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BILL AS PASSED BY SENATE 2007-2008

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S.357

AN ACT RELATING TO DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

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

Sec. 1.  FINDINGS

(a)  The general assembly finds that domestic violence directly affects the lives of Vermont’s citizens each year.  Domestic violence is a pervasive community problem which requires a comprehensive approach by the state, the public, and community providers to prevent, respond to, and remedy its devastating effects.  Domestic violence is consistently the leading cause of homicides in Vermont each year.  According to the 2007 Vermont Fatality Review Commission Report data covering 1994–2006, 49 percent of all Vermont homicides during the past 12 years were related to domestic violence.  Reported occurrences of domestic violence continue to rise, and many incidents continue to go unreported.  The 16-member programs of the Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence responded to 15,259 hotline crisis calls and served 8,337 victims of domestic violence in 2006.  An increasing number of families in Vermont are homeless due to domestic violence.  The member programs of the Vermont Network Against Sexual and Domestic Violence sustained a 27-percent increase in bed-nights in 2007. 

(b)  The general assembly recognizes the importance of specific intervention programs for domestic violence offenders in breaking the generational cycle of domestic violence.  The general assembly recommends that persons convicted of domestic assault be referred to appropriate intervention programs provided by the department of corrections or certified by the Vermont council on domestic violence.  In instances where certified programs are not available, alternative programs should be provided with a focus placed on victim safety and offender accountability.

Sec. 2.  12 V.S.A. § 5131 is amended to read:

§ 5131.  DEFINITIONS

As used in this chapter:

* * *

(5)  “Sexually assaulted the plaintiff” means that the defendant engaged in conduct that meets elements of lewd and lascivious conduct with a child as defined in 13 V.S.A. § 2602, sexual assault as defined in 13 V.S.A. § 3252, or aggravated sexual assault as defined in 13 V.S.A. § 3253, use of a child in a sexual performance as defined in 13 V.S.A. § 2822, or consenting to a sexual performance as defined in 13 V.S.A. § 2823 and that the plaintiff was the victim of the offense.

* * *


Sec. 3.  12 V.S.A. § 5133 is amended to read:

§ 5133.  REQUESTS FOR AN ORDER AGAINST STALKING OR

              SEXUAL ASSAULT

(a)  A person, other than a family or household member as defined in 15 V.S.A. § 1101(2), may seek an order against stalking or sexual assault on behalf of him or herself or his or her children by filing a complaint under this chapter.  The plaintiff shall submit an affidavit in support of the order.

* * *

(d)(1)  If the court finds by a preponderance of evidence that the defendant has stalked or has been convicted of sexually assaulting the plaintiff, the court shall order the defendant to stay away from the plaintiff or the plaintiff’s children, or both, and may make any other such order it deems necessary to protect the plaintiff or the plaintiff’s children, or both.

(2)  If the court finds by a preponderance of evidence that the defendant has sexually assaulted the plaintiff and there is a danger of the defendant further harming the plaintiff, the court shall order the defendant to stay away from the plaintiff or the plaintiff’s children, or both, and may make any other such order it deems necessary to protect the plaintiff or the plaintiff’s children, or both.  The court may consider the defendant’s past conduct as relevant evidence of future harm.

(3)  If the court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant has been convicted of and incarcerated for domestic assault or aggravated domestic assault and is currently incarcerated, the court shall order the defendant to stay away from the plaintiff or the plaintiff’s children or both and may make any other such order that it deems necessary to protect the plaintiff or the plaintiff’s children or both.

* * *

Sec. 4.  12 V.S.A. § 5134 is amended to read:

§ 5134.  EMERGENCY RELIEF

(a)  In accordance with the Vermont Rules of Civil Procedure, a person other than a family or household member as defined in 15 V.S.A. § 1001(2) may file a complaint for a temporary order against stalking or sexual assault. Such complaint shall be filed during regular court hours.  The plaintiff shall submit an affidavit in support of the order.  The court may issue a temporary order under this chapter ex parte, without notice to the defendant, upon motion and findings by the court that the defendant has stalked or sexually assaulted the plaintiff.  An order may be granted requiring the defendant to refrain from stalking or sexually assaulting the plaintiff and to refrain from interfering with the plaintiff’s personal liberty  The court may order the defendant to stay away from the plaintiff or the plaintiff’s children, or both, and may make any other such order it deems necessary to protect the plaintiff or the plaintiff’s children, or both.

