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Senate Calendar

thursday, march 24, 2005

79th DAY OF BIENNIAL SESSION

TABLE OF CONTENTS

                                                                                                                Page No.

ACTION CALENDAR

UNFINISHED BUSINESS OF WEDNESDAY, MARCH 23, 2005

Third Reading

S. 105     Relating to film piracy........................................................................ 324

                        Sen. Campbell amendment....................................................... 324

NEW BUSINESS

Third Reading

S. 154     Commercial driver licenses and commercial motor vehicles................ 324

Committee Bill for Second Reading

S. 156     Relating to corrections...................................................................... 324

                        Appropriations Committee Report........................................... 324

                        Sen. Illuzzi amendment............................................................. 324

                        Sen. Sears amendment............................................................. 324

House Proposal of Amendment

S. 80       Relating to minimum wage................................................................. 326

Joint Resolution for Action

JRH 28  Reject proposed reductions in federal funding for Vermont................ 327

NOTICE CALENDAR

Favorable

S. 129     Vermont seed capital fund................................................................. 327

H. 118    Amending the charter of the city of Burlington.................................... 327

Favorable with Recommendation of Amendment

S. 56       Restructuring the agency of natural resources..................................... 327


Concurrent Resolutions for Notice Under Joint Rule 16

(For text of Resolutions, see Addendum to March 24, 2005 Calendar)

SCR 20  In memory of Washington County Sheriff Ronald W. West................ 129

HCR 70 Congratulating Mt. Abraham Eagles Division IV football team............ 130

HCR 71 Congratulating Mt. Abraham Division II field hockey team................. 131

HCR 72 Congratulating Mt. Abraham Division II boys’ soccer team................ 132

HCR 73 Congratulating South Royalton HS Division III boys’ basketball......... 133

HCR 74 Jacob Howard on winning the 2005 Vermont state spelling bee......... 134

HCR 75 Welcoming home VNG HQ STARC VT ARNG FW 10.................. 136

HCR 76 In memory of Noel Perrin of Thetford Center.................................... 137

Ordered to Lie

S. 101     Requiring carbon monoxide detectors in housing................................ 335



ORDERS OF THE DAY

ACTION CALENDAR

UNFINISHED BUSINESS OF WEDNESDAY, MARCH 23, 2005

Third Reading

S. 105

An act relating to film piracy.

AMENDMENT TO S. 105 TO BE OFFERED BY SENATOR CAMPBELL BEFORE THIRD READING

Senator Campbell, on behalf of the Committee on Judiciary, moves to amend the bill in Sec. 1, 13 V.S.A. §2580, by striking out subsection (d) in its entirety and by relettering the remaining subsection to be alphabetically correct.

NEW BUSINESS

Third Reading

S. 154

An act relating to commercial driver licenses and commercial motor vehicles.

Committee Bill for Second Reading

S. 156

An act relating to corrections.

By the Committee on Judiciary.

Reported favorably by Senator Bartlett for the Committee on Appropriations.

(Committee vote: 6-0-1)

AMENDMENT TO S. 156 TO BE OFFERED BY SENATOR ILLUZZI

Senator Illuzzi moves to amend the bill by striking out Secs. 2 and 3 in their entirety.

AMENDMENT TO S. 156 TO BE OFFERED BY SENATOR SEARS

Senator Sears moves to amend the bill by striking out Sec. 4 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 4 to read as follows:

Sec. 4.  28 V.S.A. § 808 is amended to read:

§ 808. FURLOUGHS GRANTED TO OFFENDERS AND INMATES; MEDICAL FURLOUGH

(a) The department may extend the limits of the place of confinement of an inmate at any correctional facility if the inmate agrees to comply with such conditions of supervision the department, in its sole discretion, deems appropriate for that inmate's furlough. The department may authorize furlough for any of the following reasons:

