Senate Calendar

wednesday, march 1, 2006

58th DAY OF ADJOURNED SESSION

TABLE OF CONTENTS

                                                                                                                Page No.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS OF FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2006

Second Reading

Favorable with Recommendation of Amendment

S. 228     Relating to price gouging for petroleum products................................ 441

                  Ec. Dev., Housing & General Affairs Committee Report................. 441

                  Finance Committee Report............................................................ 445

UNFINISHED BUSINESS OF TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2006

Second Reading

Favorable with Proposal of Amendment

H. 544    Relating to the process for locating and altering municipal lines........... 449

                  Government Operations Committee Report.................................... 449

NEW BUSINESS

Third Reading

S. 194     Sealing juvenile records relating to a delinquent act............................ 450

S. 218     Motor vehicle retail installment sales contracts................................... 450

Second Reading

Favorable

H. 665    Permitting tastings of alcoholic beverages at Vermont events.............. 450

                  Ec. Dev., Housing & General Affairs Committee Report................. 450

                  Finance Committee Report............................................................ 450

Second Reading

Favorable with Recommendation of Amendment

S. 51       Relating to disability retirement benefits for state employees............... 450

                  Government Operations Committee Report.................................... 450

                  Appropriations Committee Report................................................. 453

S. 188     Financial literacy & asset building of low income Vermonters............. 453

                  Health and Welfare Committee Report........................................... 453


NOTICE CALENDAR

Favorable with Recommendation of Amendment

S. 106     Beverage container handler’s fee....................................................... 454

                  Economic Dev., Housing & Gen. Affairs Committee Report........... 454

                  Finance Committee Report............................................................ 455

                  Appropriations Committee Report................................................. 458

S. 125     Relating to chiropractic coverage in Medicaid and VHAP.................. 458

                  Health and Welfare Committee Report........................................... 458

S. 310     Common sense initiatives in health care.............................................. 459                              Appropriations Committee Report........................................................................................... 459

Favorable with Proposal of Amendment

H. 237    Relating to emergency contraception................................................. 459

                  Health and Welfare Committee Report........................................... 459

H. 715    Relating to the eradication of cervical cancer...................................... 460

                  Health and Welfare Committee Report........................................... 460

ORDERED TO LIE

S. 112     Relating to the practice of optometry................................................. 461

S. 157     Relating to rulemaking for Vermont origin.......................................... 462

 



 

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ACTION CALENDAR

UNFINISHED BUSINESS OF FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2006

Second Reading

Favorable with Recommendation of Amendment

S. 228

An act relating to price gouging for petroleum products.

Reported favorably with recommendation of amendment by Senator Mullin for the Committee on Economic Development, Housing, and General Affairs.

The Committee recommends that the bill be amended by striking out all after the enacting clause and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Sec. 1.  9 V.S.A. §§ 2461d, 2461e, and 2461f are added to read:

§ 2461d.  PRICE GOUGING OF PETROLEUM PRODUCTS AND HEATING FUEL PRODUCTS

(a)  (Purpose) The purpose of this section is to ensure that those entities involved in the sale or transfer of designated petroleum products do not take advantage of a purchaser during a market disruption.

(b)  (Definitions)  For the purposes of this section:

(1)  A “market emergency” shall be declared by the governor.  The market emergency shall continue for 30 days or until terminated by the governor.  The governor may extend the market emergency for additional 30‑day periods.  “Market emergency” means any abnormal disruption of any market for petroleum products or heating fuel products, including any actual or threatened shortage in the supply of petroleum products or heating fuel products or any actual or threatened increase in the price of petroleum products or heating fuel products resulting from severe weather, convulsion of nature, failure or shortage of electric power or other source of energy, strike, civil disorder, supply manipulation, act of war, terrorist attack, national or local emergency, or other extraordinary adverse circumstances. 

(2)  “Petroleum or heating fuel product” means motor fuels, liquefied petroleum gas, fuel oil, kerosene, and used for heating or cooking purposes.

(3)  “Petroleum or heating fuel-related business” means any producer, supplier, wholesaler, distributor, or retail seller of any petroleum or heating fuel product.

(c)  It is an unfair and deceptive act and practice in commerce and a violation of section 2453 of this title for any petroleum or heating-fuel related business during a market emergency to sell or offer to sell any petroleum product or heating-fuel product for an amount that represents an unconscionably high price.

(c)  A price is unconscionably high if:

(1)  the amount charged represents a gross disparity between the price of the petroleum product or heating-fuel product charged by the petroleum or heating-fuel related business and:

(A)  the price at which the same product was sold or offered for sale by that business in the usual course of business immediately prior to the date of the market emergency declaration; or

(B)  the price at which the same or similar petroleum product or heating-fuel product is readily obtainable by the buyer and other buyers in the trade area in which the petroleum or heating-fuel related business markets product; and

(2)  the disparity is not substantially attributable to increased prices charged by the petroleum product or heating-fuel product suppliers or increased costs due to a market emergency.

