Vermont House of Representatives
|Vermont House of Representatives|
|2015 session start:||January 7, 2015|
|Website:||Official House Page|
|House Speaker:||Shap Smith (D)|
|Majority Leader:||Willem Jewett (D)|
|Minority leader:||Donald Turner, Jr. (R)|
Democratic Party (85)
Republican Party (53)Progressive Party (6)
|Length of term:||2 years|
|Authority:||Section 7 of the Legislative Department of the Vermont Constitution|
|Salary:||$604.79/week + per diem|
|Last Election:||November 4, 2014 (150 seats)|
|Next election:||November 8, 2016 (150 seats)|
|Redistricting:||Vermont legislature has control|
- 1 Sessions
- 2 Ethics and transparency
- 3 Elections
- 4 Redistricting
- 5 Representatives
- 6 Standing committees
- 7 History
- 8 External links
- 9 References
As of February 2015, Vermont is one of 7 Democratic state government trifectas.
The Vermont State Legislature, which the House is a part of, meets for biennial sessions starting on odd numbered years on the first Wednesday after the first Monday in January, pursuant to Section 7 of the Legislative Department of the Vermont Constitution. The opening date for even numbered years is established by the sitting legislature during the year prior.
- See also: Dates of 2015 state legislative sessions
In 2015, the Legislature will be in session from January 7 - mid-May .
Major issues for the 2015 legislative session are expected to include the budget, the clean-up of Lake Champlain, energy concerns, education reform to stem the growth of property taxes, and reforms to the state's child welfare system.
- See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions
In 2014, the Legislature was in session from January 7 through May 10.
Major issues during the 2014 legislative session included improving integration of environmental regulation with comprehensive planning, affordable health care, tourism funding, workforce training, a tax policy that does not increase taxes on businesses, and a labor policy to not increase costs to employers.
- See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions
In 2013, the Legislature was in session from January 9 through May 14.
Major issues in the 2013 legislative session included addressing a projected budget shortfall of $50-$70 million, physician assisted death, and marijuana decriminalization.
- See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions
In 2012, the House was in session from January 3 through May 5.
- See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions
In 2011, the House was in session from January 5 through mid May.
- See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions
Role in state budget
- See also: Vermont state budget and finances
- Budget instructions are sent to state agencies in September of the year preceding the start of the new fiscal year.
- Agencies submit their budget requests to the governor in October.
- Agency hearings are held from October through December.
- The governor submits his or her proposed budget to the state legislature in January.
- The legislature typically a budget in May. A simple majority is required to pass a budget. The fiscal year begins July 1.
In Vermont, the governor cannot exercise veto authority over the budget.
The governor is not legally required to submit, and the legislature is not legally required to pass, a balanced budget.
The Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative released a report in July 2013 which indicated that cost-benefit analysis in policymaking led to more effective uses of public funds. Looking at data from 2008 through 2011, the study's authors found that some states were more likely to use cost-benefit analysis while others were facing challenges and lagging behind the rest of the nation. Among the challenges states faced were a lack of time, money and technical skills needed to conduct comprehensive cost-benefit analyses. Vermont was one of 29 states with mixed results regarding the frequency and effectiveness in its use of cost-benefit analysis.
Ethics and transparency
Following the Money report
- See also: "Following the Money" report, 2014
The U.S. Public Interest Research Group, a consumer-focused nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., released its annual report on state transparency websites in April 2014. The report, entitled "Following the Money," measured how transparent and accountable state websites are with regard to state government spending. According to the report, Vermont received a grade of A- and a numerical score of 90, indicating that Vermont was "leading" in terms of transparency regarding state spending.
Open States Transparency
The Sunlight Foundation released an "Open Legislative Data Report Card" in March 2013. Vermont was given a grade of B in the report. The report card evaluated how adequate, complete and accessible legislative data is to the general public. A total of 10 states received an A -- Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Kansas, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Washington.
