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H.890

AN ACT RELATING TO EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AND PUBLIC SAFETY

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1.  20 V.S.A. chapter 1 is redesignated to read:

Chapter 1.  Civil Defense Generally

Emergency Management

Sec. 2.  20 V.S.A. § 1 is amended to read:

§ 1.  PURPOSE AND POLICY

(a)  Because of the existing and increasing possibility of the occurrence of disasters or emergencies of unprecedented size and destructiveness resulting from enemy attack, sabotage, or other hostile action, or from flood, fire, storm, or other natural causes, or from radiological incidents or hazardous chemical or substance incidents all‑hazards and in order to insure that preparation of this state will be adequate to deal with such disasters or emergencies, to provide for the common defense and to protect the public peace, health, and safety, and to preserve the lives and property of the people of the state it is hereby found and declared to be necessary:

(1)  to To create a state emergency management agency, and to authorize the creation of local and regional organizations for emergency management in the towns and cities of the state;.

(2)  to To confer upon the governor and upon the executive heads or legislative branches of the towns and cities of the state the emergency powers provided herein; and.

(3)  to To provide for the rendering of mutual aid among the towns and cities of the state, and with other states and Canada, and with the federal government with respect to the carrying out of emergency management functions; and.

(4)  to To authorize the establishment of such organizations and the taking of such steps as are necessary and appropriate to carry out the provisions of this chapter.

(b)  It is further declared to be the purpose of this chapter and the policy of the state that all emergency management functions of this state be coordinated to the maximum extent with the comparable functions of the federal government including its various departments and agencies, of other states and localities, and of private agencies of every type, to the end that the most effective preparation and use may be made of the nation’s manpower, resources, and facilities for dealing with any emergencies caused by enemy attack, sabotage or hostile action resulting from all‑hazards.

Sec. 3.  20 V.S.A. § 2 is amended to read:

§ 2.  DEFINITIONS

As used in this chapter,:

(1)  “All‑hazards” means any natural disaster, health or disease‑related emergency, accident, civil insurrection, use of weapons of mass destruction, terrorist or criminal incident, radiological incident, significant event, and designated special event, any of which may occur individually, simultaneously, or in combination and which poses a threat or may pose a threat, as determined by the commissioner or designee, to property or public safety in Vermont.

(2)  “Commissioner” means the commissioner of public safety.

(3)  “Director” means the director of Vermont division of emergency management.

(2)(4)  “Emergency functions” include services provided by the department of public safety, firefighting services, police services, sheriff’s department services, medical and health services, rescue, engineering, air raid emergency warning services, communications, radiological, chemical and other special weapons defense, evacuation of persons from stricken areas, emergency welfare services (civilian war aid), plant protection of critical infrastructure, emergency transportation, temporary restoration of public utility services, other functions related to civilian protection and all other activities necessary or incidental to the preparation for and carrying out of these functions.

(5)  “EPCRA” means the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 11000–11050 (1986).

(3)(6)  “Emergency management” means the preparation for and carrying out implementation of all emergency functions, other than the functions for which military forces or other federal agencies are primarily responsible, to prevent, minimize and repair injury and damage resulting from disasters caused by enemy attack, sabotage, or other hostile action or from flood, fire, storm or other natural causes, or from radiological incidents or hazardous chemical or substance incidents and the preparation and planning plan for, mitigate, and support response and recovery efforts from all hazards.  Emergency management includes the equipping, exercising, and training designed to insure that this state is and its communities are prepared to deal with such disasters or emergencies and includes civil defense activities all‑hazards.

(4)  “Civil defense” means the preparation for and carrying out of all emergency functions, other than the functions for which military forces or other federal agencies are primarily responsible, to prevent, minimize or repair injury and damage resulting from or caused by enemy attack, sabotage or other hostile action.

(7)  “Hazard mitigation” means any action taken to reduce or eliminate the threat to persons or property from all‑hazards.

(5)(8)  “Hazardous chemical or substance” means:

* * *

(6)(9)  “Hazardous chemical or substance incident” means any mishap or occurrence involving hazardous chemicals or substances which that may pose a threat to persons or property.

(10)  “Homeland security” means the preparation for and carrying out of all emergency functions, other than the functions for which military forces or other federal agencies are primarily responsible, to prevent, minimize, or repair injury and damage resulting from or caused by enemy attack, sabotage, or other hostile action.

(7)(11)  “Radiological incident” means any mishap or occurrence involving radiological activity which may pose a threat to persons or property.

Sec. 4.  20 V.S.A. § 3(b) and (c) are amended to read:

(b)  There shall be a director of Vermont emergency management who shall be in immediate charge of the division.  The director shall be appointed by the commissioner, with the approval of the governor.  The director shall serve at the pleasure of the commissioner and shall hold no other state office.  The director shall perform all the following duties:

* * *

(2)  Maintain liaison and cooperation with emergency management agencies and organizations of the federal government and, other states, and Canada.

* * *

(c)  The commissioner, subject to the approval of the governor, shall delegate to the several departments and agencies of the state government appropriate emergency management responsibilities, and review and coordinate the emergency management activities of the departments and agencies with each other and with the activities of the districts and neighboring states, the neighboring Canadian province of Quebec, and the federal government.