§ 2461e.  REQUIREMENTS FOR PRICE PROTECTION AND PREPAID CONTRACTS

(a)(1)  A contract for the retail sale of home heating oil, kerosene, or liquefied petroleum gas that offers a guaranteed price plan, including fixed price contracts and any other similar terms, shall be in writing, and the terms and conditions of such price plans shall be disclosed.  Such disclosure shall be in plain language and shall immediately follow the language concerning the price or service that could be affected and shall be printed in no less than 12‑point boldface type of uniform font.  A solicitation for the retail sale of home heating oil or liquefied petroleum gas that offers a guaranteed price plan that could become a contract upon a response from a consumer, including fixed price contracts and any other similar terms, shall be in writing, and the terms and conditions of such offer shall be disclosed in plain language.

(2)  Subdivision (1) of this subsection does not preclude a first-come, first-serve offering.

(b)(1)  No home heating oil, kerosene, or liquefied petroleum gas dealer shall enter into a prepaid contract to provide home heating oil, kerosene, or liquefied petroleum gas to a consumer unless that dealer has either:

(A)  (futures contract) within seven days of the acceptance of the contract obtained and maintained heating oil, kerosene, or liquefied petroleum gas contracts or other similar commitments that allow the dealer to purchase, at a fixed price, heating oil, kerosene, or liquefied petroleum gas in an amount not less than 75 percent of the maximum number of gallons that the dealer is committed to deliver pursuant to all prepaid contracts entered into by the dealer; or

(B)  (surety bond option) obtained and maintained a surety bond in an amount not less than 50 percent of the total amount of funds paid to the dealer by consumers pursuant to prepaid heating oil, kerosene, or liquefied petroleum gas contracts; or

(C)  (letter of credit) obtained and maintained a letter of credit in an amount not less than 100 percent of the total amount of funds paid to the dealer by consumers.

(2)  A dealer shall maintain the amount of futures contracts, the surety bond, or letter of credit required by this subsection for the period of time for which the prepaid home heating oil, kerosene, or liquefied petroleum gas contracts are effective, except that the amount of the futures contracts, surety bond, or letter of credit may be reduced during such period of time to reflect any amount of home heating oil, kerosene, or liquefied petroleum gas already delivered to and paid for by the consumer.

(c)(1)  (Disclosure) A prepaid home heating oil, kerosene, or liquefied petroleum gas contract shall indicate: 

(A)  the amount of funds paid by the consumer to the dealer under the contract;

(B)  the maximum number of gallons of home heating oil, kerosene, or liquefied petroleum gas committed by the dealer for delivery to the consumer pursuant to the contract; and

(C)  that the performance of the prepaid contract is secured by one of the three options described in subsection (b) of this section. 

(2)  (Reimbursement default provision) Any contract described in this subsection shall provide that the contract price of any undelivered home heating oil, kerosene, or liquefied petroleum gas owed to the consumer under the contract at the end date of the contract shall be reimbursed to the consumer not later than 30 days after the end date of the contract, unless the parties to the contract agree otherwise.

(d)  (Private right of action under consumer fraud act) In addition to the remedies set forth in sections 2458 and 2461 of this title, a home heating oil, kerosene, or liquefied petroleum gas dealer may bring an action against its heating oil, kerosene, or liquefied petroleum gas supplier for failing to honor its contract with the home heating oil, kerosene, or liquefied petroleum gas dealer.  The home heating oil, kerosene, or liquefied petroleum gas dealer bringing the action may recover all remedies available to consumers under subsection 2461(b) of this title.

§ 2461f.  NOTICE OF ACQUISITION OF GASOLINE, HEATING OIL, AND LIQUIFIED PETROLEUM GAS ASSETS

(a)  (Purpose)  The purpose of this section is to provide the attorney general's office with notice of proposed acquisitions or transfers that result in market concentration sufficient to be an unfair method of competition.

(b)  (Definitions)  As used in this section, unless the context otherwise indicates, the following terms have the following meanings.

(1)  “Gasoline sales” means the retail sale of internal combustion fuel for motor vehicles.

(2)  “Heating oil sales” means the retail sale of #2 fuel oil used for heating residential, industrial, or commercial space or water.

(3)  “Liquefied petroleum gas sales” means the retail sale of liquefied petroleum gas.

(c)  (Prohibition)  A person may not acquire, directly or indirectly, from a business engaged in gasoline sales, heating oil, or liquefied petroleum gas sales in this state, without prior notice as required under subsection (c) of this section:

(1)  controlling stock; or

(2)  substantial assets that include those used in gasoline sales, heating oil sales, or liquefied petroleum gas sales.

(d)  (Report)  The person acquiring stock or assets under subsection (b) of this section shall provide notice of this acquisition to the attorney general’s office at least 7 days prior to the date of acquisition.  The period may be shortened with the consent of the attorney general.

(e)  (Confidentiality)  Information received by the attorney general’s office as a result of this reporting requirement is confidential.

(f)  (Penalty)  Violation of this section is a civil violation for which a civil penalty not to exceed $10,000.00 may be assessed.

and that upon passage the title be amended to read "AN ACT RELATING TO PRICE GOUGING OF PETROLEUM PRODUCTS AND HEATING FUEL PRODUCTS, REQUIREMENTS FOR PRE-BUY CONTRACTS, AND NOTICE OF ACQUISITION"

(Committee vote: 6-0-0)

Reported favorably with recommendation of amendment by Senator Cummings for the Committee on Finance.