* * *

(7) When recommended by the department and ordered by a court. The inmate may be sentenced to serve a term of imprisonment but placed by a court on furlough to participate in such programs administered by the department in the community that reduce the offender's risk to reoffend or that provide reparation to the community in the form of supervised work activities; or

(8)  To prepare for reentry into the community, any offender sentenced to serve a minimum term of fewer than two years may be furloughed to the community up to 90 days prior to the completion of the minimum sentence, in accordance with rules adopted by the commissioner based on factors of risk of reoffense, history of violent behavior, history of compliance with community supervision, and progress in treatment programs designed to reduce criminal risk.  Persons who are sentenced to a minimum term of fewer than 90 days shall serve the term without reduction.  Persons sentenced to minimum terms of at least 91 days but fewer than 180 days shall serve no fewer than 90 days; or

(9)  For the purpose of screening, assessment and participation in community non-residential programs in preparation for conditional reentry; or

(10) To begin employment prior to discharge.

* * *

(e) The commissioner may enter into and execute a contract with authorities in other states for the furlough of any inmate from any facility to another state when, in his opinion, the inmate needs special treatment in the other state or for a particular reason consistent with the rehabilitation of the inmate.  [Deleted.]

* * *

(g)  Treatment furlough.  The department may place on furlough an inmate who has not yet served the minimum term of the sentence, provided the approval of the sentencing judge is first obtained, who, in the department's determination, needs residential treatment services not available in a correctional facility.  The services may include treatment for substance abuse or personal violence or any other condition that the department has determined should be addressed in order to reduce the inmate's risk to reoffend or cause harm to himself or herself or to others in the facility.  The inmate shall be released only to a hospital or licensed inpatient treatment facility that provides services to the general population.  The state's share of the cost of placement in such a facility, net of any private or federal participation, shall be paid pursuant to memoranda of agreement between and within state agencies reflective of their shared responsibilities to maximize the efficient and effective use of state resources.  In the event that a memorandum of agreement cannot be reached, the secretary of administration shall make a final determination as to the manner in which costs will be allocated.

House Proposal of Amendment

S. 80

An act relating to the minimum wage

The House proposes to the Senate to amend the bill by striking out Sec. 1 and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Sec. 1.  21 V.S.A. § 384(a) is amended to read:

(a)  An employer shall not employ an employee at a rate less than $6.25 an hour, beginning on January 1, 2004 at a rate less than $6.75 an hour, and beginning on January 1, 2005 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 the lesser of five percent or the percentage of annual increase in the state average weekly wage as calculated by the department of employment and training pursuant to subsection 1338(g) of this title and used to adjust workers’ compensation and unemployment compensation benefits under this title during the preceding year.  The minimum wage rate 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 beginning on January 1, 2004 at a basic wage rate less than $3.58 an hour, beginning on January 1, 2005 at a basic wage rate less than $3.65 an hour and thereafter at a rate to be determined when the minimum wage is increased.  For the purposes of this subsection, “a service or tipped employee” means all those, in either hotels, motels, tourist places, and restaurants 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.

J.R.H. 28

Joint resolution urging congress to reject proposed reductions in federal funding for programs supporting Vermont’s agriculture and rural economic development and the land grant college program.

(For text of Resolution, see Senate Journal for March 23, 2005, page 291).

NOTICE CALENDAR

Favorable

S. 129

An act relating to Vermont seed capital fund.

Reported favorably by Senator Miller for the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs.

(Committee vote: 5-0-1)

Favorable

H. 118

An act relating to amending the charter of the city of Burlington.

Reported favorably by Senator Condos for the Committee on Government Operations.

(Committee vote: 6-0-0)

(For House amendments, see House Journal for February 23, 2005, page 265).

Favorable with Recommendation of Amendment

S. 56

An act relating to restructuring the agency of natural resources.

Reported favorably with recommendation of amendment by Senator Bartlett for the Committee on Natural Resources and Energy.

