Journal of the Senate

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Tuesday, April 26, 2005

The Senate was called to order by the President.

Devotional Exercises

Devotional exercises were conducted by the Reverend David Hall of Montpelier.

Pledge of Allegiance

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

Message from the House No. 48

     A message was received from the House of Representatives by Mr. Otterman, its Second Assistant Clerk, as follows:

Mr. President:

I am directed to inform the Senate the House has passed a bill of the following title:

H. 524.  An act relating to universal access to health care in Vermont.

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

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

J.R.S. 28.  Joint resolution relating to weekend adjournment.

And has adopted the same in concurrence.

Message from the House No. 49

     A message was received from the House of Representatives by Mr. MaGill, its First Assistant Clerk, as follows:

Mr. President:

     I am directed to inform the Senate the House has adopted concurrent resolutions of the following titles:

     H.C.R. 100.  House concurrent resolution congratulating the St. Johnsbury Town Band on the occasion of its 175th anniversary.

     H.C.R. 101.  House concurrent resolution honoring Gary Rosen for his outstanding work in the performing arts.

     H.C.R. 102.  House concurrent resolution congratulating Taylor Coppenrath of West Barnet on the conclusion of his historic basketball career as a University of Vermont Catamount.

     H.C.R. 103.  House concurrent resolution honoring University of Vermont basketball coach Tom Brennan.

In the adoption of which the concurrence of the Senate is requested.

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

     S.C.R. 29.  Senate concurrent resolution congratulating the People's Health and Wellness Clinic on the occasion of its tenth anniversary.

     S.C.R. 30.  Senate concurrent resolution congratulating Dale Wells on his selection as the Northeast Kingdom Chamber of Commerce’s Citizen of the Year.

     And has adopted the same in concurrence.

Bill Referred

House bill of the following title was  read the first time and referred:

H. 524.

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

To the Committee on Health and Welfare.

Bill Called Up

H. 515.

House bill of the following title was called up by Senator Wilton, and, under the rule, placed on the Calendar for action tomorrow:

An act relating to judicial determinations in juvenile proceedings.

Bill Passed

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

S. 168.

An act relating to fireworks incident report deadline.


Consideration Postponed

H. 28.

House bill entitled:

An act relating to establishing guidelines for the use of outdoor lighting.

Was taken up.

Thereupon, on motion of Senator Snelling consideration the bill was postponed until May 4, 2005.

Point of Order; Bill Passed

S. 16.

Senate bill entitled:

An act relating to the notice requirements for expenditures on mass media activities referencing an election candidate.

Was taken up.

Thereupon, pending third reading of the bill, Senator Shepard moved to amend the bill in Sec. 13 in 17 V.S.A. by striking out §2892 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

§ 2892.  IDENTIFICATION

(a)  All electioneering communications shall contain the name and address of the person, political committee, or campaign who or which paid for the communication.  The communication shall clearly designate the name of the candidate, party, or political committee by or on whose behalf the same is published or broadcast.  The identification requirements of this section shall not apply to lapel stickers or buttons, nor shall they apply to electioneering communications made by a single individual acting alone who spends, in a single two-year general election cycle, a cumulative amount of no more than $150.00 on those electioneering communications. 

(b)  An electioneering communications paid for by a political action committee which advocates for or against a candidate or political party shall disclose the purpose of the political action committee.  The purpose shall be stated in terms similar to those used by the political action committee for fundraising mailings, and the statement shall not exceed two sentences of reasonable length.  A political action committee or its officers may be fined for failure to comply with this subsection.  A fine shall equal the amount the committee spent advocating for a candidate or a political party multiplied by the number of candidates or parties in the race which the advertisement attempts to influence.  Fine money collected shall be distributed to the campaigns of candidates or political parties not advocated for in the electioneering communications.  Candidates receiving fine money may spend the money on their campaigns or donate the money to any other candidate for any office within the state of Vermont in the current or next election cycle.

Thereupon, pending the question, Shall the bill be amended as recommended by Senator Shepard?, Senator Shepard requested and was granted leave to withdraw the recommendation of amendment.

Thereupon, the bill was read the third time and passed on a roll call, Yeas 25, Nays 1.