The Committee recommends that the bill be amended by striking out all after the enacting clause and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Sec. 1.  PURPOSE

The purpose of 9 V.S.A. § 2461d of this act is to ensure that those entities involved in the sale or transfer of designated petroleum products do not take advantage of a purchaser during a market emergency.

Sec. 2.  9 V.S.A. §§ 2461d, 2461e, and 2461f are added to read:

§ 2461d.  PRICE GOUGING OF PETROLEUM PRODUCTS AND HEATING FUEL PRODUCTS

(a)  Definitions.  For the purposes of this section:

(1)  A “market emergency” shall be declared by the governor.  The market emergency shall continue for 30 days or until terminated by the governor.  The governor may extend the market emergency for additional 30‑day periods.  “Market emergency” means any abnormal disruption of any market for petroleum products or heating fuel products, including any actual or threatened shortage in the supply of petroleum products or heating fuel products or any actual or threatened increase in the price of petroleum products or heating fuel products resulting from severe weather, convulsion of nature, failure or shortage of electric power or other source of energy, strike, civil disorder, act of war, terrorist attack, national or local emergency, or other extraordinary adverse circumstances. 

(2)  “Petroleum or heating fuel product” means motor fuels, liquefied petroleum gas, fuel oil, kerosene, and wood pellets used for heating or cooking purposes.

(3)  “Petroleum or heating fuel-related business” means any producer, supplier, wholesaler, distributor, or retail seller of any petroleum or heating fuel product.

(b)  It is an unfair and deceptive act and practice in commerce and a violation of section 2453 of this title for any petroleum or heating fuel-related business during a market emergency to sell or offer to sell any petroleum product or heating fuel product for an amount that represents an unconscionably high price.

(c)  A price is unconscionably high if:

(1)  the amount charged represents a gross disparity between the price of the petroleum product or heating fuel product charged by the petroleum or heating fuel related business and:

(A)  the price at which the same product was sold or offered for sale by that business in the usual course of business immediately prior to the date of the declaration of the market emergency; or

(B)  the price at which the same or similar petroleum product or heating fuel product is readily obtainable by the buyer and other buyers in the trade area in which the petroleum- or heating-fuel‑related business markets the product; and

(2)  the disparity is not substantially attributable to increased prices charged by the petroleum product or heating fuel product suppliers or increased costs due to a market emergency.

(d)  It shall be a rebuttable presumption that a price is unconscionably high if:

(1)  The difference between the amount charged for the petroleum product or heating fuel product and the cost at which the product was obtained by the seller during the shorter of 15 days or the length of the market emergency is more than 25 percent greater than the difference between the amount charged for the petroleum product or heating fuel product and the cost at which the product was obtained by the seller immediately prior to the market emergency; or

(2)  The difference between the amount charged for the petroleum product or heating fuel product during the shorter of 15 days or the length of the market emergency and the amount charged for the petroleum product or heating fuel product immediately prior to the market emergency is more than 25 percent.

(e)  In addition to the remedies set forth in sections 2458 and 2461 of this title, a petroleum or heating fuel-related business may bring an action for a violation of this section against its petroleum or heating fuel product suppliers.  The petroleum or heating fuel-related business bringing the action may recover all remedies available to consumers under subsection 2461(b) of this title.

§ 2461e.  REQUIREMENTS FOR PRICE PROTECTION AND PREPAID CONTRACTS

(a)(1)  A contract for the retail sale of home heating oil, kerosene, or liquefied petroleum gas that offers a guaranteed price plan, including fixed price contracts and any other similar terms, shall be in writing, and the terms and conditions of such price plans shall be disclosed.  Such disclosure shall be in plain language and shall immediately follow the language concerning the price or service that could be affected and shall be printed in no less than 12‑point boldface type of uniform font.  A solicitation for the retail sale of home heating oil or liquefied petroleum gas that offers a guaranteed price plan that could become a contract upon a response from a consumer, including fixed price contracts and any other similar terms, shall be in writing, and the terms and conditions of such offer shall be disclosed in plain language.

(2)  Subdivision (1) of this subsection does not preclude a first come, first served offering.

(b)(1)  No home heating oil, kerosene, or liquefied petroleum gas dealer shall enter into a prepaid contract to provide home heating oil, kerosene, or liquefied petroleum gas to a consumer unless that dealer has any one of the following:

(A)  within seven days of the acceptance of the contract obtained and maintained heating oil, kerosene, or liquefied petroleum gas contracts or other similar commitments that allow the dealer to purchase, at a fixed price, heating oil, kerosene, or liquefied petroleum gas in an amount not less than 75 percent of the maximum number of gallons that the dealer is committed to deliver pursuant to all prepaid contracts entered into by the dealer;

(B)  within seven days of the acceptance of the contract obtained and maintained a surety bond in an amount not less than 50 percent of the total amount of funds paid to the dealer by consumers pursuant to prepaid heating oil, kerosene, or liquefied petroleum gas contracts; or

(C)  within seven days of the acceptance of the contract obtained and maintained a letter of credit in an amount not less than 100 percent of the total amount of funds paid to the dealer by consumers.