The Committee recommends that the bill be amended by striking out all after the enacting clause and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Sec. 1.  LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS AND PRINCIPLES

The general assembly finds:

(1)  The agency of natural resources affects the lives of all Vermonters in carrying out its duties to protect and responsibly manage Vermont’s precious natural resources for the benefit of current and future generations.

(2)  The following obstacles currently prevent the agency of natural resources from consistently meeting its statutory obligations:

(A)  Agency of natural resources programs in the three agency departments (the department of environmental conservation, the department of fish and wildlife, and the department of forests, parks and recreation) are not sufficiently well integrated.

(B)  A significant number of agency of natural resources staff work in regional offices throughout the state.  These staff are familiar with and focused on meeting the unique natural resources challenges of their regions.  However, there is also a need to ensure that the practices implemented in the regions are connected to basic agency-wide policies and to the agency management system.  The lack of coordination between regional and central agency staff can result in the inconsistent application of agency policies.

(C)  The following examples attest to the challenges faced by the agency of natural resources in meeting state and federal statutory mandates in a timely manner:

(i)  The agency has not completed the basin planning requirement in state and federal law.

(ii)  The agency has not completed basic, minimal groundwater mapping for aquifers serving public water systems as required by state law.

(iii)  The agency has not completed implementation of key components of the federal Clean Water Act, such as developing total maximum daily loads (TMDL) and developing an antidegradation implementation policy.

(D)  Appeals of agency decisions reveal that, on occasion, those decisions are inconsistent with state law.

(E)  The problems faced by the agency of natural resources may be the result of a lack of agency resources, an inefficient use of existing resources, inefficiencies in the agency management structure, or any combination of these and other factors.

(F)  Currently, there is not a clear and consistent connection between the agency’s own policy, planning, and implementation work and core environmental issues being addressed by other state agencies (including state long-range transportation planning, energy planning, and planning to address global climate change).

(G)  State agencies, in general, fail to comply with the “Act 200” planning requirements of 24 V.S.A. § 4302.  Therefore, it is difficult for the agency of natural resources:

(i)  to assure that it acts in a manner consistent with its own Act 200 plans;

(ii)  to coordinate its plans with the Act 200 plans of other agencies; and

(iii)  to assure that its actions are consistent with the Act 200 goals. 

(3)  Good policy and planning are vital to any large agency’s ability to efficiently carry out its responsibilities.  The agency’s planning and policy efforts must be well connected and communicated to the staff who implement these policies.  The agency’s internal policy must be coordinated with planning efforts in the individual departments.

(4)  The agency must have a clear, well articulated vision to implement the state’s environmental policy as established by law.  This will be done in a manner that connects to the work of all the departments and guides staff implementation.

Sec. 2.  TIMELINE AND PROCESS

The secretary shall engage in the following process as part of a restructuring of the agency:

(1)  In order to implement state environmental policy for the benefit of current and future generations, the secretary shall:

(A)  Collaborate with agency staff, advocacy groups, other state agencies, municipalities, and other stakeholders to receive input on organizational models and the design of the agency.  This process may include focus groups, public meetings, newsletters, surveys, and the use of a website and shall continue through December 2005.

(B)  Collaborate with agency staff, advocacy groups, other state agencies, municipalities, and other stakeholders to determine specific accountability indicators needed to measure the success and performance of agency restructuring.

(C)  Examine areas where consultation may be needed, such as information technology design, federal cost allocation, and organizational development.

(D)  Identify and implement staff development programs necessary to assist the agency staff to carry out their responsibilities in the restructured agency.

(E)  Compile all procedures and rules that govern any part of the agency and publish them on the agency website by July 1, 2006, along with a user-friendly index and table of contents.

