Journal of the Senate

________________

Friday, May 5, 2006

The Senate was called to order by the President.

Devotional Exercises

Devotional exercises were conducted by Senator John F. Campbell of Windsor District.

On motion of Senator Leddy, Senator Campbell’s remarks were ordered journalized and are as follows:

     “Heavenly Father,

     “Help us remember that the jerk who cut us off in traffic last night is a single mother who worked nine hours that day and is rushing home to cook dinner, help with homework, do the laundry and spend a few precious moments with her children.

     “Help us to remember that the pierced, tattooed, disinterested young man who is having difficulty making change is a worried 19-year-old college student, balancing his apprehension over final exams with his fear of not getting his student loans for next semester.

     “Remind us, Lord, that the scary-looking bum, begging for money in the same spot every day, is a slave to addictions that we can only imagine in our worst nightmares.

     “Help us to remember that the old couple walking annoyingly slow through the store aisles and blocking our shopping progress are savoring this moment, knowing that, based on the biopsy report she got back last week, this will be the last year that they go shopping together.

     “Heavenly Father, remind us each day that, of all the gifts you give us, the greatest gift is love. It is not enough to share that love with those we hold dear.

     “Open our hearts not just to those who are close to us, but to all humanity. Let us be slow to judge, and quick to forgive, and to show patience, empathy and love.

     “Amen”


Pages Honored

In appreciation of their many services to the members of the General Assembly, the President recognized the following-named pages who are completing their services today and presented them with commemorative posters:

                                          Erin B. Banfield of Montpelier

                                          Chelsea Downey of Manchester Center

                                          Paul Fischer of Burlington

                                          Maer Gillespie of Barre

                                          Kelsey Heston of Richmond

                                          Hannah Kornfeld of Norwich

                                          Hillary Laggis of Hardwick

                                          Emily McIntyre of Bomoseen

                                          Caroline B. Pardo of Colchester

                                          Georgie Wilton of Rutland

Joint Resolution Adopted on the Part of the Senate

Joint Senate resolution of the following title was offered, read and adopted on the part of the Senate, and is as follows:

By the Committee on Health and Welfare,

J.R.S. 69.  Joint resolution urging Congress to amend the federal Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 to eliminate the financial burden the act imposes on small and rural pharmacies.

Whereas, the federal Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, P.L. 109-171, revises the formula for setting federal upper limit (FUL) drug prices, effective January 1, 2007; and, as a consequence, it reduces significantly Medicaid pharmacy product cost reimbursement for generic drugs, and

Whereas, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the new limits on Medicaid pharmacy reimbursement will result, nationally, in a $3.6 billion reduction in federal payments to retail pharmacies for prescriptions of generic drugs and approximately $6.3 billion including corresponding reductions in states’ funds, and

Whereas, pharmacy reimbursement for generic drugs dispensed through the Vermont Medicaid program is likely to be reduced an average $6.70 per prescription, and

Whereas, a reduction of that magnitude could drop Medicaid product reimbursement to a level at or below the pharmacies’ costs to acquire the affected drugs, and

Whereas, Vermont’s $4.75 Medicaid dispensing fee, while higher than the average Medicaid dispensing fee nationwide, still covers less than 50 percent of the actual cost to dispense a prescription in the state, and

Whereas, the impact of lower‑than-dispensing-cost dispensing fees could force Vermont’s pharmacies, particularly small independent pharmacies operating in remote and rural areas of the state, to reduce their services, hours, and workforces, or even to close their doors, and

Whereas, reductions in pharmacy hours and services and the closing of a significant number of pharmacies would constitute a threat to the health of all Vermont residents, and particularly to those in the Medicaid program; and it would severely affect the state’s economy, now therefore be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

That the General Assembly urges Congress to amend the federal Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 to eliminate the financial burden the act imposes on small and rural pharmacies, and be it further

Resolved:  That the General Assembly urges that to the extent possible, this legislative relief should be enacted before the revised FUL procedures created under the Deficit Reduction Act can take effect on January 1, 2007, and be it further

Resolved:  That the Secretary of State be directed to send a copy of this resolution to the Vermont Congressional delegation.

Senator Edward Flanagan Recognized; Remarks Journalized

     The Senate welcomed back Senator Flanagan of Chittenden District, upon his return and ongoing recovery from serious personal injuries sustained in an automobile accident last fall.

Thereupon, on motion of Senator Leddy, the remarks of Senator Flanagan were ordered journalized and are as follows:

     “Mr. President, it's good to be back. You're looking at someone who is grateful to be alive, recovering, and with all of you. I am a living testament to the hard work and dedication of the doctors, nurses, and staff at Fletcher Allen in Vermont and Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York

    “I was told, but remember nothing, about what happened five months ago. My car tumbled down a steep hill and ended upside-down in a ravine. I was trapped. I remained there for 18 hours until Jimmy Bisson noticed my car and called police. They quickly came and emergency medical steps were taken, which saved my life. The temperatures which hovered just above freezing slowed my metabolism which was crucial to my surviving. I have no memory of the next six weeks. I started the long and painful journey to consciousness.

    “With the help of many of you, I slowly realized the challenge of recovering and regaining myself. You engaged me in the work of my two committees - Health and Welfare and Judiciary - that speeded up my recovery. Now, I'm working hard on fully getting back to my public service for Vermonters. The effects of the accident, like my work here in the Senate, are still challenges to confront. Working with many of you on the personal and political fronts, I look ahead to the future with ever-increasing confidence.

     “I'm humbled by my insights about the vulnerability of every Vermonter and the need for comprehensive health insurance. I can't imagine where I'd be without the sustained, intensive rehab therapy that my insurance makes possible. I can't imagine how working Vermont families can stay afloat after an uninsured wage-earner sustains a serious injury or illness.

     “This is the challenge that we cannot duck. I salute the efforts of this body to meet this challenge.

     “This Senator from Chittenden County stands before you with a deepened appreciation of human life. My experience speaks to the profoundly high stakes of providing adequate health insurance for all Vermonters.

     “Thank you to my partner, Isaac Lustgarten, who has been loyal and supportive throughout this ordeal, my family and friends, the Fletcher Allen staff, my colleagues here, and the countless Vermonters who continue to send me encouragement and support. The devotion has been moving. I am proud to be part of a community that has shown such love and support which is typical of Vermont values.

     “Mr. President, I'm eager to continue working for Vermonters who are all part of a community that was there for me when I was in need.”

Proposal of Amendment; Third Reading Ordered; Rules Suspended; Bill Passed in Concurrence with Proposal of Amendment; Bill Messaged

H. 843.

Senator Cummings, for the Committee on Finance, to which was referred House bill entitled:

An act relating to miscellaneous tax policy amendments.

Reported recommending that the Senate propose to the House to amend the bill as follows:


* * *Preserves Changes to Cigarette Tax in Health Bill if it is Enacted* * *

     First:  By adding a new section to be numbered Sec. 3a to read as follows:

Sec. 3a.  PRIORITY OF ENACTMENTS   

     Sec. 3 of this act (amending 32 V.S.A. § 7771 relating to the cigarette tax) shall be subject to and further amended by any amendments to § 7771 in H. 861 which are enacted in 2006, except that the repeal of the sentence at the end of subsection (a)(3) of Sec. 3 of this act, which readsAll taxes upon cigarettes under this chapter are declared to be a direct tax upon the consumer at retail and shall conclusively be presumed to be precollected for the purpose of convenience and facility only.shall remain repealed.

* *Leaves Sales Tax on Downloaded Software to Begin When SST Begins* *

     Second:  By striking out Sec. 4 (accelerating the effective date for sales taxation of prewritten computer software in electronic form)

     Third:  In Sec. 6 (effective date for Sec. 4) by striking out subsection (4)

* * *3% Production Deduction* * *

     Fourth:  By adding a new section to be numbered Sec. 7 to read as follows:

Sec. 7.  32 V.S.A. § 5811 is amended to read:

* * *

(18) "Vermont net income" means, for any taxable year and for any corporate taxpayer:

(A) the taxable income of the taxpayer for that taxable year under the laws of the United States, without regard to Section 168(k) of the Internal Revenue Code, and excluding income which under the laws of the United States is exempt from taxation by the states:

(i) increased by:

(I) the amount of any deduction for state and local taxes on or measured by income, franchise taxes measured by net income, franchise taxes for the privilege of doing business and capital stock taxes; and

(II) to the extent such income is exempted from taxation under the laws of the United States by the amount received by the taxpayer on and after January 1, 1986 as interest income from state and local obligations, other than obligations of Vermont and its political subdivisions, and any dividends or other distributions from any fund to the extent such dividend or distribution is attributable to such Vermont state or local obligations; and

(III) the amount of any domestic production activity deduction under section 199 of the Internal Revenue Code in excess of 3 percent of qualified income; and

* * *

(21) "Taxable income" means federal taxable income:

(A) Increased by the following items of income (to the extent such income is excluded from federal adjusted gross income):

(i) interest income from non-Vermont state and local obligations;

(ii) dividends or other distributions from any fund to the extent they are attributable to non-Vermont state or local obligations;

and also increased by:

(iii) any amount of capital gain income which was deferred in a prior year under subdivision (B)(iii) of this subdivision (21), to be added in the taxable year of disposition of the taxpayer's interest in the qualified business;

(iv) the amount of any domestic production activity deduction under section 199 of the Internal Revenue Code in excess of 3 percent of qualified income;

* * *Increase of Credit for Higher Ed Investment Plan Contributions* * *

     Fifth:  By adding a new section to be numbered Sec. 8 to read as follows:

Sec. 8. 32 V.S.A. § 5825A is amended to read:

§ 5825A. CREDIT FOR VERMONT HIGHER EDUCATION INVESTMENT PLAN CONTRIBUTIONS

(a) A taxpayer of this state, including each spouse filing a joint return, shall be eligible for a nonrefundable credit against the tax imposed under section 5822 of this title of five ten percent of the first $2,000.00 $2,500.00 per beneficiary, contributed by the taxpayer during the taxable year to a Vermont higher education investment plan account under subchapter 7 of chapter 87 of Title 16.

     (b) A taxpayer who has received a credit under subsection (a) of this section shall repay to the commissioner five  ten percent of any distribution from a higher education investment plan account, which distribution is not excluded from gross income in the taxable year under Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code, as amended, up to a maximum of the total credits received by the taxpayer under subsection (a) of this section minus any amount of repayment of such credits in prior tax years. Repayments under this subsection shall be subject to assessment, notice, penalty and interest, collection, and other administration in the same manner as an income tax under this chapter. 

* * *State College Property/VTC “Incubator”* * *

     Sixth:  By adding two new sections to be numbered Secs. 9 and 10 to read as follows:

Sec. 9.  32 V.S.A. § 3701(1)(A) is amended to read:

(1)  “State-owned property” means:

(A)  state-owned buildings, including buildings of the Vermont state colleges and which are tax-exempt under section 2178 of Title 16; buildings of the University of Vermont and State Agricultural College used for educational and not commercial purposes; and buildings of the agency of transportation and the department of the military; but excluding the value of land on which the buildings are located, and excluding all highways and bridges and any land pertaining thereto; and

Sec. 10.  16 V.S.A. § 2178 is amended to read:

§ 2178.  TAX EXEMPTION

All real and personal property owned by the corporation and used for educational and not commercial purposes shall be exempt from taxation.

* * *Changing Angel Investment Incentive to a Credit* * *

     Seventh:  By adding three new sections to be numbered Secs. 11, 12 and 13 to read as follows:

Sec. 11.  32 V.S.A. § 5811(21) is amended to read:

(21)  “Taxable income” means federal taxable income:

(A)  Increased by the following items of income (to the extent such income is excluded from federal adjusted gross income):

(i)  interest income from non-Vermont state and local obligations; and

(ii)  dividends or other distributions from any fund to the extent they are attributable to non-Vermont state or local obligations;

(iii)  any amount of capital gain income which was deferred in a prior year under subdivision (B)(iii) of this subdivision (21), to be added in the taxable year of disposition of the taxpayer’s interest in the qualified business; and

(B)  Decreased by the following items of income (to the extent such income is included in federal adjusted gross income):

(i)  income from United States government obligations; and

(ii)  40 percent of adjusted net capital gain income as defined in Section 1(h) of the Internal Revenue Code;

          (iii) 60 percent of capital gain income that is invested in the taxable year, or (through filing an amended return) within two years of receipt, in an eligible venture capital investment under section 5930v of this title.

Sec. 12.  32 V.S.A. § 5930v is amended to read:

§ 5930v.  Angel venture capital; capital gain rollover credit

(a)  A qualified taxpayer of this state shall be eligible for taxation of capital gain income under subdivision 5811(21) of this title resulting from a credit of three percent of capital gain income from an eligible venture capital investment under this section made by the taxpayer during the taxable year.  If the taxpayer is a partnership, limited liability company, or S corporation, the treatment of capital gain income under this section shall be allocated ratably among the partners, members, or shareholders of the entity.

* * *

(b)  In this section:

* * *

(3)  “Eligible venture capital investment” means at least $50,000.00 and up to $200,000.00 of total investment by one person, which is equity or at-risk debt investment in one qualified business, for expenditure by the qualified business on the plant, equipment, research, and development or as working capital in Vermont.

Sec. 13.  INVESTMENTS DEFERRED UNDER PRIOR LAW

Capital gain income, the taxation of which was deferred pursuant to 32 V.S.A. § 5811(21)(B)(iii), must be included in the qualified taxpayer’s taxable income no later than five years after the taxable year in which the investment that gave rise to the deferral was made.

* * *Local Option Taxes for All Towns, No Sunset; Highway Funds* * *

     Eighth:  By adding three new sections to be numbered Secs. 14, 15 and 16 to read as follows


Sec. 14.  24 V.S.A. § 138(a) is amended to read:

(a)  Local option taxes are authorized under this section for the purpose of affording municipalities an alternative method of raising municipal revenues . to facilitate the transition and reduce the dislocations in those municipalities that may be caused by reforms to the method of financing public education under the Equal Educational Opportunity Act of 1997. Accordingly:

(1) the local option taxes authorized under this section may be imposed by a municipality only during calendar years 1999 through 2008;

(2) a municipality opting to impose a local option tax may do so prior to July 1, 1998 to be effective beginning January 1, 1999, and anytime after December 1, 1998 a  A local option tax adopted under this section shall be effective beginning on the next tax quarter following 30 days' notice to the department of taxes of the imposition; and all authority to opt to impose a local option tax under this section shall terminate September 1, 2007, and all authority to impose a local option tax shall terminate on December 31, 2008; and

(3) a local option tax may only be adopted by a municipality in which:

(A) the education property tax rate in 1997 was less than $1.10 per $100.00 of equalized education property value; or

(B) the equalized grand list value of personal property, business machinery, inventory, and equipment is at least ten percent of the equalized education grand list as reported in the 1998 Annual Report of the Division of Property Valuation and Review; or

(C) the combined education tax rate of the municipality will increase by 20 percent or more in fiscal year 1999 or in fiscal year 2000 over the rate of the combined education property tax in the previous fiscal year.

Sec. 15.  32 V.S.A. § 3707a  is added to read:

     (a)  There is hereby established a PILOT special fund, consisting of local option tax revenue paid to the Treasurer pursuant to 24 V.S.A. § 138.  This fund shall be managed by the commissioner of taxes pursuant to subchapter 5 of chapter 7 of this title.  Notwithstanding section 588(3) of this title, all interest earned on the fund shall be retained in the fund for use in meeting future obligations.  The fund shall be used exclusively for state payments in lieu of taxes required under this subchapter 4.  The commissioner of finance and management may draw warrants for disbursement from this fund in anticipation of receipts.

     (b)  If the PILOT special fund in insufficient to pay the full amount of all payments in lieu of taxes required under this subchapter 4, then payments, after application of the cap in subsection 3703(c) of this subchapter, shall be reduced proportionately.

Sec. 16.  24 V.S.A. § 138(d) is amended to read:

(d) Of the taxes reported under this section, 80 percent shall be paid to the municipality in which they were reported for calendar year 1999, 70 percent shall be paid to the municipality in which they were reported for calendar years thereafter. Such revenues may be expended by the municipality for municipal services only and not for educational expenditures. The remaining amount of the taxes reported shall be remitted monthly to the state treasurer for deposit in the PILOT special fund established in Sec. 89 of No. 60 of the Acts of 1997. Amounts to be paid to a municipality under this section shall be reduced by five percent to reflect the difference between the amounts reported and collected. Taxes due to a municipality under this section, less the costs of administration and collection, shall be paid on a quarterly basis.   Taxes collected under this section shall be paid as follows:

          (i) 70 percent of the taxes shall be paid on a quarterly basis to the municipality in which they were collected, after reduction for the costs of administration and collection. Revenues received by a municipality may be expended for municipal services only, and not for educational expenditures.

          (ii)  The first $2.5 million of any remaining revenue shall be deposited into the PILOT special fund established by 32  V.S.A. §3709.

          (iii)  Any then remaining revenue shall be deposited fifty percent into the PILOT special fund established by 32 V.S.A. §3709, and fifty percent into the Town Highway Fund for town highway state aid.

* * *Less Frequent Reporting for Voluntary SST Collections* * *

     Ninth:  By striking out Sec. 5 in its entirety and inserting a new Sec. 5 to read as follows:

Sec. 5. 32 V.S.A. §  §9775(a) and (f) are amended to read:

     (a) Every Except as otherwise provided in this section, every person required to collect or pay tax under this chapter shall, where the sales and use tax liability under this chapter for the immediately preceding calendar year has been (or would have been in cases when the business was not operating for the entire year) $500.00 or less, pay the tax imposed by this chapter in one annual payment on or before the 25th day of January of each year. Every person required to collect or pay tax under this chapter shall, where the sales and use tax liability under this chapter for the immediately preceding calendar year has been (or would have been in cases when the business was not operating for the entire year) more than $500.00 but less than $2,500.00, pay the tax imposed by this chapter in quarterly installments on or before the 25th day of the calendar month succeeding the quarter ending on the last day of March, June, September and December of each year. In all other cases, except as provided in subsection (e) of this section, the tax imposed by this chapter shall be due and payable monthly on or before the 25th (23rd of February) day of the month following the month for which the tax is due. Payment by electronic funds transfer does not affect the requirement to file returns. The return of a vendor of tangible personal property shall show such information as the commissioner may require.

***

     (f) A person registered under the Multistate Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement that does not have a legal requirement to register in this state and is not a Model 1, 2 or 3 seller may file a return within one year of the month of initial registration and may file annual returns in the same month for succeeding years; provided, however, that such person must file a return on the 25th of the month following any month in which the taxpayer accumulated state and local taxes in the amount of $1000.00 or more.

* * *Technical:  Repeal of Unused Credit* * *

     Tenth:  By adding a new section to be numbered Sec. 17 to read as follows:

Sec. 17.  REPEAL

32 V.S.A. § 5930t (tax credit for training employees) is repealed.

* * *Technical: Updated Reference to “Telecom Provider”* * *

     Eleventh:  By adding a new section to be numbered Sec. 18 to read as follows:

Sec. 18.  32 V.S.A. § 9701(9)(H) is amended to read:

          (H) A person who provides telecommunications service provider as defined in 30 V.S.A. § 7501  32 V.S.A. §  9701(19), except that "vendor" shall not include a person whose activities in this state are limited to the performance of any activities which, without more, would not constitute nexus for sales tax collection purposes, plus any or all of the following necessary to create or maintain a worldwide web page or internet site for the person:

          (i) ownership of data or programming code in this state, or use of that data or programming code by another person or by a person not in this state;

          (ii) ownership of, or receipt of services from, computer servers in this state;

          (iii) receipt of computer processing or web hosting services from a computer service provider or web hosting service in this state.

* * *Technical:  Arithmetic Error in 2006 Corp. Tax Table* * *

     Twelfth:  By adding a new section to be Sec. 19 to read as follows:

Sec. 19.  32 V.S.A. § 5832(1) is amended to read:

Vermont net income of the corpo-

ration for the taxable year allo-

cated or apportioned to Vermont

under section 5833 of this title                                                Tax

                    0-10,000.00                                     6.00%

   $ 10,001.00-25,000.00                              $600.00 plus 7.0% of the excess

                                                                              over $10,000.00

25,001.00-250,000.00                        $1,650.00 plus 8.75% of the excess over $25,000.00

250,001.00 and over                                     $19,688.00 $21,338.00 plus 8.90%

                                                                              of the excess over $250,000.00

* * *Net Operating Loss Simplification* * *

     Thirteenth:  By adding four new sections to be numbered Secs. 20, 21, 22 and 23 to read as follows:

Sec. 20. 32 V.S.A. § 5811(25) is added to read:

§ 5811  Definitions

The following definitions shall apply throughout this chapter unless the context requires otherwise:

***

     (25) “Vermont net operating loss” means any negative income after allocation and apportionment of Vermont net income pursuant to section 5833 of this chapter.

Sec. 21. 32 V.S.A. § 5831 is amended to read:

     A tax is imposed for each calendar year, or fiscal year ending during that calendar year, upon the income earned or received in that taxable year by every taxable corporation, reduced by any Vermont net operating loss allowed under section 5888 of this title, such tax being the greater of

***

Sec. 22.  32 V.S.A. § 5888(4)(B) is amended to read:

          (4) Notwithstanding any other provision of law:

***

               (B) The amount of any Vermont  net operating loss, or net operating loss carryback or carryforward, which is available to a taxpayer under the laws of the United States, shall be available to a taxpayer as a carryforward in the ten years following the loss year in the determination of his Vermont tax, provided, however, that the amount of any refund due to a net operating loss carryback shall not exceed $5,000.00 for any taxable year.

Sec. 23. TRANSITION

     The transition rules for implementation of Secs. 20, 21 and 22 of this act shall be:

     (a) For losses occurring in taxable year  2007, the amount of net operating loss carryforward available under 32 V.S.A. § 5885(4)(B) shall be the same proportion of the Vermont net operating loss as the proportion of the federal net operating loss that was carried forward in determining federal taxable income increased by ten percent of remaining Vermont net operating loss.

     (b) For losses occurring in taxable year 2008, the amount of net operating loss carryforward available under 32 V.S.A. § 5888(4)(B) shall be the same proportion of the Vermont net operating loss as the proportion of the federal net operating loss that was carried forward in determining the federal taxable income increased by thirty percent of  remaining Vermont net operating loss.

(c) For losses occurring in taxable year 2009, the amount of  Vermont net operating loss carryforward available under 32 V.S.A. § 5888(4)(B) shall be the same proportion of the Vermont net operating loss as the proportion of the federal net operating loss that was carried forward in determining the federal taxable income increased by forty percent of the remaining Vermont net operating loss.

(d) For losses occurring in taxable years 2009 and after, the full amount of the Vermont net operating loss may be carried forward.

* * *Study on How to Tax Trailer Coaches* * *

     Fourteenth: By adding a new section to be numbered Sec. 24 to read as follows:

Sec. 24.  PROPERTY TAXATION OF TRAILER COACHES         

     The legislative council, in consultation with the Division of Property Taxation and Review, the Vermont Association of Listers and Assessors, and the Vermont Campground Association, Inc., shall draft a proposal to amend the property tax laws to allow taxation or tax-exemption of trailer coaches in a fair and equitable manner, which can be applied uniformly across the state.  The legislative council shall present its draft to the House Committee on Ways and Means and the Senate Committee on Finance by January 15, 2007. 

* * *Film Credit* * *

     Fifteenth:  By adding three new sections to be numbered Secs. 25, 26 and 27 to read as follows:

Sec. 25.  32 V.S.A. § 5930z is added to read:

§ 5930z.  MOTION PICTURE TAX CREDIT

(a)   For the purposes of this section:

(1)  “Commission” means the Vermont film commission.

(2)  “Eligible expense” means preproduction, production, and postproduction expenditures directly incurred in Vermont by an eligible production company for the production of a qualified motion picture.  This term includes wages and salaries paid to individuals employed in Vermont in the production of the motion picture, but does not include wages or salaries in excess of $1,000,000.00 for any one individual for any one motion picture; and includes expenditures for the following activities:  set construction and operation, editing and related services, photography, sound synchronization, lighting, wardrobe, make-up, and accessories, film processing, transfer, mixing, special and visual effects, music, screenplay purchase, location fees, purchase or rental of facilities and equipment, or any other production expense incurred in Vermont that may be determined by the commission to be an eligible expense.  This term does not include expenses incurred for marketing or advertising a motion picture or any amounts paid to persons as a result of their participation in profits from the exploitation of the production.

(3)  “Eligible production company” means a company, including its subsidiaries, engaged in the business of producing qualified motion pictures; but shall not include any company which is in default, or which is affiliated with, or owned or controlled, in whole or in part, by any person in default, on taxes owed to the state or on a loan made or guaranteed by the state.

(4)  “Qualified motion picture” means a feature-length film, video, video game, television series of 22 or more episodes, pilot, video on demand, or commercial made in whole or in part in Vermont, for commercial distribution, theatrical or television viewing, or mobile or wireless platforms.  “Qualified motion picture” does not mean a television production featuring news, current events, weather, financial market reports, a sporting event, an award show, a production solely for fundraising, a long-form production primarily intended to market a product or service, or a production containing obscene material.

(5)  “Secretary” means the secretary of the agency of commerce and community development.

(6)  “State-certified production” means a qualified motion picture certified by the Vermont film commission, pursuant to rules adopted by the commission, and produced by an eligible production company that has signed a viable distribution plan with either a major theatrical exhibitor, a television network, or a cable television program. 

(b)  Motion picture tax credit.  An eligible production company shall be allowed a refundable credit against the income tax imposed under this chapter in the amount of 25 percent of the eligible expenses not to exceed $7,000,000.00 incurred within the state in the taxable year and related to a state-certified production with a total production budget of at least $1,000,000.00, as certified by the secretary.  

(c)  A film production company allowed a credit under this section shall acknowledge the state of Vermont in the end credits of the film production.

(d)  The director of the commission shall determine by rule criteria for

state-certified productions.

(e)  Upon completion of a state-certified production, the secretary shall review the production expenses and certify the amount of expenses qualified for credit under this section.

(f)  Any taxpayer applying for the credit shall reimburse the secretary for any audit the secretary determines is required to certify the credit.

Sec. 26.  32 V.S.A. § 9701(45) is added to read:

     (45)  Manufacturing:  shall not include motion picture or film production.

Sec. 27.  EFFECTIVE DATE

Sec. 25 of this act (motion picture tax credit) shall take effect upon passage and shall apply to any production commenced on or after July 1, 2006,  that may be certified by the Vermont film commission; and Sec. 26 of this act (manufacturing does not include film production) shall take effect upon passage.


* * *Affordable Housing Tax Credit and Study* * *

     Sixteenth:  By adding four new sections to be numbered Secs. 28, 29, 30 and 31 to read as follows:

Sec. 28.  32 V.S.A. § 5930u(c), (d), and (g) are amended to read:

(c)  Amount of credit.  A taxpayer who makes an eligible cash contribution shall be entitled to claim against the taxpayer's individual income, corporate, franchise, or insurance premium tax liability a credit in an amount specified on the taxpayer's credit certificate.  The first-year allocation of a credit amount to a taxpayer shall also be deemed an allocation of the same amount in each of the following four years.

(d)  Availability of credit.  Affordable The amount of affordable housing tax credits credit allocated with respect to a project shall be available to the taxpayer in each of every year for five consecutive tax years, beginning with the tax year in which the eligible cash contribution is made.  Total tax credits available to the taxpayer shall be the amount of the first-year allocation plus the succeeding four years’ deemed allocations.

(g)  In any calendar fiscal year, the allocating agency shall not award a total amount of tax credits may award up to $400,000.00 in total first-year credit allocations to all applicants under this subchapter in excess of $150,000.00.  In any fiscal year, total first-year allocations plus succeeding-year deemed allocations shall not exceed $2,000,000.00.

Sec. 29.  ADMINISTRATION REPORT ON NEW AFFORDABLE HOUSING TAX CREDIT

The Agency of Commerce and Community Development and the Department of Taxes, in consultation with the Vermont Housing Finance Agency and the Affordable Housing Coalition, are requested to study whether an additional tax credit, or other alternative form of incentive, would enable more low- and moderate-income individuals to become first-time homebuyers in Vermont.  The study should include: (a) a description of possible recipients of the credit, for example, whether the credit would be available to employers who provide home buying assistance to employees, to income-eligible homebuyers, or others; (b) any limits on the credit; (c) a description of those who would be eligible for home buying assistance under the proposal; (d) a description of the goals of the credit, including the home buying assistance which would be provided, how and by whom, and the costs of the assistance provided; (e) an analysis of the annual cost of the proposal to the revenues of the state beginning in fiscal year 2008; (f) an analysis of the effectiveness of existing tax credits in other states for employer assistance to low- and moderate-income employees on first-home purchases; and (g) detailed information on the number of first-time homebuyers currently aided by VHFA, including income levels, the form of aid received, the price of homes purchased, whether this initial aid is sufficient to allow continued ownership, and if not, what additional issues need to be addressed.  The Agency of Commerce and Community Development and the Department of Taxes shall report their findings to the standing committees of jurisdiction of the House and Senate by December 1, 2006.

Sec. 30.  32 V.S.A. § 312 is amended to read:

§ 312.  TAX EXPENDITURE REPORT

(a)  For purposes of this section, "tax expenditure" shall mean the actual or estimated loss in tax revenue resulting from any exemption, exclusion, deduction, or credit applicable to the tax.

(b)  Tax expenditure reports.  Biennially, as part of the budget process, beginning January 15, 2009, the department of taxes shall file with the house committees on ways and means and appropriations and the senate committees on finance and appropriations a report on tax expenditures in the personal and corporate income, sales and use, and meals and rooms tax returns, insurance premium tax and bank franchise tax returns, and education property tax grand lists and such other tax expenditures for which the joint fiscal office and the tax department jointly have produced revenue estimates.  The report shall include, for each tax expenditure, the following information:

(1)  A description of the tax expenditure.

(2)  The most recent fiscal information available on the direct cost of the tax expenditure in the past two years.

(3)  The date of enactment of the expenditure.

(4)  A description of and estimate of the number of taxpayers directly benefiting from the expenditure provision.

Sec. 31.  EFFECTIVE DATE AND TRANSITION RULE

Secs. 28, 29 and 30 this act ( affordable housing tax credits) shall take effect upon passage except that the Sec. 28 increase in amount available for affordable housing investment tax credits shall take effect July 1, 2006, and the total amount of first-year tax credits which may be allocated in fiscal year 2007 under 32 V.S.A. § 5930u(g) shall be limited to $300,000.00, and the total amount of first-year tax credits which may be allocated in fiscal years 2008 and after shall be $400,000.00.


* * *Smokeless Tobacco Amendments* * *

     Seventeenth:  By adding four new sections to be numbered Secs. 32, 33, 34 and 35 to read as follows:

Sec. 32.  32 V.S.A. § 7702 is amended to read:

§ 7702  DEFINITIONS

The following words and phrases, as used in this chapter, shall have the following meanings, unless the context otherwise requires:

(1)  "Cigarette" shall mean the common article of commerce known by this name consisting of a small cylindrical roll composed in whole or in part of finely-cut tobacco, wrapped in paper or in any substance other than tobacco means:

     (A)  any roll of tobacco wrapped in paper or any substance not containing tobacco, and

     (B)  any roll of tobacco wrapped in substance containing tobacco which, because of its appearance, the type of tobacco used in the filler, or its packaging and labeling, is likely to be offered to, or purchased by, consumers as a cigarette described in subdivision (A) of this subsection.  

(2)  "Commissioner" shall mean the commissioner of taxes.

(3)  "Dealer" means any wholesale dealer and retail dealer as herein defined.

(4)  "Distributor" means any person who imports, or causes to be imported, into this state any tobacco product for sale or who manufactures any tobacco product in this state, and any person within or without the state who is authorized by the commissioner to make returns and pay the tax on tobacco products sold, shipped or delivered by him to any person in the state.

(5)  "Licensed wholesale dealer" shall mean a wholesale dealer licensed under the provisions of this chapter.

(6)  “Little cigars” means any rolls of tobacco wrapped in leaf tobacco or any substance containing tobacco (other than any roll of tobacco which is a cigarette within the meaning of subdivision (1) of this section) and as to which one thousand units weigh not more than three pounds.

(6)(7)  "Manufacturer" means a person who manufactures and sells tobacco products.

(7)(8)  "Person" shall mean any individual, firm, fiduciary, partnership, corporation, trust or association, however formed.

(8)(9)  "Place of business" means any place where tobacco products are sold or where tobacco products are manufactured, stored, or kept for the purpose of sale or consumption, including any vessel, vehicle, airplane, train, or vending machine.

(9)(10)  "Retail dealer" shall mean a person who sells or furnishes cigarettes or tobacco products, or both, in small quantities to consumers only, but not for the purpose of resale.

(11)  “Roll-your-own tobacco” means any tobacco which, because of its appearance, type, packaging, or labeling, is suitable for use and likely to be offered to, or purchased by, consumers as tobacco for making cigarettes.

(10)(12)  "Sale" or "sell" means any transfer, exchange or barter in any manner or by any means whatever, of any cigarettes or tobacco products.

(13)  “Snuff” means any finely cut, ground, or powdered tobacco that is not intended to be smoked.

(11)(14)  "Stamp" shall mean any impression, stamp, label or print manufactured, printed or made as prescribed by the commissioner.

(12)(15)  "Tobacco products" means cigars; cheroots; stogies; periques; granulated, plug cut, crimp cut, ready rubbed, and other smoking tobacco; snuff, snuff flour; cavendish; plug and twist tobacco; fine-cut and other chewing tobaccos; shorts; refuse scraps, clippings, cuttings and sweeping of tobacco, and other kinds and forms of tobacco, prepared in such manner as to be suitable for chewing or smoking in a pipe or otherwise, or both for chewing and smoking; but shall not include cigarettes as defined in this section.

(13)(16)  "Wholesale dealer" shall mean a person who sells or furnishes cigarettes or tobacco products, or both, to wholesale or retail dealers for the purpose of resale, but not by the small quantity or parcel to consumers thereof.

(14)(17)  "Wholesale dealer's license" shall mean the license granted under the provisions of this chapter to a wholesale dealer for a wholesale outlet.

(15)(18)  "Wholesale outlet" shall mean any premises where cigarettes or tobacco products, or both, are sold, transferred, displayed or held for sale by a wholesale dealer.

(16)(19)  "Wholesale price" means the price at which a distributor sells or furnishes tobacco products to any retail dealer.


Sec. 33.  32 V.S.A. § 7771 is amended to read:

§ 7771.  RATE OF TAX

(a)  A tax is imposed on all cigarettes, little cigars, and roll your own tobacco held in this state by any person for sale or by any person in possession of more than 10,000 cigarettes, little cigars, and roll your own tobacco, unless such cigarettes products shall be:

(1)  in the possession of a licensed wholesale dealer;

(2)  in the course of transit and consigned to a licensed wholesale dealer or retail dealer; or

(3)  in the possession of a retail dealer who has held the cigarettes products for 24 hours or less.

(b)  Such tax shall be at the rate of 59.5 mills for each cigarette and the payment thereof to or little cigar and for each nine-hundredths of an ounce of roll-your-own tobacco.  Payment of the tax on cigarettes shall be evidenced by the affixing of stamps to the packages containing the cigarettes as hereinafter providedWhere practicable, the commissioner may also require that stamps be affixed to packages containing little cigars or roll-your-own tobacco.  Any cigarette, little cigar or roll-your-own tobacco, on which the tax imposed by this chapter has been paid, such payment being evidenced by the affixing of such stamp or such evidence as the commissioner may require, shall not be subject to a further tax under this chapter.  Nothing contained in this chapter shall be construed to impose a tax on any transaction the taxation of which by this state is prohibited by the constitution of the United States.  The amount of taxes advanced and paid by a licensed wholesale dealer or a retail dealer as herein provided shall be added to and collected as part of the retail sale price on the cigarettes, little cigars or roll-your-own tobaccoAll taxes upon cigarettes under this chapter are declared to be a direct tax upon the consumer at retail and shall conclusively be presumed to be precollected for the purpose of convenience and facility only.

Sec. 34.  32 V.S.A. § 7811 is amended to read: 

§ 7811.  Imposition of tobacco products tax

There is hereby imposed and shall be paid a tax on all tobacco products except roll-your-own tobacco and little cigars taxed under section 7771 of this title possessed in the state of Vermont by any person for sale on and after July 1, 1959 which were imported into the state or manufactured in the state after said date, except that no tax shall be imposed on tobacco products sold under such circumstances that this state is without power to impose such tax, or sold to the United States, or sold to or by a voluntary unincorporated organization of the armed forces of the United States operating a place for the sale of goods pursuant to regulations promulgated by the appropriate executive agency of the United States.  Such tax on tobacco products shall be at the rate of 41 percent of the wholesale price for all tobacco products except snuff which shall be taxed at the rate of $1.08 per ounce, or fractional part thereof, and is intended to be imposed only once upon any tobacco product.  Provided, however, that upon payment of the tax within ten days, the distributor or dealer may deduct from the tax two percent of the tax due.  It shall be presumed that all tobacco products within the state are subject to tax until the contrary is established and the burden of proof that any tobacco products are not taxable hereunder shall be upon the person in possession thereof.

Sec. 35.  CIGARETTE AND TOBACCO PRODUCTS; EFFECTIVE DATE; INCREASE

     (a)  Secs. 32 through 34 (cigarette and tobacco products taxation) of this act and this section 35 shall take effect July 1, 2006; and the amendments in these sections 32 through 34 shall be subject to and further amended by any amendments to § 7771 in Sec. 3 of this act and any amendment to § 7771 in H. 861 which are enacted in 2006, except that the repeal of the sentence at the end of subsection (b)(3) of Sec. 38 of this act, which readsAll taxes upon cigarettes under this chapter are declared to be a direct tax upon the consumer at retail and shall conclusively be presumed to be precollected for the purpose of convenience and facility only.shall remain repealed.

* * *Effective Date Additions* * *

     Eighteenth:  By renumbering Sec. 6 as Sec. 36, and adding new subsections to that section as follows:

     (5)  Sec. 7 (disallowance of domestic production activity deduction in excess of 3 percent of qualified income) shall apply to taxable years 2006 and after.

     (6)  Sec. 8 of this act (expanding the Higher Education Investment Plan tax credit) shall apply to contributions made in taxable years 2007 and after.

     (7) Sec. 9 of this act (payments in lieu of taxes for tax-exempt State College buildings) shall take effect July 1, 2006; and Sec. 10 of this act (limitation on State College property tax exemption to property used for educational and not commercial purposes) shall apply to grand lists of April 1, 2011 and after.

     (8)  Secs. 11 and 12 of this act (angel venture capital credit) shall apply to taxable years 2006 and after.

     (9)  Sec. 19 of this act (correcting arithmetic error in tax table) shall apply to taxable year 2006 only.

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

Thereupon, Senator Cummings, on behalf of the Committee on Finance, requested and was granted leave to withdraw the fourth proposal of amendment of the Committee on Finance.

Senator Campbell Assumes the Chair

Thereupon, the bill was read the second time by title only pursuant to Rule 43, and the first through third proposals of amendment and the fifth through eighteenth proposals of amendment were collectively agreed to.

Thereupon, pending the question, Shall the bill be read a third time?, Senators Campbell, Ayer, Collins, Dunne, Gander, Illuzzi, Kitchel, Leddy, Lyons, Miller, Mullin and Welch moved that the Senate propose to the House to amend the bill by adding a new section to be numbered Sec. 35a to read as follows:

Sec. 35a.  32 V.S.A. §3802 (11) is amended to read:

(11)(A) Real and personal property to the extent of $10,000.00 $20,000.00 of appraisal value, except any part used for business or rental, occupied as the established residence of and owned in fee simple by a veteran of any war or a veteran who has received an American Expeditionary Medal, his or her spouse, widow, widower or child, or jointly by any combination of them, if one or more of them are receiving disability compensation for at least 50 percent disability, death compensation, dependence and indemnity compensation, or pension for disability paid through any military department or the veterans administration if, before May 1 of each year, there is filed with the listers:

* * *

     An unremarried widow or widower of a previously qualified veteran shall be entitled to the exemption provided in this subdivision whether or not he or she is receiving government compensation or pension. By majority vote of those present and voting at an annual or special meeting warned for the purpose, a town may increase the veterans' exemption under this subsection to up to $20,000.00 $30,000.00 of appraisal value. Any increase in exemption shall take effect for the taxable year in which it was voted, and shall remain in effect for future taxable years until amended or repealed by a similar vote.