(2)  A dealer shall maintain the amount of futures contracts, the amount of the surety bond, or the letter of credit required by this subsection for the period of time for which the prepaid home heating oil, kerosene, or liquefied petroleum gas contracts are effective, except that the amount of the futures contracts, surety bond, or letter of credit may be reduced during such period of time to reflect any amount of home heating oil, kerosene, or liquefied petroleum gas already delivered to and paid for by the consumer.

(3)  Subdivision (b)(1) of this section shall not apply to budget plans under which consumers pay 1/12th of their yearly heating fuel cost each month.

(c)(1)  A prepaid home heating oil, kerosene, or liquefied petroleum gas contract shall indicate: 

(A)  the amount of funds paid by the consumer to the dealer under the contract;

(B)  the maximum number of gallons of home heating oil, kerosene, or liquefied petroleum gas committed by the dealer for delivery to the consumer pursuant to the contract; and

(C)  that the performance of the prepaid contract is secured by one of the three options described in subsection (b) of this section. 

(2)  Any contract described in this subsection shall provide that the contract price of any undelivered home heating oil, kerosene, or liquefied petroleum gas owed to the consumer under the contract at the end date of the contract shall be reimbursed to the consumer not later than 30 days after the end date of the contract, unless the parties to the contract agree otherwise.

(d)  In addition to the remedies set forth in sections 2458 and 2461 of this title, a home heating oil, kerosene, or liquefied petroleum gas dealer may bring an action against its heating oil, kerosene, or liquefied petroleum gas suppliers for failing to honor its contract with the home heating oil, kerosene, or liquefied petroleum gas dealer.  The home heating oil, kerosene, or liquefied petroleum gas dealer bringing the action may recover all remedies available to consumers under subsection 2461(b) of this title.

§ 2461f.  NOTICE OF ACQUISITION OF GASOLINE, HEATING OIL, AND LIQUEFIED PETROLEUM GAS ASSETS

(a)  Definitions.  As used in this section, unless the context otherwise indicates, the following terms have the following meanings.

(1)  “Gasoline sales” means the retail sale of internal combustion fuel for motor vehicles.

(2)  “Heating oil sales” means the retail sale of #2 fuel oil used for heating residential, industrial, or commercial space or water.

(3)  “Liquefied petroleum gas sales” means the retail sale of liquefied petroleum gas.

(b)(1)  Prohibition.  A person may not acquire, directly or indirectly, from a business engaged in gasoline sales, heating oil sales, or liquefied petroleum gas sales in this state, without prior notice as required under subsection (c) of this section:

(A)  Controlling stock; or

(B)  Substantial assets that include those used in gasoline sales, heating oil sales, or liquefied petroleum gas sales.

(2)  Exemption.  Subdivision (b)(1) and subsection (c) shall not apply to acquisitions of substantial assets or controlling stock of a business that would come within subdivision (b)(1) solely because the business is engaged in retail gasoline sales to consumers at a fixed location, unless the acquirer owns retail gasoline assets within 10 miles of the business whose assets or controlling stock is being acquired.

(c)  Report.  The person acquiring stock or assets under subsection (b) of this section shall provide notice of this acquisition to the attorney general’s office at least 30 days prior to the date of acquisition.  That period may be shortened with the consent of the attorney general.

(d)  Confidentiality.  Information received by the attorney general’s office as a result of this reporting requirement is confidential.

(e)  Penalty.  Violation of this section is a civil violation for which a civil penalty not to exceed $10,000.00 may be assessed.

(Committee vote: 5-1-1)

UNFINISHED BUSINESS OF TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2006

Second Reading

Favorable with Proposal of Amendment

H. 544

An act relating to the process for locating and altering municipal lines.

Reported favorably with recommendation of proposal of amendment by Senator Condos for the Committee on Government Operations.

The Committee recommends that the Senate propose to the House to amend the bill as follows:

First:  In Sec. 1, 24 V.S.A. § 1461(a), by striking out the third sentence in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new sentence to read as follows: “Following the meetings, the legislative bodies shall conduct a, or ratify an existing, survey of the municipal line and file certified copies of the minutes of the meetings, the survey, and a list of property owners, the legal location of whose property is changed by the agreement with the secretary of state, the clerk of each of the municipalities, and the Vermont enhanced 911 board.

Second:  In Sec. 1, 24 V.S.A. § 1461(g), by striking out the word “subdivisions” and inserting in lieu thereof the word subsections

(Committee Vote: 6-0-0)

(For House amendments, see House Journal for May 25, 2005, page 1376.)

NEW BUSINESS

Third Reading

S. 194

An act relating to sealing juvenile records relating to a delinquent act.

S. 218

An act relating to motor vehicle retail installment sales contracts.

Second Reading

Favorable

H. 665

An act relating to promoting gourmet food and beverage products by permitting tastings of alcoholic beverages at Vermont food and wine events.

Reported favorably by Senator Mullin for the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs.

(Committee vote: 6-0-0)

Reported favorably by Senator MacDonald for the Committee on Finance.

(Committee vote: 5-0-2)

(For House amendments, see House Journal for February 7, 2006, page 238)

Favorable with Recommendation of Amendment

S. 51

An act relating to disability retirement benefits for state employees.

