Journal of the House

________________

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 20, 2005

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

Devotional Exercises

Devotional exercises were conducted by Reverend Peter Plagge of Waterbury Congregational Church, Waterbury.

Bill Referred to Committee on Ways and Means

H. 269

     House bill, entitled

     An act relating to sales tax holiday for energy star appliances;

     Appearing on the Calendar, affecting the revenue of the state, under the rule, was referred to the committee on Ways and Means.

Third Reading; Bills Passed

House bills of the following titles were severally taken up, read the third time and passed:

H. 50

     An act relating to an appropriation for the survey of a portion of the Burke and Kirby town lines.

H. 66

     An act relating to an appropriation for the survey of the Bakersfield and Fairfield town lines.

H. 132

     An act relating to establishing a milfoil control sticker for display on paddlecraft.

     Under House rule 41, the title is amended to read as follows:

     AN ACT RELATING TO ESTABLISHING A VOLUNTARY AQUATIC NUISANCE CONTROL STICKER PROGRAM

 

H. 238

     An act relating to minimum service retirement allowance for state employees and teachers.

Bill Read Second Time; Consideration Interrupted by Recess

H. 524

Rep. Chen of Mendon spoke for the committee on Health Care.

Rep. Heath of Westford, for the committee on Appropriations, to which had been referred House bill, entitled

An act relating to universal access to health care in Vermont;

Reported in favor of its passage when amended as follows:

First:  In Sec. 1, 34 V.S.A. § 11(a), by striking out the words “No later than October 1, 2005” and inserting in lieu thereof Not later than March 1, 2006

Second:  In Sec.6, by striking out the last sentence and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Initial priority shall be given to health centers in Lamoille, Washington, and Windsor/Windham counties, and other counties that demonstrate readiness to achieve look-alike status.  The goal shall be to ensure there are FQHC look-alikes in each county in Vermont.

Third:  By adding a new Sec. 17a to read:

Sec. 17a.   MEDICARE PART D ELIGIBILITY

     (a)  The Office of Vermont Health Access shall take steps necessary to eliminate the asset test from the requirements for eligibility for the Qualified Medicare Beneficiary, Specified Low Income Medicare Beneficiary and Qualified Individuals Medicare Savings programs of Medicare  provided that it finds that it will be at a minimum cost neutral to the state in that the costs of the resulting increased Medicaid participation would not exceed the benefits from greater participation in the low income subsidy program as it relates to the Medicare Part D program.

     (b) If, on or before July 1, 2005, the asset test for eligibility under subsection (a) is eliminated:

          (1) Section 17 of this act establishing a Medicare Premium Assistance Program shall not take effect; and

          (2) the amount of $250,000 of the appropriation for the Medicare premium assistance program under section 20 (b) of this act is rescinded.

          (3)  the amount of $250,000 of the appropriation for the Medicare premium assistance program under section 20 (b) of this act is redirected, on a one-time basis, to the Office of Vermont Health Access for the purpose of  providing  information to the public on the low income subsidies for the Medicare prescription drug program and provisions of the Medicaid Modernization Act of 2005.

Fourth:  In Sec. 18, subsection (a), by striking out “October 1, 2005” and inserting in lieu thereof March 1, 2006

Fifth:  In Sec. 18, subsection (b), by striking out “November 1, 2005” and inserting in lieu thereof April 1, 2006

Sixth:  In Sec. 22, by striking out the second sentence in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

The commissioner of the department of health care administration shall be appointed not later than October 1, 2005.

The bill, having appeared on the Calendar one day for notice, was taken up and pending second reading of the bill, Rep. Marron of Stowe raised a Point of Order that the bill affects the revenue of the state and therefore should be referred to the committee on Ways and Means pursuant to rule 35(a). 

Which Point of Order the Speaker ruled not well taken because while sections of the bill refer to different taxes, the bill itself does not raise or lower any taxes, therefore it does not affect the revenue of the state.

Thereupon, the bill was read a second time.

Rep. Martin of Springfield in Chair.

Speaker Symington back in Chair.

Pending the question, Shall the House amend the bill as recommended by the committee on Appropriations?

Recess

At eleven o’clock and fifteen minutes in the forenoon, the Speaker declared a recess until one o’clock and fifteen minutes in the afternoon.

Afternoon

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

 

 

Consideration Resumed; Bill Amended and Third Reading Ordered

H. 524

Consideration resumed on House bill, entitled

An act relating to universal access to health care in Vermont;

The recurring question, Shall the bill be amended as recommended by the committee on Appropriations was agreed to.

Pending the question, Shall the bill be read the third time? Rep. Ancel of Calais moved to amend the bill as follows:

First:  In Sec. 1, 34 V.S.A. § 4(11), by striking out the subdivision in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

(11)  “Vermont resident” means an individual, and any dependent of that individual, who maintains a permanent place of abode within this state for more than an aggregate of 183 days over the previous 12 months.  Relevant factors to determine whether an individual maintains a permanent place of abode within this state include the following:  the individual’s residence for tax purposes; formal and informal statements of the individual; where the individual spends time; the individual’s place of employment and business connections; the location of items of significant value (either monetary or sentimental) to the individual; place of issuance of automobile registration and driver’s license; and previous permanent residency of the individual.

Second:  In Sec. 1, 34 V.S.A. § 13(a)(6), at the end of the subdivision, by striking out the following: “, and modifying such services as necessary

Third:  In Sec. 1, 34 V.S.A. § 24(a), in the first sentence, by striking out the word “department” and inserting in lieu thereof: “office of Vermont health access” 

Fourth:  In Sec. 1, 34 V.S.A. § 24(b), by striking the word “department” and inserting in lieu thereof:  “office” 

Fifth:  In Sec. 1, 34 V.S.A. § 27(a), by inserting a second sentence as follows:

The department may consider bids from out-of-state entities as well as Vermont entities to administer Green Mountain Health, but may require that the administration work for Green Mountain Health occur in a location and facility within Vermont.

Sixth:  In Sec. 1, 34 V.S.A. § 28(a), by striking out the words “income‑sensitized reasonable” and inserting in lieu thereof:  “reasonable sliding-scale” 

Seventh:  In Sec. 1, 34 V.S.A. § 33(3), by striking out the words “and methodologies

Eighth:  In Sec. 2, in the first sentence, after the words “joint fiscal office”, by inserting the words in consultation with the department of banking, insurance, securities, and health care administration and the office of Vermont health access

Ninth:  In Sec. 2, subdivision (3), in the last sentence, after the words “indicating interest” by inserting the words “and to the department of banking, insurance, securities, and health care administration and the office of Vermont health access

Tenth:  In Sec. 3, by striking out the section in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Sec. 3.  ADMINISTRATIVE STUDIES

(a)  The office of Vermont health access, the department of banking, insurance, securities, and health care administration, and the division of rate setting in the agency of human services shall develop a preliminary plan for reorganizing office, department, and division functions consistent with the purposes of this act and shall submit that plan to the joint health reform committee no later than September 1, 2005.  The preliminary plan shall include recommendations relating to personnel, operations, and budgetary requirements.

(b)  Upon appointment, the commissioner of health care administration shall provide guidance to the reorganization required under this act, including making recommendations to the joint health reform committee.

(c)  The department of banking, insurance, securities, and health care administration shall investigate ways of coordinating or integrating Green Mountain Health with the current workers’ compensation system and shall make recommendations to the general assembly by January 1, 2006.

