. The most common, Donovan said, is callers pretending to be from the Internal Revenue Service seeking back taxes owed to the federal government. Such scams increase as the annual tax filing deadline approaches, he said. “March Madness is over. The April reality check is upon us. Continue Reading →

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Scott signs immigration bill into law as Trump administration cracks down

MONTPELIER — Republican Gov. Phil Scott, flanked by Democratic Attorney General T.J. Donovan and Democratic lawmakers, signed into law Tuesday a bill aimed at curbing the impacts of executive orders signed by President Donald Trump in January. The signing comes just a day after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced at the daily White House briefing a crackdown by the Trump administration on jurisdictions that do not honor requests from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to detain people they may want to take custody of. Such jurisdictions have been commonly referred to as sanctuary cities or states, but there is no legal definition of a sanctuary jurisdiction. The bill signed into law Tuesday, S.79, grants Scott as governor the sole authority to enter into agreements with the federal government to deputize local, county or state law enforcement personnel to enforce federal immigration law. Scott said the law is necessary because the president’s executive orders indicate “a shift in federal policy in the areas of immigration and border security.”

“The executive orders indicate the federal government will seek agreements and engage with the states to perform immigration enforcement functions that are the responsibility of the federal government. Continue Reading →

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Donovan offers advice on immigration issues

MONTPELIER— Vermont Attorney General T. J. Donovan issued guidance to local municipalities Monday aimed at helping them address legal issues regarding immigration that have emerged since Republican President Donald Trump issued a series of executive orders dealing with immigration and border security earlier this year. The memo to Vermont cities and towns released by Donovan on Monday provides background information on existing state and federal laws and explains the consequences of violating them. A number of towns across the state will consider new immigration policies Tuesday at their Town Meeting Day gatherings. Adopting so-called sanctuary status, meaning local communities would flout federal immigration law, could have consequences, he said. One of the president’s January executive orders threatens to eliminate federal money for localities that violate federal immigration law. Continue Reading →

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Vermont officials push back on Trump orders with legislation

MONTPELIER — Vermont state officials flexed their muscles Thursday, unveiling proposed legislation to prevent law enforcement agencies in Vermont from cooperating with federal authorities on immigration enforcement in response to executive orders from Republican President Donald Trump. Gov. Phil Scott, a Republican, appeared at a news conference Thursday with Democratic Attorney General T.J. Donovan and a tri-partisan group of lawmakers from both the House and Senate in an extraordinary show of cooperation. They worked collaboratively to craft legislation they say will address the federal government’s “overreach” in a series of executive orders signed by the president. Scott has emerged as one of the highest-profile Republican governors to buck Trump’s efforts to boost immigration enforcement and enhance border security. “We can’t pick and choose what pieces of the Constitution we defend and that is why we are here today,” the governor said. Continue Reading →

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Watch: Capital Beat with AG Donovan and Jaye Pershing Johnson

Vermont Press Bureau chief Neal Goswami discusses President Donald Trump’s executive orders dealing with immigration and border security with Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan and Jaye Pershing Johnson, Gov. Phil Scott’s legal counsel. Capital Beat airs on Vermont PBS Plus Monday nights at 7:30 p.m.
Continue Reading →

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Delegation vows to fight refugee ban

MONTPELIER — Vermont’s congressional delegation is promising to stand up to a presidential executive order that will halt the arrival of Syrian refugees in Vermont and stop people from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the U.S. for at least 90 days. President Donald Trump signed an executive order Friday afternoon indefinitely barring Syrians from entering the country and suspends all immigrants from entering the country for 120 days. Meanwhile, citizens of seven countries — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen are forbidden to the enter the U.S. for 90 days. People from those countries, as well as students, tourists and even those with legal permanent status in the U.S., were stopped at airports beginning Friday and prevented from entering the country. Some were sent back overseas. Continue Reading →

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Vermont attorney general forms task force on immigration

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — The state’s Democratic attorney general announced Wednesday that he has formed a task force to advise his office on the scope of its authority on immigration matters amid uncertainty about the federal government’s plans for refugees. T.J. Donovan made the announcement at a Statehouse press conference as President Donald Trump is said to be reviewing proposals that would restrict the flow of refugees to the United States. It also comes as Vermont begins to welcome Syrian refugee families into the state. It’s unclear what the state could do, if anything, if Trump issues an executive order that would halt Syrian refugees from coming to Vermont, Donovan said. Continue Reading →

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Donovan takes AG race

BURLINGTON — Democrat T.J. Donovan cruised to victory Tuesday over Republican Deb Bucknam and will become the state’s next attorney general in January. Donovan, 42, was easily outpacing Bucknam with 62 of 276 voting districts reporting results to the Associated Press. Donovan had a lead of 63 percent to 33 percent and Bucknam conceded the race shortly after 9 p.m.

Donovan will replace Attorney General Bill Sorrell, who chose not to seek re-election after he was first appointed to the position by former Democratic Gov. Howard Dean 19 years ago. Donovan said the race “was about the issues and we did it the Vermont way.”

“Thank you, Deb Bucknam,” he said. He noted his narrow loss to Sorrell in a Democratic primary four years ago, but said he and his supporters continued “to fight to level the playing field for all Vermonters” since then. Continue Reading →

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Minter, Zuckerman see fundraising boost from Sanders plea

MONTPELIER — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Sue Minter continued to outpace Republican rival Phil Scott in fundraising during the critical period just ahead of Election Day, according to disclosure reports filed with the Secretary of State’s Office Friday. While the outcome of the gubernatorial election remains in question, one thing abundantly clear is that the candidates and their allies had plenty of money to ensure their messages were received by voters. Minter reported Friday that her campaign raised $446,312 in the 20-day reporting period between Oct. 13 and Nov. 1. Continue Reading →

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Sanders rallies for Minter, Democrats

MONTPELIER — Sen. Bernie Sanders brought his political revolution home to Vermont Friday night, rallying Vermont Democrats in support of the party’s statewide candidates and boosting the campaign of gubernatorial nominee Sue Minter who is locked in a tie race. Sanders, whose presidential campaign soared high enough to provide Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton with a serious challenge in the primary, played the roll of emcee, introducing each statewide candidate at the podium. He also shared an abridged version of the stump speech he bellowed out across the country during his presidential campaign. “Nationally, democracy is, in fact, being threatened by Citizen’s United and by billionaires all over this country who intend to do everything they can to buy elections. In Vermont, we are saying you are not going to buy this election. Continue Reading →

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