Reported favorably with recommendation of amendment by Senator Kitchel for the Committee on Government Operations.

The Committee recommends that the bill be amended by striking out all after the enacting clause and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Sec. 1.  FINDINGS; INTENT

(a)  The general assembly finds that:

(1)  The disability retirement system for state employees found in chapter 16 of Title 3 requires an injured employee to choose between disability retirement benefits and workers’ compensation benefits for temporary disability (pursuant to chapter 9 of Title 21).  Eligible employees, who wish to collect disability retirement benefits to provide a stream of income while they are unable to work and who want to continue their health care coverage are required to forfeit their right to appeal the denial of their workers’ compensation benefits.

(2)  The disability retirement system for state employees found in chapter 16 of Title 3 requires a catastrophically injured employee to choose between disability retirement benefits and permanent total workers’ compensation benefits beyond 330 weeks, up to lifetime (pursuant to chapter 9 of Title 21).  If a workers’ compensation claim is denied and the employee has to accept disability retirement to have an income while he or she appeals the workers’ compensation claim, the employee would be waiving significant future workers’ compensation benefits with no ability to choose the higher workers’ compensation benefit if the claim is ultimately determined to be compensable.

(b)  By this act, the general assembly intends to allow an eligible employee to accept disability retirement benefits during the pendency of the employee’s compensation appeal.  Upon resolution of the workers’ compensation claim, the employee would either continue in the disability retirement or resume his or her employee status and receive workers’ compensation benefits which the employee would have received if the claim had been accepted at the outset.  While an employee will still waive access to workers’ compensation benefits under Title 21 in excess of 330 weeks if the employee chooses to accept disability retirement benefits, this waiver applies only to the period after 330 weeks of permanent partial or permanent total disability benefits have been paid.  An employee may receive both disability retirement and permanent partial or permanent total benefits under the workers’ compensation system for up to 330 weeks. 

(c)  By this act the general assembly does not intend to enable the concurrent receipt of retirement disability benefits and temporary workers’ compensation disability benefits or permanent total benefits beyond 330 weeks.

Sec. 2.  3 V.S.A. § 466 is amended to read:

§ 466. OFFSETS Coordination of disability retirement benefits with workers' compensation BENEFITS

Acceptance of disability retirement benefits under this chapter shall act as a waiver of any additional claim under sections 642 or 646 of Title 21 or any additional claim for benefits in excess of 330 weeks under sections 644 and 645 of Title 21.

(a)  Disability pension and annuity retirement benefits payable under this chapter shall not commence until workers' compensation benefits have been exhausted under sections 642 or 646 of Title 21.

(b)  Notwithstanding subsection (a) of this section, disability retirement benefits payable under this chapter shall be paid to a member who applies for and meets all of the eligibility criteria for disability retirement under section 460 or 461 of this title, has filed a claim for temporary disability workers' compensation benefits under section 642 or 646 of Title 21, and for whom no such benefits have been or are being paid pursuant to any of these sections.  If the disability retiree receives temporary workers’ compensation benefits pursuant to sections 642 or 646 of Title 21, disability retirement pension and annuity benefit payments shall cease immediately and the retiree shall be immediately restored to his or her employment position and status as existed immediately preceding separation from service as an employee, including restoration of all benefits that existed at that time.  Acceptance of disability retirement benefits prior to being restored to state service shall not act as a waiver under subsection (d) of this section.

(c)  No employee shall concurrently receive both disability retirement benefits payable under this chapter and workers' compensation benefits payable under sections 642 or 646 of Title 21.  If an employee receives disability retirement pension and annuity benefits and later receives an award for temporary disability workers’ compensation benefits for the same period, the Vermont state retirement system shall have a lien against any retroactive workers' compensation award under sections 642 or 646 of Title 21 for the same period that the employee received disability retirement benefits in the amount of the disability retirement pension and annuity benefits paid.  Any recovery under sections 642 or 646 of Title 21 against the employer or the employer’s workers' compensation insurance carrier shall, after deducting expenses of recovery, reimburse the Vermont state retirement system for disability retirement pension and annuity benefits for all retroactive periods of time included in the recovery.  The state treasurer shall notify the department of buildings and general services when a disability retirement application is approved for an employee who has filed a workers compensation claim.  The department of buildings and general services or its workers’ compensation insurance carrier, shall notify the state treasurer of commencement or termination of any workers’ compensation payments or awards to an employee who has been reported by the state treasurer as eligible to receive disability retirement benefit. 

(d)  An employee who chooses to accept disability retirement benefits payable under this chapter, except as otherwise described under this section and subsection (b) of this section, shall waive any claim for benefits in excess of 330 weeks under sections 644 and 645 of Title 21.  Under this subsection, an employee may receive benefits from both systems simultaneously for up to 330 weeks.  Prior to actual payment of disability retirement benefits, the disability retiree shall make an election of what benefit he or she wants to receive after 330 weeks by indicating on a form provided by the state treasurer at the time of application.  The form shall advise the disability retiree in conspicuous print that he or she may wish to consult with legal counsel prior to making the election.

(Committee vote: 5-0-1)

Reported without recommendation by Senator Kitchel for the Committee on Appropriations.

(Committee Vote: 6-0-1

S. 188

An act relating to the financial literacy and asset building of low income Vermonters.

