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ACT OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY 2007-2008

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NO. 121.  AN ACT RELATING TO MISCELLANEOUS AMENDMENTS TO LOCAL ELECTION AND MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT LAWS.

(H.436)

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

Sec. 1.  3 V.S.A. § 2473a(e) is amended to read:

(e)  The receipt and expenditure of moneys from the revolving fund shall be under the supervision of the business manager and at the direction of the publisher, subject to the provisions of this section.  Vermont Life magazine shall maintain accurate and complete records of all receipts and expenditures by and from the fund, and shall make an annual report on the condition of the fund to the secretary of the agency, who shall in turn provide the report to the secretary of administration.  The fund shall be audited annually by the auditor of accounts.

Sec. 2.  7 V.S.A. § 805 is amended to read:

§ 805.  -AUDIT OF OPERATIONS

On or before February 28 of each year, each state college and university licensed under this chapter shall submit a financial report on its operations under this chapter to audit by the state auditor of accounts. Such audit shall examine the financial condition and operation of such licensees for the preceding calendar year and shall be submitted to the liquor control board by April 1 of each year.

Sec. 3.  16 V.S.A. § 2177(b) is amended to read:

(b)  The books and accounts financial statements of the corporation shall be audited annually as of June 30 under the supervision of the auditor of accounts who shall publish the audit report in detail by an independent public accounting firm registered in Vermont in accordance with government auditing standards issued by the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO).  The auditor of accounts or his or her designee shall be the state’s nonvoting representative to an audit committee established by the board

Sec. 4.  16 V.S.A. § 2281 is amended to read:

§ 2281.  ANNUAL AUDIT; REPORTS; CONTROL OF FUNDS

(a)  The books and accounts of the University of Vermont and State Agricultural College shall be audited annually as of June 30, under the supervision of the auditor of accounts.  The report of such audit shall be published in detail by the auditor of accounts by an independent accounting firm registered in the state of Vermont in accordance with government auditing standards issued by the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO).  The auditor of accounts or his or her designee shall be the state’s nonvoting representative to an audit committee established by the board

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(f)  Control of funds appropriated and of the work carried on under the terms of section 2321 of this title shall be vested in the board of trustees of the University of Vermont and State Agricultural College.  The University of Vermont and State Agricultural College shall provide an accounting service which shall account for the expenditure of funds by divisions and shall make an annual financial report to the governor of the state.  All funds appropriated to the agricultural college shall be kept in a separate account and shall be audited annually by the auditor of accounts an independent accounting firm registered in the state of Vermont in accordance with government auditing standards issued by the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO).

Sec. 5.  16 V.S.A. § 2835 is amended to read:

§ 2835.  CONTROLS, AUDITS, AND REPORTS

Control of funds appropriated and all procedures incident to the carrying out of the purposes of this chapter shall be vested in the board.  The books of account of the corporation shall be audited annually under the direction of the auditor of accounts by an independent public accounting firm registered in the state of Vermont in accordance with government auditing standards issued by the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) and a the resulting audit report filed with the secretary of administration not later than November 1 each year.  The auditor of accounts or his or her designee shall be the state’s nonvoting representative to an audit committee established by the board.  Biennially, the board shall report to the legislature on its activities during the preceding biennium.

Sec. 6.  17 V.S.A. § 2353(a) is amended to read:

(a)  The name of any person shall be printed upon the primary ballot as a candidate for nomination by any major political party for any office indicated, if petitions containing the requisite number of signatures made by legal voters, in substantially the following form, are filed with the proper official, together with the person's written consent to having his or her name printed on the ballot:

STATE OF VERMONT

County of  .......................... )

ss.

City (town) of  .................... )

 

I join in a petition to place on the primary ballot of the .............................................................. party the name of  ........................................................., whose residence is in the (city), (town) of  ............................................... in the county of ............................................., for the office of  ………………............................. to be voted for on Tuesday, the  .................................. day of September, 20  ..................; and I certify that I am at the present time a registered voter and am qualified to vote for a candidate for this office.