* * *

Sec. 5.  13 V.S.A. § 1024 is amended to read:

§ 1024.  AGGRAVATED ASSAULT

(a)  A person is guilty of aggravated assault if the person:

(1)  attempts to cause serious bodily injury to another, or causes such injury purposely, knowingly, or recklessly under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life; or

(2)  attempts to cause or purposely or, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon; or

(3)  for a purpose other than lawful medical or therapeutic treatment, the person intentionally causes stupor, unconsciousness, or other physical or mental impairment or injury to another person by administering to the other person without the other person’s consent a drug, substance, or preparation capable of producing the intended harm; or

(4)  with intent to prevent a law enforcement officer from performing a lawful duty, the person causes physical injury to any person; or

(5)  is armed with a deadly weapon and threatens to use the deadly weapon on another person.

(b)  A person found guilty of violating a provision of subdivision (a)(1) or (2) of this section shall be imprisoned for not more than 15 years or fined not more than $10,000.00, or both.

* * *

Sec. 6.  13 V.S.A. § 1030 is amended to read:

§ 1030.  VIOLATION OF ABUSE PREVENTION ORDER OR AN ORDER

              AGAINST STALKING OR SEXUAL ASSAULT

(a)  A person who commits an act prohibited by a court or who fails to perform an act ordered by a court in violation of an abuse prevention order issued under chapter 21 of Title 15 or chapter 69 of Title 33, or an order against stalking or sexual assault issued under chapter 178 of Title 12, after the person has been served notice of the contents of the order as provided in those chapters; or a foreign abuse prevention order or an order against stalking or sexual assault issued by a court in any other state, federally recognized Indian tribe, territory or possession of the United States, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or the District of Columbia; shall be imprisoned not more than one year or fined not more than $5,000.00, or both.

(b)  A person who is convicted of a second or subsequent offense under this section or is convicted of an offense under this section and has previously been convicted of domestic assault under section 1042 of this title, first degree aggravated domestic assault under section 1043 of this title, or second degree aggravated domestic assault under section 1044 of this title shall be imprisoned not more than three years or fined not more than $25,000.00, or both.

* * *

Sec. 7.  13 V.S.A. § 1042 is amended to read:

§ 1042.  DOMESTIC ASSAULT

Any person who attempts to cause or wilfully or recklessly causes bodily injury to a family or household member, or wilfully causes a family or household member to fear imminent serious bodily injury shall be imprisoned not more than one year 18 months or fined not more than $5,000.00, or both.

Sec. 8.  13 V.S.A. § 1044 is amended to read:

§ 1044.  SECOND DEGREE AGGRAVATED DOMESTIC ASSAULT

(a)  A person commits the crime of second degree aggravated domestic assault if the person:

(1)  commits the crime of domestic assault and causes bodily injury to another person and such conduct violates:

(A)  specific conditions of a criminal court order in effect at the time of the offense imposed to protect that other person;

(B)  an abuse prevention order issued under chapter 21 of Title 15;

(C)  an order against stalking or sexual assault issued under chapter 178 of Title 12; or

(D)  an order against abuse of a vulnerable adult issued under chapter 69 of Title 33.

(2)  commits a second or subsequent offense of domestic assault, which causes bodily injury the crime of domestic assault; and

(A)  has a prior conviction for violating an abuse prevention order issued under section 1030 of this title; or

(B)  has a prior conviction for domestic assault under section 1042 of this title.

(b)  A person who commits the crime of second degree aggravated domestic assault shall be imprisoned not more than five years or fined not more than $10,000.00, or both.