Reported favorably with recommendation of amendment by Senator White for the Committee on Health and Welfare.

The Committee recommends that the bill be amended by striking out Secs. 2 and 3 in their entirety and inserting a new Sec. 2 to read:

Sec. 2.  33 V.S.A. § 1101(27) is amended to read:

(27)  "Work activities" means the following activities limited to the extent and degree that they are allowed and countable in accordance with

Part A of Title IV of the Social Security Act:

* * *

(L)  the provision, consistent with the department's rules applicable to self-employment, of child care services to an individual who is participating in a community service program; and

(M)  attendance at a financial literacy class; and

(M)(N)  any other work activity recognized in accordance with Part A of Title IV of the Social Security Act as amended.

(Committee vote: 4-0-3)

NOTICE CALENDAR

Favorable with Recommendation of Amendment

S. 106

An act relating to increasing the beverage container handler’s fee and providing that unclaimed beverage container deposits shall be paid into the solid waste management assistance fund.

Reported favorably with recommendation of amendment by Senator Illuzzi for the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs, upon commitment.

The Committee recommends that the bill be amended by striking out all after the enacting clause and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Sec. 1.  BOTTLE BILL EXPANSION; STUDY AND REPORT

(a) A committee consisting of nine members shall undertake a study and make recommendations regarding improved implementation and expansion of chapter 53 of Title 10, the Bottle Bill.  The Agency of Natural Resources shall provide administrative support to the committee.  The committee shall consist of the following nine members:

     (1)  The Secretary of Natural Resources or designee, who shall be chair of the committee.

(2)  A representative of beverage retailers.

(3)  A representative of beverage distributors.

(4)  A representative of beverage manufacturers.

(5)  A representative of beverage redemption centers.

(6)  A representative of solid waste districts.

(7)  Two representatives from environmental protection organizations.

(8)  A member from the Department of Liquor Control.

(b)  The committee shall study chapter 53 of Title 10 and issue a report on its findings and recommendations for improvement no later than January 15, 2006, to the House Committee on General, Housing and Military Affairs and the House and Senate Committees on Natural Resources and Energy.  At a minimum the report shall include the following:

(1)  The scope of beverages that should be included.

(2)  The amount of the deposit for those beverages.

(3)  The amount of the handling fee for those beverage containers.

(4)  What to do with unredeemed deposits collected on those beverage containers.

(5)  The feasibility and effectiveness of the current system, and administrative and legislative changes to improve it.

(Committee vote: 5-0-1)

Reported favorably with recommendation of amendment by Senator MacDonald for the Committee on Finance.

The Committee recommends that the bill be amended by striking out all after the enacting clause and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Sec. 1.  10 V.S.A. § 1521 is amended to read:

§ 1521. DEFINITIONS

For the purpose of this chapter:

* * *

(8) "Refillable" means a beverage container which can be refilled at least five times and is so certified by type by the secretary.

(9) "Secretary" means the secretary of the agency of natural resources.

(10)(9) "Mixed wine drink" means a beverage containing wine and more than 15 percent added plain, carbonated or sparkling water; and which contains added natural or artificial blended material, such as fruit juices, flavors, flavoring, adjuncts, coloring or preservatives; which contains not more than 16 percent alcohol by volume; or other similar product marketed as a wine cooler.

(11)(10)  "Liquor" means spirits as defined in 7 V.S.A. § 2.

Sec. 2.  10 V.S.A. § 1522(b) and (d) are amended to read:

(b)  A retailer or a person operating a redemption center who redeems beverage containers shall be reimbursed by the manufacturer or distributor of such beverage containers in an amount which is at least the greater of two cents per container or 20 percent of the amount of the deposit returned to the consumer three and one-half cents per container.

(d)  The secretary shall prepare and print suitable posters for sale, at cost, to persons who wish to post the hours during which containers will be redeemed at their places of business.  Containers shall be redeemed during no fewer than 40 hours per week during the regular operating hours of the establishment.  The poster shall be substantially in the following form:

NOTICE TO CUSTOMERS

In accordance with the provisions of section 1523(a) of Title 10, Vermont Statutes Annotated, this store will redeem clean beverage containers during the following 40 or more hours of each week:

Monday _____________________________________________________

Tuesday _____________________________________________________   

Wednesday ___________________________________________________

Thursday _____________________________________________________

Friday _______________________________________________________

 Saturday _____________________________________________________

Sunday_______________________________________________________

                                                                       (Name of store or establishment)

                                                                      (Operator, manager, or owner)

Sec. 3.  10 V.S.A. § 1523 is amended to read:

§ 1523.  ACCEPTANCE OF BEVERAGE CONTAINERS

(a)  Except as provided in section 1522 of this title:

* * *

(2) A manufacturer or distributor may not refuse to accept from a retailer that sells its product or a person operating a certified redemption center any empty beverage containers of the kind, size and brand sold by the manufacturer or distributor, or refuse to pay the retailer or a person operating a redemption center the refund value of a beverage container as established by section 1522 of this title.

* * *

(c)  A retailer or a person operating a redemption center may refuse to redeem beverage containers which that are not clean or which are broken, or were not purchased in Vermont.