     Which was agreed on a roll all, Yeas 21, Nays 0.

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

Roll Call

Those Senators who voted in the affirmative were: Ayer, Collins, Condos, Coppenrath, Cummings, Doyle, Dunne, Gander, Giard, Kitchel, Kittell, Lyons, MacDonald, Maynard, Sears, Shepard, Snelling, Starr, Welch, White, Wilton.

Those Senators who voted in the negative were: None.

Those Senators absent or not voting were: Bartlett, Campbell (presiding), Flanagan, Illuzzi, Leddy, Mazza, Miller, Mullin, Scott.

Thereupon, pending the question, Shall the bill be read a third time?, Senators Dunne and Campbell moved to amend the bill in Sec. 27 [Effective date, motion picture tax credit] by adding a sentence to read: No payment shall be made by the state for any refundable motion picture tax credit awarded under Section 25 of this act before July 1, 2007.

Which was agreed to.

     Thereupon, pending the question, Shall the bill be read a third time?, Senator Kittell, on behalf of the Committee on Agriculture, moved to amend the bill by adding a new section to be numbered Sec. 24a to read as follows:

Sec. 24a.  32 V.S.A. §3752(14) is amended to read:

(14) "Farm buildings" means all farm buildings and other farm improvements which are actively used by a farmer as part of a farming operation, are owned by a farmer or leased to a farmer under a written lease for a term of three years or more, and are situated on land that is enrolled in a use value appraisal program or on a house site adjoining enrolled land; but "farm buildings" shall not include any dwelling other than a dwelling in use during the preceding tax year exclusively to house one or more farm employees, as defined in section 4469 of Title 9, and their families, as a nonmonetary benefit of the farm employment. With respect to a dwelling used to house farm employees, the dwelling shall be on a parcel of no more than two acres situated on enrolled land or surrounded by enrolled land, or surrounded by enrolled land interrupted only by road frontage, as long as the ownership of the dwelling and the enrolled land is in the same family.

Which was agreed to on a roll call, Yeas 14, Nays 7.

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, Collins, Coppenrath, Doyle, Dunne, Giard, Kitchel, Kittell, Maynard, Mazza, Shepard, Starr, White, Wilton.

Those Senators who voted in the negative were: Condos, Cummings, Lyons, MacDonald, Sears, Snelling, Welch.

Those Senators absent or not voting were: Bartlett, Campbell (presiding), Flanagan, Gander, Illuzzi, Leddy, Miller, Mullin, Scott.

Thereupon, third reading of the bill was ordered.

Thereupon, on motion of Senator Welch, the rules were suspended and the bill was placed on all remaining stages of its passage in concurrence with proposals of amendment forthwith.

     Thereupon, the bill was read the third time and passed in concurrence with proposals of amendment.

Thereupon, on motion of Senator Welch, the rules were suspended, and the bill was ordered messaged to the House forthwith.

President Assumes the Chair

Committees of Conference Appointed

H. 690.

An act relating to the identification, documentation, and advancement of the creative sector of the state's economy.

Was taken up.  Pursuant to the request of the House, the President announced the appointment of

                                         Senator MacDonald

                                         Senator Dunne

                                         Senator Snelling

as members of the Committee of Conference on the part of the Senate to consider the disagreeing votes of the two Houses.

H. 859.

An act relating to the energy security and reliability act.

Was taken up.  Pursuant to the request of the House, the President announced the appointment of


                                         Senator Lyons

                                         Senator MacDonald

                                         Senator Snelling

as members of the Committee of Conference on the part of the Senate to consider the disagreeing votes of the two Houses.

Recess

On motion of Senator Welch the Senate recessed until 3:00 P.M.

Called to Order

At 3:30 P.M. the Senate was called to order by the President pro tempore.

Message from the House No. 99

     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 considered a bill originating in the Senate of the following title:

S. 259.  An act relating to establishing greenhouse gas reduction goals and a plan for meeting those goals.

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

The House has considered the report of the Committee of Conference upon the disagreeing votes of the two Houses on Senate bill of the following title:

S. 222.  An act relating to funding of adult education and literacy services.

And has adopted the same on its part.

Message from the House No. 100

     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 considered Senate proposals of amendment to House bill of the following title:

     H. 28.  An act relating to establishing guidelines for the use of outdoor lighting.

And has concurred therein.

     The House has considered Senate proposals of amendment to House bills of the following titles:

     H. 843.  An act relating to miscellaneous tax policy amendments.

     And has refused to concur therein and asks for a Committee of Conference upon the disagreeing votes of the two Houses;

And the Speaker has appointed as members of such Committee on the part of the House

                                         Rep. Allaire of Rutland City

                                         Rep. Obuchowski of Rockingham

                                         Rep. Winters of Williamstown

     H. 855.  An act relating to telecommunications capacity development.

And has refused to concur therein and asks for a Committee of Conference upon the disagreeing votes of the two Houses;

And the Speaker has appointed as members of such Committee on the part of the House

                                         Rep. Shand of Weathersfield

                                         Rep. Keenan of St. Albans City

                                         Rep. Acinapura of Brandon

Message from the House No. 101

     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 considered a bill originating in the Senate of the following title:

S. 320.  An act relating to an appropriation to the legislature.

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

The House has considered Senate proposal of amendment to House proposal of amendment to Senate bill of the following title:

S. 267.  An act relating to placing a security freeze on a credit report.

And has concurred therein.

The House has considered the report of the Committee of Conference upon the disagreeing votes of the two Houses on Senate bill of the following title:

S. 256.  An act relating to sexual exploitation of an inmate.

And has adopted the same on its part.

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

J.R.S. 50.  Joint resolution relating to international trade agreements and pharmaceutical drug programs.

And has adopted the same in concurrence.

Message from the House No. 102

     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 considered Senate proposal of amendment to House bill of the following title:

H. 97.  An act relating to operating with a suspended license and failing to pay penalties for traffic offenses.

And has concurred therein with proposals of amendment in the adoption of which the concurrence of the Senate is requested.

House Proposal of Amendment Concurred In

S. 88.

House proposal of amendment to Senate bill entitled:

An act relating to state labor relations board membership.

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.  3 V.S.A. § 921 is amended to read:

§ 921.  CREATION; MEMBERSHIP, COMPENSATION

(a) There is hereby created a state labor relations board composed of five six members, of whom not more than three shall be of the same political party.  The governor shall appoint the members with the advice and consent of the senate for a term of six years or for the unexpired portion thereof in such manner that not more than one term shall expire in the same year member’s unexpired term from a list of nominees presented by the labor board review panel.  The appointments shall be made within 60 days of an expired term or vacancy.

     (1)  The labor board review panel shall be composed of five members to include the executive director of the Vermont bar association, the commissioner of labor, the state court administrator, and a representative of labor and a representative of employers, both of which shall be appointed for two year terms by the commissioner of labor from names provided by labor organizations and employers in the state.   The labor board review panel shall:

(A)  At least 90 days prior to the expiration of a term or as soon as a vacancy is announced or created, the review panel shall request from both Vermont labor organizations and Vermont employer organizations, over which the board has jurisdiction for dispute adjudication, and from organizations that train or employ persons to serve in a neutral role in labor management relations a list of nominees for each position is to be filled.  The review panel shall issue public notices of vacancies on the board.  An individual may apply for consideration as a nominee for a vacant board position.

(B)  Consider the experience, knowledge, character, integrity, judgment, and ability to act in a fair and impartial manner of each nominee in compiling a list of nominees for board membership. The review panel shall consider the skills, perspectives, and experience of the nominees and ensure a continuing balance on the board of labor, management, and neutral backgrounds in determining those nominees qualified to be forwarded  to the Governor under subsection (c) of this section. “Nominees with neutral backgrounds” means individuals in high standing not connected with any labor organization or management position, and who can be reasonably considered to be able to serve as an impartial individual.

(C)  Submit to the governor a list of nominees whom the panel has determined to be qualified for membership on the board, from which the governor shall appoint the members for unexpired terms or to fill vacancies.  The governor may request additional names from the panel.

(2)  To be eligible for appointment to the board a person must an individual shall be a citizen of the United States and resident of the state of Vermont for one year immediately preceding his or her appointment. A member of the board may not hold any other state office.

(3)  Each case that comes before the board for a hearing shall be heard and decided by a panel of three or five members appointed by the board chairman chair.  Not more than two members of a panel shall be of the same political party.  Two members of a three-member panel and three members of a five-member panel shall constitute a quorum with authority to act conduct a hearing, provided that the all members of the panel shall review the record and participate in the panel's decision.  The board may, in its discretion, review a proposed decision by a panel prior to its issuance for the sole purpose of insuring that questions of law are being decided in a consistent manner.

(b)  The board shall elect a chairman chair from its members every two years.

* * *

     (d) The members of the board, except the chairman chair or the chair of a board panel, shall be entitled to compensation of $75.00 $125.00 a day for time spent in the performance of their duties. The chairman chair or the chair of a board panel shall be entitled to compensation in the amount of $125.00 $175.00 a day for time spent in the performance of his or her duties. The members including the chairman, chair shall be reimbursed for their necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties.

* * *

Sec. 3.  EFFECTIVE DATE: TRANSITIONAL PROVISIONS

(a)  This act shall take effect on passage, except that 3 V.S.A. §921(d) shall take effect on July 1, 2006

(b)  The labor review panel shall be appointed within 30 days of the effective date of this act. 

(c)  The new sixth member of the labor relations board shall be appointed on or before October 15, 2006.

(d)  Members of the labor relations board as of January 1, 2006 shall serve until their terms expire or they resign or vacate the position. 

Thereupon, the question, Shall the Senate concur in the House proposal of amendment?, was decided in the affirmative.

Senate Resolution Adopted

S.R. 12.

Senate resolution entitled:

Senate resolution recognizing the vital role of immigrants in the state of Vermont and the United States.

Having been placed on the Calendar for action, was taken up and adopted.

President Assumes the Chair


Rules Suspended; Proposal of Amendment; Third Reading Ordered; Rules Suspended; Point of Order; Bill Passed in Concurrence with Proposals of Amendment; Bill Messaged

H. 890.

Appearing on the Calendar for notice, on motion of Senator Welch, the rules were suspended and House bill entitled:

An act relating to emergency management and public safety.

Was taken up for immediate consideration.

Senator White, for the Committee on Government Operations, to which the bill was referred, reported recommending that the bill ought to pass in concurrence.

Senator Kitchel, for the Committee on Appropriations, to which the bill was referred, reported recommending that the bill ought to pass in concurrence.

Thereupon, the bill was read the second time by title only pursuant to Rule 43, and pending the question, Shall the bill be read the third time?, Senators Dunne, Illuzzi and Campbell moved that the Senate propose to the House to amend the bill as follows:

First:  In Sec. 5, 20 V.S.A. §3a(a) subdivision (1) after the follows: “lives and property” by inserting the following: including domestic animals

Second:  In Sec. 22, by striking out subsection (a) in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new subsection (a) to read as follows:

§ 30.  STATE EMERGENCY RESPONSE COMMISSION; CREATION

(a)  A state emergency response commission is created within the department of public safety.  The commission shall consist of 11 15 members, six ex officio members, including the commissioner of public safety, the secretary of natural resources, the secretary of transportation, the commissioner of health, the secretary of agriculture, food and markets, and the commissioner of labor and industry, or their designees; and five nine public members, including two representatives of a representative from each of the following:  local government, one of which shall represent a local emergency planning committee, a regional planning commission, the fire service and one shall represent the police, a representative of the transportation industry, a representative of, law enforcement, emergency medical service, a hospital, an industry required to report to the commission, and one representative of the  a representative of the Vermont Humane Federation and the Humane Society of the United States one representative of the public.  The director of emergency management shall be the secretary of the commission without vote.

Thereupon, pending the question, Shall the Senate propose to the House to amend the bill as recommended by Senators Dunne, Campbell and Illuzzi?, Senator Shepard requested that the question be divided.

Thereupon, the pending question, Shall the Senate propose to the House to amend the bill as firstly recommended by Senators Dunne, Campbell and Illuzzi?, was decided in the affirmative.

Thereupon, the pending question, Shall the Senate propose to the House to amend the bill as secondly recommended by Senators Dunne, Campbell and Illuzzi?, was decided in the affirmative.

Thereupon, third reading of the bill was ordered.

Thereupon, on motion of Senator Welch, the rules were suspended and the bill was placed on all remaining stages of its passage in concurrence with proposals of amendment forthwith.

Thereupon, pending third reading of the bill, Senator Sears moved that the Senate propose to the House to amend the bill by adding a new section to be numbered Sec. 33a to read as follows:

Sec. 33a.  21 V.S.A. § 384(a) is amended to read:

(a) An employer shall not employ an employee at a rate less than $7.00 an hour and, beginning January 1, 2006, at a rate less than $7.25, and, beginning January 1, 2007, and on each subsequent January 1, the minimum wage rate shall be increased by five percent or the percentage increase of the Consumer Price Index, CPI-U, U.S. city average, not seasonally adjusted, or successor index, as calculated by the U.S. Department of Labor or successor agency for the 12 months preceding the previous September 1, whichever is smaller. The minimum wage shall be rounded off to the nearest $0.01. An employer in the hotel, motel, tourist place, and restaurant industry shall not employ a service or tipped employee at a basic wage rate less than $3.65 an hour, and beginning January 1, 2007, the basic wage rate shall be increased annually the by the same percentage as the increase in the minimum wage rate. For the purposes of this subsection, "a service or tipped employee" means an employee of a hotel, motel, tourist place, or restaurant who customarily and regularly receives more than $30.00 per month in tips for direct and personal customer service. If the minimum wage rate established by the United States government is greater than the rate established for Vermont for any year, the minimum wage rate for that year shall be the rate established by the United States government.

     Thereupon, pending the question, Shall the Senate propose to the House to amend the bill as moved by Senator Sears?, Senator White raised a point of order that the proposal of amendment (raising the minimum wage for “tip” employees) was, under Sec. 402 of Mason’s Manual of Legislative Procedure, not germane to the bill (which relates to emergency management and public safety and contains provisions for calculating wages for injured emergency volunteers for purposes of workers’ compensation) and therefore could not be considered by the Senate.

     Thereupon the President sustained the point of order and ruled that the proposal of amendment of Senator Sears was not germane to the bill under the guidelines set forth in Section 402 of Mason’s Manual of Legislative Procedure and therefore could not be considered by the Senate.

     Thereupon the bill was read the third time and passed in concurrence with proposals of amendment.

Thereupon, on motion of Senator Welch, the rules were suspended, and the bill was ordered messaged to the House forthwith.

Rules Suspended; Third Reading Ordered; Rules Suspended; Bill Passed in Concurrence; Bill Messaged

H. 891.

Appearing on the Calendar for notice, on motion of Senator Welch, the rules were suspended and House bill entitled:

An act relating to Vermont web portal.

Was taken up for immediate consideration.

Senator Doyle, for the Committee on Government Operations, to which the bill was referred, reported recommending that the bill ought to pass in concurrence.

Senator Dunne, for the Committee on Appropriations, to which the bill was referred, reported recommending 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.

Thereupon, on motion of Senator Welch, the rules were suspended and the bill was placed on all remaining stages of its passage in concurrence forthwith.

Thereupon, the bill was read the third time and passed in concurrence.

Thereupon, on motion of Senator Welch, the rules were suspended, and the bill was ordered messaged to the House forthwith.


Rules Suspended; Proposal of Amendment; Third Reading Ordered; Rules Suspended; Bill Passed in Concurrence with Proposal of Amendment; Bill Messaged

H. 547.

Appearing on the Calendar for notice, on motion of Senator Welch, the rules were suspended and House bill entitled:

An act relating to adjustments to the retirement systems of state employees and teachers.

Was taken up for immediate consideration.

Senator Condos, for the Committee on Government Operations, to which the bill was referred, 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.  3 V.S.A. § 455(a)(13) is amended to read:

(13)  “Normal retirement date” shall mean (A) with respect to a group A member, the first day of the calendar month next following (i) attainment of age 65, and following completion of five years of creditable service for those members hired on or after July 1, 2004 or (ii) attainment of age 62 and completion of 20 years of creditable service, whichever is earlier; (B) with respect to a group C member, the first day of the calendar month next following attainment of age 55, and following completion of five years of creditable service for those members hired on or after July 1, 2004 or completion of 30 years of service, whichever is earlier; (C) with respect to a group D member, the first day of the calendar month next following attainment of age 62 and completion of five years of creditable service; and (D) with respect to a group F member, the first day of the calendar month next following attainment of age 62, and following completion of five years of creditable service for those members hired on or after July 1, 2004, or completion of 30 years of creditable service, whichever is earlier.

Sec. 2.  3 V.S.A. § 479(c) is added to read:

(c)  As of January 1, 2007 and thereafter, upon retirement, members entitled to prorated group medical benefit plan premium payments from the retirement system under the terms of this section shall have a one‑time option to reduce the percentage of premium payments from the retirement system during the member’s life, with the provision that the fund shall continue making an equal percentage of premium payments after the member’s death for the life of the dependent beneficiary nominated by the member under section 468 of this title, should such dependent beneficiary survive the member.  The retirement board, after consultation with its actuary, shall establish reduced premium payment percentages that are as cost neutral to the fund as possible.

Sec. 3.  16 V.S.A. § 1944(c)(12)(G) is added to read:

(G)  As of January 1, 2007 and thereafter, upon retirement, members entitled to prorated group medical benefit plan premium payments from the retirement system under the terms of this section shall have a one‑time option to reduce the percentage of premium payments from the fund during the member’s life, with the provision that the fund shall continue making an equal percentage of premium payments after the member’s death for the life of the dependent beneficiary nominated by the member under section 1941 of this title, should such dependent beneficiary survive the member.  The retirement board, after consultation with its actuary, shall establish reduced premium payment percentages that are as cost neutral to the fund as possible.

Sec. 4.  ONE-TIME ELECTION FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT STATE EMPLOYEES

(a)  Members of the Vermont state retirement system who are “law enforcement officers”, as defined in subdivision 2358(c)(1) of Title 20 who participate in a group plan other than the group C plan shall have a one-time option to transfer to the group C plan.  Election to join the group C plan under this subsection shall be made by June 30, 2007 and shall be irrevocable.

(b)  The effective date of participation in a new group plan for those employees covered under this section and who elect to transfer shall be July 1, 2007.  All past service accrued through the date of transfer shall be calculated based upon the plan in which it was accrued, with all provisions and penalties, if applicable, applied.

Sec. 5.  VERMONT STATE RETIREMENT SYSTEM; STUDY

(a)  A study committee is created which shall be comprised of the State Treasurer or designee, the Director of Retirement or designee, the Commissioner of Human Resources or designee, the Director of the Vermont State Employees’ Association or designee, the Executive Director of the Department of State’s Attorneys and Sheriffs or designee, the chair of the House Committee on Government Operations, the chair of the Senate Committee on Government Operations, the chair of the state employee retirement board or designee, one appointee of the Director of the Vermont State Employees’ Association, and one appointee of the Secretary of Administration.

(b)  The committee shall:

(1)  study options for providing existing and future state employees with the opportunity to recapture medical benefit insurance and medical benefits for new hires.  The committee shall obtain actuarial costs as needed for any options under consideration or recommended, including the costs of possible contribution rates for recapturing medical benefit insurance and any corresponding increase in individual member or group plan rates;

(2)  study criteria for membership, plan structure, and contribution rates of the group C plan;

(3)  evaluate the appropriate retirement group plan for state’s attorneys and the Attorney General;

(4)  conduct a survey of members of the group F plan relating to postretirement cost of living adjustments; and

(5)  consult with the membership of all groups affected by the issues within the scope of the study.

(c)  The committee shall file a report of its recommendations with the House and Senate Committees on Government Operations by December 15, 2006.

(d)  Legislative members shall be entitled to per diems and reimbursement for travel related expenses pursuant to section 406 of Title 2.

(e)  The office of the State Treasurer shall provide administrative support for the committee.  The State Treasurer may expend money from the pension accumulation fund to cover the costs of administering this section and educating members.

Sec. 6.  EFFECTIVE DATE

Sec. 4 of this act shall take effect on January 1, 2007.

Senator Kitchel, for the Committee on Appropriations, to which the bill was referred, reported recommending that the bill ought to pass in concurrence with proposal of amendment.

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

Thereupon, on motion of Senator Welch, the rules were suspended and the bill was placed on all remaining stages of its passage in concurrence with proposal of amendment forthwith.

Thereupon, the bill was read the third time and passed in concurrence with proposal of amendment.

Thereupon, on motion of Senator Welch, the rules were suspended, and the bill was ordered messaged to the House forthwith.

Rules Suspended; Report of Committee of Conference Accepted and Adopted on the Part of the Senate; Bill Delivered

S. 262.

Appearing on the Calendar for notice, on motion of Senator Welch, the rules were suspended and the report of the Committee of Conference on Senate bill entitled:

An act relating to expanding employer access to applicants’ criminal history records.

Was taken up for immediate consideration.

Senator Wilton, for the Committee of Conference, submitted the following report:

To the Senate and House of Representatives:

The Committee of Conference to which were referred the disagreeing votes of the two Houses upon Senate bill entitled:

S. 262.  An act relating to expanding employer access to applicants’ criminal history records.

Respectfully reports that it has met and considered the same and recommends that the House recede from its proposal of amendment and that the bill be amended by striking out all after the enacting clause and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Sec. 1.  20 V.S.A. § 2056b(a) is amended to read:

(a)  The Vermont criminal information center may provide Vermont criminal history records as defined in section 2056a of this title to bona fide persons conducting research related to the administration of criminal justice, subject to conditions approved by the commissioner of public safety to assure the confidentiality of the information and the privacy of individuals to whom the information relates.

Sec. 2.  20 V.S.A. § 2056c is amended to read:

§ 2056c.  DISSEMINATION OF CRIMINAL HISTORY RECORDS TO EMPLOYERS

(a)  As used in this section:

(1)  “Applicant” means an individual seeking or being sought for employment or, a volunteer position with an employer, or admission to a course of instruction offered by the Vermont criminal justice training council.

(2)  “Criminal conviction record” means the record of convictions in Vermont and convictions in other jurisdictions.

(3)  “Employer” means any individual, organization, or governmental body, including partnership, association, trustee, estate, corporation, joint stock company, insurance company, or legal representative, whether domestic or foreign, or the receiver, trustee in bankruptcy, trustee or successor thereof, and any common carrier by mail, motor, water, air, or express company doing business in or operating within this state, which has one or more individuals performing services for it within this state; and

(A)  the employer is a qualified entity that provides care or services to vulnerable classes as provided in 42 U.S.C. §§ 5119a and 5119c; or

(B)  the employer is a postsecondary school with student residential facilities or an authorized agent.  Authorized agent shall include a person who is licensed under chapter 59 of Title 26 to provide private investigative services.

(4)  “The center” means the Vermont crime criminal information center.

(5)  “Vulnerable classes” means children, the elderly, and persons with disabilities as defined in 42 U.S.C. § 5119c.

(b)(1)  An employer may obtain from the center a Vermont criminal conviction record and an out-of-state criminal record for any applicant who has given written authorization on a release form provided by the center, provided that the employer has filed a user’s agreement with the center.  The user’s agreement shall require the employer to comply with all statutes, rules, and policies regulating the release of criminal conviction records and the protection of individual privacy.  The user’s agreement shall be signed and kept current by the employer.

(2)  An individual, organization, or governmental body doing business in Vermont which has one or more individuals performing services for it within this state and which is a qualified entity that provides care or services to children, the elderly, or persons with disabilities as defined in 42 U.S.C. § 5119c may obtain from the center an out-of-state criminal conviction record for any applicant who has given written authorization on a release form provided by the center, provided that the employer has filed a user’s agreement with the center and complies with all other provisions of this section.

(c)(1)  The employer may obtain the a criminal conviction record only:

(A)  after the applicant has been given an offer of employment conditioned on the record check or;

(B)  after a volunteer has been offered a position conditioned on the record check.

(2)  The Vermont criminal justice training council may obtain a criminal conviction record only after an applicant has been accepted into a course of instruction offered by the Vermont criminal justice training council conditioned on the record check.

(3)  An organization that receives a criminal conviction record pursuant to this section shall provide a free copy of such record to the record subject within ten days of receipt of the record.

(4)  An organization entitled to receive a criminal conviction record pursuant to this section shall not require an applicant to obtain or submit personally a copy of his or her criminal conviction record for purposes of employment or acceptance into a course offered by the Vermont criminal justice training council.

(d)(1)  Postsecondary school employers may obtain criminal records only for applicants who apply for employment or volunteer positions that provide access to student residential facilities.  Employers shall be provided with informational material by the center prior to authorization to request criminal conviction records.  The materials shall address the following topics:

(A)  Requirements of the user agreement.

(B)  How to obtain criminal conviction records from the center.

(C)  How to interpret criminal conviction records.

(D)  How to obtain source documents summarized in the criminal conviction records.

(E)  Misuse of criminal conviction records.

(2)  Employers shall certify on the user agreement that they have read and understood the materials prior to receiving authorization to request records from the center.

(e)  The release form shall contain the applicant’s name, signature, date of birth, place of birth, and the signature as attested to by a notary public.  The release form shall state that the applicant has the right to appeal the findings to the center, pursuant to rules adopted by the commissioner of public safety.

(f)  No (1)  Except as otherwise authorized by this chapter, no person shall confirm the existence or nonexistence of criminal conviction record information to any person who would not be eligible to receive the information pursuant to this subchapter or disclose the contents of a criminal conviction record without the record subject’s permission to any person other than the applicant and properly designated employees of the employer who have a documented need to know the contents of the record.

(2)  An employer who receives criminal conviction records pursuant to this section shall maintain a confidential log of all record requests as specified by the center.  The employer shall confidentially retain records relating to requests for criminal conviction records for a period of three years.  At the end of the retention period, if logs and records are to be destroyed, they shall be shredded.

(g)  A person who violates the provisions of this section with respect to unauthorized disclosure of confidential criminal history record information obtained from the center under the authority subsection (f) of this section shall be fined assessed a civil penalty of not more than $5,000.00.  Each unauthorized disclosure shall constitute a separate civil violation.  The office of the attorney general shall have authority to enforce this section.

(h)  The center shall provide notice of the penalty for unauthorized disclosure on a form accompanying any report of a criminal conviction record to an employer.  The notice shall include, in boldface print, the following statements:  THE REQUESTOR AGREES TO USE CRIMINAL CONVICTION RECORD INFORMATION RECEIVED FROM THE VERMONT CRIME CRIMINAL INFORMATION CENTER FOR THE PURPOSES INTENDED BY LAW. THE REQUESTOR AGREES NOT TO DISCLOSE THE CONTENTS OF ANY CRIMINAL CONVICTION RECORD INFORMATION WITHOUT THE APPLICANT’S PERMISSION TO ANY PERSON OTHER THAN THE APPLICANT AND PROPERLY DESIGNATED EMPLOYEES WHO HAVE A DOCUMENTED NEED TO KNOW THE CONTENTS OF THE RECORD.  A VIOLATION MAY RESULT IN A FINE CIVIL PENALTY OF UP TO $5,000.00.  EACH UNAUTHORIZED DISCLOSURE SHALL CONSTITUTE A SEPARATE CIVIL VIOLATION.

(i)  Nothing in this section shall create a statutory duty for an employer to perform a criminal conviction record check on every job applicant hired by the employer.  An employer’s failure to obtain a criminal conviction record on an employee who subsequently commits a criminal offense shall not be the sole factor in determining civil or criminal liability unless otherwise authorized by law.


Sec. 3.  20 V.S.A. § 2056d(a) is amended to read:

(a)  Statewide criminal history records shall be released only by the Vermont criminal information center.

Sec. 4.  20 V.S.A. § 2056f is added to read:

§ 2056f.  DISSEMINATION OF CRIMINAL HISTORY RECORDS AND CRIMINAL CONVICTIONS RECORDS TO AN INDIVIDUAL

A person may obtain a copy of his or her own criminal history record as defined in section 2056a of this title or criminal conviction record as defined in section 2056c of this title or a statement that no record exists from the Vermont criminal information center.  Copies of a person’s criminal history record and criminal conviction record may be obtained by making a personal appearance at the center during regular business hours or by written request.  Written requests shall be on a form specified by the center and shall contain the person’s name, date of birth, place of birth, and signature as attested to by a notary public.  A raised seal must be affixed to the form.

Sec. 5.  20 V.S.A. § 2056g is added to read:

§ 2056g.  DISSEMINATION OF CRIMINAL HISTORY RECORDS TO LICENSED PRIVATE INVESTIGATORS

(a)  As used in this section:

(1)  “Applicant” means an individual seeking or being sought for employment or a volunteer position with a licensed private investigator or with a client who has hired the licensed private investigator.

(2)  “The center” means the Vermont crime information center.

(3)  “Client” means:

(A)  A criminal justice agency as defined in section 2056a of this title which hires a licensed private investigator to provide investigative services for criminal justice purposes as defined in section 2056a.

(B)  An attorney licensed to practice in Vermont who hires a licensed private investigator to provide investigative services to the attorney in a criminal matter in which the attorney is an attorney of record.

(C)  An insurer licensed in accordance with Title 8 who hires a licensed private investigator to provide investigative services to the insurer in a fraud investigation.

(4)  “Criminal conviction record” means the record of convictions in Vermont.

(5)  “Private investigator” means a person licensed under chapter 59 of Title 26 to provide private investigative services.

(b)  Except as provided in section 2056c of this title, a private investigator may obtain from the center a criminal conviction record for any person, provided that the following conditions have been met:

(1)  The private investigator and the private investigator’s client have each filed a user’s agreement with the center.  The user’s agreement shall require the private investigator and the client to comply with all statutes, rules, and policies regulating the release of criminal conviction records and the protection of individual privacy.  The user’s agreement shall be signed and kept current by the private investigator and the client.

(2)  The private investigator shall complete a criminal conviction record request form specified by the center and signed by both the private investigator and the client.  The criminal record request form shall:

(A)  Specify the subject of the request and any identification required by the center.

(B)  Advise that the criminal conviction record information released by the center is subject to the conditions specified in the user agreement.

(C)  Advise that the criminal conviction record information released by the center is subject to the conditions specified in the negative action notification requirements in subsection (d) of this section, and that the center has the authority to audit recipients of criminal conviction records to enforce this requirement.

(3)  The private investigator shall complete a criminal conviction record training program conducted by the center prior to authorization to obtain criminal conviction records from the center.  The training program shall address the following topics:

(A)  Requirements of the user agreement.

(B)  How to obtain criminal conviction records from the center.

(C)  How to interpret criminal conviction records.

(D)  How to obtain source documents summarized in the criminal conviction records.

(E)  Misuse of criminal conviction records.

(F)  The negative action notification policy.

(c)  When a private investigator provides a client with a copy of a subject’s criminal conviction record, the private investigator shall provide the client with a copy of the signed criminal record request form which specifies the client’s obligations to the subject of the record in the event that the client takes a negative action against the subject based on the results of the record check.

(d)(1)  In the event that a negative action is taken against the subject of the record by the client as a result of the record check, the client shall provide the subject of the record with the following:

(i)  A written notification of negative action sent via certified mail to the subject of the record within five business days of the date that the client determined that negative action would be taken against the subject of the record.

(ii)  A copy of the criminal conviction record on which the negative action was based.

(iii)  A notice that the subject has the right to appeal to the center any errors that might appear on the record. 

(2)  Negative action shall mean any action which results in any adverse consequence to the subject of the record.

(3)  The negative action notification process specified in this subsection shall be subject to audit by the center.

(e)  A licensed private investigator or client who seeks to obtain from the center a criminal conviction record on an applicant must do so pursuant to section 2056c of this title.

(f)  No person shall confirm the existence or nonexistence of criminal record information to any person who would not be eligible to receive the information pursuant to this subchapter.

(g)  A person who violates the provisions of this section shall be assessed a civil penalty of not more than $5,000.00.  Each unauthorized disclosure or failure to comply with notification regarding a negative action shall constitute a separate civil violation.

Sec. 6.  20 V.S.A. § 2063 is amended to read:

§ 2063.  CRIMINAL HISTORY RECORD FEES; CRIMINAL HISTORY RECORD CHECK FUND

(a)  Except as otherwise provided for in this section, the cost of each check for a criminal history check record as defined in section 2056a of this title or a criminal conviction record as defined in section 2056c of this title based on name and date of birth shall be $10.00.  Out-of-state criminal history record checks shall include any additional fees charged by the state from which the record is requested.

(b)  Requests made by criminal justice agencies for criminal justice purposes or other purposes authorized by state or federal law shall be exempt from all record check fees.  The following types of requests shall be exempt from the Vermont criminal record check fee:

(1)  Requests made by governmental agencies or entities regulated by governmental agencies in accordance with local, state or federal law or regulation which requires a criminal record check for employment or licensing any individual, organization, or governmental body doing business in Vermont which has one or more individuals performing services for it within this state and which is a qualified entity that provides care or services to children, the elderly, or persons with disabilities as defined in 42 U.S.C. § 5119c.

(2)  Requests made by researchers approved by the Vermont criminal information center to conduct research related to the administration of criminal justice.  A fee, however, may be charged by the center which shall reflect the cost of generating the requested information.

(3)  Requests made by individuals to review their own record at the Vermont criminal information center; however, copies of the individual’s record are not exempt from the record check fee.

(c)  The criminal history record check fund is established and shall be managed by the commissioner of public safety in accordance with the provisions of Title 32, chapter 7, subchapter 5 of chapter 7 of Title 32.  All fees paid under this section shall be placed in the fund and used for personnel and equipment related to the processing, maintenance, and dissemination of criminal history records.  The commissioner of finance and management may draw warrants for disbursements from this fund in anticipation of receipts.

(d)  The department of public safety shall have the authority, with the approval of the secretary of administration, to establish limited service positions as are necessary to provide criminal record checks in a timely manner, provided that there are sufficient funds in the criminal history record check fund to pay for the costs of these positions.

Sec. 7.  DATA COLLECTION

The Vermont criminal information center shall report to the house and senate committees on judiciary on or before January 15, 2007 on the following:

(1)  All individuals, organizations, or governmental bodies entitled to obtain criminal record information from the center and the legal authority for such access.

(2)  The record information that is released to those identified by subdivision (1) of this section.

(3)  The number of record requests by a group of requestors.

(4)  The number of record requests without release forms.

(5)  An assessment of the cost of the criminal record check program compared to the revenues generated from record requests.

(6)  Any additional data that will assist the committees in engaging in a comprehensive review of access to statewide criminal record information.

Sec. 8.  REPORT

(a)  There is established an access to criminal history record information committee for the purpose of making findings and recommendations regarding public access to statewide criminal history records from the Vermont crime information center and the dissemination of electronic criminal case record information by the court.  The committee shall consider what information should be released, by what method and to whom, in a manner that is consistent, reliable, and sensitive to privacy issues.  The report shall address increased access to criminal history records by licensed private investigators and access to criminal history records by professional organizations for the purpose of licensing and certification.

(b)  The committee shall consist of the following members:

(1)  A judge or justice appointed by the chief justice of the Vermont supreme court.

(2)  The director of the Vermont crime information center.

(3)  The executive director of the Vermont bar association or his or her designee.

(4)  The executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union.

(5)  Two former legislators appointed jointly by the speaker of the house and the senate committee on committees.

(c)  The judge or justice shall be the chair of the committee.

(d)  The Vermont crime information center and the judiciary shall provide the committee with information and assistance necessary to accomplish its charge.

(e)  Former legislative members of the committee shall be entitled to per diem compensation and reimbursement for expenses in the same manner as current legislative members in accordance with 2 V.S.A. § 406.

(f)  The committee shall report its findings and recommendations to the house and senate committees on judiciary on or before January 15, 2007.

Sec. 9.  DISSEMINATION OF ELECTRONIC CASE RECORDS

The judiciary shall not permit public access via the internet to criminal case records or family court case records prior to June 1, 2007.  The court may permit criminal justice agencies, as defined in 20 V.S.A. § 2056a, internet access to criminal case records for criminal justice purposes, as defined in section 2056a. 

                                                                        WENDY L. WILTON

                                                                        RICHARD W. SEARS, JR.

                                                                        ANN E. CUMMINGS

                                                                 Committee on the part of the Senate

                                                                        MAXINE GRAD

                                                                        PATTI KOMLINE

                                                                        RICHARD J. MAREK

                                                                 Committee on the part of the House

Thereupon, the question, Shall the Senate accept and adopt the report of the Committee of Conference?, was decided in the affirmative.

Thereupon, on motion of Senator Welch, the rules were suspended and the bill was ordered delivered to the Governor forthwith.

Rules Suspended; Report of Committee of Conference Accepted and Adopted on the Part of the Senate; Bill Delivered

S. 265.

Appearing on the Calendar for notice, on motion of Senator Welch, the rules were suspended and the report of the Committee of Conference on Senate bill entitled:

An act relating to penalties for larceny crimes.

Was taken up for immediate consideration.

Senator Sears, for the Committee of Conference, submitted the following report:

To the Senate and House of Representatives:

The Committee of Conference to which were referred the disagreeing votes of the two Houses upon Senate bill entitled:

S. 265.  An act relating to penalties for larceny crimes.

Respectfully reports that it has met and considered the same and recommends that the House recede from its proposal of amendment and that the bill be amended by striking out all after the enacting clause and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Sec. 1.  13 V.S.A. § 2001 is amended to read:

§ 2001.  FALSE PERSONATION

A person who falsely personates or represents another, and in such assumed character receives money or other property intended to be delivered to the party so personated, with intent to convert the same to his the person’s own use, shall be imprisoned not more than ten years or fined not more than $500.00 $2,000.00, or both.

Sec. 2.  13 V.S.A. § 2002 is amended to read:

§ 2002.  FALSE PRETENSES OR TOKENS

A person who designedly by false pretenses or by privy or false token and with intent to defraud, obtains from another person money or other property, or a release or discharge of a debt or obligation, or the signature of a person to a written instrument, the false making whereof would be punishable as forgery, shall be imprisoned not more than ten years or fined not more than $1,000.00 $2,000.00, or both, if the money or property so obtained exceeds $25.00 $900.00 in value.  A person who violates this section shall be imprisoned for not more than one year or fined not more than $1,000.00, or both, if the money or property obtained in violation of this section is valued at $900.00 or less. 

Sec. 3.  13 V.S.A. § 2501 is amended to read:

§ 2501.  GRAND LARCENY

A person who steals from the actual or constructive possession of another, other than from his or her person, money, goods, chattels, bank notes, bonds, promissory notes, bills of exchange or other bills, orders, or certificates, or a book of accounts for or concerning money, or goods due or to become due or to be delivered, or a deed or writing containing a conveyance of land, or any other valuable contract in force, or a receipt, release or defeasance, writ, process, or public record, shall be imprisoned not more than ten years or fined not more than $1,000.00 $5,000.00, or both, if the money or other property stolen exceeds $500.00 $900.00 in value.

Sec. 4.  13 V.S.A. § 2502 is amended to read:

§ 2502.  PETIT LARCENY

Superior and district courts shall have concurrent jurisdiction of the offenses mentioned in section 2501 of this title where the money or other property stolen does not exceed $500.00 $900.00 in value, and may sentence the person convicted to imprisonment for not more than one year or to pay a fine of not more than $500.00 $1,000.00, or both.

Sec. 5.  13 V.S.A. § 2577 is amended to read:

§ 2577.  PENALTY

(a)  A person convicted of the offense of retail theft of merchandise having a retail value not in excess of $100.00 $900.00 shall be punished by a fine of not more than $300.00 $500.00 or imprisonment for not more than six months, or both.

(b)  Upon the second or subsequent conviction of the offense of retail theft of merchandise having a retail value not in excess of $100.00, a person shall be punished by a fine of not more than $500.00 or imprisonment for not more than two years, or both.

(c)  A person convicted of the offense of retail theft of merchandise having a retail value in excess of $100.00 $900.00 shall be punished by a fine of not more than $500.00 $1,000.00 or imprisonment for not more than ten years, or both.

(c)  Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections (a) and (b) of this section, a person convicted of retail theft pursuant to:

(1)  Subdivision 2575(4) of this title shall be imprisoned not more than two years or fined not more than $1,000.00, or both.

(2)  Subdivision 2575(5), (6), or (7) of this title shall be imprisoned for not more than ten years or fined not more than $5,000.00, or both.