Eleventh:  In Sec. 4, subsection (a), in the first sentence, after the words “senate committee on health and welfare” by inserting the following:  “, as well as a nonvoting member appointed by the governor upon passage of this act,

Twelfth:  In Sec. 4, subdivision (c)(3), after the words “Green Mountain Health” before the semicolon, by adding the following:  “, including residency requirements and treatment of preexisting conditions

Thirteenth:  In Sec. 4, subdivision (c)(8), after the semicolon, by striking out the word “and

Fourteenth:  In Sec. 4, subdivision (c)(9), after the word “quality” by striking the “.” and inserting in lieu thereof the following:  ;

Fifteenth:  In Sec. 4, subsection (c), by adding subdivisions (10), (11), and (12) to read:

(10)  determining new procedures for the certificate of need and hospital budget reviews, reflecting the roles of the department of health care administration, the public oversight commission, and the health care regulatory review board;

(11)  receiving input from the department of banking, insurance, securities, and health care administration, the office of Vermont health access, and the division of rate setting in the agency of human services and, upon appointment, the commissioner of health care administration regarding reorganization, including recommended staffing, operational, and budgetary requirements; and

(12)  determining whether additional state entities and functions, such as the department of health or any of its divisions, should be transferred to the department of health care administration.

Sixteenth:  In Sec. 4, subsection (d), after the words “the joint” by inserting the words “health reform

Seventeenth:  In Sec. 22, after the last sentence, by adding the following:  The functions delegated to the office of Vermont health access under section 24 of Title 34 shall be performed in consultation with the commissioner of health care administration until March 1, 2006, when the department of health care administration shall become the successor to and continuation of the office of Vermont health access.

Which was agreed to.

Pending the question, Shall the bill be read the third time? Rep. Maier of Middlebury moved to amend the bill as follows:

First:  In Sec. 7, by striking out the section in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Sec. 7.  18  V.S.A. § 9417 is added to read:

§ 9417.  HEALTH CARE INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

(a)  The commissioner shall contract with the Vermont program for quality in health care to facilitate the establishment of a health information technology plan for establishing a statewide, integrated electronic health information infrastructure in Vermont by 2010.  The plan shall include standards and protocols designed to promote patient education, patient privacy, physician best practices, electronic connectivity to health care data, and, overall, a more efficient and less costly means of delivering quality health care in Vermont.

(b)  The responsibilities of the Vermont program for quality in health care in establishing a health information technology plan shall include:

(1)  supporting the effective, efficient, statewide use of electronic health information in patient care, health care policymaking, clinical research, health care financing, and continuous quality improvements;

(2)  educating the general public and health care professionals about the value of an electronic health infrastructure for improving patient care;

(3)  promoting the use of national standards for the development of an interoperable system, which shall include provisions relating to security, privacy, data content, structures and format, vocabulary, and transmission protocols;

(4)  making strategic investments in equipment and other infrastructure elements that will facilitate the ongoing development of a statewide infrastructure;

(5)  establishing a method for assessing various stakeholders for ongoing development and maintenance costs of a statewide health information system.

(c)  A health information technology advisory group is created to develop the health information technology plan, including applicable standards, protocols, and pilot programs.  Members of the advisory group shall include the members of the preexisting Vermont information technology leaders advisory group formed by the Vermont association of hospitals and health systems, except for those members who are vendors of information technology.  Vendors of information technology, however, shall be invited to provide input on plan development, as deemed appropriate by the Vermont program for quality in health care.

(d)  The technology advisory group also shall include as a member the commissioner of information and innovation, who shall advise the group on technology best practices and the state’s information technology policies and procedures, including the need for a functionality assessment and feasibility study related to establishing an electronic health information infrastructure under this section. 

(e)  On or before January 1, 2006, the Vermont program for quality in health care shall initiate a pilot program involving at least two hospitals using existing sources of electronic health information to establish electronic data sharing for clinical decision support, pursuant to priorities and criteria established in conjunction with the health information technology advisory group.  Objectives of the pilot program may include:

(1)  supporting patient care and improving quality of care;

(2)  enhancing productivity of health care professionals and reducing administrative costs of health care delivery and financing;

(3)  implementing strategies for future developments in health care technology, policy, management, governance, and finance; and

(4)  ensuring patient data confidentiality at all times. 

(f)  The standards and protocols developed by the Vermont program for quality in health care shall be no less stringent than the “Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information” established under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 and contained in 45 C.F.R., Parts 160 and 164, and any subsequent amendments.  In addition, the standards and protocols shall ensure that there are clear prohibitions against the out-of-state release of individually identifiable health information for purposes unrelated to treatment, payment, and health care operations, and that such information shall under no circumstances be used for marketing purposes.  The standards and protocols shall require that access to individually identifiable health information is secure and traceable by an electronic audit trail.

(g)  On or before January 1, 2007, the Vermont program for quality in health care shall submit to the commissioner, the commissioner of information and innovation, and the general assembly a health information technology plan for establishing a statewide, integrated electronic health information infrastructure in Vermont, including specific steps for achieving the goals, objectives, and time frames of this section.  The plan shall include also recommendations for self-sustainable funding for the ongoing development, maintenance, and replacement of the health information technology system.  Upon approval by the general assembly, the plan shall serve as the framework within which certificate of need applications for information technology are reviewed under section 9440b of this title by the commissioner.

(h)  Beginning January 1, 2006, and annually thereafter, the Vermont program for quality in health care shall file a report with the commissioner, the commissioner of information and innovation, and the general assembly.  The report shall include an assessment of progress in implementing the provisions of this section, recommendations for additional funding and legislation required,, and an analysis of the costs, benefits, and effectiveness of the pilot program authorized under subsection (e) of this section.

(i)  The Vermont program for quality in health care is authorized to seek matching funds to assist with carrying out the purposes of this section.  In addition, it may accept any and all donations, gifts, and grants of money, equipment, supplies, materials, and services from the federal or any local government, or any agency thereof, and from any person, firm, or corporation for any of its purposes and functions under this section and may receive and use the same subject to the terms, conditions, and regulations governing such donations, gifts, and grants.

(j)  The commissioner, in consultation with the Vermont program for quality in health care and the health information technology advisory group, may seek any waivers of federal law, rule, or regulation that might assist with implementation of this section.

Second:  In Sec. 1, 34 V.S.A. § 22(a), after the words “house committee on health care” by adding the following: “, a nonvoting member appointed by the governor,

Third:  In Sec. 1, 34 V.S.A. § 25(d), by striking out the words “section 9461 of Title 18” and inserting in lieu thereof “section 26 of this title

Fourth:  In Sec. 1, 34 V.S.A. § 26(a), after the words “global hospital payments under section 25” by striking out the words “Title 18” and inserting in lieu thereof “this title

Fifth:  In Sec. 1, 34 V.S.A. § 33(3), after the words “global hospital budgets under” by striking out the words “subdivision 5034(b)(3) of Title 18” and inserting in lieu thereof “section 26 of this title

Sixth:  In Sec. 20, subsection (b), by striking out the words “the free clinic association” and inserting in lieu thereof “free clinics

Which was agreed to.

Rep. Shand of Weathersfield in Chair.

Rep. Kitzmiller of Montpelier in Chair.

Speaker Symington back in Chair.

Pending the question, Shall the bill be read the third time? Rep. Marron of Stowe moved to commit the bill to the committee on Ways and Means.

Pending the question, Shall the bill be committed to the committee on Ways and Means? Rep. Partridge of Windham demanded the Yeas and Nays, which demand was sustained by the Constitutional number.  The Clerk proceeded to call the roll and the question, , Shall the bill be committed to the committee on Ways and Means?  was decided in the negative.  Yeas, 53.  Nays, 90.

