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House Calendar

TUESDAY, APRIL 17, 2007

105th DAY OF BIENNIAL SESSION

House Convenes at 10:00 A M

TABLE OF CONTENTS

                                                                                                               Page No.

ACTION CALENDAR

     Favorable with Amendment

H. 290  Relating to Underground Utility Damage Prevention Control............... 847

               Rep. Consejo for Commerce

S. 77  Transferring Title of a Motor Vehicle to Surviving Spouse..................... 847

               Rep. Flory for Judiciary

Senate Proposals of Amendment

H. 372  Nursing and Medical Services by Professional Corporations.............. 849

H. 510  Relating to Vermont Life Magazine.................................................... 849

For Action Under Rule 52

J.R.S. 29  Support Republic of China (Taiwan) Status at WHO..................... 850

NOTICE CALENDAR

Favorable with Amendment

H. 453  The Job Start Program...................................................................... 850

               Rep. Botzow for Commerce

H. 485  Reduction of Property Transfer Tax on Residences............................ 852

               Rep. Howrigan for General, Housing and Military Affairs

H. 268  Universal Service Fund...................................................................... 852

               Rep. Bissonnette for Commerce

H. 269  Universal Service Fund rate............................................................... 853

               Rep. Clerkin for Commerce

S.   78  Cost of Picking Up and Hauling Milk Paid by Purchaser..................... 853

               Rep. Lawrence for Agriculture

 

Favorable

H. 483  Land Gains Tax Exemption for Nonprofit Housing Org...................... 855

               Rep. Trombley for General, Housing and Military Affairs

H. 484  Expansion Affordable Housing Income Tax Credit............................. 855

               Rep. Valliere for General, Housing and Military Affairs

Without Recommendation

H. 540  Relating to Public Transit................................................................... 855

               Rep. Helm for Appropriations

Senate Proposals of Amendment

H. 334    Relating to restitution........................................................................ 855

H. 516    Creation of one fund; VT retirement system...................................... 865


 

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ACTION CALENDAR

     Favorable with Amendment

H. 290

     An act relating to underground utility damage prevention system.

Rep. Consejo of Sheldon, for the Committee on Commerce, recommends the bill be amended as follows:

First:  By striking Sec. 2 in its entirety and inserting a new Sec. 2 to read as follows:

Sec. 2.  30 V.S.A. § 7008(a) and (b) are amended to read:

(a)  Any person who violates any provisions of sections 7004, 7006a, 7006b, or 7007 of this title shall be subject to a civil penalty of up to $1,000.00 no more than $1,000.00 and no more than $5,000.00 for a violation committed within three years of a previous violation, in addition to any other remedies or penalties provided by law or any liability for actual damages.

(b)  Any company which does not mark the location of its underground facilities as required by section 7006 or 7006a of this title shall be subject to a civil penalty of up to $1,000.00 no more than $1,000.00 and no more than $5,000.00 for a violation committed within three years of a previous violation.

Second:  In Sec. 4, by striking the last sentence in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new sentence to read as follows: “Excavation activities shall not include the tilling of the soil for agricultural purposes or, activities relating to routine public highway maintenance, or the use of a hand shovel by a company to locate or service its own facilities.

(Committee vote: 10-0-1)

S. 77

An act relating to transferring title to a motor vehicle to a surviving spouse.

Rep. Flory of Pittsford, for the Committee on Judiciary, recommends that the House propose to the Senate that the bill be amended by striking all after the enacting clause and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Sec. 1.  23 V.S.A. § 2023(e) is amended to read:

(e)(1)  Notwithstanding other provisions of the law, and except as provided in subdivision (2) of this subsection, whenever the estate of an individual who dies intestate consists principally of an automobile in whole or in part of a motor vehicle, and the person’s will or other testamentary document does not specifically address disposition of motor vehicles, the surviving spouse shall be deemed to be the owner of the motor vehicle, and title to the same motor vehicle shall automatically and by virtue hereof pass to said the surviving spouse.  Registration and title of the motor vehicle in the name of the surviving spouse shall be effected by payment of a transfer fee of $7.00.  This transaction is exempt from the provisions of the purchase and use tax on motor vehicles.

(2)  This subsection shall apply to no more than two motor vehicles, and shall not apply if the motor vehicle is titled in the name of one or more persons other than the decedent and the surviving spouse.

Sec. 2.  REPORT

The department of motor vehicles shall report to the house and senate committees on judiciary on the advisability and feasibility of adding a transfer on death provision to motor vehicle titles and registrations.

Sec. 3.  12 V.S.A. § 5531 is amended to read:

§ 5531.  RULES GOVERNING PROCEDURE

(a)  The supreme court, pursuant to section 1 of this title, shall make rules under this chapter applicable to such court providing for a simple, informal, and inexpensive procedure for the determination, according to the rules of substantive law, of actions of a civil nature of which they have jurisdiction, other than actions for slander or libel and in which the plaintiff does not claim as debt or damage more than $3,500.00 $5,000.00. Claims for relief other than money damages may not be brought under this chapter. A claim in excess of $5,000.00 may not be split into two or more claims under this chapter. The procedure shall not be exclusive, but shall be alternative to the formal procedure begun by the filing of a complaint.

