Families in over 90 Vermont towns enjoy full school choice today. They can send their children to places like St. Johnsbury Academy or Burr & Burton…. South Burlington High School or Stowe…. Any public or approved, non-religious independent school, in state or out, that best fits the needs of their child.

And these families are enjoying such great educational opportunities – more choices, better outcomes, even higher home values – for LESS COST TO THE VERMONT TAXPAYER on average than students in non choice districts.

Isn’t it time to give all Vermont kids the same opportunity to attend the school that’s right for them? Especially if we can give Vermont property taxpayers a break at the same time?

CLICK HERE TO TAKE THE SURVEY

Comments will be made available to legislators.
Respondents will remain anonymous,
so please take a moment to leave a comment!

Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 7.58.11 AM

LEARN MORE!

EAI REPORT: School Choice in Vermont: A 150-Year-Old History That Leads to a Brighter Future

EAI REPORT: Better Value, Fewer Taxpayer Dollars: Rebalancing Education Cost and Value 

VIDEO: Vermont Parents tell their stories about how school choice has changed their children’s lives. 

COMMENTARY: Will More Towns Follow North Bennington’s Move to Independent School System? 

INDEPENDENT STUDY: School Vouchers and Home Prices — JHR Accepted Version

 

Bring the Case for School Choice to Your Community

 

Screen Shot 2015-02-13 at 11.32.34 AMCLICK to Watch Presentation

EAI president, Rob Roper, is taking this presentation on why Vermont should adopt a statewide school choice policy around Vermont. In a nutshell, school choice has the power to lower education costs (and therefore lower property taxes), improve student outcomes, and increase equity in the Vermont education system.

This video was taken in Vergennes on February 11, 2015. If you would like to schedule a presentation for your community, please contact Rob Roper at rob@ethanallen.org. For those who can’t make it to a live showing, please watch the video, and share it with your friends and neighbors!

Scheduled Presentation Dates:

February 19. At the Steak House in Barre. 5:30pm

March 10. Isley Library, Middebury. 7pm

March 13. At the American Legion Hall in Bristol.

March 26. Damon Hall in Hartland, 6:30-9:00 pm

April 7. Elmore Town Hall, 6:30 pm

April 14. Castleton College, 7:00 pm.

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Roll Call Graphic
.
.
FAILED
in the State House of Representatives
on March 26, 2015, by a vote of
16-124
.
Purpose: To implement an additional $2.00 per night occupancy tax on top of the existing 9% rooms & meals tax.
 .
Analysis: Those voting YES on the Davis Amendment wanted to raise an additional $10 million on top of the $33.2 million raised in the underlying bill.
.
Those voting NO opposed the tax increase due to the potential negative impact on small businesses and tourism.
.
As Recorded in the House Journal, Thursday, March 26, 2015: “Shall the bill be amended as recommended by Rep. Davis of Washington and others? was decided in the negative. Yeas, 16. Nays, 124.” (Read the Journal, p.649-651.)

How They Voted

(Click on your Rep’s name to send an email)

Janet Ancel (D-Calis) – NO

Bob Bancroft (R-Westford) – NO

John Bartholomew (D-Hartland) – NO

Fred Baser (R-Bristol) – NO

Lynn Batchelor (R-Derby Line) – NO

Scott Beck (R-St. Johnsbury) – NO

Steven Berry (D-Manchester Center) – NO

Stephen Beyor (R-Highgate Springs) – NO

Clement Bissonnette (D-Winooski) – NO

William Botzow (D-Bennington) – NO

Carolyn Branagan (R-Georgia) – NO

Patrick Brennan (R-Colchster) – NO

Timothy Briglin (D-Thetford) – NO

Cynthia Browning (D-Arlington) – NO

Thomas Burditt (R-West Rutland) – NO

Mollie Burke (P/D-Brattleboro) – YES

Sarah Buxton (D-Tunbridge) – NO

William Canfield (R/D-Fair Haven) – NO

Stephen Carr (D-Brandon) – NO

Robin Chestnut-Tangerman (P-Middletown Springs) – YES

Kevin Christie (D-White River Jct.) – NO

Alison Clarkson (D-Woodstock) – NO

Joanna Cole (D-Burlington) – NO

James Condon (D-Colchester) – NO

Daniel Connor (D-Fairfield) – NO

Charles Conquest (D-Wells River) – NO

Sarah Copeland-Hanzas (D-Bradford) – NO

Timothy Corcoran (D-Bennington) – NO

Lawrence Cupoli (R-Rutland) – NO

Leigh Dakin (D-Chester) – NO

Maureen Dakin (D-Colchester) – NO

Paul Dame (R-Essex Junction) – NO

Susan Davis (P/D-Washington) – YES

David Deen (D-Putney) – NO

Dennis Devereux (R-Belmont) – NO

Eileen “Lynn” Dickinson (R-St. Albans) – NO

Anne Donahue (R-Northfield) – NO

Johannah Donovan (D-Burlington) – ABSENT

Alyson Eastman (I-Orwell) – NO

Rebecca Ellis (D-Waterbury) – NO

Alice Emmons (D/W-Springfield) – NO

Debbie Evans (D-Essex) – ABSENT

Peter Fagan (R-Rutland) – NO

Martha Feltus (R-Lyndonville) – NO

Rachael Fields (D-Bennington) –  YES

Larry Fiske (R-Enosburg Falls) – NO

Robert Forguites (D-Springfield) – NO

William Frank (D-Underhill) – NO

Patsy French (D-Randolph) – NO

Douglas Gage (R-Rutland) – NO

Marianna Gamache (R-Swanton) – NO

Diana Gonzalez (P/D-Winooski) – YES

Maxine Grad (D-Moretown) – NO

Rodney Graham (R-Williamstown) – NO

Adam Greshin (I-Warren) – NO

Sandy Haas (P/D-Rochester) – NO

Helen Head (D-So. Burlington) – NO

Michael Hebert (R-Vernon) – ABSENT

Robert Helm (R/D-Fair Haven) – NO

Mark Higley (R-Lowell) – NO

Mary Hooper (D-Montpelier) – NO

Ronald Hubert (R-Milton) – NO

Mark Huntley (D-Cavendish) – NO

Timothy Jerman (D-Essex) – NO

Willem Jewett (D-Ripton) – NO

Mitzi Johnson (D-S. Hero) – NO

Bernard Juskiewicz (R-Camdridge) – NO

Kathleen Keenan (D-St. Albans) – ABSENT

Warren Kitzmiller (D-Montpelier) – NO

Anthony Klein (D-Montpelier) – NO

Patricia Komline (R-Dorset) – NO

Robert Krebs (D-S. Hero) – NO

Jill Krowinski (D-Burlington) – NO

Rob LaClair (R-Barre Town) – NO

 