Those who voted in the affirmative are:


Allaire of Rutland City

Baker of West Rutland

Bartlett of Dover

Bostic of St. Johnsbury

Branagan of Georgia

Brennan of Colchester

Canfield of Fair Haven

Clark of St. Johnsbury

Clark of Vergennes

DePoy of Rutland City

Donaghy of Poultney

Donahue of Northfield

Dunsmore of Georgia

Endres of Milton

Errecart of Shelburne

Flory of Pittsford

Helm of Castleton

Houston of Ferrisburgh

Hube of Londonderry

Hudson of Lyndon

Johnson of Canaan

Kainen of Hartford

Kennedy of Chelsea

Kilmartin of Newport City

Komline of Dorset

Krawczyk of Bennington

Larocque of Barnet

Larrabee of Danville

LaVoie of Swanton

Lawrence of Lyndon

Livingston of Manchester

Louras of Rutland City

Marcotte of Coventry

Marron of Stowe

McAllister of Highgate

Metzger of Milton

Miller of Elmore

Morley of Barton

Morrissey of Bennington

Niquette of Colchester

Otterman of Topsham

Parent of St. Albans City

Peaslee of Guildhall

Schiavone of Shelburne

Shaw of Derby

Smith of New Haven

Sunderland of Rutland Town

Valliere of Barre City

Westman of Cambridge

Winters of Swanton

Winters of Williamstown

Wright of Burlington

Young of Orwell


Those who voted in the negative are:


Ancel of Calais

Aswad of Burlington

Atkins of Winooski

Audette of S. Burlington

Barnard of Richmond

Bohi of Hartford

Botzow of Pownal

Brooks of Montpelier

Chen of Mendon

Clarkson of Woodstock

Condon of Colchester

Copeland-Hanzas of Bradford

Corcoran of Bennington

Cross of Winooski

Darrow of Dummerston

Deen of Westminster

Donovan of Burlington

Dostis of Waterbury

Dowland of Holland

Edwards of Brattleboro

Emmons of Springfield

Evans of Essex

Fallar of Tinmouth

Fisher of Lincoln

Frank of Underhill

French of Randolph

Gervais of Enosburg

Green of Berlin

Haas of Rochester

Head of S. Burlington

Heath of Westford

Hosford of Waitsfield

Howard of Rutland City

Howrigan of Fairfield

Hunt of Essex

Hutchinson of Randolph

Jerman of Essex

Jewett of Ripton

Johnson of South Hero

Keenan of St. Albans City

Keogh of Burlington

Kiss of Burlington

Kitzmiller of Montpelier

Klein of East Montpelier

Koch of Barre Town

Kupersmith of S. Burlington

Larson of Burlington

Leriche of Hardwick

Lippert of Hinesburg

Lorber of Burlington

Maier of Middlebury

Malcolm of Pawlet

Marek of Newfane

Martin of Springfield

Martin of Wolcott

Masland of Thetford

McCullough of Williston

McFaun of Barre Town

McLaughlin of Royalton

Milkey of Brattleboro

Miller of Shaftsbury

Minter of Waterbury

Molloy of Arlington

Monti of Barre City

Mook of Bennington

Nease of Johnson

Nitka of Ludlow

Nuovo of Middlebury

Obuchowski of Rockingham

Orr of Charlotte

Partridge of Windham

Pellett of Chester

Perry of Richford

Peterson of Williston

Pillsbury of Brattleboro

Potter of Clarendon

Pugh of S. Burlington

Randall of Troy

Reese of Pomfret

Rodgers of Glover

Rusten of Halifax

Seibert of Norwich

Severance of Colchester

Shand of Weathersfield

Sharpe of Bristol

Smith of Morristown

Sweaney of Windsor

Tracy of Burlington

Trombley of Grand Isle

Zuckerman of Burlington


Those members absent with leave of the House and not voting are:


Adams of Hartland

Allard of St. Albans Town

Grad of Moretown

Myers of Essex

O'Donnell of Vernon

Wood of Brandon


 

     Rep. Errecart of Shelburne explained her vote as follows:

“Madam Speaker:

     It is irresponsible to tell Vermonters today that we have free care for all, and then after the 2006 elections to present them with the tax bill for this free care.”

     Rep. Koch of Barre Town explained his vote as follows:

“Madam Speaker:

     I vote no because commitment to the Ways and Means committee at this time is as premature as some of the other actions this bill proposes.  When we know what it is we are paying for and how much it will cost, it will be appropriate to consider how to pay for it.”

     Rep. Lorber of Burlington explained his vote as follows:

“Madam Speaker:

     Let’s not tie up the bill in committee.  Let’s move forward the discussion on how to control costs and fix health care.”

Pending the question, Shall the bill be read the third time? Rep. Flory of Pittsford demanded the Yeas and Nays, which demand was sustained by the Constitutional number.  The Clerk proceeded to call the roll and the question, Shall the bill be read the third time?  was decided in the affirmative.  Yeas, 85.  Nays, 57.

Those who voted in the affirmative are:


Ancel of Calais

Aswad of Burlington

Atkins of Winooski

Audette of S. Burlington

Barnard of Richmond

Bohi of Hartford

Botzow of Pownal

Brooks of Montpelier

Chen of Mendon

Clarkson of Woodstock

Condon of Colchester

Copeland-Hanzas of Bradford

Cross of Winooski

Darrow of Dummerston

Deen of Westminster

Donovan of Burlington

Dostis of Waterbury

Dowland of Holland

Edwards of Brattleboro

Emmons of Springfield

Evans of Essex

Fallar of Tinmouth

Fisher of Lincoln

Frank of Underhill

French of Randolph

Gervais of Enosburg

Green of Berlin

Haas of Rochester

Head of S. Burlington

Heath of Westford

Hosford of Waitsfield

Howard of Rutland City

Howrigan of Fairfield

Hunt of Essex

Hutchinson of Randolph

Jerman of Essex

Jewett of Ripton

Johnson of South Hero

Keenan of St. Albans City

Keogh of Burlington

Kiss of Burlington

Kitzmiller of Montpelier

Klein of East Montpelier

Kupersmith of S. Burlington

Larson of Burlington

Leriche of Hardwick

Lippert of Hinesburg

Lorber of Burlington

Maier of Middlebury

Malcolm of Pawlet

Marek of Newfane

Martin of Springfield

Martin of Wolcott

Masland of Thetford

McCullough of Williston

McFaun of Barre Town

McLaughlin of Royalton

Milkey of Brattleboro

Miller of Shaftsbury

Minter of Waterbury

Monti of Barre City

Mook of Bennington

Nease of Johnson

Nitka of Ludlow

Nuovo of Middlebury

Obuchowski of Rockingham

Orr of Charlotte

Partridge of Windham

Pellett of Chester

Perry of Richford

Pillsbury of Brattleboro

Potter of Clarendon

Randall of Troy

Reese of Pomfret

Rodgers of Glover

Rusten of Halifax

Seibert of Norwich

Severance of Colchester

Shand of Weathersfield

Sharpe of Bristol

Smith of Morristown

Sweaney of Windsor

Tracy of Burlington

Trombley of Grand Isle

Zuckerman of Burlington


Those who voted in the negative are:


Allaire of Rutland City

Baker of West Rutland

Bartlett of Dover

Bostic of St. Johnsbury

Branagan of Georgia

Brennan of Colchester

Canfield of Fair Haven

Clark of St. Johnsbury

Clark of Vergennes

Corcoran of Bennington

DePoy of Rutland City

Donaghy of Poultney

Donahue of Northfield

Dunsmore of Georgia

Endres of Milton

Errecart of Shelburne

Flory of Pittsford

Helm of Castleton

Houston of Ferrisburgh

Hube of Londonderry

Hudson of Lyndon

Johnson of Canaan

Kainen of Hartford

Kennedy of Chelsea

Kilmartin of Newport City

Koch of Barre Town

Komline of Dorset

Krawczyk of Bennington

Larocque of Barnet

Larrabee of Danville

LaVoie of Swanton

Lawrence of Lyndon

Livingston of Manchester

Louras of Rutland City

Marcotte of Coventry

Marron of Stowe

McAllister of Highgate

Metzger of Milton

Miller of Elmore

Molloy of Arlington

Morley of Barton

Morrissey of Bennington

Niquette of Colchester

Otterman of Topsham

Parent of St. Albans City

Peaslee of Guildhall

Peterson of Williston

Schiavone of Shelburne

Shaw of Derby

Smith of New Haven

Sunderland of Rutland Town

Valliere of Barre City

Westman of Cambridge

Winters of Swanton

Winters of Williamstown

Wright of Burlington

Young of Orwell


Those members absent with leave of the House and not voting are:


Adams of Hartland

Allard of St. Albans Town

Grad of Moretown

Myers of Essex

O'Donnell of Vernon

Pugh of S. Burlington

Wood of Brandon


 

 

     Rep. Clark of Vergennes explained his vote as follows:

“Madam Speaker:

     This bill is like eating bites of granola with no liquid to wash it down.  It’s got great flavor but one could choke before the flakes hit your stomach.”