* * *

Sec. 4.  Rule 2 of the Vermont Rules of Small Claims Procedure is amended to read:

RULE 2.  JURISDICTION PLACE OF SUIT; FILING FEE

(a)  Jurisdiction. Actions on claims for money damages not exceeding $3,500.00 $5,000.00 may be brought under these rules, except claims based on defamation.  Claims for relief other than money damages may not be brought under these rules. A claim in excess of $3,500.00 $5,000.00 may not be split into two or more claims under these rules.

Sec. 5.  12 V.S.A. § 2681 is amended to read:

§ 2681.  EXECUTIONS IN SUPREME AND SUPERIOR COURTS; TIME

(a)  The supreme and superior courts may issue executions on final judgments rendered by them, which shall be made returnable within 60 days from the date thereof.  Such executions may be issued so long as the judgment remains unsatisfied, but not after eight years from the date of rendition of the judgment, except as provided in subsection (b) of this section.

(b)  Executions on small claims court judgments may be made so long as the judgment remains unsatisfied, but not after eight years from the date of rendition of the judgment. Actions to renew small claims court judgments shall be brought by filing a complaint in small claims court prior to the expiration of the judgment, and may be made for the amount of the judgment and any post-judgment costs, fees, and interest allowed by law.

and, that upon passage, the title shall read:  “AN ACT RELATING TO SMALL CLAIMS COURT AND TO TRANSFERRING TITLE TO A MOTOR VEHICLE TO A SURVIVING SPOUSE”

(Committee vote: 10-0-1)

Senate Proposals of Amendment

H. 372

     An act relating to the rendering of nursing and medical services by professional corporations.

The Senate proposes to the House to amend the bill as follows:

First:  In Sec. 2, 26 V.S.A. § 1585, in the section catchline, by striking out the words “ADVANCED PRACTICE REGISTERED NURSES” and inserting in lieu thereof the words REGISTERED OR LICENSED PRACTICAL NURSING

Second:  By adding a new Sec. 3 to read as follows:

Sec. 3.  EFFECTIVE DATE

This act shall take effect upon passage

(For House Amendments see House Journal March 21, 2007 P. 380)

H. 510

     An act relating to Vermont Life magazine.

     The Senate proposes to the House to amend the bill as follows:

First:  In Sec. 1, 3 V.S.A. § 2473a(b), in the last sentence, after the words “outside influence”, by adding the words , including that from the legislative or executive branch of state government

Second:  In Sec. 1, 3 V.S.A. § 2473a(c), in the first sentence, by striking out the words “direction of the editor” and inserting in lieu thereof the words supervision of the business manager and at the direction of the publisher

Third:  By adding a new Sec. 2 to read as follows:

Sec. 2.  EFFECTIVE DATE

This act shall take effect upon passage.

(No House amendments)

For Action Under Rule 52

     J. R. S. 29

Joint resolution supporting the application of the Republic of China (Taiwan) for observer status at the World Health Organization.

(For text see House Journal Friday, April 13, 2007)

NOTICE CALENDAR

Favorable with Amendment

H. 453

     An act relating to the Job Start Program.

Rep. Botzow of Pownal, for the Committee on Commerce, recommends the bill be amended as follows:

First:  Before Sec. 1, by adding a new Sec. 1 to read as follows:

Sec. 1.  FINDINGS; PURPOSE

(a)  The general assembly finds:

(1)  Beginning in 2002 the Job Start Board began a process of evaluation and consultation with stakeholders to chart a course of sustainability and relevancy for the Job Start Program.

(2)  As part of this process in January 2005 the Vermont economic development authority (VEDA) and Central Vermont Community Action Council jointly funded a report,  Job Start Analysis and Recommendations, by consultant Sleeping Lion Associates. The report found: “Statewide access to flexible character-based lending is both desirable and needed for microenterprises.” One of the recommendations for making Job Start viable and sustainable was that clear ownership and accountablitiy for the entire program needed to rest in a single entity committed to serving low-income people with credit and financial services.

(3)  In response to the presentation of the report to a meeting of stakeholders in June of 2005, two entities, Community Capital of Vermont and Opportunities Credit Union, expressed interest in administering Job Start.

(4)  In October 2005 the Job Start board sent out a request for information proposals (RFI) to stakeholders. RFI’s were received from Community Capital of Vermont and Opportunities Credit Union.

(5)  In January 2006 the two entities presented their proposals to the Job Start Board.

(6)  In July 2006 the board approved a motion to ask Community Capital of Vermont to develop a plan to restructure Job Start in consultation with Opportunities Credit Union, the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) and the Job Start staff.

(7)  In September 2006 the board approved Community Capital’s proposal.

