A headline in VT Digger declares “Vermont wages well behind cost of rent, national study details.” First question: did we really need a study to tell us that? When politicians run on the issue of “affordability” at the top of the list of unaffordable items is housing. When companies say they have a hard time recruiting workers to come to Vermont, the obstacle usually at the top of the list is a lack of affordable housing for the potential employee.Read more
The 2020 Census numbers for Vermont indicate that our little state grew by about 20,000 people over the past decade, or +2.8%. We also know that within Vermont our overall population has been migrating toward the northwest region of the state (Chittenden, Franklin and Lamoille Counties), and away from the south and east. Moreover, there is a legislative mandate to break up the six-member Chittenden senate district (currently Chittenden County minus Colchester and Huntington/Buels Gore). All of these factors point to a legislative district map in 2022 that could look very different from the ones Vermonters have used, not just since 2012, but for many decades past.Read more
Gov. Scott has vetoed a bill (S.107) that stretches from 19 to 20 the age at which arrests and court proceedings are made public. The issue raises the question of when juveniles should be given the rights, protections – and privileges and responsibilities - of adults.
The Washington Post reported last week that “nearly 40 Senate Democrats are pushing President Biden to overturn a Trump-era policy that helps some nonprofits that pour money into elections conceal their donors’ names.Read more
President Biden is under pressure from the Democratic Left to seize control of the Supreme Court, by packing it with additional liberal justices committed to upholding the Biden program. President Roosevelt tried that in 1937, and got hammered flat. It would destroy the independence of the Judiciary and fatally rupture the American system of a government of separated powers and constitutional fidelity.Read more
Vermont is on the cusp of having the least secure election system in the nation.
The bill that passed the Vermont senate 27-3 (S.15) is now under consideration in the house. It would make permanent the temporary, COVID-emergency provisions adopted for the 2020 general election, including the policy of mailing “live” ballots to all voters who are active on the voter checklist, regardless of whether or not the voter requests an absentee ballot.Read more
Bill Gardner, New Hampshire’s Democrat secretary of state has been in his office since 1976, so he has seen and overseen quite a few elections. He testified before congress in vehement opposition to H.R. 1, the proposed legislation that would, among other things, expand vote-by-mail in throughout the nation. Proponents nationally, and here in Vermont as we debate our own proposal to absentee ballots to all voters regardless of request, say this will increase turnout.Read more
By Matthew Strong
In this third and final installment of an investigative series into Vermont election security and the impacts of S.15, we look to Town Clerk feedback, and what simple measures could be included in S.15 to make it work, and another option to mass mailing ballots every election.Read more
A bill to register building contractors is just the first step toward eventual licensing even for local handymen, and enforced compliance with energy conservation building standards to defeat climate change, no matter what the cost.Read more
By Matthew Strong
Following Secretary of State Jim Condos’ appearance on the WVMT radio show, Morning Drive, where he was confronted by a caller claiming to be a Middlebury landlord who witnessed students “scooping up” and fraudulently submitting unclaimed or unwanted mailed ballots in the last election, we have been asking the Secretary’s office for specific details regarding security measures, or lack thereof, in Vermont’s proposed vote-by-mail bill, S.15. So far, Eric Covey, spokesperson for the office, has been adamant that there is no fraud in Vermont, but evasive regarding specific questions about specific vulnerabilities in the system.Read more