* * *

(e)  The secretary shall, upon due notice to notify the public and other affected parties, hold a public hearing upon regarding the petition.  After investigation and hearing, the The secretary, after determination of need and service to be provided by the establishment of a proposed redemption center, shall issue his order a certification authorizing the distributors or retailers affected and servicing the community or area involved to establish a redemption center or alternate method of redemption, or shall deny the petition if found adverse to the public need.

(f)  The secretary shall not certify a new redemption center from July 1, 2006 through July 1, 2007 unless the area is currently underserved.

Sec. 4.  10 V.S.A. § 1525 is amended to read:

§ 1525.  PROHIBITIONS

* * *

(b)  No beverage, as defined in subdivision (1) of section 1521 of this chapter, other than liquor, shall be sold or offered for sale at retail in this state in a glass beverage container which has not been certified as refillable by the secretary.

(c) The secretary of natural resources may exempt specific products from subdivision (1) of subsection (a) of this section for so long as existing technology does not permit compliance for those products.

(c)  No distributor shall sell or offer for sale in this state a brand of beverage in a beverage container labeled as provided in subsection (a) of this section if that distributor sells that beverage container containing that brand in a state that does not have a deposit-redemption system similar to the one established by this chapter and that is adjacent to this state.  A distributor that violates this subsection is prohibited from selling or offering those beverages for sale in this state until the violation is corrected.

(d)  No person shall knowingly attempt to redeem a container to a retailer or a redemption center for deposit return if that container was purchased outside this state.

Sec. 5.  REPEAL

10 V.S.A. § 1524(d) (relating to sale of beverages with required labels) is repealed.

Sec. 6.  BOTTLE BILL WORKING COMMITTEE; AGENCY OF NATURAL RESOURCES

The secretary of natural resources with the cooperation and assistance of representatives of distributors, retailers, and redemption center owners shall continue to evaluate the bottle redemption system and make recommendations to the senate committee on finance and the house committee on ways and means on or before January 15, 2007.   The committee shall propose specific recommendations to further improve the beverage container deposit-redemption system established by chapter 53 of Title 10.  The evaluation and recommendations shall address at least the following issues:

(1)  Review of the handling fee system and the associated costs and revenues.

(2)  The feasibility of instituting a two-tiered fee based on co-mingling agreements.  

(3)  The costs and benefits of the deposit-redemption system. 

and that when the bill passes, the title shall be changed to read: “AN ACT RELATING TO INCREASING THE BEVERAGE CONTAINER HANDLERS' FEE AND AN ONGOING EVALUATION OF THE BOTTLE REDEMPTION SYSTEM”

(Committee vote:  4-0-3)

Reported without recommendation by Senator Bartlett for the Committee on Appropriations.

(Committee Report:  5-0-2)

S. 125

An act relating to chiropractic coverage in Medicaid and VHAP.

Reported favorably with recommendation of amendment by Senator Mullin for the Committee on Health and Welfare.

The Committee recommends that the bill be amended by by striking out all after the enacting clause and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Sec. 1.  CHIROPRACTIC COVERAGE UNDER MEDICAID AND VHAP

The agency of human services is directed to reinstate chiropractic coverage for adults in the Medicaid and VHAP programs effective July 1, 2006.

Sec. 2.  MEDICAID ADULT DENTAL COVERAGE

Beginning in fiscal year 2007, the agency of human services shall increase fees by six percent for dentists.  The purpose of this section is to increase fees to a level equivalent to the level prior to the reductions in Sec. 104a(a)(3) of No. 71 of the Acts of 2005.

and that upon passage the title be amended to read as follows:  “AN ACT RELATING TO DENTAL AND CHIROPRACTIC COVERAGE IN MEDICAID AND VHAP”

(Committee vote: 5-0-1)


S. 310

An act relating to common sense initiatives.

Reported favorably with recommendation of amendment by Senator Bartlett for the Committee on Appropriations .

The Committee recommends that the bill be amended as follows:

First:  In Sec. 30 (Appropriations), subdivision (b), by striking out the figure “$1,003,500.00” and inserting in lieu thereof the figure  $973,000.00.   

Second:  In Sec. 30 (Appropriations)` subdivision (e), by striking out the figure “$850,000.00” and inserting in lieu thereof the figure $880,000.00 

(Committee vote: 5-0-2)

Favorable with Proposal of Amendment

H. 237

An act relating to emergency contraception.

Reported favorably with recommendation of proposal of amendment by Senator Lyons for the Committee on Health and Welfare.

The Committee recommends that the Senate propose to the House to amend the bill by the bill as follows:

First:  In Sec. 1, 26 V.S.A. § 2078(b), by striking out the words “the recipient of” and inserting in lieu thereof  the patient using

Second:  In Sec. 1, by striking out 26 V.S.A. § 2079(a) and inserting in lieu thereof a new (a) to read:

(a)  The department of health, in collaboration with the board of pharmacy and other appropriate organizations, shall develop a standard protocol and procedures, by rule pursuant to chapter 25 of Title 3, for initiating and dispensing emergency contraception by pharmacists pursuant to this subchapter.  The protocol and procedures shall include the minimum standards required to be contained in the protocol between the pharmacist and the physician or other prescriber, a standard informed consent form to be signed by the patient using the emergency contraception, the appropriate information to be provided to the patient using the emergency contraception, information needed by the pharmacist prior to dispensing emergency contraception, appropriate referrals, sensitive communication with and protection of the needs of vulnerable individuals, privacy considerations, necessary forms, and any documentation requirements.