Sec. 7.  17 V.S.A. § 2402 is amended to read:

§ 2402.  REQUISITES OF STATEMENT

(a)  A statement of nomination shall contain:

* * *

(4)  In the case of nomination for president or vice president of the United States, the name and state of residence of each candidate for such office, together with the name, town of residence, and correct mailing address of each nominee for the office of elector.  The statement of nomination shall include certification by the town clerk of each town where the signers appear to be voters that the persons whose names appear as signers of the statement are registered voters in the town and of the total number of valid signers from the town.  Only the number of signers certified by each town clerk shall count toward the required number of signatures.  The statement shall also be accompanied by a consent form from each nominee for elector.  The consent form shall be similar to the consent form prescribed in section 2361 of this title.

(b)  To constitute a valid nomination, a statement shall contain signatures of voters qualified to vote in an election for the office in question, equal in number to at least:

(1)  For presidential and vice presidential offices, 1,000;

(2)  For state and congressional offices, 250 500;

* * *

(c)  A statement shall state that each signer is qualified to vote in an election for the office in question and that the voter's residence is as set forth next to the voter's name.  Every statement of nomination shall include the certificate of the town clerk where the signers appear to be voters, certifying whether the persons whose names appear as signers of the statement are registered voters in the town.  Only those names certified by the town clerk to be those of registered voters of the town shall count toward the required number of signatures.

(d)  A statement of nomination and a completed and signed consent form shall be filed not later than the time for filing the statements prescribed in section 2386 of this title sooner than the first Monday in June and not later than the third day after the primary election.  No public official receiving nominations shall accept a petition unless a completed and signed consent form is filed at the same time.

(e)  The secretary of state shall prescribe and furnish forms for a statement of nomination.


Sec. 8.  17 V.S.A. § 2456 is amended to read:

§ 2456.  DISQUALIFICATIONS

Notwithstanding the preceding sections of this subchapter, no person shall serve as an election official in any election in which his or her name appears on a ballot of the Australian ballot system as a candidate for any office unless he or she is the only candidate for that office, or unless the office for which he or she is a candidate is that of moderator, justice of the peace, town clerk,

clerk-treasurer, treasurer, ward clerk, or inspector of elections.  When an Australian ballot is not used, a person shall not serve as an election official during the election to fill any office for which he or she is a nominee.  For the purpose of this section, "clerk-treasurer" means a person who is a candidate for the offices of town clerk and town treasurer at the same time.

Sec. 9.  17 V.S.A. § 2494 is amended to read:

§ 2494.  CONSTRUCTION WITH OTHER LAWS

Except as this subchapter affects the method of registering votes and ascertaining the result, the laws of this state pertaining to elections shall be applicable.  The laws pertaining to early or absentee voters shall in no way be affected by this subchapter, and votes cast by early or absentee voters shall be counted with votes registered on voting machines.  In towns using voting machines, the board of civil authority may vote to open polling places at 5:00 a.m., provided that at least three elections officials are present, two of whom are from different parties, solely for the purpose of checking voters who voted by early voter absentee ballot off the checklist and depositing the ballots into the ballot box or voting machine.  If all early voter absentee ballots have not been deposited into the voting machines before the closing of the polls at 7:00 p.m., the elections officials shall continue to deposit ballots using the same procedure as provided in subsection 2561(b) of this title, treating each ballot as a voter waiting to cast his or her ballot at the close of the polls.

Sec. 10.  17 V.S.A. § 2561(a) is amended to read:

(a)  At all elections using the Australian ballot system, the polls shall may open no earlier than 5:00 a.m. and shall open no later than 10:00 a.m. as set by the board of civil authority in each town unless the board of civil authority has elected to open the polls earlier than 6:00 a.m. as provided in section 2494 of this title.  The polls in all polling places shall close at 7:00 p.m.

Sec. 11.  17 V.S.A. § 2640(c) is amended to read:

(c)  In a town which starts its annual meeting on any day before the first Tuesday in March and which uses the Australian ballot system, Notwithstanding section 2508 of this title, public discussion of ballot issues and all other issues appearing in the warning, other than election of candidates, shall be permitted on that day at the annual meeting, regardless of the location of the polling place.