Elections for the office of Vermont House of Representatives took place in 2014. A primary election took place on August 26, 2014. The general election was held on November 4, 2014. The signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in this election was June 12, 2014.
The signature filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in the elections was June 14, 2012.
Elections for the office of Vermont House of Representatives were held in Vermont on November 2, 2010. The signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in these elections was July 19, 2010 and the primary Election Day was on September 14, 2010.
In 2010, the candidates for state house raised a total of $615,441 in campaign contributions. The top 10 donors were:
|2010 Donors, Vermont House of Representatives|
|Campaign Research Center||$8,050|
|Contributions by Candidate or Candidates Immediate Family||$7,334|
|Vermont House Republican PAC||$5,450|
|Contributions by Candidate or Candidates Immediate Family||$5,409|
|Vermont State Employees Association||$5,250|
|Obuchowski Tribute 90||$5,009|
|Vermont Association of Realtors||$4,900|
|Contributions by Candidate or Immediate Family||$4,862|
Elections for the office of Vermont House of Representatives consisted of a primary election on September 9, 2008, and a general election on November 4, 2008.
During the 2008 election, the total value of contributions to Senate candidates was $807,477. The top 10 contributors were:
|2008 Donors, Vermont House of Representatives|
|Vermont Republican Party||$29,013|
|Contributions By Candidate Or Immediate Family||$23,508|
|Vermonters For Economic Prosperity||$12,743|
|Vermont Republican Federal Elections Cmte||$8,625|
|Errecart, Joyce H||$7,714|
|Carris, Barbara T||$7,700|
|Vermont Association Of Realtors||$6,300|
|Rutland County Democratic Cmte||$6,150|
|Addison County Democratic Cmte||$5,781|
|Vermonters For Tax Fairness||$5,686|
Elections for the office of Vermont House of Representatives consisted of a primary election on September 12, 2006, and a general election on November 7, 2006.
During the 2006 election, the total value of contributions to Senate candidates was $865,790. The top 10 contributors were:
|2006 Donors, Vermont House of Representatives|
|Vermont Republican Party||$32,618|
|Vermont House Republican PAC||$14,200|
|Jim Douglas For Governor||$10,744|
|Vermont Libertarian Party||$9,600|
|Friends Of Chittenden County Republican Legislators||$8,700|
|Home Builders & Remodelers Of Vermont||$8,500|
|Vermont Association Of Realtors||$8,500|
|Associated General Contractors Of Vermont||$8,000|
|Broughton, Lenore F||$7,600|
|Republican Victory Cmte||$7,200|
Elections for the office of Vermont House of Representatives consisted of a primary election on September 14, 2004, and a general election on November 2, 2004.
During the 2004 election, the total value of contributions to Senate candidates was $826,737. The top 10 contributors were:
|2004 Donors, Vermont House of Representatives|
|Vermont Republican Party||$34,281|
|Vermont Democratic House Campaign||$11,349|
|Republican Victory Cmte 2004||$9,200|
|Republican Leaders Of Vermont||$7,900|
|Contribution By Candidate Or Candidates Immediate Family||$6,905|
|Lamoille County Democratic Cmte||$5,975|
|Vermont Ski Areas Association||$5,900|
|Vermont Association Of Realtors||$5,000|
|Speaker Of The House Victory Campaign||$4,800|
Elections for the office of Vermont House of Representatives consisted of a primary election on September 10, 2002, and a general election on November 5, 2002.
During the 2002 election, the total value of contributions to Senate candidates was $534,955. The top 10 contributors were:
|2002 Donors, Vermont House of Representatives|
|Vermont Ski Areas Association||$11,700|
|Speaker Of The House Victory Campaign||$8,900|
|Vermont Republican Party||$8,800|
|Caledonia County Republican Cmte||$4,900|
|Friends Of Chittenden County Republican Legislators||$4,200|
|Kitzmiller, Warren F||$4,000|
|Randall, Neil & Gloria||$3,149|
|Ellen Bogen For State Representative||$2,888|
Elections for the office of Vermont House of Representatives consisted of a primary election on September 12, 2000, and a general election on November 7, 2000.
