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Journal of the House

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WEDNESDAY, MAY 22, 2002

At nine o'clock and thirty minutes in the forenoon the Speaker called the House to order.

Devotional Exercises

Devotional exercises were conducted by Speaker Walter Freed of Dorset

House Resolution Placed on Calendar

The Speaker placed before the House the following resolution which was read and in the Speaker’s discretion, placed on the Calendar for action tomorrow under Rule 52.

H.R. 64

House resolution congratulating the Rail City Blazers 2002 AAU preteen girls’ basketball Vermont state championship team

Offered by: Representatives Lavoie of Swanton, Allard of St. Albans Town, Barney of Highgate, Gervais of Enosburg, Howrigan of Fairfield, Keenan of St. Albans City, Larose of Richford, Paquin of Fairfax, Rosenquist of Georgia, Willett of St. Albans City and Winters of Swanton

Whereas, in 1972, the AAU Girls’ Basketball Program was established as part of the AAU Junior Olympic Program, and

Whereas, this outstanding athletic program affords young girls the opportunity to develop dribbling, shooting and passing skills, while learning the centrality of supportive team spirit and fair play, and

Whereas, in the history of the program’s national tournament, a Franklin County team had never served as the state’s preteen representative, and

Whereas, in 2002, Vermont’s participation in the program is scoring an historic first, as the Rail City Blazers, whose roster is comprised exclusively of girls from Franklin County, has won the Vermont state preteen championship on April 28 and the right to represent the state at this year’s national tournament, to be held from June 28 through July 6 in Kingsport, Tennessee, and

Whereas, as a warm-up for the national event, the team will participate in tournaments in Bradford, Vermont; Derry, New Hampshire; and Saratoga, New York, and

Whereas, the Rail City Blazers’ amazing season record of no defeats is a rare accomplishment in which team members Ashton Hubbard of Swanton, Ashley Sullivan of Fairfax, Danielle Beaupre of St. Albans, Hannah Patch of Swanton, Keely Garcia of St. Albans, Maeve Evans of Swanton, Stacey Garcia of St. Albans, Mikaela Berthiaume of Swanton, Margaret Maley of St. Albans, Nicole Lawton of St. Albans, and Tiffany Johnson of St. Albans can take great pride, and

Whereas, the team’s superb coaches, Glenn Johnson and Gary Lawton, have guided their young players with skill, patience and wisdom, and

Whereas, team manager Christine Hunt has been of invaluable assistance throughout the season, now therefore be it

Resolved by the House of Representatives:

That the House of Representatives congratulates the Rail City Blazers 2002 AAU preteen girls’ basketball Vermont state championship team, and extends best wishes for success in the national tournament, and be it further

Resolved: That the Clerk of the House be directed to send a copy of this resolution to each participant on the 2002 Rail City Blazers team.

Bill Referred to Committee on Appropriations

S. 151

Senate bill, entitled

An act relating to abandoned motor vehicles;

Appearing on the Calendar, carrying an appropriation, under rule 35a, was referred to the committee on Appropriations.

House Resolutions Adopted

House resolutions of the following titles were severally taken up and adopted on the part of the House;

H. R. 62

House resolution, entitled

House resolution congratulating Martha Jane Rich on a decade of outstanding educational leadership at Thetford Academy.

H. R. 63

House resolution, entitled

House resolution in memory of Krystian M. Peduzzi of Plainfield.

Joint Resolution Adopted in Concurrence

J.R.S. 143

Joint resolution, entitled

Joint resolution in support of the Republic of China’s application for observer status at the World Health Assembly;

Was taken up, read and adopted in concurrence.

Action on Bill Postponed

S. 241

Senate bill, entitled

An act relating to auricular acupuncture for the treatment of alcoholism, substance abuse or chemical dependency;

Was taken up and pending the reading of the report of the committees on Government Operations and Ways and Means, on motion of Rep. Atkins of Winooski, action on the bill was postponed until the next legislative day.

Proposal of Amendment Agreed to; Third Reading Ordered

S. 8

Rep. Wright of Burlington, for the committee on Government Operations, to which had been referred Senate bill, entitled

An act relating to benefits for survivors of firefighters;

Reported in favor of its passage in concurrence with proposal of amendment as follows:

By striking all after the enacting clause and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Sec. 1. 20 V.S.A. chapter 181 is added to read:

Chapter 181. bENEFITS FOR THE SURVIVORS OF FIREFIGHTERS

§ 3171. DEFINITIONS

For purposes of this chapter:

(1) "Board" means the firefighters’ survivor benefit review board.