Sec. 12.  17 V.S.A. § 2664 is amended to read:

§ 2664.  BUDGET

A town shall vote such sums of money as it deems necessary for the interest of its inhabitants and for the prosecution and defense of the common rights.  It shall express in its vote the specific amounts, or the rate on a dollar of the grand list, to be appropriated for laying out and repairing highways and for other necessary town expenses.  If a town votes specific amounts in lieu of a rate on a dollar of the grand list, the selectmen selectboard shall, after the grand list book has been computed and lodged in the office of the town clerk, set the tax rate necessary to raise the specific amounts voted.  The selectboard may apply for grants and may accept and expend grants or gifts above those which are approved in the town budget.  The selectboard shall include, in its annual report, a description of all grants or gifts accepted during the year and associated expenditures.

Sec. 13.  17 V.S.A. § 2680 is amended to read:

§ 2680.  AUSTRALIAN BALLOT SYSTEM; GENERAL

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(c)  Budgets.  A vote whether to use the Australian ballot system to establish the budget shall be in substantially the following form:

"Shall (name of municipality) adopt its budget article or articles by Australian ballot?"

If a budget voted on by Australian ballot is rejected, the legislative body shall prepare a revised budget.  The legislative body shall establish a date for the vote on the revised budget, and shall take appropriate steps to warn a public informational meeting on the budget and the vote.  The date of the public informational meeting shall be at least five days following the public notice. The date of the vote shall be at least seven days following the public notice. The vote on the revised budget shall be by Australian ballot and shall take place in the same locations that the first vote was taken.  The budget shall be established if a majority of all votes cast are in favor.  If the revised budget is rejected, the legislative body shall repeat the procedure in this subsection until a budget is adopted.  Once a municipality votes to establish its budget by the Australian ballot system, the vote on the budget shall be taken by Australian ballot until the municipality votes to discontinue use of the system.

* * *

(g)  Whenever a municipality has voted to adopt the Australian ballot system of voting on any public question or budget, except the budget revote as provided in subsection (c) of this section, the legislative body shall hold a public informational hearing on the question by posting warnings at least 10 days in advance of the hearing in at least two public places within the municipality and in the town clerk's office.  The hearing shall be held within the 10 days preceding the meeting at which the Australian ballot system is to be used.  The hearing under this subsection may be held in conjunction with the meeting held under subsection 2640(c), in which case the moderator shall preside.

Sec. 14.  19 V.S.A. § 13 is amended to read:

§ 13.  Central garage fund

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(f)  Annually the auditor of accounts shall conduct an examination of the central garage revolving fund and report his or her findings in accordance with 32 V.S.A. § 163(5).

(g)  [Repealed.]

(h)  For purposes of this section, “equipment” means registered motor vehicles and highway maintenance equipment assigned to the central garage.

(i)(g)  Each year at the September meeting of the joint transportation oversight committee called pursuant to 19 V.S.A. § 12b(d), the agency shall present to the joint transportation oversight committee a report detailing:

* * *

Sec. 15.  20 V.S.A. § 3546 is amended to read:

§ 3546.  INVESTIGATION OF VICIOUS DOMESTIC PETS OR

               WOLF-HYBRIDS; ORDER

* * *

(d)  The procedures provided in this section shall only apply if the domestic pet or wolf-hybrid is not a rabies suspect.  If a member of the legislative body or a municipal official designated by the legislative body determines that the animal is a rabies suspect, the provisions of subchapter 5 of this chapter and the rules of the department of health shall apply.

(e)  The procedures provided in this section shall not apply if the voters of a municipality, at a special or annual meeting duly warned for the purpose, have authorized the legislative body of the municipality to regulate domestic pets or wolf-hybrids by ordinances that are inconsistent with this section, in which case those ordinances shall apply.

Sec. 16.  20 V.S.A. § 3549 is amended to read:

§ 3549.  DOMESTIC PETS OR WOLF-HYBRIDS, REGULATION BY

               TOWNS

The legislative body of a city or town by ordinance may regulate the keeping, leashing, muzzling, restraint, impoundment, and destruction of domestic pets or wolf-hybrids and their running at large.