Martin LaLonde (D-South Burlington) – NO

Diane Lanpher (D-Vergennes) – NO

Richard Lawrence (R-Lyndon) – NO

Paul Lefebvre (R-Island Pond) – NO

Joan Lenes (D-Shelburne) – NO

Patti Lewis (R-Berlin) – NO

William Lippert (D-Hinesburg) – NO

Emily Long (D-Newfane) – NO

Gabrielle Lucke (D-White River Junction) – NO

Terence Macaig (D-Williston) – NO

Ann Manwaring (D-Wilmington) – NO

Michael Marcotte (R/D-Newport) – NO

Marcia Martel (R-Waterford) – NO

Linda Martin (D-Wolcott) – NO

James Masland (D-Thetford) – NO

Curtis McCormack (D/W-Burlington) – NO

Patricia McCoy (R-Poultney) – ABSENT

James McCullough (D-Williston) – YES

Francis McFaun (R/D-Barre) – NO

Alice Miller (D-Shaftsbury) – NO

Kiah Morris (D-Bennington) –  NO

Mary Morrissey (R-Bennington) – NO

Michael Mrowicki (D-Putney) – NO

Barbara Murphy (I-Fairfax) – NO

Linda Myers (R-Essex) – NO

Betty Nuovo (D-Middlebury) – NO

Anne O’Brien (D-Richmond) – ABSENT

Jean O’Sullivan (D-Burlington) – YES

Oliver Olsen (I-Jamaica) – NO

Corey Parent (R-St. Albans) – NO

Carolyn Partridge (D-Windham) –  NO

Avram Patt (D-Worcestor) – NO

Albert “Chuck” Pearce (R/D-Richford) – NO

Christopher Pearson (P-Burlington) – YES

Paul Poirier (I-Barre) – YES

David Potter (D-Clarendon) – NO

Ann Pugh (D-S. Burlington) – ABSENT

Joey Purvis (R-Colchester) – NO

Constance Quimby (R/D-Concord) – NO

Barbara Rachelson (D-Burlington) – YES

Kesha Ram (D-Burlington) – ABSENT

Herbert Russell (D-Rutland) –  NO

Marjorie Ryerson (D-Randolph) –  NO

Brian Savage (R-Swanton) – NO

Heidi Scheuermann (R-Stowe) – NO

David Sharpe (D-Bristol) –  NO

Charles Shaw (R/D-Pitsford) – NO

Loren Shaw (R/D-Derby) – ABSENT

Amy Sheldon (D-Middlebury) –  NO

Laura Sibilia (I-West Dover) –  NO

Harvey Smith (R-New Haven) –  NO

Shapleigh Smith (D-Morristown) – PRESIDING

Thomas Stevens (D-Waterbury) – NO

Vicki Strong (R-Albany) – NO

Valerie Stuart (D-Brattleboro) – NO

Mary Sullivan (D-Burlington) – YES

Donna Sweaney (D-Windsor) –  NO

Job Tate (R-Mendon) – NO

Thomas Terenzini (R/D-Rutland) -

George Till (D-Jericho) – YES

Tristan Toleno (D-Brattleboro) – YES

Catherine Toll (D-Danville) – NO

Maida Townsend (D-S. Burlington) – NO

Matthew Trieber (D-Bellows Falls) –  NO

Chip Troiano (D-Hardwick) –  NO

Donald Turner (R-Milton) – NO

Warren Van Wyck (R-Ferrisburgh) – NO

Gary Viens (R-Newport) – NO

Tommy Walz (D-Barre City) – YES

Kathryn Webb (D-Shelburne) – NO

Janssen Willhoit (R-St. Johnsbury) – NO

Mark Woodward (D-Johnson) – YES

Kurt Wright (R-Burlington) – NO

Michael Yantachka (D-Charlotte) – YES

Samuel Young (D-Glover) – NO

Teo Zagar (D-Barnard) –  NO

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Roll Call Graphic .
.
PASSED
in the State House of Representatives
on March 27, 2015, by a vote of
76-67
.
Purpose: This bill is the principle revenue raising vehicle to fund the FY2016 budget.
.
Analysis: Those voting YES on this bill approved a tax increase on Vermonters of $33.2 million, raised primarily from capping itemized deductions on the state income tax at $15,000 for individuals and $31,000 for couples, and disallowing deductions for state and local taxes from the previous year.
.
Some of those voting NO argue that Vermont has “a spending problem, not a revenue problem,” and that taxes are already too high in Vermont. Others voting NO believed H.489 did not raise enough revenue. (See H.489, O’Sullivan Amendment Roll Call to cross reference.)
.
The Vermont non-profit community objected strongly to the cap on tax deductions for charitable giving, stating, “experience in other states show that this will cost Vermont nonprofits millions in charitable giving,” citing research from Michigan showing steep declines in donations to food banks, homeless shelters and community foundations after passing similar legislation in 2011. (Commongoodvt.org)
.
As Recorded in the House Journal, Thursday, March 26, 2015: “Shall the bill be read a third time? was decided in the affirmative. Yeas, 76. Nays, 67.” (Read the Journal, p.648 – 655.)
 .