(c)  Conduct constituting the offense of second degree aggravated domestic assault under this section shall be considered a violent act for the purpose of determining bail.

Sec. 9.  13 V.S.A. § 1045 is added to read:

§ 1045.  INTERFERENCE WITH ACCESS TO EMERGENCY SERVICES

A person who, during or after the commission of a crime, willfully or recklessly prevents or attempts to prevent a person from seeking or receiving emergency medical assistance, emergency assistance from a third party, or assistance from law enforcement shall be imprisoned not more than one year or fined not more than $5,000.00 or both.

Sec. 10.  13 V.S.A. § 1047 is added to read:

§ 1047.  OFFENSE COMMITTED WITHIN THE PRESENCE OF A CHILD

When imposing sentence for an offense listed in this subchapter, the court may consider whether the offense was committed within the presence of a child.

Sec. 11.  13 V.S.A. § 2602 is amended to read:

§ 2602.  LEWD OR LASCIVIOUS CONDUCT WITH CHILD

(a)(1)  No person shall willfully and lewdly commit any lewd or lascivious act upon or with the body, or any part or member thereof, of a child under the age of 16 years, with the intent of arousing, appealing to, or gratifying the lust, passions, or sexual desires of such person or of such child.

(2)  This section shall not apply if the person is less than 19 years old, the child is at least 15 years old, and the conduct is consensual.

(b)  A person who violates subsection (a) of this section shall be:

(1)  For a first offense, imprisoned not less than two years and not more than 15 years, and, in addition, may be fined not more than $5,000.00, or both.

(2)  For a second offense, imprisoned not less than five years and a maximum term of life, and, in addition, may be fined not more than $25,000.00, or both.

(3)  For a third or subsequent offense, imprisoned not less than ten years and a maximum term of life, and, in addition, may be fined not more than $25,000.00, or both.

* * *

(e)  Any prior conviction for lewd or lascivious conduct with a child, sexual assault, or aggravated sexual assault shall be considered a prior offense for purposes of sentencing enhancement.

Sec. 12.  15 V.S.A. § 668a is amended to read:

§ 668a.  ENFORCEMENT OF VISITATION

(a)  When a noncustodial parent who is ordered to pay child support or alimony and who is awarded visitation rights fails to pay child support or alimony, the custodial parent shall not refuse to honor the noncustodial parent’s visitation rights.

(b)  When a custodial parent refuses to honor a noncustodial parent’s visitation rights, the noncustodial parent shall not fail to pay any ordered child support or alimony.

(c)  If a custodial parent refuses to honor a noncustodial parent’s visitation rights, the court shall enforce such rights unless it finds good cause for the failure or that a modification of the visitation rights is in the best interests of the child.  Unless restoration of the visitation is not in the best interests of the child, enforcement of the visitation rights shall include the restoration of the amount of visitation improperly denied.  When a party files a motion for enforcement of parent-child contact under this subsection, the court shall conduct a hearing within 30 days of service of the motion.

(d)  A person who violates this section may be punished by contempt of court or other remedies as the court deems appropriate, including awarding attorney’s fees and costs to the prevailing party.

(e)(1)  If a custodial parent refuses to honor a noncustodial parent’s visitation rights without good cause, the court may modify the parent-child contact order if found to be in the best interests of the child.  Good cause shall include a pattern or incidence of domestic or sexual violence, a history of failure to honor the visitation schedule agreed to in the parent-child contact order, or reasonable fear for the child or the custodial parent’s safety.

(2)  A custodial parent, upon a showing of good cause as defined in subdivision (1) of this subsection, may receive an ex parte order suspending a noncustodial parent’s visitation rights until a court hearing is held.  A hearing shall be held within ten days from the date on which the order was issued.  In courts which do not regularly meet five days per week, the hearing shall be held within ten days, or as soon thereafter as is reasonably practicable.  Hearings may be conducted over the telephone or through the use of other electronic means, unless the court orders otherwise for good cause shown.