Sec. 6.  13 V.S.A. § 2582 is amended to read:

§ 2582.  THEFT OF SERVICES

(a)  A person who purposely obtains services which he or she knows are available only for compensation, by deception or threat, or by false token or other means to avoid payment for the service shall if the services exceed $500.00 $900.00 in value be imprisoned for not more than ten years or fined not more than $5,000.00, or both.  Otherwise, a person who violates a provision of this subsection shall be imprisoned for not more than one year or fined not more than $1,000.00, or both.  Where compensation for service is ordinarily paid immediately upon the rendering of such service, as in the case of hotels, restaurants, and transportation, refusal to pay or absconding without payment or offer to pay gives rise to a rebuttable presumption that the service was obtained by deception as to intention to pay.

(b)  A person who, having control over the disposition of services of others, to which he or she is not entitled, knowingly diverts such services to his the person’s own benefit or to the benefit of another not entitled thereto shall if the services exceed $500.00 $900.00 in value be imprisoned for not more than ten years or fined not more than $5,000.00, or both.  Otherwise a person who violates a provision of this subsection shall be imprisoned for not more than one year or fined not more than $1,000.00, or both.

Sec. 7.  13 V.S.A. § 2591 is amended to read:

§ 2591.  THEFT OF RENTED PROPERTY

(a)  A person who converts to his or her own use any personal property, other than a motor vehicle leased or rented pursuant to a written agreement which has been entrusted to him the person under an agreement in writing which provides for the delivery of that personal property to a particular person or place or at a particular time, abandons it, or refuses or neglects to deliver it to the person or place and at the time specified in the written agreement, or who destroys, secretes, appropriates, converts, sells, or attempts to sell all or any part of it, or who removes or permits or causes it to be removed from this state, without the consent of its owner, shall be:

(1)  if the value of the property involved is $100.00 $900.00 or less, imprisoned not more than six months or fined not more than $300.00 $500.00, or both;

(2)  if the property involved exceeds $100.00 $900.00 in value:

(A)  imprisoned for not more than two years or fined not more than $1,000.00, or both; or

(B)  imprisoned for not more than five years or fined not more than $5,000.00 if the person has been previously convicted of a violation of this subdivision (a)(2) of this section.

* * *

Sec. 8.  STUDY; WOMEN OFFENDERS

(a)  The core team of the agency of human services incarcerated women’s initiative, so-called, shall study and propose solutions to problems as they relate to women offenders in Vermont.  In particular, the core team shall:

(1)  Explore whether and to what extent women are incarcerated at a higher rate than men who are convicted of the same offense.  If the study determines that there is indeed a difference in the incarceration rate, then the committee shall attempt to determine the causes underlying this difference and propose potential legislative responses.

(2)  Identify, explore, and propose legislative responses to the family‑related issues facing many women inmates, including issues of guardianship.

(3)  Identify, explore, and propose legislative responses to the issues many women inmates face upon release from the facility relating to the need to find suitable housing.

(4)  Identify, explore, and propose legislative responses to the issues many women offenders face relating to the need to access adequate mental health and substance abuse treatment, both within the facilities and in the community.

(5)  Identify, explore, and propose legislative responses to the need for alternatives to incarceration for women, to reduce overcrowding in prisons, to reduce the impact of separation of mothers from their children, and to reduce the separation of women from their home communities.

(b)  The core team shall also consider and recommend responses to the issues outlined in subsection (a) of this section to the extent that they apply to male offenders.

(c)  The project manager of the incarcerated women’s initiative shall convene the first meeting to address the issues presented in this section on or before July 15, 2006.  A member of the core team shall verbally report on the team’s progress to the joint corrections oversight committee at each oversight committee meeting during the summer and autumn of 2006.  On or before November 15, 2006, the core team shall provide to the joint corrections oversight committee a report detailing its work and proposing legislative solutions to address the issues it identifies.  If applicable, the report shall include a budget detailing the cost of initiating and operating any proposed services, including potential nonstate funding sources, and a projection of the financial impact the proposals would have on future state capital and general fund appropriations.

                                                                        Richard W. Sears, Jr.

                                                                        John F. Campbell

                                                                        Wendy L. Wilton

                                                                 Committee on the part of the Senate

                                                                        William J. Lippert, Jr.

                                                                        Maxine Grad

                                                                        Michael R. Kainen

                                                                 Committee on the part of the House

Thereupon, the question, Shall the Senate accept and adopt the report of the Committee of Conference?, was decided in the affirmative.

Thereupon, on motion of Senator Welch, the rules were suspended and the bill was ordered delivered to the Governor forthwith.

Rules Suspended; Report of Committee of Conference Accepted and Adopted on the Part of the Senate; Bill Delivered

S. 292.

Appearing on the Calendar for notice, on motion of Senator Welch, the rules were suspended and the report of the Committee of Conference on Senate bill entitled:

An act relating to the sate employee labor relations act.

Was taken up for immediate consideration.

Senator Condos, for the Committee of Conference, submitted the following report:

To the Senate and House of Representatives:

The Committee of Conference to which were referred the disagreeing votes of the two Houses upon Senate bill entitled:

S. 292.  An act relating to the state employee labor relations act.

Respectfully reports that it has met and considered the same and recommends that the Senate accede to the House proposal of amendment.

                                                                        VINCENT ILLUZZI

                                                                        HINDA MILLER

                                                                        JAMES C. CONDOS

                                                                 Committee on the part of the Senate

                                                                        FRANCIS K. BROOKS

                                                                        ANN SEIBERT

                                                                        LEO M. VALLIERE

                                                                 Committee on the part of the House

Thereupon, the question, Shall the Senate accept and adopt the report of the Committee of Conference?, was decided in the affirmative.

Thereupon, on motion of Senator Welch, the rules were suspended and the bill was ordered delivered to the Governor forthwith.


Rules Suspended; House Proposal of Amendment Concurred In; Rules Suspended; Bill Delivered

S. 150.

Appearing on the Calendar for notice, on motion of Senator Welch, the rules were suspended and House proposal of amendment to Senate bill entitled:

An act relating to motor vehicles.

Was taken up for immediate consideration.

The House proposes to the Senate to amend the bill as follows:

     First: By striking out Sec. 4 and by inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 4 to read as follows:

* * * Learner's Permits; Residency * **

Sec. 4.  23 V.S.A. § 617(a) is amended to read:

(a)  Any person Vermont resident 15 years of age or over, but under 18 years of age, who has no convictions under sections 601, 674, 676, 1091, 1094, 1128, 1133, or 1201 of this title, suspensions under section 1205 of this title, or civil traffic violations under section 1216 of this title in the previous two years, or any person Vermont resident 18 years of age or over, may apply to the commissioner of motor vehicles for a learner’s permit in the form prescribed by the commissioner.  A nonresident may be issued a learner permit if the permit is required for purposes of participation in a driver education and training course.  After the applicant has successfully passed all parts of the driver license examination other than the driving test, the commissioner may issue to the applicant a learner’s permit which entitles the applicant, subject to section 615 of this title, to operate a motor vehicle upon the public highways for a period of two years from the date of issuance.  Any learner’s permit may be renewed.  This section shall not affect section 602 of this title.

     Second: By striking out Sec. 5 and inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 5 to read as follows:

* * * Inspection Mechanic Certificates * **

Sec. 5.  23 V.S.A. § 1227(c) is amended to read:

(c)  Applicants for certification under this section shall be examined on the inspection requirements for each type of vehicle to be inspected.  Upon satisfactory completion of the examination, the commissioner shall issue a certification which shall remain in effect for a period of five years or until surrendered, suspended or revoked.  Inspection mechanics certified by their employer as competent to perform inspections and who were continuously employed by one or more designated inspection stations for a period of at least one year at any time prior to July 1, 1998 shall not be required to take the examination.

     Third:  By striking out Sec. 6 and renumbering the remaining sections to be numerically correct.

Thereupon, the question, Shall the Senate concur in the House proposal of amendment?, was decided in the affirmative.

Thereupon, on motion of Senator Welch, the rules were suspended, and the bill was ordered delivered to the Governor forthwith.

Rules Suspended; House Proposal of Amendment to Senate Proposal of Amendment Concurred In; Rules Suspended; Bill Messaged

H. 701.

Appearing on the Calendar for notice, on motion of Senator Welch, the rules were suspended and House proposal of amendment to Senate proposal of amendment to House bill entitled:

An act relating to unidentified corridors.

Was taken up for immediate consideration.

The House concurs in the Senate proposal of amendment with the following amendment thereto:

     In Sec. 2, 19 V.S.A. § 305(h), by striking out the following: “that are not clearly observable by physical evidence of their use as a highway and

Thereupon, the question, Shall the Senate concur in the House proposal of amendment to the Senate proposal of amendment?, was decided in the affirmative.

Thereupon, on motion of Senator Welch, the rules were suspended, and the bill was ordered messaged to the House forthwith.

House Proposal of Amendment Concurred In; Rules Suspended; Bill Delivered

S. 90.

House proposal of amendment to Senate bill entitled:

An act relating to prescription drugs and substance abuse.

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.  18 V.S.A. chapter 84A is added to read:

CHAPTER 84A.  VERMONT PRESCRIPTION MONITORING SYSTEM

§ 4281.  LEGISLATIVE INTENT

The general assembly recognizes the important public health benefits of the legal medical use of controlled substances and also the significant risk to public health that can arise due to the abuse of those substances.  It is the intent of this chapter to create the Vermont prescription monitoring system, which will provide an electronic database and reporting system for electronic monitoring of prescriptions for Schedules II, III, and IV controlled substances, as defined in 21 C.F.R. Part 1308, as amended and as may be amended, to promote the public health through enhanced opportunities for treatment for and prevention of abuse of controlled substances, without interfering with the legal medical use of those substances.  

§ 4282.  DEFINITIONS

As used in this chapter:

(1)  “Dispenser” shall mean any person who “dispenses” or engages in “dispensing” as those terms are defined in subdivision 2022(5) of Title 26. 

(2)  “Health care provider” shall mean an individual licensed, certified, or authorized by law to provide professional health care service in this state to an individual during that individual’s medical or dental care, treatment, or confinement.

(3)  “Trained law enforcement officer” shall include any officer designated by the department of public safety who has completed a training program established by rule by the department of health, which is designed to ensure that officers have the training necessary to use responsibly and properly any information that they receive from VPMS. 

(4)  “VPMS” shall mean the Vermont prescription monitoring system established under this chapter. 

§ 4283.  CREATION; IMPLEMENTATION

(a)  Contingent upon the receipt of funding, the department may establish an electronic database and reporting system for monitoring Schedules II, III, and IV controlled substances, as defined in 21 C.F.R. Part 1308, as amended and as may be amended, that are dispensed within the state of Vermont by a health care provider or dispenser or dispensed to an address within the state by a pharmacy licensed by the Vermont board of pharmacy.

(b)  As required by the department, every dispenser who is licensed by the Vermont board of pharmacy shall report to the department in a timely manner data for each controlled substance in Schedules II, III, and IV, as amended and as may be amended, dispensed to a patient within Vermont.  Reporting shall not be required for:

(1)  a drug administered directly to a patient; or

(2)  a drug dispensed by a health care provider at a facility licensed by the department, provided that the quantity dispensed is limited to an amount adequate to treat the patient for a maximum of 48 hours.

(c)  Data for each controlled substance that is dispensed shall include the following:

(1)  patient identifier, which may include the patient’s name and date of birth;

(2)  drug dispensed;

(3)  date of dispensing;

(4)  quantity and dosage dispensed;

(5)  the number of days’ supply;

(6)  health care provider; and

(7)  dispenser.

(d)  The data shall be provided in the electronic format defined by the department.  To the extent possible, the format shall not require data entry in excess of that required in the regular course of business.  Electronic transmission is not required if a waiver has been granted by the department to an individual dispenser.  The department shall strive to create VPMS in a manner that will enable real-time transmittal to VPMS and real-time retrieval of information stored in VPMS. 

(e)  It is not the intention of the department that a health care provider or a dispenser shall have to pay a fee or tax or purchase hardware or proprietary software required by the department specifically for the establishment, maintenance, or transmission of the data.  The department shall seek grant funds and take any other action within its financial capability to minimize any cost impact to health care providers and dispensers.   

(f)  The department shall purge from VPMS all data that is more than six years old.

(g)  The commissioner shall develop and provide advisory notices, which shall make clear that all prescriptions for controlled drugs in Schedules II, III, and IV are entered into a statewide database in order to protect the public.  The notices shall be distributed at no cost to dispensers and health care providers who are subject to this chapter.

 (h)  A dispenser shall be subject to discipline by the board of pharmacy or by the applicable licensing entity if the dispenser intentionally fails to comply with the requirements of subsection (b), (c), or (d) of this section. 

§ 4284.  PROTECTION AND DISCLOSURE OF INFORMATION

(a)  The data collected pursuant to this chapter shall be confidential, except as provided in this chapter, and shall not be subject to public records law.  The department shall maintain procedures to protect patient privacy, ensure the confidentiality of patient information collected, recorded, transmitted, and maintained, and ensure that information is not disclosed to any person except as provided in this section.

(b)  The department shall be authorized to provide data to only the following persons:

(1)  A patient or that person's health care provider, or both, when VPMS reveals that a patient may be receiving more than a therapeutic amount of one or more regulated substances.

(2)  A health care provider or dispenser who requests information and certifies that the requested information is for the purpose of providing medical or pharmaceutical treatment to a bona fide current patient.

(3)  A designated representative of a board responsible for the licensure, regulation, or discipline of health care providers or dispensers pursuant to a bona fide specific investigation.

(4)  A patient for whom a prescription is written, insofar as the information relates to that patient. 

(5)  The relevant occupational licensing or certification authority if the commissioner reasonably suspects fraudulent or illegal activity by a health care provider.  The licensing or certification authority may report the data that are the evidence for the suspected fraudulent or illegal activity to a trained law enforcement officer.  

(6) The commissioner of public safety, personally, if the commissioner of health personally makes the disclosure, has consulted with at least one of the patient’s health care providers, and believes that the disclosure is necessary to avert a serious and imminent threat to a person or the public.  

(7)  Personnel or contractors, as necessary for establishing and maintaining the VPMS.

(c)  A person who receives data or a report from VPMS or from the department shall not share that data or report with any other person or entity not eligible to receive that data pursuant to subsection (b) of this section.  Nothing shall restrict the right of a patient to share his or her own data.

(d)  The commissioner shall offer health care providers and dispensers training in the proper use of information they may receive from VPMS.   Training may be provided in collaboration with professional associations representing health care providers and dispensers.

(e)  A trained law enforcement officer who may receive information pursuant to this section shall not have access to VPMS except for information provided to the officer by the licensing or certification authority.

(f)  The department is authorized to use information from VPMS for research and public health promotion purposes provided that data are aggregated or otherwise de-identified.

(g)  Knowing disclosure of transmitted data to a person not authorized by subsection (b) of this section, or obtaining information under this section not relating to a bona fide specific investigation, shall be punishable by imprisonment for not more than one year or a fine of not more than $1,000.00, or both, in addition to any penalties under federal law.

§ 4285.  IMMUNITY

A dispenser or health care provider shall be immune from civil, criminal, or administrative liability as a result of any action made in good faith pursuant to and in accordance with this chapter, but nothing in this section shall be construed to establish immunity for the failure to follow standards of professional conduct or the failure to exercise due care in the provision of services.

§ 4286.  ADVISORY COMMITTEE

(a)(1)  The commissioner shall establish an advisory committee to assist in the implementation and periodic evaluation of VPMS. 

(2)  The department shall consult with the committee concerning any potential operational or economic impacts on dispensers and health care providers related to transmission system equipment and software requirements.

(3)  The committee shall develop guidelines for use of VPMS by dispensers and health care providers and shall make recommendations concerning under what circumstances, if any, the department shall or may give VPMS data, including data thresholds for such disclosures, to law enforcement personnel.  The committee shall also review and approve advisory notices prior to publication.

(b)  The advisory committee shall be chaired by the commissioner or his or her designee and shall include the following members:

(1)  the deputy commissioner for alcohol and drug abuse programs;

(2)  a representative from the Vermont medical society;

(3)  a representative from the American college of emergency physicians–Vermont chapter;

(4)  a representative from the Vermont state nurses association;

(5)  a representative from the Vermont board of medical practice;

(6)  a representative from the Vermont board of pharmacy;

(7)  a pharmacist from the Vermont pharmacists association;

(8)  a representative of the Vermont state dental society;

(9)  the commissioner of public safety;

(10)  a representative of the Vermont attorney general;

(11)  a representative of the Vermont substance abuse treatment providers association;

(12)  a mental health provider or a certified alcohol and drug counselor;

(13)  a consumer in recovery from prescription abuse;

(14)  a consumer receiving medical treatment for chronic pain; and

(15)  any other member invited by the commissioner. 

(c)  The committee shall meet no less than quarterly in the first year, and no less than annually each following year, but may be convened at any time by the commissioner or the commissioner’s designee. 

(d)  The committee shall issue a report to the senate and house committees on judiciary, the senate committee on health and welfare, and the house committee on human services no later than January 15th in 2008, 2010, and 2012.

(e)  This section shall sunset July 1, 2012 and thereafter the committee shall cease to exist.

§ 4287.  RULEMAKING

The department shall adopt rules for the implementation of VPMS as defined in this chapter consistent with 45 C.F.R. Part 164, as amended and as may be amended, that limit the disclosure to the minimum information necessary for purposes of this act and shall keep the senate and house committees on judiciary, the senate committee on health and welfare, and the house committee on human services advised of the substance and progress of initial rulemaking pursuant to this section.

Sec. 2.  18 V.S.A. § 4218 is amended to read:

§ 4218.  ENFORCEMENT

(a)  It is hereby made the duty of the department of public safety, its officers, agents, inspectors, and representatives, and pursuant to its specific authorization any other peace officer within the state, and of all state’s attorneys, to enforce all provisions of this chapter and of the rules and regulations of the board of health adopted under this chapter, except those otherwise specifically delegated, and to cooperate with all agencies charged with the enforcement of the federal drug laws, this chapter, and the laws of other states relating to regulated drugs.

(b)  Such authorities and their specifically authorized agents shall have, at all times, access to all orders, prescriptions, and records kept or maintained under this chapter, as provided herein.

(c)  A person who gives information to law enforcement officers, the drug rehabilitation commission, or professional boards as defined in section 4201 of this title and their specifically authorized agents, concerning the use of regulated drugs or the misuse by other persons of regulated drugs, shall not be subject to any civil, criminal, or administrative liability or penalty for giving such information.

(d)  Nothing in this section shall authorize the department of public safety and other authorities described in subsection (a) of this section to have access to VPMS created pursuant to chapter 84A of this title, except as provided in that chapter. 

Sec. 3.  REPORT

The commissioner of health, the commissioner of public safety, the executive director of states attorneys and sheriffs, the defender general, and the executive director of the Vermont chapter of the American civil liberties union shall report to the senate and house committees on judiciary, senate committee on health and welfare and the house committee on human services no later than December 15, 2006 regarding revisions to 18 V.S.A. § 4218 which will address medical record privacy concerns that may be raised by permitting law enforcement unfettered access to pharmacy records.

Thereupon, the question, Shall the Senate concur in the House proposal of amendment?, was decided in the affirmative.

Thereupon, on motion of Senator Welch, the rules were suspended, and the bill was ordered delivered to the Governor forthwith.

Rules Suspended; Report of Committee of Conference Accepted and Adopted on the Part of the Senate; Bill Delivered

S. 222.

Pending entry on the Calendar for notice, on motion of Senator Welch, the rules were suspended and the report of the Committee of Conference on Senate bill entitled:

An act relating to funding of adult education and literacy services.

Was taken up for immediate consideration.

Senator Collins, for the Committee of Conference, submitted the following report:

To the Senate and House of Representatives:

The Committee of Conference to which were referred the disagreeing votes of the two Houses upon Senate bill entitled:

S. 222.  An act relating to funding of adult education and literacy services.

Respectfully reports that it has met and considered the same and recommends that the Senate concur with the House proposal of amendment and that the bill be further amended as follows:

First:  In Sec. 2, 16 V.S.A. § 1049a(b) in the second sentence following the words "the school district shall work with" by striking out the words "an approved provider" and inserting in lieu thereof the words an agency which has entered into contract with the department of education to provide adult education services in Vermont

Second:  In Sec. 2, 16 V.S.A. § 1049a(c)(1) following the words "established by the commissioner for" by inserting the words development of the graduation education plan and for other

Third:  In Sec. 2, 16 V.S.A. § 1049a(c)(2) by striking out the subdivision in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new subdivision (2) to read as follows:

(2)  negotiated by the commissioner and the agency which has entered into contract with the department of education to provide adult education services in Vermont, with the approved provider, for services and outcomes purchased from the approved provider on behalf of the student pursuant to the graduation education plan.

                                                                        DONALD E. COLLINS

                                                                        WILLIAM T. DOYLE

                                                                        MATT DUNNE

                                                                 Committee on the part of the Senate

                                                                        JUDITY LIVINGSTON

                                                                        DENISE B. BARNARD

                                                                        KATHY LAVOIE

                                                                 Committee on the part of the House

Thereupon, the question, Shall the Senate accept and adopt the report of the Committee of Conference?, was decided in the affirmative.

Thereupon, on motion of Senator Welch, the rules were suspended and the bill was ordered delivered to the Governor forthwith.

Rules Suspended; Proposals of Amendment; Third Reading Ordered; Rules Suspended; Bill Passed in Concurrence with Proposals of Amendment; Bill Messaged

H. 853.

Pending entry on the Calendar for notice, on motion of Senator Welch, the rules were suspended and House bill entitled:

An act relating to technical amendments to the Vermont statutes annotated related to restructuring the agency of human services.

Was taken up for immediate consideration.

Senator Condos, for the Committee on Government Operations, to which the bill was referred, reported recommending that the Senate propose to the House to amend the bill as follows:

First:  By striking out Sec. 50 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 50 to read as follows:

Sec. 50.  18 V.S.A. § 9435(b) is amended to read:

(b)  Excluded from this subchapter are community mental health and developmental disability centers supervised by the commissioner commissioners of developmental and mental health services under chapters 177 and 207 of this title, provided the commissioner of developmental and mental health services makes a written approval of commissioners of health and disabilities, aging, and independent living approve the proposed health care project in writing.  The community mental health center shall submit a copy of the approval with a letter of intent to the commissioner.

Second:  By striking out Secs. 92, 93, 98a, 142 and 143 in their entirety

Third:  By striking out Sec. 97 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 97 to read as follows:

Sec. 97.  33 V.S.A. § 1904 is amended to read:

§ 1904. DEFINITIONS

When used in this subchapter, unless otherwise indicated:

(1) "Agency" means the agency of human services.

(2) "Commissioner" means the commissioner of prevention, assistance, transition, and health access for children and families.

(3) "Department" means the department of prevention, assistance, transition, and health access for children families.

(4)  “Director” means the director of the office of Vermont health access.

(5)  "Insurer" means any insurance company, prepaid health care delivery plan, self-funded employee benefit plan, pension fund, retirement system or similar entity that is under an obligation to make payments for medical services as a result of an injury, illness or disease suffered by an individual.

(5)(6) "Legally liable representative" means a parent or person with an obligation of support to a recipient whether by contract, court order or statute.

(6)(7) "Provider" means any person that has entered into an agreement with the state to provide any medical service.

(7)(8) "Recipient" means any person or group of persons who receive Medicaid.

(8)(9) "Secretary" means the secretary of the agency of human services.

(9)(10) "Third party" means a person having an obligation to pay all or any portion of the medical expense incurred by a recipient at the time the medical service was provided. The obligation is not discharged by virtue of being undiscovered or undeveloped at the time a Medicaid claim is paid. Third parties include:

(A) Medicare.

(B) Health insurance, including health and accident but not that portion specifically designated for "income protection" which has been considered in determining recipient eligibility to participate in the Medicaid program.

(C) Medical coverage provided in conjunction with other benefit or compensation programs including military and veteran programs or workers' compensation.

(D) Liability for medical expenses as agreed to or ordered in negligence suits, support settlements or trust funds.

(10)(11) "Tobacco" means all products listed in 7 V.S.A. § 1001(4).

(11)(12) "Tobacco manufacturer" means any person engaged in the process of designing, fabricating, assembling, producing, constructing or otherwise preparing a product containing tobacco, including packaging or labeling of these products, with the intended purpose of selling the product for gain or profit. "Tobacco manufacturer" does not include persons whose activity is limited to growing natural leaf tobacco or to selling tobacco products at wholesale or retail to customers. "Tobacco manufacturer" also does not include any person who manufactures or produces firearms, dairy products, products containing alcohol or other nontobacco products, unless such person also manufactures or produces tobacco products.

Fourth:  By striking out Sec. 144 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 144 to read as follows:

Sec. 144.  LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL; STATUTORY REVISION

The legislative council is directed to reassign the codified sections of this act pursuant to section 424 of Title 2.

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

Thereupon, on motion of Senator Welch, the rules were suspended and the bill was placed on all remaining stages of its passage in concurrence with proposals of amendment forthwith.

Thereupon, the bill was read the third time and passed in concurrence with proposals of amendment.

Thereupon, on motion of Senator Welch, the rules were suspended, and the bill was ordered messaged to the House forthwith.

Rules Suspended; Report of Committee of Conference Accepted and Adopted on the Part of the Senate; Bill Messaged

H. 373.

Pending entry on the Calendar for notice, on motion of Senator Welch, the rules were suspended and the report of the Committee of Conference on House bill entitled:

An act relating to stalking.

Was taken up for immediate consideration.

Senator Campbell, for the Committee of Conference, submitted the following report:

To the Senate and House of Representatives:

The Committee of Conference to which were referred the disagreeing votes of the two Houses upon House bill entitled:

H. 373.  An act relating to stalking.

Respectfully reports that it has met and considered the same and recommends that the Senate recede from its proposal of amendment and that the bill be amended by striking out all after the enacting clause and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Sec. 1.  12 V.S.A. chapter 178 is added to read:

Chapter 178.  Orders Against Stalking

or Sexual Assault

§ 5131.  DEFINITIONS

As used in this subchapter:

(1)  “Course of conduct” means a pattern of conduct composed of two or more acts over a period of time, however short, evidencing a continuity of purpose.  Constitutionally protected activity is not included within the meaning of “course of conduct.”

(2)  “Following” means maintaining over a period of time a visual or physical proximity to another person in such manner as would cause a reasonable person to have fear of unlawful sexual conduct, unlawful restraint, bodily injury, or death.

(3)  “Lying in wait” means hiding or being concealed for the purpose of attacking or harming another person.

(4)  “Nonphysical contact” includes telephone calls, mail, e‑mail or other electronic communication, fax, and written notes. 

(5)  “Sexually assaulted the plaintiff” means that the defendant engaged in conduct that meets elements of lewd and lascivious conduct with a child as defined in 13 V.S.A. § 2602, sexual assault as defined in 13 V.S.A. § 3252, or aggravated sexual assault as defined in 13 V.S.A. § 3253, and that the plaintiff was the victim of the offense.

(6)  “Stalk” means to engage in a course of conduct which consists of following or lying in wait for a person, or threatening behavior directed at a specific person or a member of the person’s family, and:

(A)  serves no legitimate purpose; and

(B)  would cause a reasonable person to fear for his or her safety or would cause a reasonable person substantial emotional distress.

(7)  “Stay away” means to refrain from knowingly:

(A)  initiating or maintaining a physical presence near the plaintiff;

(B)  engaging in nonphysical contact with the plaintiff directly or indirectly;

(C)  engaging in nonphysical contact with the plaintiff through third parties who may or may not know of the order.

(8)  “Threatening behavior” means acts which would cause a reasonable person to fear unlawful sexual conduct, unlawful restraint, bodily injury, or death, including verbal threats, written, telephonic, or other electronically communicated threats, vandalism, or physical contact without consent.

§ 5132.  JURISDICTION AND VENUE

(a)  The superior court shall have jurisdiction over proceedings under this chapter.

(b)  Proceedings under this chapter may be commenced in the county in which the plaintiff resides.  If the plaintiff has left his or her residence to avoid being stalked or sexually assaulted, the plaintiff shall have the option to bring an action in the county of the previous residence or the county of the new residence.

§ 5133.  REQUESTS FOR AN ORDER AGAINST STALKING OR SEXUAL ASSAULT

(a)  A person, other than a family or household member as defined in 15 V.S.A. § 1101(2), may seek an order against stalking or sexual assault on behalf of him or herself or his or her children by filing a complaint under this chapter.  The plaintiff shall submit an affidavit in support of the order.

(b)  Except as provided in section 5134 of this title, the court shall grant the order only after notice to the defendant and a hearing.  The plaintiff shall have the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant stalked or sexually assaulted the plaintiff.

(c)  In a hearing under this chapter, neither opinion evidence of nor evidence of the reputation of the plaintiff’s sexual conduct shall be admitted.  Evidence of prior sexual conduct of the plaintiff shall not be admitted; provided, however, where it bears on the credibility of the plaintiff or it is material to a fact at issue and its probative value outweighs its private character, the court may admit:

(1)  Evidence of the plaintiff’s past sexual conduct with the defendant.

(2)  Evidence of specific instances of the plaintiff’s sexual conduct showing the source of origin of semen, pregnancy, or disease.

(3)  Evidence of specific instances of the plaintiff’s past false allegations of violations of chapter 59 or 72 of Title 13.

(d)(1)  If the court finds by a preponderance of evidence that the defendant has stalked or has been convicted of sexually assaulting the plaintiff, the court shall order the defendant to stay away from the plaintiff or the plaintiff’s children, or both, and may make any other such order it deems necessary to protect the plaintiff or the plaintiff’s children, or both.

(2)  If the court finds by a preponderance of evidence that the defendant has sexually assaulted the plaintiff and there is a danger of the defendant further harming the plaintiff, the court shall order the defendant to stay away from the plaintiff or the plaintiff’s children, or both, and may make any other such order it deems necessary to protect the plaintiff or the plaintiff’s children, or both.  The court may consider the defendant’s past conduct as relevant evidence of future harm.

(e)  Relief shall be granted for a fixed period, at the expiration of which time the court may extend any order, upon motion of the plaintiff, for such additional time as it deems necessary to protect the plaintiff or the plaintiff’s children, or both.  It is not necessary for the court to find that the defendant stalked or sexually assault the plaintiff during the pendency of the order to extend the terms of the order.  The court may modify its order at any subsequent time upon motion by either party and a showing of a substantial change in circumstance.

(f)  No filing fee shall be required.

(g)  Every order under this chapter shall contain the name of the court, the names of the parties, the date of the petition, and the date and time of the order and shall be signed by the judge.

(h)  Form complaints and form orders for an “Order Against Stalking or Sexual Assault” shall be provided by the court administrator and shall be maintained by the clerks of the courts.

(i)  When findings are required under this section, the court shall make either written findings of fact or oral findings of fact on the record.

(j)  Every final order issued under this section shall bear the following language:  “VIOLATION OF THIS ORDER IS A CRIME SUBJECT TO A TERM OF IMPRISONMENT OR A FINE, OR BOTH, AND MAY ALSO BE PROSECUTED AS CRIMINAL CONTEMPT PUNISHABLE BY FINE OR IMPRISONMENT, OR BOTH.”

(k)  Affidavit forms required pursuant to this section shall bear the following language:  “MAKING FALSE STATEMENTS IN THIS AFFIDAVIT IS A CRIME SUBJECT TO A TERM OF IMPRISONMENT OR A FINE, OR BOTH, AS PROVIDED BY 13 V.S.A. § 2904.”

(l)  A finding by the court pursuant to this chapter that the defendant stalked or sexually assaulted the plaintiff shall not be admissible in any subsequent civil proceedings for the purpose of establishing liability.

§ 5134.  EMERGENCY RELIEF

(a)  In accordance with the Vermont Rules of Civil Procedure, a person other than a family or household member as defined in 15 V.S.A. § 1001(2) may file a complaint for a temporary order against stalking or sexual assault.  Such complaint shall be filed during regular court hours.  The plaintiff shall submit an affidavit in support of the order.  The court may issue a temporary order under this chapter ex parte, without notice to the defendant, upon motion and findings by the court that the defendant has stalked or sexually assaulted the plaintiff.  An order may be granted requiring the defendant to refrain from stalking or sexually assaulting the plaintiff and to refrain from interfering with the plaintiff’s personal liberty.

(b)  Every order issued under this section shall contain the name of the court, the names of the parties, the date of the petition, and the date and time of the order and shall be signed by the judge.  Every order issued under this section shall state upon its face a date, time, and place that the defendant may appear to petition the court for modification or discharge of the order.  This opportunity to contest shall be scheduled as soon as reasonably possible, which in no event shall be more than 10 days from the date of issuance of the order.  At such hearings, the plaintiff shall have the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant stalked or sexually assaulted the plaintiff.  If the court finds that the plaintiff has met his or her burden, it shall continue the order in effect and make such other orders as it deems necessary to protect the plaintiff or the plaintiff’s children, or both.

(c)  Form complaints and form orders shall be provided by the court administrator and shall be maintained by the clerks of the courts.

(d)  Every order issued under this chapter shall bear the following language:  “VIOLATION OF THIS ORDER IS A CRIME SUBJECT TO A TERM OF IMPRISONMENT OR A FINE, OR BOTH, AND MAY ALSO BE PROSECUTED AS CRIMINAL CONTEMPT PUNISHABLE BY FINE OR IMPRISONMENT, OR BOTH.”

(e)  Affidavit forms required pursuant to this section shall bear the following language:  “MAKING FALSE STATEMENTS IN THIS AFFIDAVIT IS A CRIME SUBJECT TO A TERM OF IMPRISONMENT OR A FINE, OR BOTH, AS PROVIDED BY 13 V.S.A. § 2904.”

§ 5135.  SERVICE

(a)  A complaint or ex parte temporary order or final order issued under this chapter shall be served in accordance with the Vermont Rules of Civil Procedure and may be served by any law enforcement officer.  Orders against stalking or sexual assault shall be served at the earliest possible time and shall take precedence over other summonses and orders, with the exception of abuse prevention orders issued pursuant to chapter 21 of Title 15.  Orders shall be served in a manner calculated to ensure the safety of the plaintiff.  Methods of service which include advance notification to the defendant shall not be used.  The person making service shall file a return of service with the court stating the date, time, and place that the order was delivered personally to the defendant.

(b)  If service of a notice of hearing issued under section 5133 or 5134 of this title cannot be made before the scheduled hearing, the court shall continue the hearing and extend the terms of the order upon request of the plaintiff for such additional time as it deems necessary to achieve service on the defendant.

§ 5136.  PROCEDURE

(a)  Except as otherwise specified in this chapter, proceedings commenced under this chapter shall be in accordance with the Vermont Rules of Civil Procedure and shall be in addition to any other available civil or criminal remedies.

(b)  The court administrator is authorized to contract with public or private agencies to assist plaintiffs to seek relief and to gain access to superior court.  Law enforcement agencies shall assist in carrying out the intent of this section.

(c)  The office of the court administrator shall ensure that the superior court and the district court have procedures in place so that the contents of orders and pendency of other proceedings can be known to both courts for cases in which an order against stalking or sexual assault proceeding is related to a criminal proceeding.

§ 5137.  FILING ORDERS WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT PERSONNEL; DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY PROTECTION ORDER DATABASE

(a)  Police departments, sheriff’s departments, and state police district offices shall establish procedures for filing notice against stalking or sexual assault orders issued under this chapter and for making their personnel aware of the existence and contents of such orders.

(b)  Any court in this state that issues a notice against stalking or sexual assault order under this chapter shall transmit a copy of the order to the department of public safety’s protection order database.

§ 5138.  ENFORCEMENT

(a)  Law enforcement officers are authorized to enforce orders issued under this chapter.  A foreign abuse prevention order as defined in 15 V.S.A. § 1101 shall be accorded full faith and credit throughout this state and shall be enforced as if it were an order of this state.  Law enforcement officers may rely upon a copy of any order issued under this chapter or any foreign abuse prevention order.  Enforcement may include, but is not limited to, making an arrest in accordance with the provisions of Rule 3 of the Vermont Rules of Criminal Procedure.

(b)  In addition to the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, violation of an order issued under this chapter may be prosecuted as a criminal contempt under Rule 42 of Vermont Rules of Criminal Procedure.  The prosecution for criminal contempt may be initiated by the state’s attorney in district or superior court in the unit or county in which the violation occurred.  The maximum penalty which may be imposed under this subsection shall be a fine of $1,000.00 or imprisonment for six months, or both.  A sentence of imprisonment upon conviction for criminal contempt may be stayed in the discretion of the court, pending the expiration of the time allowed for filing notice of appeal or pending appeal if any appeal is taken.  After two years have passed from conviction under this subsection, the court may on motion of the defendant expunge the record of the criminal proceeding and conviction unless the defendant has been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor involving moral turpitude or a violation of a protection order after such initial adjudication.

Sec. 2.  13 V.S.A. § 1030 is amended to read:

§ 1030.  VIOLATION OF ABUSE PREVENTION ORDER OR AN ORDER AGAINST STALKING OR SEXUAL ASSAULT

(a)  A person who commits an act prohibited by a court or who fails to perform an act ordered by a court in violation of an abuse prevention order issued under chapter 21 of Title 15 or chapter 69 of Title 33, or an order against stalking or sexual assault issued under chapter 178 of Title 12, after the person has been served notice of the contents of the order as provided in those chapters; or a foreign abuse prevention order issued by a court in any other state, federally recognized Indian tribe, territory or possession of the United States, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or the District of Columbia; shall be imprisoned not more than one year or fined not more than $5,000.00, or both.

(b)  A person who is convicted of a second or subsequent offense under this section shall be imprisoned not more than three years or fined not more than $25,000.00, or both.

(c)  Upon conviction under this section for a violation of an order issued under chapter 21 of Title 15, the court shall, unless the circumstances indicate that it is not appropriate or not available, order the defendant to participate in domestic abuse counseling or a domestic abuse program approved by the department of corrections.  The defendant may at any time request the court to approve an alternative program.  The defendant shall pay all or part of the costs of the counseling or program unless the court finds that the defendant is unable to do so.

(d)  Upon conviction for a violation of an order issued under chapter 178 of Title 12, the court may order the defendant to participate in mental health counseling or sex offender treatment approved by the department of corrections.  The defendant shall pay all or part of the costs of the counseling unless the court finds that the defendant is unable to do so.

(d)(e)  Nothing in this section shall be construed to diminish the inherent authority of the courts to enforce their lawful orders through contempt proceedings.

(e)(f)  Prosecution for violation of an abuse prevention order or an order against stalking or sexual assault shall not bar prosecution for any other crime, including any crime that may have been committed at the time of the violation of the abuse prevention order.

Sec. 3.  15 V.S.A. § 1101 is amended to read:

§ 1101.  DEFINITIONS

The following words as used in this chapter shall have the following meanings:

* * *

(1)  “Abuse” means the occurrence of one or more of the following acts between family or household members:

(A)  attempting Attempting to cause or causing physical harm;.

(B)  placing Placing another in fear of imminent serious physical harm;.

(C)  abuse Abuse to children as defined in subchapter 2 of chapter 49 of Title 33.

(D)  Stalking as defined in 12 V.S.A. § 5131(6).

(E)  Sexual assault as defined in 12 V.S.A. § 5131(5).

* * *

(3)  A “foreign abuse prevention order” means any protection order issued by the court of any other state that contains provisions similar to relief provisions authorized under this chapter, the Vermont Family Court Rules or, chapter 69 of Title 33, or chapter 178 of Title 12.

* * *

Sec. 4.  15 V.S.A. § 1103 is amended to read:

§ 1103.  REQUESTS FOR RELIEF

(a)  Any family or household member may seek relief from abuse by another family or household member on behalf of him or herself or his or her children by filing a complaint under this chapter.  The plaintiff shall submit an affidavit in support of the order.

* * *

(c)  If the court finds that the defendant has abused the plaintiff and that there is a danger of further abuse, the court shall make such orders as it deems necessary to protect the plaintiff, the children, or both, which may include the following:

* * *

(6)  if the court finds that the defendant has a duty to support the child or children, a temporary order of child support pursuant to chapter 5 of this title, for a period not to exceed three months.  A support order granted under this section may be extended if the relief from abuse proceeding is consolidated with an action for legal separation, divorce, or parentage;

(7)  an order concerning the possession, care and control of any animal owned, possessed, leased, kept, or held as a pet by either party or a minor child residing in the household. 