How They Voted

(Click on your Rep’s name to send an email)

Janet Ancel (D-Calis) – YES

Bob Bancroft (R-Westford) – NO

John Bartholomew (D-Hartland) – NO

Fred Baser (R-Bristol) – NO

Lynn Batchelor (R-Derby Line) – NO

Scott Beck (R-St. Johnsbury) – NO

Steven Berry (D-Manchester Center) – NO

Stephen Beyor (R-Highgate Springs) – NO

Clement Bissonnette (D-Winooski) – YES

William Botzow (D-Bennington) – YES

Carolyn Branagan (R-Georgia) – YES

Patrick Brennan (R-Colchster) – NO

Timothy Briglin (D-Thetford) – YES

Cynthia Browning (D-Arlington) – NO

Thomas Burditt (R-West Rutland) – NO

Mollie Burke (P/D-Brattleboro) – NO

Sarah Buxton (D-Tunbridge) – YES

William Canfield (R/D-Fair Haven) – NO

Stephen Carr (D-Brandon) – YES

Robin Chestnut-Tangerman (P-Middletown Springs) – NO

Kevin Christie (D-White River Jct.) – YES

Alison Clarkson (D-Woodstock) – YES

Joanna Cole (D-Burlington) – NO

James Condon (D-Colchester) – YES

Daniel Connor (D-Fairfield) – YES

Charles Conquest (D-Wells River) – YES

Sarah Copeland-Hanzas (D-Bradford) – YES

Timothy Corcoran (D-Bennington) – YES

Lawrence Cupoli (R-Rutland) – NO

Leigh Dakin (D-Chester) – YES

Maureen Dakin (D-Colchester) – YES

Paul Dame (R-Essex Junction) – NO

Susan Davis (P/D-Washington) – NO

David Deen (D-Putney) – YES

Dennis Devereux (R-Belmont) – NO

Eileen “Lynn” Dickinson (R-St. Albans) – NO

Anne Donahue (R-Northfield) – NO

Johannah Donovan (D-Burlington) – ABSENT

Alyson Eastman (I-Orwell) – NO

Rebecca Ellis (D-Waterbury) – YES

Alice Emmons (D/W-Springfield) – YES

Debbie Evans (D-Essex) – ABSENT

Peter Fagan (R-Rutland) – YES

Martha Feltus (R-Lyndonville) – YES

Rachael Fields (D-Bennington) –  YES

Larry Fiske (R-Enosburg Falls) – NO

Robert Forguites (D-Springfield) – YES

William Frank (D-Underhill) – YES

Patsy French (D-Randolph) – YES

Douglas Gage (R-Rutland) – NO

Marianna Gamache (R-Swanton) – NO

Diana Gonzalez (P/D-Winooski) – NO

Maxine Grad (D-Moretown) – YES

Rodney Graham (R-Williamstown) – NO

Adam Greshin (I-Warren) – NO

Sandy Haas (P/D-Rochester) – NO

Helen Head (D-So. Burlington) – YES

Michael Hebert (R-Vernon) – ABSENT

Robert Helm (R/D-Fair Haven) – NO

Mark Higley (R-Lowell) – NO

Mary Hooper (D-Montpelier) – YES

Ronald Hubert (R-Milton) – NO

Mark Huntley (D-Cavendish) – YES

Timothy Jerman (D-Essex) – YES

Willem Jewett (D-Ripton) – YES

Mitzi Johnson (D-S. Hero) – YES

Bernard Juskiewicz (R-Camdridge) – NO

Kathleen Keenan (D-St. Albans) – YES

Warren Kitzmiller (D-Montpelier) – YES

Anthony Klein (D-Montpelier) – YES

Patricia Komline (R-Dorset) – NO

Robert Krebs (D-S. Hero) – YES

Jill Krowinski (D-Burlington) – YES

Rob LaClair (R-Barre Town) – NO

 