(f)  All parent-child contact orders issued by the family court in connection with a divorce or parentage proceeding shall bear the following statement:  “A PERSON WHO FAILS TO COMPLY WITH ALL TERMS OF THE CURRENT ORDER GOVERNING PARENT-CHILD CONTACT MAY BE SUBJECT TO CONTEMPT OF COURT CHARGES. THE COURT MAY IMPOSE ADDITIONAL REMEDIES, INCLUDING A MODIFICATION OF THE CURRENT PARENT-CHILD CONTACT ORDER IF FOUND TO BE IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE CHILD.” 

Sec. 13.  15 V.S.A. § 1103 is amended to read:

§ 1103.  REQUESTS FOR RELIEF

(a)  Any family or household member may seek relief from abuse by another family or household member on behalf of him or herself or his or her children by filing a complaint under this chapter.  The plaintiff shall submit an affidavit in support of the order.

(b)  Except as provided in section 1104 of this title, the court shall grant relief only after notice to the defendant and a hearing.  The plaintiff shall have the burden of proving abuse by a preponderance of the evidence.

(c)  If the court finds that the defendant has abused the plaintiff and that there is a danger of further abuse or that the defendant has been convicted of and incarcerated for domestic assault, aggravated domestic assault, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, stalking, aggravated stalking, lewd or lascivious conduct with child, use of a child in a sexual performance, or consenting to a sexual performance, and is being released from prison, the court shall make such orders as it deems necessary to protect the plaintiff, the children, or both ,which.  The court may consider the defendant’s past conduct, including instances of prior abuse or threatening behavior as defined in section 5131 of Title 12, as relevant evidence of a danger of further abuse.  The court order may include the following:

(1)  an order that the defendant refrain from abusing the plaintiff, his or her children or both and from interfering with their personal liberty, including restrictions on the defendant’s ability to contact the plaintiff or the children in person, by phone or by mail and restrictions prohibiting the defendant from coming within a fixed distance of the plaintiff, the children, the plaintiff’s residence, or other designated locations where the plaintiff or children are likely to spend time;

(2)  an order that the defendant immediately vacate the household and that the plaintiff be awarded sole possession of a residence;

(3)  a temporary award of parental rights and responsibilities in accordance with the criteria in section 665 of this title;

(4)  an order for parent-child contact under such conditions as are necessary to protect the child or the plaintiff, or both, from abuse.  An order for parent-child contact may if necessary include conditions under which the plaintiff may deny parent-child contact pending further order of the court;

(5)  if the court finds that the defendant has a duty to support the plaintiff, an order that the defendant pay the plaintiff’s living expenses for a fixed period of time not to exceed three months;

(6)  if the court finds that the defendant has a duty to support the child or children, a temporary order of child support pursuant to chapter 5 of this title, for a period not to exceed three months.  A support order granted under this section may be extended if the relief from abuse proceeding is consolidated with an action for legal separation, divorce, or parentage;

(7)  an order concerning the possession, care and control of any animal owned, possessed, leased, kept, or held as a pet by either party or a minor child residing in the household.

* * *

Sec. 14.  15 V.S.A. § 1105 is amended to read:

§ 1105.  SERVICE

(a)  A complaint or ex parte temporary order or final order issued under this chapter shall be served in accordance with the rules of civil procedure and may be served by any law enforcement officer.  Abuse orders shall be served at the earliest possible time and shall take precedence over other summonses and orders.  Orders shall be served in a manner calculated to insure the safety of the plaintiff.  Methods of service which include advance notification to the defendant shall not be used.  The person making service shall file a return of service with the court stating the date, time and place at which the order was delivered personally to the defendant.  A defendant who attends a hearing held under section 1103 or 1104 of this title at which a temporary or final order under this chapter is issued, and who receives actual notice from the court that the order has been issued, shall be deemed to have been served.

