Vermont Senate

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Vermont State Senate
Vermont General Assembly
Coat of arms or logo
Type
Type
Term limits
None
History
New session started
January 5, 2017
Leadership
Lieutenant Governor
David Zuckerman (P)
Since January 5, 2017
Tim Ashe (P)
Since January 6, 2017
Majority Leader
Becca Balint (D)
Since January 6, 2017
Minority Leader
Dustin Degree (R)
Since January 6, 2017
Progressive Leader
Anthony Pollina (P)
Since January 6, 2011
Structure
Seats 30
Vermont Senate by party 2017.jpg
Political groups

Majority

Minority

Length of term
2 years
Authority Section 7, Legislative Department, Vermont Constitution
Salary $693.74 per week plus per diem during session
Elections
Last election
November 8, 2016
(30 seats)
Next election
November 6, 2018
(30 seats)
Redistricting Legislative Control
Meeting place
State Senate Chamber,
Vermont State House
Montpelier, Vermont, U.S.
Website
Vermont State Senate

The Vermont Senate is the upper house of the Vermont General Assembly, the state legislature of Vermont. The senate consists of 30 members. Senate districting divides the 30 members into three single-member districts, six two-member districts, three three-member districts, and one six-member district. Each senator represents at least 20,300 citizens. Senators are elected to two-year terms, and there is no limit to the number of terms that a senator may serve.

As in other upper houses of state and territorial legislatures and the federal U.S. Senate, the state senate of Vermont is reserved with special functions such as confirming or rejecting gubernatorial appointments to executive departments, the state cabinet, commissions, boards, and electing members to the Vermont Supreme Court.

The Vermont Senate meets at the Vermont State House in the state capital of Montpelier.

Districting and terms[edit]

Senators are elected from a total of 13 single and multi-member senate districts. The districts largely correspond to the boundaries of the state's 14 counties with adjustments to ensure equality of representation. Two small counties (Essex and Orleans) are combined into one district. Each district elects between 1 and 6 senators depending on population.

In addition, Vermont is one of the 14 states where the upper house of its state legislature serves at a two-year cycle, rather than the more common four-year term in the majority of states.

Composition of the senate (2017-2018 legislative session)[edit]

Affiliation Party
(Shading indicates majority caucus)
Total
Democratic Progressive Republican Vacant Suspended
End of previous legislature 21 1 8 30 0 0
Begin 2013 20 2 7 29 1 0
End 2014 20 30 0
Begin 2015 19 3 9 30 0 0
End 2016 8 29 1[1]
Begin 2017 21 4 7 30 0 0
Latest voting share 77% 23%

Leadership of the senate[edit]

The Lieutenant Governor of Vermont serves as the President of the Senate, but only casts a legislative vote if required to break a tie. In his or her absence, the President Pro Tempore presides over the senate. The President Pro Tempore is elected by the majority party caucus followed by confirmation of the entire senate through a Senate Resolution. The President Pro Tempore is the chief leadership position in the senate. The other senate majority and minority leaders are elected by their respective party caucuses.

Committee assignments are determined by the Committee on Committees. This group consists of the Lieutenant Governor, the Senate President Pro Tem and one member chosen by the full senate. For several years the third member of the committee has been Richard Mazza.

Current leadership[edit]

Position Name Party Residence District
Lieutenant Governor David Zuckerman Prog/Dem Hinesburg
President Pro Tem of the Senate Tim Ashe Prog Burlington Chittenden
Majority Leader Becca Balint Dem Brattleboro Windham
Assistant Majority Leader Mark MacDonald Dem Williamstown Orange
Minority Leader Dustin Degree Rep St. Albans Franklin
Assistant Minority Leader Kevin J. Mullin Rep Rutland Town Rutland
Progressive Leader Anthony Pollina Prog Middlesex Washington

Current members of the senate[edit]

District Representative Party Residence First elected
Addison Claire D. Ayer Dem Weybridge 2002
Christopher A. Bray Dem New Haven 2012
Bennington Brian Campion Dem Bennington 2014
Richard Sears Dem North Bennington 1992
Caledonia Joe Benning Rep St. Johnsbury 2010
Jane Kitchel Dem Danville 2004
Chittenden Tim Ashe Prog Burlington 2008
Phil Baruth Dem/Prog Burlington 2010
Debbie Ingram Dem Williston 2016
Ginny Lyons Dem Williston 2000
Christopher A. Pearson Prog/Dem Burlington 2016
Michael Sirotkin Dem South Burlington 2014†
Essex-Orleans John S. Rodgers Dem Glover 2012
Robert Starr Dem North Troy 2004
Franklin Carolyn Whitney Branagan Rep Georgia 2016
Dustin Degree Rep St. Albans City 2014
Colchester-Grand Isle Richard Mazza Dem Colchester 1984
Lamoille Rich Westman Rep Hyde Park 2010
Orange Mark MacDonald Dem Williamstown 2003
(1997-1999)
Rutland Brian Collamore Rep Rutland Town 2014
Peg Flory Rep Pittsford 2010
Kevin J. Mullin Rep Rutland Town 2003
Washington Francis Brooks Dem Montpelier 2016
Ann Cummings Dem Montpelier 1996
Anthony Pollina Prog Middlesex 2010
Windham Becca Balint Dem Brattleboro 2014
Jeanette White Dem Putney 2002
Windsor Alison Clarkson Dem Woodstock 2016
Richard McCormack Dem Bethel 2006
(1989-2003)
Alice Nitka Dem Ludlow 2006
†Originally appointed