     Rep. Copeland-Hanzas of Bradford explained her vote as follows:

“Madam Speaker:

     We cannot allow this debate to digress into scare tactics.  Vermonters know our health care system is unsustainable.  We must keep an open mind as we study the current system.  We will only find answers if we continue this conversation.”    

     Rep. Dunsmore of Georgia explained his vote as follows:

“Madam Speaker:

     The debate that we just listened to on H. 524 though very interesting comes down to one thing, a big huge question mark, we don’t know who it is going to cover, what will be covered, how it will be funded, who will pay for it.  Putting forth legislation in this way is an appalling disservice to all of our constituents.  There have been members in this body  that have been crying health care crisis. Well I say if this unthoughout question mark legislation becomes law, we will truly know a crisis.”    

     Rep. Endres of Milton explained his vote as follows:

“Madam Speaker:

     This bill puts the cart before the horse.  It will have potentially devastating effect on businesses in this state.  Some will leave, some will close their doors, new ones will not come.  The rest of us will face lesser coverage, rationed care, potentially higher income and property taxes.  I voted no to ask the legislature to slow down, take testimony, listen to the people and then craft a well thought out proposal.”

     Rep. Howard of Rutland City explained his vote as follows:

“Madam Speaker:

     My constituents are hard working Vermonters who play by the rules.  They may not be able to afford well connected lobbyists, they may not make large campaign contributions or write polished letters on fancy stationary, but Madam Speaker, somebody has to be on their side.  Somebody needs to fight for them.  I voted for H. 524 because it puts the emphasis of the health care debate squarely on their side.”      

     Rep. Hutchinson of Randolph explained his vote as follows:

“Madam Speaker:

     I voted in favor of H. 524 on behalf of my neighbors.  The people of my district pay more every day for health care that is out of control.  As a local official, I struggle with town budgets which are driven even higher by exploding health care costs.  I cannot, in good conscience, settle for more band aids or endless long-term studies.  The time for action is not now, it was yesterday.  But, better late than never.”

     Rep. Lorber of Burlington explained his vote as follows:

“Madam Speaker:

     I believe that we can and must fix health care – not just for the rich, and not just for the poor, but for all Vermonters.”

     Rep. McFaun of Barre Town explained his vote as follows:

“Madam Speaker:

     I voted yes because a no vote effectively would have taken away any chance for us to work on the problem of escalating health care cost for another year.  We have to have this debate now.”

     Rep. Young of Orwell explained his vote as follows:

“Madam Speaker:

     I vote no, but if you all want to buy something, don’t care what it costs and who is going to pay for it, or what it is, I have a bridge for sale.”

Proposal of Amendment Agreed to; Third Reading Ordered

S. 52

Rep. Dostis of Waterbury, for the committee on Natural Resources and Energy, to which had been referred Senate bill, entitled

An act relating to renewable energy portfolio standards, appliance efficiency standards, and distributed electricity 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:

* * * I.  Renewable Portfolio Standards * * *

Sec. 1.  30 V.S.A. § 8001(a) is amended to read:

§ 8001.  RENEWABLE ENERGY GOALS

(a)  The renewable energy programs authorized under this chapter shall be designed and implemented to achieve the following goals:

(1)  Air and water quality shall be protected and promoted in renewable energy programs.

(2)  The continued acquisition of cost-effective end-use energy efficiency measures shall be preserved and enhanced in renewable energy programs.

(3)  Programs shall, to the extent practicable, support development of renewable energy and energy efficiency industries and infrastructure in Vermont, while still sustaining existing renewable energy infrastructure.

(4)  Programs shall, to the extent practicable, be designed and implemented in a manner that balances program benefits and costs, and rates.

The general assembly finds it in the interest of the people of the state to promote the state energy policy established in section 202a of this title by:

(1)  Balancing the benefits, lifetime costs, and rates of the state’s overall energy portfolio to ensure that to the greatest extent possible the economic benefits of renewable energy in the state flow to the Vermont economy in general, and to the rate paying citizens of the state in particular.

(2)  Supporting development of renewable energy and related energy industries in Vermont, in particular, while retaining and supporting existing renewable energy infrastructure.

(3)  Providing an incentive for the state’s retail electricity providers to enter into affordable, long-term, stably priced contracts that mitigate market price fluctuation for Vermonters.

(4)  Developing viable markets for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.

(5)  Protecting and promoting air and water quality by means of renewable energy programs.

(6)  Contributing to reductions in global climate change and anticipating the impacts on the state’s economy that might be caused by federal regulation designed to attain those reductions.

Sec. 2.   30 V.S.A. § 8002 is amended to read:

§ 8002.  DEFINITIONS

For purposes of this chapter:

(1)(A)  “Renewable pricing” shall mean an optional service provided or contracted for by an electric company:

(i)  under which the company’s customers may voluntarily either:

(I)  purchase all or part of their electric energy from renewable sources as defined in this chapter; or

(II)  cause the purchase and retirement of tradeable renewable energy credits on the participating customer’s behalf; and

(ii)  which increases the company’s reliance on renewable sources of energy beyond those the electric company would otherwise be required to provide under section 218c of this title.

(B)  Renewable pricing programs may include, but are not limited to:

(i)  contribution-based programs in which participating customers can determine the amount of a contribution, monthly or otherwise, that will be deposited in a board-approved fund for new renewable energy project development;

(ii)  energy-based programs in which customers may choose all or a discrete portion of their electric energy use to be supplied from renewable resources;

(iii)  facility-based programs in which customers may subscribe to a share of the capacity or energy from specific new renewable energy resources.

(2)  “Renewable energy” means energy produced using a technology that relies on a resource that is being consumed at a harvest rate at or below its natural regeneration rate.

(A)  For purposes of this subdivision (2), methane gas and other flammable gases produced by the decay of sewage treatment plant wastes or landfill wastes and anaerobic digestion of agricultural products, byproducts, or wastes shall be considered renewable energy resources, but no form of solid waste, other than agricultural or silvicultural waste, shall be considered renewable.

(B)  For purposes of this subdivision (2), no form of nuclear fuel shall be considered renewable.

(C)  For purposes of this chapter, the only energy produced by a hydroelectric facility to be considered renewable shall be from a hydroelectric facility with a generating capacity of 80 200 megawatts or less.

(D)  After conducting administrative proceedings, the board may add technologies or technology categories to the definition of “renewable energy,” provided that technologies using the following fuels shall not be considered renewable energy supplies:  coal, oil, propane, and natural gas.

(3)  “Existing renewable energy” means all types of renewable energy sold from the supply portfolio of a Vermont retail electricity provider that is not considered to be from a new renewable energy source.

 (4)  “New renewable energy” means renewable energy produced by a generating resource coming into service after December 31, 2004.  This may include the additional energy from an existing renewable facility retrofitted with advanced technologies or otherwise modified or expanded to increase the kwh output of the facility.  If the production of new renewable energy through retrofitting involves combustion of the resource, the system must result in a significantly higher level of energy conversion efficiency or significantly reduced emissions. For the purposes of this chapter, renewable energy refers to either “existing renewable energy” or “new renewable energy.”

(5) “Qualifying SPEED resources” means contracts for in-state resources in the SPEED program established under section 8005 of this title that meet the definition of new renewable energy under this section, whether or not renewable energy credits are attached.

