Vermont Senate

Last updated
Vermont State Senate
Vermont General Assembly
Seal of Vermont (B&W).svg
Type
Type
Term limits
None
History
New session started
January 6, 2021
Leadership
Molly Gray (D)
since January 6, 2021
Becca Balint (D)
since January 6, 2021
Majority Leader
Alison Clarkson (D)
since January 6, 2021
Minority Leader
Randy Brock (R)
since January 6, 2021
Progressive Leader
Anthony Pollina (P/D)
since January 6, 2011
Structure
Seats30
Vermont Senate 2021.svg
Political groups
Majority
  •    Democratic  (21)
  •    Progressive  (2)

Minority

Length of term
2 years
AuthoritySection 7, Legislative Department, Constitution of Vermont
Salary$733.04 per week plus per diem during session
Elections
Last election
November 3, 2020
(30 seats)
Next election
November 8, 2022
(30 seats)
RedistrictingLegislative control
Meeting place
Vermont State Senate Chamber Panorama.jpg
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 the U.S. state 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.

Contents

As in other upper houses of state and territorial legislatures and the U.S. Senate, the state senate of Vermont has special functions, such as confirming or rejecting gubernatorial appointments to executive departments, the state cabinet, commissions, and boards, as well as 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

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 at-large depending on population. Vermont is the only state to have any senate districts represented by more than two senators each, as well as the only state to employ bloc voting for senate elections. [1]

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.

Leadership

The Lieutenant Governor of Vermont serves as the President of the Senate, but casts a vote only 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 from the entire body through a Senate Resolution, and is the Senate's chief leadership position. The majority and minority leaders are elected by their respective party caucuses.

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

Composition of the Senate (2017–2018 legislative session)

-

Affiliation Party
(shading indicates majority caucus)
Total
Democratic Progressive Republican Vacant
End 2012 21 1 8 30 0
2013-2014 20 2 7 30 0
Begin 2015 19 3 9 30 0
End 2016 8 29 1 [2]
2017-2018 21 2 7 30 0
Begin 2019 22 2 6 30 0
Begin 2021 21 2 7 30 0
Latest voting share 70.0% 30.0%

Current leadership

PositionNamePartyResidenceDistrict
President Molly Gray Dem Newbury
President pro tempore Becca Balint Dem/Prog Brattleboro Windham
Majority Leader Alison H. Clarkson Dem Woodstock Windsor
Assistant Majority Leader (Whip) Cheryl Hooker Dem Rutland Rutland
Minority Leader Randy Brock Rep Swanton Franklin
Progressive Leader Anthony Pollina Prog/Dem Middlesex Washington

Current members

DistrictRepresentativePartyResidenceFirst elected
Addison Christopher A. Bray Dem New Haven 2012
Ruth Hardy Dem East Middlebury 2018
Bennington Brian Campion Dem Bennington 2014
Richard W. Sears Dem North Bennington 1992
Caledonia Joe Benning Rep St. Johnsbury 2010
Jane Kitchel Dem Danville 2004
Chittenden Philip Baruth Dem/Prog Burlington 2010
Thomas ChittendenDem South Burlington 2020
Virginia V. Lyons Dem Williston 2000
Christopher Pearson Prog/Dem Burlington 2016
Kesha Ram Dem Burlington 2020
Michael Sirotkin Dem South Burlington 2014 (appointed)
Essex-Orleans Russ IngallsRep Newport 2020
Robert A. Starr Dem North Troy 2004
Franklin Randy Brock Rep Swanton 2017 (appointed) [3]
(2009–2013)
Corey Parent Rep St. Albans 2018
Colchester-Grand Isle Richard Mazza Dem Colchester 1984
Lamoille Richard A. Westman Rep Hyde Park 2010
Orange Mark MacDonald Dem Williamstown 2003
(1997–1999)
Rutland Brian Collamore Rep Rutland Town 2014
Cheryl Hooker Dem/Prog Rutland 2018
(1997–1999)
Joshua TerenziniRep Rutland 2020
Washington Ann Cummings Dem Montpelier 1996
Andrew Perchlik Dem/ProgMontpelier2018
Anthony Pollina Prog/Dem Middlesex 2010
Windham Becca Balint Dem Brattleboro 2014
Jeanette White Dem Putney 2002
Windsor Alison H. Clarkson Dem Woodstock 2016
Richard McCormack Dem Bethel 2006
(1989–2003)
Alice Nitka Dem Ludlow 2006

Operations

The full Senate meets Tuesday and Friday mornings only for the first seven weeks of the annual session. [4]

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

See also: Political party strength in Vermont.

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. [5]

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

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", which was created to ensure party unity, 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

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 (incumbent).

Members of Congress

Many of Vermont's members of the United States Senate and United States House of Representatives also served in the Vermont Senate.

U.S. Senators include Samuel S. Phelps, George F. Edmunds, Jonathan Ross, Porter H. Dale, Frank C. Partridge, Ernest Willard Gibson and Jim Jeffords.

U.S. 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 (incumbent).

Other notable members

Other notable members of the Vermont Senate include:

See also

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References

  1. "State legislative chambers that use multi-member districts". Ballotpedia. Retrieved Aug 24, 2019.
  2. Republican Norman H. McAllister (Alburgh-Franklin) was suspended from senatorial duties in 2015 through the end of his Senate term.
  3. Hewitt, Elizabeth (December 27, 2017). "Brock to fill vacant Franklin County Senate seat". VTDigger. Montpelier, VT.
  4. Remsen, Nancy & Hallenbeck, Teri (January 8, 2009). Following the Legislature. Burlington Free Press.
  5. "REPORT OF THE LEGISLATIVE APPORTIONMENT BOARD: The 2001 Tentative Plan for the Vermont Senate" (PDF). Bluehouse Group. Retrieved April 29, 2016.

Coordinates: 44°15′44″N72°34′51″W / 44.26222°N 72.58083°W / 44.26222; -72.58083