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Journal of the Senate

TUESDAY, JANUARY 28, 1997

The Senate was called to order by the President.

Devotional Exercises

Devotional exercises were conducted by the Reverend Bernard Bourgeois of Barre.

Pledge of Allegiance

The President then led the members of the Senate in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Bills Introduced

Senate bills of the following titles were severally introduced, read the first time and referred:

By Senators Rivers, Mazza, Bahre and Hooker,

S. 56. An act relating to school buses.

To the Committee on Transportation.

By Senators Ready and Canns,

S. 57. An act relating to tax exemption for military pay.

To the Committee on Finance.

By Senators Doyle, Ankeney, Barry and Ehrich,

S. 58. An act relating to the size of the board that advises on children and adolescents with a severe emotional disturbance and their families.

To the Committee on Health and Welfare.

By Senators Ide, Mazza, Bahre and Hooker,

S. 59. An act relating to motor vehicle registrations.

To the Committee on Transportation.

By Senators Kittell, Canns, Costes, Greenwood, Hooker, Illuzzi, McCormack,Ready, Rivers and Sears,

S. 60. An act relating to Madeline Manahan.

To the Committee on Transportation.

By Senators Illuzzi, Bloomer, Costes, McCormack, Ready and Rivers,

S. 61. An act relating to confidentiality of personal and financial records filed in family court.

To the Committee on Judiciary.

By Senators Shumlin, Bartlett, Brownell, Cummings, Greenwood and Spaulding,

S. 62. An act relating to electric industry restructuring.

To the Committee on General Affairs and Housing.

By Senator Doyle,

S. 63. An act relating to the office of state treasurer.

To the Committee on Government Operations.

Joint Resolution Referred

Joint Senate resolution of the following title was offered, read the first time and is as follows:

By Senators McCormack, Ready, Ptashnik, Rivers, Spaulding and Bartlett,

J.R.S. 12. Joint resolution relating to EPA’s Mercury Report to Congress, United States stockpile sales of mercury, regulation of mercury hazardous waste and other matters.

Whereas, there has been a two-to-threefold global increase in mercury in the environment since the 1850’s, increases of three times have been found in wilderness areas of the United States, and much higher increases have been found in developed areas of the United States, and

Whereas, mercury is truly a state, national and international concern because mercury is atmospherically transported indiscriminately across political boundaries, and

Whereas, atmospheric deposition resulting from human activities, including area sources, waste disposal and fossil fuel burning, contributes to mercury loading in the environment, and

Whereas, mercury is a persistent bioaccumulative toxic substance that presents particular problems in aquatic systems, and

Whereas, human consumption advisories have been issued in at least 1,500 water bodies in 36 states, including Vermont, because of high levels of mercury contamination in fish, resulting in losses to tourism and fishing industries and related activities, and

Whereas, according to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates, each year in the United States between 80,000 and 85,000 pregnant women are exposed to mercury levels high enough to produce risk to their children, and

Whereas, the EPA’s Mercury Report to Congress, required by the Clean Air Act to be completed by 1994, represents the best information in the world on the use, generation and disposal of mercury, and

Whereas, the EPA effectively completed the draft report in 1995, but has delayed submittal of the mercury report to Congress until 1999, and

Whereas, there are known substitutes for most mercury-containing products and devices, except for high-efficiency lighting, and

Whereas, over one-half billion mercury-containing lamps are annually generated in the United States, representing one of the largest sources of mercury in municipal waste streams, and typical waste management practices involve compaction before and during disposal, and

Whereas, landfill air emissions test data for mercury is lacking in Vermont, the northeast and nationally, and

Whereas, the EPA is simultaneously establishing maximum achievable control technologies for mercury sources pursuant to the Clean Air Act, proposing tightening water quality criteria for mercury under the Clean Water Act, placing priority on mercury-contaminated superfund sites, but is proposing to exempt mercury-containing lamps from hazardous waste regulations, and