During the 2000 election, the total value of contributions to Senate candidates was $630,639. The top 10 contributors were:
|2000 Donors, Vermont House of Representatives|
|Vermont Republican Party||$16,350|
|Vermont Ski Areas Association||$15,600|
|Republican National State Elections Cmte||$9,675|
|Broughton, Lenore F||$9,200|
|National Rifle Association||$6,200|
|Rutland County Republican Cmte||$4,300|
|Caledonia County Republican Cmte||$3,800|
The Vermont Constitution states, "No person shall be elected a Representative or a Senator until the person has resided in this State two years, the last year of which shall be in the legislative district for which the person is elected.."
| How Vacancies are filled in State Legislatures |
If there is a vacancy in the house, the Governor must select a replacement to fill the vacant seat.
The Governor must select a replacement that will serve for the remainder of the unexpired term. There are no deadlines set by statute on when a vacancy has to be filled.
- See also: Redistricting in Vermont
The Vermont Legislative Apportionment Board is tasked with drawing redistricting maps, but the Legislature must approve -- and can revise -- any plans. The Board is made up of a chairperson selected by the Chief Justice of the Vermont Supreme Court, and six members, two from each of the major parties (Democratic, Republican, Progressive).
Vermont received its census data on February 10, 2011. The state grew by 2.8 percent. The most populous cities had mixed results: Burlington grew by 9.1 percent, Essex grew by 5.2 percent, South Burlington grew by 13.2 percent, Colchester grew by 0.5 percent, and Rutland decreased by 4.6 percent.
The 2011 redistricting process was notable for a push to eliminate nearly all of the state's multi-member districts. Though a preliminary plan that achieved this end was passed by the Board, its final plan from August 11, 2011 only reduced the number of two-member districts from 42 to 29.
The Legislature took up redistricting in January 2012. Despite disagreements over deviation from ideal district size (18.2 percent for the Senate and 24 percent for the House), the Senate passed and the House concurred with a final plan, H. 789. The plan added a new seat in Burlington, and paired incumbents Dennis Devereux (R) and Eldred French (D). Governor Peter Shumlin (D) signed the maps into law on May 1, 2012.
- See also: Partisan composition of state houses
|Party||As of February 2015|
|Vermont Progressive Party||6|
The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Vermont State House from 1992-2013.
- See also: Comparison of state legislative salaries
As of 2013, members of the Vermont Legislature are paid $604.79/week during session and $112/day for special sessions or interim committee meetings. Legislators who are non-commuters receive $101/day for lodging and $61/day for meals. Commuters receive $61/day for meals/mileage.
Vermont does not provide pensions for legislators.
When sworn in
Vermont legislators assume office the first Wednesday after the first Tuesday in January.
The Speaker of the House is the presiding officer of the body.
|Current Leadership, Vermont House of Representatives|
|Speaker of the House||Shap Smith||Democratic|
|State House Majority Leader||Willem Jewett||Democratic|
|State House Assistant Majority Leader||Tess Taylor||Democratic|
|State House Minority Leader||Donald Turner, Jr.||Republican|
|State House Assistant Minority Leader||Brian Savage||Republican|
|State House Progressive Leader||Christopher Pearson||Progressive|
|State House Assistant Progressive Leader||Susan Hatch Davis||Progressive|
The Vermont House has 15 standing committees:
- Agriculture and Forest Products
- Commerce and Economic Development
- Corrections and Institutions
- Fish, Wildlife and Water Resources
- General, Housing and Military Affairs
- Government Operations
- Health Care
- Human Services
- Natural Resources and Energy
- Ways and Means
Partisan balance 1992-2013
From 1992-2013, the Democratic Party was the majority in the Vermont State House of Representatives for 17 years while the Republicans were the majority for five years. Vermont was under Democratic trifectas for the final three years of the study.