Sec. 17.  22 V.S.A. § 281 is amended to read:

§ 281.  MEMBERS AND TRUSTEES EX OFFICIO

The secretary of state, auditor of accounts and the state librarian, by virtue of their offices, shall be members of the Vermont Historical Society and of the board of trustees thereof.

Sec. 18.  24 V.S.A. § 871 is amended to read:

§ 871.  ORGANIZATION OF SELECTMEN SELECTBOARD;

             APPOINTMENTS

Forthwith after their election and qualification, the selectmen selectboard shall organize and elect a chairman chair and, if so voted, a clerk from among their number, and file a certificate of such election for record in the office of the town clerk.  Such selectmen shall The selectboard shall thereupon appoint from among the legally qualified voters a tree warden and may thereupon appoint from among the legally qualified voters the following officers who shall serve until their successors are appointed and qualified, and shall certify such appointments to the town clerk who shall record the same:

(1)  Three fence viewers;

(2)  A poundkeeper, for each pound; voting residence in the town need not be a qualification for this office provided appointee gives his or her consent to the appointment;

(3)  One or more inspectors of lumber, shingles and wood; and

(4)  One or more weighers of coal; and

(5)  A tree warden.

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Sec. 19.  24 V.S.A. § 2291(10) is amended to read:

§ 2291.  ENUMERATION OF POWERS

For the purpose of promoting the public health, safety, welfare, and convenience, a town, city, or incorporated village shall have the following powers:

* * *

(10)  To regulate the keeping of dogs, and to provide for their leashing, muzzling or, restraint, impoundment, and destruction.

* * *

Sec. 20.  24 V.S.A. § 4442(c) is amended to read:

(c)  Routine adoption.

(1)  A bylaw, bylaw amendment, or bylaw repeal shall be adopted by a majority of the members of the legislative body at a meeting that is held after the final public hearing, and shall be effective 21 days after adoption unless, by action of the legislative body, the bylaw, bylaw amendment, or bylaw repeal is warned for adoption by the municipality by Australian ballot at a special or regular meeting of the municipality.

(2)  However, a rural town with a population of fewer than 2,500 persons, by action of the legislative body or by vote of that town at a special or regular meeting duly warned on the issue, may elect to require that bylaws, bylaw amendments, or bylaw repeals shall be adopted by vote of the town by Australian ballot at a special or regular meeting duly warned on the issue.  That procedure shall then apply until rescinded by the voters at a regular or special meeting of the town.

Sec. 21.  29 V.S.A. § 160(e) is amended to read:

(e)  The commissioner of buildings and general services shall supervise the receipt and expenditure of moneys comprising the property management revolving fund, subject to the provisions of this section.  He or she shall maintain accurate and complete records of all such receipts and expenditures, and shall make an annual report on the condition of the fund to the secretary of administration.  All balances remaining at the end of a fiscal year shall be carried over to the following year, and the fund shall be audited by the auditor of accounts.

Sec. 22.  29 V.S.A. § 168(b)(8) is amended to read:

(8)  All balances remaining at the end of a fiscal year shall be carried over to the following year, and the auditor of accounts shall audit the fund.

Sec. 23.  32 V.S.A. § 163 is amended to read:

§ 163.  DUTIES OF THE AUDITOR OF ACCOUNTS

In addition to any other duties prescribed by law, the auditor of accounts shall:

(1)  Examine annually the financial statements of the funds of state government and at his or her discretion audit financial and other records Annually perform or contract for the audit of the basic financial statements of the state of Vermont and, at his or her discretion, conduct governmental audits as defined by governmental auditing standards issued by the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO), of every department, institution, and agency of the state including trustees or custodians of retirement and other trust funds held by the state or any officer or officers of the state, and also including every county officer who receives or disburses funds of the state or for the benefit of the state or any county.  He or she shall upon request of a town establish a uniform system of accounting and reporting.

(2)  In his or her discretion, conduct a continuing post audit of all disbursements made through the office of the commissioner of finance and management or the office of the state treasurer, including disbursements to a municipality, school supervisory union, school district, or county.

* * *

(4)  Upon request, assist the commissioner of finance and management in the preparation of the state budget.