* * *

Sec. 15.  15 V.S.A. § 665a is added to read:

§ 665a.  CONDITIONS OF PARENT-CHILD CONTACT IN CASES

              INVOLVING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

(a)  If a parent has been convicted of domestic assault or aggravated domestic assault within the prior ten years, or in a proceeding in which a child has been found to be in need of care and supervision pursuant to the provisions of chapter 55 of Title 33 or if a court has made findings in a relief from abuse order, divorce, parentage or visitation proceeding held within the prior ten years, that a parent has committed abuse against a family or household member as defined in section 1101 of this title, the court may award parent-child contact to that parent if the court finds that adequate provision can be made for the safety of the child and the parent who is a victim of domestic violence.

(b)  In a parent-child contact order, a court may:

(1)  order an exchange of a child to occur in a protected setting;

(2)  order parent-child contact supervised by another person or agency;

(3)  order the perpetrator of domestic violence to attend and complete, to the satisfaction of the court, a program of intervention for perpetrators or other designated counseling as a condition of the visitation;

(4)  order the perpetrator of domestic violence to abstain from possession or consumption of alcohol or controlled substances during the visitation and for 24 hours preceding parent-child contact;

(5)  order the perpetrator of domestic violence to pay a fee to defray the costs of supervised parent-child contact, provided that the perpetrator can afford to pay the fee;

(6)  prohibit overnight parent-child contact;

(7)  impose any other condition that is deemed necessary to provide for the safety of the child, the victim of domestic violence, or another family or household member.

(c)  Whether or not parent-child contact is allowed, the court may order the address of the child and the victim to be kept confidential.

(d)  If a court allows a family or household member to supervise

parent-child contact, the court shall establish conditions to be followed during

parent-child contact.


Sec. 16.  FINDINGS ON THE VERMONT COUNCIL ON DOMESTIC

               VIOLENCE

The general assembly finds that a comprehensive and coordinated community approach to addressing domestic violence is the most efficient and effective way to effect social change.  The effectiveness of a community approach toward eradicating domestic violence depends on strong leadership. The general assembly believes that the Vermont council on domestic violence will provide strong and effective leadership for a statewide response to domestic violence.

Sec. 17.  15 V.S.A. chapter 21, subchapter 4 is added to read:

Subchapter 4.  Vermont Council on Domestic Violence

§ 1171.  CREATION OF VERMONT COUNCIL ON DOMESTIC

               VIOLENCE

There is created the Vermont council on domestic violence.  The council shall provide leadership for Vermont’s statewide effort to eradicate domestic violence.

§ 1172.  PURPOSE; POWERS; DUTIES

(a)  The council shall:

(1)  facilitate opportunities for dialogue, advocacy, education, and support among state agencies, advocacy groups, and the public;

(2)  collect, review, and analyze data and information relating to domestic violence;

(3)  provide assistance in developing effective responses to domestic violence, including model policies and procedures, prevention and education initiatives, and domestic-violence-related programs for the criminal justice and human services sectors; specifically, the council shall work with the department of state’s attorneys and the department of corrections to develop recommendations for practice in evidence-based prosecution, risk assessment with domestic violence offenders, the use of deferred sentences in domestic violence cases, standardized probation conditions for domestic violence offenders, appropriate programming options for domestic violence offenders, and strategies for addressing victims of domestic violence who commit crimes as a result of the coercion of a batterer;

(4)  recommend changes in state programs, laws, administrative regulations, policies, and budgets related to domestic violence;

(5)  establish and maintain standards for intervention programs for perpetrators of domestic violence, and develop a process for certifying that programs are complying with the standards;

(6)  review and comment upon legislation relating to domestic violence introduced in the general assembly at the request of any member of the general assembly or on its own initiative; and

(7)  study the issue of employment discrimination against victims of domestic violence and suggest model workplace protections and policies.

(b)  The council shall collaborate with the Vermont fatality review commission to develop strategies for implementing the commission’s recommendations.

(c)  The council shall make a biennial report to the general assembly, the governor, the supreme court, and the people of Vermont explaining all relevant data about domestic violence collected by the council, and evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of Vermont’s current domestic violence intervention response strategies.