Sec. 5.  20 V.S.A. § 3a is amended to read:

§ 3a.  EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT DIVISION; DUTIES

(a)  In addition to other duties required by law, the emergency management division shall:

(1)  Prepare and maintain a comprehensive state emergency management strategy that includes an emergency operations plan, establish and define emergency planning zones and prepare and maintain a radiological emergency response plan for use in those zones, and prepare an all‑hazards mitigation plan in cooperation with other state, regional, and local agencies and in compliance with adopted federal standards for emergency management.  The strategy shall be designed to protect the lives and property including domestic animals of persons within this state who might be threatened as the result of all‑hazards and shall align state coordination structures, capabilities, and resources into a unified and multi‑disciplined all-hazards approach to incident management.

(2)  The radiological emergency response plan shall be designed to protect the lives persons and property of persons residing within this state who or which might be threatened as the result of their proximity to any operating nuclear reactor.  The plan shall be formulated in accordance with procedures approved by the Federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission.  The At a minimum, the plan shall provide for all the following:

* * *

(2)(3)  Assist the state emergency response commission, the local emergency planning committees and the municipally established local organizations referred to in section 6 of this title in carrying out their designated emergency functions, including developing, implementing, and coordinating emergency response plans.

(3)(4)  Provide administrative support to the state emergency response commission.

(b)  Each fiscal year, the division of emergency management, in collaboration with state and local agencies, the management of the nuclear reactor, the legislative bodies of the municipalities in the emergency planning zone where the nuclear reactor is located, the Windham regional planning commission, and any other municipality or emergency planning zone entity required by the state to support the radiological emergency response plan, shall develop the budget for expenditures from the radiological emergency response plan fund.  The expenditure budget shall include all costs for evacuation notification systems.

(c)  From the fund, each town within the emergency planning zone shall receive an annual base payment of no less than $5,000.00 for radiological emergency response related expenditures from the radiological emergency response plan fund.  Additional expenditures by municipalities in the emergency planning zone, the Windham regional planning commission, and any other municipality or emergency planning entity defined by the state as required to support the plan, shall be determined during the budget development process established by subsection(b) of this section.

Sec. 6.  20 V.S.A. § 5 is amended to read:

§ 5.  EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT PUBLIC SAFETY DISTRICTS

(a)  Immediately subsequent to the passage of this chapter the The governor shall divide the state into emergency management public safety districts not exceeding ten in number, one to correspond to each Vermont state police troop area, as defined by the commissionerIn making these divisions due consideration shall be given to existing road and rail communication systems and population centers, to the end that each Each district shall be a reasonably self sustaining self-sustaining, operating emergency management unit.  District boundaries shall coincide with existing town or city boundaries.

(b)  The emergency management executive in each district shall be known as the district coordinator.  The district coordinator shall be appointed by the commissioner with the approval of the governor and upon due consideration of the recommendations of city and town officials within the district and shall serve during the pleasure of the commissioner.  The district coordinator shall discharge emergency management powers within his or her district and shall be assisted by a suitable staff, appointed under regulations prescribed by the governor and subject to his or her direction and control.  Each emergency management public safety district shall prepare and maintain a hazardous chemical or substance on file an all-hazards incident response plan in cooperation with the any local emergency planning committee (LEPC) in that district and other state and local agencies.

Sec. 7.  20 V.S.A. § 6 is amended to read:

§ 6.  LOCAL ORGANIZATION FOR EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT

(a)  Each town and city of this state is hereby authorized and directed to establish a local organization for emergency management in accordance with the state emergency management plan and program.  The Except in a town that has a town manager in accordance with chapter 37 of Title 24, the executive officer or legislative branch of the town or city is authorized to appoint a town or city chair for emergency management director who shall have direct responsibility for the organization, administration, and operation coordination of the local organization for emergency management, subject to the direction and control of the executive officer or legislative branch.  If the town or city that has not adopted the town manager form of government and the executive officer or legislative branch of the town or city has not appointed an emergency management director, the executive officer or legislative branch shall be the town or city emergency management director.  The town or city emergency management director may appoint an emergency management coordinator and other staff as necessary to accomplish the purposes of this chapter.

* * *

(c)  Each local organization shall participate in the development of a hazardous chemical or substance incident response an all‑hazards plan with the local emergency planning committee and the emergency management public safety district.

(d)  Each local organization shall annually notify the local emergency planning committee on forms provided by the state emergency response commission of its capacity to perform emergency functions in response to radiological and hazardous chemical or substance incidents an all‑hazards incident.  Each local organization shall perform the emergency functions indicated on the most recently submitted form in response to radiological or hazardous chemical or substance incidents an all‑hazards incident.

Sec. 8.  20 V.S.A. § 7 is amended to read:

§ 7.  MOBILE SUPPORT UNITS

(a)  Organization.  The commissioner, with the approval of the governor, is authorized to create and establish such number of mobile support units as may be necessary to reinforce emergency management organizations in stricken areas and with due consideration of the plans of the federal government, the government of Canada, and of other states.  The mobile support units established under the authority of this section shall be organized, administered, and operated under regulations prescribed by the governor.  These A mobile support units unit shall be subject to call to duty and shall perform these functions in this state, in Canada, or in other states in accord with its charter and regulations prescribed by the governor, in accord and with the terms of this chapter.

(b)  Personnel; powers and immunities, compensation.  