(b)  In response to these findings, it is the purpose of this act to ratify the agreement to restructure Job Start by moving the program from VEDA to OEO who will appoint a nonprofit as the program administrator that has met the criteria in Sec. 2 of this act and has the recommendation of the Job Start Advisory Board  and VEDA.

and by renumbering the following sections to be numerically correct

Second:  In Sec. 1, to be Sec. 2, 3 V.S.A. § 3721(b)(1), by striking subdivisions (C) and (H) and by renumbering the remaining subdivisions to be alphabetically correct

Third:  By striking Sec. 4, to be Sec. 5, in its entirety and inserting a new Sec. 5 to read as follows:

Sec. 5.  OFFICE OF ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY GRANT FOR MICROENTERPRISE LENDING

After the effective date of this act, the office of economic opportunity may issue a one-time grant of no more than $40,000.00 from the job start revolving loan fund to a community development financial institution for the purposes of making microenterprise loans with the same criteria and performance requirements as the job start program.

(Committee vote: 10-0-1)

 

H. 485

     An act relating to reduction of property transfer tax on primary residences.

Rep. Howrigan of Fairfield, for the Committee on General, Housing and Military, recommends the bill be amended as follows:

     In Sec. 1, in 32 V.S.A. §9602, by striking subdivision (1) and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

(1)  with respect to the transfer of property to be used for the principal residence of the transferee:  the tax shall be imposed at the rate of five-tenths of one percent of the first $100,000.00 in value of the property transferred and at the rate of one and one quarter one-quarter percent of the value of the property transferred in excess of $100,000.00; and no tax shall be imposed on the first $140,000.00 in value of the property transferred if the purchaser obtains a purchase money mortgage funded in part with a Homeland grant through the Vermont housing and conservation trust fund or which the Vermont housing and finance agency or U.S. Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has committed to make or purchase.

(Committee vote: 8-0-0)

H. 268

     An act relating to the Universal Service Fund.

     Rep. Bissonnette of Winooski, for the committee on Commerce, recommends the bill be amended as follows:

First:  By striking Sec. 1 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 1 to read as follows:

Sec. 1.  LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS AND STATE AUTHORITY

(a)  The general assembly finds that the services on which chapter 88 of Title 30 imposes a universal service charge should not depend upon regulatory classifications.  Therefore, this chapter imposes duties on service providers independent of whether those providers are subject to regulation under other chapters of this title and independent of whether the Federal Communications Commission has defined a service to be a telecommunications service, an information service, an interstate service, an intrastate service, or otherwise.

(b)  In chapter 88 of Title 30, the state of Vermont is exercising its authority to impose a tax on commerce occurring in this state. It is not acting under authority delegated to the state by the Communications Act of 1934, as amended by the Telecommunications Act of 1996. 

(c)  This act is not intended and shall not be construed to alter the jurisdiction of the public service board or the department of public service with respect to voice-over internet protocol services or any other services pursuant to subdivision 203(5) and to section 209 of Title 30.

Second:  In Sec. 8, 30 V.S.A. § 7525(e), after the period at the end, by adding “The fiscal agent shall not award refunds for excess payments made more than three years before a refund claim is filed.

(Committee vote: 11-0-0)

H. 269

     An act relating to Universal Service Fund rate established by the Public Service Board.

     Rep. Clerkin of Hartford, for the Committee on Commerce, recommends the bill be amended as follows:

First:  In Sec. 2, 30 V.S.A. § 7521(b), in the second new sentence after “equivalent” by striking “for a class or classes of service

Second:  In Sec. 3, 30 V.S.A. § 7523(a), in the new sentence by striking “line equivalent” and inserting in lieu thereof “line-equivalent-basis

(Committee vote: 11-0-0)

S. 78

An act relating to having the cost of picking up and hauling milk paid by the purchaser.

Rep. Lawrence of Lyndon, for the Committee on Agriculture, recommends that the House propose to the Senate that the bill be amended by striking all after the enacting clause and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Sec. 1.  FINDINGS

The general assembly finds:

(1)  Dairy farmers contribute $1 million a day to the economy of Vermont, provide about 7,500 farm jobs, account for $426 million annually in sales for Vermont businesses that interact with dairy farmers, and support businesses, including veterinarians, grain dealers, equipment sales, farm insurance, and other dairy suppliers;

(2)  In January of 2007, there were 1,137 dairy farms with 142,000 milking cows, generating over $2 billion annually in Vermont’s economy through production, employment, and business interaction.

(3)  Vermont's conventional dairy farmers have lost purchasing power in recent decades because the farm gate price paid for their milk has not kept pace with inflation. In 1980, the average price paid was $13.06, which, when adjusted for inflation, is equivalent to $30.95 in 2006 dollars. The average price for milk in 2006 was $12.88.

(4)  The pricing system for payments to farmers for their milk is broken; farmers continue to receive a price for their milk that is below the cost of production.

(5)  Milk and milk products are used as ingredients in thousands of foods, including baked goods, snack food, baby formula, and pet food.  Milk products are used in sit-down and fast food restaurants.  Dairy products are featured in a large proportion of the space in supermarkets.

Sec. 2.  PURPOSE

The purpose of this act is to enable Vermont dairy farmers, processors, and retailers and their supporting infrastructure to achieve a positive return on their labor and investment.  The act also intends to ensure the continuing economic vitality of the dairy industry by stabilizing the price received by farmers for their milk at a level allowing them an equitable rate of return.