§ 1183.  COMPOSITION AND MEETINGS

(a)  The council shall consist of the following 39 members to be appointed as follows:

(1)  To be appointed by the governor:

(A)  One member of the public who shall be a survivor of domestic violence;

(B)  a representative from the same-sex domestic violence service provider community;

(C)  a representative from the deaf and disability service provider community;

(D)  a representative from the department of state’s attorneys;

(E)  a prosecutor from one of the STOP Domestic Violence units;

(F)  a member of the Vermont clergy;

(G)  one member of the public representing the interests of children exposed to domestic violence.

(2)  To be appointed by the chief justice of the Vermont supreme court:

(A)  five members of the judiciary, one of whom may be a magistrate, one of whom may be a side judge, and one of whom may be a court manager;

(B)  one guardian ad litem;

(C)  a representative of Vermont Legal Aid;

(D)  a representative of the Vermont bar experienced in family law.

(3)  The following members:

(A)  the secretary of human services, or designee;;

(B)  the director of the Vermont criminal information center, or designee;

(C)  the defender general, or designee;

(D)  the attorney general, or designee;

(E)  the executive director of the Vermont center for crime victims services, or designee;

(F)  the director of the Vermont network against domestic and sexual violence, or designee;

(G)  the executive director of the criminal justice training council, or designee;

(H)  the executive director of the Vermont commission on women, or designee;

(I)  a representative from each county domestic violence task force;

(J)  a representative from Vermont’s supervised visitation coalition;

(K)  a representative from the Vermont chiefs’ association;

(L)  a representative from the Vermont sheriffs’ association;

(M)  a representative from the Vermont coalition of batterer intervention services; and

(N) the commissioner of the department for children and families, or designee.

(b)  The council may establish any committees necessary to carry out its duties.

(c)  The council shall meet at least quarterly to conduct its business.

Sec. 18.  20 V.S.A. § 2365 is added to read:

§ 2365.  DOMESTIC VIOLENCE TRAINING

(a)  In order to remain certified, law enforcement officers shall receive by 2010 at least 12 hours of domestic violence training in a program approved by the Vermont criminal justice training council and the Vermont network against sexual and domestic violence.

(b)  Law enforcement officers shall receive domestic violence retraining every five years in a program approved by the Vermont criminal justice training council.

(c)  The Vermont police academy shall employ a domestic violence trainer.

Sec. 19.  33 V.S.A. § 4917 is amended to read:

§ 4917.  MULTI-DISCIPLINARY TEAMS; EMPANELING

(a)  The commissioner of social and rehabilitation services, or his or her designee may empanel a multi-disciplinary team or a special investigative multi-task force team or both wherever in the state there may be a probable case of child abuse or neglect which warrants the coordinated use of several professional services.

(b)  The commissioner of social and rehabilitation services, or his or her designee, in conjunction with professionals and community agencies, shall appoint members to the multi-disciplinary or special investigative multi-task force teams which may include persons who are trained and engaged in work relating to child abuse or neglect such as medicine, mental health, social work, nursing, day care, education, law, or law enforcement.  Additional persons may be appointed when the services of those persons are appropriate to any particular case.

(c)  The empaneling of a multi-disciplinary or special investigative

multi-task force team shall be authorized in writing and shall specifically list the members of the team.  This list may be amended from time to time as needed as determined by the commissioner or his or her designee.

Sec. 20.  STUDY OF HOUSING DISCRIMINATION AGAINST VICTIMS

               OF DOMESTIC AND SEXUAL VIOLENCE

(a)  A committee is established to study the issue of housing discrimination against victims of domestic and sexual violence.

(b)  The committee shall consist of:

(1)  one member appointed by the agency of human services;

(2)  one member appointed by the Vermont public housing agency;

(3)  a landlord;

(4)  one member appointed by Vermont legal aid;

(5)  one member appointed by the Champlain valley office of economic opportunity;

(6)  one member appointed by the Vermont department of housing and community affairs; and

(7)  one member appointed by the Vermont human rights commission.