(d)  In a hearing under this chapter, neither opinion evidence of nor evidence of the reputation of the plaintiff’s sexual conduct shall be admitted.  Evidence of prior sexual conduct of the plaintiff shall not be admitted; provided, however, where it bears on the credibility of the plaintiff or it is material to a fact at issue and its probative value outweighs its private character, the court may admit:

(1)  Evidence of the plaintiff’s past sexual conduct with the defendant.

(2)  Evidence of specific instances of the plaintiff’s sexual conduct showing the source of origin of semen, pregnancy, or disease.

(3)  Evidence of specific instances of the plaintiff’s past false allegations of violations of chapter 59 or 72 of Title 13.

(e)  Relief shall be granted for a fixed period, at the expiration of which time the court may extend any order, upon motion of the plaintiff, for such additional time as it deems necessary to protect the plaintiff, the children, or both, from abuse.  It is not necessary for the court to find that abuse has occurred during the pendency of the order to extend the terms of the order.  The court may modify its order at any subsequent time upon motion by either party and a showing of a substantial change in circumstance.

(e)(f)  No filing fee shall be required.

(f)(g)  Every order under this chapter shall contain the name of the court, the names of the parties, the date of the petition, the date and time of the order, and shall be signed by the judge.

(g)(h)  Form complaints and form orders shall be provided by the court administrator and shall be maintained by the clerks of the courts.

(h)(i)  When findings are required under this section, the court shall make either written findings of fact or oral findings of fact on the record.

(i)(j)  Every final order issued under this section shall bear the following language:  “VIOLATION OF THIS ORDER IS A CRIME SUBJECT TO A TERM OF IMPRISONMENT OR A FINE, OR BOTH, AND MAY ALSO BE PROSECUTED AS CRIMINAL CONTEMPT PUNISHABLE BY FINE OR IMPRISONMENT, OR BOTH.”

(k)  Affidavit forms required pursuant to this section shall bear the following language:  “MAKING FALSE STATEMENTS IN THIS AFFIDAVIT IS A CRIME SUBJECT TO A TERM OF IMPRISONMENT OR A FINE, OR BOTH, AS PROVIDED BY 13 V.S.A. § 2904.”

Sec. 5.  15 V.S.A. § 1104 is amended to read:

§ 1104.  Emergency relief

(a)  In accordance with the rules of civil procedure, temporary orders under this chapter may be issued ex parte, without notice to defendant, upon motion and findings by the court that defendant has abused plaintiff, his or her children, or both.  The plaintiff shall submit an affidavit in support of the order. Relief under this section shall be limited as follows:

(1)  upon a finding that there is an immediate danger of further abuse, an order may be granted requiring the defendant:

(A)  to refrain from abusing the plaintiff, his or her children, or, both, or from cruelly treating as defined in 13 V.S.A. § 352 or 352a or killing any animal owned, possessed, leased, kept, or held as a pet by either party or a minor child residing in the household; and

* * *

(e)  Affidavit forms required pursuant to this section shall bear the following language:  “MAKING FALSE STATEMENTS IN THIS AFFIDAVIT IS A CRIME SUBJECT TO A TERM OF IMPRISONMENT OR A FINE, OR BOTH, AS PROVIDED BY 13 V.S.A. § 2904.”

Sec. 6.  15 V.S.A. § 1105 is amended to read:

§ 1105.  SERVICE

(a)  A complaint or ex parte temporary order or final order issued under this chapter shall be served in accordance with the rules of civil procedure and may be served by any sheriff, deputy sheriff, or any municipal or state police law enforcement officer.  Abuse orders shall be served at the earliest possible time and shall take precedence over other summonses and orders.  Orders shall be served in a manner calculated to insure the safety of the plaintiff.  Methods of service which include advance notification to the defendant shall not be used. The person making service shall file a return of service with the court stating the date, time and place at which the order was delivered personally to the defendant.

* * *

Sec. 7.  15 V.S.A. § 1107 is amended to read:

§ 1107.  FILING ORDERS WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT PERSONNEL; DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY RELIEF FROM ABUSE PROTECTION ORDER DATABASE

(a)  Police departments, sheriff’s departments and state police district offices shall establish procedures for filing abuse prevention orders issued under this chapter, chapter 69 of Title 33, chapter 178 of Title 12, and foreign abuse prevention orders and for making their personnel aware of the existence and contents of such orders.

(b)  Any court in this state that issues an abuse prevention order under section 1104 or 1103 of this chapter, or that files a foreign abuse prevention order in accordance with subsection 1108(d) of this chapter, shall transmit a copy of the order to the department of public safety relief from abuse protection order database.

Sec. 8.  33 V.S.A. § 6939 is amended to read:

§ 6939.  FILING ORDERS WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT PERSONNEL; DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY PROTECTION ORDER DATABASE

(a)  Police departments, sheriff’s departments and state police district offices shall establish procedures for filing orders issued under this subchapter and for making personnel aware of the existence and contents of such orders.

(b)  Any court in this state that issues an order under this subchapter shall transmit a copy of the order to the department of public safety protective order database.

Sec. 9.  REPORT FROM COURT ADMINISTRATOR

The court administrator shall report to the senate and house committees on judiciary on or before January 15, 2009 on the number of orders issued pursuant to this act and the implementation and administration of the provisions of the act concerning orders against stalking and sexual assault.

Sec. 10.  13 V.S.A. § 7554(a)(3) is amended to read:

(3)  A judicial officer may order that a defendant not harass or contact or cause to be harassed or contacted a victim or potential witness.  This order shall take effect immediately, regardless of whether the defendant is incarcerated or released. 

Sec. 11.  STATEMENT OF LEGISLATIVE INTENT

It is not the intent of the general assembly that Sec. 10 of this act restrict attorneys who are representing criminal defendants from contacting witnesses or the alleged victim in cases for which no contact orders have been issued. 

Sec. 12.  STUDY

(a)  A study committee is hereby established for the purpose of reviewing and addressing the rights of victims under current law to facilitate better enforcement of such rights and to consider specially the following issues:

(1)  scheduling and continuances of court hearings as they relate to victims;

(2)  the victim’s input with plea agreements and sentencing recommendations;

(3)  victim notification by the department of corrections and the parole board; and

(4)  the role of the victim at parole board hearings.

(b)  The committee shall consist of the following 15 members:

(1)  the executive director of the Vermont center for crime victim services or his or her designee;

(2)  the coordinator of the network against domestic and sexual violence or his or her designee;

(3)  two victims/survivors of crime who are members of the Vermont victim/survivor of crime council;

(4)  a representative of the prisoner’s rights office;

(5)  a representative of the Vermont chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union;

(6)  a defense attorney appointed by the Vermont bar association;

(7)  the attorney general or his or her designee;

(8)  the executive director of the department of state’s attorneys and sheriffs or his or her designee;

(9)  the court administrator or his or her designee;

(10)  the defender general or his or her designee;

(11)  the commissioner of public safety or his or her designee;

(12)  the commissioner of the department of corrections or his or her designee;

(13)  the chair of the Vermont parole board; and

(14)  an attorney appointed by the Vermont bar association.

(c)  In its deliberations, the committee shall consult with the governor’s criminal justice cabinet, as needed.

(d)  The committee shall have the assistance and cooperation of all state and local agencies and departments.  The center for crime victim services shall provide professional and administrative support for the committee.

(e)  The at-large members and victims/survivors of crime shall be entitled to per diem compensation and reimbursement for expenses in the same manner as legislative members, provided they are not state employees, through the center for crime victim services.

(f)  The committee shall present its findings and recommendations, including proposals for legislative action, to the general assembly no later than January 15, 2007.

Sec. 13.  EFFECTIVE DATE

Secs. 1–8 of this act shall take effect October 1, 2006.

and, that upon passage, the title be amended to read “An Act Relating to Orders Against Stalking or Sexual Assault”

                                                                        JOHN F. CAMPBELL

                                                                        WENDY L. WILTON

                                                                        JAMES P. LEDDY

                                                                 Committee on the part of the Senate

                                                                        MICHAEL KAINEN

                                                                        AVIS GERVAIS

                                                                        ALLISON CLARKSON

                                                                 Committee on the part of the House

Thereupon, the question, Shall the Senate accept and adopt the report of the Committee of Conference?, was decided in the affirmative.

Thereupon, on motion of Senator Welch, the rules were suspended and the bill was ordered messaged to the House forthwith.

Rules Suspended; House Proposal of Amendment Concurred In; Rules Suspended; Bill Delivered

S. 259.

Pending entry on the Calendar for notice, on motion of Senator Welch, the rules were suspended and House proposal of amendment to Senate bill entitled:

An act relating to establishing greenhouse gas reduction goals and a plan for meeting those goals.

Was taken up for immediate consideration.

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.  10 V.S.A. § 578 is added to read:

§ 578.  GREENHOUSE GAS REDUCTION GOALS

(a)  General goal of greenhouse gas reduction.  It is the goal of the state to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases from within the geographical boundaries of the state and those emissions outside the boundaries of the state that are caused by the use of energy in Vermont in order to make an appropriate contribution to achieving the regional goals of reducing emissions of greenhouse gases from the 1990 baseline by:

(1)  25 percent by January 1, 2012;

(2)  50 percent by January 1, 2028;

(3)  if practicable using reasonable efforts, 75 percent by January 1, 2050.

(b)  Climate change action plan.  The secretary will coordinate with the Governor’s commission on climate change established by executive order and will consult with any interested members of Vermont’s business, agricultural, labor, and environmental communities in developing a climate change action plan.  The secretary shall notify each member of the general assembly of the development of this plan and of the opportunity for public comment.  This plan shall be developed in a manner that implements state energy policy, as specified in 30 V.S.A. § 202a.  Not later than September 1, 2007, the secretary shall present this plan to the committees of the general assembly having jurisdiction over matters relating to the environment, agriculture, energy, transportation, commerce, and public health.

(c)  Implementation of climate change action plan.  In order to facilitate the state’s compliance with the goals established in this section, all state agencies shall consider, whenever practicable, any increase or decrease in greenhouse gas emissions in their decision‑making procedures with respect to the purchase and use of equipment and goods; the siting, construction, and maintenance of buildings; the assignment of personnel; and the planning, design and operation of programs, services and infrastructure.

Thereupon, the question, Shall the Senate concur in the House proposal of amendment?, was decided in the affirmative.

Thereupon, on motion of Senator Welch, the rules were suspended, and the bill was ordered delivered to the Governor forthwith.


Committees of Conference Appointed

H. 843.

An act relating to miscellaneous tax policy amendments.

Was taken up.  Pursuant to the request of the House, the President announced the appointment of

                                         Senator Cummings

                                         Senator MacDonald

                                         Senator Ayer

as members of the Committee of Conference on the part of the Senate to consider the disagreeing votes of the two Houses.

H. 855.

An act relating to telecommunications capacity development.

Was taken up.  Pursuant to the request of the House, the President announced the appointment of

                                         Senator Dunne

                                         Senator Ayer

                                         Senator Shepard

as members of the Committee of Conference on the part of the Senate to consider the disagreeing votes of the two Houses.

Rules Suspended; Report of Committee of Conference Accepted and Adopted on the Part of the Senate; Bill Messaged

H. 861.

Pending entry on the Calendar for notice, on motion of Senator Welch, the rules were suspended and the report of the Committee of Conference on House bill entitled:

An act relating to health care affordability for Vermonters.

Was taken up for immediate consideration.

Senator Leddy, for the Committee of Conference, submitted the following report:

To the Senate and House of Representatives:

The Committee of Conference to which were referred the disagreeing votes of the two Houses upon House bill entitled:

H. 861.  An act relating to health care affordability for Vermonters.

Respectfully reports that it has met and considered the same and recommends that the Senate recede from its proposal of amendment and that the bill be amended by striking out all after the enacting clause and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Sec. 1.  HEALTH CARE REFORM PRINCIPLES

The general assembly adopts the following guidelines, modeled after the Coalition 21 principles, as a framework for reforming health care in Vermont:

(1)  It is the policy of the state of Vermont to ensure universal access to and coverage for essential health care services for all Vermonters. 

(2)  Health care coverage needs to be comprehensive and continuous. 

(3)  Vermont’s health delivery system must model continuous improvement of health care quality and safety. 

(4)  The financing of health care in Vermont must be sufficient, equitable, fair, and sustainable. 

(5)  Built-in accountability for quality, cost, access, and participation must be the hallmark of Vermont’s health care system.

(6)  Vermonters must be engaged, to the best of their ability, to pursue healthy lifestyles, to focus on preventive care and wellness efforts, and to make informed use of all health care services throughout their lives.

Sec. 2.  LEGISLATIVE PURPOSE AND INTENT

(a)  It is the intent of the general assembly that all Vermonters receive affordable and appropriate health care at the appropriate time and that health care costs be contained over time.  The general assembly finds that effective first steps to achieving this purpose are the prevention and management of chronic conditions; coverage of the uninsured through Catamount Health, a comprehensive and affordable benefit plan with sliding-scale premiums; and providing minimum preventive services starting with immunizations for all Vermonters.  The general assembly finds that chronic care management is one tool to contain health care costs and ensure that the costs of Vermont’s health care system become sustainable.

(b)  It is also the intent of the general assembly to ensure that any reduction in the “cost shift” to private insurance is returned to consumers by slowing the rate of growth in insurance premiums.  This cost shift results when the costs of health services are inadequately paid for by public health care programs and when individuals are unable to pay for services.  Raising Medicaid payment rates and reducing the number of uninsured will reduce this cost shift.  In addition, standardizing the minimum criteria and reporting requirements for uncompensated care and bad debt write-offs by hospitals will more clearly identify and account for this cost shift.

Sec. 3.  3 V.S.A. § 2222a is added to read:

§ 2222a.  HEALTH CARE SYSTEM REFORM; QUALITY AND AFFORDABILITY

(a)  The secretary of administration shall be responsible for the coordination of health care system reform among executive branch agencies, departments, and offices.

(b)  The secretary shall ensure that those executive branch agencies, departments, and offices responsible for the development, improvement, and implementation of Vermont’s health care system reform do so in a manner that is timely, patient-centered, and seeks to improve the quality and affordability of patient care.

(c)  Vermont’s health care system reform initiatives include:

(1)  the state’s chronic care infrastructure, prevention, and management program contained in the blueprint for health established by chapter 13 of Title 18, the goal of which is to achieve a unified, comprehensive, statewide system of care that improves the lives of Vermonters with or at risk for a chronic condition.

(2)  the Vermont health information technology project pursuant to section 9417 of Title 18.

(3)  the multi-payer data collection project pursuant to section 9410 of Title 18.

(4)  the common claims administration project pursuant to section 9408 of Title 18.

(5)  the consumer price and quality information system pursuant to section 9410 of Title 18.

(6)  any information technology work done by the quality assurance system pursuant to section 9416 of Title 18.

(7)  the public health promotion programs of the agency of human services.

(8)  Medicaid, the Vermont health access plan, Dr. Dynasaur, premium assistance programs for employer-sponsored insurance, VPharm, and Vermont Rx, established in chapter 19 of Title 33, which are programs to provide health care coverage to elderly, disabled, and low to middle income Vermonters.

(9)  Catamount Health, established in section 4080f of Title 8, which provides a comprehensive benefit plan with a sliding-scale premium based on income to uninsured Vermonters.

(10)  the uniform hospital uncompensated care policies.

(d)  The secretary shall report to the commission on health care reform, the health access oversight committee, the house committee on health care, the senate committees on health and welfare and on finance, and the governor on or before December 1, 2006 with a five-year strategic plan for implementing Vermont’s health care system reform initiatives, together with any recommendations for administration or legislation.  Annually, beginning January 15, 2007, the secretary shall report to the general assembly on the progress of the reform initiatives.

(e)  The secretary of administration or designee shall provide information and testimony on the activities included in this section to any legislative committee upon request and during adjournment of the general assembly to the health access oversight committee and the commission on health care reform.

* * * Chronic Care Infrastructure and Prevention * * *

Sec. 4.  BLUEPRINT FOR HEALTH

(a)  The general assembly endorses the “blueprint for health” chronic condition prevention and chronic care management initiative as a foundation which it intends to strengthen by broadening its scope and coordinating the initiative with other public and private chronic care coordination and management programs.

(b)  The charge and the strategic plan for the blueprint for health are codified in Sec. 5 of this act as chapter 13 of Title 18. 

(c)(1)  The department of health shall revise the current strategic plan for the blueprint for health and provide the revised plan to the commission on health care reform, the health access oversight committee, the house committee on health care, and the senate committee on health and welfare no later than October 1, 2006

(2)  The revised strategic plan shall provide that a model for the chronic care information system under the blueprint for health is fully designed no later than January 1, 2007.

(3)  Due to the increase in funding and expected expanded capacity of the blueprint for health, the commissioner of health, in collaboration with the executive committee established under section 702 of Title 18, shall consider and include recommendations in the revised strategic plan for an implementation structure and time line.  The considerations and recommendations shall include at minimum an assessment of the options for an organizational structure and a recommendation as to which structure is most likely to achieve the statewide goals of the blueprint for health, to maintain an effective partnership between the public and private sectors, and to broaden the participation of stakeholders statewide.  The commissioner of health shall submit a preliminary report on the implementation structure no later than June 15, 2006 to the commission on health care reform.

Sec. 5.  18 V.S.A. chapter 13 is added to read:

Chapter 13.  CHRONIC CARE INFRASTRUCTURE

AND PREVENTION MEASURES

§ 701.  DEFINITIONS

For the purposes of this chapter:

(1)  “Blueprint for health” means the state’s plan for chronic care infrastructure, prevention of chronic conditions, and chronic care management program, and includes an integrated approach to patient self-management, community development, health care system and professional practice change, and information technology initiatives.

(2)  “Chronic care” means health services provided by a health care professional for an established clinical condition that is expected to last a year or more and that requires ongoing clinical management attempting to restore the individual to highest function, minimize the negative effects of the condition, and prevent complications related to chronic conditions.  Examples of chronic conditions include diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, cancer, asthma, pulmonary disease, substance abuse, mental illness, spinal cord injury, and hyperlipidemia.

(3)  “Chronic care information system” means the electronic database developed under the blueprint for health that shall include information on all cases of a particular disease or health condition in a defined population of individuals.

(4)  “Chronic care management” means a system of coordinated health care interventions and communications for individuals with chronic conditions, including significant patient self-care efforts, systemic supports for the physician and patient relationship, and a plan of care emphasizing prevention of complications utilizing evidence-based practice guidelines, patient empowerment strategies, and evaluation of clinical, humanistic, and economic outcomes on an ongoing basis with the goal of improving overall health.


(5)  “Health care professional” means an individual, partnership, corporation, facility, or institution licensed or certified or authorized by law to provide professional health care services.

(6)  “Health risk assessment” means screening by a health care professional for the purpose of assessing an individual’s health, including tests or physical examinations and a survey or other tool used to gather information about an individual’s health, medical history, and health risk factors during a health screening.

§ 702.  BLUEPRINT FOR HEALTH; STRATEGIC PLAN

(a)  In coordination with the secretary of administration under section 2222a of Title 3, the commissioner of health shall be responsible for the development and implementation of the blueprint for health, including the five-year strategic plan.

(b)(1)  The commissioner shall establish an executive committee to advise the commissioner on creating and implementing a strategic plan for the development of the statewide system of chronic care and prevention as described under this section.  The executive committee shall consist of no fewer than 10 individuals, including a representative from the department of banking, insurance, securities, and health care administration; the office of Vermont health access; the Vermont medical society; the Vermont program for quality in health care; the Vermont association of hospitals and health systems; two representatives of private health insurers; a consumer; a representative of the complementary and alternative medicine profession; and a primary care professional serving low income or uninsured Vermonters. 

(2)  The executive committee shall engage a broad range of health care professionals who provide services under section 2024 of Title 33, health insurance plans, professional organizations, community and nonprofit groups,consumers, businesses, school districts, and state and local government in developing and implementing a five-year strategic plan. 

(c)(1)  The strategic plan shall include:

(A)  a description of the Vermont blueprint for health model, which includes general, standard elements established in section 1903a of Title 33, patient self-management, community initiatives, and health system and information technology reform, to be used uniformly statewide by private insurers, third party administrators, and public programs;

(B)  a description of prevention programs and how these programs are integrated into communities, with chronic care management, and the blueprint for health model;

(C)  a plan to develop and implement reimbursement systems aligned with the goal of managing the care for individuals with or at risk for conditions in order to improve outcomes and the quality of care;

(D)  the involvement of public and private groups, health care professionals, insurers, third party administrators, associations, and firms to facilitate and assure the sustainability of a new system of care;

(E)  the involvement of community and consumer groups to facilitate and assure the sustainability of health services supporting healthy behaviors and good patient self-management for the prevention and management of chronic conditions;

(F)  alignment of any information technology needs with other health care information technology initiatives;

(G)  the use and development of outcome measures and reporting requirements, aligned with existing outcome measures within the agency of human services, to assess and evaluate the system of chronic care;

(H)  target timelines for inclusion of specific chronic conditions to be included in the chronic care infrastructure and for statewide implementation of the blueprint for health;

(I)  identification of resource needs for implementation and sustaining the blueprint for health and strategies to meet the needs; and

(J)  a strategy for ensuring statewide participation no later than January 1, 2009 by insurers, third-party administrators, health care professionals, hospitals and other professionals, and consumers in the chronic care management plan, including common outcome measures, best practices and protocols, data reporting requirements, payment methodologies, and other standards.

(2)  The strategic plan shall be reviewed biennially and amended as necessary to reflect changes in priorities.  Amendments to the plan shall be reported to the general assembly in the report established under subsection (d) of this section.

(d)(1)  The commissioner of health shall report annually on the status of implementation of the Vermont blueprint for health to the house committee on health care, the senate committee on health and welfare, the health access oversight committee, and the commission on health care reform.  The report shall include the number of participating insurers, health care professionals and patients; the progress for achieving statewide participation in the chronic care management plan, including the measures established under subsection (c) of this section; the expenditures and savings for the period; the results of health care professional and patient satisfaction surveys; the progress toward creation and implementation of privacy and security protocols; and other information as requested by the committees.  The surveys shall be developed in collaboration with the executive committee established under subsection (b) of this section.

(2)  If statewide participation in the blueprint for health is not achieved by January 1, 2009, the commissioner shall evaluate the blueprint for health and recommend to the general assembly changes necessary to create alternative measures to ensure statewide participation by health insurers, third party administrators, and health care professionals.

Sec. 6.  33 V.S.A. § 1903a is added to read:

§ 1903a.  CHRONIC CARE MANAGEMENT PROGRAM

(a)  The secretary of administration or designee shall create a chronic care management program as provided for in this section, which shall be administered or provided by a private entity for individuals with one or more chronic conditions who are enrolled in Medicaid, the Vermont health access plan (VHAP), or Dr. Dynasaur.  The program shall not include individuals who are also eligible for Medicare, who are enrolled in the Choices for Care Medicaid Section 1115 waiver or who are in an institute for mental disease as defined in 42 C.F.R. § 435.1009.  The secretary may also exclude individuals who are eligible for or participating in the Medicaid care coordination program established through the office of Vermont health access.   

(b)  The secretary shall include a broad range of chronic conditions in the chronic care management program.

(c)  The chronic care management program shall be designed to include:

(1)  a method involving the health care professional in identifying eligible patients, including the use of the chronic care information system established in section 702 of Title 18, an enrollment process which provides incentives and strategies for maximum patient participation, and a standard statewide health risk assessment for each individual;

(2)  the process for coordinating care among health care professionals;

(3)  the methods of increasing communications among health care professionals and patients, including patient education, self-management, and follow‑up plans;

(4)  the educational, wellness, and clinical management protocols and tools used by the care management organization, including management guideline materials for health care professionals to assist in patient-specific recommendations;

(5)  process and outcome measures to provide performance feedback for health care professionals and information on the quality of care, including patient satisfaction and health status outcomes;

(6)  payment methodologies to align reimbursements and create financial incentives and rewards for health care professionals to establish management systems for chronic conditions, to improve health outcomes, and to improve the quality of care, including case management fees, pay for performance, payment for technical support and data entry associated with patient registries, the cost of staff coordination within a medical practice, and any reduction in a health care professional’s productivity;

(7)  payment to the care management organization which would put the care management organization’s fee at risk if the management is not successful in reducing costs to the state;

(8)  a requirement that the data on enrollees be shared, to the extent allowable under federal law, with the secretary in order to inform the health care reform initiatives under section 2222a of Title 3;

(9)  a method for the care management organization to participate closely in the blueprint for health and other health care reform initiatives; and

(10)  participation in the pharmacy best practices and cost-control program under subchapter 5 of chapter 19 of this title, including the multi-state purchasing pool and the statewide preferred drug list.

(d)  The secretary shall issue a request for proposals for the program established under this section and shall review the request for proposals with the commission on health care reform prior to issuance.  The issuance of the request for proposals is conditioned on the approval of the commission in order to ensure that the request meets the intent of this section, section 702 of Title 18, and chapter 19 of this title.  Any contract under this section may allow the entity to subcontract some services to other entities if it is cost-effective, efficient, or in the best interest of the individuals enrolled in the program.

(e)  The secretary shall ensure that the chronic care management program is modified over time to comply with the Vermont blueprint for health strategic plan and to the extent feasible, collaborate in its initiatives.

Sec. 7.  PREVENTION AND CHRONIC CARE MANAGEMENT; AGENCY OF HUMAN SERVICES; IMPLEMENTATION PLAN

(a)  No later than January 1, 2007, the agency of human services shall develop an implementation plan for prevention of chronic conditions and for chronic care management which at minimum meets the criteria and requirements of chapter 13 of Title 18 and section 1903a of Title 33.  The agency’s implementation plan shall be revised periodically to reflect changes to the Vermont blueprint for health strategic plan.  In addition to the chronic care management provided under section 1903a of Title 33, the agency may provide additional care coordination services to appropriate individuals as specified in its strategic plan.  The agency shall ensure that Medicaid, Medicaid waiver programs, and Dr. Dynasaur change the payment methodologies in order to align with the recommendation of the strategic plan developed under chapter 13 of Title 18 and the request for proposals under section 1903a of Title 33.  The agency shall analyze and include a recommendation as to any waivers or waiver modifications needed to implement a chronic care management program.

(b)  Where permitted under federal law, the agency shall require recertification or reapplication for Medicaid, the Vermont health access plan (VHAP), and Dr. Dynasaur no more often than once a year.

Sec. 8.  PREVENTION AND CHRONIC CARE MANAGEMENT; STATE EMPLOYEES

The commissioner of human resources shall include in any request for proposals for the administration of the health benefit plans for state employees a request for a description of any chronic care management program provided by the entity and how the program aligns with the Vermont blueprint for health strategic plan developed under section 702 of Title 18.  The commissioner shall also work with the secretary of administration or designee, and the Vermont state employees’ association on how and when to align the state employees’ health benefit plan with the goals and statewide standards developed by the Vermont blueprint for health in section 702 of Title 18.

* * * Medicaid Initiatives * * *

Sec. 9.  MEDICAID REIMBURSEMENT

(a)(1)  The office of Vermont health access shall adjust Medicaid and the Vermont health access plan reimbursement to reflect the following priorities in the following order:

(A)  an increase in base rates for evaluation and management procedure codes to enhance payment to a level equivalent to the 2006 rates in the Medicare program;

(B)  incentives and payment restructuring for health care professionals participating in the care coordination program;

(C)  an increase in base rates for current procedural terminology (CPT) codes which are significantly lower than the 2006 Medicare reimbursement levels starting with the lowest first; and

(D)  an increase in dental reimbursement by, first, restoring the reductions in adult dental rates which were effective February 1, 2006 and, second, by splitting the remaining amount approximately in half to increase rates for dental services and to increase the dental cap for adults in such a manner as to offset any loss in benefit level due to the rate increases. 

(2)  The Medicaid reimbursement rate increases in subdivision (1) of this subsection shall be effective on January 1, 2007 for fiscal year 2007 and July 1 for fiscal years 2008 through 2010.

(b)  To the extent permitted by the appropriation in Sec. 107 of H.881 of the 2005 Adj. Sess. (2006), the office of Vermont health access shall increase Medicaid reimbursements to hospitals effective January 1, 2007.  In fiscal year 2008 and thereafter, the office shall increase Medicaid reimbursement rates as provided for in this subsection annually on July 1 until the federal upper limit is reached. 

(c)  In fiscal years subsequent to 2007, it is the intent of the general assembly that Medicaid reimbursement increases to health care professionals and hospitals under Medicaid, the Vermont health access plan, and Dr. Dynasaur should be tied to the standards and quality or performance measures developed under the Vermont blueprint for health strategic plan established in section 702 of Title 18.  Prior to implementation, these standards shall be approved by the general assembly through the appropriations process.

(d)  No later than October 31, 2006, the office shall report to the health access oversight committee with a plan for allocation of the appropriated amounts for fiscal year 2007 among the priorities established in subsection (a) of this section and among hospital reimbursements as provided for in subsection (b) of this section.  Prior to the implementation of the reimbursement adjustments in this section, the health access oversight committee shall review and determine if the allocation among the priorities is equitable and reflects legislative intent.

Sec. 10.  BLUEPRINT FOR HEALTH; REIMBURSEMENT

From the funds appropriated in Sec. 115a of H.881 of the 2005 Adj. Sess. (2006), the department of health shall provide incentive grants and stipends to physician practices participating in any pilot projects developed under the Vermont blueprint for health established in section 702 of Title 18.

Sec. 11.  VHAP PREMIUM REDUCTIONS 

Sec. 147(d) of No. 66 of the Acts of 2003, as amended by Sec. 129 of No. 122 of the Acts of the 2003 Adj. Sess. (2004) and Sec. 279 of No. 71 of the Acts of 2005, is further amended to read:

(d)  VHAP, premium-based.

* * *

(2)  The agency shall establish per individual premiums for the VHAP Uninsured program for the following brackets of income for the VHAP group as a percentage of federal poverty level (FPL):

(A)  Income greater than 50 percent and less than or equal to 75 percent of FPL:  $11.00 $7.00 per month.

(B)  Income greater than 75 percent and less than or equal to 100 percent of FPL:  $39.00 $25.00 per month.

(C)  Income greater than 100 percent and less than or equal to 150 percent of FPL:  $50.00 $33.00 per month.

(D)  Income greater than 150 percent and less than or equal to 185 percent of FPL:  $75.00 $49.00 per month.

Sec. 12.  DR. DYNASAUR AND SCHIP PREMIUM REDUCTIONS

Sec. 147(f) of No. 66 of the Acts of 2003, as amended by Sec. 280 of No. 71 of the Acts of 2005, is amended to read:

(f)  Dr. Dynasaur and SCHIP premium changes.

(1)  The agency is authorized to amend the rules for individuals eligible for Dr. Dynasaur under the federal Medicaid and SCHIP programs to require beneficiary households to pay a monthly premium based on the following:

(A)  for individuals living in households whose incomes are greater than 225 percent of FPL and less than or equal to 300 percent of FPL, and who have no other insurance coverage:  $80.00 $40.00 per household per month.

(B)  for individuals living in households whose incomes are greater than 225 percent of FPL and less than or equal to 300 percent of FPL, and who have other insurance coverage:  $40.00 $20.00 per household per month.

(C)  for individuals living in households whose incomes are greater than 185 percent of FPL and less than or equal to 225 percent of FPL:  $30.00 $15.00 per household per month.

* * *

Sec. 13.  33 V.S.A. § 1974 is added to read:

§ 1974.  Employer‑Sponsored Insurance; Premium Assistance

(a)  No later than October 1, 2007, subject to approval by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the agency of human services shall establish a premium assistance program to assist individuals eligible for or enrolled in the Vermont health access plan and uninsured individuals with incomes under 300 percent of the federal poverty guidelines and their dependents to purchase an approved employer-sponsored insurance plan if offered to those individuals by an employer.  The agency shall determine whether to include children who are eligible for Medicaid or Dr. Dynasaur in the premium assistance program at their parent’s option.  The agency shall not mandate participation of children in employer-sponsored insurance.   

(b)  VHAP-eligible premium assistance. 

(1)  For individuals enrolled in or who apply for enrollment in the Vermont health access plan on or after October 1, 2007 who have access to an approved employer‑sponsored insurance plan, the premium assistance program shall provide:

(A)  A subsidy of premiums or cost‑sharing amounts based on the household income of the eligible individual to ensure that the individual is obligated to make out‑of‑pocket expenditures for premiums and cost‑sharing amounts which are substantially equivalent to or less than the premium and cost‑sharing obligations on an annual basis under the Vermont health access plan.

(B)  Supplemental benefit coverage equivalent to the benefits offered by the Vermont health access plan.

(2)  In consultation with the department of banking, insurance, securities, and health care administration, the agency shall develop criteria for approving employer‑sponsored health insurance plans to ensure the plans provide comprehensive and affordable health insurance when combined with the assistance under this section.  At minimum, an approved employer-sponsored insurance plan shall conform to the following standards:

(A)  The benefits covered by the plan must be substantially similar to the benefits covered under the certificates of coverage offered by the typical benefit plans issued by the four health insurers with the greatest number of covered lives in the small group and association market in this state.

(B)  The plan shall include appropriate coverage of chronic conditions in a manner consistent with statewide participation by health insurers in the Vermont blueprint for health, and in accordance with the standards established in section 702 of Title 18.

(3)  The agency shall determine whether it is cost-effective to the state to enroll an individual in an approved employer-sponsored insurance plan with the premium assistance under this subsection as compared to enrolling the individual in the Vermont health access plan.  If the agency determines that it is cost-effective, the individual shall be required to enroll in the approved employer-sponsored plan as a condition of continued assistance under this section or coverage under the Vermont health access plan, except that dependents who are children of eligible individuals shall not be required to enroll in the premium assistance program.  Notwithstanding this requirement, an individual shall be provided benefits under the Vermont health access plan until the next open enrollment period offered by the employer or insurer.

(c)  Uninsured individuals; premium assistance. 

(1)  For the purposes of this subsection:

(A)  “Chronic care” means health services provided by a health care professional for an established clinical condition that is expected to last a year or more and that requires ongoing clinical management attempting to restore the individual to highest function, minimize the negative effects of the condition, and prevent complications related to chronic conditions.  Examples of chronic conditions include diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, cancer, asthma, pulmonary disease, substance abuse, mental illness, spinal cord injury, and hyperlipidemia.

(B)  “Uninsured” means an individual who does not qualify for Medicare, Medicaid, the Vermont health access plan, or Dr. Dynasaur and had no private insurance or employer-sponsored coverage that includes both hospital and physician services within 12 months prior to the month of application, or lost private insurance or employer-sponsored coverage during the prior 12 months for the following reasons:

(i)  the individual’s coverage ended because of:

(I)  loss of employment;

(II)  death of the principal insurance policyholder;

(III)  divorce or dissolution of a civil union;

(IV)  no longer qualifying as a dependent under the plan of a parent or caretaker relative; or

(V)  no longer qualifying for COBRA, VIPER, or other state continuation coverage; or

(ii)  college- or university-sponsored health insurance became unavailable to the individual because the individual graduated, took a leave of absence, or otherwise terminated studies.

(C)  “Vermont resident” means an individual domiciled in Vermont as evidenced by an intent to maintain a principal dwelling place in Vermont indefinitely and to return to Vermont if temporarily absent, coupled with an act or acts consistent with that intent.

(2)  An individual is eligible for premium assistance under this subsection if the individual:

(A)  is an uninsured Vermont resident;

(B)  has income under 300 percent of the federal poverty level;

(C)  has access to an approved employer-sponsored insurance plan; and

(D)  is 18 or over and is not claimed on a tax return as a dependent of a resident of another state.

(3)  The premium assistance program under this subsection shall provide a subsidy of premiums or cost‑sharing amounts based on the household income of the eligible individual, with greater amounts of financial assistance provided to eligible individuals with lower household income and lesser amounts of assistance provided to eligible individuals with higher household income.  Until an approved employer-sponsored plan is required to meet the standard in subdivision (4)(B)(ii) of this subsection, the subsidy shall include premium assistance and assistance to cover all cost-sharing amounts for chronic care.

(4)  In consultation with the department of banking, insurance, securities, and health care administration, the agency shall develop criteria for approving employer‑sponsored health insurance plans to ensure the plans provide comprehensive and affordable health insurance when combined with the assistance under this section.  At minimum, an approved employer-sponsored insurance plan shall include:

(A)  covered benefits to be substantially similar, as determined by the agency, to the benefits covered under Catamount Health; and

(B)(i)  until January 1, 2009 or when statewide participation in the Vermont blueprint for health is achieved,  appropriate coverage of chronic conditions in a manner consistent with statewide participation by health insurers in the Vermont blueprint for health, and in accordance with the standards established in section 702 of Title 18;

(ii)  after statewide participation is achieved, coverage of chronic conditions substantially similar to Catamount Health.

(5)  The agency shall determine whether it is cost-effective to the state to require the individual to purchase the approved employer-sponsored insurance plan with premium assistance under this subsection instead of Catamount Health established in section 4080f of Title 8 with assistance under subchapter 3a of chapter 19 of this title.  If providing the individual with assistance to purchase Catamount Health is more cost-effective to the state than providing the individual with premium assistance to purchase the individual’s approved employer-sponsored plan, the state shall provide the individual the option of purchasing Catamount Health with assistance for that product.  An individual may purchase Catamount Health and receive Catamount Health assistance until the approved employer-sponsored plan has an open enrollment period, but the individual shall be required to enroll in the approved employer-sponsored plan in order to continue to receive any assistance.

(d)  Participation in an approved employer-sponsored insurance plan with premium assistance under this section or Catamount Health shall not disqualify an individual from the Vermont health access plan if an approved employer-sponsored insurance plan or Catamount Health is no longer available to that individual.

(e)  If the emergency board determines that the funds appropriated for either of the premium assistance programs under this section are insufficient to meet the projected costs of enrolling new program participants into the appropriate program, the emergency board shall suspend new enrollment in that program or restrict enrollment to eligible lower income individuals.  This subsection does not affect eligibility for the Vermont health access plan or purchase of Catamount Health.

(f)  The agency of human services shall request federal approval for an amendment to the Global Commitment for Health Medicaid Section 1115 waiver for the premium assistance program authorized by this section.

(g)(1)  Of the amount appropriated in H.881 of the 2005 Adj. Sess. (2006) for the employer-sponsored insurance premium assistance program established by this section, no more than $250,000.00 may be expended for start-up and initial administrative expenses until the report as required by subdivision (2) of this subsection has been received and approved.

(2)  No additional amounts appropriated in H.881 of the 2005 Adj. Sess. (2006) for the employer-sponsored premium assistance program may be made after November 15, 2006 without approval of a majority of the combined membership of the joint fiscal committee and the health access oversight committee at a joint meeting upon receipt of a report from the agency, which must include the following:

(A)  a plan for the additional expenditures;

(B)  a survey to determine whether and how many individuals currently enrolled in VHAP, including those eligible as caretakers, are potentially eligible for employer-sponsored premium assistance under this section;

(C)  the sliding-scale premium and cost-sharing assistance amounts provided under the premium assistance program to individuals;

(D)  a description and estimate of benefits offered by the Vermont health access plan that are likely to be provided as supplemental benefits for the employer-sponsored premium assistance program enrollees;

(E)  a plan for covering dependent children through the premium assistance program; and

(F)  the anticipated budgetary impact of an employer-sponsored insurance premium assistance program for fiscal year 2008, including savings attributable to enrolling current VHAP enrollees in the premium assistance program established under this section, the start-up and administrative costs of the program, and the cost of providing the subsidy to these enrollees.

(h)  The agency shall report monthly to the joint fiscal committee, the health access oversight committee, and the commission on health care reform with the number of individuals enrolled in the premium assistance program, the income levels of the individuals, a description of the range and types of employer-sponsored plans that have been approved, the percentage of premium and cost-sharing amounts paid by employers whose employees participate in the premium assistance program, and the net savings or cost of the program. 

(i)  The health access oversight committee shall monitor the development, implementation, and ongoing operation of the employer-sponsored premium assistance program under this section.

Sec. 14.  AGENCY OF HUMAN SERVICES; SOLE SOURCE

Notwithstanding subsection 2222(g) of Title 3 and the requirements of the agency’s bulletin 3.5 (Contracting Procedures), the agency of human services may negotiate contracts with a sole source for information technology or administrative services necessary for application simplification, surveys, outreach and enrollment assistance, reporting, and public notices and hearings if necessary to implement the employer-sponsored insurance premium assistance programs, the Catamount Health assistance program, or to ensure an individual’s seamless transition between the agency’s programs, employer-sponsored insurance premium assistance programs, and the Catamount Health assistance program by October 1, 2007.  The requirements of section 1903a of Title 33 are not waived by this section.