Across the country, there were 577 Democratic and 483 Republican State Houses of Representatives from 1992 to 2013.
Over the course of the 22-year study, state governments became increasingly more partisan. At the outset of the study period (1992), 18 of the 49 states with partisan legislatures had single-party trifectas and 31 states had divided governments. In 2013, only 13 states had divided governments, while single-party trifectas held sway in 36 states, the most in the 22 years studied.
SQLI and partisanship
The chart below depicts the partisanship of the Vermont state government and the state's SQLI ranking for the years studied. For the SQLI, the states were ranked from 1-50, with 1 being the best and 50 the worst. During the course of the study, Vermont had Democratic trifectas from 1997-2000 and from 2011-2013. Its lowest ranking, finishing 33rd, occurred in 2008 during a divided government. Its highest ranking, finishing 15th, also occurred during a divided government from 2003-2004.
- Official Webpage of the Vermont State Legislature
- Official list of the current members of the Vermont House of Representatives
- Vermont House of Representatives on Wikipedia
- census.gov, "Population Distribution and Change: 2000 to 2010," accessed May 15, 2014
- U.S. Census Bureau, "States Ranked by Population: 2000," April 2, 2001
- Wilson Ring, The Washington Times, "Budget likely to top 2015 Vermont Legislature," January 4, 2015
- Vermont Chamber of Commerce, "Legislative Priorities 2014," accessed January 11, 2014
- Boston.com, "2013 Vt. legislative session to get under way," January 6, 2013 (dead link)
- National Conference of State Legislatures, "2011 Legislative Sessions Calendar," December 19, 2011
- National Conference of State Legislatures, "2010 Legislative Sessions Calendar," December 8, 2010
- National Conference of State Legislatures, "State Experiences with Annual and Biennial Budgeting," updated April 2011
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "Budget Processes in the States, Summer 2008," accessed February 21, 2014
- Pew Charitable Trusts, "States’ Use of Cost-Benefit Analysis," July 29, 2013
- U.S. Public Interest Research Group, "Following the Money 2014 Report," accessed April 15, 2014
- Sunlight Foundation, "Ten Principles for Opening Up Government Information," accessed June 16, 2013
- Follow the Money, "Vermont House 2010 Campaign Contributions," accessed August 5, 2013
- Follow the Money, "Vermont 2008 Candidates," accessed August 5, 2013
- Follow the Money, "Vermont 2006 Candidates," accessed August 5, 2013
- Follow the Money, "Vermont 2004 Candidates," accessed August 5, 2013
- Follow the Money, "Vermont 2002 Candidates," accessed August 5, 2013
- Follow the Money, "Vermont 2000 Candidates," accessed August 5, 2013
- usconstitution.net, "Vermont Constitution," accessed December 18, 2013(Referenced Section 15)
- Vermont State Legislature, "Vermont Statutes," accessed December 18, 2013(Referenced Statute, 2-1-9, Vermont Statutes)
- U.S. Census Bureau, "U.S. Census Bureau Delivers Vermont's 2010 Census Population Totals, Including First Look at Race and Hispanic Origin Data for Legislative Redistricting," February 10, 2011
- NCSL.org, "2012 State Legislator Compensation and Per Diem Table," accessed March 18, 2013
- USA Today, "State-by-state: Benefits available to state legislators," September 23, 2011
- The Vermont Legislature Legislative Directory, "Officers of the Vermont General Assembly 2009-2010," accessed August 7, 2014
State of Vermont
|State executive officers||
Governor | Lieutenant Governor | Attorney General | Secretary of State | Treasurer | State Auditor | Commissioner of Education | Commissioner of Insurance | Secretary of Agriculture, Food & Markets | Secretary of Natural Resources | Commissioner of Labor | Chairman of Public Service Board |