Sec. 3.  VERMONT MILK COMMISSION ESTABLISHING AN

OVER ORDER PREMIUM

The Vermont milk commission shall establish by rule, pursuant to its authority under chapter 161 of Title 6, an over order premium on Class I fluid cows’ milk, consistent with accepted pricing mechanisms at the farm gate.

Sec. 4.  6 V.S.A. § 2936 is added to read:

§ 2936.  ANNUAL REPORT

The commission shall report annually on its activities to the house and senate committees on agriculture on or before January 15, beginning in 2009.

Sec. 5.  EFFECTIVE DATE; RULE; REPORT

(a)  This act shall take effect on passage.

(b)  The milk commission shall commence the rulemaking process necessary to implement the provisions of this act within 60 days of the effective date.

(c)  The rule shall take effect only if, by rule or legislation, New York and Pennsylvania have enacted substantially comparable provisions for their dairy farmers.

(d)  The milk commission shall report the progress being made on implementing this act to the house and senate agriculture committees on or before November 1, 2007.

and that, upon passage, the title shall read “AN ACT RELATING TO THE VERMONT MILK COMMISSION ESTABLISHING AN OVER ORDER PREMIUM”

(Committee vote: 11-0-0)

Favorable

H. 483

     An act relating to land gains tax exemption for transfer to nonprofit housing organization.

Rep. Trombley of Grand Isle, for the Committee on General, Housing and Military Affairs, recommends the bill ought to pass.

( Committee Vote: 8-0-0)

H. 484

     An act relating to expansion of affordable housing income tax credit.

Rep. Valliere of Barre City, for the Committee on General, Housing and Military, recommends the bill ought to pass.

( Committee Vote: 8-0-0)

Without Recommendation

H. 540

An act relating to public transit.

Rep. Helm of Castleton, for the Committee on Appropriations, reports the same without recommendation.

(Committee vote: 10-0-1)

Senate Proposals of Amendment

H. 334

     An act relating to restitution.

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

Sec. 1.  12 V.S.A. § 2901 is amended to read:

§ 2901.  CREATION OF JUDGMENT LIEN

A final judgment issued in a civil action or a restitution order entered under section 7043 of Title 13 shall constitute a lien on any real property of a judgment debtor if recorded as provided in this chapter.

Sec. 2.  13  V.S.A. § 5312 is amended to read:

§ 5312. VICTIM'S INTEREST IN SPEEDY PROSECUTION

(a) The prosecutor's office, if practicable, shall make every effort to inform a victim of a listed crime of any pending motion that may substantially delay the prosecution any deposition, change of plea, trial, sentencing hearing, or restitution hearing. The prosecutor shall inform the court of how the victim was notified and the victim's position on the motion, if any.  In the event the victim was not notified, the prosecutor shall inform the court why notification did not take place.

* * *

Sec. 3.  13  V.S.A. § 5362 is amended to read:

§ 5362.  RESTITUTION UNIT

* * *

(c)  The restitution unit shall have the authority to:

* * *

(4)  Investigate and verify the amount of insurance or other payments paid to or for the benefit of a victim, and adjust reduce the amount collected or to be collected from the offender or disbursed to the victim from the crime victims' restitution special fund accordingly.  The restitution unit shall submit to the court a proposed revised restitution order stipulated to by the victim and the unit, with copies provided to the victim and the offender.  No hearing shall be required and the court shall amend the judgment order to reflect the amount stipulated to by the victim and the restitution unit.

* * *

(6)  Report offenders’ payment histories to credit reporting agencies, provided that the unit shall not report information regarding offenders who are incarcerated.

Sec. 4.  13 V.S.A. § 5363 is amended to read:

§ 5363.  CRIME VICTIMS' RESTITUTION SPECIAL FUND

* * *

(b)(1)  There shall be deposited into the fund:

* * *

(3)  If a victim who is entitled to receive an advance payment of restitution from the crime victims’ restitution special fund cannot be located, the restitution unit shall report the amount to the treasurer within the time limits provided by subsection 1247(d) of Title 27, and the treasurer shall report it as unclaimed property.  Notwithstanding any other provision of law, in no event shall the advance payments from the restitution special fund to which the victim is entitled be subject to ultimate deposit in the general or education fund. 

* * *

(d)(1) The restitution unit is authorized to advance up to $10,000.00 to a victim or to a deceased victim's heir or legal representative if the victim:

* * *

(4)  If funds are available in the restitution special fund, the general assembly may through the appropriations process authorize the restitution unit to advance up to $10,000.00 from the special fund to a natural person for payment of restitution ordered prior to July 1, 2004. The restitution unit shall have the discretion to determine which restitution orders will receive payment from this appropriation, and in making its determination the unit shall consider the amount of the restitution order and the number of years it has been outstanding.