(2)  A statewide advisory group, the Agency Reorganization Committee (ARC), is created to advise the secretary on the design of the restructured agency.  It shall consist of no more than 12 members, who shall be appointed by the legislative oversight committee, in consultation with the secretary of natural resources, as follows: two representing regulated business and development interests; two representing environmental organizations; one representing fish and wildlife interests; one representing the interests of forests and parks; one representing recreational interests; one representing local government; one representing regional government; one representing the Vermont State Employees Association; and two representing citizens’ groups.  Appointments shall be made no later than June 1, 2005, and shall be for terms of one year.  The secretary shall convene the first meeting of ARC no later than July 1, 2005, and establish regular meetings thereafter.  The ARC shall hold public hearings with respect to the functions of the agency, and the issues identified in this act, in each of the agency’s five administrative districts and provide public notice of each public hearing.  The secretary and the consultant, in consultation with ARC, shall establish a process to solicit input from agency staff.  For purposes of this act only, the provisions of the collective bargaining contract article on whistle blower, as printed in the agreements between the State of Vermont and the Vermont State Employees’ Association, are extended to all employees in the agency not covered by these agreements.  Members of the ARC not receiving compensation for service on the advisory group from another source are entitled to compensation under section 1010 of Title 32.

(3)  The secretary shall examine functions, such as administrative support and supervision, and space requirements necessary to establish an agency that is responsive and helpful to permit applicants, neighbors, and others interested in and affected by the permitting process.

(4)  On or before December 1, 2005, the secretary shall prepare and present a draft report to the ARC on natural resources restructuring for review and comment. ARC members shall provide comment based on review no later than December 15, 2005.

(5)  On or before January 15, 2006, the secretary shall prepare and present to the legislative oversight committee on natural resources restructuring established in Sec. 2 of this act:

(A)  a report containing initial recommendations for restructuring the agency, including:

(i)  a plan for making the agency’s permit process, enforcement actions, and other functions more accessible in order to increase efficiency, transparency, and accountability.  This shall include a detailed articulation of the resources and time frame needed for implementation of the plan;

(ii)  agency action to meet statutory obligations under 10 V.S.A. § 1253(d) regarding basin planning including plan updates every five years;

(iii)  standardization and integration of the agency’s permit programs to make them more user‑friendly to applicants and to others concerned with natural resource management and the environment, while at the same time protecting the state’s natural resources to the full extent of the law;

(iv)  accountability mechanisms to ensure that alleged permit violations are forwarded to the agency’s enforcement division and that there is a sufficient enforcement presence to give the resources the protection anticipated by the pertinent underlying legislation and to assure that those who do not comply with the law are not given an unfair advantage over those who do;

(v)  documentation procedures to ensure that agency decisions are made in compliance with applicable law and that they adhere to sound, generally accepted scientific principles and methods; and

(vi)  provision of policy guidance from the agency’s planning efforts to coordinate between the agency’s many departments and divisions in a manner that protects the state’s resources while responding to legitimate interests of applicants and others involved in the permitting process;

(B)  draft legislation necessary to eliminate contradictions in existing statutes and to authorize the reorganization proposed by the agency;

(C)  a report on the budgetary impacts and transitional costs of restructuring; and

(D)  recommendations for improving coordination of functions that are shared with, or that overlap with, those of other state agencies and units of local government.

Sec. 3.  THE LEGISLATIVE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE ON NATURAL RESOURCES RESTRUCTURING

(a)  There is created the legislative oversight committee on natural resources restructuring to oversee the restructuring of the agency of natural resources.  The committee shall be composed of four members from the house of representatives to be appointed by the speaker of the house, not all from the same party, and four members from the senate to be appointed by the committee on committees, not all from the same party.  Initial appointments shall be made by July 1, 2005. 

(b)  The committee shall review whether agency restructuring achieves the goals of this act effectively and efficiently.  Specifically, the committee shall:

(1)  solicit input from the ARC and from individuals served by the agency, whether as permit applicants, neighbors, or persons who use and enjoy the state’s natural resources;

(2)  monitor the restructuring process and timeline; and

(3)  measure the efforts of the agency against the goals and principles described in this act.

(c)  The committee may meet up to six times per year while the general assembly is not in session to perform its functions under this section.