Sec. 15.  8 V.S.A. § 4080f is added to read:

§ 4080f.  CATAMOUNT HEALTH

(a)  As used in this section:

(1)  “Carrier” means a registered small group carrier as defined in section 4080a of this title.

(2)  “Catamount Health” means the plan for coverage of primary care, preventive care, chronic care, acute episodic care, and hospital services as established in this section to be provided through a health insurance policy, a nonprofit hospital or medical service corporation service contract, or a health maintenance organization subscriber contract which is offered or issued to an individual and which meets the requirements of this section.

(3)  “Chronic care” means health services provided by a health care professional for an established clinical condition that is expected to last a year or more and that requires ongoing clinical management attempting to restore the individual to highest function, minimize the negative effects of the condition, and prevent complications related to chronic conditions.  Examples of chronic conditions include diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, cancer, asthma, pulmonary disease, substance abuse, mental illness, spinal cord injury, and hyperlipidemia.

(4)  “Chronic care management” means a system of coordinated health care interventions and communications for individuals with chronic conditions, including significant patient self-care efforts, systemic supports for the physician and patient relationship, and a plan of care emphasizing prevention of complications, utilizing evidence-based practice guidelines, patient empowerment strategies, and evaluation of clinical, humanistic, and economic outcomes on an ongoing basis with the goal of improving overall health.

(5)  “Health care professional” means an individual, partnership, corporation, facility, or institution licensed or certified or authorized by law to provide professional health care services.

(6)  “Health service” means any medically necessary treatment or procedure to maintain, diagnose, or treat an individual’s physical or mental condition, including services ordered by a health care professional and medically necessary services to assist in activities of daily living.

(7)  “Preventive care” means health services provided by health care professionals to identify and treat asymptomatic individuals who have developed risk factors or preclinical disease, but in whom the disease is not clinically apparent, including immunizations and screening, counseling,
treatment, and medication determined by scientific evidence to be effective in preventing or detecting a condition.

(8)  “Primary care” means health services provided by health care professionals specifically trained for and skilled in first-contact and continuing care for individuals with signs, symptoms, or health concerns, not limited by problem origin, organ system, or diagnosis, and shall include prenatal care and the treatment of mental illness.

(9)  “Uninsured” means an individual who does not qualify for Medicare, Medicaid, the Vermont health access plan, or Dr. Dynasaur and had no private insurance or employer-sponsored coverage that includes both hospital and physician services within 12 months prior to the month of application, or lost private insurance or employer-sponsored coverage during the prior 12 months for the following reasons:

(A)  the individual’s private insurance or employer-sponsored coverage ended because of:

(i)  loss of employment;

(ii)  death of the principal insurance policyholder;

(iii)  divorce or dissolution of a civil union;

(iv)  no longer qualifying as a dependent under the plan of a parent or caretaker relative; or

(v)  no longer qualifying for COBRA, VIPER, or other state continuation coverage; or

(B)  college- or university-sponsored health insurance became unavailable to the individual because the individual graduated, took a leave of absence, or otherwise terminated studies.

(b)  No person may sell, offer, or renew Catamount Health unless such person is a registered small group carrier and has filed a letter of intent pursuant to this section.  

(c)(1)  Catamount Health shall provide coverage for primary care, preventive care, chronic care, acute episodic care, and hospital services.  The benefits for Catamount Health shall be a preferred provider organization plan with:

(A)  a $250.00 deductible for an individual and a $500.00 deductible for a family for health services received in network, and a $500.00 deductible for an individual and a $1,000.00 deductible for a family for health services received out of network;

(B)  20 percent co-insurance, in and out of network;

(C)  a $10.00 office co‑payment;

(D)  prescription drug coverage without a deductible, $10.00 co‑payments for generic drugs, $30.00 co-payments for drugs on the preferred drug list, and $50.00 co-payments for nonpreferred drugs;

(E)  out-of-pocket maximums of $800.00 for an individual and $1,600.00 for a family for in-network services and $1,500.00 for an individual and $3,000.00 for a family for out-of-network services; and

(F)  a waiver of the deductible and other cost-sharing payments for chronic care for individuals participating in chronic care management and for preventive care.

(2)  Catamount Health shall provide a chronic care management program that has criteria substantially similar to the chronic care management program established in section 1903a of Title 33 and shall share the data on enrollees, to the extent allowable under federal law, with the secretary of administration or designee in order to inform the health care reform initiatives under section 2222a of Title 3.

(3)  Notwithstanding sections 4516, 4588, and 5115 of this title, a carrier may use financial or other incentives to encourage healthy lifestyles and patient self‑management for individuals covered by Catamount Health.  These incentives shall comply with the health promotion and disease prevention program rules adopted by the commissioner under subdivisions 4080a(h)(2)(B) and 4080b(h)(2)(B) of this title.

(4)  To the extent Catamount Health provides coverage for any particular type of health service or for any particular medical condition, it shall cover those health services and conditions when provided by any type of health care professional acting within the scope of practice authorized by law.  Catamount Health may establish a term or condition that places a greater financial burden on an individual for access to treatment by the type of health care professional only if it is related to the efficacy or cost-effectiveness of the type of service.

(5)  Notwithstanding subsections 4513(c), 4584(c), and 5104(b) of this title, the commissioner may establish a pay-for-performance demonstration project for carriers offering Catamount Health.

(d)(1)  A carrier shall guarantee acceptance of any uninsured individual for any Catamount Health plan offered by the carrier.  A carrier shall also guarantee acceptance of each dependent of an uninsured individual in Catamount Health.  An individual who is eligible for an employer-sponsored insurance plan may not purchase Catamount Health, except as provided for in subdivision (2) of this subsection.  Any dispute regarding eligibility shall be resolved by the department in a manner to be determined by rule.

(2)  An individual with income under 300 percent of the federal poverty level who is eligible for an employer-sponsored insurance plan may purchase Catamount Health if:

(A)  the individual’s employer-sponsored insurance plan is not an approved employer-sponsored plan under section 1974 of Title 33;

(B)  enrolling the individual in an approved employer-sponsored plan combined with premium assistance under section 1974 of Title 33 offered by the agency of human services is not cost-effective to the state as compared to enrolling the individual in Catamount Health combined with the assistance under subchapter 3a of chapter 19 of Title 33; or

(C)  the individual is eligible for employer-sponsored insurance premium assistance under section 1974 of Title 33, but is unable to enroll in the employer’s insurance plan until the next open enrollment period.

(3)  An individual who loses eligibility for the employer-sponsored premium programs in section 1974 of Title 33 may purchase Catamount Health without being uninsured for 12 months.

(4)  An individual of the age of majority who is claimed on a tax return as a dependent of a resident of another state shall not be eligible to purchase Catamount Health.

(e)  For a 12-month period from the effective date of coverage, a carrier offering Catamount Health may limit coverage of preexisting conditions which existed during the 12-month period before the effective date of coverage, except that such exclusion or limitation shall not apply to chronic care if the individual is participating in a chronic care management program.  A carrier shall waive any preexisting condition provisions for all individuals and their dependents who produce evidence of continuous creditable coverage during the previous nine months.  If an individual has a preexisting condition excluded under a subsequent policy, such exclusion shall not continue longer than the period required under the original contract or 12 months, whichever is less.  The carrier shall credit prior coverage that occurred without a break in coverage of 63 days or more.  For an eligible individual, as such term is defined in Section 2741 of Title XXVII of the Public Health Service Act, a carrier offering Catamount Health shall not limit coverage of preexisting conditions.

(f)(1)  Except as provided for in subdivision (2) of this subsection, the carrier shall pay health care professionals using the Medicare payment methodologies at a level ten percent greater than for levels paid under the Medicare program in 2006.  Payments under this subsection shall be indexed to the Medicare economic index developed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.  

(2)  Payments for hospital services shall be calculated using the Medicare payment methodology adjusted for each hospital to ensure payments at 110 percent of the hospital’s actual cost for services.  Payments under this subdivision shall be indexed to changes in the Medicare payment rules, but shall not be lower than 102 percent of the hospital’s actual cost for services.

(3)  Payments for chronic care and chronic care management shall meet the requirements in section 702 of Title 18 and section 1903a of Title 33.

(4)  If Medicare does not pay for a service covered under Catamount Health, the commissioner shall establish some other payment amount for such services, determined after consultation with affected health care professionals and insurers.

(5)  A carrier offering Catamount Health shall renegotiate existing contracts with health care professionals as necessary in order to pay the reimbursements provided for in this subsection. 

(6)  All provisions of this subsection shall apply notwithstanding subsections 4513(c), 4584(c), and 5104(b) of this title.

(g)(1)  Approval of rates and forms for Catamount Health shall be pursuant to the process established herein and rules adopted pursuant to this section.  Premium rates shall be actuarially determined considering differences in the demographics of the populations and the different levels and methods of reimbursement for health care professionals. 

(2)  No rate or form shall be approved if it contains any provision which is unjust, unfair, inequitable, misleading, or contrary to the law of this state.   A rate shall be approved if it is sufficient not to threaten the financial safety and soundness of the insurer, reflects efficient and economical management, provides Catamount Health at the most reasonable price consistent with actuarial review, is not unfairly discriminatory, and complies with the other requirements of this section. 

(h)  With each rate filing, a carrier shall file a certification by a member of the American Academy of Actuaries of the carrier’s compliance with this section.  The requirements for certification shall be as the commissioner by rule prescribes.


(i)  Catamount Health shall be offered with a rate structure which at least differentiates among single-person, two-person, and family rates, and the rates shall be guaranteed for 12 months from the date the individual enrolls.

(j)  A carrier offering Catamount Health shall use a community rating method acceptable to the commissioner for determining premiums for Catamount Health plans.  Catamount Health plans shall constitute a separate market and shall be rated as a distinct pool, separate from other individual or group insurance products.  For Catamount Health, the following risk classification factors are prohibited from use in rating individuals and their dependents:

(1)  demographic rating, including age and gender rating;

(2)  geographic area rating;

(3)  industry rating;

(4)  medical underwriting and screening;

(5)  experience rating;

(6)  tier rating; or

(7)  durational rating.

(k)  Catamount Health shall be considered an individual health insurance plan, health benefit plan, health insurance contract, and health insurance policy for purposes of Vermont law, but shall not be subject to section 4080b of this title.

(l)  Catamount Health shall not be sold prior to October 1, 2007.  Rates and forms may be filed and approved prior to that date, and marketing and sales targeted to an effective date of October 1, 2007 shall be allowed in the discretion of the commissioner.

(m)  A letter of intent, proposed rates, and proposed forms shall be filed consistent with the requirements of this section and the rules adopted pursuant to this section.

(1)  A carrier shall notify the department that it intends to offer Catamount Health by filing written notice of that intent no later than 30 days after the effective date of the expedited adoption of Catamount Health rules.  

(2)  Forms shall be filed initially no later than five months after the letter of intent and upon any change.  Forms may not be used unless and until approved as described in this section.  The department shall notify the carrier within 45 days whether the form meets the requirements set by statute and rule.

(3)  Rates shall be filed prior to use and initially no later than five months after the letter of intent.  Thereafter, rates shall be filed at least annually on a schedule and in a manner established by rule.  The department shall notify the carrier within 45 days whether the rates meet the requirements set by statute and rule.

(4)  In any notice denying approval of a rate or form, the commissioner shall state that a hearing will be granted within 20 days upon written request of the insurer, provided that the written request for hearing is filed with the department within 30 days of the notice of disapproval.  After the expiration of 30 days from the filing of any such form or premium rate, or at any time after having given written approval, the commissioner may, after a hearing of which at least 20 days’ written notice has been given to the insurer using such form or premium rate, withdraw approval on any of the grounds stated in this section.  Such disapproval shall be effected by written order of the commissioner which shall state the ground for disapproval and the date, not less than 30 days after such hearing when the withdrawal of approval shall become effective.

(n)  A carrier may discontinue sales of Catamount Health upon at least six months’ prior written notice to the commissioner.  Following such notice, if there are any individuals who continue to be covered by Catamount Health for whom the carrier does not have approved premium rates, the commissioner may approve premium rates adjusted by the average Vermont nongroup trends for cost and utilization for the previous six months. 

Sec. 16.  Subchapter 3a of chapter 19 of Title 33 is added to read:

Subchapter 3a.  Catamount Health Assistance Program

§ 1981.  POLICY AND PURPOSE

The Catamount Health assistance program is established to provide uninsured Vermont residents financial assistance in purchasing Catamount Health, a defined benefit package of primary, preventive, hospital, acute episodic care, and chronic care, including assistance in preventing and managing chronic conditions.

§ 1982.  DEFINITIONS

As used in this subchapter:

(1)  “Catamount Health” means the health benefit plan offered under section 4080f of Title 8.

(2)  “Uninsured” means an individual who does not qualify for Medicare, Medicaid, the Vermont health access plan, or Dr. Dynasaur and had no private insurance or employer-sponsored coverage that includes both hospital and physician services within 12 months prior to the month of application, or lost private insurance or employer-sponsored coverage during the prior 12 months for the following reasons:

(A)  the individual’s private insurance or employer-sponsored coverage ended because of:

(i)  loss of employment;

(ii)  death of the principal insurance policyholder;

(iii)  divorce or dissolution of a civil union;

(iv)  no longer qualifying as a dependent under the plan of a parent or caretaker relative; or

(v)  no longer qualifying for COBRA, VIPER, or other state continuation coverage; or

(B)  college- or university-sponsored health insurance became unavailable to the individual because the individual graduated, took a leave of absence, or otherwise terminated studies.

(3)  “Vermont resident” means an individual domiciled in Vermont as evidenced by an intent to maintain a principal dwelling place in Vermont indefinitely and to return to Vermont if temporarily absent, coupled with an act or acts consistent with that intent.

§ 1983.  ELIGIBILITY

(a)(1)  Except as provided in subdivisions (3) and (4) of this subsection, an individual shall be eligible for Catamount Health assistance if the individual is an uninsured Vermont resident without access to an approved employer-sponsored insurance plan under section 1974 of this title.

(2)  An individual who has access to an employer-sponsored insurance shall be eligible for assistance under this subchapter only if the individual does not have employer-sponsored insurance approved for premium assistance under section 1974 of this title or if it is more cost‑effective to the state for the individual to purchase Catamount Health with the assistance under this subchapter than for the state to provide premium assistance under section 1974 of this title.  In addition, an individual may receive assistance under this subchapter temporarily until the individual is able to enroll in an approved employer-sponsored plan and receive premium assistance under section 1974.

(3)  An individual shall not be eligible for Catamount Health assistance if the individual is of the age of majority and is claimed on a tax return as a dependent of a resident of another state.


(b)  An individual receiving benefits under Medicaid, the Vermont health access plan, Dr. Dynasaur, or premium assistance for employer-sponsored insurance under section 1974 of this title within 12 months of applying for Catamount Health assistance shall not be required to wait 12 months to be eligible.

(c)  The agency of administration or designee shall establish rules pursuant to chapter 25 of Title 3 on the specific criteria to demonstrate eligibility consistent with the requirements essential for federal financial participation, including criteria for and proof of residency, income, and insurance status.

(d)  If the emergency board determines that the funds appropriated for the Catamount Health assistance program under this subchapter are insufficient to meet the projected costs of enrolling new program participants, the emergency board shall suspend new enrollment in that program or restrict enrollment to eligible lower income individuals.

§ 1984.  INDIVIDUAL CONTRIBUTIONS

(a)  The agency shall provide assistance to individuals eligible under this subchapter to purchase Catamount Health.  The amount of the assistance shall be the difference between the premium for Catamount Health and the individual’s contribution as defined in this section.

(b)  Subject to amendment in the fiscal year 2008 budget, the agency of administration or designee shall establish individual and family contribution amounts for Catamount Health under this subchapter for the first year as established in this section and shall index the contributions in future years to the overall growth in spending per enrollee in Catamount Health as established in section 4080f of Title 8.  The agency shall establish family contributions by income bracket based on the individual contribution amounts and the average family size.  In fiscal year 2008, for the lowest-cost Catamount Health plan offered by all carriers, the individual’s contribution shall be as established in subsection (c) of this section.  The agency shall determine the percentages that the amounts in subsection (c) are of the lowest-cost plan and set the individual’s contribution for any other plan at the percentage for that income level.  In future years, after adjusting the individual premiums in subsection (c) of this section, the same methodology shall be used to determine the individual premiums for any other plans. 

(c)  An individual’s contribution for the lowest-cost plan shall be:

(1)  Income less than or equal to 200 percent of FPL:  $60.00 per month.

(2)  Income greater than 200 percent and less than or equal to 225 percent of FPL:  $90.00 per month.

(3)  Income greater than 225 percent and less than or equal to 250 percent of FPL:  $110.00 per month.

(4)  Income greater than 250 percent and less than or equal to 275 percent of FPL:  $125.00 per month.

(5)  Income greater than 275 percent and less than or equal to 300 percent of FPL:  $135.00 per month.

(6)  Income greater than 300 percent of FPL:  the actual cost of Catamount Health.

§ 1985.  ADMINISTRATION

(a)  The agency shall engage in an aggressive enrollment strategy for Catamount Health and the assistance provided under this subchapter.  The agency shall establish a toll-free telephone assistance line to provide information and enrollment assistance on Catamount Health and the assistance program.  The agency shall ensure that individuals may receive any forms or other enrollment information from the carriers offering Catamount Health as well as the agency.

(b)  An individual applying for or enrolled in the program established under this subchapter who is aggrieved by an adverse decision of the agency may grieve or appeal the decision under rules and procedures consistent with 42 C.F.R. § 438.402. 

§ 1986.  Catamount Fund

(a)  The Catamount fund is established in the treasury as a special fund to be a source of financing for the Catamount Health assistance program.

(b)  Into the fund shall be deposited:

(1)  revenue from the employer health care premium contribution pursuant to chapter 25 of Title 21;

(2)  17.5 percent of the revenue from the cigarette tax levied pursuant to chapter 205 of Title 32;

(3)  premium amounts paid by individuals unless paid directly to the insurer; and

(4)  the proceeds from grants, donations, contributions, taxes, and any other sources of revenue as may be provided by statute, rule, or act of the general assembly.

(c)  The fund shall be administered pursuant to subchapter 5 of chapter 7 of Title 32, except that interest earned on the fund and any remaining balance shall be retained in the fund.

(d)  All monies received by or generated to the fund shall be used only as allowed by appropriation of the general assembly for the administration and delivery of the Catamount Health assistance program under this subchapter, employer-sponsored insurance premium assistance under section 1974 of this title, immunizations under section 1130 of Title 18, the nongroup health insurance market assistance under section 4062a of Title 8, and for transfers to the state health care resources fund established in section 1901d of this title as approved by the general assembly.

(e)  The agency shall submit annual reports on the receipts, expenditures, and balances in the catamount fund established in section 2028 of Title 33 to the joint fiscal committee at its September meeting.

Sec. 17.  8 V.S.A. § 4080d is amended to read:

§ 4080d.  Coordination of insurance coverage with Medicaid

Any insurer as defined in section 4100b of this title is prohibited from considering the availability or eligibility for medical assistance in this or any other state under 42 U.S.C. § 1396a (section 1902 of the Social Security Act), herein referred to as Medicaid, when considering eligibility for coverage or making payments under its plan for eligible enrollees, subscribers, policyholders. or certificate holders.   This section shall not apply to Catamount Health, as established by section 4080f of this title.

Sec. 18.  8 V.S.A. § 4100b is amended to read:

§ 4100b.  Coverage of children

(a)  As used in this subchapter:

(1)  “Health plan” shall include, but not be limited to, a group health plan as defined under section 607(1) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 and, a nongroup plan as defined in section 4080b of this title, and a Catamount Health plan as defined in section 4080f of this title.

* * *

Sec. 19.  8 V.S.A. § 5112 is amended to read:

§ 5112.  Statutory construction and relationship toother laws

Except as provided in this chapter, and except as provided in section 3315, section 4080a, section 4080b, section 4080f, and subchapter 2 of chapter 112 of this title, provisions of the insurance laws and specifically provisions of chapters 123 and 125 of this title shall not be applicable to any health maintenance organization granted a certificate of authority under this chapter.

Sec. 20.  EXPEDITED RULEMAKING

No later than August 1, 2006 and notwithstanding the provisions of chapter 25 of Title 3, the department of banking, insurance, securities, and health care administration shall adopt the initial rules for Catamount Health established in section 4080f of Title 8 pursuant to the following expedited rulemaking process:

(1)  After publication in three daily newspapers with the highest average circulation in the state of a notice of the rules to be adopted pursuant to this process and at least a 14-day public comment period following publication, the department shall file final proposed rules with the legislative committee on administrative rules.

(2)  The legislative committee on administrative rules shall review and may approve or may object to the final proposed rules under 3 V.S.A. § 842, except that its action shall be completed by the committee no later than 14 days after the final proposed rules are filed with the committee.

(3)  The department may adopt a properly filed final proposed rule:

(A)  after the passage of 14 days from the date of filing final proposed rules with the legislative committee on administrative rules;

(B)  after receiving notice of approval from the committee; or

(C)  if the department has received a notice of objection from the legislative committee on administrative rules, after having responded to the objection from the committee pursuant to 3 V.S.A. § 842.

(4)  Rules adopted under this section shall be effective upon being filed with the secretary of state and shall have the full force and effect of rules adopted pursuant to chapter 25 of Title 3.  Rules filed by the department with the secretary of state pursuant to this section shall be deemed to be in full compliance with 3 V.S.A. § 843 and shall be accepted by the secretary of state if filed with a certification by the commissioner of banking, insurance, securities, and health care administration that the rule is required to meet the purposes of this section.


Sec. 21.  2 V.S.A. chapter 25 is added to read:

Chapter 25.  JOINT LEGISLATIVE COMMISSION

ON HEALTH CARE REFORM

§ 901. Creation of Commission

(a)  There is established a commission on health care reform.  The commission, under the direction of co-chairs who shall be appointed by the speaker of the house and president pro tempore of the senate, shall monitor health care reform initiatives and recommend to the general assembly actions needed to attain health care reform.

(b)  Members of the commission shall include four representatives appointed by the speaker of the house, four senators appointed by the committee on committees, and two nonvoting members appointed by the governor.

(c)  The commission may meet as needed and members shall be entitled to compensation and expenses as provided in section 406 of this title.

(d)  The commission shall receive administrative, fiscal, and legal support from the joint fiscal office and the legislative council.  In addition, with the approval of the speaker of the house and the president pro tempore of the senate, the commission may retain the services of one or more consultants or experts knowledgeable in health care systems, financing, or delivery to assist in its work and may request funding from the legislative budget.

§ 902.  Duties

(a)  Beginning in the interim of the 2005 legislative session through July 1, 2009, the commission shall:

(1)  monitor the development, implementation, and ongoing operation of health care reform initiatives as defined in section 2222a of Title 3 and the initiatives contained in H.861 of the 2005 Adj. Sess. (2006), An Act Relating to Health Care Affordability for Vermonters, including Catamount Health;

(2)  study areas of health care reform as required by the general assembly; and

(3)  receive input and make recommendations, generally, to the house committees on health care and on ways and means, the senate committees on health and welfare and on finance, and the general assembly regarding the long‑term development of policies and programs designed to ensure that, by 2009, Vermont has an integrated system of care that provides all Vermonters access to affordable, high quality health care that is financed in a fair and equitable manner, including the following:

(A)  extending universal access to diagnostic or other services to all Vermonters;

(B)  methods of reducing the cost of health insurance or providing alternative coverage through Catamount Health to individuals who pay 10 percent or more of their gross income for premiums and cost-sharing or medical expenses;

(C)  strategies for reducing the cost of health insurance or providing alternative coverage through Catamount Health to individuals in the individual or other high cost markets; and

(D)  determining needed analysis and criteria for implementing a health insurance requirement by January 1, 2011 if less than 96 percent of Vermonters have health insurance by 2010, including methods of enforcement, providing proof of insurance to individuals, and any other criteria necessary for the requirement to be effective in achieving universal health care coverage.

(b)  Nothing in this section shall modify the jurisdiction of the health access oversight committee to monitor Medicaid and Medicaid waiver programs.

(c)(1)  The commission may request analysis from the office of Vermont health access, the department of banking, insurance, securities, and health care administration, and other appropriate agencies.  The agencies shall report to the commission at such times and with such information as the commission determines is necessary to fulfill its oversight responsibilities.

(2)  The agency of administration or designee, the agency of human services, and the department of banking, insurance, securities, and health care administration shall submit monthly progress reports on Catamount Health and the Catamount Health assistance program.  For Catamount Health, the reports shall include enrollment, projected enrollment, and other information as requested by the commission.  For the assistance program, the reports shall include revenue and expenditures for the prior months, enrollment and projected enrollment, projected expenditures related to enrollment for the fiscal year, demographic statistics for participating individuals, an analysis of any effect on employer conduct, and other information as requested by the commission.

§ 903.  CATAMOUNT HEALTH; REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS

(a)  It is the intent of the general assembly first to provide to carriers and insurers in the private market the opportunity to offer Catamount Health with the assumption of risk.  In the event that no private carriers or insurers elect to offer such Catamount Health plans or the market is not a cost-effective method
of providing coverage, it is the intent of the general assembly to administer Catamount Health under this section. 

(b)  If no registered small group carrier submits a letter of intent to offer Catamount Health established in section 4080f of Title 8 with the commissioner of banking, insurance, securities, and health care administration within 30 days after the filing of the expedited rules for Catamount Health, the following process shall occur:

(1)  the commissioner shall notify the joint fiscal committee and the secretary of administration immediately;

(2)  the secretary of administration shall schedule a meeting of the emergency board within ten days of the commissioner’s notification in order to investigate why no carriers entered the market and shall receive analysis from the secretary, the department of banking, insurance, securities, and health care administration, the commission on health care reform, and the joint fiscal office;

(3)  the emergency board may extend the deadline for submitting a letter of intent to allow 14 days from the date of the meeting for additional submissions or may trigger the procedures in subsection (c) of this section.

(c)  The procedures in this subsection (d) shall be followed if any of the following events occur:

(1)  No letter of intent is filed after the process established in subsection (b) of this section;

(2)  Initial policy forms and rates for Catamount Health are not filed within five months of the filing of a carrier’s letter of intent.

(3)  No carrier’s policy forms and rates for Catamount Health are approved by the department.

(4)  The commission on health care reform determines by April 1, 2007 or 30 days from the date the rates are approved, whichever is later, that the Catamount Health market is not a cost-effective method of providing health care coverage to uninsured Vermonters, taking into consideration the rates and forms approved by the department of banking, insurance, securities, and health care administration, the amount of Catamount Health assistance to be provided to individuals, whether the Catamount Health assistance is sufficient to make Catamount Health affordable to those individuals, and the number of individuals for whom assistance is available given the appropriated amount.

(d)  The commissioner of banking, insurance, securities, and health care administration shall provide the commission with copies of the approved carriers policy forms and rates.

(e)  If at any time no carrier offers Catamount Health or if any of the events established in subsection (c) of this section occur,  the agency of administration shall issue a request for proposals for the administration only of Catamount Health as described in section 4080f of Title 8.  A contract entered into under this subsection shall not include the assumption of risk.  If Catamount Health is administered under this subsection, the agency shall purchase a stop-loss policy for an aggregate claims amount for Catamount Health as a method of managing the state’s financial risk.  The agency shall determine the amount of aggregate stop-loss reinsurance and may purchase additional types of reinsurance if prudent and cost-effective.  The agency may include in the contract the chronic care management program established under section 1904a of Title 33.

(f)  If Catamount Health is offered as a self-insured product, the requirements of section 4080f of Title 8 and subchapter 3a of chapter 19 of Title 33 shall apply to the extent feasible.  The individual contributions set in subchapter 3a of chapter 19 of Title 33 shall be the premium amounts charged to individuals.

Sec. 21a.  CODIFICATION

This section codifies the provisions in Sec. 277c of No. 71 of the Acts of 2005 and amends that section to reflect the provisions in this act.  Sec. 277c of No. 71 of the Acts of 2005 (establishing a commission on health care reform) is repealed.

Sec. 22.  GLOBAL COMMITMENT FINANCING

To the extent feasible and allowable under federal law, the agencies of administration and of human services shall finance the employer-sponsored premium assistance program under section 1974 of Title 33 and the Catamount Health assistance program under subchapter 3a of chapter 19 of Title 33 through the Global Commitment for Health Medicaid Section 1115 waiver.  No later than December 1, 2006, the agencies shall seek a waiver amendment from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to include these programs in the premium amount paid to the office of Vermont health access under Global Commitment.  The agencies may require the office of Vermont health access to use revenue from the capitation payments related to beneficiaries covered under Global Commitment as described in Term and Condition 40 to finance some or all of these programs.  The agencies may administer the programs in the manner required by Global Commitment.


* * * Immunizations* * *

Sec. 23.  18 V.S.A. § 1130 is added to read:

§ 1130.  IMMUNIZATIONS; PROVISION

(a)  As used in this section, “immunizations” means vaccines and the application of the vaccines as recommended by the practice guidelines for children and adults established by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

(b)  To the extent allowed by the appropriation, the department shall provide payment for any Vermont resident to receive immunizations without cost to the individual.  The department shall be the secondary payer to Medicaid, the Vermont health access plan, Dr. Dynasaur, Medicare, and any federal health insurance or federal program covering immunizations.

Sec. 24.  IMMUNIZATIONS; ADMINISTRATION

(a)  The secretary of administration or designee shall study methods to ensure that all Vermonters have access to immunizations through Catamount Health as provided for in section 2025 of Title 33.  In conducting the study, the secretary shall consult with the immunization program advisory committee, the department of health, the department of banking, insurance, securities, and health care administration, the office of Vermont health access, and other interested parties.

(b)  The study shall include findings and recommendations concerning the following:

(1)  Effective strategies for improving immunization rates, including options for:

(A)  enhancing access to vaccination services in both medical and public health settings; and

(B)  strengthening school and child care immunization requirements;

(2)  Recommendations for expanding the immunization program to adults, including recording of immunizations for adults in the Vermont immunization registry;

(3)  Recommendations for improving quality assurance and quality improvement in assuring proper vaccine storage and handling, measuring immunization coverage rates, and addressing barriers to coverage; and 

(4)  Options for sustainable funding of the purchase and administration of vaccines, including:


(A)  Equitable sharing of cost of the state’s immunization program between public and private resources;

(B)  Payment by the state of a reasonable fee to health care professionals for individuals receiving coverage for immunizations through Catamount Health.

(c)  The secretary shall report the findings and recommendations of the study to the house committee on health care and the senate committees on health and welfare and on finance no later than January 15, 2007.

* * * Private Insurance Cost Shift Reviews * * *

Sec. 25.  18 V.S.A. § 9456(b)(9) is amended to read:

(9)  require each hospital to file an analysis that reflects a reduction in net revenue needs from non-Medicaid payers equal to any anticipated increase in Medicaid, Medicare, or another public health care program reimbursements resulting from appropriations designed to reduce the Medicaid cost shift, and to any reduction in bad debt or charity care due to an increase in the number of insured individuals.

Sec. 26.  COST SHIFT TASK FORCE

Increases in Medicaid rates, reductions in private insurance claims through the nongroup market security trust, a decrease in the number of individuals without insurance, and the provision of minimum preventive services through Catamount Health should reduce the cost shift.  The department of banking, insurance, securities, and health care administration shall convene a task force of health care professionals, insurers, hospitals, employers offering private health insurance, the state auditor or designee, a representative of the office of Vermont health access, and other interested parties to determine how to ensure that reductions in the cost shift are reflected in a reduction or slower rate of growth both in hospital and provider charges and in private insurance premiums.  The task force shall make written recommendations to the commission on health care reform no later than December 1, 2006 regarding statutory or administrative changes needed to ensure that a reduction in the cost shift is reflected in a reduction or slower rate of growth in hospital charges and health insurance premiums.

* * * Nongroup Health Insurance Market * * *

Sec. 27.  8 V.S.A. § 4062d is added to read:

§ 4062d.  NONGROUP MARKET SECURITY TRUST

(a)  The commissioner shall establish the nongroup market security trust for the purpose of lowering the cost of and thereby increasing access to health care coverage in the individual or nongroup health insurance market.

(b)  The commissioner shall permit nongroup carriers to transfer five percent of the carriers’ claims costs to the nongroup market security trust, based on the earned premium as reported on the most recent annual statement of the carrier.  At the close of the year, the commissioner shall reconcile the amount paid against the actual expenses of the carriers and collect or expend the necessary funds to ensure that five percent of the actual expenses are paid under this section.  The individuals incurring the claims shall remain enrolled policyholders, members, or subscribers of the carrier’s or insurer’s plan, and shall be subject to the same terms and conditions of coverage, premiums, and cost sharing as any other policyholder, member, or subscriber.

(c)  The commissioner may develop the nongroup market security trust in a manner that permits the trust to be eligible for a federal grant to administer the trust, including a grant under the federal Trade Adjustment Act.

(d)  All of the revenues appropriated shall be deposited into the nongroup market security trust to be administered by the commissioner for the sole purpose of providing financial support for the nongroup market security trust authorized by this section.  The trust shall be administered in accordance with subchapter 5 of chapter 7 of Title 32, except that interest earned shall remain in the trust.

(e)  The commissioner may adopt rules for the nongroup market security trust relating to:

(1)  Criteria governing the circumstances under which a nongroup carrier may transfer five percent of the claims expenses of the carrier to the trust as provided for in this section.

(2)  Eligibility criteria for providing financial support to carriers under this section, including carrier claims’ expenses eligible for financial support, standards and procedures for the treatment and chronic care management as defined in section 701 of Title 18, and any other eligibility criteria established by the commissioner.

(3)  The operation of the trust.

(4)  Any other standards or procedures necessary or desirable to carry out the purposes of this section.

(f)  As used in this section, “nongroup carrier” means a nongroup carrier registered under section 4080b of this title that has an annual earned premium in excess of $100,000.00.

Sec. 28.  8 V.S.A. § 4080b(n) is amended to read:

(n)  On or before January 15, 1993, the commissioner shall report to the senate finance committee and the house commerce committee concerning implementation of the community rating provisions set forth in subsection (h) of this section, describing areas in which additional legislation may be needed  The commissioner shall ensure that any rates filed by any registered nongroup carrier, whether initial or revised, for nongroup insurance policies reflect the reduction in claims costs attributable to the nongroup market security trust established in section 4062d of this title.

* * * Hospital Uncompensated Care * * *

Sec. 29.  HOSPITAL UNCOMPENSATED CARE; FINDINGS

(a)  The general assembly finds that all of Vermont’s community hospitals are nonprofit charity hospitals which provide care regardless of patient ability to pay.  Any uncompensated care received is paid for by someone other than the patient receiving it.  This uncompensated care is substantial. 

(b)  Uncompensated care is already being paid for.  It is subsidized through the “cost shift” and is absorbed principally by the payers of private health insurance premiums, including self‑insurance plans.  This cost shift functions as a hidden surcharge for the cost of care to lower income individuals.

Sec. 30.  HOSPITAL UNCOMPENSATED CARE; STANDARDS; REPORTING

(a)  The commissioner of banking, insurance, securities, and health care administration, in consultation with representatives of the Vermont association of hospitals and health systems, third-party payers, and health care consumers, shall review the uncompensated care and bad debt policies of Vermont’s hospitals and recommend a standard statewide uniform uncompensated care and bad debt policy.  The standard policy shall include criteria for payment forgiveness for the cost of health services received by low income patients, criteria for a sliding scale payment amount for patients under certain income levels, a method for calculating the amount of services received by the patient, and other criteria necessary for ensuring that the care received by the uninsured and underinsured patients is billed in a uniform and consistent manner.  In addition to a standard policy, the commissioner may recommend reasons for and a method of approving deviations from the standard policy by a hospital or may recommend a set of standard policies to be applied to hospitals based on particular criteria, such as a designation as a critical access hospital, the income median in an area, or any other rationale.

(b)  The commissioner, in consultation with the representatives listed in subsection (a) of this section, shall determine a fair and thorough method for calculating and reporting information about uncompensated care and bad debt to the department of banking, insurance, securities, and health care administration to ensure accurate accounting in the hospital budgets and other health care facility planning, as well as collecting information about the types of patients accessing uncompensated care or who are unable to pay for the care received.  The commissioner shall consider collecting information about the patient receiving the care, including the patient’s primary insurance status and employer, the actual cost of the care received, any amounts paid toward the care, and any discounts provided to the patient by the hospital.

(c)  The commissioner’s findings and recommendations shall be submitted in a report to the senate committees on health and welfare and on finance and the house committee on health care not later than January 15, 2007.

Sec. 31.  INDIVIDUAL MARKET STUDY

The department of banking, insurance, securities, and health care administration, in consultation with insurers that participate in the nongroup market, shall recommend to the general assembly no later than January 15, 2007 the best method to consolidate the nongroup market into a single risk pool of insured Vermonters with access to health plans equivalent to or better than that offered by Catamount Health.

Sec. 32.  EMPLOYER ASSESSMENT STUDY; SEASONAL EMPLOYEES

No later than January 15, 2007, the secretary of administration or designee shall study and report on the options for treating seasonal employees in the employer assessment in Sec. 34 of this act. 

Sec. 33.  COMMUNITY PLANNING; HEALTH CARE COVERAGE

In fiscal year 2007, the department of health shall provide a planning grant of $100,000.00 to one community organization or corporation to assist in establishing a local initiative to provide health care coverage or insurance to a community, region, or geographic area of the state.

Sec. 34.  21 V.S.A. chapter 25 is added to read:

CHAPTER 25.  EMPLOYERS’ HEALTH CARE PREMIUM CONTRIBUTION

§ 2001.  PURPOSE

For the purpose of more equitably distributing the costs of health care to uninsured residents of this state an employers’ health care premium contribution is established to provide a fair and reasonable method for sharing health care costs with employers who do not offer their employees health care coverage.

§ 2002.  DEFINITIONS

For the purposes of this chapter:

(1)  “Employee” means an individual over the age of majority employed full-time or part‑time by an employer to perform services in this state.

(2)  “Employer” means a person who is required under subchapter 4 of chapter 151 of Title 32 to withhold income taxes from payments of income with respect to services, but shall not include the government of the United States.

(3)  “Full-time equivalent” or “FTE” means the number of employees expressed as the number of employee hours worked during a calendar quarter divided by 520.

(4)  “Uncovered employee” means:

(A)  an employee of an employer who does not offer to pay any part of the cost of health care coverage for its employees.

(B)  an employee who is not eligible for health care coverage offered by an employer to any other employees; or

(C)  an employee who is offered and is eligible for coverage by the employer but elects not to accept the coverage and has no other health care coverage under either a private or public plan.

§ 2003.  PREMIUM CONTRIBUTION ASSESSMENT

(a)  The commissioner of labor shall assess and an employer shall pay a quarterly health care premium contribution for each full-time equivalent uncovered employee employed during that quarter in excess of:

(1)  eight full-time equivalent employees in fiscal years 2007 and 2008;

(2)  six full-time equivalent employees in fiscal year 2009; and

(3)  four full-time equivalent employees in fiscal years 2010 and thereafter.

(b)  For any quarter in fiscal years 2007 and 2008, the amount of the health care premium contribution shall be $91.25 for each full-time equivalent employee in excess of eight.  For each fiscal year after fiscal year 2008, the number of excluded full-time equivalent employees shall be adjusted in accordance with subsection (a) of this section, and the amount of the health care premium contribution shall be adjusted by a percentage equal to any percentage change in premiums for Catamount Health for that fiscal year. 

(c)  Premium contribution assessments under this chapter shall be determined on a calendar quarter basis, due and payable 30 days after the close of each quarter.  Late filings, late payments and underpayments of the premium contribution assessments due shall be subject to the same fees, interest and penalties as pertain to contributions for unemployment compensation under chapter 17 of this title.  The commissioner shall establish rules for the administration and collection of premiums under this chapter.  To the extent feasible any reports required of employers under this chapter shall be combined with other reports and information collected from employers by the department of labor.

(d)  Revenues from the premiums collected shall be deposited into the catamount fund established under 33 V.S.A. § 2029 for the purpose of financing health care coverage under Catamount Health, as provided under subchapter 6 of chapter 19 of Title 33.