(6)  “Nonqualifying SPEED resources” means contracts for in-state resources in the SPEED program established under section 8005 of this title that are combined heat and power facilities that are not fueled by renewable energy resources and that have a total system efficiency of 65 percent, or more.

(7)  “Energy conversion efficiency” means the effective use of energy and heat from a combustion process.

(8) “Tradeable renewable energy credits” means all of the environmental attributes associated with a single unit of energy generated by a renewable energy source where:

* * *

Sec. 3.  30 V.S.A. § 8004 is amended to read:

§ 8004.  RENEWABLE PORTFOLIO STANDARDS FOR SALES OF

               ELECTRIC ENERGY

(a)  The public service board shall design a proposed renewable portfolio standard in the form of draft legislation.  The standard shall be developed with the aid of a renewable portfolio standard collaborative.  The renewable portfolio standard collaborative, composed of representatives from the electric utilities, industry, renewable energy industry, ratepayers, environmental and consumer groups, the department of public service, and other stakeholders identified by the board, shall aid in the development of a renewable portfolio standard for renewable energy resources, as well as requirements for implementation of and compliance with that standard.  The proposed renewable portfolio standard shall be applicable to all providers of electricity to retail consumers in this state.  The proposed renewable portfolio standard developed by the board will be presented to the house committee on commerce, the house and senate committees on natural resources and energy, and the senate committee on finance in the form of draft legislation for consideration in January 2004.

(b)  In developing the renewable portfolio standard, the board shall consider the following goals, which shall be afforded equal weight in formulating the standard:

(1)  increase the use of renewable energy in Vermont in order to capture the benefits of renewable energy generation for Vermont ratepayers and citizens.

(2)  maintain or reduce the rates of electricity being paid by Vermont ratepayers and lessen the price risk and volatility for future ratepayers.

(a)  Except as otherwise provided in section 8005 of this title, in order for Vermont retail electricity providers to achieve the goals established in section 8001 of this title, no retail electricity provider shall sell or otherwise provide or offer to sell or provide electricity in the state of Vermont without ownership of sufficient energy produced by renewable resources as described in this chapter, or sufficient tradeable renewable energy credits that reflect the required renewable energy as provided for in subsection (b) of this section.  In the case of consenting members of the Vermont Public Power Supply Authority, the requirements of subsection (b) of this section may be met in the aggregate through all requirements contracts pursuant to section 4002a of this title, or in the aggregate otherwise as approved by the board.

(b) Each retail electricity provider in Vermont shall provide a certain amount of new renewable resources in its portfolio.  By January 1, 2013, each retail electricity provider in Vermont shall supply an amount of energy equal to its total incremental energy growth between January 1, 2005 and January 1, 2013 through the use of electricity generated by new renewable resources.  The retail electricity provider may meet this requirement through eligible new renewable energy credits, new renewable energy resources with renewable energy credits still attached, or a combination of those credits and resources.  No retail electricity provider shall be required to provide in excess of a total of 10 percent of its calendar year 2005 retail electric sales with electricity generated by new renewable resources.

(c) The requirements of subsection (b) of this section shall apply to all retail electricity providers in this state, unless the retail electricity provider demonstrates and the public service board determines that compliance with the standard would impair the provider's ability to meet the public’s need for energy services after safety concerns are addressed, at the lowest present value life cycle cost, including environmental and economic costs. 

(d)  The public service board shall provide, by order or rule, the regulations and procedures that are necessary to allow the public service board and the department of public service to implement and supervise further the implementation and maintenance of a renewable portfolio standard.

(e)  In lieu of, or in addition to purchasing tradeable renewable energy credits to satisfy the portfolio requirements of this section, a retail electricity provider in this state may pay to a renewable energy fund established by the public service board an amount per kilowatt hour as established by the board. As an alternative, the board may require any proportion of this amount to be paid to the energy conservation fund established under subsection 209(d) of this title.

(f) Before December 30, 2009, the public service board shall file a report  with the Senate Committees on Finance and on Natural Resources and Energy and the House Committees on Commerce and on Natural Resources and Energy.  The report shall include the following:

(1) the total cumulative load growth in Vermont from 2005 through 2008;

(2) a report on the market for tradeable renewable energy credits, including the prices at which credits are being sold;

(3) a report on the SPEED program, and any projects using the program;

(4) a summary of other contracts held or projects developed by Vermont retail electricity providers that are likely to be eligible under the provisions of  subsection 8005 (d) of this title;

(5) an estimate of potential rate effects if the target established in subsection 8005(d) of this section is met, and if it is not met;

(6) an assessment of the supply portfolios of Vermont retail electricity providers, and the resources available to meet new supply requirements likely to be triggered by the expiration of major power supply contracts;

(7) an assessment of the energy efficiency and renewable energy markets and recommendations to the legislature regarding strategies that may be necessary to encourage the use of these resources to help meet upcoming supply requirements; and

(8)  any recommendations for statutory change related to this section, including recommendations for rewarding utilities that make substantial investments in SPEED resources. 

 Sec. 4. 30 V.S.A. §§ 8005 and 8006 are added to read:

§ 8005.  SUSTAINABLY PRICED ENERGY ENTERPRISE

              DEVELOPMENT (SPEED) PROGRAM

(a)  In order to achieve the goals of section 8001 of this title, there is created the Sustainably Priced Energy Enterprise Development (SPEED) program.  The SPEED program shall have two categories of projects: qualifying SPEED resources and nonqualifying SPEED resources.

 (b)  The SPEED program shall be established, after notice and hearing, by the public service board by January 1, 2007.  As part of the SPEED program, the public service board may:

(1)  name one or more entities to become engaged in the purchase and resale of electricity generated within the state by means of qualifying SPEED resources or nonqualifying SPEED resources;

(2)  allow the developer of a facility that is one megawatt or less, and is a qualifying SPEED resource or a nonqualifying SPEED resource, to sell that power under a long term contract that is established at a specified margin below the hourly spot market price;

(3)  encourage Vermont’s retail electricity providers to secure long term contracts for renewable energy that are anticipated to be competitive with the market price, over the lives of the projects.  The board may create a competitive bid process through which to select a portion of those contracts;

(4)  maximize the benefit to rate payers from the sale of renewable energy credits or other credits that may be developed in the future;

(5)  encourage retail electricity provider sponsorship and partnerships in the development of renewable energy projects;

(6)  make available to Vermont retail electricity providers for purchase, and no sooner than January 1, 2009, may require retail electricity providers to purchase on a pro rata basis a specified portion of the power generated under subdivisions (2) and (3) of this subsection;

(7) establish a way to gain ownership, for the benefit of Vermont retail electricity providers, of the renewable energy credits associated with any SPEED projects, in the event that a renewable portfolio standard is in effect under the provisions of section 8004 of this title;

(8)  create a mechanism by which a retail electricity provider may establish that it has a sufficient amount of renewable energy, or resources that would otherwise qualify under the provisions of subsection (d) of this section, in its portfolio so that equity requires that the retail electricity provider be relieved, in whole or in part, from requirements established under subdivision (6) of this subsection that would require a retail electricity provider to purchase SPEED power;

 (9)  provide that in any proceeding under subdivision 248(a)(2)(A) of this title, a demonstration of compliance with subdivision 248(b)(2) of this title, relating to establishing need for the facility, shall not be required if the facility is a SPEED resource and if no part of the facility is financed directly or indirectly through investments, other than power contracts, backed by Vermont electricity ratepayers; and

(10)  take such other measures as the board finds necessary or appropriate to implement SPEED.

 (c)  Developers of qualifying and nonqualifying SPEED resources shall be entitled to classification as an eligible facility under 10 V.S.A. chapter 12, relating to the Vermont Economic Development Authority. 