(d)  The secretary of the agency of natural resources shall report to the committee as required by the committee.

(e)  Members of the committee shall be entitled to compensation and reimbursement for expenses under section 406 of Title 2.

(f)  The committee may prepare and propose draft legislation which amends the Vermont Statutes Annotated to conform to the restructuring of the agency.

Sec. 4.  RESTRUCTURING; AUTHORIZATION

After filing the report required in subdivision (5) of Sec. 2 of this act, the secretary of natural resources shall have the authority to restructure the agency of natural resources, including the authority to make organizational changes according to the goals, principles, and processes set forth in this act.  For the purposes of this act:

(1)  The secretary may transfer appropriations within the agency in order to carry out the purposes of this act, provided that the total amount appropriated to the agency shall remain the same.  The secretary shall not transfer an appropriation without the approval of the joint fiscal committee.  Prior to transferring an appropriation, the secretary shall submit a written proposal for the transfer to the legislative oversight committee on natural resources restructuring and to the joint fiscal committee.  The legislative oversight committee shall have up to 45 days to review the proposal and provide its recommendation on the proposal to the joint fiscal committee.  The joint fiscal committee shall meet within 30 days of the date of its receipt of the recommendations from the legislative oversight committee to review and act upon the proposal.  However, the joint fiscal committee shall not act upon the proposal until it receives a recommendation from the legislative oversight committee or after the passage of 45 days from the date of its receipt of the proposal.  The transfer shall be deemed approved by the joint fiscal committee and the secretary may implement the transfer if:

(A)  the joint fiscal committee fails to act within its 30-day period for review, in case a timely recommendation is received from the legislative oversight committee; or

(B)  if the joint fiscal committee fails to act within 75 days of receipt of the proposal, in the absence of a timely recommendation from the legislative oversight committee.

(2)  The secretary may transfer or reallocate personnel, functions, and programs consistent with this act, subject to personnel laws, rules and contracts.  The secretary shall identify personnel laws and rules, and contracted services which affect the agency’s ability to meet the goals and principles set forth in this act.

(3)  The secretary may use pilot programs or action research initiatives to facilitate the development of agency protocols.

Sec. 5.  STRATEGIC PLAN

On or before May 1, 2006, the secretary shall prepare a strategic plan to implement state environmental policy, which shall be updated biennially and presented to the general assembly and to members of the house and senate committees on natural resources and energy.  The strategic plan shall set and clarify goals; describe the process for engagement of agency staff, permit applicants, advocacy groups, advisory groups, and other affected agencies; provide an ongoing assessment of the effectiveness of the plan in implementing state environmental policy; and establish and describe milestones for development of the plan.

Sec. 6.  APPLICATION

Nothing in this act, nor any action taken pursuant to this act, shall affect the validity of agency of natural resources rules in effect, assets owned, or contracts or other agreements entered into by the agency.  Rules in effect on the effective date of this act shall remain in effect until amended or repealed by the secretary.

Sec. 7.  SUNSET

Sec. 2, subdivision (2) (ARC), Sec. 3 (legislative oversight committee on natural resources restructuring), and Sec. 4 (restructuring authorization) of this act are repealed on July 1, 2008.

Sec. 8.  APPROPRIATION

The sum of $50,000.00 is appropriated from the general fund to the agency of natural resources in fiscal year 2006 for the purpose of hiring a consultant‑facilitator to assist in implementation of this act.

Sec. 9.  EFFECTIVE DATE

This act shall take effect upon passage.

(Committee vote: 5-0-0)

Concurrent Resolutions for Notice Under Joint Rule 16

(For text of Resolutions, see Addendum to March 24, 2005 Calendar)

     The following concurrent resolutions have been introduced for approval by the Senate and House and will be adopted automatically unless a Senator or Representative requests floor consideration before the end of the session of the next legislative day.  Requests for floor consideration in either chamber should be communicated to the Secretary’s office and/or the House Clerk’s office, respectively.

