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Senate Calendar

wednesday, february 22, 2006

51st DAY OF ADJOURNED SESSION

TABLE OF CONTENTS

                                                                                                                Page No.

ACTION CALENDAR

UNFINISHED BUSINESS OF TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2006

Third Reading

S. 204     Offset projects in stormwater impaired waters................................... 342

NEW BUSINESS

Second Reading

Favorable with Recommendation of Amendment

S. 57       Jurisdiction of assistant judges in Caledonia county............................ 342

                  Judiciary Committee Report........................................................... 342

S. 222     Funding of adult education and literacy services................................. 345

                  Education Committee Report......................................................... 345

                  Appropriations Committee Report................................................. 349

S. 265     Monetary threshold for misdemeanor and felony larceny crimes......... 349

                  Judiciary Committee Report........................................................... 349

NOTICE CALENDAR

Favorable

H. 468    Designation of Randall Lineback cattle as a state heritage breed......... 352

                  Agriculture Committee Report........................................................ 352

Favorable with Proposal of Amendment

H. 248    Relating to registration of lobbyists.................................................... 352

                  Government Operations Committee Report.................................... 352

                  Finance Committee Report............................................................ 358

Committee Bill for Notice

S. 310     Relating to common sense initiatives in health care.............................. 358

ORDERED TO LIE

S. 112     Relating to the practice of optometry................................................. 358

S. 157     Relating to rulemaking for Vermont origin.......................................... 358





 

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ACTION CALENDAR

UNFINISHED BUSINESS OF TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2006

Third Reading

S. 204

An act relating to offset projects in stormwater impaired waters.

NEW BUSINESS

Second Reading

Favorable with Recommendation of Amendment

S. 57

An act relating to jurisdiction of assistant judges in Caledonia county.

Reported favorably with recommendation of amendment by Senator Campbell for the Committee on Judiciary.

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.  4 V.S.A. § 1108 is amended to read:

§ 1108.  CIVIL ORDINANCE AND TRAFFIC VIOLATIONS; JURISDICTION OF ASSISTANT JUDGES IN ESSEX COUNTY

(a)  Subject to the limits of this section and notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, an assistant judge of Essex County sitting alone shall have the same jurisdiction, powers and duties to hear and decide civil ordinance and traffic violations as a hearing officer has under the provisions of this chapter.

(b)  Jurisdiction and venue of civil ordinance and traffic violations heard by an assistant judge shall be in the superior court in the county in which the violation is alleged to have occurred.

(c)(1)  An assistant judge who elects to hear and decide civil ordinance and traffic violations shall:

(A)  have served in that office for a minimum of two years;

(B)  have successfully completed at least 40 hours of training which shall be provided by the bureau; and

(C)  complete 8 hours of continuing education every year relating to jurisdiction exercised under this section.

(2)  Training shall be paid for by the county, which expenditure is hereby authorized.  Law clerk assistance shall be available to the assistant judges.

(d)  An assistant judge who elects to hear and decide civil ordinance and traffic violations or who elects to cease hearing these matters, shall cause the court clerk to notify the bureau and each municipality in the assistant judge's county of the judge's decision.  Upon receipt of notification that an assistant judge elects to hear these matters, exclusive jurisdiction vests with the superior court and every complaint alleging a civil ordinance and traffic violation in that judge's county which is denied, or which requires a hearing, shall be set for hearing before the superior court in the assistant judge's county.

(e)  If both assistant judges elect to hear civil ordinance and traffic violations, the senior assistant judge shall make the assignment of cases to be heard by each assistant judge.

(f)  If both assistant judges do not elect to hear civil ordinance and traffic violations or elect to cease to hear these matters, civil ordinance and traffic violations in the county shall be heard in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.

(g)  An assistant judge may decline to hear a particular civil ordinance or traffic violation, in which case the violation shall be heard by a hearing officer of the bureau.

(h)  An appeal from a decision of an assistant judge shall be in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.

(i)  Civil ordinance and traffic violations that are heard by an assistant judge in Essex County shall be heard in Essex County and shall not be heard at or transferred to any other location.