* * *

Sec. 5.  13 V.S.A. § 5365 is added to read:

§ 5365.  ACCESS TO FINANCIAL RECORDS

(a)  As used in this section:

(1)  "Depositor" means an owner of an account in a financial institution and includes "share account holders" of credit unions.

(2)  "Financial institution" means a savings and loan association, a trust company, a savings bank, an industrial bank, a banking organization, a commercial bank, or a credit union organized under the laws of this state or authorized to do business in this state.

(4)  "Offender" means a person who owes restitution.

(5)  "Restitution unit" means the state of Vermont restitution unit.

(6)  "Restitution" means an unsatisfied obligation to pay restitution that was ordered in connection with a criminal case and about which, prior to the issuance of the order, the offender had notice and an opportunity to contest the amount owed.

(b)  Upon receipt of a duly authorized written request from the restitution unit to identify depository accounts held by an offender, a financial institution shall search its depositor records in order to identify accounts in which the offender has an ownership or beneficial interest.

(c)  A financial institution shall notify the restitution unit of all accounts identified in response to a request filed under subsection (b) of this section.  The notification shall contain the following information, if available to the financial institution through its search procedure, for each account identified:

(1)  The full name, date of birth, and address that the offender provided for himself or herself to the financial institution.

(2)  The offender’s Social Security number.

(3)  The offender’s account number.

(4)  The amount of deposits contained in the offender’s account.

(5)  Whether the offender is the sole owner of the account.

(d)  The financial institution shall not provide notice in any form to a depositor identified by the restitution unit pursuant to this section.  Failure to provide notice to a depositor shall not constitute a violation of the financial institution's duty of good faith to its customers.

(e)  A financial institution may charge the restitution unit a fee for services provided under this section, provided that the fee shall not exceed the actual costs incurred by the financial institution.

(f)  The information provided to each other by the financial institution and the restitution unit pursuant to this section shall be confidential and shall be used only for the purpose of collecting unpaid restitution.

Sec. 6.  13 V.S.A. § 7043 is amended to read:

§ 7043.  RESTITUTION

(a)(1)  Restitution shall be considered in every case in which a victim of a crime, as defined in subdivision 5301(4) of this title, has suffered a material loss.

(2)  For purposes of this section, "material loss" means uninsured property loss, uninsured out-of-pocket monetary loss, uninsured lost wages, and uninsured medical expenses.

(b)(1)  When ordered, restitution may include:

(1) (A) return of property wrongfully taken from the victim;

(2) (B) cash, credit card, or installment payments paid to the restitution unit; or

(3) (C) payments in kind, if acceptable to the victim.

(2)  In the event of a victim’s crime-related death, the court may, at the request of the restitution unit, direct the unit to pay up to $10,000 from the restitution fund to the victim’s estate to cover future uninsured material losses caused by the death.  

(c)  In awarding restitution, the court shall make findings with respect to:

(1)  The total amount of the material loss incurred by the victim. If sufficient documentation of the material loss is not available at the time of sentencing, the court shall set a hearing on the issue, and notice thereof shall be provided to the offender.

(2)  The offender's current ability to pay restitution, based on all financial information available to the court, including information provided by the offender.

(d)(1)  An order of restitution shall establish the amount of the material loss incurred by the victim, which shall be the restitution judgment order. In the event the offender is unable to pay the restitution judgment order at the time of sentencing, the court shall establish a restitution payment schedule for the offender based upon the offender's current and reasonably foreseeable ability to pay, subject to modification under subsection (k) of this section.  Notwithstanding chapter 113 of Title 12 or any other provision of law, interest shall not accrue on a restitution judgment.

(2)(A)  Every order of restitution shall:

(i)  include the offender's name, address and social security number;

(ii)  include the name, address, and telephone number of the offender's employer; and

(iii)  require the offender, until his or her restitution obligation is satisfied, to notify the restitution unit within 30 days if the offender's address or employment changes, including providing the name, address, and telephone number of each new employer.

(B)  [Repealed.]

(e)(1)  If not paid at the time of sentencing, restitution may be ordered as a condition of probation, supervised community sentence, furlough, preapproved furlough, or parole if the convicted person is sentenced to preapproved furlough, probation, or supervised community sentence, or is sentenced to imprisonment and later placed on parole.  A person shall not be placed on probation solely for purposes of paying restitution.  An offender may not be charged with a violation of probation, furlough, or parole for nonpayment of a restitution obligation incurred after July 1, 2004.

(2)  The department of corrections shall work collaboratively with the restitution unit to assist with the collection of restitution.  The department shall provide the restitution unit with information about the location and employment status of the offender.

(f)(1)  When restitution is requested but not ordered, the court shall set forth on the record its reasons for not ordering restitution.

(2)(A)  If restitution was not requested at the time of sentencing, or if expenses arose after the entry of a restitution order, the state may file a motion with the sentencing court to reopen the restitution case in order to consider a request for restitution payable from the restitution fund.  Restitution ordered under this subdivision shall not be payable by the offender. 

(B)  A motion under this subdivision shall be filed within one year after the imposition of sentence or the entry of the restitution order.

(g)  Restitution ordered under this section shall not preclude a person from pursuing an independent civil action for all claims not covered by the restitution order.

