Journal of the Senate

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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The Senate was called to order by the President.

Devotional Exercises

Devotional exercises were conducted by the Reverend Kevin Rooney of Northfield.

Pledge of Allegiance

Senator Starr then led the members of the Senate in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Message from the House No. 55

     A message was received from the House of Representatives by Ms. Wrask, 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. 881.  An act relating to making appropriations for the support of government.

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. 61.  Joint resolution relating to weekend adjournment.

And has adopted the same in concurrence.

     The House has adopted concurrent resolutions of the following titles:

     H.C.R. 260.  Concurrent resolution congratulating the 2006 Colchester High School Lakers Division II championship boys hockey team.

     H.C.R. 261.  Concurrent resolution congratulating the 2006 Colchester Lakers Division II championship girls hockey team.

     H.C.R. 262.  Concurrent resolution congratulating Travis St. Hilaire on the completion of his outstanding high school wrestling career.

     H.C.R. 263.  Concurrent resolution honoring Vermont’s museums during the year of the museum.

     H.C.R. 264.  Concurrent resolution congratulating recently certified master loggers and congratulating the 2005 Vermont master logger of the year.

     H.C.R. 265.  Concurrent resolution congratulating the Gifford Medical Center Auxiliary on its centennial anniversary.

     H.C.R. 266.  Concurrent resolution honoring Roger and Rosie Wilson as outstanding citizens of Grafton.

     H.C.R. 267.  Concurrent resolution congratulating the Enosburg High School Hornets 2006 girls basketball Division III championship team.

     H.C.R. 268.  Concurrent resolution honoring the American Red Cross and its Vermont volunteers during American Red Cross month.

     H.C.R. 269.  Concurrent resolution in memory of Vermont National Guard Sgt. Scott P. McLaughlin of Hardwick.

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

     S.C.R. 58.  Concurrent resolution congratulating Charles Shackleton on being named the Vermont Wood Manufacturers Association's "Woodworker of the Year".

     S.C.R. 59.  Concurrent resolution in memory of former Woodstock town clerk Frederick A. Doubleday.

And has adopted the same in concurrence.

Message from the House No. 56

     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 passed a bill of the following title:

H. 880.  An act relating to education finance simplification.

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

Bills Referred

House bills of the following titles were severally read the first time and referred:


H. 880.

An act relating to education finance simplification.

To the Committee on Finance.

H. 881.

An act relating to making appropriations for the support of government.

To the Committee on Appropriations.

Bill Passed

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

S. 291.

An act relating to tax increment financing districts for Milton, South Burlington, and Berlin.

Consideration Postponed

S. 297.

Senate bill entitled:

An act relating to workers’ compensation coverage for members and managers of limited liability companies.

Was taken up.

Thereupon, without objection consideration of the bill was postponed until the next legislative day.

Bill Passed in Concurrence with Proposals of Amendment

H. 238.

House bill of the following title was read the third time and passed in concurrence with proposals of amendment:

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

Bill Passed in Concurrence

H. 576.

House bill of the following title was read the third time and passed in concurrence:

An act relating to a reorganization of the Vermont department of labor.


Proposals of Amendment; Third Reading Ordered

J.R.H. 57.

Senator Miller, for the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs, to which was referred joint House resolution entitled:

Joint resolution opposing the implementation on the proposed rules under the western hemisphere travel initiative.

Reported recommending that the Senate propose to the House to amend the joint resolution by striking out the words “OPPOSING THE IMPLEMENTATION” and inserting in lieu thereof the words URGING MODIFICATION

And that the joint resolution ought to be adopted in concurrence with such proposal of amendment.

     Thereupon, the joint resolution was read the second time by title only pursuant to Rule 43, and pending the question, Shall the Senate propose to the House to amend the joint resolution as recommended by the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs?, Senator Miller requested and was granted leave to withdraw the proposal of amendment.