(c)  The administrative judge may assign or direct assignment of an assistant judge with his or her consent to hear a civil ordinance or traffic violation case within the county in which the assistant judge presides or in a county other than the county in which the assistant judge presides if the assistant judge has elected to hear and decide civil ordinance and traffic violations under this section.

Sec. 2.  12 V.S.A. § 5540A. is amended to read:

§ 5540A.  JURISDICTION OVER SMALL CLAIMS; ASSISTANT JUDGES; ADDISON, BENNINGTON, CHITTENDEN, FRANKLIN, GRAND ISLE, LAMOILLE, ORANGE, ORLEANS, WASHINGTON, WINDHAM, AND WINDSOR COUNTIES

(a)  Subject to the limitations in this section and notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, assistant judges of Addison, Bennington, Chittenden, Franklin, Grand Isle, Lamoille, Orange, Orleans, Washington, Windham, and Windsor counties sitting alone, shall hear and decide small claims actions filed under this chapter with the appropriate superior court if the assistant judges first elect to successfully complete the training required in subsection (b) of this section.

(b)  With the exception of assistant judges authorized to preside in small claims matters prior to the effective date of this act who have successfully completed the testing requirements established herein, an assistant judge hearing cases under this section shall have completed at least 100 hours of relevant training and testing, and observed 20 hours of small claims hearings in accordance with the protocol for said training and observation which shall be established by a majority of the assistant judges of the state, which shall include attendance at colleges or classes available in various locations in and outside the state to lay judges. An assistant judge who hears cases under this section shall complete 16 hours of continuing education every year relating to jurisdiction exercised under this section.  Training shall be paid for on a per capita basis of those judges electing to take the training by the county, which expenditure is hereby authorized.  Law clerk assistance available to superior court judges shall be available to the assistant judges.

(c)  A decision of an assistant judge shall be entered as a small claims judgment and may be appealed pursuant to section 5538 of this title.  The appeal shall be decided by the presiding judge.

(d)  An assistant judge upon successful completion of the training under subsection (b) of this section, shall cause the superior court clerk to notify the court administrator of the assistant judge's successful completion of training. Upon receipt of such notification, small claims cases which require a hearing shall first be set for hearing before an assistant judge in the superior court in the county and shall be heard by the assistant judge. If the assistant judge is unavailable due to illness, vacation, administrative leave, disability or disqualification, the administrative judge pursuant to section 22 of Title 4 may assign a judge, or appoint and assign a member of the Vermont bar to serve temporarily as an acting judge, to hear small claims cases in Addison, Bennington, Chittenden, Franklin, Grand Isle, Lamoille, Orange, Orleans, Washington, Windham, and Windsor counties the case.  No action filed or pending shall be heard at or transferred to any other location unless agreed to by the parties.  If both assistant judges of the county elect to successfully complete training to hear these matters, the senior assistant judge shall make the assignment of cases to be heard by each assistant judge.  The assistant judges, once qualified to preside in these matters, shall work with the court administrator's office and the administrative judge such that the scheduling of small claims cases before the assistant judges are at such times as to permit adequate current court personnel to be available when these cases are heard.

(e)  This section shall be repealed effective on July 1, 2008.

Sec. 3.  REPEAL

4 V.S.A. § 22(d) and 12 V.S.A. § 5540 are repealed.

and that upon passage, the title shall be amended to read: “AN ACT RELATING TO AN EXPANSION OF THE JURISDICTION OF ASSISTANT JUDGES”

(Committee vote: 5-0-1)

S. 222

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

Reported favorably with recommendation of amendment by Senator Collins for the Committee on Education.

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.  16 V.S.A. § 11(17) is amended to read:

(17)  “Adult basic education and literacy” means a program of public education approved by the board under subdivision 164(13) of this title which is adapted to the needs of persons who are beyond compulsory school age, and who have not completed high school education.