Sec. 35.  EFFECTIVE DATE 

Sec. 34 of this act, establishing an employers’ health care premium contribution assessment, shall take effect April 1, 2007, with the first premium assessments due and payable 30 days after the close of that quarter.

* * * Cigarette and Tobacco Product Taxes * * *

Sec. 36.  32 V.S.A. § 7702 is amended to read:

§ 7702.  DEFINITIONS

The following words and phrases, as used in this chapter, shall have the following meanings, unless the context otherwise requires:

(1)  “Cigarette” shall mean the common article of commerce known by this name consisting of a small cylindrical roll composed in whole or in part of finely-cut tobacco, wrapped in paper or in any substance other than tobacco means:

(A)  any roll of tobacco wrapped in paper or any substance not containing tobacco, and

(B)  any roll of tobacco wrapped in substance containing tobacco which, because of its appearance, the type of tobacco used in the filler, or its packaging and labeling, is likely to be offered to, or purchased by, consumers as a cigarette described in subdivision (A) of this subsection.  

(2)  “Commissioner” shall mean the commissioner of taxes.

(3)  “Dealer” means any wholesale dealer and retail dealer as herein defined.

(4)  “Distributor” means any person who imports, or causes to be imported, into this state any tobacco product for sale or who manufactures any tobacco product in this state, and any person within or without the state who is authorized by the commissioner to make returns and pay the tax on tobacco products sold, shipped or delivered by him to any person in the state.

(5)  “Licensed wholesale dealer” shall mean a wholesale dealer licensed under the provisions of this chapter.

(6)  “Little cigars” means any rolls of tobacco wrapped in leaf tobacco or any substance containing tobacco (other than any roll of tobacco which is a cigarette within the meaning of subdivision (1) of this section) and as to which one thousand units weigh not more than three pounds.

(6)(7)  “Manufacturer” means a person who manufactures and sells tobacco products.

(7)(8)  “Person” shall mean any individual, firm, fiduciary, partnership, corporation, trust or association, however formed.

(8)(9)  “Place of business” means any place where tobacco products are sold or where tobacco products are manufactured, stored, or kept for the purpose of sale or consumption, including any vessel, vehicle, airplane, train, or vending machine.

(9)(10)  “Retail dealer” shall mean a person who sells or furnishes cigarettes or tobacco products, or both, in small quantities to consumers only, but not for the purpose of resale.

(11)  “Roll-your-own tobacco” means any tobacco which, because of its appearance, type, packaging, or labeling, is suitable for use and likely to be offered to, or purchased by, consumers as tobacco for making cigarettes.

(10)(12)  “Sale” or “sell” means any transfer, exchange or barter in any manner or by any means whatever, of any cigarettes or tobacco products.

(13)  “Snuff” means any finely cut, ground, or powdered tobacco that is not intended to be smoked.

(11)(14)  “Stamp” shall mean any impression, stamp, label or print manufactured, printed or made as prescribed by the commissioner.

(12)(15)  “Tobacco products” means cigars; cheroots; stogies; periques; granulated, plug cut, crimp cut, ready rubbed, and other smoking tobacco; snuff, snuff flour; cavendish; plug and twist tobacco; fine-cut and other chewing tobaccos; shorts; refuse scraps, clippings, cuttings and sweeping of tobacco, and other kinds and forms of tobacco, prepared in such manner as to be suitable for chewing or smoking in a pipe or otherwise, or both for chewing and smoking; but shall not include cigarettes as defined in this section.

(13)(16)  “Wholesale dealer” shall mean a person who sells or furnishes cigarettes or tobacco products, or both, to wholesale or retail dealers for the purpose of resale, but not by the small quantity or parcel to consumers thereof.

(14)(17)  “Wholesale dealer’s license” shall mean the license granted under the provisions of this chapter to a wholesale dealer for a wholesale outlet.

(15)(18)  “Wholesale outlet” shall mean any premises where cigarettes or tobacco products, or both, are sold, transferred, displayed or held for sale by a wholesale dealer.

(16)(19)  “Wholesale price” means the price at which a distributor sells or furnishes tobacco products to any retail dealer.

Sec. 37.  32 V.S.A. § 7771 is amended to read:

§ 7771.  RATE OF TAX

(a)  A tax is imposed on all cigarettes, little cigars, and roll-your-own tobacco held in this state by any person for sale or by any person in possession of more than 10,000 cigarettes, or little cigars, or $500.00 or more in retail value of roll-your-own tobacco, unless such cigarettes products shall be:

(1)  in the possession of a licensed wholesale dealer;

(2)  in the course of transit and consigned to a licensed wholesale dealer or retail dealer; or

(3)  in the possession of a retail dealer who has held the cigarettes products for 24 hours or less.

(b)  Such tax shall be at the rate of 59.5 89.5 mills for each cigarette and the payment thereof to or little cigar and for each 0.09 of an ounce of roll‑your‑own tobacco.  Payment of the tax on cigarettes shall be evidenced by the affixing of stamps to the packages containing the cigarettes as hereinafter providedWhere practicable, the commissioner may also require that stamps be affixed to packages containing little cigars or roll-your-own tobacco.  Any cigarette, little cigar, or roll-your-own tobacco, on which the tax imposed by this chapter has been paid, such payment being evidenced by the affixing of such stamp or such evidence as the commissioner may require, shall not be subject to a further tax under this chapter.  Nothing contained in this chapter shall be construed to impose a tax on any transaction the taxation of which by this state is prohibited by the constitution of the United States.  The amount of taxes advanced and paid by a licensed wholesale dealer or a retail dealer as herein provided shall be added to and collected as part of the retail sale price on the cigarettes, little cigars, or roll‑your‑own tobacco.  All taxes upon cigarettes, little cigars, or roll-your-own tobacco under this chapter are declared to be a direct tax upon the consumer at retail and shall conclusively be presumed to be precollected for the purpose of convenience and facility only.

Sec. 38.  32 V.S.A. § 7811 is amended to read: 

§ 7811.  Imposition of tobacco products tax

There is hereby imposed and shall be paid a tax on all tobacco products except roll-your-own tobacco and little cigars taxed under section 7771 of this title possessed in the state of Vermont by any person for sale on and after July 1, 1959 which were imported into the state or manufactured in the state after said date, except that no tax shall be imposed on tobacco products sold under such circumstances that this state is without power to impose such tax, or sold to the United States, or sold to or by a voluntary unincorporated organization of the armed forces of the United States operating a place for the sale of goods pursuant to regulations promulgated by the appropriate executive agency of the United States.  Such tax on tobacco products shall be at the rate of 41 percent of the wholesale price for all tobacco products except snuff which shall be taxed at the rate of $1.49 per ounce, or fractional part thereof, and is intended to be imposed only once upon any tobacco product.  Provided, however, that upon payment of the tax within ten days, the distributor or dealer may deduct from the tax two percent of the tax due.  It shall be presumed that all tobacco products within the state are subject to tax until the contrary is established and the burden of proof that any tobacco products are not taxable hereunder shall be upon the person in possession thereof.

Sec. 39.  32 V.S.A. § 7814 is amended to read:

§ 7814.  FLOOR STOCK TAX

(a)  Tobacco products Snuff.  A floor stock tax is hereby imposed upon every retailer of tobacco products snuff in this state at the rate of 21 percent of the wholesale price of each tobacco product in the amount by which the new tax exceeds the amount of the tax already paid on the snuff.  The tax shall apply to tobacco products snuff in the possession or control of the retailer at 12:01 a.m. o’clock on July 1, 1995 2006, but shall not apply to retailers who hold less than $500.00 in wholesale value of such tobacco products snuff.  Each retailer subject to the tax shall, on or before July 25, 1995 2006 file a report to the commissioner in such form as the commissioner may prescribe showing the tobacco products snuff on hand at 12:01 a.m. o’clock on July 1, 1995 2006, and the amount of tax due thereon.  The tax imposed by this section shall be due and payable on or before July 25, 1995 August 25, 2006, and thereafter shall bear interest at the rate established under section 3108 of this title.  In case of timely payment of the tax, the retailer may deduct from the tax due two percent of the tax.  Any tobacco product snuff with respect to which a floor stock tax has been imposed and paid under this section shall not again be subject to tax under section 7811 of this title.

(b)  Cigarettes, little cigars, or roll-your-own tobacco.  Notwithstanding the prohibition against further tax on stamped cigarettes, little cigars, or

roll-your-own tobacco under section 7771 of this title, a floor stock tax is hereby imposed upon every dealer of cigarettes, little cigars, or roll-your-own tobacco in this state who is either a wholesaler, or a retailer who at 12:01 a.m. o’clock on July 1, 2003 2006, has more than 10,000 cigarettes or little cigars or who has $500.00 or more of whole sale value of roll-your-own tobacco, for retail sale in his or her possession or control.  The rate of tax shall be 13 mills amount of the tax shall be the amount by which the new tax exceeds the amount of the tax already paid for each cigarette, little cigar, or roll-your-own tobacco in the possession or control of the wholesaler or retailer at 12:01 a.m. o’clock on July 1, 2003 2006, and on which cigarette stamps have been affixed before July 1, 2003 2006.  A floor stock tax is also imposed on each Vermont cigarette stamp in the possession or control of the wholesaler at 12:01 a.m. o’clock on July 1, 2003 2006, and not yet affixed to a cigarette package, and the tax shall be at the rate of 26 60 cents per stamp.  Each wholesaler and retailer subject to the tax shall, on or before September 25, 2003 July 25, 2006, file a report to the commissioner in such form as the commissioner may prescribe showing the cigarettes, little cigars, or roll‑your‑own tobacco and stamps on hand at 12:01 a.m. o’clock on July 1, 2003 2006, and the amount of tax due thereon.  The tax imposed by this section shall be due and payable on or before September 25, 2003 August 25, 2006, and thereafter shall bear interest at the rate established under section 3108 of this title.  In case of timely payment of the tax, the wholesaler or retailer may deduct from the tax due two and three‑tenths of one percent of the tax.  Any cigarettes, little cigars, or roll‑your‑own tobacco with respect to which a floor stock tax has been imposed under this section shall not again be subject to tax under section 7771 of this title.

Sec. 40.  CIGARETTE AND TOBACCO PRODUCTS; EFFECTIVE DATE; INCREASE

(a)  Secs. 36 through 39 of this act and this section shall take effect July 1, 2006.

(b)  On and after July 1, 2008, the tax on cigarettes imposed by 32 V.S.A. § 7771 shall be at the rate of 99.5 mills:

(1)  for each cigarette or little cigar; and

(2) for each 0.09 of an ounce of roll-your-own tobacco.

(c)  On July 1, 2008, the tax on snuff imposed by 32 V.S.A. § 7811 on snuff shall be at the rate of $1.66 per ounce or fractional part thereof.

(d)  On July 1, 2008, the floor stock tax imposed by 32 V.S.A. § 7814(b) shall be at the rate of 10 mills:

(1)  for each cigarette or little cigar in the possession or control of a wholesaler or retailer who has more than 10,000 cigarettes or little cigars on July 1, 2008; and

(2)  for each 0.09 of an ounce of roll-your-own tobacco in the possession or control of a wholesaler or retailer who has $500.00 or more of retail value of roll‑your‑own tobacco on July 1, 2008.

(e)  On July 1, 2008, the floor stock tax imposed by 32 V.S.A. § 7814(a) shall be at the rate of 17 cents per ounce or fraction thereof on snuff in the possession or control of a retailer who has $500.00 or more in wholesale value of snuff on July 1, 2008.

(f)  The floor stock tax imposed by subsections (d) and (e) of this section shall be reported by the wholesaler or dealer on or before July 25, 2008 and shall be due and payable on or before August 25, 2008.

Sec. 41.  33 V.S.A. § 1901d is amended to read:

§ 1901d.  STATE HEALTH CARE RESOURCES FUND

(a)  The state health care resources fund is established in the treasury as a special fund to be a source of financing health care coverage for beneficiaries of the state health care assistance programs under the global commitment to health care waiver approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services under Section 1115 of the Social Security Act.

(b)  Into the fund shall be deposited:

(1)  revenue from the cigarette and tobacco products tax established in  all revenue from the tobacco products tax and 82.5 percent of the revenue from the cigarette tax levied pursuant to chapter 205 of Title 32;

(2)  revenue from health care provider assessments pursuant to subchapter 2 of chapter 19 of this title; and

(3)  the proceeds from grants, donations, contributions, taxes, and any other sources of revenue as may be provided by statute, rule, or act of the general assembly.

(c)  The fund shall be administered pursuant to subchapter 5 of chapter 7 of Title 32, except that interest earned on the fund and any remaining balance shall be retained in the fund.  The agency shall maintain records indicating the amount of money in the fund at any time.

(d)  All monies received by or generated to the fund shall be used only as allowed by appropriation of the general assembly for the administration and delivery of health care covered through state health care assistance programs administered by the agency under the global commitment Global Commitment for Health Medicaid Section 1115 waiver.

Sec. 42.  DISTRIBUTION OF REVENUE

The percentage of revenues from the cigarette tax increase in 2008, which is distributed between the state health care resources fund in section 1901d of Title 33 and the Catamount fund in section 2028 of Title 33 shall be amended to reflect this increase.

Sec. 43.  32 V.S.A. § 435(b) is amended to read:

(b)  The general fund shall be composed of revenues from the following sources:

* * *

(8)  Cigarettes and tobacco products taxes levied pursuant to chapter 205 of this title;

* * *

Sec. 44.  ALLOCATION OF FLOOR STOCK TAX REVENUE

The revenue from the floor stock tax under subsection 7814(b) of Title 32 as amended by this act shall be deposited in the Catamount fund.

* * * Pharmacy Provisions * * *

Sec. 45.  33 V.S.A. § 2005(3) is amended to read:

(3)  The office of the attorney general shall keep confidential all trade secret information, as defined by subdivision 317(b)(9) of Title 1.  The disclosure form shall permit the company to identify any information that it claims is a trade secret as defined in subdivision 317(c)(9) of Title 1.  In the event that the attorney general receives a request for any information designated as a trade secret, the attorney general shall promptly notify the company of such request.  Within 30 days after such notification, the company shall respond to the requester and the attorney general by either consenting to the release of the requested information or by certifying in writing the reasons for its claim that the information is a trade secret.  Any requester aggrieved by the company’s response may apply to the superior court of Washington County for a declaration that the company’s claim of trade secret is invalid.  The attorney general shall not be made a party to the superior court proceeding. Prior to and during the pendency of the superior court proceeding, the attorney general shall keep confidential the information that has been claimed as trade secret information, except that the attorney general may provide the requested information to the court under seal.

* * * Technical Amendments * * *

Sec. 46.  32 V.S.A. § 305a is amended to read:

§ 305a.  OFFICIAL STATE REVENUE ESTIMATE

(a)  On or about January 15 and on or about July 15 of each year, and at such other times as the emergency board or the governor deems proper, the joint fiscal office and the secretary of administration shall provide to the emergency board their respective estimates of state revenues in the general, transportation, education, and health access trust Catamount, state health care resources, and Global Commitment funds.  The January revenue estimate shall be for the current and next two succeeding fiscal years, and the July revenue estimate shall be for the current and immediately succeeding fiscal years.  Federal fund estimates shall be provided at the same times for the current fiscal year. 

(b)  Within 10 days of receipt of such estimates, the board shall determine an official state revenue estimate for deposit in the respective funds for the years covered by the estimates.  For the purpose of revising an official revenue estimate only, a majority of the legislative members of the emergency board may convene a meeting of the board. 

(c)  The health access trust fund estimate estimates shall include estimated caseloads and estimated per member per month expenditures for the current and next succeeding fiscal years for each population category eligible Medicaid enrollment group as defined by the agency and the joint fiscal office for state health care assistance programs or premium assistance programs supported by the fund state health care resources and Global Commitment funds, for Vermont Rx, and for the programs under the Choices for Care Medicaid Section 1115 waiver.  For VPharm, the estimates shall include estimated caseloads and estimated per-member per-month expenditures for the current and next succeeding fiscal years by income category.  The estimates shall include the expenditures for the current and next succeeding fiscal years for the Medicare Part D phased-down state contribution payment and for the disproportionate share hospital payments. 

* * * Oversight and Reporting * * *

Sec. 47.  REPORT; HEALTH CARE REFORM

No later than January 15, 2009, the agency of administration shall report to the general assembly on:

(1)  the percentage of uninsured Vermonters and the number of insured Vermonters by coverage type based on a new survey conducted by the department of banking, insurance, securities, and health care administration;

(2)  an analysis of the trends of Catamount Health costs and trends in the revenue sources for Catamount Health;

(3)  the feasibility of allowing individuals who are not uninsured and employers to buy into Catamount Health at full premium cost; and

(4)  the number of individuals enrolled in any chronic care management program which complies with the requirements in chapter 13 of Title 18, including those covered by private insurance.

Sec. 48.  FUNDING SOURCES

(a)(1)  $2,500,000.00 of the funds appropriated in Sec. 107 of H.881 of the 2005 Adj. Sess. (2006) is to increase Medicaid rates to health care professionals on January 1, 2007, under Sec. 9(a) of this act.

(2)  $1,000,000.00 of the funds appropriated in Sec. 107 of H.881 of the 2005 Adj. Sess. (2006) is to increase Medicaid rates to hospitals on January 1, 2007, under Sec. 9(b) of this act.

(b)  $100,000.00 of the funds appropriated to the department of health in Sec. 115 of H.881 of the 2005 Adj. Sess. (2006) is for the planning grant established in Sec. 33 of this act.

(c)  $1,000,000.00 of the funds appropriated in Sec. 105 of H.881 of the 2005 Adj. Sess. (2006) is for the establishment, initial administration, and development of the infrastructure for the employer-sponsored premium assistance program under section 1974 of Title 33.

(d)  $400,000.00 of the funds appropriated under Sec. 87 of H.881 of the 2005 Adj. Sess. (2006) is allocated to the department of banking, insurance, securities, and health care administration for further development of the multi-payer database established by 18 V.S.A. § 9410(h), and the consumer price and quality information system.   

Sec. 49.  EFFECTIVE AND IMPLEMENTATION DATES

This act shall take effect upon passage, except as follows:

(1)  Secs. 9 (Medicaid reimbursement), 10 (Blueprint for Health reimbursements),  25 (hospital cost shift analysis), 33 (community health care planning grant) and 41 (state health care resources fund) shall take effect July 1, 2006

(2)  Secs. 11 (VHAP premiums), 12 (Dr. Dynasaur premiums), and 27 (Nongroup market security trust) shall take effect July 1, 2007

(3)  Secs. 13 (Employer-sponsored insurance premium assistance) and 16 (Catamount Health assistance) shall take effect June 30, 2006, for the purposes of establishing and administering the Catamount fund under section 2028 of Title 33, and preparing for administration of and enrollment of the programs; implementation of the programs, however, shall not commence until October 1, 2007.

* * * WELLNESS INITIATIVES * * *

* * * Healthy Lifestyle Insurance Discount * * *

Sec. 50.  8 V.S.A. § 4080a(h) is amended to read:

(h)(1)  A registered small group carrier shall use a community rating method acceptable to the commissioner for determining premiums for small group plans.  Except as provided in subdivision (2) of this subsection, the following risk classification factors are prohibited from use in rating small groups, employees, or members of such groups, and dependents of such employees or members:

(A)  demographic rating, including age and gender rating;

(B)  geographic area rating;

(C)  industry rating;

(D)  medical underwriting and screening;

(E)  experience rating;

(F)  tier rating; or

(G)  durational rating.

(2)(A)  The commissioner shall, by rule, adopt standards and a process for permitting registered small group carriers to use one or more risk classifications in their community rating method, provided that the premium charged shall not deviate above or below the community rate filed by the carrier by more than 20 percent (20%), and provided further that the commissioner’s rules may not permit any medical underwriting and screening.

(B)  The commissioner’s regulations shall permit a carrier, including a hospital or medical service corporation and a health maintenance organization, to establish rewards, premium discounts, rebates, or otherwise waive or modify applicable co-payments, deductibles, or other cost-sharing amounts in return for adherence by a member or subscriber to programs of health promotion and disease prevention.  The commissioner shall consult with the commissioner of health and the director of the office of Vermont health access in the development of health promotion and disease prevention regulations.  Such regulations shall:

(i)  limit any reward, discount, rebate, or waiver or modification of cost-sharing amounts to not more than a total of 15 percent of the cost of the premium for the applicable coverage tier, provided that the sum of any rate deviations under subdivision (A) of this subdivision (2) does not exceed 30 percent;

(ii)  be designed to promote good health or prevent disease for individuals in the program and not be used as a subterfuge for imposing higher costs on an individual based on a health factor;

(iii)  provide that the reward under the program is available to all similarly situated individuals; and

(iv)  provide a reasonable alternative standard to obtain the reward to any individual for whom it is unreasonably difficult due to a medical condition or other reasonable mitigating circumstance to satisfy the otherwise applicable standard for the discount and disclose in all plan materials that describe the discount program the availability of a reasonable alternative standard.

(C)  The commissioner’s regulations shall include:

(i)  standards and procedures for health promotion and disease prevention programs based on the best scientific, evidence-based medical practices as recommended by the commissioner of health;

(ii)  standards and procedures for evaluating an individual’s adherence to programs of health promotion and disease prevention; and

(iii)  any other standards and procedures necessary or desirable to carry out the purposes of this subdivision (2).

(3)  The commissioner may exempt from the requirements of this section an association as defined in section subdivision 4079(2) of this title which:

(A)  offers a small group plan to a member small employer which is community rated in accordance with the provisions of subdivisions (1) and (2) of this subsection.  The plan may include risk classifications in accordance with subdivision (2) of this subsection;

(B)  offers a small group plan that guarantees acceptance of all persons within the association and their dependents; and

(C)  offers one or more of the common health care plans approved by the commissioner under subsection (e) of this section.

(4)  The commissioner may revoke or deny the exemption set forth in subdivision (3) of this subsection if the commissioner determines that:

(A)  because of the nature, size, or other characteristics of the association and its members, the employees, or members are in need of the protections provided by this section; or

(B)  the association exemption has or would have a substantial adverse effect on the small group market.

Sec. 51.  8 V.S.A. § 4080b(h) is amended to read:

(h)(1)  A registered nongroup carrier shall use a community rating method acceptable to the commissioner for determining premiums for nongroup plans.  Except as provided in subdivision (2) of this subsection, the following risk classification factors are prohibited from use in rating individuals and their dependents:

(A)  demographic rating, including age and gender rating;

(B)  geographic area rating;

(C)  industry rating;

(D)  medical underwriting and screening;

(E)  experience rating;

(F)  tier rating; or

(G)  durational rating.

(2)(A)  The commissioner shall, by rule, adopt standards and a process for permitting registered nongroup carriers to use one or more risk classifications in their community rating method.  After July 1, 1993, provided that the premium charged shall not deviate above or below the community rate filed by the carrier by more than 40 percent (40%) for two years, and thereafter 20 percent (20%).  Such rules may not permit, and provided further that the commissioner’s regulations may not permit any medical underwriting and screening and shall give due consideration to the need for affordability and accessibility of health insurance.

(B)  The commissioner’s regulations shall permit a carrier, including a hospital or medical service corporation and a health maintenance organization, to establish rewards, premium discounts, rebates, or otherwise waive or modify applicable co-payments, deductibles, or other cost-sharing amounts in return for adherence by a member or subscriber to programs of health promotion and disease prevention.  The commissioner shall consult with the commissioner of health and the director of the office of Vermont health access in the development of health promotion and disease prevention regulations.  Such regulations shall:

(i)  limit any reward, discount, rebate, or waiver or modification of cost-sharing amounts to not more than a total of 15 percent of the cost of the premium for the applicable coverage tier, provided that the sum of any rate deviations under subdivision 4080a(2)(A) of this title does not exceed 30 percent;

(ii)  be designed to promote good health or prevent disease for individuals in the program and not be used as a subterfuge for imposing higher costs on an individual based on a health factor;

(iii)  provide that the reward under the program is available to all similarly situated individuals; and

(iv)  provide a reasonable alternative standard to obtain the reward to any individual for whom it is unreasonably difficult due to a medical condition or other reasonable mitigating circumstance to satisfy the otherwise applicable standard for the discount and disclose in all plan materials that describe the discount program the availability of a reasonable alternative standard.

(C)  The commissioner’s regulations shall include:

(i)  standards and procedures for health promotion and disease prevention programs based on the best scientific, evidence-based medical practices as recommended by the commissioner of health;

(ii)  standards and procedures for evaluating an individual’s adherence to programs of health promotion and disease prevention; and

(iii)  any other standards and procedures necessary or desirable to carry out the purposes of this subdivision (2).

Sec. 52.  8 V.S.A. § 4516 is amended to read:

§ 4516.  ANNUAL REPORT TO COMMISSIONER

Annually, on or before March 15, a hospital service corporation shall file with the commissioner of banking, insurance, securities, and health care administration a statement sworn to by the president and treasurer of the corporation showing its condition on December 31.  The statement shall be in such form and contain such matters as the commissioner shall prescribe.  To qualify for the tax exemption set forth in section 4518 of this title, the statement shall include a certification that the hospital service corporation operates on a nonprofit basis for the purpose of providing an adequate hospital service plan to individuals of the state, both groups and nongroups, without discrimination based on age, gender, geographic area, industry, and medical history, except as allowed by subdivisions 4080a(h)(2)(B) and 4080b(h)(2)(B) of this title.

Sec. 53.  8 V.S.A. § 4588 is amended to read:

§ 4588.  ANNUAL REPORT TO COMMISSIONER

Annually, on or before March 15, a medical service corporation shall file with the commissioner of banking, insurance, securities, and health care administration a statement sworn to by the president and treasurer of the corporation showing its condition on December 31, which shall be in such form and contain such matters as the commissioner shall prescribe.  To qualify for the tax exemption set forth in section 4590 of this title, the statement shall include a certification that the medical service corporation operates on a nonprofit basis for the purpose of providing an adequate medical service plan to individuals of the state, both groups and nongroups, without discrimination based on age, gender, geographic area, industry, and medical history, except as allowed by subdivisions 4080a(h)(2)(B) and 4080b(h)(2)(B) of this title.

Sec. 54.  8 V.S.A. § 5115 is amended to read:

§ 5115.  DUTY OF NONPROFIT HEALTH MAINTENANCE ORGANIZATIONS 

Any nonprofit health maintenance organization subject to this chapter shall offer nongroup plans to individuals in accordance with section 4080b of this title without discrimination based on age, gender, industry, and medical history, except as allowed by subdivisions 4080a(h)(2)(B) and 4080b(h)(2)(B) of this title.

* * * Administrative Simplification * * *

Sec. 55.  COMMON CLAIMS AND PROCEDURES

(a)  No later than July 1, 2008, the commissioner shall amend the rules adopted pursuant to section 9408 of Title 18 as may be necessary to implement the recommendations of the final report described in subsection (g) of this section, as the commissioner deems appropriate in his or her discretion.  Nothing in this section shall be construed to alter the commissioner’s authority under Title 8 or chapter 221 of Title 18.

(b)  No later than July 1, 2006, a common claims and procedures work group shall form, composed of:   

(1)  two representatives selected by the Vermont association of hospitals and health systems;

(2)  two representatives selected by the Vermont medical society;

(3)  one representative of each of the three largest health care insurers;

(4)  the director of the office of health access or designee;

(5)  two representatives from business groups appointed by the governor;

(6)  the health care ombudsman or designee;

(7)  one representative of consumers appointed by the governor; and

(8)  the commissioner of the department of banking, insurance, securities and health care administration or designee.

(c)  The group shall design, recommend, and implement steps to achieve the following goals:

(1)  Simplifying the claims administration process for consumers, health care providers, and others so that the process is more understandable and less time-consuming.

(2)  Lowering administrative costs in the health care financing system.

(d)  The group shall elect a chair at its first meeting.  The chair, or the chair’s designee, shall be responsible for scheduling meetings and ensuring the completion of the reports called for in subsection (g) of this section.  Each organization represented on the work group shall be asked to contribute funds for the group’s administrative costs. 

(e)  On or before September 1, 2006, the work group shall present a two‑year work plan and budget to the house committee on health care and the senate committee on health and welfare. 

(f)  This work plan may include the elements of the claims administration process, including claims forms, patient invoices, and explanation of benefits forms, payment codes, claims submission and processing procedures, including electronic claims processing, issues relating to the prior authorization process and reimbursement for services provided prior to being credentialed.

(g)  The work group shall make an interim report to the governor and the general assembly on or before January 15, 2007 describing the progress of the group and any interim steps taken to achieve the goals of the work plan.  The work group shall make a final report to the governor and the general assembly on or before January 15, 2008 with the findings that illustrate the outcomes of implementations derived from the work group actions along with a list of future actions and goals, which shall specify cost savings achieved and expected future savings. 

Sec. 56.  18 V.S.A. § 9408a is added to read:

§ 9408a.  Uniform Provider Credentialing

(a)  Definitions.  As used in this section:

(1)  “Credentialing” means a process through which an insurer or hospital makes a determination, based on criteria established by the insurer or hospital, concerning whether a provider is eligible to:

(A)  provide health care services to an insured or hospital patients; and

(B) receive reimbursement for the health care services.

(2)  “Health care services” means health‑care‑related services or products rendered or sold by a provider within the scope of the provider’s license or legal authorization, including hospital, medical, surgical, dental, vision, and pharmaceutical services or products.

(3)  “Insured” means an individual entitled to reimbursement for expenses of health care services under a policy issued or administered by an insurer.

(4)  “Insurer” has the same meaning as in subdivision 9402(9) of this title.

(5)  “Provider” has the same meaning as in subdivision 9402(8) of this title.

(b)  The department shall prescribe the credentialing application form used by the Council for Affordable Quality Healthcare (CAQH), or a similar, nationally recognized form prescribed by the commissioner, in electronic or paper format, which must be used beginning January 1, 2007 by an insurer or a hospital that performs credentialing.

(c)  An insurer or a hospital shall notify a provider concerning a deficiency on a completed credentialing application form submitted by the provider not later than 30 business days after the insurer or hospital receives the completed credentialing application form.

(d)  An insurer or a hospital shall notify a provider concerning the status of the provider’s completed credentialing application not later than:

(1)  Sixty days after the insurer or hospital receives the completed credentialing application form; and

(2)  Every 30 days after the notice is provided under subdivision (1) of this subsection, until the insurer or hospital makes a final credentialing determination concerning the provider.

(e)  The commissioner may enforce compliance with the provisions of this section as to insurers and as to hospitals as if the hospital were an insurer under section 3661 of Title 8.  

* * * Multi-Payer Database and

Consumer Price and Quality Information * * *

Sec. 57.  18 V.S.A. § 9410 is amended to read:

§ 9410.  HEALTH CARE DATA BASE DATABASE

(a)(1)  The commissioner shall establish and maintain a unified health care data base to enable the commissioner to carry out the duties under this chapter and Title 8, including:

(1)(A)  Determining the capacity and distribution of existing resources.

(2)(B)  Identifying health care needs and informing health care policy.

(3)(C)  Evaluating the effectiveness of intervention programs on improving patient outcomes.

(4)(D)  Comparing costs between various treatment settings and approaches.

(5)(E)  Providing information to consumers and purchasers of health care.

(F)  Improving the quality and affordability of patient health care and health care coverage.

(2)(A)  The program authorized by this section shall include a consumer health care price and quality information system designed to make available to consumers transparent health care price information, quality information, and such other information as the commissioner determines is necessary to empower individuals, including uninsured individuals, to make economically sound and medically appropriate decisions.

(B)  The commissioner shall convene a working group composed of the commissioner of health, the director of the office of Vermont health access, health care consumers, the office of the health care ombudsman, employers and other payers, health care providers and facilities, the Vermont program for quality in health care, health insurers, and any other individual or group appointed by the commissioner to advise the commissioner on the development and implementation of the consumer health care price and quality information system.

(C)  The commissioner may require a health insurer covering at least five percent of the lives covered in the insured market in this state to file with the commissioner a consumer health care price and quality information plan in accordance with regulations adopted by the commissioner. 

(D)  The commissioner shall adopt such regulations as are necessary to carry out the purposes of this subdivision.  The commissioner’s regulations may permit the gradual implementation of the consumer health care price and quality information system over time, beginning with health care price and quality information that the commissioner determines is most needed by consumers or that can be most practically provided to the consumer in an understandable manner.  The regulations shall permit health insurers to use security measures designed to allow subscribers access to price and other information without disclosing trade secrets to individuals and entities who are not subscribers.  The regulations shall avoid unnecessary duplication of efforts relating to price and quality reporting by health insurers, health care providers, health care facilities, and others, including activities undertaken by hospitals pursuant to their community report obligations under section 9405b of this title. 

* * *

(c)  Health insurers, health care providers, health care facilities and governmental agencies shall file reports, data, schedules, statistics, or other information determined by the commissioner to be necessary to carry out the purposes of this section.  Such information may include:

(1)  health insurance claims and enrollment information used by health insurers;

(2)  information relating to hospitals filed under subchapter 7 of this chapter (hospital budget reviews); and

(3)  any other information relating to health care costs, prices, quality, utilization, or resources required to be filed by the commissioner.

* * *

(h)(1)  Data Collection and Information Sharing.  All health insurers shall electronically provide to the commissioner in accordance with standards and procedures adopted by the commissioner by rule:

(A)  their encrypted health insurance claims data;

(B)  cross-matched claims data on requested members, subscribers, or policyholders; and

(C)  member, subscriber, or policyholder information necessary to determine third party liability for benefits provided.

(2)  The collection, storage, and release of health care data and statistical information that is subject to the federal requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”) shall be governed exclusively by the rules adopted thereunder in 45 CFR Parts 160 and 164.

(A)  All health insurers that collect the Health Employer Data and Information Set (HEDIS) shall annually submit the HEDIS information to the commissioner in a form and in a manner prescribed by the commissioner.

(B)  All health insurers shall accept electronic claims submitted in Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services format for UB-92 or HCFA-1500 records, or as amended by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

(3)(A)  The commissioner shall collaborate with the agency of human services and participants in agency of human services initiatives in the development of a comprehensive health care information system.  The collaboration is intended to address the formulation of a description of the data sets that will be included in the comprehensive health care information system, the criteria and procedures for the development of limited use data sets, the criteria and procedures to ensure that HIPAA compliant limited use data sets are accessible, and a proposed time frame for the creation of a comprehensive health care information system.

(B)  To the extent allowed by HIPAA, the data shall be available as a resource for insurers, employers, providers, purchasers of health care, and state agencies to continuously review health care utilization, expenditures, and performance in Vermont and to enhance the ability of Vermont consumers and employers to make informed and cost-effective health care choices.  In presenting data for public access, comparative considerations shall be made regarding geography, demographics, general economic factors, and institutional size.

(C)  Consistent with the dictates of HIPAA, and subject to such terms and conditions as the commissioner may prescribe by regulation, the Vermont information technology leaders (VITL) shall have access to the database for use in the development of a statewide health information technology plan pursuant to section 9417 of this title, and the Vermont program for quality in health care shall have access to the database for use in improving the quality of health care services in Vermont.

(C)(D)  Notwithstanding HIPAA or any other provision of law, the comprehensive health care information system shall not include or publicly disclose any data that contains direct personal identifiers.  For the purposes of this section, “direct personal identifiers” include information relating to an individual that contains primary or obvious identifiers, such as the individual’s name, street address, e-mail address, telephone number, and Social Security number.

(i)(1)  As used in this section, and without limiting the meaning of subdivision 9402(9) of this title, the term “health insurer” includes:

(A)  any entity defined in subdivision 9402(9) of this title;

(B)  any third party administrator, any pharmacy benefit manager, any entity conducting administrative services for business, and any other similar entity with claims data, eligibility data, provider files, and other information relating to health care provided to Vermont resident, and health care provided by Vermont health care providers and facilities required to be filed by a health insurer under this section;

(C)  any health benefit plan offered or administered by or on behalf of the state of Vermont or an agency or instrumentality of the state; and

(D)  any health benefit plan offered or administered by or on behalf of the federal government with the agreement of the federal government.

(2)  The commissioner may adopt rules to carry out the provisions of this subsection, including standards and procedures requiring the registration of persons or entities not otherwise licensed or registered by the commissioner and criteria for the required filing of such claims data, eligibility data, provider files, and other information as the commissioner determines to be necessary to carry out the purposes of this section and this chapter.

* * * Master Provider Index * * *

Sec. 58.  MASTER PROVIDER INDEX

(a)  No later than September 1, 2006, a work group shall be convened by the area health education centers (AHEC) program for the purpose of making recommendations for the creation of a master provider index designed to assure uniform and consistent identification and cross‑reference of all Vermont health care professionals in the development and implementation of health care technology in Vermont.  The work group shall:

(1)  be composed of interested parties, including representatives of health care provider associations and societies, public and private insurers, the Vermont program for quality health care (VPQHC), appropriate departments of state government, including the commissioner of the department of banking, insurance, securities, and health care administration or designee, the area health education centers (AHEC) program, and Vermont information technology leaders (VITL), for the purpose of creating a set of common data fields for a master provider index of all health care providers, as defined in subdivision 9402(8) of Title 18;  

(2)  compile recommendations from those parties regarding data fields that are necessary to be included in a database that allows for comprehensive cross‑referencing of the multiple “unique identification codes” applied to health care providers through licensure, credentialing, and billing and claims processing mechanisms for the purpose of supporting the implementation of health information exchange and public health and policy research, analysis and planning;

(3)  provide cost and time estimates for development and implementation of such an index; and

(4)  develop recommendations for the governance of the index and its relationship to other state health information data systems, technologies, and records.

(b)  No later than January 15, 2007, the work group shall report to the general assembly on the information obtained and shall make recommendations regarding the advisability of creating and sustaining a master provider index.  

                                                                        JAMES P. LEDDY

                                                                        ANN E. CUMMINGS

                                                                        KEVIN J. MULLIN

                                                                 Committee on the part of the Senate

                                                                        JOHN TRACY

                                                                        HARRY CHEN

                                                                        FRANCIS MCFAUN

                                                                 Committee on the part of the House

Thereupon, the question, Shall the Senate accept and adopt the report of the Committee of Conference?, was decided in the affirmative on a roll call, Yeas 20, Nays 4.

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


Roll Call

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

Those Senators who voted in the negative were: Coppenrath*, Maynard**, Shepard***, Wilton****.

Those Senators absent and not voting were: Bartlett, Gander, Giard, Illuzzi, Miller, Mullin.

     *Senator Coppenrath explained his vote as follows:

     “Mr. President.  I appreciate the hard work of the conference committee and Senator Leddy in particular.  I would like to vote for this bill and have the vote be unanimous in the Senate for health care reform.  The bill does contain a very positive mechanism utilizing the private, commercial insurance marketplace to provide insurance to the uninsured.  However, I am concerned that, as currently designed, it will not succeed over time and will create higher costs and become an even greater burden on Vermont taxpayers.”

     **Senator Maynard explained his vote as follows:

     “Some of my remarks have already been stated.  My negative vote is difficult when such hard work has been expended.  However, I believe ninety-five percent of the job has been done.  The final five percent would be to ask private insurers to quote commercial coverage in two ways.  One would be without “Guarantee Issue” and “Community Rating” and one quote including those terms.  Without that final effort we are voting without knowing what risks remain to be passed onto the taxpayers.”

     ***Senator Shepard explained his vote as follows:

     “There are many very good aspects to this bill.  The goals are laudable.  The bill is sincere.  However, the bill contains the fallback position where the state and, therefore, the taxpayers are ultimately liable for covering and running the health care of Vermonters.

     “The trigger for this fallback position is that the private insurance market cannot provide a plan within the constraints of Catamount Health.  Given the history of this legislature to increasing regulations on health care, further increasing the cost of health care, it is not hard to imagine that private insurers can be priced out of the market in a similar manner to how regulations have priced so many working Vermonters out of the health insurance market.

     “Should the future follow the path of the past, the result will be a state-run, state-controlled, taxpayer-financed health care system.  I hope the future does not follow the past.  I am not prepared to put that risk upon the taxpayers, so I voted no.”

     ****Senator Wilton explained her vote as follows:

     “I voted no, as I am concerned about the impacts of this legislation on small businesses and taxpayers if the private insurance market is not interested in providing the program.”

Thereupon, on motion of Senator Welch, the rules were suspended and the bill was ordered messaged to the House forthwith.

Rules Suspended; Report of Committee of Conference Accepted and Adopted on the Part of the Senate; Bill Messaged

H. 869.

Pending entry on the Calendar for notice, on motion of Senator Welch, the rules were suspended and the report of the Committee of Conference on House bill entitled:

An act relating to the state’s transportation program.