(h)(1)  The court shall transmit a copy of a restitution order to the restitution unit, which shall make payment to the victim in accordance with section 5363 of this title.

(2)  To the extent that the victims compensation board has made payment to or on behalf of the victim in accordance with chapter 167 of this title, restitution, if imposed, shall be paid to the restitution unit, which shall make payment to the victims compensation fund.

(i)  The restitution unit may bring an action to enforce a restitution order against an offender in the superior or small claims court of the county where the offender resides or in the county where the order was issued. In an action under this subsection, a restitution order issued by the district court shall be enforceable in superior or small claims court in the same manner as a civil judgment.  Superior and small claims court filing fees shall be waived for an action under this subsection, and for an action to renew a restitution judgment.

(j)  All restitution payments shall be made to the restitution unit, with the exception of restitution relating to a conviction for welfare fraud ordered under this section and recouped by the economic services division.  The economic services division shall provide the restitution unit with a monthly report of all restitution collected through recoupment.  This subsection shall have no effect upon the collection or recoupment of restitution ordered under Title 33.

(k)  The sentencing court may modify the payment schedule of a restitution order if, upon motion by the restitution unit or the offender, the court finds that modification is warranted by a substantial change in circumstances.

(l)  If the offender fails to pay restitution as ordered by the court, the restitution unit may file an action to enforce the restitution order in superior or small claims court.  After an enforcement action is filed, any further proceedings related to the action shall be heard in the court where it was filed.  The court shall set the matter for hearing and shall provide notice to the restitution unit, the victim, and the offender.  If the court determines the offender has failed to comply with the restitution order, the court may take any action the court deems necessary to ensure the offender will make the required restitution payment, including:

(1)  amending the payment schedule of the restitution order;

(2)  ordering, in compliance with the procedures required in Rule 4.1 of the Vermont Rules of Civil Procedure, the disclosure, attachment, and sale of assets and accounts owned by the offender;

(3)  ordering the offender's wages withheld pursuant to subsection n (o) of this section; or

(4)  ordering the suspension of any recreational licenses owned by the offender.

(m)(1)  Any monies owed by the state to an offender who is under a restitution order, including lottery winnings and tax refunds, shall be used to discharge the restitution order to the full extent of the unpaid total financial losses, regardless of the payment schedule established by the courts.

(2)  When an offender is entitled to a tax refund, any restitution owed by the offender shall be withheld from the refund pursuant to subchapter 12 of chapter 151 of Title 32.

(3)(A)  For all Vermont lottery games, the lottery commission shall, before issuing prize money of $500.00 or more to a winner, determine whether the winner has an outstanding restitution order.  If the winner owes restitution, the lottery commission shall withhold the entire amount of restitution owed and pay it to the restitution unit.  The remainder of the winnings, if any, shall be sent to the winner.  The winner shall be notified by the restitution unit of the offset prior to payment to the victim and given a period not to exceed 20 days to contest the accuracy of the information.

(B)  The restitution unit shall inform the lottery commission of persons with outstanding restitution orders upon request. Each person subject to such an order shall be identified by name, address, and Social Security number.

(C)  If a lottery winner has an outstanding restitution order and an outstanding child support order, the lottery winnings shall be offset first pursuant to section 792 of Title 15 by the amount of child support owed, and second pursuant to this subsection by the amount of restitution owed.  The remainder of the winnings, if any, shall be sent to the winner.

(4)  Unless otherwise provided, monies paid under this subsection shall be paid directly to the restitution unit.

(n)(1)  The sentencing court at the time of sentencing, or the superior or small claims court in a subsequent proceeding, may issue a wage withholding order directing All restitution orders made or modified on or after January 1, 2008 shall include an order for wage withholding unless the court in its discretion finds good cause not to order wage withholding or the parties have entered into an alternative arrangement by written agreement which is affirmatively stated in the order.  The wage withholding order shall direct current and subsequent employers of the offender to pay a portion of the offender's wages directly to the restitution unit until the offender's restitution obligation is satisfied.  The wages of the offender shall be exempt as follows:

(A)  to the extent provided under Section 303(b) of the Consumer Credit Protection Act (15 U.S.C. § 1673(b)); or

(B)  if the court finds the weekly expenses reasonably incurred by the debtor for his or her maintenance and that of dependents exceed the amounts exempted by subdivision (1)(A) of this subsection, such greater amount of earnings as the court shall order.

(2)  The court shall transmit all wage withholding orders issued under this section to the restitution unit, which shall forward the orders to the offender's employers.  Upon receipt of a wage withholding order from the restitution unit, an employer shall:

(A)  withhold from the wages paid to the offender the amount specified in the order for each wage period;

(B)  forward the withheld wages to the restitution unit within seven working days after wages are withheld, specifying the date the wages were withheld;

(C)  retain a record of all withheld wages;

(D)  cease withholding wages upon notice from the restitution unit; and

(E)  notify the restitution unit within 10 days of the date the offender's employment is terminated.