Martin LaLonde (D-South Burlington) – YES

Diane Lanpher (D-Vergennes) – YES

Richard Lawrence (R-Lyndon) – NO

Paul Lefebvre (R-Island Pond) – NO

Joan Lenes (D-Shelburne) – YES

Patti Lewis (R-Berlin) – NO

William Lippert (D-Hinesburg) – YES

Emily Long (D-Newfane) – YES

Gabrielle Lucke (D-White River Junction) – YES

Terence Macaig (D-Williston) – YES

Ann Manwaring (D-Wilmington) – YES

Michael Marcotte (R/D-Newport) – NO

Marcia Martel (R-Waterford) – NO

Linda Martin (D-Wolcott) – NO

James Masland (D-Thetford) – YES

Curtis McCormack (D/W-Burlington) – YES

Patricia McCoy (R-Poultney) – ABSENT

James McCullough (D-Williston) – NO

Francis McFaun (R/D-Barre) – NO

Alice Miller (D-Shaftsbury) – YES

Kiah Morris (D-Bennington) –  YES

Mary Morrissey (R-Bennington) – NO

Michael Mrowicki (D-Putney) – YES

Barbara Murphy (I-Fairfax) – YES

Linda Myers (R-Essex) – NO

Betty Nuovo (D-Middlebury) –  YES

Anne O’Brien (D-Richmond) – YES

Jean O’Sullivan (D-Burlington) – NO

Oliver Olsen (I-Jamaica) – YES

Corey Parent (R-St. Albans) – NO

Carolyn Partridge (D-Windham) – YES

Avram Patt (D-Worcestor) – YES

Albert “Chuck” Pearce (R/D-Richford) – NO

Christopher Pearson (P-Burlington) – NO

Paul Poirier (I-Barre) – NO

David Potter (D-Clarendon) – YES

Ann Pugh (D-S. Burlington) –  YES

Joey Purvis (R-Colchester) – NO

Constance Quimby (R/D-Concord) – NO

Barbara Rachelson (D-Burlington) – YES

Kesha Ram (D-Burlington) – ABSENT

Herbert Russell (D-Rutland) –  YES

Marjorie Ryerson (D-Randolph) –  YES

Brian Savage (R-Swanton) – NO

Heidi Scheuermann (R-Stowe) – NO

David Sharpe (D-Bristol) –  YES

Charles Shaw (R/D-Pitsford) – NO

Loren Shaw (R/D-Derby) – ABSENT

Amy Sheldon (D-Middlebury) –  YES

Laura Sibilia (I-West Dover) –  YES

Harvey Smith (R-New Haven) –  YES

Shapleigh Smith (D-Morristown) – PRESIDING

Thomas Stevens (D-Waterbury) – YES

Vicki Strong (R-Albany) – NO

Valerie Stuart (D-Brattleboro) –  YES

Mary Sullivan (D-Burlington) – NO

Donna Sweaney (D-Windsor) –  YES

Job Tate (R-Mendon) – NO

Thomas Terenzini (R/D-Rutland) – NO

George Till (D-Jericho) –  YES

Tristan Toleno (D-Brattleboro) – NO

Catherine Toll (D-Danville) –  YES

Maida Townsend (D-S. Burlington) – YES

Matthew Trieber (D-Bellows Falls) –  YES

Chip Troiano (D-Hardwick) –  YES

Donald Turner (R-Milton) – NO

Warren Van Wyck (R-Ferrisburgh) – NO

Gary Viens (R-Newport) – NO

Tommy Walz (D-Barre City) – NO

Kathryn Webb (D-Shelburne) -

Janssen Willhoit (R-St. Johnsbury) – NO

Mark Woodward (D-Johnson) – NO

Kurt Wright (R-Burlington) – NO

Michael Yantachka (D-Charlotte) – YES

Samuel Young (D-Glover) – YES

Teo Zagar (D-Barnard) – YES

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Roll Call Graphic
 .
H.489 – AN ACT RELATING TO REVENUE, O’SULLIVAN AMENDMENT
 .
FAILED
in the State House of Representatives
on March 26, 2015, by a vote of
43-98
.
Purpose: To increase income taxes, raising $12 million more than the $33.2 million increase in the underlying bill.
.
Analysis: Those voting YES on this amendment supported: “Beginning in tax year 2015 and after, the rates assigned to the individual income tax brackets under 32 V.S.A. § 5822(a), from lowest to highest, shall be 3.55 percent, 6.8percent,7.8 percent,9.5percent,and 9.55percent.”
.
Those voting NO opposed this.
.
As Recorded in the House Journal, March 26, 2015: “Shall the bill be amended as recommended by Rep. O’Sullivan of Burlington and others? was decided in the negative. Yeas, 43. Nays, 98.” (Read the Journal, p. 651-653.)
.

How They Voted

(Click on your Rep’s name to send an email)

Janet Ancel (D-Calis) – NO

Bob Bancroft (R-Westford) – NO

John Bartholomew (D-Hartland) – YES

Fred Baser (R-Bristol) – NO

Lynn Batchelor (R-Derby Line) – NO

Scott Beck (R-St. Johnsbury) – NO

Steven Berry (D-Manchester Center) – YES

Stephen Beyor (R-Highgate Springs) – NO

Clement Bissonnette (D-Winooski) – NO

William Botzow (D-Bennington) – NO

Carolyn Branagan (R-Georgia) – NO

Patrick Brennan (R-Colchster) – NO

Timothy Briglin (D-Thetford) – NO

Cynthia Browning (D-Arlington) – NO

Thomas Burditt (R-West Rutland) – NO

Mollie Burke (P/D-Brattleboro) – YES

Sarah Buxton (D-Tunbridge) – NO

William Canfield (R/D-Fair Haven) – NO

Stephen Carr (D-Brandon) – YES

Robin Chestnut-Tangerman (P-Middletown Springs) – YES

Kevin Christie (D-White River Jct.) – YES

Alison Clarkson (D-Woodstock) – NO

Joanna Cole (D-Burlington) – YES

James Condon (D-Colchester) – NO

Daniel Connor (D-Fairfield) – NO

Charles Conquest (D-Wells River) – NO

Sarah Copeland-Hanzas (D-Bradford) – NO

Timothy Corcoran (D-Bennington) – NO

Lawrence Cupoli (R-Rutland) – NO

Leigh Dakin (D-Chester) – YES

Maureen Dakin (D-Colchester) – NO

Paul Dame (R-Essex Junction) – NO

Susan Davis (P/D-Washington) – YES

David Deen (D-Putney) – NO

Dennis Devereux (R-Belmont) – NO

Eileen “Lynn” Dickinson (R-St. Albans) – NO

Anne Donahue (R-Northfield) – NO

Johannah Donovan (D-Burlington) – ABSENT

Alyson Eastman (I-Orwell) – NO

Rebecca Ellis (D-Waterbury) – NO

Alice Emmons (D/W-Springfield) – NO

Debbie Evans (D-Essex) – ABSENT

Peter Fagan (R-Rutland) – NO

Martha Feltus (R-Lyndonville) – NO

Rachael Fields (D-Bennington) – YES

Larry Fiske (R-Enosburg Falls) – NO

Robert Forguites (D-Springfield) – NO

William Frank (D-Underhill) – NO

Patsy French (D-Randolph) – YES

Douglas Gage (R-Rutland) – NO

Marianna Gamache (R-Swanton) – NO

Diana Gonzalez (P/D-Winooski) – YES

Maxine Grad (D-Moretown) – NO

Rodney Graham (R-Williamstown) – NO

Adam Greshin (I-Warren) – NO

Sandy Haas (P/D-Rochester) – YES

Helen Head (D-So. Burlington) – NO

Michael Hebert (R-Vernon) – ABSENT

Robert Helm (R/D-Fair Haven) – NO

Mark Higley (R-Lowell) – NO

Mary Hooper (D-Montpelier) – YES

Ronald Hubert (R-Milton) – NO

Mark Huntley (D-Cavendish) – NO

Timothy Jerman (D-Essex) – NO

Willem Jewett (D-Ripton) – NO

Mitzi Johnson (D-S. Hero) – NO

Bernard Juskiewicz (R-Camdridge) – NO

Kathleen Keenan (D-St. Albans) – NO

Warren Kitzmiller (D-Montpelier) – YES

Anthony Klein (D-Montpelier) – NO

Patricia Komline (R-Dorset) – NO

Robert Krebs (D-S. Hero) – YES

Jill Krowinski (D-Burlington) – NO

Rob LaClair (R-Barre Town) – NO

 