(c)  The committee shall report its findings to the senate committees on judiciary and on economic development, housing and general affairs and the house committees on judiciary and on general, housing and military affairs no later than December 15, 2008.  The report shall include an analysis of policies adopted by other states and recommendations to the general assembly about how to respond to the problem of housing discrimination.

Sec. 21.  13 V.S.A. § 7282 is amended to read:

§ 7282.  ASSESSMENT

(a)  In addition to any penalty or fine imposed by the court or judicial bureau for a criminal offense or any civil penalty imposed for a traffic violation, including any violation of a fish and wildlife statute or regulation, violation of a motor vehicle statute, or violation of any local ordinance relating to the operation of a motor vehicle, except violations relating to seat belts and child restraints and ordinances relating to parking violations, the clerk of the court or judicial bureau shall levy an additional fee of:

* * *

(8)(A)  For any offense or violation committed after June 30, 2006, but before July 1, 2008, $26.00, of which $18.75 shall be deposited in the victims’ compensation special fund and $2.25 shall be deposited into the criminal justice training council special fund established in section 2363 of Title 20.

(B)  For any offense or violation committed after June 30, 2008, $39.00, of which $18.75 shall be deposited in the victims’ compensation special fund and $2.25 shall be deposited into the criminal justice training council special fund established in section 2363 of Title 20.

* * *

Sec. 22.  32 V.S.A. § 1431 is amended to read:

§ 1431.  FEES IN SUPREME, SUPERIOR, DISTRICT, FAMILY, AND

  ENVIRONMENTAL COURTS

* * *

(b)(1)  Prior to the entry of any cause in the superior court or environmental court there shall be paid to the clerk of the court for the benefit of the state a fee of $225.00 in lieu of all other fees not otherwise set forth in this section.

(2)  Prior to the entry of any divorce or annulment proceeding in the family court there shall be paid to the clerk of the court for the benefit of the state a fee of $225.00 $275.00 in lieu of all other fees not otherwise set forth in this section; however, if the divorce or annulment complaint is filed with a stipulation for a final order acceptable to the court, the fee shall be $75.00.

* * *

Sec. 23.  32 V.S.A. § 1712 is amended to read:

§ 1712.  TOWN CLERKS

Town clerks shall receive the following fees in the matter of vital registration:

(1)  For issuing and recording a marriage or civil union license, $23.00 $35.00 to be paid by the applicant, $8.00 $10.00 of which sum shall be retained by the town clerk as a fee and $15.00 $25.00 of which sum shall be paid by the town clerk to the state treasurer in a return filed quarterly upon forms furnished by the state treasurer and specifying all fees received by him or her during the quarter.  Such quarterly period shall be as of the first day of January, April, July, and October.

* * *

Sec. 24.  8 V.S.A. § 4080f is amended to read:

§ 4080f.  CATAMOUNT HEALTH

(a)  As used in this section:

* * *

(9)  “Uninsured” means an individual who does not qualify for Medicare, Medicaid, the Vermont health access plan, or Dr. Dynasaur, and had no private insurance or employer-sponsored coverage that includes both hospital and physician services within 12 months prior to the month of application, or lost private insurance or employer-sponsored coverage during the prior 12 months for any of the following reasons:

(A)  the The individual’s private insurance or employer-sponsored coverage ended because of:

(i)  loss of employment, unless the employer has terminated its employees for the primary purpose of discontinuing employer-sponsored coverage and establishing their eligibility for Catamount Health;

(ii)  death of the principal insurance policyholder;

(iii) divorce or dissolution of a civil union;

(iv)  no longer qualifying as a dependent under the plan of a parent or caretaker relative; or

(v)  no longer receiving COBRA, VIPER, or other state continuation coverage; or .

(B)  college- College- or university-sponsored health insurance became unavailable to the individual because the individual graduated, took a leave of absence, or otherwise terminated studies.