Sec. 2.  16 V.S.A. § 164(13) is amended to read:

(13)  Constitute the state board for the program of adult basic education and literacy and perform all the duties and powers prescribed by law pertaining to adult basic education and literacy and to act as the state approval agency for educational institutions conducting programs of adult basic education and literacy.  Approval shall be based on standards adopted by the board which ensure that the services are substantially equal in quality to those provided directly to students by the public school.  In addition, the board shall develop and regularly update a list, which includes:

(A)  the cost of each service that may be provided by an adult education and literacy service provider to a student enrolled in a public school;

(B)  an amount for a service that may be provided by an adult education and literacy provider to a young person between the ages of 16 and 22 who is not enrolled in a public school or an amount for a student outcome as a result of services provided by an adult education and literacy provider to a young person between the ages of 16 and 22 who is not enrolled in a public school;

(C)  the cost of each service that may be provided by a public school to a person between the ages of 16 and 22 receiving adult education and literacy services who is not enrolled in the public school; and

(D)  a full-time equivalency percentage for each service provided by the school district to an enrolled student who is receiving adult education and literacy services reimbursed under section 4017 of this title.

Sec. 3.  16 V.S.A. § 168(a) is amended to read:

(a)  The state board is designated as the sole state agency to establish and administer through the department of education any statewide plan which is now or hereafter may be required as a condition for receipt of funds as may be made available to the state of Vermont by the Congress of the United States, or administrative ruling pursuant thereto, for any educational purposes including technical education and adult basic education and literacy.  It shall also be the agency to accept and administer federal funds which federal legislation requires a state education agency having jurisdiction of elementary and secondary education to administer.

Sec. 4.  16 V.S.A. § 563(6) is amended to read:

(6)  Shall have discretion to furnish instruction to pupils who have completed a secondary education, to provide educational services to a nonenrolled student pursuant to a graduation plan developed under section 4017 of this title, and to administer early educational programs.

Sec. 5.  16 V.S.A. § 4001(1) is amended to read:

(1)  “Average daily membership” of a school district in any year means:

(A)  the full-time equivalent enrollment of pupils, as defined by the state board by rule, who are legal residents of the district attending a school owned and operated by the district and not counted under subdivision (C) of this subdivision (1), attending a public school outside the district under an interdistrict agreement, or for whom the district pays tuition to one or more approved independent schools or public schools outside the district during the annual census period.  The census period consists of the first 40 days of the school year in which school is actually in session; and

(B)  the full-time equivalent enrollment in the year between the end of the last census period and the end of the current census period, of any state‑placed students as defined in subdivision 11(a)(28) of this title.  A school district which provides for the education of its students by paying tuition to an approved independent school or public school outside the district shall not count a state-placed student for whom it is paying tuition for purposes of determining average daily membership.  A school district which is receiving the full amount, as defined by the state board by rule, of the student’s education costs under subsection 2950(a) of this title, shall not count the student for purposes of determining average daily membership.  A state-placed student who is counted in average daily membership shall be counted as a student for the purposes of determining weighted student count; and

(C)  the full-time equivalent enrollment, as defined by the state board pursuant to subdivision 164(20)(D) of this title, in the year between the end of the last census period and the end of the current census period of any student who is a legal resident of the district attending a school owned and operated by the district and who is using adult education and literacy services which are reimbursed under subsection 4017(b) of this title.

Sec. 6.  16 V.S.A. § 4011 is amended to read:

§ 4011.  EDUCATION PAYMENTS

(a)  Annually, the general assembly shall appropriate funds to pay for statewide education spending and a portion of a base education payment for each adult diploma student and student or client in the adult education and literacy program.

* * *

(f)  Annually, the commissioner shall pay to a department or agency which provides:

(1)  an adult diploma program, an amount equal to 26 percent of the base education payment for each student who completed the diagnostic portion of the program, based on an average of the previous two years; and

(2)  adult education and literacy services, an amount equal to 20 percent of the base education payment for each client who is 16 to 20 years of age, inclusive, and who has gained at least one skill level pursuant to state or federal standards.  The calculation of “client” shall be based on an average of the previous two years, according to information submitted to the commissioner on or before September 15 of the year of calculation.  For each client 16 to 20 years of age, information submitted shall include the name, address, and dates of attendance at all Vermont public secondary schools attended and whether the client has gained a skill level.