(Committee Vote: 5-0-1)

(For House amendments, see House Journal for May 26, 2005, page 1377; May 27, 2005, page 1435.)

H. 715

An act relating to the eradication of cervical cancer.

Reported favorably with recommendation of proposal of amendment by Senator Kittell for the Committee on Health and Welfare.

The Committee recommends that the Senate propose to the House to amend the bill by striking out all after the enacting clause and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Sec. 1.  CERVICAL CANCER ERADICATION TASK FORCE

(a)  Not later than September 1, 2006, the commissioner of health shall establish a task force to study eradication of cervical cancer in Vermont.  The task force shall include:

(1)  the commissioner of health or a designee;

(2)  the minority health director within the department of health;

(3)  the director of the office of Vermont health access or a designee;

(4)  the commissioner of banking, insurance, securities, and health care administration or a designee;

(5)  the health care ombudsman or a designee;

(6)  a representative of the Vermont chapter of the American Cancer Society;

(7)  the executive director of the Vermont commission on women or a designee;

(8)  a representative of ALANA Community Organization;

(9)  a representative of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England;

(10)  a representative of the Vermont medical society;

(11)  one member of the senate committee on health and welfare appointed by the committee on committees and one member of the house committee on human services appointed by the speaker of the house; and

(12)  up to three additional members appointed by the commissioner of health. 

(b)  The task force shall consider:

(1)  public awareness of the causes of cervical cancer, personal risk factors, the value of prevention and early detection, options for testing, treatment costs and health plan reimbursement, and new technologies;

(2)  health care providers’ awareness about screening and prevention options, recommended protocols and schedules for screening and vaccinations, and new technologies;

(3)  recommended testing protocols and schedules for cervical cancer screenings and vaccinations for the human papillomavirus;

(4)  issues of cost and insurance and health plan coverage;

(5)  potential sources of funding for education, screening, and treatment programs, including governmental and private funding.

(c)  The task force shall make findings and recommendations about how to eradicate cervical cancer in Vermont.  It shall report those findings and recommendations to the commissioner of health not later than January 15, 2007. 

(d)  The commissioner of health, on or before February 1, 2007, shall report to the general assembly, the house committee on human services, and the senate committee on health and welfare the findings and recommendations of the task force, what recommendations or actions, if any, the department of health can implement, and what recommendations it makes for legislative action. 

(e)  For attendance at meetings which are held when the general assembly is not in session, the legislative members of the task force shall be entitled to the same per diem compensation and reimbursement for necessary expenses as those provided to members of standing committees under 2 V.S.A. § 406.  All other members shall be entitled to the same per diem compensation and reimbursement for necessary expenses as those provided under 32 V.S.A. § 1010.

(Committee Vote: 5-0-1)

(For House amendments, see House Journal for February 17, 2006, page 346.)

ORDERED TO LIE

S. 112

An act relating to the practice of optometry.

PENDING ACTION:  Second reading of the bill.


S. 157

An act relating to rulemaking for Vermont origin.

PENDING ACTION:  Second reading of the bill.

CONFIRMATIONS

     The following appointments will be considered by the Senate, as a group, under suspension of the Rules, as moved by the President pro tempore, for confirmation together and without debate, by consent thereby given by the Senate.  However, upon request of any senator, any appointment may be singled out and acted upon separately by the Senate, with consideration given to the report of the Committee to which the appointment was referred, and with full debate; and further, all appointments for the positions of Secretaries of Agencies, Commissioners of Departments, Judges, Magistrates, and members of the Public Service Board shall be fully and separately acted upon.

     Robert Alberts of Bridport – Member of the Vermont Housing Finance Agency – By Sen. Ayer for the Committee on Finance.  (2/10)

     John Valente of Rutland – Member of the Vermont Municipal Bond Bank – By Sen. Maynard for the Committee on Finance.  (2/24)

CROSSOVER DEADLINES

1.  Bill Introduction Deadlines

          (a)  The deadline for filing drafting requests for new bills for the 2006 Session has expired under our Senate Rules.

          (b)  Accordingly, any new bill for the 2006 Session can now only be introduced with the consent of the Rules Committee, whether sponsored by an individual Senator or by any standing committee.

2.  Bill Reporting Deadlines

          (a)  A “bill reporting deadline” means the date by which a bill must be reported out of a committee and filed with the Secretary of the Senate in order to place that bill on the calendar for notice the next legislative day.

          (b)  For Senate bills introduced during this biennium, the following bill reporting deadlines are established for the 2006 adjourned session:

               (1)  From the standing committee of last reference (excluding the Committees on Appropriations and Finance), all bills must be reported out of committee on or before March 3, 2006.

               (2)  For bills referred pursuant to Senate Rule 31, all bills must be reported out of the Committees on Appropriations and Finance on or before March   17, 2006.

          (c)  These deadlines may be waived for any bill or committee only by consent given by the Committee on Rules.