All the latest news, press releases, and commentary from Heidi E. Scheuermann.

Instead of Vermont leading the way in this regard though, we are one of three states without conflict of interest laws, one of three states without financial disclosure laws, and one of seven states without an ethics commission.

For all of these reasons, I began efforts in 2013 to create an independent ethics commission, and establish a code of conduct for all statewide elected officials, appointed officials in the executive branch, and all state lawmakers. I introduced legislation, testified in front of committees, and wrote op-ed after op-ed. Yet, almost four years later, because of strong opposition from the Democratic majority in the Legislature, and no support from Shumlin or his staff, we have no laws in place.

So, to now see Democrats waving the flag of ethics reform - after years of opposition - smacks of political opportunism.  After all, when they had the opportunity to speak up and act, they refused.


May 17, 2016

The gavel fell on the Vermont General Assembly's 2015-2016 Legislative Biennium late Friday, May 6, 2016.  And, while there are usually myriad opinions of how successful legislative sessions are, there is not much disagreement about this one being one of the least productive in recent memory.

This is especially the case in my view when considering the lack of any substantive measure at all that would have helped to grow our state’s economy.

So what did we do?

May 28, 2015

I am pleased to report that we concluded the session with a sound economic development bill.  While not a comprehensive, long-term strategy for economic growth, the bill includes several provisions that will, indeed, move the economic dial here in Vermont. 

1) Necessary changes to the Vermont Economic Growth Incentive to ensure more Vermont companies are able to take advantage of this program that has more than proved its worth in helping to create jobs;

2) The elimination of the sales tax on prewritten software accessed remotely (cloud tax);

3) A first-time homebuyer down payment assistance program to help young professionals around the state into home ownership through the creation of a revolving loan fund;

4) An economic development branding and marketing initiative to complement and supplement our tourism marketing efforts - including a $200,000 appropriation to create and implement it; 

5) A Vermont-Quebec Enterprise Initiative to recruit and expand into Vermont Canadian businesses interested in a US location - including a $100,000 appropriation to fund the program; and

6) An increase in our Licensed Lender limit from $75,000 to $250,000.