(1)  Personnel of mobile support units while on duty engaged in emergency management, whether within or without the state, shall:

(1)(A)  if they are employees of the state, have the powers, duties, rights, privileges, and immunities and receive the compensation incidental to their employment;

(2)(B)  if they are employees of a town or city political subdivision of the state, have the powers, duties, rights, privileges, and immunities and receive the compensation incidental to their employment; and

(3)(C)  if they are not employees of the state, or a political subdivision thereof, be entitled to appropriate compensation as fixed by the emergency management board commissioner or designee with the approval of the governor, and to the same rights and immunities as are provided by law for the employees of this state.

(2)  All personnel of mobile support units shall, while on duty engaged in emergency management, shall be subject to the operational control of the authority in charge of emergency management activities in the area in which they are serving, and shall be reimbursed for all actual and necessary travel and subsistence expenses.

(c)  Reimbursement of towns and cities municipalities.  The state shall reimburse a town or city political subdivision of the state for the compensation paid and actual and necessary travel, subsistence, and maintenance expenses of employees of such town or city political subdivision of the state while serving as members of a mobile support unit, and for all payments of death, disability, or injury of such employees incurred in the course of such duty, and for all losses of or damage to supplies and equipment of such town or city political subdivision of the state resulting from the operation of such mobile support unit.

* * *

Sec. 9.  20 V.S.A. § 8 is amended to read:

§ 8.  GENERAL POWERS OF GOVERNOR

* * *

(b)  In performing his or her the duties under this chapter, the governor is further authorized and empowered:

* * *

(2)  Plans.  

(A)  To prepare a comprehensive plan and program for the civil defense emergency management of this state, such plan and program to be integrated into and coordinated with the emergency management plans of this state, of the federal government, the Canadian government, and of other states to the fullest possible extent, and to; and

(B)  To coordinate the preparation of plans and programs for emergency management with public safety districts, local emergency planning committees, regional planning commissions, and by the cities and towns municipalities of this state, such plans to be integrated into and coordinated with the emergency management plans and program of this state to the fullest possible extent.

(3)  Inventories, training, mobilization.  In accordance with such plan and program for the civil defense emergency management of the state,:

(A)  to ascertain the requirements of the state or the towns and cities thereof municipalities for food or clothing or other necessities of life in the event of attack any all-hazards event and to plan for and procure supplies, medicines, materials, and equipment for the purposes set forth in this chapter;

(B)  to make surveys of the industries, resources and facilities within the state as are necessary to carry out the purposes of this chapter, provided that no inventory or record of privately owned firearms shall be made under authority of this or any other provision of this chapter; and

(C)  to institute training programs and public information programs, and to take all other preparatory steps, including the partial or full mobilization of civil defense emergency management organizations in advance of actual disaster, to insure ensure the furnishing of adequately trained and equipped forces of civil defense emergency management personnel in time of need.

(4)  Cooperation with the president and others.  To cooperate with the president and the heads of the armed forces, and the civil defense homeland security agency of the United States, and with the officers and agencies of other states in matters pertaining to the civil defense emergency management of the state and nation and the incidents thereof; and in connection therewith, to take any measures not inconsistent with the constitution of this state, which he or she the governor may deem proper to carry into effect any request for the president and the appropriate federal officers and agencies, for any action looking to civil defense emergency management, including but not limited to, the direction or control of (A) black-outs and practice black-outs, air raid drills, mobilization of civil defense emergency management and homeland security forces, and other tests and exercises, (B) warnings and signals for drills or attacks and the mechanical devices to be used in connection therewith, (C) the effective screening or extinguishing of all lights and lighting devices and appliances, (D) emergencies, shutting off water mains, gas mains, electric power connections and the suspension of all other utility services, (E) the conduct of civilians and the movement and cessation of movement of pedestrians and vehicular traffic during, prior, and subsequent to drills or attack, (F) public meetings or gatherings, and (G) the evacuation and reception of the civilian population.

(5)  To utilize the services and facilities of existing officers and agencies of the state and of the counties and municipalities of the state, and all the officers and agencies shall cooperate with and extend services and facilities to the governor as the governor may request.

(5)(6)  Law enforcement.  To take such action and give such directions to state and local law enforcement officers and agencies as may be reasonable and necessary for the purpose of securing compliance with the provisions of this chapter and with the orders, rules, and regulations made pursuant thereto.

(6)(7)  Delegation of authority.  To delegate any authority vested in the governor under this chapter to the commissioner or designee.

(7)(8)  Mutual aid agreements with other states.  On behalf of this state, to enter into reciprocal aid agreements under this chapter and pursuant to compacts with other states and the federal government or province of a foreign country under such terms as the Congress of the United States may prescribe.  Such These mutual aid arrangements shall be limited to the furnishing or exchange of food, clothing, medicine, and other supplies; engineering services; emergency housing; police services; national or state guards while under the control of the state; health; medical and related services; fire fighting, rescue, transportation and construction services and equipment; personnel necessary to provide or conduct these services; and such other supplies, equipment, facilities, personnel, and services as may be needed; the reimbursement of costs and expenses for equipment, supplies, personnel, and similar items for mobile support units, fire fighting, and police units and health units; and on such terms and conditions as are deemed necessary.

(8)(9)  Mutual aid among towns and cities municipalities.  To sponsor, develop, and approve mutual aid plans and agreements among the towns and cities of the state, similar to the mutual aid arrangements referred to above in this section.