* * *

Sec. 7.  16 V.S.A. § 4017 is added to read:

§ 4017.  EDUCATIONAL SERVICES FOR STUDENTS AT RISK OF NOT EARNING A HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA

(a)  In this section:

(1)  “Educational services” provided by a public school may include counseling, health services, participation in co-curricular activities, and participation in academic or other courses.

(2)  “Graduation plan” means a written plan for a person who is less than 22 years of age, has not received a high school diploma, is not enrolled in a public school, and is enrolled in an adult education and literacy program.  The plan shall be jointly developed by the school district of residence, the individual, and an agency which has entered into contract with the board to provide adult education and literacy services in Vermont.  The plan shall define the scope and intensity of services necessary for the individual to attain a high school diploma.

(b)  Each town school district, city school district, union school district, unified union school district, incorporated school district, or member school district of an interstate school district shall receive reimbursement for payments made or services rendered under this section.

(c)  A school district may contract with adult education and literacy providers to provide educational services to an enrolled student who is at risk of not succeeding in the school setting.  In this case, the school district shall pay the amount established by the state board under subdivision 164(20)(A) of this title. 

(d)  A school district may provide educational services to a person who is receiving services pursuant to a graduation plan.  In this case, the school district shall receive reimbursement for educational services provided by the district in the amount established by the state board under subdivision 164(20)(C) of this title.

(e)  A school district shall pay to an adult education and literacy provider approved by the commissioner an amount established by the state board under subdivision 164(20)(B) of this title for services to a resident person not enrolled in the school and receiving services pursuant to a graduation plan. 

Sec. 8.  APPROPRIATION

In fiscal year 2007, the amount of $1 million is appropriated from the education fund to the commissioner of education to pay for reimbursements to public school districts pursuant to Sec. 7 of this act.

(Committee vote: 4-0-1)

Reported favorably with recommendation of amendment by Senator Bartlett for the Committee on Appropriations.

The Committee recommends that the bill be amended as recommended by the Committee on Education with the following amendments thereto:

First:  In Sec. 2, 16 V.S.A. § 164(13), in the third sentence, by striking out the word “develop” and inserting in lieu thereof by rule, adopt

Second:  In Sec. 7, 16 V.S.A. § 4017, by adding a new sentence at the end of subsection (b) to read:  However, a school district shall receive no more than the base education payment amount for payments made on behalf of or services rendered to one individual in one school year.

(Committee vote: 6-0-1)

S. 265

An act relating to a monetary threshold for distinguishing misdemeanor and felony larceny crimes.

Reported favorably with recommendation of amendment by Senator Sears for the Committee on Judiciary.

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

§ 2001.  FALSE PERSONATION

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

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

§ 2002.  FALSE PRETENSES OR TOKENS

A person who designedly by false pretenses or by privy or false token and with intent to defraud, obtains from another person money or other property, or a release or discharge of a debt or obligation, or the signature of a person to a written instrument, the false making whereof would be punishable as forgery, shall be imprisoned not more than ten years or fined not more than $1,000.00 $2,000.00, or both, if the money or property so obtained exceeds $25.00 $750.00 in value.  A person who violates this section shall be imprisoned for not more than one year or fined not more than $1,000.00, or both, if the money or property obtained in violation of this section is valued at $750.00 or less. 

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

§ 2501.  GRAND LARCENY

A person who steals from the actual or constructive possession of another, other than from his or her person, money, goods, chattels, bank notes, bonds, promissory notes, bills of exchange or other bills, orders, or certificates, or a book of accounts for or concerning money, or goods due or to become due or to be delivered, or a deed or writing containing a conveyance of land, or any other valuable contract in force, or a receipt, release or defeasance, writ, process, or public record, shall be imprisoned not more than ten years or fined not more than $1,000.00 $5,000.00, or both, if the money or other property stolen exceeds $500.00 $750.00 in value.