Senator Sears having demanded the yeas and nays, they were taken and are as follows:

Roll Call

Those Senators who voted in the affirmative were: Ayer, Bartlett, Collins, Condos, Cummings, Doyle, Dunne, Flanagan, Giard, Illuzzi, Kitchel, Kittell, Leddy, Lyons, MacDonald, Maynard, Mazza, Mullin, Scott, Sears, Snelling, Starr, Welch, White, Wilton.

The Senator who voted in the negative was: *Shepard.

Those Senators absent and not voting were: Campbell, Coppenrath, Gander, Miller.

     *Senator Shepard explained his vote as follows:

     “Mr. President:

     “I voted against this bill for a couple reasons.  Today I want to focus on a concern I have had prior to running for the State Senate, and which became a huge factor in my own race for State Senate in 2002.  My concern is that Vermont politics is becoming more and more influenced by money from PACs that use Vermont as a launching pad for national agendas.

     “In 2002, as reported in the Rutland Herald one of my opponents attracted over $16,000 from the Vermont Fund for Families PAC.  While campaign contributions were limited to $300, an individual PAC, or person for the matter, can spend an unlimited amount in support of a candidate if they do not go directly through the candidate’s campaign fund.

     “Some here believe the playing field is level between individuals and PACs because both can spend an unlimited amount if it is separate from a campaign.  While this may be technically correct, it does not play out in practice.  PACs raise huge amounts of money from throughout the nation for support of their agendas and then run sophisticated campaigns in focused locations, such as Vermont.  The playing field is not level, by any stretch.  The limits seem to be limits only to Vermont citizens.

     “Thank you.”

Senator Sears raised a point of order on the ground that the explanation by Senator Shepard alleged as fact information that has not been supported by evidence and that this unsupported assertion will appear in the Senate Journal.

The President ruled that the point of order was not well taken in that the remarks of Senator Shepard were germane to the subject matter of the bill; and whether or not the allegation of fact was supported, that Senator Shepard’s explanation of his vote was within the permissible limits of debate as set forth in the permanent rules of the Senate and in Mason’s Manual of Legislative Procedure.  Moreover, its inclusion in the Senate journal is specifically authorized by the Constitution of the State of Vermont, Chapter II, section 9.

House Proposal of Amendment Not Concurred In; Committee of Conference Requested

S. 81.

House proposal of amendment to Senate bill entitled:

An act relating to school buses.

Was taken up.

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

Sec. 1.  23 V.S.A. § 4(34) is amended to read:

(34)(A)  “School bus” means any motor vehicle with a manufacturer’s rated seating capacity of 11 or more passengers, including the operator, used to transport children to or from school or in connection with school activities, except:

(i)  buses operated by common carriers who incidentally accept school children as passengers;

(ii)  private motor vehicles used to carry members of the owner’s household.  For the purposes of this section, private motor vehicle means a vehicle neither owned nor leased by a public school or an approved independent school;

(iii)  private motor vehicles used to transport children without compensation.  For the purposes of this section, compensation means payment in any form except reimbursement for mileage or the normal salary paid to a person otherwise employed by the school;

(iv)  motor vehicles with a manufacturer’s rated seating capacity of fewer than 11 persons, including the operator, which are owned, leased, or hired by a school, or for which services are reimbursed by a school.  However, if used to transport students, these shall be considered a Type II school bus for purposes of licensure, shall display an identification sign as prescribed in subdivision 1283(a)(1) of this title, and shall be equipped with a simple system of at least two red alternating warning lights;

(v)  motor coaches provided with a driver to a school on a single-trip or multi-trip contract basis to provide transportation to or from, or to and from, athletic or other special events.  A motor coach is a vehicle at least 35 feet in length which carries more than 30 passengers and is designed for long distance transportation of passengers, characterized by integral construction with an elevated passenger deck located over a baggage compartment.  Pursuant to 16 V.S.A. § 255, a superintendent or headmaster shall request criminal record information for a driver of a motor coach if the driver may be in unsupervised contact with schoolchildren;

(vi)  multifunction school activity buses, as defined in section 1287 of this title, provided with a driver to a school on a single-trip or multi-trip contract basis to provide transportation to or from, or to and from, athletic or other special events.  Pursuant to 16 V.S.A. § 255, a superintendent or headmaster shall request criminal record information for a driver of a motor coach if the driver may be in unsupervised contact with schoolchildren;

(vii)  other multifunction school activity buses as defined in section 1287 of this title

(B)  “Type I school bus” means a school bus designed to transport with a manufacturer’s rated seating capacity of more than 15 passengers, including the operator.