(5)  From time to time, as examinations audits are completed, report his or her audit findings first to the speaker of the house of representatives and the president pro tempore of the senate, then to the governor, the secretary of administration, the commissioner of finance and management, and the head of the department, institution, or agency covered by the report.  The audit reports shall be public records and four 10 copies of each report shall be furnished to and kept in the state library for public use.

(6)(5)  Make special audits of any department, institution, and agency as the governor may from time to time require.

(7)(6)  Make a biennial report Report on or before February 15 of each year to the general assembly house and senate committees on appropriations in which he or she shall summarize his or her significant findings, and make such comments and recommendations as he or she finds necessary.

(8)(7)  Subject to the provisions of chapter 13 of Title 3, employ and set the compensation of such assistants, clerical or otherwise, as he or she deems necessary for the proper and efficient administration of his or her office.  However, he or she shall not expend or authorize expenditure of funds for his or her office in excess of the amount appropriated for his or her office in any fiscal year.

(9)  Approve and coordinate all requests by state departments, agencies, commissions and state-created authorities for accounting or auditing services by an independent accounting firm for any of the departments’, agencies’, commissions’ or state-created authorities’ funds, financial accounts, and records, or for any accounting or auditing services for which payment is to be made from any funds controlled or administered by any state department, agency, commission or state-created authority, prior to the negotiation of any contractual obligations with the independent firms.  All audit reports and reports of findings and recommendations issued by an independent accounting firm under this section shall be addressed to the auditor of accounts for distribution in accordance with subdivision 5 of this section.

(10)(8)  Require all state departments and agencies to file with the auditor of accounts all audit reports and reports of findings and recommendations received as a result of audits and examinations conducted by or for any federal agency.

(11)(9)  Perform, or contract with independent public accountants licensed in the state of Vermont to perform, financial and compliance audits as required by the Federal Single Audit Act of 1984, 31 U.S.C. § 7501 et seq. This subdivision shall not apply to the University of Vermont and the Vermont State Colleges.

(12)(A)  Biennially audit the economic advancement tax incentives program established under chapter 151, subchapter 11E of this title to determine compliance with that subchapter and all other applicable statutes and regulations.  The auditor’s report shall be made available to the general assembly during the fourth quarter of the second year of each biennium. The auditor shall include in this biennial audit verifications of any of the inspections done by the tax department of awardees of economic advancement tax incentives to determine the relationship between performance and credits claimed.

(B)(10)  Biennially audit the Vermont employment growth incentive program established under 32 V.S.A. § 5930b and other applicable statutes and regulations, and report the audit to the general assembly, the Vermont department of taxes, and the Vermont economic progress council by March 31 after the audit yearThe audit shall include a comparative examination of the economic advancement tax incentive program and the Vermont employment growth incentives program with respect to performance measurements, program expenditure controls, the adequacy and availability of program information, and recommendations for improved accountability and fiscal controls.  The auditor shall develop benchmarks, known as “best management practices” that in the judgment of the auditor need to be met so that the Vermont employment growth incentives program may be administered in the most fiscally sound and well-managed manner.  The auditor’s report shall be submitted during the first quarter of the second year of each biennium to the department of taxes and the economic incentive review board established by 32 V.S.A. § 5930a(a) (except that in the second year of the 2007-2008 biennium the auditor’s report shall be submitted to the Vermont economic progress council).  The department and the board (and in the 2007-2008 biennium, the council) shall review the auditor’s report and in the fourth quarter of each biennium report to the senate committee on economic development, housing and general affairs, the senate committee on finance, the house committee on commerce and the house committee on ways and means in response to the findings and recommendations of the auditor together with any recommendations for improvements or amendments.

Sec. 24.  32 V.S.A. § 167(a) is amended to read:

(a)  For the purpose of examination and audit authorized by law, all the records, accounts, books, papers, reports, and returns in all formats of all departments, institutions, and agencies of the state including the trustees or custodians of trust funds and all municipal, school supervisory union, school district, and county officers who receive or disburse funds for the benefit of the state, shall be made available to the auditor of accounts.  It shall be the duty of each officer of each department, institution, and agency of the state or municipality, school supervisory union, school district, or county to provide the records, accounts, books, papers, reports, returns, and such other explanatory information when required by the auditor of accounts.