Martin LaLonde (D-South Burlington) – NO

Diane Lanpher (D-Vergennes) – NO

Richard Lawrence (R-Lyndon) – NO

Paul Lefebvre (R-Island Pond) – YES

Joan Lenes (D-Shelburne) – NO

Patti Lewis (R-Berlin) – NO

William Lippert (D-Hinesburg) – NO

Emily Long (D-Newfane) – NO

Gabrielle Lucke (D-White River Junction) – YES

Terence Macaig (D-Williston) – YES

Ann Manwaring (D-Wilmington) – NO

Michael Marcotte (R/D-Newport) – NO

Marcia Martel (R-Waterford) – YES

Linda Martin (D-Wolcott) – YES

James Masland (D-Thetford) – NO

Curtis McCormack (D/W-Burlington) – YES

Patricia McCoy (R-Poultney) – ABSENT

James McCullough (D-Williston) – YES

Francis McFaun (R/D-Barre) – YES

Alice Miller (D-Shaftsbury) – YES

Kiah Morris (D-Bennington) – YES

Mary Morrissey (R-Bennington) – NO

Michael Mrowicki (D-Putney) – NO

Barbara Murphy (I-Fairfax) – NO

Linda Myers (R-Essex) – NO

Betty Nuovo (D-Middlebury) – YES

Anne O’Brien (D-Richmond) – ABSENT

Jean O’Sullivan (D-Burlington) – YES

Oliver Olsen (I-Jamaica) – NO

Corey Parent (R-St. Albans) – NO

Carolyn Partridge (D-Windham) –  NO

Avram Patt (D-Worcestor) – YES

Albert “Chuck” Pearce (R/D-Richford) – NO

Christopher Pearson (P-Burlington) – YES

Paul Poirier (I-Barre) – YES

David Potter (D-Clarendon) – NO

Ann Pugh (D-S. Burlington) –  NO

Joey Purvis (R-Colchester) – NO

Constance Quimby (R/D-Concord) – NO

Barbara Rachelson (D-Burlington) – YES

Kesha Ram (D-Burlington) – ABSENT

Herbert Russell (D-Rutland) –  NO

Marjorie Ryerson (D-Randolph) – YES

Brian Savage (R-Swanton) – NO

Heidi Scheuermann (R-Stowe) – NO

David Sharpe (D-Bristol) –  NO

Charles Shaw (R/D-Pitsford) – NO

Loren Shaw (R/D-Derby) – ABSENT

Amy Sheldon (D-Middlebury) – YES

Laura Sibilia (I-West Dover) –  NO

Harvey Smith (R-New Haven) – ABSENT

Shapleigh Smith (D-Morristown) – PRESIDING

Thomas Stevens (D-Waterbury) – YES

Vicki Strong (R-Albany) – NO

Valerie Stuart (D-Brattleboro) – NO

Mary Sullivan (D-Burlington) – YES

Donna Sweaney (D-Windsor) –  NO

Job Tate (R-Mendon) – NO

Thomas Terenzini (R/D-Rutland) – NO

George Till (D-Jericho) – YES

Tristan Toleno (D-Brattleboro) – YES

Catherine Toll (D-Danville) –  NO

Maida Townsend (D-S. Burlington) – NO

Matthew Trieber (D-Bellows Falls) –  NO

Chip Troiano (D-Hardwick) – YES

Donald Turner (R-Milton) – NO

Warren Van Wyck (R-Ferrisburgh) – NO

Gary Viens (R-Newport) – NO

Tommy Walz (D-Barre City) – YES

Kathryn Webb (D-Shelburne) – NO

Janssen Willhoit (R-St. Johnsbury) – NO

Mark Woodward (D-Johnson) – YES

Kurt Wright (R-Burlington) – NO

Michael Yantachka (D-Charlotte) – YES

Samuel Young (D-Glover) – NO

Teo Zagar (D-Barnard) – YES

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Roll Call Graphic
.

PASSED

in the State Senate on March 25, 2015 by a vote of
20-8 

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Purpose: From S.141: “The bill proposes to require personal service notification prior to sale of firearms relinquished pursuant to a relief from abuse order. The bill proposes to require the Court Administrator to report to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) established by the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993 when a person is: (A) subject to a hospitalization order or nonhospitalization order after a  determination by a court that the person is a danger to himself or herself or others; or (B) found not responsible for a crime by reason of insanity or incompetent to stand trial due to a mental illness and is committed to the Department of Mental Health after a determination by a court that the person is a danger to himself or herself or others.”
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Analysis: Those voting YES on the bill believe it will work to keep guns out of the hands of violent felons, thereby reducing violent crime.
.
Those voting NO believe the measures will not reduce crime or improve gun safety. They cite the fact that the legislation is redundant (federal legislation is already in place to police these situations), and unnecessary — a “solution in search of a problem” – as Vermont’s existing gun laws have earned Vermont the lowest violent crime rate per capita in the nation, according to the FBI.

Opponents of the bill echo the sentiments of Sen. Jon Rodgers (D-Essex/Orleans), quoted byVermont Public Radio, “He said the legislation in Vermont is part of a national gun-control movement that has targeted individual states. And he said incremental changes in this bill are designed to open up the door to more expansive legislation in the future.”

Senate Journal, Wednesday, March 25, 2015. “Thereupon, third reading of the bill was ordered on a roll call, Yeas 20, Nays 8.” (Read the Journal, p. 288-294)

Related Material: 
VIDEO: Sen. Joe Benning explains VT Gun Legislation and His Vote


How They Voted

(Click on Your Senator’s Name to Send an Email)

.