Sec. 10.  20 V.S.A. § 9 is amended to read:

§ 9.  EMERGENCY POWERS OF GOVERNOR

Subject to the provisions hereinafter stated of this chapter, in the event of a natural disaster, a radiological incident, hazardous chemical or substance incident or an enemy attack an all‑hazards event in or directed upon the United States or Canada, any of which causes or may cause substantial damage or injury to persons or property within the bounds of the state in any manner, the governor may proclaim a state of emergency within the entire state or any portion or portions of the state.  Thereafter, the governor shall have and may exercise for such period as he or she shall find as long as the governor determines the emergency exists to exist the following additional powers within such area or areas:

* * *

(8)  Upon the declaration of an emergency as authorized in federal legislation which includes the state of Vermont, to cooperate with the president of the United States, the army, navy, and air force, with other federal departments, agencies and independent establishments, and other states in matters pertaining to emergency management; and in connection therewith to take such action, not inconsistent with the constitution and laws of the state which he or she may deem proper to carry into effect any request of the president, the secretary of defense, the secretary of homeland security, the secretary of health and human services, and the director of the federal emergency management agency.

* * *

Sec. 11.  20 V.S.A. § 10 is amended to read:

§ 10.  –REQUEST TO GOVERNOR BY MUNICIPAL AUTHORITIES

The natural disaster all-hazards event provisions of this chapter shall not be brought into action as herein provided, unless a selectman of a town the municipal director of emergency management, a member of the legislative body of the municipality, or the president of the board of trustees in a village, or the city or town manager, or the mayor of a city, that is within the area affected by a natural disaster, an all-hazards event shall declare an emergency and request the governor to find that a state of emergency exists and he the governor so finds, or unless the governor declares a state of emergency under section 9 of this title.

Sec. 12.  20 V.S.A. § 11 is amended to read:

§ 11.  –ADDITIONAL EMERGENCY POWERS

In the event of such an attack an all‑hazards event, the governor, with the concurrence of a majority of the Vermont emergency management board, may exercise any or all of the following additional powers:

(1)  To authorize any department or agency of the state to lease or lend, on such terms and conditions and for such period as he or she may deem necessary to promote the public welfare and protect the interest of the state, any real or personal property of the state government or authorize the temporary transfer or employment of personnel of the state government to or by the army, navy, air force, or any other branch of the armed forces of the United States of America;

(2)  To enter into a contract on behalf of the state for the lease or loan, on such terms and conditions and for such period as he or she may deem necessary to promote the public welfare and protect the interests of the state, of any real or personal property of the state government, or the temporary transfer or employment of personnel thereof to any town or city of the state.  The chief executive or legislative branch of such town or city is hereby authorized for and in the name thereof to enter into said contract with the governor for the leasing or lending of such property and personnel, and the chief executive or legislative branch of such town or city may equip, maintain, utilize and operate such property except newspapers and other publications, radio stations, places of worship and assembly, and other facilities for the exercise of constitutional freedom, and employ necessary personnel therefor in accordance with the purposes for which such contract is executed; and may do all things and perform all acts which may be deemed necessary to effectuate the purpose for which such contract was entered into;

(3)  To seize, take, or condemn property for the protection of the public or at the request of the president, or his or her authorized representatives including:

(A)  All means of transportation;

(B)  All stocks of fuel of whatever nature;

(C)  Food, clothing, equipment, materials, medicines, and all supplies;

(D)  Facilities, including buildings and plants; provided that neither this nor any other authority in this chapter shall be deemed to authorize the eviction of a householder and his or her family from his their own home.

* * *

(5)  To make compensation for the property so seized, taken, or condemned on the following basis:

* * *

(B)  Any owner of property of which possession has been taken under the provisions of this chapter to whom no award has been made or who is dissatisfied with the amount awarded him or her by the governor, may file a petition in the superior court within the county wherein the property was situated at the time of taking to have the amount to which he or she is entitled by way of damages or compensation determined, and thereafter either the petitioner or the state shall have the right to have the amount of such damages or compensation fixed after hearing by three disinterested appraisers appointed by said court, and who shall operate under substantive and administrative procedure to be established by the superior judges.  If the petitioner is dissatisfied with the award of said the appraisers, he or she may file an appeal therefrom in said court and thereafter have a trial by jury to determine the amount of such damages or compensation in such manner as the court shall provide.  The court costs of a proceeding brought under this section by the owner of the property shall be paid by the state; and the fees and expenses of any attorney for such owner shall also be paid by the state after allowances by the court wherein the petition is brought in such amount as the court in its discretion shall fix.  The statute of limitations shall not apply to proceedings brought by such owners of property as above provided for and during the time that any court having jurisdiction of such proceedings shall be prevented from holding its usual and stated sessions due to conditions resulting from emergencies as herein referred to.

* * *

Sec. 13.  20 V.S.A. § 13 is amended to read:

§ 13.  TERMINATION OF EMERGENCIES

(a)  The governor, with the concurrence of a majority of the Vermont emergency management board, shall have the power to:

(1)  May terminate by proclamation the emergencies provided for in sections 9 and 11 of this title; provided, however, that no emergencies shall be terminated prior to the termination of such emergency as provided in federal law.

(2)  May declare the state of emergency terminated in any area affected by an all‑hazards event.

(3)  Upon receiving notice that a majority of the legislative body of a municipality affected by a natural disaster no longer desires that the state of emergency continue within its municipality, shall declare the state of emergency terminated within that particular municipality.  Upon the termination of the state of emergency, the functions as set forth in section 9 of this title shall cease, and the local authorities shall resume control.