     Thereupon, Senator Illuzzi, on behalf of the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs, moved that the Senate propose to the House amend the joint resolution by striking out the resolution in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Whereas, Canada, particularly the province of Quebec, and Vermont have enjoyed a close, strong, and historical partnership, a relationship that has fostered important and substantial trade and cultural between Canada and Vermont; and

Whereas, bilateral trade between Vermont and Canada is important, accounts for more than $3.9 billion in 2004, with $1.3 billion in Vermont goods exported to Canada, and $2.6 billion in Canadian goods imported into Vermont in 2004, and includes agricultural products, telecommunication goods, which represented 46 percent of the overall trade volume in 2004, forest products, which are Vermont’s second largest export to Canada, and tourism, which accounted for nearly 600,000 Canadian visitors who generated $79 million in tourism revenue to Vermont in 2004, and

Whereas, Vermont has historically relied on Canada as a secure source of energy, importing $442 million in petroleum and coal products and natural gas in 2004, and

Whereas, more than 12,000 Vermont jobs are supported by the Canada/United States trade, and each day more than 300,000 business people, tourists, and regular commuters travel between the United States and Canada; and

Whereas, the economic viability of Vermont’s tourism and hospitality industry greatly depends on facilitating border crossings, whether by air, land, or sea, but particularly for the land border crossing; and

Whereas,  56 percent of same day travelers from the United Stated, and 40 percent of same day travelers from Canada, and 50 percent of overnight travelers from the United States and 30 percent of overnight travelers from Canada do not have a passport; and

Whereas,  a recent report, prepared for the Canadian Tourism Commission, estimates that by 2008, the passport requirement would result in 3.5 million fewer trips into the United States from Canada with a loss of approximately $785 million in tourism revenue and 7.7 million fewer trips by U.S. citizens into Canada with a $1.7 billion loss in revenue; and

Whereas, the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) as currently outlined will be a deterrent to travel, particularly on lower income citizens, negatively impact the total number of border crossings and will have significant negative implications for the economies of both Canada and the United States, and

Whereas, the state of Vermont recognizes that the security of our shared border with Canada is critical to ensuring the security of Vermont and that of the entire nation, and that the safety and security of all Americans is of paramount importance, and

Whereas, although the state of Vermont supports the intent of the WHTI to improve the security of Vermont’s border crossings, it nevertheless has serious reservations about the efficiency and effectiveness of the proposed rules related to the WHTI that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of State have jointly developed, and

Whereas, because the identification provisions in the recently enacted Real-ID Drivers’ License Act and those in the WHTI are so similar and timed to take effect at approximately the same time, they should be brought together and implemented in a consolidated and coordinated manner, now therefore be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

That the General Assembly requests the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense to conduct a thorough analysis of the impact of both proposals on all sectors of the economy, particularly in border regions, and to allow the use of more readily available and less expensive secure identification documents, such as Real-ID, to satisfy the secure identification requirements of the WHTI, and be it further

Resolved:  That the General Assembly urges the President of the United States, and the United States Congress to delay the implementation of the specific rule that the Department of Homeland Security and Department of State are proposing under WHTI, requiring that, as an alternative to a passport, a separate new identification card would be required of all citizens of the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Bermuda, regardless of age, to enter or reenter the United States, until such time as the necessary analysis can be done and a more efficient and effective means of accomplishing the desired outcome can be developed, and be it further

Resolved:  That the secretary of state be directed to send a copy of this resolution to the President of the United States, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and to the Vermont Congressional Delegation.

The Committee further recommends that after passage of the joint resolution that the title be amended to read as follows:

JOINT RESOLUTION URGING MODIFICATION OF THE PROPOSED U.S. PASSPORT PLAN (WESTERN HEMISPHERE TRAVEL INITIATIVE).

Which was agreed to.

Thereupon, third reading of the joint resolution was ordered on a roll call, Yeas 26, Nays 0.