Timothy Ashe (D/P-Chittenden) – YES
Claire Ayer (D-Addison) – ABSENT
Becca Balint (D-Windham) – YES
Philip Baruth (D-Chittenden) – YES
Joseph Benning (R-Caledonia) -YES
Christopher Bray (D-Addison) -YES
John Campbell (D-Windsor) -YES
Brian Campion (D-Bennington) – YES
Brian Collamore (R-Rutland) – NO
Ann Cummings (D-Washington) -YES
Dustin Degree (R-Franklin) –  NO
William Doyle (R-Washington) – ABSENT
Margaret Flory (R-Rutland) – NO
M. Jane Kitchel (D-Caledonia) – YES
Virginia Lyons (D-Chittenden) – YES
Mark MacDonald (D-Orange) – YES
Richard Mazza (D-Chittenden-Grand Isle) – NO
Norman McAllister (R-Franklin) – NO
Richard McCormack (D-Windsor) – YES
Kevin Mullin (R-Rutland) – NO
Alice Nitka (D-Windsor District) – YES
Anthony Pollina (P/D/W-Washington) – YES
John Rodgers (D-Essex-Orleans) – NO
Richard Sears (D-Bennington) – YES
Michael Sirotkin (D-Chittenden) – YES
Diane Snelling (R-Chittenden) – YES
Robert Starr (D-Essex-Orleans) – NO
Richard Westman (R-Lamoille) – YES
Jeanette White (D-Windham) – YES
David Zuckerman (P-Chittenden) – YES
 .

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Posted by Rob Roper

The House will vote on a budget bill this week amidst much self-congratulations for “making the tough choices.” Throughout the process, there was tearing of garments and gnashing of teeth over the need to deal with a $113 million dollar budget gap while revenues failed consistently to meet projections.

We cannot let it be lost in the headlines and spin that if this budget passes, Vermont will be spending more money than ever, while taking more money from the taxpayers than ever – even before piling on the $35 million in new taxes that are included in this bill.

According to the Joint Fiscal Office analysis of H.490, total state funds for the budget will increase by 3.7%, general funds will increase by 4.8%, and total funds, including Vermont’s substantial federal subsidies, will increase by 1.3% from $5,472,000,000 to $5,544,000,000.

Meanwhile, athough overly-optimistic revenue projections are falling short, last year’s tax increases are ensuring that Vermonters are paying more than ever into the treasury. According to the latest report, income tax revenue is up almost 12% over last year to date. Corporate tax revenue is up almost 50% over last year. Sales and Use is up over 3%…. Overall, total revenues are up 3.87% over last year.

So, why in the world do we need to pony up $35 million in new taxes? Why can’t these people simply live within their – our – means?

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By John J. Metzler

UNITED NATIONS–Afghanistan’s long and tortuous road to peace and reconciliation still seems a near mirage as an entrenched terrorist insurgency seems to rebuff political and security gains made by the Kabul government and international military assistance.  Still the UN mission in the war torn South Asian country seems cautiously optimistic and offered a renewed hope for a still complex peace process.

Addressing the Security Council, Nicholas Haysom, the UN’s representative for the Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) stated that,  “significant developments” had brought renewed hope for the peace process including  the new National Unity Government and a dialogue between Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan.

While Taliban terrorists had suffered setbacks, other factions of the militants were willing to negotiate with the central government.

Ominously, Nicholas Haysom warned that the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) “had also established a foothold in the country” which while not yet significant,  had a “potential to offer an alternative flagpole to which otherwise isolated insurgent splinter groups could rally.”

Speaking before the Security Council, Russia’s deputy UN delegate Vladimir Safronkov reiterated that extremists would try to “rock the boat” of the new Afghan government as well as test the country’s security forces.  He warned about the widening activities of Islamic State (ISIL)  as well as Afghanistan’s  rising drug production which now equaled  fifteen percent of the beleaguered  country’s  gross domestic product.

Attacks on civilians by Taliban insurgents were responsible for most of the 10,000 civilians killed in 2014.

Afghanistan’s Ambassador,  Zahir Tanin, concurred by adding that the past year had seen “tremendous progress and change” with the country having completed its political and security transition.   There were elections which saw the first-ever transfer from one democratically elected government to another, and equally, the ending of the long running International Security and Assistance Force (ISAF) which has been replaced by a new NATO mission, Operation “Resolute Support”.

Since the multinational intervention in 2001 toppled the ruling Taliban Islamic fundamentalist regime, security in Afghanistan rested on American forces as well as ISAF.   In turn both the USA and ISAF have been training Afghan security forces and police to various levels of success as to be able to independently carry the country’s security burden.

The ISAF mission ended in 2014 with the Afghan national army assuming full responsibility for combat operations.

Today the new NATO mission “Resolute Support” deploys a multinational force of 13,000 of which the USA fields 6,800 troops, Germany 850, Italy 500 and the United Kingdom 470, among others.   Just one year ago, ISAF still maintained a 51,000 contingent which included 33,000 Americans.  Despite the ongoing insurgency, the mission has been considerably downsized.

To be sure, the situation has changed.  British Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant stated, “We must not lose sight of how far Afghanistan has come in the last year,”   in  light of the presidential election and the Kabul government’s responsibility for security.

What the Kabul government calls the Transformation Decade (2015-2024) nonetheless faces a peace process which the UN envoy called “fragile and vulnerable to external destabilization,” and a moribund economy as well.

India’s delegate, Asoke Mukerji, admitted candidly that “Afghanistan’s economic  transition must be supported by a private sector-led process.” Slovakia’s  UN Ambassador,  Frantisek Ruzicka, concurred citing his own country’s experience, “Foreign aid could only help overcome difficulties in the initial phase of the country’s transformation. Deep structural reform was both the most important and the most painful part of the process.”

Afghanistan still depends heavily on development aid with the USA and Japan being the top donors.