(2) "Child" means a natural or legally adopted child, regardless of age.

(3) "Firefighter" means a person employed by, or an authorized volunteer of, a municipality, including any fire district, and whose primary duties as an employee or authorized volunteer are to prevent and eradicate emergencies.

(4) "Line of duty" means:

(A) answering a call of the department for a fire or emergency, including going to and returning from a fire or emergency drill; or

(B) similar service in another town or district to which the department has been called for firefighting or emergency purposes.

(5) "Occupation-related illness" means a disease that directly arises out of, and in the course of, service, including a heart injury that occurs within 24 hours from the date of last service in the line of duty at an emergency.

(6) "Parent" means a natural or adoptive parent.

(7) "Spouse" means the individual joined in a lawful marriage or civil union with a firefighter from whom there has not been obtained a judicial separation, annulment, or divorce prior to the firefighter’s death.

(8) "Survivor" means a spouse, child or parent of a firefighter.

§ 3172. FIREFIGHTERS’ SURVIVOR BENEFIT REVIEW BOARD

(a) There is created the firefighters’ survivor benefit review board which shall consist of the state treasurer or designee, the attorney general or designee, the executive director of the Vermont fire service training council or designee, and one member of the public appointed by the governor for a term of two years. Survivors of a firefighter who dies in the line of duty or dies of an occupational-related illness may request the board award a monetary benefit under section 3173 of this title. The board shall be responsible for determining whether to award monetary benefits under section 3173 of this title. A decision to award monetary benefits shall be made by unanimous vote of the board, and shall be made within 60 days after the receipt of all information necessary to enable the board to determine eligibility. The board may request any information necessary for the exercise of its duties under this section. Nothing in this section shall prevent the board from initiating the investigation or determination of a claim before being requested by a survivor or employer of a firefighter.

(b) Within 10 days after the board has reached its decision, it shall notify the named survivors of its decision by certified mail. If the board denies the claim, the named survivors shall have 60 days from the date of receiving the denial to file an appeal with the superior court in the county in which the deceased was employed or was an authorized volunteer.

(c) If the board decides to award a monetary benefit, the benefit shall be paid to the surviving spouse or, if the firefighter had no spouse at the time of death, to the surviving child, or equally among surviving children. If the deceased firefighter is not survived by a spouse or child, the benefit shall be paid to a surviving parent, or equally between surviving parents. If the deceased firefighter is not survived by a spouse, children, or parents, the board shall not award a monetary benefit under this chapter.

(d) Upon a board decision to award a monetary benefit under this chapter, the treasurer shall make payment to the beneficiaries as described in subsection (c) of this section.

(e) The state treasurer’s office shall provide staff, office space, and any other reasonable and necessary resources to the board.

(f) The member of the public appointed by the governor shall be entitled to per diem compensation authorized under section 1010 of Title 32 for each day spent in the performance of his or her duties.

§ 3173. MONETARY BENEFIT

(a) The survivors of a firefighter who dies while in the line of duty or from an occupational-related illness shall be entitled to a payment of $50,000.00 from the state. However, this payment shall be reduced by any amount paid to the survivors from a life insurance policy provided by the firefighter’s employer which pays a benefit for death occurring in the line of duty. For the purposes of this section, "employer" means the municipality or fire department at which the firefighter was employed at the time of death.

(b) The state treasurer shall disburse from the trust fund established in section 3175 of this title the monetary benefit authorized by subsection (a) of this section, and shall adopt necessary procedures for the disbursement of such funds.

§ 3174. BOARD STANDARDS; GUIDELINES; PROCEDURES

(a) The board shall adopt standards, guidelines, and procedures for:

(1) determining whether and how monetary benefits shall be paid under this chapter;

(2) what information must initially be filed with a claim under this chapter; and

(3) administering the provisions of this chapter.

(b) Standards, guidelines, and procedures adopted under this section shall be exempt from the requirements of chapter 25 of Title 3.