Whereas, the U. S. government owns in excess of 11 million pounds of mercury in Department of Defense (DOD) and Department of Energy (DOE) stockpiles, and

Whereas, the entire U. S. mercury stockpile has been declared excess to U.S. needs and has been slated for sale on the world market through the Defense National Stockpile of the DOD, and

Whereas, the State of Vermont is committed to mercury recycling and the elimination of nonessential uses of mercury as its top priority, and

Whereas, state and federal governments have taken many actions to reduce mercury in the environment, now therefore be it

RESOLVED BY THE SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:

That it is the sense of the General Assembly that the EPA should officially release the Mercury Report to Congress forthwith, and be it further

RESOLVED: That the General Assembly urges the EPA to conduct landfill air emission tests for mercury in the northeast and nationally, and be it further

RESOLVED: That the General Assembly urges the EPA not to exempt mercury-containing lamps from hazardous waste regulations, but instead to adopt universal waste rules that foster mercury recycling, and be it further

RESOLVED: That the General Assembly opposes future U.S. mercury stockpile sales, and calls for a permanent halt to sales.

Thereupon, the President, in his discretion, treated the joint resolution as a bill and it was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources and Energy.

Bill Passed

Senate bill of the following title was read the third time and passed:

S. 19. An act relating to designating a portion of Route 22A as the Kayhart Crossing.

Bill Amended; Third Reading Ordered

Senator Illuzzi, for the Committee on Judiciary, to which was referred Senate bill entitled:

S. 13. An act relating to emancipation of minors.

Reported recommending that the bill be amended by striking out all after the enacting clause and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Sec. 1. 4 V.S.A. § 311 is amended to read:

§ 311. JURISDICTION GENERALLY

The probate court shall have jurisdiction of the probate of wills, the settlement of estates, trusts created by will, trusts of absent person's estates, charitable, cemetery and philanthropic trusts, the appointment of guardians, and of the powers, duties and rights of guardians and wards, relinquishment for adoption, adoptions, uniform gifts to minors, changes of name, issuance of new birth certificates, amendment of birth certificates, correction or amendment of marriage certificates, correction or amendment of death certificates, emergency waiver ofpremarital medical certificates, proceedings relating to cemetery lots, trusts relating to community mausoleums or columbariums, proceedings relating to the conveyance of a homestead interest of an insane spouse, the issuance of declaratory judgments, issuance of certificates of public good authorizing the marriage of persons under sixteen years of age, appointment of administrators to discharge mortgages held by deceased mortgagees, appointment of trustees for persons confined under sentences of imprisonment, fixation of compensation and expenses of boards of arbitrators of death taxes of Vermont domiciliaries, emancipation of minors, and as otherwise provided by law.

Sec. 2. 12 V.S.A. § 7152 is amended to read:

§ 7152. JURISDICTION; INTERSTATE AND INTERNATIONAL DECREES AND ORDERS

(a) The probate court shall have exclusive jurisdiction over all proceedings concerning the emancipation of minors.

(b) The jurisdiction granted by this section shall be limited by the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (chapter 19 of Title 15), if another state has jurisdiction as provided in that act. For the purposes of interpreting that act and any other provision of law which refers to a custodial parent, including but not limited to section 2451 of Title 13, the parent with physical responsibility shall be considered the custodial parent.

Sec. 3. 12 V.S.A. § 7153(b) is amended to read:

(b) A minor may not file a petition under subsection (a) of this section unless the minor has lived in Vermont for *[three]* six months or longer.

Sec. 4. 12 V.S.A. § 7154(a) and (b) are amended to read:

(a) Upon the filing of the petition, the court shall:

(1) notify the office of child support that a petition has been filed and forward a copy of the petition with the notice;

(2) check with the court administrator to determine if the child is the subject of a foreign custody decree or an interstate or international custody decree;

(3) schedule a hearing.

(b) The minor’s parents, guardian *[or]*, and any other person charged with the custody of the minor shall be parties to the proceedings and shall be given an opportunity to be heard.