S.C.R. 20

Senate concurrent resolution in memory of former Washington County Sheriff Ronald W. West.

H.C.R. 70

House concurrent resolution congratulating the 2004 Mount Abraham Eagles Division IV championship boys’ football team.

H.C.R. 71

House concurrent resolution congratulating the 2004 Mount Abraham Union High School Division II field hockey team.

H.C.R. 72

House concurrent resolution congratulating the 2004 Mount Abraham Union High School Eagles Division II championship boys’ soccer team.

H.C.R. 73

House concurrent resolution congratulating the South Royalton High School Royals 2005 Division III championship boys’ basketball team.

H.C.R. 74

House concurrent resolution congratulating Jacob Hubbard on winning the 2005 Vermont state spelling bee.


H.C.R. 75

House concurrent resolution welcoming home from deployment in Iraq members of the Vermont National Guard’s HQ STARC VT ARNG FW 10.

H.C.R. 76

House concurrent resolution in memory of Noel Perrin of Thetford Center.

Ordered to Lie

S. 101

An act relating to requiring carbon monoxide detectors in housing.

Pending Question:  Shall the bill be amended as recommended by the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs?

(For text of recommendation of amendment, see Senate Journal for March 22, 2005, page 286).

CONFIRMATIONS

     The following appointments will be considered by the Senate, as a group, under suspension of the Rules, as moved by the President pro tempore, for confirmation together and without debate, by consent thereby given by the Senate.  However, upon request of any senator, any appointment may be singled out and acted upon separately by the Senate, with consideration given to the report of the Committee to which the appointment was referred, and with full debate; and further, all appointments for the positions of Secretaries of Agencies, Commissioners of Departments, Judges, Magistrates, and members of the Public Service Board shall be fully and separately acted upon.

Kathryn Boardman of Shelburne – Member of the Vermont Municipal Bond Bank – By Senator Ayer for the Committee on Finance.  (3/16)

Ruth Stokes of Williston – Member of the State Board of Education – By Senator Starr for the Committee on Education.  (3/17)

Nancy Price Graff of Montpelier – Member of the Board of Libraries – By Senator Doyle for the Committee on Education.  (3/17)

John Ewing of Burlington – Member of the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board – By Senator Illuzzi for Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs.  (3/23)

Roy Folsom of Cabot – Member of the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board – By Senator Illuzzi for the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs.  (3/23)

Leo O. Larocque of Whiting – Member of the Electricians Licensing Board – By Sen. Illuzzi for the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs.  (3/23)

Timothy Watkins of East Middlebury – Member of the Electricians Licensing Board – By Sen. Illuzzi for the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs.  (3/23)

Robert Williams of Poultney – Member of the Electricians Licensing Board – By Sen. Illuzzi for the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs.  (3/23)

NOTICE OF ADVOCATES HEARINGS

The Senate Appropriations Committee will hold its Fiscal Year 2006 Budget advocates hearings on Tuesday afternoon, April 5 in the Senate Chamber.

Advocates wishing to schedule time before the Committee regarding the Fiscal Year 2006 Budget should contact Becky Buck at the Legislative Joint Fiscal Office located at 1 Baldwin Street (phone:  828-5969).

REPORTS ON FILE

Pursuant to the provisions of 2 V.S.A. §20(c), one (1) copy of the following reports is on file in the office of the Secretary of the Senate:

111.        Olmstead Commission Status Report.  (Agency of Human Services).  (March 2005).

112.        Vermont Educational & Health Buildings Financing Agency 2004 Annual Report.  (March 2005).

113.        Vermont Municipal Bond Bank 2004 Annual Report.  (March 2005).

114.        Environmental Contingency Fund Report for FY 2005.  (Agency of Natural Resources, Department of Environmental Conservation.  (March 2005).

115.        2004 Registry and Mobile Home Parks Report.  (Agency of Commerce and Community Development).  (March 2005).



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