Resolving the complex security threat from the Pakistan-based Taliban remains paramount. Traditionally Pakistan has played a double-game in the region by supporting some Taliban terrorists while at the same time often being the victim of their attacks.   Much of this has to do with the complex tribal and ethnic quilt of peoples who traditionally lived on both sides of the current border.

Now the new “fighting season” in Afghanistan will test the mettle of the Afghan army and shall equally challenge the political will of countries, especially the USA, to keep a small but significant troop commitment as a security “insurance policy” to guard the past gains which were won through so much blood, sweat, sacrifice and treasure.

*************
John J. Metzler is a United Nations correspondent covering diplomatic and defense issues.  He is the author of Divided Dynamism The Diplomacy of Separated Nations: Germany, Korea, China (2014).

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by John McClaughry

Last Saturday I participated in a conference sponsored by Vermonters for Health Care Freedom and the Ethan Allen Institute, on mending the health care problem caused by Vermont’s foolish rush toward government health care.

There were eight doctors participating, plus the owner of a medical imaging center in Burlington. Here are some of the conclusions.

Independent primary care physicians charge far less than those billing through Federally Qualified Health Centers or hospitals. Two doctors who have run an independent practice in New Jersey for 20 years charge thirteen dollars for a routine office visit – compared to the $160 that a Federally Qualified Health Center bills Medicaid. The independent MRI imaging service will charge you $800 for the same image that Fletcher Allen charges $2,589 for, and Northwestern Medical Center charges $1,602 for.

What’s going on here? Clearly, lots of cross subsidies are being rolled into the bills submitted by hospitals and Federally Qualified Health Centers.

The political point is this: the high-cost facilities have a strong incentive to buy up or stamp out independent practices and services, because of their lower costs to patients. A lot of doctors are becoming employees of hospitals. That way they can unload the burden of haggling with third party payers,  but in doing so they are subjected to strong management pressure to generate revenue through more services and shorter  patient visits.

Bottom line: Vermont needs to protect and encourage independent medical practices and services – before they are driven out by their powerful competitors and their allies within government..

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by Matthew Strong

“Teachers would never go along with school choice” is what many opponents will say, “why would they support the option for children to leave public schools and endanger their jobs?” One of the biggest issues with the education reform debate is the lack of involvement from teachers. Union leaders speak loud and clear, but the actual interests of the teachers doing the hard work in the classroom; their voice is not being heard. With so much pressure from all sides, teachers are increasingly tired of being demonized and blamed, when in reality, state and federal mandates are tying their hands.

According to an annual survey, last completed in 2012 and reported in the Washington Post,

“ -Teacher satisfaction has declined 23 percentage points since 2008, from 62% to 39% very satisfied, including five percentage points since last year, to the lowest level in 25 years.

– Half (51%) of teachers report feeling under great stress several days a week, an increase of 15 percentage points over the 36% of teachers reporting that level in 1985.

More than seven in 10 educators identify addressing the individual needs of diverse learners (83% of principals; 78% of teachers) and engaging parents and the community in improving education for students (72% of principals; 73% of teachers) as challenging or very challenging for school leaders.” (emphasis added)

A former teacher, who I spoke to recently, was appalled when making the switch from teaching in private schools to a job in one of the top-10 public schools in Vermont. “If parents knew how little actual learning was taking place, they would be shocked,” the teacher said.

“The average was 3 hours per day of actual in-classroom time for the second grade class I was helping in. That was just time in the classroom, not even actual learning time. There was at least one test ‘assessment,’ every week, which ate into class time, and Fridays were usually early dismissals because of a lot of field trips. The kids and the teachers were busy with tons of programs and activities, but the actual education wasn’t happening,” the teacher said. This teacher is no longer working in the public school system.

“A lot of ‘reading assignments’ were giving the children a book with pictures and asking them to imagine what the story was that went along with the picture, it was ludicrous,” the teacher said.

The year previous, in the private school where this teacher was working, the second graders were reading at what the state would consider a fourth grade level, at a third of the cost per pupil. “And the foreign exchange students we had were even further ahead. They would have been multiple grades ahead except for the language barrier,” the teacher stated. This experience is indicative of a much larger reality, money being spent on programs and activities creating the look of “busy” without the achievement of actual education.

As this chart points out from an excellent piece in People’s Pundit Daily just a few days ago; programs, spending, and more employees are not helping students get better educations.

The U.S. spends more money on education than any other country, even though we are one of the few countries that actually cut spending in the past 5 years because of the continuing global downturn. But Vermont is surging in the race to be the biggest spender in the U.S. This means that Vermont is spending more money per pupil than almost all nations on the planet.

However, even though the U.S. spent the most, the “cognitive skills and educational attainment” in the U.S. is ranked 14th in the world and that is even up 3 spots from 2012. In 2012, the U.S. was 17th. Our neighbors on that list were Hungary (18th), and Slovakia (19th), let that sink in as you look at your tax bill. Poland had the 14th spot in 2012, now that we have their spot on the list, they have jumped up into 10th place, joining the 2014 cast of “overachieving” nations of South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Finland, U.K., Canada, Netherlands, and Ireland.

In 2015 the Vermont Agency of Education alone will costs Vermont tax payers $22,567,456 in personnel (a 7.8% increase over 2014) and $4,425,536 in operating expenses (a 21.1% increase). One of the easiest ways to reform education and decrease costs is to let local school boards, teachers, and parents decide the best priorities for their own schools, by allowing them to make choices without the increasing slew of state and federal mandates. The simple and sometimes subconscious competition of school choice provides the natural incentives for these cost cutting and educationally beneficial choices.

We are currently going in the wrong direction. Teachers need the freedom to teach, to not have the myriad of other job descriptions they are currently required to manage other than a “teacher”. In our rush to reinvent the wheel of education, we’ve lost the most important thing of all, teachers teaching, and students learning. I’ll bet your local teachers have a lot to say about their daily, weekly, and monthly tasks that get in the way of teaching. You should ask them if they would like the choice of input about what is important in helping the children in their own classroom learn, maybe we can get them involved in the conversation.