Was taken up for immediate consideration.

Senator Mazza, for the Committee of Conference, submitted the following report:

To the Senate and House of Representatives:

The Committee of Conference to which were referred the disagreeing votes of the two Houses upon House bill entitled:

H. 869.  An act relating to state’s transportation program.

Respectfully reports that it has met and considered the same and recommends that the Senate recede from its proposal of amendment and that the bill be further amended by striking out all after the enacting clause and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Sec. 1.  TRANSPORTATION PROGRAM; ADVANCEMENTS, CANCELLATIONS, AND DELAYS

(a)  The state’s proposed fiscal year 2007 transportation program appended to the agency of transportation’s proposed fiscal year 2007 budget, as amended by this act, is adopted to the extent federal, state, and local funds are available. 

(b)  As used in this act, unless otherwise indicated, the term “agency” means the agency of transportation and the term “secretary” means the secretary of transportation.  As used in this act, the table heading “As Proposed” means the transportation program referenced in subsection (a) of this section; the table heading “As Amended” means the amendments as made by this act; the table heading “Change” means the difference obtained by subtracting the “As Proposed” figure from the “As Amended” figure; and the term “change” or “changes” in the text refers to the project- and program‑specific amendments, the aggregate sum of which equals the net “Change” in the applicable table heading.

* * * Program Development – Roadway * * *

Sec. 2.  PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT – ROADWAY

The following modifications are made to the program development – roadway program:

(1)  Authorized spending on the Hartford Rt. 5 project RS 0113(40) is amended to read:

FY07                         As Proposed         As Amended             Change

PE                                    25,000                  25,000                      0

ROW                               40,000                  40,000                      0

Construction                2,500,000             2,500,000                      0

Other                                        0                           0                      0

Total                           2,565,000             2,565,000                      0

Sources of funds

State                              641,250                475,000          -166,190

Federal                        1,923,750             2,014,940             91,190

Local                                         0                  75,000             75,000

Total                           2,565,000             2,565,000                      0

(2)  Authorized spending on the Hartford-Newbury project IM 091-2(67) is amended to read:

FY07                         As Proposed         As Amended             Change

PE                                             0                           0                      0

ROW                                        0                           0                      0

Construction                4,500,000             2,500,000       -2,000,000

Other                                        0                           0                      0

Total                           4,500,000             2,500,000       -2,000,000

Sources of funds

State                              450,000                250,000          -200,000

Federal                        4,050,000             2,250,000       -1,800,000

Local                                         0                           0                      0

Total                           4,500,000             2,500,000       -2,000,000

(3)  Authorized spending on the Ryegate-St. Johnsbury project IM IR 091‑2(8) is amended to read:

FY07                         As Proposed         As Amended             Change

PE                                    50,000                  50,000                      0

ROW                                        0                           0                      0

Construction                1,000,000                450,000          -550,000

Other                                        0                           0                      0

Total                           1,050,000                500,000          -550,000

Sources of funds

State                              105,000                  50,000            -55,000

Federal                           945,000                450,000          -495,000

Local                                         0                           0                      0

Total                           1,050,000                500,000          -550,000

(4)  Authorized spending for the Waterbury Main Street project FEGC F‑013-4(13) is amended as follows.  The agency shall plan the development of the project in phases and include in the agency’s proposed transportation program for fiscal year 2008 a separate report detailing the agency’s proposed phases and time table for implementation of the proposed phases through project completion.  The funds authorized for expenditure in fiscal year 2007 shall be used to redesign the intersection of Park Row and Main Street, to advance the Park Row and Main Street intersection improvements, and otherwise to advance the project as the agency deems appropriate. 

FY07                         As Proposed         As Amended             Change

PE                                    50,000                           0            -50,000

ROW                                        0                           0                      0

Construction                              0                           0                      0

Other                                        0                250,000           250,000

Total                                50,000                250,000           200,000

Sources of Funds

State                                  1,500                    7,500               6,000

Federal                             47,500                237,500           190,000

Local                                  1,000                    5,000               4,000

Total                                50,000                250,000           200,000

(5)  Authorized spending on program development – roadway development and evaluation is amended to read:

FY07                         As Proposed    As Amended             Change

PE                                             0                      0                      0

ROW                                        0                      0                      0

Construction                              0                      0                      0

Other                          9,230,000        8,230,000       -1,000,000

Total                           9,230,000        8,230,000       -1,000,000

Sources of Funds

State                           1,235,650        1,135,650          -100,000

Federal                        7,760,850        6,860,850          -900,000

Local                              233,500           233,500                      0

Total                           9,230,000        8,230,000       -1,000,000

(6)  A project designated as Middlebury STP 5900( ), formerly known as Middlebury M 5900(2), also known as the Cross Street Bridge project, for the extension of Cross Street (TH 47) westerly over the Vermont Railway and the Otter Creek to connect US 7 to VT 30 and VT 125, is added to the roadway program.  The agency shall allocate $76,500 of funds from the approved planning budget ($68,000 federal, $8,500 state with an additional local match requirement of $8,500) to advance the development of the project subject to the spending constraints of such planning funds.

(7)  The agency shall include under project Waitsfield‑Moretown‑Duxbury STP F 013-4-(12)S an underground cattle pass on Vermont Route 100 to serve the so-called Turner Farm and, to the extent eligible under federal regulations,  phase the project to expedite construction of the cattle pass.  As an interim measure, in fiscal year 2007, the expenditure of $25,000 of transportation funds is authorized by the agency for the sole purpose of planning for the underground cattle pass and implementing temporary measures to improve safety conditions in and around the existing at-grade cattle crossing.  The agency shall include in the proposed transportation program for fiscal year 2008 a timetable for implementation of this project.

Sec. 3.  PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT – SAFETY AND TRAFFIC OPERATIONS

The following modifications are made to the program development – safety and traffic operations program:

(1)  Authorized spending for the Manchester STP 0137(17) project is amended to read:

FY07                         As Proposed    As Amended             Change

PE                                             0                      0                      0

ROW                             300,000           300,000                      0

Construction 1,000,000 1,000,000                     0

Other                                        0                      0                      0

Total                           1,300,000        1,300,000                      0

Sources of Funds

Trans. Fund                    115,960             26,760            -89,200

Town Fund                                0                      0                      0

Federal                        1,054,040        1,243,240           189,200

Local                              130,000             30,000          -100,000

Total                           1,300,000        1,300,000                      0

(2)  Project Colchester TCSP TCSE ( ) has received a transportation community system preservation (TCSP) earmark in the amount of $250,000 for a project identified as Route 15 streetscape and pedestrian crossing signal.  This project shall be added to program development safety and traffic operations development and evaluation as follows:  Colchester TCSP TCSE ( ) Route 15 Streetscape and Pedestrian Crossing Signal.

* * * Program Development – State Bridge * * *

Sec. 4.  PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT – STATE BRIDGE

The following modifications are made to the program development state bridge program:

(1)  Authorized spending on the Jay culvert project ST CULV(2) is amended to read:

FY07                         As Proposed         As Amended             Change

PE                                    10,000                  10,000                      0

ROW                                        0                           0                      0

Construction                   700,000                700,000                      0

Other                                        0                           0                      0

Total                              710,000                710,000                      0

Sources of funds

State                              710,000                150,000          -560,000

Federal                                      0                560,000           560,000

Local                                         0                           0                      0

Total                              710,000                710,000                      0

(2)  Authorized spending on the Springfield culvert project STP CULV(5) is amended to read:

FY07                         As Proposed         As Amended             Change

PE                                      8,000                    8,000                      0

ROW                                        0                           0                      0

Construction                   344,000                344,000                      0

Other                                        0                           0                      0

Total                              352,000                352,000                      0

Sources of funds

State                              352,000                  76,800          -275,200

Federal                                      0                275,200           275,200

Local                                         0                           0                      0

Total                              352,000                352,000                      0

(3)  With respect to the Williamstown project BRS 0204(4), the agency shall endeavor to complete the right-of-way process in fiscal year 2007 to the extent required to allow construction of the project in fiscal year 2008.

* * * Maintenance * * *

Sec.  5.  MAINTENANCE

(a)  Total authorized spending in the maintenance program is modified as follows:

FY07                         As Proposed    As Amended             Change

Personal Services      32,216,294      32,043,294          -173,000

Operating Expenses   27,946,300      27,941,800              -4,500

Grants                            672,000           368,000          -304,000

Total                         60,834,594      60,353,094          -481,500

Sources of Funds

State                         57,800,594      57,446,094          -354,500

Federal                        3,034,000        2,907,000          -127,000

Total                         60,834,594      60,353,094          -481,500

(b)  These changes are made to reduce funding for projects in the intelligent transportation system program.

(c)  The agency shall utilize $25,000 of the transportation funds authorized in subsection (a) of this section to sweep and repair highway shoulders to improve the shoulder paths available to bicyclists as provided in Secs. 9(a) and 9(b) of No. 80 of the Acts of 2005.

* * * Aviation * * *

Sec. 6.  AVIATION

The following modifications are made to the aviation program:

(1)  Authorized spending on facilities improvements AIR 04-3144 is amended to read:

FY07                         As Proposed         As Amended             Change

PE                                             0                           0                      0

ROW                                        0                           0                      0

Construction                              0                           0                      0

Other                          1,300,000             1,100,000          -200,000

Total                           1,300,000             1,100,000          -200,000

Sources of funds

State                              700,000                  500,00          -200,000

Federal                           600,000                600,000                      0

Local                                         0                           0                      0

Total                           1,300,000             1,100,000          -200,000

* * * Transportation Buildings * * *

Sec. 7.  OPERATIONS – TRANSPORTATION BUILDINGS

The following modifications are made to the operations – transportation buildings program:

(1)  Authorized spending for the Ferrisburgh maintenance and DMV facility project is amended to read:

FY07                         As Proposed         As Amended             Change

PE                                             0                           0                      0

ROW                                        0                           0                      0

Construction                1,562,879                200,000       -1,362,879

Other                                        0                           0                      0

Total                           1,562,879                200,000       -1,362,879

Sources of funds

State                           1,562,879                200,000       -1,362,879

Federal                                      0                           0                      0

Local                                         0                           0                      0

Total                           1,562,879                200,000       -1,362,879

* * * Statewide Bridge Maintenance * * *

Sec. 8.  BRIDGE MAINTENANCE

The following modifications are made to the bridge maintenance program:

(1)  Authorized spending on statewide bridge maintenance (100% state) is amended to read:

FY07                         As Proposed         As Amended             Change

PE                                             0                           0                      0

ROW                                        0                           0                      0

Construction                              0                           0                      0

Other                             855,000                500,000          -355,000

Total                              855,000                500,000          -355,000


Sources of funds

State                              855,000                500,000          -355,000

Federal                                      0                           0                      0

Local                                         0                           0                      0

Total                              855,000                500,000          -355,000

* * * Department of Motor Vehicles * * *

Sec. 9.  DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLES

(a)  Authorized spending by the department of motor vehicles with respect to transportation funds and federal funds only is amended to read:

FY07                                As Proposed         As Amended             Change

Personal Services              16,580,740           13,580,740       -3,000,000

Operating Expenses            7,177,547             7,050,064          -127,483

Grants                                   311,300                311,300                      0

Total                                 24,069,587           20,942,104       -3,127,483

Sources of funds

Transportation funds         22,744,734           19,617,251       -3,127,483

Federal                               1,324,853             1,324,853                      0

Local                                                0                           0                      0

Total                                 24,069,587           20,942,104       -3,127,483

(b)  These changes are made:

(1)  to eliminate $127,483 in funding for drivers’ education, and

(2)  to reduce the source of spending on the department’s computer upgrade project by $3,000,000 in transportation funds.  Any nontransportation funds appropriated for the computer upgrade project are authorized for expenditure.

* * * Town Bridge * * *

Sec. 10.  TOWN BRIDGE

The following modifications are made to the town bridge program:

(1)  Authorized spending on the town bridge initiative program is amended to read:

FY07                         As Proposed         As Amended             Change

PE                                             0                           0                      0

ROW                                        0                           0                      0

Construction                              0                           0                      0

Other                             511,111                590,000             78,889

Total                              511,111                590,000             78,889

Sources of funds

State                              460,000                    5,000          -455,000

Federal                                      0                520,000           520,000

Local                                51,111                  65,000             13,889

Total                              511,111                590,000             78,889

(2)  Authorized spending on the Barton-Orleans project BRO 1449(29) is amended to read:

FY07                         As Proposed         As Amended             Change

PE                                             0                           0                      0

ROW                                        0                           0                      0

Construction                1,181,438                581,438          -600,000

Other                                        0                           0                      0

Total                           1,181,438                581,438          -600,000

Sources of funds

State                              118,144                  58,144            -60,000

Federal                           945,150                465,150          -480,000

Local                              118,144                  58,144            -60,000

Total                           1,181,438                581,438          -600,000

(3)  Authorized spending on the Bradford project TH3 9641 is amended to read:

FY07                         As Proposed         As Amended             Change

PE                                             0                           0                      0

ROW                                        0                           0                      0

Construction                1,200,000                600,000          -600,000

Other                                        0                           0                      0

Total                           1,200,000                600,000          -600,000

Sources of funds

State                              240,000                120,000          -120,000

Federal                           960,000                480,000          -480,000

Local                                         0                           0                      0

Total                           1,200,000                600,000          -600,000

(4)  In addition to other modifications made in this section, authorized spending in the town bridge program is increased by $1,000,000 consisting of $100,000 in transportation funds, $800,000 in federal funds, and $100,000 in local funds.  The additional funds shall be allocated in the discretion of the secretary to advance projects in the state’s fiscal year 2007 town bridge program.


* * * Town Emergency Fund * * *

Sec. 11.  TOWN EMERGENCY FUND

Funding of the town emergency fund is modified to read:

FY07                         As Proposed         As Amended             Change

PE                                             0                           0                      0

ROW                                        0                           0                      0

Construction                              0                           0                      0

Other                             750,000             1,250,000           500,000

Total                              750,000             1,250,000           500,000

Sources of funds

State                              750,000             1,250,000           500,000

Federal                                      0                           0                      0

Local                                         0                           0                      0

Total                              750,000             1,250,000           500,000

* * * Town Highway * * *

Sec. 12.  TOWN HIGHWAY CLASS 2 ROADWAY

Authorized spending on the town highway class 2 roadway program is amended to read:

FY07                         As Proposed    As Amended             Change

Personal Services                      0                      0                      0

Operating Expenses                   0                      0                      0

Grants                         4,748,750        5,748,750        1,000,000

Total                           4,748,750        5,748,750        1,000,000

Sources of Funds

State                           4,748,750        5,748,750        1,000,000

Federal                                      0                      0                      0

Total                           4,748,750        5,748,750        1,000,000

Sec. 13.  PUBLIC TRANSIT

The following modifications are made to the public transit program:

(1)  Authorized spending for the three‑year demonstration – operating program is amended to read:

FY07                         As Proposed    As Amended             Change

PE                                             0                      0                      0

ROW                                        0                      0                      0

Construction                              0                      0                      0

Other                          1,250,000        1,450,000           200,000

Total                           1,250,000        1,450,000           200,000

Sources of Funds

State                                         0                      0                      0

Federal                        1,250,000        1,450,000           200,000

Local                                         0                      0                      0

Total                           1,250,000        1,450,000           200,000

(2)  In the event federal funds become available due to the unavailability of matching state funds, an additional $100,000 of federal funds shall be allocated to the three‑year demonstration – operating program.

* * * Program Development – Bike and Pedestrian Facilities * * *

Sec. 14.  PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT – BIKE AND PEDESTRIAN FACILITIES

The following modifications are made to the program development – bike and pedestrian facilities program:

(1)  Project Winooski TCSP TCSE ( ) has received a transportation community system preservation (TCSP) earmark in the amount of $150,000 for a project identified as Winooski east bicycle and pedestrian path.  This project shall be added to program development bike and pedestrian facilities development and evaluation as follows:  Winooski TCSP TCSE ( ) Winooski East Bicycle and Pedestrian Path.

* * * U.S. Route 5; Hartford Utility Relocations * * *

Sec. 15.  U.S. ROUTE 5; HARTFORD UTILITY RELOCATIONS

(a)  Notwithstanding 19 V.S.A. chapter 16 or any other law or rule of law pertaining to relocation of utility facilities to accommodate highway construction, the agency of transportation, in connection with the Hartford RS 0113(40) (reconstruction of U.S. 5) project, is authorized to pay the cost of relocating municipal utilities located within the state highway right-of-way.

(b)  The town of Hartford shall be responsible for reimbursing the agency for:

(1)  nonfederal funds required to match the $1.2-million federal earmark provided in the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act:  A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), Pub. L. 109-59;

(2)  municipal utility relocation costs which are in excess of the earmarked federal funds and any nonfederal funds required to match the earmarked federal funds; and

(3)  municipal utility relocation costs which are not eligible for federal participation. 

* * * Cancellation of Projects * * *

Sec. 16.  CANCELLATION OF PROJECTS

Pursuant to 19 V.S.A. § 10g(f) (legislative approval for cancellation of projects), the general assembly approves cancellation of the following projects:

(1)  Program development - roadway:

(A)  Wilmington NH 010-1(33) (VT 9 bypass of Wilmington village) (town vote rejected bypass recommendation contained in final environmental impact statement);

* * * Railroads * * *

Sec. 17.  APPROVAL OF TRANSACTIONS REGARDING STATE-OWNED RAILROAD PROPERTY

(a)  Subject to the rights of the Washington County Railroad Company under its June 4, 2003 operating agreement, the secretary of transportation, as agent for the state of Vermont, is authorized to sell, for fair market value, the following parcels of land along the state-owned railroad line between Hartford (White River Junction) and Newport City:

(1)  town of St. Johnsbury; valuation section V43/61; 2,035 square feet on the westerly side of railroad, currently under lease and used as parking lot for retail store, to be conveyed to ECH, LC;

(2)  town of Lyndon; valuation section V43/70; land on westerly side of Lyndonville railroad yard, to be conveyed to abutting landowner Hebert Properties, LLC;

(3)  town of Lyndon; valuation section V43/70; land on westerly side of Lyndonville railroad yard, to be conveyed to Estate of Donald B. Pearson;

(4)  town of Lyndon; valuation section V43/70; land o n westerly side of Lyndonville railroad yard, between church and railroad and currently used for church parking, to be conveyed to Lyndonville United Methodist Church;

(5)  town of Lyndon; valuation section V43/70; land on westerly side of Lyndonville railroad yard, between parsonage and railroad and currently used for church parking, to be conveyed to Lyndonville United Methodist Church;

(6)  town of Lyndon; valuation section V43/70; land on westerly side of the railroad, to be conveyed to Wheeler Building Supply, Inc.;  

(7)  town of Barton; valuation section V43/90; approximately 7,430 square feet of land under and surrounding single-family dwelling house owned by Curtis E. Varney, to be conveyed to Curtis E. Varney;

(8)  town of Barton; valuation section V43/90; approximately 1,564 square feet of land between U.S. 5 and former Libby property (144 Lake Street), to be conveyed to abutting landowner Armand St. Martin;

(9)  town of Barton; valuation section V43/90; approximately 2,109 square feet of land between U.S. 5 and former Metcalf property (146 Lake Street), to be conveyed to abutting landowner Armand St. Martin; 

(10)  town of Barton; valuation section V43/90; approximately 0.11 acres of land located between U.S. 5 and property known as 112 Lake Street, to be conveyed to abutting landowner Jackaline J. Swett; and

(11)  town of Barton; valuation section V43/90; approximately 0.12 acres of land located between U.S. 5 and property known as 120 Lake Street, to be conveyed to abutting landowner Jackaline J. Swett.

(b)  The secretary of transportation, as agent for the state of Vermont, is authorized to sell, for fair market value, the following parcels of land along the state-owned railroad line between St. Johnsbury and Swanton:

(1)  town of Danville; valuation section V50/7; land between previous and current location of Town Highway #63, to be conveyed to abutting landowners Mark A. Palmieri and Carol J. Palmieri; 

(2)  town of Morristown; valuation section V50/51; approximately 3.7 acres adjacent to engine house and currently leased for batch plant, to be conveyed to lessee S. T. Griswold & Company, Inc.; however, if this conveyance is not consummated, the Lamoille Economic Development Corporation shall have the option to purchase; and

(3)  town of Morristown; valuation section V50/51; approximately 5.3 acres under and surrounding engine house, to be conveyed to the Lamoille Economic Development Corporation. 

(c)  The conveyances authorized by this section shall not include any lands within 33 feet of the centerline of any active railroad track (unless otherwise agreed by the railroad operator) or, in the case of the former Lamoille Valley Railroad, any land within 33 feet of the centerline of the former main line track.  The conveyances shall include appropriate covenants for the protection of continuing railroad operations or, in the case of the former Lamoille Valley Railroad, railbanking and interim trail use.  The prospective purchasers shall be required to bear the cost of any required surveys as well as the cost of obtaining any required subdivision or boundary adjustment approvals.

(d)  Prior to selling any parcel which has a fair market value of over $50,000.00, the secretary of transportation shall obtain the approval of the chairs of the senate and house committees on transportation.

(e)  The authority granted by this section shall expire on June 30, 2008.

Sec. 18.  AGENCY OF TRANSPORTATION POLICY FOR SELLING  RAILROAD PROPERTY

(a)  The agency of transportation is directed to establish a policy for selling state-owned railroad property.  The policy shall, at least, address the following issues and shall set forth the criteria by which:

(1)  A decision is made or not made to sell the property.

(2)  A selling price is derived.

(3)  All offers to sell are either in or out of a bidding process and the specifics of the bidding process.

(b)  Prior to any sale of railroad property, the agency shall notify all agencies and departments of state government to afford the option of acquiring the property and shall obtain the approval of the chairs of both the senate and house committees on transportation for parcels selling for over $50,000.00.

(c)  The agency shall report to the members of the house and senate committees on transportation by January 15, 2007 on the policy required by subsection (a) of this section.

Sec. 19.  5 V.S.A. § 3587 is amended to read:

§ 3587.  OBSTRUCTING CROSSING MORE THAN FIVE MINUTES; PENALTY; EXEMPTION

(a)  When a railroad crosses a highway or road required for farm use at rail level, the company operating such railroad shall not, nor shall its officer, agent, or employees permit an engine or railroad car, or any portion thereof, to stand on any part of such highway or road for a longer period than five minutes at any one time, or in shunting, to obstruct public traffic for a longer period than five minutes at any one time.  A person or corporation violating the provisions of this section shall be fined not more than $50.00 nor less than $5.00.

(b)  The provisions of this section shall not apply to:

(1)  any grade crossings now existing or hereinafter established over the line of railroad extending through the city of Rutland between the River Street underpass and the Pine Street overpass; and

(2)  the grade crossing in the town of Norton between the St. Lawrence & Atlantic Railroad and the class 4 town highway known as Gagnon Road (town highway #12).

Sec. 20.  AMTRAK

The agency shall not purchase, contract for construction, or otherwise contract for the use of any railroad locomotion or rolling stock equipment intended for use in connection with Amtrak services without the approval of the general assembly if in session, and if not in session, the joint fiscal committee and the joint transportation oversight committee.  The agency shall notify members of the house and senate committees on transportation of any such submission to the joint fiscal committee and joint transportation oversight committee.  The house and senate committees on transportation shall meet and make recommendations to the joint fiscal committee and the joint transportation oversight committee regarding the proposed action.

Sec. 21.  REVIEW OF STATE RAIL PROGRAM; DIALOGUE WITH UNIVERSITY OF VERMONT REGARDING A RAIL AUTHORITY STUDY

(a)  The members of the rail authority study committee established pursuant to the provisions of Sec. 33(a) of No. 80 of the Acts of 2005, shall reconvene in August 2006 to review the state’s rail program and make recommendations regarding a rail authority to the house and senate committees on transportation by January 15, 2007.  Legislative members of the committee shall be entitled to per diem compensation and expense reimbursement as provided in 2 V.S.A. § 406(a).  Other members of the committee who are not state employees shall be entitled to per diem compensation and expense reimbursement as provided in 32 V.S.A. § 1010.

(b)  The agency of transportation should engage in a dialogue with the University of Vermont transportation center to assess further review of a rail authority in Vermont and other possible structures.

Sec. 22.  19 V.S.A. § 10e(c) is added to read:

(c)  The agency of transportation shall, by January 15 of each year, submit a rail report to the members of the house and senate committees on transportation.  The report shall include the status of projects programmed for delivery during the previous calendar year and a summary of any changes to the agency’s organizational structure which may affect project delivery.


* * * Federal Earmarks * * *

Sec. 23.  19 V.S.A. § 7(k) is amended to read:

(k)  Upon being apprised of the enactment of a federal law which makes provision for a federal earmark for a transportation project within the state of Vermont, the agency of transportation shall promptly notify the members of the House and Senate Transportation Committees house and senate committees on transportation and the joint fiscal office.  Such notification shall include all available summary information regarding the terms and conditions of the federal earmark.  For purposes of this section, federal earmark means a congressional designation of federal aid funds for a specific transportation project or program.  When the general assembly is not in session, upon obtaining the approval of the joint transportation oversight committee, the agency is authorized to add new projects to the transportation program in order to secure the benefits of federal earmarks.

* * * Municipal Equipment Loan Fund * * *

Sec. 24.  29 V.S.A. § 1602(a) and (b) are amended to read:

(a)  Upon application of a municipality or two or more municipalities applying jointly, the state treasurer may loan money from the fund to that municipality or municipalities for the purchase of equipment.  Purchases of equipment eligible for loans from the fund shall have a useful life of at least three five years and a purchase price of at least $20,000.00 but shall not be eligible for loans in excess of $90,000.00 $110,000.00 from this fund.

(b)  The treasurer is authorized to establish terms and conditions, including repayment schedules of up to three five years for loans from the fund to assure repayment of loans to the fund.  Before a municipality may receive a loan from the fund, it shall give to the treasurer security for the repayment of the funds.  The security shall be in such form and amount as the treasurer may determine and may include a lien on the equipment financed by the loan.

* * * Motor Vehicle and Highway User Fees * * *

Sec. 25.  23 V.S.A. § 114(a)(14) is amended to read:

(14)  Certified copy three-year operating record                           8.00 10.00

Sec. 26.  23 V.S.A. § 115(b) is amended to read:

(b)  Every identification card shall expire, unless earlier canceled, on the fourth birthday of the applicant following the date of original issue, and may be renewed every four years upon payment of a $15.00  $20.00 fee.


Sec. 27.  23 V.S.A. § 304(b)(1) is amended to read:

(1)  Except as otherwise provided, at the request of the registrant of any motor vehicle, upon application and upon payment of an annual fee of $30.00 $35.00 in addition to the annual fee for registration.  He or she may not issue two sets of special number plates bearing the same initials or letters unless the plates also contain a distinguishing number.  Special number plates are subject to reassignment if not renewed within 60 days of expiration of the registration.

Sec. 28.  23 V.S.A. § 307 is amended to read:

§ 307.  CARRYING OF REGISTRATION CERTIFICATE

A person shall not operate a motor vehicle nor draw a trailer or semi-trailer unless the registration certificate thereof is carried in some easily accessible place in such motor vehicle.  In case of the loss, mutilation or destruction of such certificate the owner of the vehicle described therein shall forthwith notify the commissioner and remit a fee of $7.00 $12.00  whereupon the commissioner shall furnish such owner with a duplicate certificate.  A corrected registration certificate shall be furnished by the commissioner upon request and receipt of a fee of $7.00 $12.00.

Sec. 29.  23 V.S.A. § 323 is amended to read:

§ 323.  TRANSFER FEES

A person who transfers the ownership of a registered motor vehicle to another, upon the filing of a new application, and upon the payment of a fee of $15.00 $20.00 may have registered in his or her name another motor vehicle for the remainder of the registration period without payment of any additional registration fee, provided the proper registration fee of the motor vehicle sought to be registered is the same as the registration fee of the transferred motor vehicle.  However, if the proper registration fee of the motor vehicle sought to be registered by such person is greater than the registration fee of the transferred motor vehicle, the applicant shall pay, in addition to such fee of $15.00 $20.00, the difference between the registration fee of the motor vehicle previously registered and the proper fee for the registration of the motor vehicle sought to be registered.

Sec. 30.  23 V.S.A. § 361 is amended to read:

§ 361.  PLEASURE CARS

The annual fee for registration of any motor vehicle of the pleasure car type, and all vehicles powered by electricity, shall be $49.00 $59.00 and the biennial fee shall be $90.00 $108.00.

Sec. 31.  23 V.S.A. § 364 is amended to read:

§ 364.  MOTORCYCLES

The annual fee for registration of a motorcycle, with or without side car, shall be $30.00 $36.00.

Sec. 32.  23 V.S.A. § 367(a)(1) is amended to read:

(a)(1)  The annual fee for registration of tractors, truck-tractors, or motor trucks except truck cranes, truck shovels, road oilers, bituminous distributors, and farm trucks used as hereinafter specified shall be based on the total weight of the truck-tractor or motor truck including body and cab plus the heaviest load to be carried.  In computing the fees for registration of tractors, truck-tractors or motor trucks with trailers or semi-trailers attached, except trailers or semi-trailers with a gross weight of less than 6,000 pounds, the fee shall be based upon the weight of the tractor, truck-tractor or motor truck, the weight of the trailer or semi-trailer, and the weight of the heaviest load to be carried by the combined vehicles.  In addition to the fee set out in the following schedule, the fee for vehicles weighing between 10,000 and 25,999 pounds inclusive shall be an additional $26.25 $29.00, the fee for vehicles weighing between 26,000 and 39,999 pounds inclusive shall be an additional $52.50 $58.00, the fee for vehicles weighing between 40,000 and 59,999 pounds inclusive shall be an additional $183.75 $203.04, and the fee for vehicles 60,000 pounds and over shall be an additional $288.75 $319.07.  The fee shall be computed at the following rates per thousand pounds of weight determined as above specified and rounded up to the nearest whole dollar, the minimum fee for registering a tractor, truck-tractor, or motor truck to 6,000 pounds shall be the same as for the pleasure car type:

$11.24 $12.42 when the weight exceeds 6,000 pounds but does not exceed 8,000 pounds.

$12.86 $14.21 when the weight exceeds 8,000 pounds but does not exceed 12,000 pounds.

$14.18 $15.67 when the weight exceeds 12,000 pounds but does not exceed 16,000 pounds.

$15.17 $16.76 when the weight exceeds 16,000 pounds but does not exceed 20,000 pounds.

$15.86 $17.53 when the weight exceeds 20,000 pounds but does not exceed 30,000 pounds.

$16.22 $17.92 when the weight exceeds 30,000 pounds but does not exceed 40,000 pounds.

$16.60 $18.34 when the weight exceeds 40,000 pounds but does not exceed 50,000 pounds.

$16.75 $18.51 when the weight exceeds 50,000 pounds but does not exceed 60,000 pounds.

$17.32 $19.14 when the weight exceeds 60,000 pounds but does not exceed 70,000 pounds.

$17.90 $19.78 when the weight exceeds 70,000 pounds but does not exceed 80,000 pounds.

$18.48 $20.42 when the weight exceeds 80,000 pounds but does not exceed 90,000 pounds.

Sec. 33.  23 V.S.A. § 371(a)(1) is amended to read:

(a)(1)  The one-year and two-year fees for registration of a trailer or semi-trailer, except contractor’s trailer or farm trailer, shall be as follows:

(A)  $15.00 $20.00 and $30.00 $40.00, respectively, when such trailer or semi-trailer has a gross weight of trailer and load of less than 1,500 pounds;

(B)  $30.00 $40.00 and $60.00 $80.00, respectively, when such trailer or semi-trailer has a gross weight of trailer and load of 1,500 pounds or more, and is drawn by a vehicle of the pleasure car type;

(C)  $30.00 $40.00 and $60.00 $80.00, respectively, when such trailer or semi-trailer is drawn by a motor truck or tractor, when such trailer or

semi-trailer has a gross weight of 1,500 pounds or more, but not in excess of 3,000 pounds;

(D)  $30.00 $40.00 and $60.00 $80.00, respectively, when such trailer or semi-trailer is used in combination with a truck-tractor or motor truck registered at the fee provided for combined vehicles under section 367 of this title.  Excepting for the fees, the provisions of this subdivision shall not apply to trailer coaches as defined in section 4 of this title nor to modular homes being transported by trailer or semi-trailer.

Sec. 34.  23 V.S.A. § 608(a) is amended to read:

(a)  The four-year fee required to be paid the commissioner for licensing an operator of motor vehicles shall be $35.00 $40.00.  The two-year fee required to be paid the commissioner for licensing an operator or shall be $25.00 and the two‑year fee for licensing a junior operator shall be $23.00 $27.00.


Sec. 35.  23 V.S.A. § 617(d) is amended to read:

(d)  An applicant shall pay $10.00 $15.00 to the commissioner for each learner’s permit that is not a motorcycle learner’s permit or a duplicate or renewal thereof.

Sec. 36.  23 V.S.A. § 634(a) is amended to read:

(a)  The fee for an examination for a learner’s permit shall be $20.00 $25.00.  The fee for an examination to obtain an operator’s license when the applicant is required to pass an examination pursuant to section 632 of this title shall be $5.00 $15.00.

Sec. 37.  23 V.S.A. § 675(a) is amended to read:

(a)  Before a suspension or revocation issued by the commissioner of a person’s operator’s license or privilege of operating a motor vehicle may be terminated or before a person’s operator’s license or privilege of operating a motor vehicle may be reinstated, there shall be paid to the commissioner a fee of $50.00 $65.00 in addition to any other fee required by statute.  This section shall not apply to suspensions issued under the provisions of chapter 11 of this title nor suspensions issued for physical disabilities or failing to pass re-examination.  The commissioner shall not reinstate the license of a driver whose license was suspended pursuant to section 1205 of this title until the commissioner receives certification from the court that the costs due the state have been paid.

Sec. 38.  23 V.S.A. § 2002(a) is amended to read:

(a)  The commissioner shall be paid the following fees:

(1)  For any certificate of title, including a salvage certificate of title, $15.00 $28.00;

* * *

(3)  For a certificate of title after a transfer, $15.00 $28.00;

* * *

(5)  For a duplicate certificate of title, including a salvage certificate of title, $15.00 $28.00;

(6)  For an ordinary certificate of title issued upon surrender of a distinctive certificate, $15.00 $28.00;

* * *

(10)  For a certificate of title after a security interest has been released, $15.00 $28.00;

* * *

(12)  For a corrected certificate of title, $15.00 $28.00.

Sec. 39.  23 V.S.A. § 4110(a)(8) is amended to read:

(8)  The application shall be accompanied by the proper fee.  The

four-year fee shall be $65.00 $75.00.  The two-year fee shall be $45.00 $50.00.  In those instances where the applicant surrenders a valid Vermont Class D license, the total fees due shall be reduced by:

(A)  one-quarter of the four-year fee established by section 601 of this title for each remaining full year of validity; or

(B)  one-half of the two-year fee paid for each remaining full year of validity.

Sec. 40.  23 V.S.A. § 4(74) is added to read:

(74)  “Category I special purpose vehicle” means a vehicle that is used exclusively as a back hoe, bucket loader, grader, truck shovel (wheeled excavator), street sweeper, or fork lift truck.

(75)  “Category II special purpose vehicle" means a vehicle that is used exclusively as a truck crane, wrecker, concrete form truck, concrete pumper truck, bituminous distributor, calcium chloride distributor, full or semi‑flotation applicator, well driller tender truck (these vehicles may tow a pick‑up truck), permanently mounted well drilling machine, road oiler, water tanker used for dust control, or a truck used to transport a building by use of a "transportation dolly" as defined in subdivision 4(54) of this title.

Sec. 41.  23 V.S.A. § 367(b), (c), (d), (e), (g), (h), and (j) are amended to read:

(b)  The annual fee for registration of a truck crane or truck shovel category I special purpose vehicle shall be $105.00 $150.00 and the annual fee for a category II special purpose vehicle shall be $350.00.

(c)  The annual fee for registration of the so-called fork lift truck, without load, shall be $65.00.

(d)  The annual fee of a truck carrying a permanently mounted water well drilling machine is $65.00, and the annual fee for a well drilling tender truck is $105.00.

(e)  The annual fee for registration of each road oiler, calcium chloride distributor or bituminous distributor shall be $105.00.

(g)  The annual fee for registration of a truck utilized for the single purpose of carrying concrete forms shall be $105.00.

(h)  The annual fee for registration of each street sweeper, full or semi‑flotation applicator vehicles, grader, rubber-tired loader and loader backhoe combination shall be $105.00. Loader backhoes used primarily for agricultural related purposes are exempt from the provision of this subsection section.

(j)  The annual registration fee for registration of a truck used exclusively to transport a building by the use of a “transportation dolly” as defined in subdivision (54) of section 4 of this title shall be $105.00.

Sec. 42.  32 V.S.A. § 8903(a) and (b) are amended to read:

(a)(1)  There is hereby imposed upon the purchase in Vermont of a motor vehicle by a resident a tax at the time of such purchase, payable as hereinafter provided.  The amount of the tax shall be six percent of the taxable cost of a:

pleasure car as defined in 23 V.S.A. § 4;

motorcycle as defined in 23 V.S.A. § 4;

motor home as defined in subdivision 8902(11) of this title; or

vehicle weighing up to 10,099 pounds, registered pursuant to 23 V.S.A. § 367, other than a farm truck.

(2)  For any other motor vehicle it shall be six percent of the taxable cost of the motor vehicle or $1,100.00 $1,680.00 for each motor vehicle, whichever is smaller, except that pleasure cars which are purchased, leased or otherwise acquired for use in short-term rentals shall be subject to taxation under subsection (d) of this section.

(b)(1)  There is hereby imposed upon the use within this state a tax of six percent of the taxable cost of a:

pleasure car as defined in 23 V.S.A. § 4;

motorcycle as defined in 23 V.S.A. § 4;

motor home as defined in subdivision 8902(11) of this title; or

vehicle weighing up to 10,099 pounds, registered pursuant to 23 V.S.A. § 367, other than a farm truck.

(2)  For any other motor vehicle it shall be six percent of the taxable cost of a motor vehicle, or $1,100.00 $1,680.00 for each motor vehicle, whichever is smaller, by a person at the time of first registering or transferring a registration to such motor vehicle payable as hereinafter provided, except no use tax shall be payable hereunder if the tax imposed by subsection (a) of this section has been paid, or the vehicle is a pleasure car which was purchased, leased or otherwise acquired for use in short-term rentals, in which case the vehicle shall be subject to taxation under subsection (d) of this section.

Sec. 43.  32 V.S.A. § 602(2)(B) is amended to read:

For purposes of this chapter:

* * *

(2)  “Fee”:

* * *

(B)  The following charges are exempt from the provisions of this subchapter:

(i)  A charge established under the jurisdiction of the public service board as provided by sections 20, 21, and 218 of Title 30.

(ii)  A charge established by the liquor control board as provided by Title 7.

(iii)  A duly adopted charge concerning only inmates of a correctional or detention facility, students enrolled in an educational institution, or patients admitted to a hospital or rehabilitation facility.

(iv)  Monies paid into an enterprise or internal service fund.

(v)  A transfer between agencies of state government or between state government and a political subdivision, as compensation for a service, to support a regulatory activity, or to account for surplus property.

(vi)  Monies from interest and premium payments, rent or lease payments, proceeds of fair market or negotiated sales, or sales of commercially available items.

(vii)  Except for the purposes of section 605 of this title, motor vehicle and other highway user fees authorized by the general assembly for the support of the transportation fund.

(viii)  Any other charge exempt by law.

* * * Elders and Persons with Disabilities Funding Formula * * *

Sec. 44.  PUBLIC TRANSIT; ELDERS AND PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES FUNDING FORMULA

The agency of transportation shall, in concert with the elders and persons with disabilities advisory committee, review the elders and persons with disabilities funding formula for the effectiveness of the mileage component.  The agency shall adjust the funding formula, if appropriate, before the state fiscal year 2007 allocations are announced.

* * * Closed Season for Snowmobile Operation * * *

Sec. 45.  23 V.S.A. § 3201(12) is amended to read:

For the purposes of this chapter:

* * *

(12)  “Closed season” shall be defined as the time from April 16 to the Sunday in December preceding the third Monday December 15.