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

§ 2502.  PETIT LARCENY

Superior and district courts shall have concurrent jurisdiction of the offenses mentioned in section 2501 of this title where the money or other property stolen does not exceed $500.00 $750.00 in value, and may sentence the person convicted to imprisonment for not more than one year or to pay a fine of not more than $500.00 $1,000.00, or both.

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

§ 2577.  PENALTY

(a)  A person convicted of the offense of retail theft of merchandise having a retail value not in excess of $100.00 $750.00 shall be punished by a fine of not more than $300.00 $500.00 or imprisonment for not more than six months, or both.

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

(c)  A person convicted of the offense of retail theft of merchandise having a retail value in excess of $100.00 $750.00 shall be punished by a fine of not more than $500.00 $1,000.00 or imprisonment for not more than ten years, or both.

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

§ 2582.  THEFT OF SERVICES

(a)  A person who purposely obtains services which he or she knows are available only for compensation, by deception or threat, or by false token or other means to avoid payment for the service shall if the services exceed $500.00 $750.00 in value be imprisoned for not more than ten years or fined not more than $5,000.00, or both.  Otherwise, a person who violates a provision of this subsection shall be imprisoned for not more than one year or fined not more than $1,000.00, or both.  Where compensation for service is ordinarily paid immediately upon the rendering of such service, as in the case of hotels, restaurants, and transportation, refusal to pay or absconding without payment or offer to pay gives rise to a rebuttable presumption that the service was obtained by deception as to intention to pay.

(b)  A person who, having control over the disposition of services of others, to which he or she is not entitled, knowingly diverts such services to his the person’s own benefit or to the benefit of another not entitled thereto shall if the services exceed $500.00 $750.00 in value be imprisoned for not more than ten years or fined not more than $5,000.00, or both.  Otherwise a person who violates a provision of this subsection shall be imprisoned for not more than one year or fined not more than $1,000.00, or both.

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

§ 2591.  THEFT OF RENTED PROPERTY

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

(1)  if the value of the property involved is $100.00 $750.00 or less, imprisoned not more than six months or fined not more than $300.00 $500.00, or both;

(2)  if the property involved exceeds $100.00 $750.00 in value:

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

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

* * *

and that upon passage, the title be amended to read “AN ACT RELATING TO PENALTIES FOR LARCENY CRIMES”

(Committee vote: 5-0-1)

NOTICE CALENDAR

Favorable

H. 468

An act relating to the designation of Randall Lineback cattle as a state heritage breed of livestock.

Reported favorably by Senator Giard for the Committee on Agriculture.

(Committee vote: 4-0-1)

(For House amendments, see House Journal for February 1, 2006, page 202)

Favorable with Proposal of Amendment

H. 248

An act relating to registration of lobbyists.

Reported favorably with recommendation of proposal of amendment by Senator Condos for the Committee on Government Operations.

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

Sec. 1.  2 V.S.A. § 261 is amended to read:

§ 261.  DEFINITIONS

As used in this chapter,

* * *

(4)  “Employer” means any person, other than a lobbying firm, who engages the services of a lobbyist for compensation for the purpose of lobbying.  A lobbyist who employs another lobbyist shall be required to register and report both as an employer and a lobbyist.

* * *

(6)(A)  “Gift” means political contributions, contributions or tickets to political fundraising events and anything of value, tangible or intangible, that is bestowed for less than adequate consideration including travel expenses such as travel fare, room and board and other expenses associated with such travel and including meals and alcoholic beverages whether given as part of a general or open invitation or not.  “Gift” does not include anything given between immediate family members:

(i)  a political contribution;

(ii)  anything of value, tangible or intangible, that is bestowed for less than adequate consideration, including travel expenses such as travel fare, room and board, and other expenses associated with travel;

(iii)  a meal or alcoholic beverage;

(iv)  a ticket, fee, or expenses for, or to, any sporting, recreational, or entertainment events;

(v)  a speaking fee or honorarium, except actual and reasonable travel expenses;

(vi)  a loan made on terms more favorable than those made generally available to the public in the normal course of business.