Sec. 14.  20 V.S.A. § 17(a) is amended to read:

(a)  Federal.  Whenever the federal government or any agency or officer thereof shall offer to the state, or through the state to any town or city thereof, services, equipment, supplies, materials, or funds by way of gift, grant, or loan, for purposes of emergency management the state, acting through the governor with the consent of the Vermont emergency management board in coordination with the department of public safety, or such town or city acting with the consent of the governor and the Vermont emergency management board and through its executive officer or legislative branch, may accept such offer and upon such acceptance the governor of the state or the executive officer or legislative branch of such political subdivision may authorize any officer of the state or of the political subdivision, as the case may be, to receive such services, equipment, supplies, materials, or funds on behalf of the state or such political subdivisions, and subject to the terms of the offer and rules and regulations, if any, of the agency making the offer.  Whenever such federal grant is contingent upon a state or local contribution, or both, the Vermont emergency management board, a the department of public safety and the political subdivision, or both, as the case may be, shall determine whether the grant shall be accepted and if accepted the respective shares to be contributed by the state and town or city concerned.

Sec. 15.  20 V.S.A. § 18 is amended to read:

§ 18.  PERSONNEL OATH OF ALLEGIANCE REQUIREMENTS AND

           NONSUBVERSION

No person shall be employed or associated in any capacity in any emergency management organization established under this chapter who advocates a change by force or violence in the constitutional form of the government of the United States or in this state or the overthrow of any government in the United States by force or violence, or who has been convicted of or is under indictment or information charging any subversive act against the United States.  Each person who is appointed shall take an oath of allegiance to the United States and the state of Vermont substantially as prescribed by federal law.  This oath shall be taken in writing before a person authorized by law to administer oaths in this state and a copy shall be filed in the office of the director employed by an emergency management organization established under this chapter and whose access to facilities, materials, or information requires a security clearance, as determined by the commissioner, shall be subject to a background check and a criminal history record check.

Sec. 16.  20 V.S.A. § 20(a) is amended to read:

(a)  Except in the case of willful misconduct or gross negligence, the state, any of its agencies, state employees as defined in section 1101 of Title 3, political subdivisions, local emergency planning committees, or an emergency management worker, individual, partnership, association, or corporation involved in civil defense or emergency management activities shall not be liable for the death of or any injury to persons or loss or damage to property resulting from an emergency management service or response activity, including, but not limited to, the development of local emergency plans and the response to those plans.  Nothing in this section shall exclude the state, its agencies, political subdivisions, or employees from the protections and rights provided in chapter 189 of Title 12.

Sec. 17.  20 V.S.A. § 21 is amended to read:

§ 21.  COMPENSATION FOR INJURY OR DEATH

In emergencies declared as hereinbefore provided in sections 9 and 11 of this title under such rules and regulations as may be prescribed by the governor, civil defense or, emergency management workers actually engaged in civil defense or emergency management duties will be considered as temporary state employees within the scope of sections 601-710 of Title 21 provided, however, that awards shall be charged against appropriations for the purposes of this chapter.  Under such rules and regulations as the governor may prescribe such protection against injury or death shall be afforded to civil defense or emergency management workers regularly engaged in civil defense or emergency management training exercises authorized and directed by the governor.  Awards made pursuant to the provisions of this section shall not be less than the minimum amount provided by law for workers’ compensation and shall not exceed the maximum amounts as provided by law for such compensation.  This section shall not apply to any individual entitled to compensation for injury or death under any other provision of law, nor shall it apply during any period in which the United States government may assume the responsibility for compensation for civil defense or emergency management workers in the event of injury or death.  A volunteer, as set forth in subdivision 1101(b)(4) of Title 3, shall be entitled to compensation as provided in Titles 21 and 29.

Sec. 18.  [DELETED.]

Sec. 19.  20 V.S.A. § 25 is amended to read:

§ 25.  MATCHING FUNDS

To the extent of any appropriation available to carry out the purposes of this chapter, federal moneys for civil defense and emergency management within the state may be matched therefrom.

Sec. 20.  20 V.S.A. § 28 is amended to read:

§ 28.  EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT MEDICAL PROGRAM

The department of health is hereby directed, within the limits of appropriations and grants made to it and through its authorized personnel, and in coordination with local, state, and federal emergency management officials, to plan and, develop, and implement a comprehensive emergency management medical program to protect and assist the people of the state in emergencies or natural disasters an all‑hazards event.

Sec. 21.  20 V.S.A. § 29 is amended to read:

§ 29.  CIVIL DEFENSE EMERGENCY SHELTERS; NO PRIVATE

          LIABILITY

Any person owning or controlling premises who voluntarily and without compensation grants a license or privilege, or otherwise permits the designation or use of the whole or any part of such land and premises for the purpose of sheltering persons or animals or providing health‑related services during an actual enemy attack a declared emergency or practice civilian defense alert drill in cooperation with a federal, state, or political subdivision shall, together with his successors in interest not be civilly liable for negligence causing the death of, or injury to, any person on or about such the land and premises or for loss of, or damage to the property of such the person during such an actual enemy attack or practice civilian defense alert a declared emergency or practice drill.

Sec. 22.  20 V.S.A. § 30 is amended to read:

§ 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 an industry required to report to the commission, law enforcement, emergency medical service, a hospital, and one representative of the one representative of the public a representative of the Vermont Humane Federation and the Humane Society of the United States.  The director of emergency management shall be the secretary of the commission without vote.