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, Campbell, Collins, Condos, Coppenrath, Cummings, Doyle, Giard, Illuzzi, Kitchel, Kittell, Leddy, Lyons, MacDonald, Maynard, Mazza, Miller, Mullin, Scott, Sears, Snelling, Starr, Welch, White, Wilton.

Those Senators who voted in the negative were: None.

Those Senators absent and not voting were: Dunne, Flanagan, Gander, Shepard.

Senator Welch Assumes the Chair


Third Reading Ordered

H. 630.

Senator Condos, for the Committee on Education, to which was referred House bill entitled:

An act relating to teaching about signs of the responses to depression and risk of suicide in public schools.

Reported that the bill ought to pass in concurrence.

Thereupon, the bill was read the second time by title only pursuant to Rule 43, and third reading of the bill was ordered on a roll call, Yeas 25, Nays 0.

Senator Illuzzi 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, Campbell, Collins, Condos, Coppenrath, Cummings, Doyle, Giard, Illuzzi, Kitchel, Kittell, Leddy, Lyons, MacDonald, Maynard, Mazza, Miller, Mullin, Scott, Sears, Snelling, Starr, White, Wilton.

Those Senators who voted in the negative were: None.

Those Senators absent or not voting were: Dunne, Flanagan, Gander, Shepard, Welch (presiding).

Proposal of Amendment; Third Reading Ordered

H. 841.

Senator Illuzzi, for the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs, to which was referred House bill entitled:

An act relating to underground utility damage prevention system.

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

Sec. 1.  30 V.S.A. § 7004(e) is added to read:

(e)  Notice of excavation activities shall be valid for an excavation site until one of the following events occurs:

(1)  The markings become faded, illegible, or destroyed; or

(2)  The company installs new underground facilities in a marked area still under excavation.

Sec. 2.  30 V.S.A. § 7008(a) and (b) are amended to read:

(a)  Vermont Dig Safe Program.  Any person who violates any provisions of sections 7004, 7006a, 7006b, or 7007 of this title shall be subject to a civil penalty of up to $1,000.00 for a first offense or up to $5,000.00 for a second or subsequent offense, in addition to any other remedies or penalties provided by law or any liability for actual damages.

(b)  Any company which does not mark the location of its underground facilities as required by section 7006 or 7006a of this title shall be subject to a civil penalty of up to $1,000.00 for a first offense or up to $5,000.00 for a second or subsequent offense.

Sec. 3.  30 V.S.A. § 2816(a) is amended to read:

(a)  Gas Pipeline Safety Program.  Any person who violates any statute, rule, regulation, or order of the public service board relating to safety standards or safety practices applicable to transportation of gas through gas pipeline facilities subject to the jurisdiction of the public service board is subject to a civil penalty of not more than $10,000.00 $100,000.00 for each violation for each day that the violation persists.  However, the maximum civil penalty shall not exceed $500,000.00 $1,000,000.00 for any related series of violations.  The penalty may be imposed by the board after notice to the offending person of the alleged violations and opportunity for hearing.

Sec. 4.  30 V.S.A. § 7001(4) is amended to read:

(4)  “Excavation activities” means activities involving the removal of earth, rock, or other materials in the ground, disturbing the subsurface of the earth, or the demolition of any structure, by the discharge of explosives or the use of powered or mechanized equipment or hand tools, including but not limited to digging, trenching, blasting, boring, drilling, hammering, post driving, wrecking, razing, or tunneling, within 100 feet of an underground utility facility.  Excavation activities shall not include the tilling of the soil for agricultural purposes, routine gardening outside easement areas and public rights of way, or activities relating to routine public highway maintenance.

The Committee further recommends that after passage of the bill the title be amended to read as follows:

     AN ACT RELATING TO THE VERMONT DIG SAFE PROGRAM AND THE FEDERAL GAS PIPELINE SAFETY PROGRAM.

And that the bill ought to pass in concurrence with such proposal of amendment.

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

Adjournment

On motion of Senator Mazza, the Senate adjourned until eleven o’clock and thirty minutes in the morning.