(B)  “Gift” does not mean:

(i)  anything given between immediate family members;

(ii)  printed educational material such as books, reports, pamphlets, or periodicals;

(iii)  a gift which is not used and which, within 30 days after

receipt, is returned to the donor or for which the donor is reimbursed for its fair market value; and

(iv)  a devise or inheritance.

* * *

(10)  “Lobbyist” means a person who engages in lobbying for compensation of more than $500.00 or expends more than $500.00 lobbying in any calendar year an individual who receives or is entitled to receive, either by employment or contract, $500.00 or more in monetary or in-kind compensation in any calendar year for engaging in lobbying, either personally or through his or her agents, or an individual or business entity who expends more than $500.00 on lobbying in any calendar year.

* * *

(12)  “Lobbying firm” means a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, limited liability corporation, or unincorporated association which receives or is entitled to receive $500.00 or more in monetary or in-kind compensation for engaging in lobbying, either personally or through its agents, in any calendar year.

(13)  “Immediate family” means a person’s spouse or civil union partner, parent, sibling, child, or in-law, including a parent, sibling, or child of a spouse or civil union partner.

Sec. 2.  2 V.S.A. § 262(2) is amended to read:

(2)  a duly-elected or appointed official or employee of the United States, the state of Vermont, or of any instrumentality, agency, or governmental subdivision of the foregoing, when acting solely in connection with matters relating to the person’s office or public dutiesHowever, if one of the foregoing individuals or entities contracts with a lobbyist, that person or entity, as well as that lobbyist, shall comply with the provisions of this chapter;

Sec. 3.  2 V.S.A. § 263 is amended to read:

§ 263.  REGISTRATION OF LOBBYISTS AND EMPLOYERS; FEES

(a)  On forms provided by the secretary of state, every lobbyist shall register with the secretary of state before, or within 48 hours of, commencing lobbying activities. A lobbyist shall file a separate registration statement for each of the lobbyist’s employers.  Each lobbying firm shall submit a list of the names of each lobbyist who is a partner, owner, officer, employee, or agent of the lobbying firm.  Each lobbying firm shall file a supplemental list within 48 hours of any changes that have occurred.

* * *

(d)  A registration statement filed by an employer shall be signed by the employer and shall contain the following information:

* * *

(5)  The name and mailing address of each lobbyist employed engaged by the employer and date of employment or contract for the biennium.

* * *

Sec. 4.  2 V.S.A. § 264 is amended to read:

§ 264.  REPORTS OF EXPENDITURES

(a)  Every employer and every lobbyist registered or required to be registered under this chapter shall file disclosure reports with the secretary of state as follows:

(1)  on or before March April 25, for the preceding period beginning on January 1 and ending with the month of February March;

* * *

(b)  An employer shall disclose for the period of the report the following information:

(1)  a A total of all lobbying expenditures, to the nearest $200.00, made by the employer; in each of the following categories:

(A)  advertising, including television, radio, print, and electronic media;

(B)  expenses incurred for telemarketing, polling, or similar activities if the activities are intended, designed, or calculated, directly or indirectly, to influence legislative or administrative action.  The report shall specify the amount, the person to whom the amount was paid, and a brief description of the activity;

(C)  contractual agreements in excess of $100.00 per year or direct business relationships that are in existence or were entered into within the previous 12 months between the employer and:

(i)  a legislator or administrator;

(ii)  a legislator’s or administrator’s spouse or civil union partner; or

(iii)  a legislator’s or administrator’s dependent household member;

(D)  the total amount of any other lobbying expenditures.

(2) the The total amount of compensation, to the nearest $200.00, paid to lobbyists for lobbying, provided the report need not identify the lobbyists to whom compensation was paid and it.  The employer shall report the name and address of each lobbyist to which the employer pays compensation.  It shall be sufficient to include a prorated amount based on the value of the time devoted to lobbying where compensation is to be included for a person lobbyist whose activities under this chapter are incidental to regular employment; and or other responsibilities to the employer.