(3)  In addition to the amounts withheld pursuant to this section, the employer may retain not more than $5.00 per month from the offender's wages as compensation for administrative costs incurred.

(4)  Any employer who fails to withhold wages pursuant to a wage withholding order within 10 working days of receiving actual notice or upon the next payment of wages to the employee, whichever is later, shall be liable to the restitution unit in the amount of the wages required to be withheld.

(5)  An employer who makes an error in the amount of wages withheld shall not be held liable if the error was made in good faith.

(6)  For purposes of this subsection, "wages" means any compensation paid or payable for personal services, whether designated as wages, salary, commission, bonuses, or otherwise, and shall include periodic payments under pension or retirement programs and workers' compensation or insurance policies of any type.

(o)  An obligation to pay restitution is part of a criminal sentence and is:

(1)  nondischargeable in the United States Bankruptcy Court to the maximum extent provided under 11 U.S.C. §§ 523 and 1328; and

(2)  not subject to any statute of limitations.

(p)  A transfer of property made with the intent to avoid a restitution obligation shall be deemed a fraudulent conveyance for purposes of chapter 57 of Title 9, and the restitution unit shall be entitled to the remedies of creditors provided under section 2291 of Title 9.

Sec. 7.  23 V.S.A. § 1213c(j) is amended to read:

(j)  Order of forfeiture.  If the court orders the motor vehicle forfeited, it shall be delivered into the custody of the commissioner of buildings and general services, who shall dispose of the motor vehicle pursuant to section 1556 of Title 29.  The proceeds from the sale of the vehicle shall first be used to offset any costs of selling the vehicle, and then, after any liens on the vehicle have been paid in full, applied to any unpaid restitution owed by the defendant in connection with the charge that resulted in forfeiture.  Any balance remaining, after any liens on the vehicle have been paid in full, shall be deposited into the general fund.

Sec. 8.  27 V.S.A. § 1249 is amended to read:

§ 1249.  NOTICE AND PUBLICATION OF LISTS OF UNCLAIMED PROPERTY

(a)  The treasurer shall notify apparent owners of unclaimed property under this chapter in the manner and method set out in subsection (b) of this section. In deciding whether to use an additional method specified in subdivision (b)(2) of this section, and which of those methods to use, the treasurer shall employ the method he or she deems to be the most cost-effective method available within its appropriations, while also giving consideration to the effectiveness of the method.

(b)  The treasurer:

(1)  shall notify all apparent owners of unclaimed property in accordance with this section by means of posting on the treasurer's website on the internet;

(2)  may use any of the following to provide additional notice to the apparent owners:

(A)  publication in a newspaper of general circulation:

(i)  in the area of the state in which the last known address of a person to be named in the notice is located;

(ii)  in the area in which the holder has its principal place of business in the state; or

(iii)  in the area the treasurer deems to provide the best opportunity to reach the apparent owner;

(B)  individual contact by regular or electronic mail, or by telephone, if the treasurer has current contact information on file;

(C)  any other manner and method that the treasurer considers effective for providing notice and publication.

(c)  In the notice and publication under subsection (b) of this section, the treasurer shall provide the names of the apparent owners of the property and information regarding recovery of the unclaimed property.

(d)  The treasurer is not required to publish in the notice an item of less than $100.00 in value.

(e)  The treasurer may establish a program to assist other state agencies holding property not presumed to be abandoned to locate the owners of the property.  Under this program, the treasurer may publish the owners’ names on the treasurer’s website and in any other manner the treasurer deems appropriate without taking possession of the property.  Owners contacting the treasurer’s office under this program would be referred to the state agency possessing the property.  Agencies participating in the program will remain obligated to report and remit the property to the treasurer’s office after it is presumed abandoned.

Sec. 9.  REPEAL OF SUNSET FOR RESTITUTION UNIT AND CRIME VICTIMS’ RESTITUTION SPECIAL FUND

Sec. 16 of No. 57 of the Acts of 2003 (sunset for restitution unit and crime victims’ restitution special fund) is repealed.

Sec. 10.  13  V.S.A. § 6607 is added to read:

§ 6607.  DISCLOSURE OF CONFIDENTIAL RECORDS; NOTICE TO PROSECUTION

When a defendant seeks access to a victim’s school records, or to any other records of a victim which are by law confidential, the defendant shall provide written notice to the prosecutor that the records have been requested prior to the service of any subpoena requesting the records.

(For House amendments see House Journal of March 1, 2007 pp. 273-282)

H. 516

     An act relating to the creation of one fund within each of the three Vermont retirement systems and to compliance with federal requirements.