(C)  “Type II school bus” means a school bus designed to transport with a manufacturer’s rated seating capacity of more than 10 and less than 16 passengers, including the operator.

(D)  A private motor vehicle designed to transport more than 10  and fewer than 16 passengers, including the operator, for compensation, including vehicles leased or otherwise provided to a school on a single trip basis to provide transportation to or from an athletic event or special field trip or provided to the school for 10 days or fewer, shall be subject to all Type I school bus safety and equipment standards, except:

(i)  The requirements of subdivisions (a)(2) and (3) of section 1283 of this title;

(ii)  The aisle or door requirement of subdivision (8)(A) of section 1281 of this title; and

(iii)  The rear door requirement of subdivision (1) of section 1281 of this title.  If no rear door is present, there shall be one additional door, operable from inside the vehicle, located to the rear of the operator.

(E)  A private motor vehicle designed to transport fewer than 11 persons, including the operator, for compensation shall be considered a Type II school bus and need only display an identification sign as prescribed in section 1283(a)(1) of this title, and be equipped with a simple system of at least two red alternating warning lights;.

(F)  A school bus, other than a Type I school bus owned or leased by a school and not being used on a fixed route to transport students to and from home and school, may be a color other than national school bus yellow; however, it must meet the other identification and equipment requirements specified in section 1283 of this title.

Sec. 2.  23 V.S.A. § 1287 is added to read:

§ 1287.  MULTIFUNCTION SCHOOL ACTIVITY BUS

(a)  A “multifunction school activity bus” is a vehicle which is used to transport students on trips other than on a fixed route between home and school, and which meets the construction and safety standards for a “multifunction school activity bus” adopted by rule by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

(b)  If a school owns a multifunction school activity bus or leases one other than as provided in subdivision 4(34)(A)(vi) of this title, the driver shall be required to hold a license which includes a school bus driver’s endorsement.  The endorsement shall be a Type I or Type II endorsement as appropriate to the size of the vehicle.

(c)  A multifunction school activity bus may be a color other than national school bus yellow. 

Sec. 3.  TRANSITIONAL PROVISIONS

(a)  This section refers to a motor vehicle, other than a multifunction school activity bus, which is designed to transport more than 10 and fewer than 16 passengers, including the operator, and which is provided to a school for compensation on a single‑trip basis to transport students to or from an athletic event or special field trip or provided to the school for 10 days or fewer.  These vehicles shall be subject to all Type I school bus safety and equipment standards, except:

(1)  The requirements of subdivisions 1283(a)(2) and (3) of Title 23;

(2)  The aisle or door requirement of subdivision 1281(8)(A) of Title 23; and

(3)  The rear door requirement of subdivision 1281(1) of Title 23.  If no rear door is present, there shall be one additional door, operable from inside the vehicle located to the rear of the operator.

(b)  This section is repealed on July 1, 2007.

Thereupon, pending the question, Shall the Senate concur in the House proposal of amendment?, on motion of Senator Collins, the Senate refused to concur in the House proposal of amendment and requested a Committee of Conference.

Rules Suspended; Bills Messaged

On motion of Senator Welch, the rules were suspended, and the following bills were ordered messaged to the House forthwith:

S. 16; S. 168.

Message from the House No. 50

     A message was received from the House of Representatives by Mr. Otterman, its Second Assistant Clerk, as follows:

Mr. President:

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

S. 52.  An act relating to renewable energy portfolio standards, appliance efficiency standards, and distributed electricity.

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

Message from the Governor

A message was received from His Excellency, the Governor, by Neale Lunderville, Secretary of Civil and Military Affairs, as follows:

Mr. President:

I am directed by the Governor to inform the Senate that on the twenty-fifth day of April, 2005, he approved and signed a bill originating in the Senate of the following title:

S. 63.  An act relating to the transfer of certain functions from the department of labor and industry to the department of public safety.

Adjournment

On motion of Senator Welch, the Senate adjourned until one o’clock and thirty minutes in the afternoon on Wednesday, April 27, 2005.