(3)  an An itemized list of every gift, whether or not made in connection with lobbying, the value of which is greater than $5.00, made by or on behalf of the employer to or at the request of one or more legislators or administrative officials, and with respect to each such gift, the date made, the nature of the gift, the value of the gift, the identity of any legislators or administrative officials who requested the gift, and the identity of any recipients of the gift the value of which is greater than $15.00, made by or on behalf of the employer to or at the request of one or more legislators or administrative officials or a member of a legislator’s or administrative official’s immediate family.  With respect to each gift, the employer shall report the date the gift was made, the nature of the gift, the value of the gift, the identity of any legislators or administrative officials who requested the gift, and the identity of any recipients of the gift.  Monetary gifts, other than political contributions, shall be prohibited.

(c)  A lobbyist shall disclose for the period of the report the following information:

(1)  a A total of all lobbying expenditures, to the nearest $200.00, made by the lobbyist; and in each of the following categories:

(A)  advertising, including television, radio, print, and electronic media;

(B)  expenses incurred for telemarketing, polling, or similar activities if the activities are intended, designed, or calculated, directly or indirectly, to influence legislative or administrative action.  The report shall specify the amount, the person to whom the amount was paid, and a brief description of the activity;

(C)  contractual agreements in excess of $100.00 per year or direct business relationships that are in existence or were entered into within the previous 12 months between the employer and:

(i)  a legislator or administrator;

(ii)  a legislator’s or administrator’s spouse or civil union partner; or

(iii)  a legislator’s or administrator’s dependent household member;

(D)  the total amount of any other lobbying expenditures.

(2)  an itemized list of every gift, whether or not made in connection with lobbying, the value of which is greater than $5.00, made by or on behalf of a lobbyist to or at the request of one or more legislators or administrative officials, and with respect to each gift, the date made, the nature of the gift, the value of the gift, the identity of any legislators or administrative officials who requested the gift and the identity of any recipients of the gift, except gifts reported by an employer The total amount of compensation paid to a lobbyist for lobbying, including the name and address of each registered employer who engaged the services of the lobbyist reporting.  It shall be sufficient to include a prorated amount based on the value of the time devoted to lobbying where compensation is to be included for a lobbyist whose activities under this chapter are incidental to other responsibilities to the employer.

(3)  An itemized list of every gift, the value of which is greater than $15.00, made by or on behalf of a lobbyist to or at the request of one or more legislators or administrative officials or a member of the legislator’s or administrative official’s immediate family.  With respect to each gift, the lobbyist shall report the date the gift was made, the nature of the gift, the value of the gift, the identity of any legislators or administrative officials who requested the gift, and the identity of any recipients of the gift.  Monetary gifts, other than political contributions, shall be prohibited.

* * *

(f)  If an unsolicited gift is given to a legislator or administrative official by a lobbyist or employer and the recipient does not use it and returns it to the donor within 30 days or the donor is reimbursed for its fair market value, it shall not be considered a “gift” and shall not be required to be reported as such by the donor to the secretary of state.  If the item has already been reported as a gift, the lobbyist or employer shall file an amended report with the secretary of state.

(g)  Within 15 days after the date disclosure reports are to be filed under this section, the secretary shall file a compilation of the disclosure reports with the legislative council.  Compilations of disclosure reports received during the legislative session shall be published in the calendars of the house and senate.

(g)(h)  Disclosure reports shall be made on forms published by the secretary of state and shall be signed by the employer or lobbyist.  The secretary of state shall mail those forms to registered employers and lobbyists not later than 30 days before the end of each reporting period each filing deadline.

(h)(i)  A person lobbyist or employer who fails to file a disclosure report on time shall pay a late reporting fee of $25.00 plus $10.00 for each day the disclosure report is late, not to exceed $175.00.

(i)(j)  A gift from a member of an interest group to, or for the benefit of, a legislator or administrative official, which is made in connection with lobbying as defined in 2 V.S.A. § subdivision 261(9)(D) of this title, shall be deemed to be made on behalf of the employer or lobbyist who sponsored the activity and shall be reported and itemized.