(b)  The five nine public members shall be appointed by the governor for staggered three year terms.  The governor shall appoint the chair of the commission.

(c)  Members of the commission, except state employees who are not otherwise compensated as part of their employment and who attend meetings, shall be entitled to a per diem and expenses as provided in section 1010 of Title 32.

Sec. 23.  20 V.S.A. § 31 is amended to read:

§ 31.  STATE EMERGENCY RESPONSE COMMISSION; DUTIES

(a)  The commission shall have authority to:

(1)  Carry out all the requirements of a commission under Title III of the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986 (SARA) and as hereafter amended the Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 11000–11050 (1986) (EPCRA), and all‑hazards mitigation, response, recovery, and preparedness, as hereafter amended and other applicable federal initiatives.

(2)  Adopt rules necessary for the implementation of SARA 1986 EPCRA and for the reporting of hazardous chemicals or substances, including setting minimum limits on the level of hazardous chemicals to be reported.

Carry out all the requirements of a commission under Title III of the Superfund Amendments, and the Reauthorization Act of 1986 (SARA), and all hazards mitigation, response, recovery and preparedness, as hereafter amended.

(3)  Designate local emergency planning districts and to appoint local emergency planning committees.  To the extent practicable, local emergency planning districts may coincide with the emergency management districts designated by the governor.

(4)  Oversee Review and comment on the development and implementation of local emergency response plans by local emergency planning committees and provide assistance to those committees in executing their duties.

(5)  Develop and maintain a plan for providing state assistance to local government in an emergency involving hazardous chemicals or substances.

(6)  Review and comment on the comprehensive state emergency operations plan and local emergency planning committee response plans.

(b)  The commission shall also perform the following duties:

(1)  Develop a plan for coordinated disaster response operations to supplement, aid or advise local and state jurisdictions or other parties involved when there has been an accident involving the transportation of hazardous materials.

(2)(6)  Meet with interested parties, which may include representatives of the carrier industry shippers, and state and local agencies, having an interest, responsibility, or expertise concerning hazardous materials.

(3)(7)  Maintain Ensure that a state plan to will go into effect when an accident occurs involving the transportation of hazardous materials.  The plan shall be field tested at least once annually.

(c)(8)  Any rules adopted Jointly adopt rules concerning reportable quantities of economic poison as defined in 6 V.S.A. § 911(5) shall be jointly adopted by the commission and with the agency of agriculture, food and markets.  The commission may enter into contracts with governmental agencies or private organizations to carry out the duties of this section.

(9)  Coordinate statewide efforts and draft policies regarding planning, mitigation, preparedness, and response to all-hazards events to be approved by the commissioner.

(10)  Recommend funding for awards to be made by the commissioner for training, special studies, citizen corps councils, community emergency response teams (CERT), medical reserve corps, and hazardous materials response teams from funds that are available from federal sources or through the hazardous substances fund created in section 38 of this title.  The commission may create committees as necessary for other related purposes and delegate funding recommendation powers to those committees.

Sec. 24.  20 V.S.A. § 32 is amended to read:

§ 32.  LOCAL EMERGENCY PLANNING COMMITTEES; CREATION;

          DUTIES

(a)  Local emergency planning committees shall be appointed by the state emergency response commission.

(b)  Local emergency planning committees should include representatives from the following:  fire departments; local and regional emergency medical services; local, county, and state law enforcement; media; transportation; regional planning commissions; hospitals; industry; the national guard; the department of health district office; an animal rescue organization; and may include any other interested public or private individual or organization.

(c)  A local emergency planning committee shall perform all the following duties:

(1)  Carry out all the requirements of a committee pursuant to Title III of SARA of 1986. EPCRA, including preparing a local emergency planning committee response plan.  The plan shall be coordinated with the state emergency operations plan and may be expanded to address all hazards and all phases of emergency management.  At a minimum, the local emergency planning committee response plan shall include the following:

(A)  Identifies facilities and transportation routes of extremely hazardous substances.

(B)  Describes emergency response procedures, including those identified in facility plans.

(C)  Designates a local emergency planning committee coordinator and facility coordinators to implement the plan.

(D)  Outlines emergency notification procedures.

(E)  Describes how to determine the probable affected area and population by releases of hazardous substances.

(F)  Describes local emergency equipment and facilities and the persons responsible for them.

(G)  Outlines evacuation plans.

(H)  Provides for coordinated local training to ensure integration with the state emergency operations plan.

(I)  Provides methods and schedules for exercising emergency response plans.

* * *

(3)  Consult and coordinate with the heads of local government emergency services, the emergency management division of the department of public safety director or designee, regional planning commissions, and the managers of all facilities within the district regarding the facility plan.

(4)  Review and evaluate requests for funding and other resources and advise the state emergency response commission and district coordinators concerning disbursement of funds.

(5)  Work to support the various emergency services, mutual aid systems, town governments, regional planning commissions, state agency district offices, and others in their area in conducting coordinated all‑hazards emergency management activities.

(c)  Nothing in this section shall exempt any person or facility from the provisions of sections 1721 - 1731 of Title 18.