§ 3175. FIREFIGHTERS’ SURVIVORS BENEFIT EXPENDABLE TRUST FUND

(a) The firefighters’ survivors benefit expendable trust fund is established in the office of the state treasurer for the purpose of the payment of claims distributed pursuant to this chapter. The trust fund shall be comprised of appropriations made by the general assembly and contributions or donations from any other source. All balances in the fund at the end of the fiscal year shall be carried forward. Interest earned shall remain in the fund.

(b) The treasurer’s annual financial report to the governor and the general assembly shall contain an accounting of receipts, disbursements and earnings of the fund, and a recommended appropriation to the fund for the upcoming fiscal year.

(c) Annually, the general assembly shall appropriate an amount, not to exceed $50,000.00, from the general fund into the trust fund, which equals the total amount contributed to the trust fund from private sources in the preceding year, provided the balance of the fund does not exceed $500,000.00.

Sec. 2. 32 V.S.A. § 1010(a)(29) is added to read:

(29) Firefighters’ survivor benefit review board.

Sec. 3. APPROPRIATION

The sum of $100,000.00 is appropriated from the general fund in fiscal year 2003 to the Firefighters’ Survivors Benefit Expendable Trust Fund, established under section 3175 of Title 20, which shall be used for the distribution of monetary benefits as described in chapter 181 of Title 20.

Sec. 4. EFFECTIVE DATE; APPLICATION

This act shall take effect on July 1, 2002 and shall only apply to claims arising on or after that date.

Rep. Waite of Pawlet, for the committee on Appropriations, recommended that the House propose to the Senate that the bill be amended by striking all after the enacting clause and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Sec. 1. 20 V.S.A. chapter 181 is added to read:

Chapter 181. bENEFITS FOR THE SURVIVORS OF FIREFIGHTERS

§ 3171. DEFINITIONS

For purposes of this chapter:

(1) "Board" means the firefighters’ survivor benefit review board.

(2) "Child" means a natural or legally adopted child, regardless of age.

(3) "Firefighter" means a person employed by, or an authorized volunteer of, the state of Vermont or a municipality of the state, including any fire district, whose primary duties as an employee or authorized volunteer are to prevent and eradicate emergencies.

(4) "Line of duty" means:

(A) answering a call of the department for a fire or emergency, including going to and returning from a fire or emergency drill; or

(B) similar service in another town or district to which the department has been called for firefighting or emergency purposes.

(5) "Occupation-related illness" means a disease that directly arises out of, and in the course of, service, including a heart injury that occurs within 24 hours from the date of last service in the line of duty at an emergency.

(6) "Parent" means a natural or adoptive parent.

(7) "Spouse" means the individual joined in a lawful marriage or civil union with a firefighter from whom there has not been obtained a judicial separation, annulment, or divorce prior to the firefighter’s death.

(8) "Survivor" means a spouse, child or parent of a firefighter.

§ 3172. FIREFIGHTERS’ SURVIVOR BENEFIT REVIEW BOARD

(a) There is created the firefighters’ survivor benefit review board which shall consist of the state treasurer or designee, the attorney general or designee, the executive director of the Vermont fire service training council or designee, and one member of the public appointed by the governor for a term of two years. Survivors of a firefighter who dies in the line of duty or dies of an occupational-related illness may request the board award a monetary benefit under section 3173 of this title. The board shall be responsible for determining whether to award monetary benefits under section 3173. A decision to award monetary benefits shall be made by unanimous vote of the board, and shall be made within 60 days after the receipt of all information necessary to enable the board to determine eligibility. The board may request any information necessary for the exercise of its duties under this section. Nothing in this section shall prevent the board from initiating the investigation or determination of a claim before being requested by a survivor or employer of an firefighter.

(b) Within 10 days after the board has reached its decision, it shall notify the named survivors of its decision by certified mail. If the board denies the claim, the named survivors shall have 60 days from the date of receiving the denial to file an appeal with the superior court in the county in which the deceased was employed or was an authorized volunteer.

(c) If the board decides to award a monetary benefit, the benefit shall be paid to the surviving spouse or, if the firefighter had no spouse at the time of death, to the surviving child, or equally among surviving children. If the deceased firefighter is not survived by a spouse or child, the benefit shall be paid to a surviving parent, or equally between surviving parents. If the deceased firefighter is not survived by a spouse, children, or parents, the board shall not award a monetary benefit under this chapter.

