The Vermont Legislature is made up of two branches or “chambers,” the House and the Senate. The House has 150 members (“Representatives”) who are elected from single and two-member districts throughout the State. The Senate has 30 members who are also elected by multi-member districts and according to population. The districts largely correspond to the boundaries of the state’s 14 counties. There are 3 Senate seats held by Washington County.
House and Senate members are elected in November of every other year for terms of two years each. In years when there are more than 3 Democrats running for the 3 Washington County Senate seats (as there is in 2018), there must be a primary election to narrow the field down to 3 candidates. This year the primary election is on August 14.
The Session: The annual Legislative session starts in January and generally runs through the beginning of May.
Leadership: The House is headed by the “Speaker of the House,” a Representative chosen by his or her peers. The Senate is headed by the Lieutenant Governor as the Senate “President” or, in his or her absence, by the “President Pro Tempore” (temporary President). The President pro tempore is the Senator elected by the majority party caucus and confirmed by vote of the entire Senate.
Much of the work of the Legislature is done by committees, where issues are studied, testimony is given, and policy is formulated. The different committees are explained here: https://legislature.vermont.gov/the-state-house/civic-education/about-legislative-committees/.
Committee assignments are determined by the “Committee on Committees,” which consists of the Lieutenant Governor, the President pro tempore and one member chosen by the full Senate.
More information about the Legislature:
- How a Bill Becomes a Law: https://legislature.vermont.gov/the-state-house/civic-education/how-a-bill-becomes-law/
- Track and follow bills that are proposed, and other Legislative activity: https://legislature.vermont.gov.
- Vermont Public Radio broadcasts a live-stream from the Statehouse: http://digital.vpr.net/topic/vermont-legislature#stream/0
- VT Digger and Vermont Public Television produce “VTDigger Minute,” a weekly news digest: https://vtdigger.org/tag/vermont-pbs/