Sec. 5. 12 V.S.A. § 7155 is amended to read:

§ 7155. FINDINGS; ORDER OF EMANCIPATION

(a) After completion of the hearing and consideration of the record, the court shall make findings and issue its order. If the court finds that the minor meets the criteria in subsection 7151(b) of this chapter and that emancipation would be in the best interests of the minor, the court shall forthwith issue an order of emancipation.

(b) At the time of the hearing under this section the court shall consider the best interest of the minor in accordance with the following criteria:

(1) emancipation will not create a risk of harm to the minor;

(2) the likelihood the minor will be able to assume adult responsibilities;

(3) the minor’s adjustment to living separate and apart from his or her parents, guardian, or custodian;

(4) the opinion and recommendations of the minor’s parents, guardian or custodian.

(c) In ascertaining the best interests of the minor under this section, the court shall consider the appointment of a guardian ad litem.

(d) *[Any order of guardianship or custody shall be vacated before the court may issue an order of emancipation. Other]* Upon notice to the parties and after an opportunity to be heard, orders of the family or probate court may be vacated, modified or continued in this proceeding if such action is necessary to effectuate the order of emancipation. Child support orders relating to the support of the minor shall be vacated, except for the duty to make past-due payments for child support, which, under all circumstances, shall remain enforceable.

(e) The court may require an emancipated minor to report periodically to the court or to another person specified by the court, regarding the minor’s compliance with the provisions of section 7151(b) of this title. Failure to report as required may result in the emancipation order being vacated upon notice to the parties. If the emancipation order is vacated, any order that was vacated or modified under subsection (d) of this section shall be reinstated.

(f) An order of emancipation shall be conclusive evidence that the minor is emancipated and shall be considered a final order for all purposes, including full faith and credit recognition, unless vacated pursuant to subsection (e) of this section.

Sec. 6. 12 V.S.A. § 7155(g) is added to read:

(g) An order of emancipation shall conform to and comply with the provisions of the Parental Kidnaping and Protection Act (28 U.S.C. § 1738A), the Full Faithand Credit for Child Support Orders Act (28 U.S.C.§ 1738B), and the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (chapter 19 of Title 15).

Sec. 7. REPEAL

4 V.S.A. § 454(16) (family court jurisdiction over emancipation of minors) is repealed.

And that when so amended the bill ought to pass.

Thereupon, the bill was read the second time by title only pursuant to Rule 43, the recommendation of amendment was agreed to, and third reading of the bill was ordered.

Report of Special Select Committee on Elections Accepted and Adopted; Petition of Thomas G. Macaulay Denied; Election of Senator Hull P. Maynard, Jr. Affirmed

Senator Bartlett, as Chair of the Special Select Committee on Elections, established pursuant to the provisions of S.R. 5 to investigate the contested senatorial election for Rutland District, and with unanimous consent of this special select committee, submitted the following report:

REPORT OF SPECIAL SELECT COMMITTEE ON ELECTIONS

TO THE HONORABLE SENATE:

The Special Select Committee on Elections to which was referred the Petition submitted by Thomas G. Macaulay of Rutland challenging the election and seating of Hull Maynard as a Senator from Rutland District, has investigated this matter pursuant to the provisions of S.R. 5 and respectfully submits the following report:

The Special Select Committee on Elections recommends that the Senate find that Hull Maynard has been duly elected and is qualified to represent Rutland District as a member of the Senate and further, that the prayers for relief contained in the Petition submitted by Thomas G. Macaulay of Rutland as filed on December 27, 1996, and as amended on December 30, 1996, be denied.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Thereupon, the question, Shall the report of the Special Select Committee on Elections be accepted and adopted by the full Senate? was decided in the affirmative.

Adjournment

On motion of Senator Shumlin, the Senate adjourned until one o’clock and thirty minutes in the afternoon on Wednesday, January 29, 1997.