(d)(1)  The public service board shall meet on or before July 1, 2012, open a proceeding, and issue findings determining the amount of qualifying SPEED resources that have come into service or are projected to come into service during the period of time between January 1, 2005 and January 1, 2013.  If the board finds that the amount of qualifying SPEED resources coming into service during that time exceeds total statewide growth in demand during that time, or if it finds that the amount of qualifying SPEED resources exceeds 10 percent of total statewide load for calendar year 2005, the portfolio standards established under this chapter shall not be in force.  If the board fails to make such a finding by November 1, 2012, the portfolio standards established under subsection 8004(b) of this title shall take effect.

(2)  For the purposes of the determination to be made under this subsection, electricity produced at all facilities owned by or under long-term contract to Vermont retail electricity providers, whether it is generated inside or outside Vermont, that is new renewable energy shall be counted in the calculations under subdivision (d)(1) of this section.

(e)  By no later than September 1, 2006, the public service board shall provide, by order or rule, the regulations and procedures that are necessary to allow the public service board and the department of public service to implement, and to supervise further the implementation and maintenance of the SPEED program.

 § 8006. TRADEABLE CREDITS

(a)  The public service board shall establish or adopt a system of tradeable renewable energy credits for renewable resources that may be earned by electric generation qualifying for the renewables portfolio standard.  The system shall be designed to be consistent with regional practices.

(b)  The public service board shall ensure that all electricity provider and provider-affiliate disclosures and representations made with regard to a provider’s portfolio are accurate and reasonably supported by objective data.  Further, the public service board shall ensure that providers disclose the types of generation used and whether the energy is Vermont‑based, and shall clearly distinguish between energy or tradeable energy credits provided from renewable and nonrenewable sources and existing and new sources.

Sec. 5. 10 V.S.A. § 212(6) is amended to read:

(6)  “Eligible facility” or “eligible project” means any industrial, commercial, or agricultural enterprise or endeavor approved by the authority that meets the criteria established in the Vermont sustainable jobs strategy adopted by the governor under section 280b of this title, including land and rights in land, air, or water, buildings, structures, machinery, and equipment of such eligible facilities or eligible projects, except that an eligible facility or project shall not include the portion of an enterprise or endeavor relating to the sale of goods at retail where such goods are manufactured primarily out of state, and except further that an eligible facility or project shall not include the portion of an enterprise or endeavor relating to housing.  Such enterprises or endeavors may include:

* * *

(L)  a captive or commercial insurance underwriter, a mortgage, commercial, or consumer credit provider, or an entity engaged in underwriting or brokering services; or

(M)  qualifying Sustainably Priced Energy Enterprise Development (SPEED) resources or nonqualifying SPEED resources, as defined in 30 V.S.A. § 8002; or

(N)  any combination of the foregoing activities, uses, or purposes. An eligible facility may include structures, appurtenances incidental to the foregoing such as utility lines, storage accommodations, offices, dependent care facilities, or transportation facilities.

* * * II.  Distributed Generation and Energy Efficiency * * *

* * * Combined heat and power and efficiency utility cap  * * *

Sec. 6.  30 V.S.A. § 209(d) is amended to read:

(d)(1)  The public service department, any entity appointed by the board under subdivision (2) of this subsection, all gas and electric utility companies, and the board upon its own motion, are encouraged to propose, develop, solicit, and monitor energy efficiency and conservation programs and measures, including appropriate combined heat and power systems that result in the conservation and efficient use of energy and meet the applicable agency of natural resources’ air quality standards.  Such programs and measures, and their implementation, may be approved by the board if it determines they will be beneficial to the ratepayers of the companies after such notice and hearings as the board may require by order or by rule.

(2)  In place of utility-specific programs developed pursuant to section 218c of this title, the board may, after notice and opportunity for hearing, provide for the development, implementation, and monitoring of gas and electric energy efficiency and conservation programs and measures including programs and measures delivered in multiple service territories, by one or more entities appointed by the board for these purposes.  The board may include appropriate combined heat and power systems that result in the conservation and efficient use of energy and meet the applicable agency of natural resources’ air quality standards.  The board may specify that the implementation of these programs and measures satisfies a utility’s corresponding obligations, in whole or in part, under section 218c of this title and under any prior orders of the board.

* * *

(4) The charge established by the board pursuant to subdivision (3) of this subsection shall not exceed the amount needed to provide $17,500,000.00 to support all energy efficiency programs for Vermonters authorized by the board by rule or order pursuant to subdivision (2) of this subsection in any fiscal year. No more than $17,500,000.00 of financial support for energy efficiency programs for Vermonters shall be authorized by the board by rule or order pursuant to subdivision (2) of this subsection in any fiscal year be in an amount determined by the board by rule or order that is consistent with the principles of least cost integrated planning as defined in section 218c of this title.  In setting the amount of the charge and its allocation, the board shall determine an appropriate balance among the following objectives: providing efficiency and conservation as a part of a comprehensive resource supply strategy; providing the opportunity for all Vermonters to participate in efficiency and conservation programs; and the value of targeting efficiency and conservation efforts to locations, markets or customers where they may provide the greatest value. The board, by rule or order, shall establish a process by which a customer may apply to the board for an exemption from some or all of the charges assessed under this subdivision.  The board shall establish criteria by which these applications shall be measured.  Any such exemption shall extend for a period of time not to exceed one year.  In addition, the board may authorize exemptions only if, at a minimum, a customer demonstrates that, during the preceding year, it implemented an extraordinary amount of cost‑effective energy efficiency at the customer's own expense or incurred extraordinary costs on those measures and the customer did and will not receive reimbursement for those measures from the entity designated by the board under this section.

Sec. 7.  STANDARDS FOR INTERCONNECTION OF DISTRIBUTED

             GENERATION

On or before September 1, 2006, the public service board shall establish by rule or order standard provisions, including applicable fees that are required to cover the total cost of interconnection to be paid by the qualified distributed generator, for agreements providing for interconnection between the facilities of a retail electricity provider under the jurisdiction of the board and the facilities of a qualified distributed generator.  The applicable safety, power quality, and interconnection requirement rules adopted by the board pursuant to section 219a of Title 30 shall be utilized in addition to any other requirements necessary to protect public safety and system reliability.  The board may provide that such interconnection agreements may be conditioned in instances where interconnection would cause electric instability on the facilities of the local distribution grid.  For the purposes of this section, “qualified distributed generator” means an electrical generator that has a capacity of less than 50 megawatts or a lower megawatt capacity established by the board in order to avoid federal preemption, and that is either:

(1)  a renewable generator as defined in section 8002 of Title 30; or

(2)  a generator that is part of a combined heat and power application providing an overall energy conversion efficiency of 65 percent or greater.

* * * III.  Transmission and Distribution * * *

* * * Regulatory policy * * *

Sec. 8.  ADVOCACY FOR REGIONAL ELECTRICITY RELIABILITY                                          POLICY

It shall be the policy of the state of Vermont, in negotiations and

policy-making at the New England Independent System Operator, in proceedings before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and in all other relevant venues, to support an efficient reliability policy, as follows:

(1)  When cost recovery is sought through regionwide regulated rates or uplift tariffs for power system reliability improvements, all available resources – transmission, strategic generation, targeted energy efficiency, and demand response resources – should be treated comparably in analysis, planning, and access to funding.

(2)  A principal criterion for approving and selecting a solution should be whether it is the least-cost solution to a system need on a total cost basis.

(3)  Ratepayers should not be required to pay for system upgrades in other states that do not meet these least-cost and resource-neutral standards.

(4)  For reliability-related projects in Vermont, subject to the review of the public service board, regional financial support should be sought and made available for transmission and for distributed resource alternatives to transmission on a resource-neutral basis.

(5)  The public service department, public service board, and attorney general shall advocate for these policies in negotiations and appropriate proceedings before the New England Independent System Operator, the New England Regional Transmission Operator, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and all other appropriate regional and national forums.  This subdivision shall not be construed to compel litigation or to preclude settlements that represent a reasonable advance to these policies.