Operations[edit]

The full senate meets Tuesday and Friday mornings only for the first seven weeks of the annual session.[2]

The Vermont Senate is aided by an administrative staff, including the Secretary of the Vermont Senate and several assistants. Since 2011, the Senate Secretary has been John H. Bloomer, a former member of the Senate. Previous secretaries include Ernest W. Gibson Jr., Murdock A. Campbell, and Franklin S. Billings Jr.

History[edit]

Vermont had a unicameral legislature until 1836; most of the functions normally performed by an upper legislative house were the responsibility of the governor and council. The state abolished the governor's council and added a senate by constitutional amendment.[3]

The longest-serving member of the Vermont Senate was William T. Doyle; he was elected in 1968, reelected every two years until 2014, and defeated for reelection in 2016. Doyle served from January 1969 to January 2017; no other legislator in Vermont history -- member of the Vermont House, member of the Vermont Senate, or member of both the House and Senate -- has served longer than Doyle.

Notable members[edit]

Most individuals who have served as governor or lieutenant governor had experience in the Vermont legislature; many served in the State Senate. For more than 100 years from the 1850s to the 1960s, the Vermont Republican Party won every election for statewide office. In keeping with the "Mountain Rule", governors and lieutenant governors were from opposite sides of the Green Mountains, and were limited to two years in office. Candidates for governor and lieutenant governor were agreed upon by party leaders years in advance, and were often chosen for leadership positions in the House or Senate to groom them for statewide office.

Governors[edit]

Governors who served in the Vermont Senate include: Horace Eaton; Carlos Coolidge (post-governorship); John S. Robinson; Ryland Fletcher; Frederick Holbrook; Paul Dillingham; George Whitman Hendee; John Wolcott Stewart; Julius Converse; Horace Fairbanks; Redfield Proctor; Roswell Farnham; John L. Barstow; Ebenezer J. Ormsbee; William P. Dillingham; Carroll S. Page; Levi K. Fuller; Josiah Grout; John G. McCullough; Charles J. Bell; Fletcher D. Proctor; George H. Prouty; John A. Mead; Allen M. Fletcher; Charles W. Gates; Percival W. Clement; Redfield Proctor Jr.; John E. Weeks; Stanley C. Wilson; Charles Manley Smith; William H. Wills; Mortimer R. Proctor; Lee E. Emerson; Joseph B. Johnson; Philip H. Hoff (post-governorship); Peter Shumlin; and Phil Scott.

Members of Congress[edit]

Many of Vermont's members of the United States Senate and United States House of Representatives also served in the Vermont Senate. US Senators include: Samuel S. Phelps; George F. Edmunds; Jonathan Ross; Porter H. Dale; Frank C. Partridge; Ernest Willard Gibson; and Jim Jeffords.

US House members who served in the Vermont Senate include: William Henry; Ahiman Louis Miner; George Tisdale Hodges; Frederick E. Woodbridge; H. Henry Powers; David J. Foster; William Hebard; Andrew Tracy; William W. Grout; Kittredge Haskins; Frank Plumley; Alvah Sabin; Homer Elihu Royce; Worthington Curtis Smith; Bradley Barlow; Augustus Young; Richard W. Mallary; Peter Plympton Smith; and Peter Welch.

Other notable members[edit]

Other notable members of the Vermont Senate include:

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  • 2 members are split D/P in their caucus

References[edit]

  1. ^ Republican Norman H. McAllister (Alburgh-Franklin) suspended. [1]
  2. ^ Remsen, Nancy & Hallenbeck, Teri (January 8, 2009). Following the Legislature. Burlington Free Press. 
  3. ^ "REPORT OF THE LEGISLATIVE APPORTIONMENT BOARD: The 2001 Tentative Plan for the Vermont Senate" (PDF). Bluehouse Group. Retrieved April 29, 2016. 

External links[edit]