“A stain on the soul of our state:” Ex-Rep. Kiah Morris on racism, misogyny & her fight for justice

Kiah Morris was elected to the Vermont State Legislature from Bennington in 2014 and re-elected in 2016. She was the only female African-American Vermont state representative at that time. In September 2018, she resigned from the legislature in the wake of racist attacks from white nationalists. The shocking story of what happened to her was reported in the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, BBC and other news outlets. In January 2019, Vermont Attorney General TJ Donovan announced that he would not bring criminal charges against the man who was harassing Morris and her family, insisting that racially offensive speech was protected. Civil rights groups including the NAACP and Justice for All denounced the decision and the Vermont ACLU called for an investigation of the Bennington Police for its “systemic racism problem.” Morris has continued to speak out against racism and misogyny both locally and globally. She was recently part of an Oxfam America delegation to Central America where she met with survivors of domestic and sexual violence. Morris discusses her ongoing fight for justice. (December 11, 2019 broadcast)

Kiah Morris, former Vermont State Representative

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VT Climate Caucus confronts climate change: Rep. Sarah Copeland-Hanzas & Sen. Chris Pearson

With a climate denier in the White House, states are taking the lead in passing climate change initiatives. The vice chairs of Vermont’s Climate Solutions Caucus discuss their priorities, what laws have won and lost in Vermont and future plans. The nonpartisan Vermont Climate Solutions Caucus of the Vermont Legislature was founded in 2012 to support legislation that promotes Vermont’s economy while reducing reliance on fossil fuels. It currently includes 82 members in the Vermont House and Senate. (July 31, 2019 broadcast)

Vermont Rep. Sarah Copeland-Hanzas (D-Bradford), vice chair, Climate Solutions Caucus 

Vermont Sen. Chris Pearson (P/D-Burlington), vice chair, Climate Solutions Caucus 

“It’s been hard, emotional & frightening:” Judiciary Chair Rep. Maxine Grad on tackling guns, abortion & sexual abuse

This year, the Vermont House Judiciary Committee passed legislation on a number of national hotbutton issues. This included passing the strongest abortion rights law in the country, enacting a 24-hour waiting period for handgun purchases and removing the time limit for victims of child sexual abuse to bring claims against their abusers. Democratic Rep. Maxine Grad is the chair of the Vermont House Judiciary Committee. This is Grad’s 19th year representing the Mad River Valley towns of Waitsfield, Duxbury, Fayston, Warren and Moretown. This year saw her featured in a NY Times article about Vermont’s landmark abortion rights law. Grad discusses the challenge of confronting tough issues  and her priorities going forward. (June 5, 2019 broadcast)

Rep. Maxine Grad, chair, Vermont House Judiciary Committee

The Advocates: Vermont’s public interest groups mobilize for change

Will 2019-2020 bring Vermont paid family leave, $15 minimum wage, smart justice reform, stronger protection from toxic chemicals and clean water? These are some of the goals of advocates for social, economic and environmental justice who have descended on the Vermont State House pressing for change on these and other issues in the new legislative biennium. We hold a roundtable discussion with leaders from some of Vermont’s key advocacy groups to hear about their priorities and strategies for the 2019-2020 legislative session. (January 9, 2019 broadcast)

Dan Barlow, Policy Manager, Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility

Paul Burns, executive director, Vermont Public Interest Research Group 

Lauren Hierl, executive director, Vermont Conservation Voters

Kate Logan, director of programming & policy, Rights & Democracy

James Lyall, executive director, American Civil Liberties Union of Vermont