(d) Upon a board decision to award a monetary benefit under this chapter, the treasurer shall make payment to the beneficiaries as described in subsection (c) of this section.

(e) The state treasurer’s office shall provide staff, office space, and any other reasonable and necessary resources to the board.

(f) The member of the public appointed by the governor shall be entitled to per diem compensation authorized under section 1010 of Title 32 for each day spent in the performance of his or her duties.

§ 3173. MONETARY BENEFIT

(a) The survivors of a firefighter who dies while in the line of duty or from an occupational-related illness may apply for a payment of $50,000.00 from the state.

(b) The state treasurer shall disburse from the trust fund established in section 3175 of this title the monetary benefit described in subsection (a) of this section, and shall adopt necessary procedures for the disbursement of such funds. The state treasurer shall not disburse money from the fund without the approval of the joint fiscal committee if the disbursement would create a negative balance in the fund.

§ 3174. BOARD STANDARDS; GUIDELINES; PROCEDURES

(a) The board shall adopt standards, guidelines, and procedures for:

(1) determining whether and how monetary benefits shall be paid under this chapter;

(2) what information must initially be filed with a claim under this chapter; and

(3) administering the provisions of this chapter.

(b) Standards, guidelines, and procedures adopted under this section shall be exempt from the requirements of chapter 25 of Title 3.

§ 3175. FIREFIGHTERS’ SURVIVORS BENEFIT EXPENDABLE TRUST FUND

(a) The firefighters’ survivors benefit expendable trust fund is established in the office of the state treasurer for the purpose of the payment of claims distributed pursuant to this chapter. The trust fund shall be comprised of appropriations made by the general assembly and contributions or donations from any other source. All balances in the fund at the end of the fiscal year shall be carried forward. Interest earned shall remain in the fund.

(b) The treasurer’s annual financial report to the governor and the general assembly shall contain an accounting of receipts, disbursements and earnings of the fund, and a recommended appropriation to the fund for the upcoming fiscal year.

Sec. 2. 32 V.S.A. § 1010(a)(29) is added to read:

(29) Firefighters’ survivor benefit review board.

Sec. 3. APPROPRIATION

The sum of $60,000.00 is appropriated from the general fund in fiscal year 2003 to the Firefighters’ Survivors Benefit Expendable Trust Fund, established under section 3175 of Title 20. Of this amount, $50,000.00 shall be used for the distribution of monetary benefits as described in chapter 181 of Title 20 and $10,000.00 shall be used by the State Treasurer’s Office for the payment of advertising expenses and per diem expenses of the public member of the board.

Sec. 4. EFFECTIVE DATE; APPLICATION

This act shall take effect on July 1, 2002, and shall only apply to claims arising on or after that date.

The bill, having appeared on the Calendar one day for notice, was taken up and read the second time.

Pending the question, Shall the House propose to the Senate to amend the bill as recommended by the committee on Government Operations? Rep. Waite of Pawlet moved that the report of the committee on Appropriations be substituted for the report of the committee on Government Operations.

Which was agreed to.

Thereupon, the report of the committee on Appropriations, which had been substituted for the report of the committee on Government Operations, was agreed to and third reading ordered.

Joint Concurrent Resolution Read and Adopted

J.C.R.H. 34

Upon request of Rep. Milkey of Brattleboro, the following resolution was read and adopted on the part of the House:

Joint concurrent resolution designating May 22 as National Senior Service Day in Vermont

Offered by: Representatives Milkey of Brattleboro, Bolognani of Readsboro, Brooks of Montpelier, Carey of Chester, Colvin of Bennington, Darrow of Newfane, Darrow of Dummerston, Deen of Westminster, Doyle of Richmond, Emmons of Springfield, Heath of Westford, Hube of Londonderry, Hummel of Underhill, Keenan of St. Albans City, Miller of Shaftsbury, Morrissey of Bennington, Nitka of Ludlow, Nuovo of Middlebury, Obuchowski of Rockingham, Paquin of Fairfax, Partridge of Windham, Quaid of Williston, Randall of Bradford, Starr of Troy, Sweaney of Windsor, Symington of Jericho, Towne of Berlin, Vincent of Waterbury, Vinton of Colchester, Webster of Brattleboro, Webster of Randolph, Wheeler of Burlington and Wright of Burlington