(6)  In addressing reliability problems for the state’s electric system, Vermont retail electricity providers and transmission companies shall advocate for regional cost support for the least cost solution with equal consideration and treatment of all available resources, including transmission, strategic distributed generation, targeted energy efficiency, and demand response resources on a total cost basis.  This subdivision shall not be construed to compel litigation or to preclude settlements that represent a reasonable advance to these policies.

* * * Transmission and Distribution Planning * * *

Sec. 9.  30 V.S.A. § 218c is amended to read:

§ 218c. LEAST COST INTEGRATED PLANNING

* * *

(d)(1)     Least cost transmission services shall be provided in accordance with this subsection.  Not later than July 1, 2006, any utility that owns or operates (or any combination of utilities that, together, own or operate) electric transmission facilities serving the state of Vermont, in conjunction with any other utilities that own or operate these facilities, jointly shall prepare and file with the department of public service and the public service board a transmission system plan that looks forward for a period of at least ten years.  A copy of the plan shall be filed with each of the following: the House Committees on Commerce and on Natural Resources and Energy and the Senate Committees on Finance and on Natural Resources and Energy.  The objective of the plan shall be to identify the potential need for transmission system improvements as early as possible, in order to allow sufficient time to plan and implement more cost‑effective non‑transmission alternatives to meet reliability needs, wherever feasible.  The plan shall:

(A) identify existing and potential transmission system reliability deficiencies by location within Vermont,

(B) estimate the date, and identify the local or regional load levels and other likely system conditions at which these reliability deficiencies, in the absence of further action, would likely occur,

(C) describe the likely manner of resolving the identified deficiencies through transmission system improvements,

(D) estimate the likely costs of these improvements,

(E) identify potential obstacles to the realization of these improvements, and

(F) identify the demand or supply parameters that generation, demand response, energy efficiency or other non‑transmission strategies would need to address to resolve the reliability deficiencies identified.

(2)  Prior to the adoption of the first transmission system plan, a utility preparing a plan shall host at least two public meetings at which it shall present a draft of the plan.  The meetings shall be at separate locations within the state, in proximity to the transmission facilities involved or as otherwise required by the board, and each shall be noticed by at least two advertisements, each occurring between one and three weeks prior to the meetings, in newspapers having general circulation within the state and within the municipalities in which the meetings are to be held.  Copies of the notices shall be provided to the public service board, the department of public service, any entity appointed by the public service board pursuant to section 209(d)(2) of this title, the agency of natural resources, the division for historic preservation, the department of health, the scenery preservation council, the agency of transportation, the attorney general, the chair of each regional planning commission, each retail electricity provider within the state, and any public interest group that requests, or has made a standing request for, a copy of the notice.  A verbatim transcript of the meetings shall be prepared by the utility preparing the plan, shall be filed with the public service board and the department of public service, and shall be provided at cost to any person requesting it.  The plan shall contain a discussion of the principal contentions made at the meetings by members of the public, by any state agency and by any utility.

(3) Prior to the issuance of the transmission plan, or any revision of the plan, the utility preparing the plan shall offer to meet with each retail electricity provider within the state, with any entity appointed by the public service board pursuant to section 209(d)(2) of this title, and with the department of public service, for the purpose of exchanging information that may be relevant to the development of the plan.

(4)(A)  A transmission system plan shall be revised:

(i) within nine months of a request to do so made by either the public service board or the department of public service, and

(ii) in any case, at intervals of not more than three years.

(B)  If more than 18 months shall have elapsed between the adoption of any version of the plan and the next revision of the plan, or since the last public hearing on a revision of the plan, the utility preparing the plan, prior to issuing the next revision, shall host public meetings as provided in subdivision (2) of this subsection, and the revision shall contain a discussion of the principal contentions made at the meetings by members of the public, by any state agency, and by any retail electricity provider.

(5)  On the basis of information contained in a transmission system plan, obtained through meetings held pursuant to subdivision (2) of this subsection, or obtained otherwise, the public service board and the department of public service shall use their powers under this title to encourage and facilitate the resolution of reliability deficiencies through non‑transmission alternatives, where those alternatives would better serve the public good.  The public service board, upon such notice and hearings as are otherwise required under this title, and under the authority conveyed by sections 209, 210 and 2801, may enter such orders as it deems necessary to encourage, facilitate or require the resolution of reliability deficiencies in a manner that it determines will best promote the public good.

(6)  The retail electricity providers in affected areas shall incorporate the most recently filed transmission plan in their individual least cost integrated planning processes, and shall cooperate as necessary to develop and implement joint least cost solutions to address the reliability deficiencies identified in the transmission plan.

Sec. 10. INVESTIGATION OF REGIONAL POTENTIAL OF ENERGY                            CONSERVATION AND EFFICIENCY PROGRAMS

(a)  On or before January 1, 2006, the department of public service shall investigate the following issues and report to the House Committees on Natural Resources and Energy and on Commerce, and to the Senate Committees on Finance, and on Natural Resources and Energy:

(1) The extent to which an aggressive region-wide implementation of energy efficiency and renewable energy programs affect the price of spot market power in the New England ISO through the effect of such programs on bid prices, where the clearing price of the electric market is reduced due to reduced electric demand.  The extent to which these measures could affect the total cost of power for Vermont and New England. The extent to which it is possible to use these programs to mitigate risk associated with fossil fuel price variability.

(2)  The potential for such an aggressive regional approach to be integrated with and complement distribution and transmission least cost planning, as well as regional efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollution.

(3)  The obstacles and opportunities for development of an effective system of Energy Efficiency Credits analogous to the tradeable Renewable Energy Credits for which there is now a regional market.

(4)  A comparison of the policy options facing Vermont if there is a trading system for carbon emission allowances for electric power in New England.

(5)  The options being considered by Vermont’s retail electricity providers and transmission companies for meeting Vermont’s electric supply requirements in light of the expiration of long term supply contracts.

(b)  The analysis and report required in this section may be included in other studies and efforts by the department, including revisions to the Twenty Year Electric Plan, a new Comprehensive Energy Plan, studies on the extent of cost-effective energy efficiency potential in Vermont, or the Biennial Report to the Legislature.

* * * IV.  Regulatory Policy: performance based ratemaking * * *

* * * Performance based ratemaking * * *

Sec. 11. 30 V.S.A. § 218d(a) is amended to read:

(a) Notwithstanding section 218 and sections 225-227 of this title, upon petition of an electric or natural gas company, the public service board may, after opportunity for hearing, approve alternative forms of regulation for an electric or natural gas company; provided, however, in the case of a municipal plant or department formed under local charter or chapter 79 of this title or an electric cooperative formed under chapter 81 of this title, any alternative forms of regulation approved by the board shall also be approved by a majority of the voters of a municipality or cooperative voting upon the question at a duly warned annual or special meeting held for that purpose. Before doing so, the board shall find that the proposed form of alternative regulation will:

(1) establish a system of regulation in which such companies have clear incentives to provide least-cost energy service to their customers;

(2) provide just and reasonable rates for service to all classes of customers;

(3) deliver safe and reliable service;

(4) offer incentives for innovations and improved performance that advance state energy policy such as increased increasing reliance on Vermont-based renewable energy and decreasing the extent to which the financial success of distribution utilities between rate cases is linked to increased sales to end use customers and may be threatened by decreases in those sales;

(5) promote improved quality of service, reliability, and service choices;

(6) encourage innovation in the provision of service;

(7) establish a reasonably balanced system of risks and rewards that encourages the company to operate as efficiently as possible using sound management practices; and

(8) provide a reasonable opportunity, under sound and economical management, to earn a fair rate of return, provided such opportunity must be consistent with flexible design of alternative regulation and with the inclusion of effective financial incentives in such alternatives.