Sec. 25.  32 V.S.A. § 431(a) is amended to read:

(a)  The treasurer, the auditor and the governor shall select the banks in which the funds of the state treasury shall be deposited.  Each agency or department of the state shall be required to obtain the approval of the treasurer to establish and maintain a bank account of a selected bank as well as develop procedures, approved by the treasurer, to reconcile a bank account.  The treasurer shall annually furnish the auditor, on a timely basis, a certified statement from each bank, with which he or she has an account, of the amount of such account.

Sec. 26.  32 V.S.A. § 432 is amended to read:

§ 432.  MANAGEMENT OF INVESTED STATE MONEY

In the management of funds and securities belonging to the state or held in the treasury, with approval of the governor and auditor of accounts, he or she may change the form of investment thereof by exchange of securities or by sale and reinvestment of the same, as may be required for the safety and permanent security of such funds, may collect accruing interest and reinvest the same and may collect, enforce payment of, and reinvest all maturing securities and obligations and, for such purposes, may make legal transfers of the title of the same.

Sec. 27.  32 V.S.A. § 901 is amended to read:

§ 901.  BORROWING MONEY

The treasurer shall not make a contract binding the state for money borrowed unless it is countersigned by the secretary of state and the auditor.

Sec. 28.  32 V.S.A. § 1001(d)(1) is amended to read:

(1)  Membership.  Committee membership shall consist of:

(A)  As ex officio members:

(i)  the state treasurer;

(ii)  the auditor of accounts;

(iii)  the secretary of administration; and

(iv)(iii)  the secretary of the Vermont municipal bond bank.

(B)  One individual not an official or employee of state government appointed by the governor for a two-year term.

(C)  The auditor of accounts who shall be a nonvoting ex officio member.

Sec. 29.  32 V.S.A. § 1671(a)(6) is amended to read:

(6)  Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, for the recording or filing, or both, of any document that is to become a matter of public record in the town clerk's office, or for any certified copy of such document, a fee of $8.00 per page shall be charged; except that for the recording or filing, or both, of a property transfer return, a fee of $8.00 shall be charged;

Sec. 30.  32 V.S.A. § 4774(b) is amended to read:

(b)(1)  The treasurer or collector shall deposit to the general fund any tax overpayment by a taxpayer who has paid by mail or electronic fund transfer, provided that:

(1)(A)  the payment made was equal to the taxes due without regard to the discount under section 4773 of this title; and

(2)(B)  the overpayment amount is $2.00 $10.00 or less.

(2)  If the taxpayer requests refund of such an overpayment within one year of payment, the treasurer or collector shall refund it.

Sec. 31.  32 V.S.A. § 5137 is amended to read:

§ 5137.  RECORDING DELINQUENT PAYMENTS

A collector of taxes for a town or municipality within it shall receipt for every payment made to the collector on account of delinquent taxes.  Such receipt shall be written in triplicate in a bound book or other permanent record purchased at the expense of the municipality and shall indicate the date of the payment, the name of the person making the payment, the name of the person against whom was assessed the tax on which the payment is to be applied, the year in which such tax was assessed and if a partial payment on an annual tax bill, whether applied on poll, personal property or real estate taxes.  Such collector shall detach and deliver the original receipt forthwith to the person making the payment and one copy thereof within 30 days to the town clerk who shall keep such copy on file.  Such collector shall purchase at the expense of the municipality for which the collector is acting a sufficient number of such bound triplicate receipt books having the sets of originals and copies consecutively numbered.  Annually, on or before February 5, the collector shall deliver to the auditors of each municipality for which the collector is acting all such bound volumes in which entries pertaining to such municipality have been made during the year ending January 31 next preceding, and the auditors shall audit the books forthwith and after the completion of audit shall return such books to such collector.

Sec. 32.  REPEAL

(a)  10 V.S.A. § 1960(f) (annual audit of advisory committee books) shall be repealed.

(b)  32 V.S.A. § 163(10) (biennial audit of employment growth incentive program) shall be repealed on December 31, 2012.

Sec. 33.  EFFECTIVE DATE

Secs. 6 and 7 of this act shall take effect upon passage.

Approved:  May 6, 2008



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us