(C)  The individual lost health insurance as a result of domestic violence.  The individual shall provide the agency with satisfactory documentation of the domestic violence.  The documentation may include a sworn statement from the individual attesting to the abuse, law enforcement or court records, or other documentation from an attorney or legal advisor, member of the clergy, or health care provider, as defined in 18 V.S.A.

§ 9432(8). Information relating to the domestic violence, including the individual's statement and corroborating evidence, provided to the agency shall not be disclosed by the agency unless the individual has signed a consent to disclose form.  n the event the agency is legally required to release this information without consent by the individual, the agency shall notify the individual at the time the notice or request for release of information is received by the agency and prior to releasing the requested information.


Sec. 25.  33 V.S.A. § 1973 is amended to read:

§ 1973.  VERMONT HEALTH ACCESS PLAN

(a)  The agency of human services or its designee shall establish the Vermont health access plan (VHAP) pursuant to a waiver of federal Medicaid law.  The plan shall remain in effect as long as a federal 1115 demonstration waiver is granted or renewed.

(b)  The purpose of the Vermont health access plan is to provide health care coverage for uninsured or underinsured low income Vermonters.  The agency of human services or its designee shall establish rules regarding eligibility and administration of the plan.

(c)  An individual who has been enrolled in an approved

employer-sponsored insurance plan with premium assistance under section 1974 of this title shall not be subject to a 12-month waiting period before becoming eligible for the Vermont health access plan as provided for in subdivision 1974(d)(1).

(d)  An individual who has been enrolled in Catamount Health, with or without premium assistance, shall not be subject to a 12-month waiting period before becoming eligible for the Vermont health access plan.

(e)  For purposes of this section, “uninsured” means:

(1)  an An individual with household income, after allowable deductions, at or below 75 percent of the federal poverty guideline for households of the same size; .

(2)  an An individual who had no private insurance or

employer-sponsored coverage that includes both hospital and physician services within 12 months prior to the month of application; or .

(3)  an An individual who lost private insurance or employer-sponsored coverage during the prior 12 months for any of the following reasons:

(A)  the The individual’s coverage ended because of:

(i)  loss of employment;

(ii)  death of the principal insurance policyholder;

(iii)  divorce or dissolution of a civil union;

(iv)  no longer qualifying as a dependent under the plan of a parent or caretaker relative; or

(v)  no longer receiving COBRA, VIPER, or other state continuation coverage; or .

(B)  college- College- or university-sponsored health insurance became unavailable to the individual because the individual graduated, took a leave of absence, or otherwise terminated studies.

(C)  The individual lost health insurance as a result of domestic violence.  The individual shall provide the agency with satisfactory documentation of the domestic violence.  The documentation may include a sworn statement from the individual attesting to the abuse, law enforcement or court records, or other documentation from an attorney or legal advisor, member of the clergy, or health care provider, as defined in 18 V.S.A.

§ 9432(8).  Information relating to the domestic violence, including the individual's statement and corroborating evidence, provided to the agency shall not be disclosed by the agency unless the individual has signed a consent to disclose form.  In the event the agency is legally required to release this information without consent by the individual, the agency shall notify the individual at the time the notice or request for release of information is received by the agency and prior to releasing the requested information.

Sec. 26.  APPROPRIATIONS

(a)  The amount of $1,147,000.00 from the general fund shall be available in FY 2009 for the center for crime victim services for the Vermont network against domestic and sexual violence.  This amount shall be used to fund domestic violence prevention programs and services in order to break the generational cycle of domestic violence and to support the victims of domestic and sexual violence.

(b)  Of the appropriation in subsection (a) of this section, the amount of $76,805.00 from the general fund shall be available for the Vermont police academy to employ a domestic violence training and curriculum development coordinator.

Sec. 27.  PILOT PROGRAM

The general assembly recognizes the significant impact of domestic violence on victims and their children.  The department for children and families, division of economic services, may expand emergency and general assistance pilot programs and may develop at least one pilot program specifically addressing the needs of victims of domestic violence.



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us