* * * Transportation Program * * *

Sec. 46.  19 V.S.A. § 10g(d) and (e) are amended to read:

(d)(1)  In addition to the multiyear transportation program described in subsection (a) of this section, the agency shall annually present to the general assembly an analysis of the balance between the state’s commitments to transportation projects and total available resources for projects over the ten‑year period commencing with the fiscal year of the transportation program.  The analysis shall include, on a current dollar basis, an estimate of the total remaining cost of all projects in construction, development, and evaluation or candidate status in the agency’s proposed multiyear transportation program, including individual estimates and projected schedules for all projects with a total project cost estimate in excess of $10 million, and an estimate, on a current dollar basis, of the total resources projected to be available to cover project expenses during the ten-year period.

(2)  The projection of available resources called for in subdivision (1) of this subsection shall be determined in the following manner.  Total appropriations to the agency exclusive of internal service funds for each of the five previous fiscal years shall be determined.  From that total for each fiscal year shall be deducted appropriations for annual programs and other noncapital project agency activities.  Appropriations for administration, overhead, and other ongoing agency functions required for the support of capital project activities shall be apportioned on a reasonable basis and added back to the total which shall represent the total of appropriations for and in support of the agency’s capital project activities for that fiscal year.  The resulting appropriations totals of capital project-related appropriations shall be adjusted for inflation in a procedure approved by the joint fiscal committee.  The resulting inflation adjusted figures for the five previous fiscal years shall be averaged, and the average multiplied by ten shall be used as the estimate of the total resources projected to be available to cover project expenses during the ten-year period.

(3)  To the extent the estimate of remaining costs exceeds the estimate of available resources, the agency shall submit to the general assembly a plan to bring costs and resources into balance.  The plan shall include recommendations regarding the scheduling, suspension, or cancellation of projects, cost saving initiatives, revenue raising initiatives, and other organizational, project design, project execution, or financial measures or initiatives which shall ensure that the state’s commitments will be adequately and realistically funded.

(e)(1)  In addition to the multiyear transportation program described in subsection (a) of this section, the agency shall annually present to the general assembly The agency’s annual transportation program shall include a separate report referencing this subsection description of describing all projects not previously reported under this subsection with respect to which, as of the fiscal year covered by the transportation program:

(1)(A)  the The total project cost estimate exceeds $5,000,000.00;           

(2)(B)  federal Federal funds are proposed to be used to cover a portion of the project costs; and

(3)(C)  approval Approval of the proposed activity and expenditure of federal funds on the project would expose the state to potential liability to reimburse the federal government in the event the project is subsequently  cancelled.

(2)  All projects with front-of-the-book status in any approved transportation program for fiscal year 2007 or earlier shall be exempt from the reporting requirements of subdivision (1) of this subsection.

Sec. 47.  19 V.S.A. § 10g(n) is added to read:

(n)  The agency’s annual transportation program shall include a project‑by‑project description in each program of all proposed spending of funds for the development and evaluation of projects.  In the approved annual transportation program, these funds shall be reserved to the identified projects subject to the discretion of the secretary to reallocate funds to other projects within the program when it is determined that the scheduled expenditure of the identified funds will be delayed due to permitting, local decision-making, the availability of federal or state funds, or other unanticipated problems.

* * * Prioritization Schedule for all Transportation Projects * * *

Sec. 48.  19 V.S.A. § 10b(c) is added to read:

(c)  The agency of transportation, in developing each of the program prioritization systems schedules for all modes of transportation, shall include the following throughout the process:

(1)  The agency shall annually solicit input from each of the regional planning commissions and the Chittenden County Metropolitan Planning Organization on regional priorities within each schedule, and those inputs shall be factored into the prioritizations for each program area and shall afford the opportunity of adding new projects to the schedules. 

(2)  Each year the agency shall provide in the front of the transportation program book a detailed explanation describing the factors in the prioritization system that creates each project list.

Sec. 49.  PRIORITIZATION SYSTEMS ANALYSIS OF DIFFERENT CLASSES OF HIGHWAYS

The agency with respect to the program prioritization systems shall analyze the rationale for distinguishing between and assigning different weights to different classes of highways and the impact such distinctions and weights have on the prioritization system.  In conducting the analysis, the agency shall determine the implications of assigning equal weights to the interstate system and the national highway system.  The agency shall make recommendations on how to modify the prioritization systems so as to assign priority weighting based on the time a project has been listed in the state’s transportation program.  The agency shall make recommendations with the intent to include modifications to the prioritization system to address these issues to the house and senate committees on transportation by January 15, 2007.

* * * Town Highway Bridge and Culvert Inventory * * *

Sec. 50.  TOWN HIGHWAY BRIDGE AND CULVERT INVENTORY

The agency of transportation is directed to complete and deploy an integrated software product by November 1, 2006 to handle data entry, access and status reporting of town bridge and culvert inventories currently collected by regional planning commissions (RPCs), the metropolitan planning organization, and towns and their contractors.  The software product shall conform to the specifications defined in the VGIS Bridge and Culvert Data Exchange Standard (VGIS Handbook:  Part 2 - Standards - Section H).  All town bridge and culvert inventory data which have been collected and which hereafter are collected by regional planning commissions in a data format conforming to the specifications of the VGIS Bridge and Culvert Data Exchange Standard shall be made available by the regional planning commissions to the Vermont center for geographic information which shall make such data available to the agency and to the general public on its website.  The agency of transportation shall encourage the RPCs and the metropolitan planning organization to complete the inventories for their region, and shall annually update the house and senate committees on transportation on the status of the data collection by regional planning commissions.

* * * Transportation Funds for Support of Government Functions * * *

Sec. 51.  19 V.S.A. § 11a is amended to read:

§ 11a.  TRANSPORTATION FUNDS APPROPRIATED FOR SUPPORT OF GOVERNMENT

The maximum amount of transportation funds that may be appropriated for the support of government, other than for the agency of transportation, the transportation board, transportation pay act funds, the cost of maintaining and staffing rest areas, construction of transportation capital facilities used by the agency of transportation, and transportation debt service, for fiscal year 2006 shall not exceed 18.0 percent of the total of the prior fiscal year transportation fund appropriations and for fiscal year 2007 and thereafter shall not exceed $38,221,563 $35,440,855.00

* * * Transfer to the Central Garage Fund * * *

Sec. 52.  Sec. 69b(c) of No. 6 of the Acts of 2005, as amended by Sec. 77 of H.617 the Acts of 2006 is amended to read:

(c)  In fiscal year 2006, the agency of transportation shall revert $2,600,000 from the appropriation of transportation funds for paving and bridge projects and transfer that amount appropriations to the agency of transportation for the paving, state bridge, and town bridge projects referenced in subsection (a) of this section shall be reduced by the aggregate amount of $2,600,000, and $2,600,000 shall be transferred to the highway central garage fund. 

* * * Towing Abandoned Vehicles from Public Property ‑ Funding * * *

Sec. 53.  23 V.S.A. § 2158 is added to read:

§ 2158.  FEES FOR TOWING; PUBLIC PROPERTY; FUNDING

(a)  A towing service may charge a fee of up to $40.00 for towing an abandoned motor vehicle from public property under the provisions of sections 2151–2157 of this title.  This fee shall be paid to the towing service upon the issuance by the department of motor vehicles of a certificate of abandoned motor vehicles under section 2156 of this title.  The commissioner of motor vehicles shall notify the commissioner of finance and management who shall issue payment to the towing service for vehicles removed from public property.  Payments under this section shall terminate upon the payment of a total of $16,000.00 for towing abandoned motor vehicles from public property in any fiscal year.  A towing company shall not be eligible for more than 50 percent of this annual allocation.  

(b)  The commissioner of motor vehicles is authorized to expend up to $16,000.00 of the department's annual appropriation for the purpose of this section.

* * * Vehicles Approaching Tow Trucks on Highways * * *

Sec. 54.  23 V.S.A. § 1050(b) is amended to read:

(b)  The operator of a vehicle which is approaching a stationary law enforcement vehicle which is displaying a blue or blue and white signal lamp, or of a vehicle which is approaching a stationary ambulance, fire apparatus, a vehicle operated by a volunteer firefighter, or a motor vehicle used in rescue operations as set forth in section 1252 of this title which is displaying a red signal lamp, or a stationary towing and repair vehicle displaying an amber signal lamp shall proceed with caution, and, if traveling on a four-lane highway, and safety conditions permit, make a lane change.

* * * DMV Study of Commercial Bus Registration Fees * * *

Sec. 55.  DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLE STUDY OF MOTOR BUS FEES AND TAXES

The joint fiscal office, in cooperation with the department of motor vehicles, shall examine the options for assessing registration fees for motor buses that do not operate on a fixed route and to assess the options for removing or otherwise modifying the diesel fuel tax exemption for these vehicles and to make recommendations to the senate and house committees on transportation by January 15, 2007.

* * * Town Highway Grants * * *

Sec. 56.  19 V.S.A. § 309b(c) is added to read:

(c)  Notwithstanding section 309a of this title, a municipality may use a grant awarded under the town highway structures program or the class 2 town highway roadway program to provide the nonfederal matching funds required to draw down a federal earmark.  In all such cases, the grant shall be matched by local funds as provided in this section.  The intended use of a town highway grant as matching funds for a federal earmark shall not entitle a municipal grant applicant to any priority for a grant award in any fiscal year.

* * * Class 2 Town Highway Grants * * *

Sec. 57.  19 V.S.A. § 309b(b) is amended to read:

(b)  Notwithstanding subsection 309a(a) of this title, grants provided to towns under the class 2 town highway roadway program shall be matched by local funds sufficient to cover 30 percent of the project costs, unless the town has adopted road and bridge standards and has completed a network inventory, in which event the local match shall be sufficient to cover 20 percent of the project costs.  The secretary may adopt rules to implement the class 2 town highway roadway program.  Class 2 town highway roadway projects receiving funds pursuant to this subsection shall be the responsibility of the applicant municipality and a municipality shall not receive a grant in excess of $175,000.00.

* * * Discretionary Spending * * *

Sec. 58.  DISCRETIONARY SPENDING AUTHORITY

Spending authority in the amount of $3,569,924 in state funds and $1,645,610 in federal funds shall be allocated for use at the discretion of the secretary for the following purposes in the following order of priority:

(1)  to cover a revenue shortfall due to a downgrade in the consensus forecast for transportation fund revenue for fiscal year 2007;

(2)  up to $200,000 in state funds for activities in the bridge maintenance program;

(3)  up to $800,000 in state funds to advance the Ferrisburgh garage and DMV facility project; and

(4)  any remaining balance to advance projects in the program development or town bridge programs in the secretary’s discretion.

* * * Rest Area Advisory Committee ** *

Sec. 59.  19 V.S.A. § 12c is added to read:

§ 12c.  REST AREA ADVISORY COMMITTEE

(a)  There is created a joint rest area advisory committee composed of the chairs of the house and senate committees on appropriations, the house and senate committees on transportation, and the house and senate committees on institutions.

(b)  The committee may meet during adjournment for official duties.  Members shall be entitled to compensation and reimbursement pursuant to 2 V.S.A. § 406.  The committee shall have the assistance of the staff of the legislative council and the joint fiscal office.

(c)  The committee shall provide legislative oversight of the construction and operation of rest areas, information centers, and welcome centers.  The advisory committee shall provide advice to the committees on transportation and institutions on capital construction costs and advice to the committees on appropriations on operating budgets.  The secretary of transportation and the commissioner of buildings and general services shall report to the advisory committee upon request.

* * * Funding Rest Areas, Information Centers, and Welcome Centers * * *

Sec. 60.  19 V.S.A. § 41 is added to read:

§ 41.  FUNDING FOR REST AREAS, INFORMATION CENTERS, AND WELCOME CENTERS

The cost of maintaining, staffing, and operating rest areas, information centers, and welcome centers shall be funded from the general fund.

* * * Safety Belt and Child Restraint Exemptions * * *

Sec. 61.  23 V.S.A. § 1258(b) is amended to read:

(b)  A person shall not be adjudicated in violation of this section if:

(1)  the motor vehicle is regularly used to transport passengers for hire except a motor vehicle owned or operated by a day care facility; or

(2)  the motor vehicle was manufactured without safety belts; or

(3)  the person has been ordered by an enforcement officer, a firefighter, or an authorized civil authority to evacuate persons from a stricken area.

Sec. 62.  23 V.S.A. § 1259(b) is amended to read:

(b)  A person is required to be restrained in a safety belt system unless:

(1)  the person is a rural mail carrier of the United States Postal Service operating a motor vehicle in the performance of employment; or

(2)  the person is a driver or passenger frequently stopping and leaving the motor vehicle or delivering property from the motor vehicle, if the speed of the motor vehicle between stops does not exceed 15 miles per hour; or

(3)  the person is the operator of any farm tractor; or

(4)  the person is a member of the emergency personnel of an emergency motor vehicle and finds it necessary to be unrestrained in order to perform his or her duties; or

(5)  the motor vehicle the person is occupying is a bus or taxi; or

(6)  the person is required to be restrained under section 1258 of this title; or

(7)  the person has been ordered by an enforcement officer, a firefighter, or an authorized civil authority to evacuate persons from a stricken area.

* * * Enhancement Grant Program * * *

Sec. 63.  19 V.S.A. § 38(g) and (h) are amended to read:

(g)  In Each year, up to $200,000.00 of the grant program or such lesser sum if all eligible applications amount to less than $200,000.00 shall be reserved for municipalities for eligible salt and sand shed projects.  Grant awards for eligible projects shall not exceed $50,000.00 per project.  Regarding the balance of grant program funds, in evaluating applications for enhancement grants, the transportation enhancement grant committee shall give preferential weighting to projects involving as a primary feature a bicycle or pedestrian facility.  The degree of preferential weighting and the circumstantial factors sufficient to overcome the weighting shall be in the complete discretion of the transportation enhancement grant committee. 

(h)  The agency shall develop an outreach and marketing effort designed to provide information to communities with respect to the benefits of participating in the enhancement program.  This The outreach and marketing activities shall include apprising municipalities of the availability of grants for salt and sand sheds.  The outreach effort should be directed to areas of the state historically underserved by this program.

                                                                        RICHARD T. MAZZA

                                                                        PHILIP B. SCOTT

                                                                        DONALD E. COLLINS

                                                                 Committee on the part of the Senate

                                                                        RICHARD WESTMAN

                                                                        STEVEN HOWARD

                                                                        SHAP SMITH

                                                                 Committee on the part of the House

Thereupon, the question, Shall the Senate accept and adopt the report of the Committee of Conference?, was decided in the affirmative on a roll call, Yeas 23, Nays 0.

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

Roll Call

Those Senators who voted in the affirmative were: Ayer, Campbell, Collins, Condos, Coppenrath, Cummings, Doyle, Dunne, Giard, Kitchel, Kittell, Lyons, MacDonald, Maynard, Mazza, Scott, Sears, Shepard, Snelling, Starr, Welch, White, Wilton.

Those Senators who voted in the negative were: None.

Those Senators absent and not voting were: Bartlett, Flanagan, Gander, Illuzzi, Leddy, Miller, Mullin.

Thereupon, on motion of Senator Welch, the rules were suspended and the bill was ordered messaged to the House forthwith.

Rules Suspended; Report of Committee of Conference; Consideration Postponed

S. 256.

Pending entry on the Calendar for notice, on motion of Senator Welch, the rules were suspended and the report of the Committee of Conference on House bill entitled:

An act relating to sexual exploitation of an inmate.

Was taken up for immediate consideration.

Senator Sears, for the Committee of Conference, submitted the following report:

To the Senate and House of Representatives:

The Committee of Conference to which were referred the disagreeing votes of the two Houses upon House bill entitled:

H. 256.  An act relating to sexual exploitation of an inmate.

Respectfully reports that it has met and considered the same and recommends that the bill be amended by striking out all after the enacting clause and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Sec. 1.  13 V.S.A. § 3257 is added to read:

§ 3257.  SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF AN INMATE

(a)  No correctional employee, contractor, or other person providing services to offenders on behalf of the department of corrections or pursuant to a court order or in accordance with a condition of parole, probation, supervised community sentence, or furlough shall engage in a sexual act with a person who the employee, contractor, or other person providing services knows:

(1)  is confined to a correctional facility; or

(2)  is being supervised by the department of corrections while on parole, probation, supervised community sentence, or furlough, where the employee, contractor, or other service provider is currently engaged in a direct supervisory relationship with the person being supervised.  For purposes of this subdivision, a person is engaged in a direct supervisory relationship with a supervisee if the supervisee is assigned to the caseload of that person.

(b)  A person who violates subsection (a) of this section shall be imprisoned for not more than five years or fined not more than $10,000.00, or both.

Sec. 2.  28 V.S.A. § 853 is amended to read:

§ 853.  PUNISHMENT; MAINTENANCE OF RECORDS; RECOMMENDATION OF TRANSFER

(a)(1)  Except in serious cases as provided in subdivision (2) of this subsection, punishment for a breach of the rules and regulations of the facility shall consist of deprivation of privileges.  In cases of

(2)  Serious breaches of the rules and regulations shall include assault, escape, or attempt to escape, or other serious breach of the rules, and other serious breaches.  In cases involving a serious breach, the disciplinary committee may recommend to the supervising officer of the facility, and he who may then order, other forms of discipline in addition to or as substitution for a loss of privileges, that any portion of an inmate’s reduction of term for good behavior be forfeited or withheld in accordance with section 812 of this title.  In cases involving breach of the rules and regulations of the facility that result.  If the serious breach results in damage to state-owned property, the disciplinary committee may fix the an amount of restitution or reparation, which shall not exceed an amount the offender inmate can or will be able to pay, and shall fix the manner of performance.  Other forms of discipline for a serious breach of the rules may include:

(A)  Recommendation by the disciplinary committee and by the supervising officer also may be made to the commissioner that the inmate be transferred to another facility. 

(B)  For serious breach of the rules the disciplinary committee Segregation, in accordance with the regulations of the department, may also recommend, and the supervising officer may order, that an inmate be confined in a cell or room, apart from the accommodations provided for inmates who are participating in programs of the facility.; provided:

(1)(i)  The period of such confinement segregation shall not exceed thirty 30 days consecutively;

(2)(ii)  The inmate shall be supplied with a sufficient quantity of wholesome and nutritious food, which shall be of the same quantity and nutritional quality as that provided to the general population of inmates at the facility;

(3)(iii)  Adequate sanitary and other conditions required for the health of the inmate shall be maintained; and

(4)(iv)  The supervising officer of the facility shall comply with any recommendation that may be made by the institution’s facility’s physician for measures with respect to dietary needs or conditions of confinement segregation of each inmate required to maintain the health of the inmate.

(b)  No cruel, inhuman, or corporal punishment shall be used on any inmate, nor is the use of force on any inmate justifiable except as provided by law.

(c)  The supervising officer of any facility shall maintain a record of all breaches of rules, of the disposition of each case, and of the punishment, if any, for each breach.  Each breach of the rules by an inmate shall be entered in the file of the inmate, together with the disposition or punishment therefor.

Sec. 3.  28 V.S.A. § 102(c)(19) is amended to read:

(19)  If a treaty in effect between the United States and Canada a foreign country provides for the transfer or exchange of a convicted and sentenced offender to the country of which the offender is a citizen or national, the commissioner may, with the written consent of such offender obtained only after the opportunity to consult with counsel, and in accordance with the terms of the treaty, consent to the transfer or exchange of any such offender and take any other action necessary to initiate the participation of the state in the treaty.

Sec. 4.  28 V.S.A. § 701a is amended to read:

§ 701a.  SOLITARY CONFINEMENT; SEGREGATION OF INMATES WITH A SERIOUS MENTAL HEALTH DISORDER ILLNESS

(a)  The commissioner shall promulgate adopt rules pursuant to chapter 25 of Title 3 regarding the classification, treatment, and maximum length of stay in solitary confinement segregation of an inmate with a serious mental illness as defined in subdivision 906(1) of this title; provided that the length of stay in segregation for an inmate with a serious mental illness:

(1)  Shall not exceed 15 days if the inmate is segregated for disciplinary reasons.

(2)  Shall not exceed 30 days if the inmate requested the segregation, except that the inmate may remain segregated for successive 30-day periods following assessment by a qualified mental health professional and approval of a physician for each extension.

(3)  Shall not exceed 30 days if the inmate is segregated for any reason other than the reasons set forth in subdivision (1) or (2) of this subsection, except that the inmate may remain segregated for successive 30-day periods following a due process hearing for each extension, which shall include assessment by a qualified mental health professional and approval of a physician.

(b)  On or before October 1, 2001, the agency of human services, department of corrections, shall enact an emergency rule implementing the directive of this section.  The emergency rule shall specifically address the obligations and responsibilities of the department of corrections relative to the solitary confinement of a male or female inmate with a serious mental illness as defined in section 906 of this title.  For purposes of this title, and despite other names this concept has been given in the past or may be given in the future, “segregation” means a form of separation from the general population which may or may not include placement in a single occupancy cell and which is used for disciplinary, administrative, or other reasons.

(c)  On or before the 15th day of each month, the department’s health services director shall provide to the joint legislative corrections oversight committee a report that, while protecting inmate confidentiality, lists each inmate who was in segregation during the preceding month by a unique indicator and identifies the reason the inmate was placed in segregation, the length of the inmate’s stay in segregation, whether the inmate has a serious mental illness, or is otherwise on the department's mental health roster, and, if so, the nature of the mental illness.  The report shall also indicate any incident of self harm or attempted suicide by inmates in segregation.  The committee chair shall ensure that a copy of the report is forwarded to the Vermont defender general and the executive director of Vermont Protection and Advocacy, Inc. on a monthly basis.

Sec. 5.  JOINT LEGISLATIVE CORRECTIONS OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE

During the 2006 interim, the joint legislative corrections oversight committee shall explore the current law and practices concerning the segregation of inmates, including inmates with a cognitive impairment and inmates with a serious mental illness or who are otherwise on the mental health roster.  The committee’s work shall include review of the process and standards by which the department, through hearings and other means, determines whether placement in segregation is appropriate for inmates with a serious mental illness, the qualifications of hearing officers, and the due process protections afforded by the hearings.  The committee shall also consider the incidence of self harm and attempted suicide by segregated inmates and the identification of alternative management techniques.  The committee shall also explore the current law and practices concerning transfers of inmates with mental conditions to out-of-state facilities.  On or before January 15, 2007, the committee shall present its analysis together with any related proposals for legislation to the house and senate committees on judiciary and the house committee on institutions. 

     And that upon passage, the title of the bill shall read:

     AN ACT RELATING TO SEXUAL EXPLOITATION AND TO ISSUES CONCERNING THE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS.

                                                                        RICHARD W. SEARS, JR.

                                                                        JOHN F. CAMPBELL

                                                                        VINCENT ILLUZZI

                                                                 Committee on the part of the Senate

                                                                        WILLIAM J. LIPPERT, JR.

                                                                        JOHN S. RODGERS

                                                                        PATTI KOMLINE

                                                                 Committee on the part of the House

Thereupon, pending the question, Shall the Senate accept and adopt the report of the Committee of Conference?, on motion of Senator Sears, consideration was postponed until Tuesday, May 9, 2007.

Rules Suspended; House Proposal of Amendment Concurred In; Rules Suspended; Bill Delivered

S. 320.

Pending entry on the Calendar for notice, on motion of Senator Kitchel, the rules were suspended and House proposal of amendment to Senate bill entitled:

An act relating to an appropriation to the Legislature.

Was taken up for immediate consideration.

The House proposes to the Senate to amend the bill by adding a new Sec. 3 to read:

Sec. 3. SESSION REIMBURSEMENT AFTER MAY 6, 2006

     Notwithstanding 32  V.S.A. §1051(a)(1) and §1052(a), for any day of the 2006 legislative session after May 6, 2006 members shall be compensated for services on a daily basis.

Thereupon, the question, Shall the Senate concur in the House proposal of amendment?, was decided in the affirmative on a division of the Senate, Yeas 12, Nays 7.

Thereupon, on motion of Senator Welch, the rules were suspended, and the bill was ordered delivered to the Governor forthwith.

Message from the House No. 103

     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 considered Senate proposals of amendment to House bills of the following titles:

     H. 227.  An act relating to safe staffing and quality patient care.

     H. 456.  An act relating to use of Vermont products and nutrition education in schools.

And has severally concurred therein.

     The House has considered Senate proposals of amendment to House proposals of amendment to Senate bill of the following title:

     S. 58.  An act relating to direct shipping of wine and beer.

And has concurred therein.

The House has considered the report of the Committee of Conference upon the disagreeing votes of the two Houses on House bill of the following title:

H. 618.  An act relating to services for transitional youth

And has adopted the same on its part.

The House has adopted a joint resolution of the following title:

J.R.H.  77.  Joint resolution authorizing the 2006 Girls’ State civics educational program to meet at the State House.

In the adoption 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. 68.  Joint resolution relating to retirement benefits for Vermont state colleges nontenured faculty.

And has adopted the same in concurrence.

The Governor has informed the House of Representatives that on the fifth day of May, 2006, he approved and signed a bill originating in the House of the following title:

H. 766.  An act relating to strict foreclosure.

     The House has adopted concurrent resolutions of the following titles:

     H.C.R. 324.  Concurrent resolution congratulating the regionally and nationally honored 2005–2006 Otter Valley Union High School debaters.

     H.C.R. 325.  Concurrent resolution recognizing the outstanding work of the Eighteenth Vermont Regiment, Inc. in preserving Vermont’s Civil War heritage.

     H.C.R. 326.  Concurrent resolution congratulating the 2005 Vermont Agricultural Hall of Fame inductees.

     H.C.R. 327.  Concurrent resolution honoring the civic contributions of the Rutland Veterans Council.

     H.C.R. 328.  Concurrent resolution congratulating Mary Doud of Northfield Falls on her selection as an exhibitor in the Palettes of Vermont, 53 Flavors:  Tease Your Palette exhibit.

     H.C.R. 329.  Concurrent resolution in memory of Helen S. Ankuda of Springfield.

     H.C.R. 330.  Concurrent resolution congratulating the founders of the Gray Building Coalition in Northfield on receipt of a community achievement award.

     H.C.R. 331.  Concurrent resolution honoring the outstanding retiring teachers at Vergennes Union High School.

     H.C.R. 332.  Concurrent resolution congratulating VanVechten Breese Graves on his 100th birthday.

     H.C.R. 333.  Concurrent resolution in memory of former Representative James William Lounsbury of Pownal.

     H.C.R. 334.  Concurrent resolution commemorating the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the Solomon Wright Public Library in Pownal.

     H.C.R. 335.  Concurrent resolution in memory of the Reverend William Sloane Coffin of Strafford.

     H.C.R. 336.  Concurrent resolution in memory of Master Sgt. John Thomas Stone of Tunbridge.

     H.C.R. 337.  Concurrent resolution in memory of Vermont National Guard Lt. Mark H. Dooley of Wilmington.

     H.C.R. 338.  Concurrent resolution in memory of U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Adam Strain.

     H.C.R. 339.  Concurrent resolution in memory of Vermont Army National Guard 2nd Lt. Mark Procopio of Burlington.

     H.C.R. 340.  Concurrent resolution honoring the Sons of the American Legion.

     H.C.R. 341.  Concurrent resolution honoring the memory of slain Newport police officer Joseph Manogue and the local and family historians who rekindled the historic memory of this dedicated local law enforcement officer.

     H.C.R. 342.  Concurrent resolution congratulating the Randolph Union High School’s 2006 Vermont Drama Festival state champions.

     H.C.R. 343.  Concurrent resolution honoring Derek Palmieri of Weathersfield on becoming an Eagle Scout.

     H.C.R. 344.  Concurrent resolution congratulating the Ascutney fire department on its 50th anniversary.

     H.C.R. 345.  Concurrent resolution in recognition of motorcycle awareness month.

     H.C.R. 346.  Concurrent resolution honoring Lawrence “Moe” Harrington for his musical and civic community contributions.

     H.C.R. 347.  Concurrent resolution in honor of the 79th annual Vermont All‑State Music Festival taking place in Bennington.

     H.C.R. 348.  Concurrent resolution congratulating Susan Maguire on her designation as the 2006 Vermont Principal of the Year.

     H.C.R. 349.  Concurrent resolution congratulating the Bennington police department on its 150th anniversary.

     H.C.R. 350.  Concurrent resolution honoring Annie Christopher and Peter Backman of North Calais for the success of Annie’s Naturals.

     H.C.R. 351.  Concurrent resolution congratulating Beth Dutton on her receipt of an Author-Illustrator Human and Civil Rights Award from the National Education Association.

     H.C.R. 352.  Concurrent resolution honoring former St. Albans City Mayor Peter Deslauriers.

     H.C.R. 353.  Concurrent resolution honoring the civic and agricultural community leadership of Alan Kinney of South Hero.

     H.C.R. 354.  Concurrent resolution in memory of Almer “Stub” Bridge of Mendon.

     H.C.R. 355.  Concurrent resolution congratulating the 2005 Charlotte Little League 9–10-year-old state championship team.

     H.C.R. 356.  Concurrent resolution recognizing the outstanding community activities of the American Legion in Chester and extending congratulations on the completion of its new building.

     H.C.R. 357.  Concurrent resolution in memory of Lamoille Union High school girls’ soccer coach Dean LaBrie.

     H.C.R. 358.  Concurrent resolution thanking John Bramley for his extraordinary service as University of Vermont Provost.

     H.C.R. 359.  Concurrent resolution congratulating John Wall on being named the 2006 Vermont Small Business Person of the Year.

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. 72.  Concurrent resolution congratulating the Vermont Insurance Agents Association on its centennial anniversary.

     S.C.R. 73.  Concurrent resolution congratulating James Eckhardt of Chittenden on being named the National Federation of Independent Business/VT’s 2005 Small Business Champion award winner.

     S.C.R. 74.  Concurrent resolution honoring retiring Rutland City school board chair Dr. Michael Dick.

     S.C.R. 75.  Concurrent resolution recognizing the vital role of sexual assault nurse examiners in the health care system.

     S.C.R. 76.  Concurrent resolution in memory of Harold J. Haynes of North Troy.

     S.C.R. 77.  Concurrent resolution congratulating Senator Robert "Bobby" Starr on being named a 2005 Goodyear Highway Hero finalist.

     S.C.R. 78.  Senate concurrent resolution congratulating Hannah Teter on winning the women's snowboarding halfpipe gold medal in the 2006 Olympics in Bardonecchia, Italy.

And has adopted the same in concurrence.

Senate Concurrent Resolutions

     The following joint concurrent resolutions, having been placed on the consent calendar on the preceding legislative day, and no Senator having requested floor consideration as provided by the Joint Rules of the Senate and House of Representatives, are hereby adopted on the part of the Senate:

   By Senators Maynard, Coppenrath, Mazza, Scott, Starr and Wilton,

S.C.R. 72.

     Senate concurrent resolution congratulating the Vermont Insurance Agents Association on its centennial anniversary.

By Senators Mullin, Maynard and Wilton,

By Representative Allaire and others,

S.C.R. 73.

Senate concurrent resolution congratulating James Eckhardt of Chittenden on being named the National Federation of Independent Business/VT’s 2005 Small Business Champion award winner.

   By Senators Mullin, Wilton and Maynard,

     By Representative Allaire and others,

S.C.R. 74.

Senate concurrent resolution honoring retiring Rutland City school board chair Dr. Michael Dick.

By Senators Kitchel, Ayer, Bartlett, Campbell, Collins, Condos, Coppenrath, Cummings, Doyle, Dunne, Gander, Giard, Illuzzi, Kittell, Leddy, Lyons, MacDonald, Maynard, Mazza, Miller, Mullin, Scott, Sears, Shepard, Snelling, Starr, Welch, White and Wilton,

By Representative Keenan and others,

S.C.R. 75.

Senate concurrent resolution recognizing the vital role of sexual assault nurse examiners in the health care system.

   By Senators Starr, Collins, Illuzzi, Kittell and Welch,

     By Representative Dowland and others,

S.C.R. 76.

Senate concurrent resolution in memory of Harold J. Haynes of North Troy.

By Senators Ayer, Bartlett, Campbell, Collins, Condos, Coppenrath, Cummings, Doyle, Dunne, Flanagan, Gander, Giard, Illuzzi, Kitchel, Kittell, Leddy, Lyons, MacDonald, Maynard, Mazza, Miller, Mullin, Scott, Sears, Shepard, Snelling, Welch, White and Wilton,

By Representative Acinapura and others,

S.C.R. 77.

     Senate concurrent resolution congratulating Senator Robert "Bobby" Starr on being named a 2005 Goodyear Highway Hero finalist.

   By Senators Mullin, Wilton, Maynard, Bartlett, Campbell, Dunne, Kitchel, Scott and Snelling,

     By Representative Nitka and others,

S.C.R. 78.

Senate concurrent resolution congratulating Hannah Teter on winning the women's snowboarding halfpipe gold medal in the 2006 Olympics in Bardonecchia, Italy.

     [The full text of the Senate concurrent resolutions appeared in the Senate calendar addendum for Thursday, May 4, 2006, and, if adopted in concurrence by the House, will appear in the volume of the Public Acts and Resolves to be published for this session of the sixty-eighth biennial session of the Vermont General Assembly.]

House Concurrent Resolutions

     The following joint concurrent resolutions having been placed on the consent calendar on the preceding legislative day, and no Senator having requested floor consideration as provided by the Joint Rules of the Senate and House of Representatives, are hereby adopted in concurrence:

By Representative Jewett and others,

H.C.R. 324.

House concurrent resolution congratulating the regionally and nationally honored 2005–2006 Otter Valley Union High School debaters.

By Representative Valliere and others,

H.C.R. 325.

House concurrent resolution recognizing the outstanding work of the Eighteenth Vermont Regiment, Inc. in preserving Vermont’s Civil War heritage.

By Representative Hube and others,

H.C.R. 326

House concurrent resolution congratulating the 2005 Vermont Agricultural Hall of Fame inductees.

By  Representative Howard and others,

H.C.R. 327.

House concurrent resolution honoring the civic contributions of the Rutland Veterans Council.

By  Representative Donahue and others,

H.C.R. 328.

House concurrent resolution congratulating Mary Doud of Northfield Falls on her selection as an exhibitor in the Palettes of Vermont, 53 Flavors:  Tease Your Palette exhibit.

By Representative Emmons and others,

H.C.R. 329.

House concurrent resolution in memory of Helen S. Ankuda of Springfield.

By Representative Donahue and others,

By  Senators Cummings, Doyle and Scott,

H.C.R. 330.

House concurrent resolution congratulating the founders of the Gray Building Coalition in Northfield on receipt of a community achievement award.

By Representative Clark and others,

By Senators Ayer and Giard,

H.C.R. 331.

House concurrent resolution honoring the outstanding retiring teachers at Vergennes Union High School.

By Representative Corcoran and others,

By Senators Sears and Shepard,

H.C.R. 332.

House concurrent resolution congratulating VanVechten Breese Graves on his 100th birthday.

By Representative Botzow and others,

By Senators Doyle, Sears and Shepard,

H.C.R. 333.

     House concurrent resolution in memory of former Representative James

William Lounsbury of Pownal.

By Representative Botzow and others,

By Senators Sears and Shepard,

H.C.R. 334.

House concurrent resolution commemorating the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the Solomon Wright Public Library in Pownal.

By Representative Seibert and others,

By Senators Dunne and MacDonald,

H.C.R. 335.

House concurrent resolution in memory of the Reverend William Sloane Coffin of Strafford.

By Representative McLaughlin and others,

By Senators MacDonald, Ayer, Bartlett, Campbell, Collins, Condos, Coppenrath, Cummings, Doyle, Dunne, Flanagan, Gander, Giard, Illuzzi, Kitchel, Kittell, Leddy, Lyons, Maynard, Mazza, Miller, Mullin, Scott, Sears, Shepard, Snelling, Starr, Welch, White and Wilton,

H.C.R. 336.

House concurrent resolution in memory of Master Sgt. John Thomas Stone of Tunbridge.

By Representative Rusten and others,

By  Senators Gander, White, Ayer, Bartlett, Campbell, Collins, Condos, Coppenrath, Cummings, Doyle, Dunne, Flanagan, Giard, Illuzzi, Kitchel, Kittell, Leddy, Lyons, MacDonald, Maynard, Mazza, Miller, Mullin, Scott, Sears, Shepard, Snelling, Starr, Welch and Wilton,

H.C.R. 337.

House concurrent resolution in memory of Vermont National Guard Lt. Mark H. Dooley of Wilmington.

By Representative Johnson and others,

By Senator Mazza, Ayer, Bartlett, Campbell, Collins, Condos, Coppenrath, Cummings, Doyle, Dunne, Flanagan, Gander, Giard, Illuzzi, Kitchel, Kittell, Leddy, Lyons, MacDonald, Maynard, Miller, Mullin, Scott, Sears, Shepard, Snelling, Starr, Welch, White and Wilton,

H.C.R. 338.

House concurrent resolution in memory of U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Adam Strain.

By Representative Aswad and others,

By Senators Condos, Flanagan, Leddy, Lyons, Miller, Snelling, Ayer, Bartlett, Campbell, Collins, Coppenrath, Cummings, Doyle, Dunne, Gander, Giard, Illuzzi, Kitchel, Kittell, MacDonald, Maynard, Mazza, Mullin, Scott, Sears, Shepard, Starr, Welch, White and Wilton,

H.C.R. 339.

House concurrent resolution in memory of Vermont Army National Guard 2nd Lt. Mark Procopio of Burlington.

     By Representative Sharpe and others,

H.C.R. 340.

House concurrent resolution honoring the Sons of the American Legion.

By Representative Kilmartin and others,

By Senators Illuzzi and Starr,

H.C.R. 341.

House concurrent resolution honoring the memory of slain Newport police officer Joseph Manogue and the local and family historians who rekindled the historic memory of this dedicated local law enforcement officer.

     By Representative French and others,

     By Senator MacDonald,

H.C.R. 342.

     House concurrent resolution congratulating the Randolph Union High School’s 2006 Vermont Drama Festival state champions.

By Representative Shand,

By Senators Campbell, Dunne and Welch,


H.C.R. 343.

House concurrent resolution honoring Derek Palmieri of Weathersfield on becoming an Eagle Scout.

By Representative Shand and others,

By  Senators Campbell, Dunne and Welch,

H.C.R. 344.

House concurrent resolution congratulating the Ascutney fire department on its 50th anniversary.

By Representative Marcotte and others,

H.C.R. 345.

House concurrent resolution in recognition of motorcycle awareness month.

By Representative Krawczyk and others,

H.C.R. 346.

House concurrent resolution honoring Lawrence “Moe” Harrington for his musical and civic community contributions.

By Representative Morrissey and others,

By Senators Sears and Shepard,

H.C.R. 347.

House concurrent resolution in honor of the 79th annual Vermont All‑State Music Festival taking place in Bennington.

By Representative Mook and others.

H.C.R. 348.

House concurrent resolution congratulating Susan Maguire on her designation as the 2006 Vermont Principal of the Year.

By Representative Morrissey and others,

By Senators Sears and Shepard,

H.C.R. 349.

House concurrent resolution congratulating the Bennington police department on its 150th anniversary

By  Representative Ancel of Calais,


H.C.R. 350.

House concurrent resolution honoring Annie Christopher and Peter Backman of North Calais for the success of Annie’s Naturals.

     By Representative Sweaney,

     By Senators Campbell, Dunne and Welch,

H.C.R. 351.

     House concurrent resolution congratulating Beth Dutton on her receipt of an Author-Illustrator Human and Civil Rights Award from the National Education Association.

     By Representative Keenan and others,

H.C.R. 352.

     House concurrent resolution honoring former St. Albans City Mayor Peter Deslauriers.

By Representative Johnson and others,

H.C.R. 353.

House concurrent resolution honoring the civic and agricultural community leadership of Alan Kinney of South Hero.

By Representative Chen,

H.C.R. 354.

House concurrent resolution in memory of Almer “Stub” Bridge of Mendon.

By Representative Orr,

H.C.R. 355.

House concurrent resolution congratulating the 2005 Charlotte Little League 9–10-year-old state championship team.

By Representative Pellett,

H.C.R. 356.

House concurrent resolution recognizing the outstanding community activities of the American Legion in Chester and extending congratulations on the completion of its new building

     [The full text of the House concurrent resolutions appeared in the Senate calendar addendum for Thursday, May 4, 2006, and will appear in the volume of the Public Acts and Resolves to be published for this session of the sixty-eighth biennial session of the Vermont General Assembly.]

Adjournment

On motion of Senator Welch, the Senate adjourned, to reconvene on Monday, May 8, 2006, at one o’clock in the afternoon.