Sec. 25.  20 V.S.A. § 33 is amended to read:

§ 33.  REGIONAL EMERGENCY RESPONSE COMMISSIONS HAZMAT

          TEAMS; TEAM CHIEFS; CREATION

(a)  The state emergency response commission department of public safety is authorized to create the number of regional emergency response commissions it deems necessary to assist existing emergency management response efforts a state hazardous materials (HAZMAT) response team.  The commissioner shall appoint a HAZMAT team chief, consistent with rules adopted by the department of human resources, to carry out the duties and responsibilities of the HAZMAT response team

(b)  Each regional emergency response commission The HAZMAT team chief shall perform all the following duties:

(1)  Organize a regional state HAZMAT response team to assist local emergency planning committees, fire chiefs, and other emergency management officials in response to hazardous chemical and substance (HAZMAT) incidents.

(2)  Appoint persons who are trained and certified in HAZMAT response from among local fire companies, emergency medical service squads and police agencies to staff the response teams and, with the concurrence of the state emergency response commission, appoint two or more crew chiefs to direct the teams.  Hire persons for the HAZMAT team from fire, police, and emergency organizations and persons with specialty backgrounds in hazardous materials, and, with the approval of the director of the division of fire safety, appoint crew chiefs.

* * *

(7)  Prepare and propose annual operating budgets to the state emergency response commission and to the department of public safety.

(c)  A regional emergency response commission shall be composed of the following members:

(1)  Two members, who are certified HAZMAT responders (fire, EMS or police), to be appointed by each local emergency planning committee in the region, except that if there are more than four local emergency planning committees in a region, each local emergency planning committee shall appoint one member;

(2)  The chief of the “host” fire department, ex officio; and

(3)  A member to be appointed by the state emergency response commission to serve as chair; except that the state emergency response commission may elect to designate another member, who is a fire chief or senior fire officer certified as a HAZMAT responder, as chair.

(d)  The state shall reimburse a municipality for the actual compensation and expenses paid to employees of the municipality while serving as members of a regional HAZMAT response team when control of a hazardous material or substance incident has been transferred and accepted by a state hazardous material responder at the scene pursuant to section 2673 of this title. Otherwise, reimbursement, if any, shall be in accordance with the terms of any mutual aid agreements entered into among the municipalities pursuant to this section.

The state shall reimburse a municipality for the actual costs expended to cover the duties of a municipality’s employee who is an employee of the state HAZMAT team and who is requested to leave his or her employment at the municipality to respond to a HAZMAT incident or attend HAZMAT team training.

(e)(d)  The department of public safety may employ up to twenty-five (25) regional as many state HAZMAT team responders as the commissioner deems necessary as temporary state employees, who shall be compensated as such when authorized to respond to a HAZMAT incident or to attend HAZMAT training.  Regional State HAZMAT team responders, whenever acting as state agents in accordance with this section, shall be afforded all of the protections and immunities of state employees.

(f)(e)  Crew The team chief and the crew chiefs, referred to in subdivision (b)(2) of this section, appointed by the regional emergency response commissions and whose appointments have been ratified by the state emergency response commission shall have the authority to accept the transfer of control of a hazardous material incident from the chief engineer or senior fire officer at a scene.  At such times, crew chiefs shall be considered to be state employees and agents of the state subject to the direction of the state HAZMAT emergency operation team created in section 2681 of this title.

(g)  Members of regional emergency response commissions, except state employees, shall be entitled to a per diem and expenses as provided in section 1010 of Title 32.

Sec. 26.  20 V.S.A. § 38(b) is amended to read:

(b)  There is created a hazardous chemical and substance emergency response fund which shall include all moneys paid to the state pursuant to section 39 of this title.  The fund shall be managed pursuant to the provisions of 32 V.S.A. chapter 7, subchapter 5 of chapter 7 of Title 32.  The fund shall be used to implement and administer this chapter, including planning, training and response activities as well as the purchase of equipment and assisting local organizations referred to in section 6 of this chapter to develop emergency response plans.  Each local emergency planning district committee shall receive a minimum grant of $1,500.00, and $4,000.00 as of July 1, 2007, annually and may petition the state emergency response commission for additional funds if needed and available.  After disbursement of the minimum grant amounts and after consideration of the comments and evaluation received from the appropriate local emergency planning committee, the commissioner with the approval of the emergency response commission may make additional grants from the fund to any local emergency planning committee or regional emergency response commission as well as to any political subdivisions including any city, town, fire district, incorporated village and other incorporated entities in the state in accordance with rules adopted by the state emergency response commission.  Unless waived by the state emergency response commission, grants shall be matched by local governments in the amount of 25 percent of the grant.  The matching may be by contribution or by privately furnished funds or by in-kind services, space or equipment which would otherwise be purchased by a local emergency planning committee.

Sec. 27.  20 V.S.A. § 39 is amended to read:

§ 39.  FEES TO THE HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCES FUND

(a)  Every person required to report the use or storage of hazardous chemicals or substances pursuant to Title III of SARA of 1986 EPCRA shall pay the following annual fees for each hazardous chemical or substance, as defined by the state emergency response commission, that is present at the facility:

* * *

(e)  The state or any political subdivision, including any municipality, fire district, emergency medical service, or incorporated village, is authorized to recover any and all reasonable direct expenses incurred as a result of the response to and recovery of a hazardous chemical or substance incident from the person or persons responsible for the incident.  All funds collected by the state under this subsection shall be deposited into the hazardous chemical and substance emergency response fund created pursuant to subsection 38(b) of this chapter.  The attorney general shall act on behalf of the state to recover these expenses.  The state or political subdivision shall be awarded costs and reasonable attorneys’ attorney fees that are incurred as a result of exercising the provisions of this subsection.