* * * V.  Efficiency Standards * * *

* * * Commercial Building Energy Standards * * *

Sec. 12.   COMMERCIAL BUILDING ENERGY STANDARDS

(a)  The department of public service is directed to develop a proposal for state-wide commercial building energy standards(CBES), after consulting with the following:

(1)  Efficiency Vermont;

(2)  Burlington Electric Department;

(3)  Vermont Gas Systems;

(4)  the commercial building design community;

(5)  the commercial building development and construction community; and

(6) other interested persons.

(b) No later than January 31, 2006, the commissioner of public service shall recommend to the legislature guidelines for the content of  a statewide commercial building energy standard.  The standard will recommend energy efficiency standards for commercial building systems including:

(1) Lighting;

(2)  Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment;

(3)  Building envelope (wall, roof and floor insulation, windows, doors, cellar);

(4)  Motors;

(5)  Transformers;

(6) Controls;

(7)  Water usage and hot water.

(c)  These guidelines shall be consistent with the requirements of  federal law that all states have a statewide commercial energy code that meets or exceeds the efficiency level of ASHRAE 90.1-2001. 

(d)  The commissioner will work closely with the International Code Council (ICC) and the New Buildings Institute (NBI), as well as other code support agencies, to develop the code in a way that is appropriate for the state.

Sec. 13.  REPORT ON ALTERNATIVE FORMS OF REGULATION

By no later than January 15, 2007, the public service board shall report to the general assembly on the implementation of 30 V.S.A. § 218d(a), relating to alternative forms of regulation.  The report shall be filed with the House Committees on Commerce and on Natural Resources and Energy and the Senate Committees on Finance and on Natural Resources and Energy.  It shall include an explanation of the results of any alternative form of regulation approved by the board, and if no such form has been approved, an explanation of why no such form has been approved.

Rep. Kitzmiller of Montpelier, for the committee on Commerce, recommended the bill ought to pass when amended as recommended by the committee on Natural Resources and Energy and when further amended as follows:

      First:  In Sec. 1, 30 V.S.A. §8001(a)(3), by striking out the words “stably priced” and inserting in lieu thereof the words “stably-priced renewable energy”;

     Second:  In Sec. 2, 30 V.S.A. §8002(4), in the third sentence, before the words “higher level of energy conversion efficiency”, by striking the word “significantly” and inserting in lieu thereof the words “an incrementally”;

     Third:  In Sec. 3, 30 V.S.A. §8004(b), in the second sentence, by striking the words “By January 1, 2013” and inserting in lieu thereof the words “Pursuant to 30 V.S.A. § 8005(d)(1)”;

     Fourth:  In Sec. 3, 30 V.S.A. §8004(b), in the second sentence, after the words “between January 1, 2005 and January 1,” by striking the number “2013” and inserting in lieu thereof the number “2012”;

     Fifth:  In Sec. 4, 30 V.S.A. §8005(b)(3), by striking the words “competitive with the” and inserting in lieu thereof the words “below the long term”;

     Sixth:  In Sec. 4, 30 V.S.A. §8005(b)(4), after the word “future” by inserting a comma and the words “especially with regard to the projects approved under subdivision (3) of this subsection”;

     Seventh:  In Sec. 4, 30 V.S.A. §8005(b)(7), by striking the words “way to gain ownership, for the benefit of Vermont retail electricity providers,” and inserting in lieu thereof the words “method for Vermont retail electrical providers to obtain beneficial ownership”;

     Eighth:  In Sec. 4, 30 V.S.A. § 8005(d)(1), in the first sentence, after the words “The public service board shall meet on or before” by striking the word “July” and inserting in lieu thereof the word “January”;

     Ninth:  In Sec. 4, 30 V.S.A. § 8005(d)(1), in the second sentence, by striking the words “If the board fails to make such a finding by November 1, 2012,” and inserting in lieu thereof the following: “The board shall make its determination by July 1, 2012.  If the board finds that the goal established has not been met, one year after the board’s determination”;

     Tenth:  In Sec. 6, 30 V.S.A. § 209(d), after the words “Sec. 6. 30 V.S.A. 209(d)” by striking out the word “is” and inserting the words “and (e) are”

     Eleventh:  In Sec. 6, 30 V.S.A. § 209(d) and (e), at the end of the section, by inserting the following:

     (e) The board shall:

* * *

          (14) Consider the impact on retail electric rates of programs delivered under subsection (d) of this section.

     Twelfth:  In Sec. 9, 30 V.S.A. § 218c(d)(1), in the second sentence, after the words “Not later than July 1, 2006, any utility”, by inserting the words “not required to file a least cost integrated plan under subsection (b) of this section and having satisfied the requirements of subsection (b)”;

     Thirteenth:  By adding a new Sec. 14 to read:

Sec. 14.  30  V.S.A. §3007 is amended to read:

§ 3007. MEMBERS, QUALIFICATIONS

Each incorporator of a cooperative shall be a member thereof, but no other person may become a member thereof unless such other person uses electric energy or other services, goods or products furnished by the cooperative when they are made available through its electric distribution facilities, or a person may become a member by owning renewable energy certificates or other environmental attributes associated with the generation of electricity from the cooperative.  A member of a cooperative who ceases to use electric energy shall cease to be a member if he or she does not use electric energy supplied by the cooperative within six months after it is made available, or if electric energy is not made available by the cooperative within two years after he or she becomes a member or some lesser period as the bylaws of the cooperative may provide. Two or more owners or occupants of property served by a cooperative may hold a joint membership in a cooperative. Membership in a cooperative shall not be transferable, except as provided by the bylaws. The bylaws may prescribe additional qualifications and limitations in respect to membership.

The bill, having appeared on the Calendar one day for notice, was taken up, read the second time and the recommendation of proposals of amendment offered by the committees on Natural Resources and Energy and Commerce agreed to and third reading ordered.

Senate Proposal of Amendment Concurred in

H. 149

     The Senate proposes to the House to amend House bill, entitled

     An act relating to credit unions;

First:  In Sec. 1, 8 V.S.A. § 31401(a)(2)(D), before "may continue membership" by adding who

Second:  In Sec. 1, 8 V.S.A. § 31314(a), in the second sentence, by deleting "life,"

Third:  In Sec. 1, 8 V.S.A. § 32701(a), by striking out "federally-insured" and inserting in lieu thereof federally insured

Fourth:  In Sec. 7, "EFFECTIVE DATE", by striking out "part" and inserting in lieu thereof act

     Which proposal of amendment was considered and concurred in.

Joint Resolution Adopted

J.R.H. 34

Joint resolution, entitled

Joint resolution relating to use of the State House for the Green Mountain Boys’ State program;

Was taken up and adopted on the part of the House.

Message from the Senate No. 50

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

Madam Speaker:

I am directed to inform the House that the Senate has on its part passed Senate bill of the following title:

     S. 164.  An act relating to elections and voter registration.

     In the passage of which the concurrence of the House is requested.

     The Senate has considered bills originating in the House of the following titles:

H. 72.  An act relating to unlawful employment practices.

H. 210.  An act relating to technical tax amendments.

And has passed the same in concurrence.

The Senate has considered a bill originating in the House of the following title:

H. 518.  An act relating to capital construction and state bonding.

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 a joint resolution originating in the House of the following title:

J.R.H. 24.  Joint resolution urging the federal government not to reduce funding for critical federal programs serving all Vermonters.

And has adopted the same in concurrence.

Action on Bill Postponed

H. 299

House bill, entitled

An act relating to an agency fee for teachers and administrators;

Was taken up and pending third reading of the bill on motion of Rep. Howrigan of Fairfield, action on the bill was postponed until the next legislative day.

Action on Bill Postponed

H. 243

House bill, entitled

An act relating to requiring the installation of carbon monoxide detectors in housing;

Was taken up and the question, Shall the House concur in the Senate proposal of amendment? on motion of Rep. Wright of Burlington, action on the bill was postponed until the next legislative day.

Adjournment

At seven o’clock and thirty-five minutes in the evening, on motion of Rep. Sunderland of Rutland Town, the House adjourned until tomorrow at eight o’clock and thirty minutes in the forenoon.