NO. 171. AN ACT RELATING TO UNIVERSAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICE.
It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:
Sec. 1. 30 V.S.A. § 7503(f) is added to read:
(f) The fiscal agent acts as a fiduciary and holds funds in trust for the ratepayers until the funds have been disbursed as provided pursuant to sections 7511 through 7515 of this chapter.
Sec. 2. 30 V.S.A. § 7523 is amended to read:
§ 7523. RATE ADJUSTED ANNUALLY
before April 15, the department of public service shall petition the public
service board to establish distribution amounts for the ensuing fiscal year for
purposes of the Vermont telecommunications
relay service under section 7512 of this title and of the Vermont
lifeline program under section 7513 of this title. The department’s petition
shall also propose a universal service charge for the ensuing fiscal year. (b)
Annually, after considering the probable expenditures for programs funded
pursuant to this chapter, the probable service revenues of the industry and
seeking recommendations from the department, the public service board shall
establish a rate of charge under section 7521 of this title to meet the
funding obligations under this chapter to apply during the 12 months
beginning on the following September 1. However, the rate so established
shall not at any time exceed two percent of retail telecommunications service. The
board’s decision shall be entered and announced each year not later
than June before July 15. However, if the general assembly does not
enact an authorization amount for E-911 before May July 15, the Board
board may defer decision until 30 days after the E-911 authorization is
established, and the existing charge rate shall remain in effect until the
board establishes a new rate.
Sec. 3. 30 V.S.A. § 7525(f) is added to read:
(f) Payments, interest, and penalties due under this chapter may be collected by civil actions in the courts of this state initiated in the name of the state or fiscal agent.
Sec. 4. 30 V.S.A. § 218a(b), (c), (d), and (f) are amended to read:
The department of public service shall issue a request for proposal seeking
competitive bids from qualified vendors to provide telecommunications relay
services and competitive bids from qualified vendors to provide
telecommunications equipment in accordance with the provisions of this section,
including the standards developed under subsection (a) of this section.
department shall file its recommendations and any proposed contract or contracts
with the public service board for review and approval. The term of any
contract shall not exceed four years.
public service board, after notice and opportunity for hearing, may
approve the proposed department of public service may contract ,
or a modified version thereof, if it is just and reasonable with the
qualified bidder offering the most favorable proposal, giving due
consideration to costs, to quality of service, and to the
interests of the deaf, hearing impaired, and speech impaired community.
approval of a contract by the public service board pursuant to subsection (c)
of this section, the The department of public service shall
establish a Vermont telecommunications relay service advisory council composed
of the following members: one representative of the department of public
service, who shall act as chair and who shall be designated by the commissioner
of public service; one representative of the department of aging and
disabilities disabilities, aging, and independent living, who shall
act as vice-chair; two representatives of the deaf community; one member of the
hard of hearing or speech impaired community; one representative of a company
providing local exchange service within the state; and one representative of an
organization currently providing telecommunications relay services. The
members of the council who are not officers or employees of the state shall
receive per diem compensation and expense reimbursement in amounts authorized
by section subsection 1010(b) of Title 32. The costs of such
compensation and reimbursement, and any other necessary administrative costs
shall be included within the contract approved by the board entered
into under subsection (c) of this section. The Vermont
telecommunications relay service advisory council shall advise the department
of public service and the contractor for telecommunications relay services on
all matters concerning the implementation and administration of the state’s
telecommunications relay service.
(f) The costs of the state’s
telecommunications relay service and any equipment benefit under subsection (e)
of this section shall be included as part of the
telephone lifeline Vermont
universal service fund program established under subsection 218(c) of
this title. The board shall administer such costs through its dockets
implementing the telephone lifeline program.
Approved: May 22, 2006
The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street