     The Senate proposes to the House to amend the bill as follows:

First:  In Sec. 6, 3 V.S.A. § 465(b)(1), in the second sentence, after the word “In” and before the words “the event”, by adding the words the absence of a written designation of beneficiary or in

Second:  In Sec. 11, 3 V.S.A. § 473(b)(1), in the first sentence, by striking out the word “an” and inserting in lieu thereof the word and

Third:  In Sec. 28, 16 V.S.A. § 1940(b)(1), in the second sentence, after the word “In” and before the words the event, by adding the words the absence of a written designation of beneficiary or in

Fourth:  By striking out Sec. 30 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 30 to read:

Sec. 30.  16 V.S.A. § 1942 is amended to read:

§ 1942.  BOARD OF TRUSTEES; MEDICAL BOARD; ACTUARY; RATE OF CONTRIBUTION; SAFEKEEPING OF SECURITIES

* * *

(o)  The Vermont pension investment committee shall designate from time to time a depository for the securities and evidences of indebtedness held in the various funds fund of the system and may contract for the safe‑keeping of securities and evidences of indebtedness within and without the state of Vermont in such banks, trust companies, and safe‑deposit facilities as it shall from time to time determine, and the necessary and incidental expenses of such safe‑keeping and for service rendered, including advisory services in investment matters, shall be paid from the expense fund hereinafter provided.  Any agreement for the safe‑keeping of securities or evidences of indebtedness, except securities loaned pursuant to a securities lending agreement as authorized by subsection (q) of this section, shall provide for the access to such securities and evidences of indebtedness at any time by the custodian or any authorized agent of the state for audit or other purposes.

(p) The board may enter into insurance arrangements to provide health and medical benefits for retired members and their dependents.  The board may enter into insurance arrangements to provide dental coverage for retired members and their dependents, provided the state or the system has no legal obligation to pay any portion of the dental benefit premiums.

(q)  The Vermont pension investment committee may authorize the loan of its securities pursuant to securities lending agreements that provide for collateral consisting of cash or securities issued or guaranteed by the United States government or its agencies equal to 100 percent or more of the market value of the loaned securities.  Cash collateral may be invested by the lending institution in funds investments approved by the state treasurer.  Approval of funds investments shall be made in accordance with the standard of care established by the prudent investor rule under chapter 147 of Title 9.

(r)  The board shall review annually the amount of state contribution recommended by the actuary of the retirement system as necessary to achieve and preserve the financial integrity of the funds fund established pursuant to section 1944 of this title.  Based on this review, the board shall recommend the amount of state contribution that should be appropriated for the next fiscal year to achieve and preserve the financial integrity of the funds.  On or before November 1 of each year, the board shall submit this recommendation to the governor and the house and senate committees on government operations and appropriations.

Fifth:  In Sec. 33, 16 V.S.A. § 1944(b), by striking out subdivision (7) in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new subdivision (7) to read:

(7)  The contributions of a member, and such interest as may be allowed thereon, paid upon the member’s death or withdrawn by the member as provided in this chapter, shall be paid from the annuity savings fund, and any balance of the accumulated contributions of such a member shall be transferred to the pension accumulation fund.  Upon the retirement of a member, the member’s accumulated contributions shall be transferred from the annuity savings fund to the annuity reserve fund.

Sixth:  In Sec. 36, 24 V.S.A. § 5051(23), by striking out the words “section 473 of Title 3” and inserting in lieu thereof the words section 5064 of Title 24

Seventh:  In Sec. 42, 24 V.S.A. § 5059(a), in the last sentence, after the words “group B and C” by adding the words , group C,

Eighth:  In Sec. 47, 24 V.S.A. § 5064(e), by adding a new subdivision (5) to read as follows:

(5)  The board may, in its discretion, waive part or all of a penalty assessment for good cause shown.

Ninth:  By striking out Sec. 49 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 49 to read:

Sec. 49.  24 V.S.A. § 5070 is amended to read:

§ 5070.  DEFINED CONTRIBUTION RETIREMENT PLAN

(a)  The board may approve a defined contribution retirement plan for one or more groups of members.  The plan shall qualify as a defined contribution plan under the United States Internal Revenue Code, as amended.  Participation in a defined contribution plan offered under this section shall be in lieu of participation in any other plan established under this title.  The board shall ensure that objective educational material be prepared and presented to the employees in order to enable them to make an informed decision, under the assumption that each participant is an unsophisticated investor.

(b)  The proper authority or officer responsible for making up each employer payroll shall certify to the board the amounts deducted on each and every payroll for employees participating in the defined contribution plan, and each of those amounts shall be paid into the defined contribution fund and credited to the individual account of the member from whose compensation the deduction was made.

(1)  Employer reports and corresponding member contributions required by this subsection shall be provided by the due date established by the board.  An employer that provides reports or remits contributions, which are more than 30 days delinquent, may be assessed a delinquent reporting fee of one percent of the amount that should have been reported and remitted for each month, or prorated portion of a month, that the report or contributions are delinquent.

(2)  Employers shall provide accurate reports.  An employer who provides an inaccurate report shall be responsible for correcting any deficiencies and shall reimburse the system for any costs incurred by the system as a result of inaccuracy.

(3)  In the event that an employer willfully files an inaccurate report, in addition to any other penalties provided by law, the employer shall pay the system an administrative penalty of up to 50 percent of the amount that was not accurately reported.

(4)  The system may enforce the provisions of this subsection in Washington superior court.

(5)  The board may, in its discretion, waive part or all of a penalty assessment for good cause shown.

(No House amendments)



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us