Sec. 5.  2 V.S.A. § 267a is amended to read:

§ 267a.  INVESTIGATIONS

The attorney general may shall investigate, as the attorney general finds necessary, to determine whether a person has violated this chapter on his or her own initiative or in response to a complaint filed in writing with the attorney general, whether a violation of this chapter has occurred.  The attorney general may administer oaths, require filing of a statement under oath, take evidence and require the production, by subpoena or otherwise, of financial records, books, papers, correspondence and other documents and records the attorney general considers to be relevant and material to the investigation.  The attorney general shall make a determination of each complaint filed and, at the time of resolution of a complaint which is found to have merit, shall post on the website of the office of the attorney general a brief summary of the complaint and resolution.

Sec. 6.  2 V.S.A. § 268(b)(3) is amended to read:

(3)  order reimbursement from any person who caused governmental expenditures for the enforcement of the provisions lobbyist or employer found to be in violation of this chapter;

Sec. 7.  REPEAL

2 V.S.A. § 264a (tax on expenditures of lobbyists) is repealed.

Sec. 8.  EFFECTIVE DATE

This act shall take effect on January 1, 2007.

(Committee Vote: 6-0-0)

Reported without recommendation by Senator Cummings for the Committee on Finance.

(Committee vote: 5-0-2)

(For House amendments, see House Journal for May 31, 2006, page 1461.)

Committee Bill for Notice

S. 310

An act relating to common sense initiatives in health care.

By the Committee on Health and Welfare.

ORDERED TO LIE

S. 112

An act relating to the practice of optometry.

PENDING ACTION:  Second reading of the bill.

S. 157

An act relating to rulemaking for Vermont origin.

PENDING ACTION:  Second reading of the bill.


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.

     James W. Volz, Esq. of Montpelier – Chair of the Public Service Board – By Sen. Cummings for the Committee on Finance.  (2/7)

     Robert Alberts of Bridport – Member of the Vermont Housing Finance Agency – By Sen. Ayer for the Committee on Finance.  (2/10)

     Brian Burgess, Esq. of Montpelier – Associate Justice of the Supreme Court – By Sen. Cummings for the Committee on Judiciary.  (2/22)

PUBLIC HEARING

Senate Government Operations Committee and House General, Housing and Military Affairs Committee will conduct a joint public hearing for all candidates for the office of Adjutant and Inspector General, to be held on Wednesday, February 22, in Room 11, commencing at 5:00 p.m.

CROSSOVER DEADLINES

1.  Bill Introduction Deadlines

          (a)  The deadline for filing drafting requests for new bills for the 2006 Session has expired under our Senate Rules.

          (b)  Accordingly, any new bill for the 2006 Session can now only be introduced with the consent of the Rules Committee, whether sponsored by an individual Senator or by any standing committee.

2.  Bill Reporting Deadlines

          (a)  A “bill reporting deadline” means the date by which a bill must be reported out of a committee and filed with the Secretary of the Senate in order to place that bill on the calendar for notice the next legislative day.

          (b)  For Senate bills introduced during this biennium, the following bill reporting deadlines are established for the 2006 adjourned session:

               (1)  From the standing committee of last reference (excluding the Committees on Appropriations and Finance), all bills must be reported out of committee on or before March 3, 2006.

               (2)  For bills referred pursuant to Senate Rule 31, all bills must be reported out of the Committees on Appropriations and Finance on or before March   17, 2006.

          (c)  These deadlines may be waived for any bill or committee only by consent given by the Committee on Rules.

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:

98.     Transitional Housing Legislative Report.  (Office of the Franklin County State’s Attorney).  (February 2006).

99.     Environmental Contingency Fund Status Report for Calendar Year 2005.  (Agency of Natural Resources, Waste Management Division).  (February 2006).

100.   Report on Requests for Proposals to Lease the Cheney House, a state-owned property in Westmore, Vermont.  (Agency of Natural Resources, Dept. of Forests, Parks and Recreation).  (February 2006).

101.   Lake Champlain 2009 Strategic Plan.  (February 2006).

102.   Vermont State Housing Authority 2005 Annual Report.  (February 2006).



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The Vermont General Assembly
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Montpelier, Vermont


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