Sec. 28.  20 V.S.A. § 45 is amended to read:

§ 45.  EMERGENCY RELIEF AND ASSISTANCE

(a)  If a state of emergency due to a natural disaster an all‑hazards event is declared by the governor, the emergency board established by 32 V.S.A. § 131 may authorize the secretary of administration to expend from the emergency relief and assistance fund such funds necessary to meet match requirements for federal grants and to award low interest loans and grants to municipalities that sustain damage to public infrastructure as a result of a natural disaster and to persons whose homes, farms, or businesses are damaged by a natural disaster an all-hazards event.  Assistance under this section may supplement assistance provided through federal and local emergency assistance programs, but eligibility for federal or local assistance shall not be required for eligibility under this section.  Funds utilized under this section shall be distributed in accordance with criteria and procedures established by rule by the secretary of administration.

* * *

Sec. 29.  20 V.S.A. § 105 is amended to read:

§ 105.  LIABILITY - ARTICLE IV

Officers or employees of a party state rendering aid in another state pursuant to this compact shall be considered agents of the requesting state for the purposes of tort liability and immunity.  No party state or its officers or employees rendering aid in another state pursuant to this compact shall be liable for any act or omission performed in good faith while so engaged or in regard to the maintenance or use of any equipment or supplies in connection with rendering aid.  Good faith does not include willful misconduct, gross negligence or reckless behavior.

Sec. 30.  20 V.S.A. § 1871(a) is amended to read:

(a)  The department of public safety, created by section 212 of Title 3, shall include a commissioner of public safety, the Vermont emergency management board created under section 4 of this title, and the boxing control board created under section 101 of Title 31.

Sec. 31.  20 V.S.A. § 1874 is amended to read:

§ 1874.  ORGANIZATION OF DEPARTMENT BY COMMISSIONER

(a)  The commissioner, with the approval of the governor, shall so organize and arrange the department as will best and most efficiently promote its work and carry out the objectives of this chapter.  To that end he, the commissioner may, with such approval, create, rearrange and abolish divisions, establish grades, ranks, and positions to be held by members, and formulate, put into effect, alter, and repeal rules and regulations for the administration of the department.

(b)  The commissioner may, from time to time, in accordance with the rules and regulations promulgated adopted by him or her, designate or change the rank or grade to be held by a member.  He The commissioner may assign or transfer members to serve at such stations and, within the limits of this chapter or other existing law, to perform such duties as he or she shall designate.  He The commissioner may determine what members other than state police shall give bonds, and prescribe the conditions and amount.

Sec. 32.  21 V.S.A. § 601(12) is amended to read:

(12)  “Public employment” means the following:

(A)  all officers and state employees, as defined in section 1101 of Title 3, of all state agencies, departments, divisions, boards, commissions, and institutions, and the Vermont historical society;

* * *

Sec. 33.  21 V.S.A. § 650(a) is amended to read:

§ 650.  PAYMENT; AVERAGE WAGE,; COMPUTATION

(a)  Average weekly wages shall be computed in such manner as is best calculated to give the average weekly earnings of the worker during the 12 weeks preceding an injury; but where, by reason of the shortness of the time during which the worker has been in the employment, or the casual nature of the employment, or the terms of the employment, it is impracticable to compute the rate of remuneration, average weekly wages of the injured worker may be based on the average weekly earnings during the 12 weeks previous to the injury earned by a person in the same grade employed at the same or similar work by the employer of the injured worker, or if there is no comparable employee, by a person in the same grade employed in the same class of employment and in the same district.  If during the period of 12 weeks an injured employee has been absent from employment on account of sickness or suspension of work by the employer, then only the time during which the employee was able to work shall be used to determine the employee’s average weekly wage.  If the injured employee is employed in the concurrent service of more than one insured employer or self-insurer the total earnings from the several insured employers and self-insurers shall be combined in determining the employee’s average weekly wages, but insurance liability shall be exclusively upon the employer in whose employ the injury occurred.  The average weekly wage of a volunteer firefighter, volunteer rescue or ambulance worker, or volunteer reserve police officer, or volunteer as set forth in subdivision 1101(b)(4) of Title 3, who is injured in the discharge of duties as a firefighter, rescue or ambulance worker, or police officer, or state agency volunteer, shall be the employee’s average weekly wage in the employee’s regular employment or vocation but the provisions of section 642 of this title relative to maximum weekly compensation and weekly net income rates, shall apply.  For the purpose of calculating permanent total or permanent partial disability compensation, the provisions relating to the maximum and minimum weekly compensation rate shall apply.  In any event, if a worker at the time of the injury is regularly employed in a higher grade of work than formerly during the 12 weeks preceding the injury and with larger regular wages, only the larger wages shall be taken into consideration in computing the worker’s average weekly wages.

Sec. 34.  29 V.S.A. § 1408(a) is amended to read:

(a)  The state employees’ workers’ compensation fund is created to provide a program for self-insurance coverage for all officers and state employees, as defined in section 1101 of Title 3, of all state agencies, departments, boards, and commissions pursuant to chapters 9 and 11 of Title 21.  All state agencies, departments, boards, and commissions shall participate in the program and contribute to the fund.  The fund shall be administered by the commissioner of buildings and general services who:

* * *

Sec. 35.  REPEAL

20 V.S.A. §§ 12 (relating to establishment of civil defense department); 14 (governor declaration of termination of state of emergency); and 22 (political activity prohibited) are repealed.



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us