Whereas, May has been designated as Older Americans Month, and

Whereas, the observance of this event calls public attention to the contributions members of the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), the Foster Grandparent Program (FGP) and the Senior Companion Program (SCP) make as volunteers to our Vermont communities, and

Whereas, more than 4,168 RSVP, FGP and SCP volunteers unselfishly contributed more than 577,635 hours of service through 947 nonprofit organizations in Vermont, which amount translates into the equivalent of $8,029,127.00 in volunteer services to the state of Vermont, and

Whereas, RSVP, FGP and SCP volunteers serve more than 2,883 children as school tutors and mentors, and also serve the elderly and frail as tax counselors, drivers, and in other ways which help them to live independently, and

Whereas, serving and making a difference to others has been proven to keep the body active, the mind sharp and the spirit alive, each of which is a key ingredient for successful aging which, in turn, helps to delay health care needs, and

Whereas, RSVP, FGP, and SCP members demonstrate that one is never too old to learn, to grow, and to give, now therefore be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

That the General Assembly designates May 22, 2002 as National Senior Service Day in Vermont, and be it further

Resolved: That the Secretary of State be directed to send a copy of this resolution to each of the National Senior Service Corps Programs in the State of Vermont.

Recess

At ten o’clock and fifteen minutes in the forenoon, the Speaker declared a recess until the fall of the gavel.

Message from the Senate No. 75

A message was received from the Senate by Mr. Gibson, its Secretary, as follows:

Mr. Speaker:

I am directed to inform the House that the Senate has considered a bill originating in the House of the following title:

H. 760. An act relating to compensation and benefits for certain state employees, and the creation of a process for review of compensation and benefits adjustments.

And has passed the same in concurrence with proposals of amendment in the adoption of which the concurrence of the House is requested.

The Senate has considered the report of the Committee of Conference upon the disagreeing votes of the two Houses upon Senate bill of the following title:

S. 156. An act relating to breastfeeding.

And has accepted and adopted the same on its part.

Pursuant to the request of the House for a Committee of Conference on the disagreeing votes of the two Houses on House bill entitled:

H. 8. An act relating to exempting from the sign law certain agriculture-related signs.

The President pro tempore announced the appointment as members of such Committee on the part of the Senate:

Senator Kittell

Senator Lyons

Senator Maynard

 

Afternoon

At two o’clock and thirty-five minutes in the afternoon, the Speaker called the House to order.

Adjournment

At two o’clock and thirty-eight minutes in the forenoon, on motion of Rep. LaBarge of Grand Isle, the House adjourned until tomorrow at nine o’clock and thirty minutes in the forenoon.

Joint Concurrent Resolutions Adopted

The following Joint concurrent resolutions, having been placed on the Consent Calendar on the preceding legislative day, and no member having requested floor consideration as provided by the Joint Rules of the Senate and House of Representatives, is hereby adopted in concurrence

J.C.R.H. 30

Joint concurrent resolution in memory of Justin Brande;

J.C.R.H. 31

Joint concurrent resolution in memory of Thomas Winship;

J.C.R.H. 32

Joint concurrent resolution congratulating Ryan McCarthy of St. Albans Boy Scout Troop #70 upon attainment of the rank of Eagle Scout;

J.C.R.H. 33

Joint concurrent resolution congratulating expressing appreciation to the Franklin County Rest Area Task Force;

J.C.R.H. 34

Joint concurrent resolution designating May 22 as National Senior Service Day in Vermont;

J.C.R.S. 4.

Joint concurrent resolution congratulating Travis J. Papineau of Boy Scout Troop #709 upon attainment of the rank of Eagle Scout;

J.C.R.S. 5.

Joint concurrent resolution congratulating Richard "Dick" Aubuchon on his retirement as Superintendent of the Orleans Central Supervisory Union;

J.C.R.S. 6.

Joint concurrent resolution honoring Don "Bud" Villemaire of Essex for his spirit of remembrance;

J.C.R.S. 7.

Joint concurrent resolution congratulating William Graham on retirement as Windham County Sheriff;

[The full text of the Joint concurrent resolutions appeared in the House Calendar on the preceding legislative day and will appear in the volume of the Public Acts and Resolves to be published for this adjourned session of the sixty-sixth adjourned session.]