 

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By John McClaughry

These remarks were made on March 21, 2015, Holiday Inn, South Burlington at the “On the Mend” healthcare conference sponsored by Vermonters for Healthcare Freedom, the Ethan Allen Institute, NFIB and the Green Mountain Patriots. 


In my few minutes today I’d like to share with you some concise thoughts for mending health care in Vermont.

First, the overarching policy framework: For the past four years we have labored under an absurd and indeed destructive vision for Vermont health care. Gov. Shumlin and his political allies have constantly sung the praises of a government-managed, price-controlled, mandate-intense, taxpayer- financed monopoly health system that gives everybody their human right to “appropriate care at the appropriate time in the appropriate setting”, at least until the money runs out. That vision will assuredly result in long waiting lines, maddening bureaucracies, demoralized doctors and nurses, shabby facilities, obsolete technology, declining quality of care, and of course much higher taxes.

When Act 48’s Green Mountain Care vision foundered on its $2 billion dollar a year price tag, the adherents to that foolish idea came up with new variations on the same, tired theme, such as “all payer” and “public utility”. The Progs pushed a section into the current health care bill to create an insider task force to design a new state mandate on individuals, along with the penalties needed to enforce it, and of course a new taxpayer-financed uncompensated care pool to pay for care of those who refuse to obey the mandate, or can’t afford to pay its costs.

It’s overdue for Vermonters to say “out with all that”, and start advancing a new and completely different 21st Century vision: Vermont should adopt and promote a Consumer Driven Health Care model based on personal responsibility, not coercive mandates. Informed consumers would choose among a large array of innovative health care and health insurance options, and use pre-tax dollars to pay for them. A consumer driven government will oversee the suppliers, protect the consumers, and where necessary subsidize people and families of modest means.

Now, here are some specific ways to move away from the abyss of costly, coercive government health care.

  • Strongly reinforce the principle that the primary responsibility for maintaining wellness and paying for health services rests with the informed individual and family, not with the government.
  • Spend public dollars to educate citizens – and especially young people – in the consequences of healthy and unhealthy lifestyle choices.
  • Stimulate, support and recognize a wide range of citizen-led initiatives for maintaining health and managing chronic illness, such as Operation Access (North Carolina), health care cooperatives, free clinics, Remote Area Medical clinics, friendly societies, church-based clinics, lodge practice, health sharing ministries, and facilitated networks.
  • Promote expanded Health Savings Accounts, HRAs, and FSAs coupled with catastrophic major medical coverage. The more that first party payments replace third-party payments, the better.
  • Encourage direct pay to “focused factories”, personalized health practices, urgent care clinics in workplaces, malls, and pharmacies, and independent physician and surgery practices.
  • End the notorious practice of the state declaring more and more people eligible for free health care, then failing to pay the full costs of that care, thus forcing the providers to shift those costs onto private insurance premiums.
  • Offer the acute care Medicaid population a Healthy Indiana plan, where patients purchase care with their contributions to their own POWER accounts, supplemented with matching Medicaid dollars, with performance incentives and state-provided catastrophic coverage.
  • Start paying attention to the literature on the business organization and financial incentives underlying the health care system. We need to allow disruptive entrepreneurial change in hospital and associated enterprises, which do some things well but many things inefficiently, and are of necessity focused on extracting the maximum amount of revenues from third party payers. Give attention – including transitional support – to adaptive reuse of stranded cost facilities.

 

  • Repeal Certificate of Need review, a process that strengthens monopoly power at higher patient costs.
  • Repeal age-based community rating that forces young healthy people to cross subsidize premiums for their older, sicker, but richer grandparents.
  • Replace guaranteed issue with a state high risk pool to pay the exceptional costs of the one percent of the population that is uninsurable,
  • Reduce insurance coverage mandates especially for pregnancy, substance abuse, and ill-defined mental health conditions, especially those that consumers don’t want or will likely never use.
  • Allow premium discounts for healthy lifestyles. This is prohibited by HIPAA, but the state should do it and let Washington try to stop it.
  • Install an income tax based recovery requirement for persons who get medical care, are able to pay for it, but won’t.
  • Encourage use of modern technology, including remote health monitoring devices.
  • Enact medical malpractice reforms, such as a pre-trial medical review board, creating a patient negligence formulary, and imposing fines for bringing frivolous cases.
  • Devise a legal workaround to allow means-tested Obamacare premium credits to flow to consumers purchasing care or coverage in a competitive, dynamic health care marketplace.

When you’ve digested these seventeen points, let me know – I have more.

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3-20-15 – Who Has Common Sense Under the Dome?

March 20, 2015

22 legislators put forward Joint resolution (JRH 10) calling for a level funded state budget – no tax increases, no new programs, and no expanded eligibility for existing programs until the $96 to $130 million structural deficit the state has racked up is fixed. A refreshing bit of common sense! The resolution is short, so […]

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Latest News

3-25-15 – State Government is Raising and Spending More Money Than Ever

Posted by Rob Roper The House will vote on a budget bill this week amidst much self-congratulations for “making the tough choices.” Throughout the process, there was tearing of...

3-25-15 – Afghan Peace Process far from Assured

By John J. Metzler UNITED NATIONS–Afghanistan’s long and tortuous road to peace and reconciliation still seems a near mirage as an entrenched terrorist insurgency seems to rebuff political...

3-24-15 – Direct Pay Health Care

by John McClaughry Last Saturday I participated in a conference sponsored by Vermonters for Health Care Freedom and the Ethan Allen Institute, on mending the health care problem caused...

3-24-15 – School Choice – Letting Teachers Be Teachers Again

by Matthew Strong “Teachers would never go along with school choice” is what many opponents will say, “why would they support the option for children to leave public...

3-23-15 – John McClaughry’s Comments from “On the Mend” Confrerence

By John McClaughry These remarks were made on March 21, 2015, Holiday Inn, South Burlington at the “On the Mend” healthcare conference sponsored by Vermonters for Healthcare Freedom,...

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