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House Calendar

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 18, 2007

106th DAY OF BIENNIAL SESSION

House Convenes at 1:00 P M

TABLE OF CONTENTS

                                                                                                               Page No.

ACTION CALENDAR

     Third Reading

H. 290  Relating to Underground Utility Damage Prevention Control............... 870

S.   77  Transferring Title of a Motor Vehicle to Surviving Spouse................... 870

Favorable with Amendment

S.   78  Cost of Picking Up and Hauling Milk Paid by Purchaser..................... 870

               Rep. Lawrence for Agriculture

Without Recommendation

H. 540  Relating to Public Transit................................................................... 872

               Rep. Helm for Appropriations

               Rep. Donaghy et al Amendment

Senate Proposals of Amendment

H. 334    Relating to Restitution...................................................................... 872

H. 516    Creation of One Fund; VT Retirement System.................................. 882

NOTICE CALENDAR

Favorable with Amendment

H.  47  Amendments to Charter of South Burlington School District................ 885                                Rep. Manwaring for Government Operations

               Rep. Condon for Ways and Means

 H. 48  Amendments to So. Burlington Charter Imposing Taxes...................... 886

               Rep. Dennis Devereux for Government Operations

               Rep. Hube for Ways and Means

H. 532 Obligations of State and County on County Courthouses..................... 887

               Rep. Emmons for Institutions

               Rep. Myers for Institutions

S.   7    Compassionate Use of Marijuana for Medical Purposes..................... 890

               Rep. Donahue for Human Services

S.  13  Idling of Motor Vehicle Engines on School Property............................ 895

               Rep. Hosford for Education

S.  173  High School Diploma’s to Veteran’s of Vietnam Era ......................... 896

               Rep. Gilbert for Education

 

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ACTION CALENDAR

     Third Reading

H. 290

     An act relating to underground utility damage prevention system.

S. 77

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

Favorable with Amendment

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)

 

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)

Amendment to be offered by Reps. of  Poultney, Clarkson of Woodstock, Grad of Moretown, Flory of Pittsford, Gervais of Enosburg, Jewett of Ripton, Lippert of Hinesburg, Marek of Newfane, Pellett of Chester, Chen of  Mendon,  Acinapura of Brandon, Bostic of St. Johnsbury, Heath of Westford, Hunt of Essex, Hutchinson of Randolph, Johnson of South Hero, Keenan of St. Albans City, Larson of Burlington, Miller of Shaftsbury, Potter of Clarendon and Pugh of South Burlington to H. 540

Move to amend the bill by adding a new Sec. 13 to read as follows:

Sec. 13.  PRIMARY SEAT BELT ENFORCEMENT

(a) Repeal.  23 V.S.A. § 1259(e) (secondary enforcement of safety belt law) is repealed.

(b) Acceptance of federal funds.  The state is authorized to accept the anticipated $3,700,000.00 of federal funds and any additional funding available from the federal government attributable to the passage of this act.

(c)  Effective date. This section shall take effect from passage.

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)

NOTICE CALENDAR

Favorable with Amendment

H. 47

     An act relating to approval of amendments to the charter of the city of South Burlington which require voter approval of city and school district budgets.

Rep. Manwaring of Wilmington, for the Committee on Government Operations, recommends the bill be amended as follows:

In Sec. 11 by striking the word “upon” and inserting in lieu thereof “six months after

Rep. Condon of Colchester, for the Committee on Ways and Means, recommends the bill ought to pass when amended as recommended by the Committee on Government Operations and when further amended as follows:

     First:  In Sec. 1 on page 1, by striking the words " The proposals of amendment were approved by the voters on November 7, 2006." and inserting in lieu thereof " The original proposals of amendment were approved by the voters on November 7, 2006."

     Second:  In Sec. 6, on page 3, by striking subsection (a) on lines 13 through 20, and inserting a new subsection (a) to read:

(a)  Upon adoption of the budgets for the city and the South Burlington school district by the council and board of school directors, respectively (and by the voters in the event that the provisions of section 1309 are applicable), the amounts stated therein as the amount of the budget for the city to be raised by property and poll taxes shall constitute a determination of the amount of the levy for the purposes of the city and school district in the corresponding tax year and the council shall levy such taxes on the grand list furnished by the assessor for the corresponding tax year.  The amounts stated therein as the amount of the budget for the South Burlington school district shall be used to determine the education property tax rates in accordance with 32 V.S.A. § 5402.

     Third:  In Sec. 7, on page 4, line 16, by striking the words "as approved by the" and on line 17 by striking the word "voters"

     Fourth:   In Sec. 9, on page 6, after line 14, by inserting a new subsection (8) to read:

      "(8)  Non-governmental revenue."

and on page 7, after line 10, by inserting a new subsection (g) to read:

     "(g)  Non-governmental revenue includes funds donated to the City or school district by private individuals or organizations, or like items."

(Committee vote: 10-0-1)

H. 48

     An act relating to approval of amendment to the charter of the city of South Burlington authorizing the imposition of a sales, rooms, meals, and alcoholic beverage tax.

Rep. Devereux of Mount Holly, for the Committee on Government Operations, recommends the bill be amended as follows:

     In Sec. 2, 24 App. V.S.A. chapter 13 § 1506(a), by striking “a” and inserting in lieu thereof “up to a one percent”:

Rep. Hube of Londonderry, for the Committee on Ways and Means, recommends the bill ought to pass when amended as recommended by the Committee on Government Operations and when further amended as follows:

First:  In Sec. 1 on page 1, by striking the words " The proposals of amendment were approved by the voters on November 7, 2006." and inserting in lieu thereof " The original proposals of amendment were approved by the voters on November 7, 2006."

Second:  By striking Sec. 2 and inserting a new Sec. 2 to read:

Sec. 2.  24 App. V.S.A. chapter 13 § 1506 is added to read:

§ 1506.  SALES, rooms, MEALS, AND ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES TAX

(a)  The city council may impose a tax on those transactions in the city involving sales, rooms, meals, and alcoholic beverages which are subject to taxation by the state of Vermont.  The authority of the city council to impose a tax on these transactions was approved by the voters on November 7, 2006.  Imposition of any tax by the city council under this section shall be at the rate or rates specified in section 138 of Title 24, and shall be imposed in accordance with the requirements of subsections 138(a)(2), (c) and (d) of Title 24.

(b)  The city council shall impose a tax authorized by this section by adopting an ordinance in the manner provided by sections 106‑109 of this chapter.

(c)  Sales tax revenue received by the city shall be used to reduce the municipal property tax collected on the city grand list and shall not be used to increase total city revenues.

(d)  Rooms, meals, and alcoholic beverage tax revenues received by the city may, at the sole discretion of the city council, be used in any of the following ways:

(1)  to deposit in a reserve fund established by the city council to fund the purchase of land or for construction or reconstruction of city buildings and infrastructure;

(2)  to reduce the municipal property tax collected on the city grand list without increasing total city revenues; or

(3)  any combination of subdivisions (1) and (2) of this subsection.

(Committee vote: 8-2-1)

H. 532

     An act relating to obligations of the state and county regarding capital expenditures on county courthouses.

(Rep. Emmons of Springfield will speak for the Committee on Institutions)

Rep. Myers of Essex, for the Committee on Institutions, recommends the bill be amended by striking all after the enacting clause and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Sec. 1.  24 V.S.A. § 71a(a) is amended to read:

(a)  Except as provided herein, each county shall provide and own a suitable courthouse, pay all utility and custodial services and keep such the courthouse suitably furnished and equipped for use by the superior court and probate court, together with suitable offices for the county clerk, assistant judges, and probate judges.  Office space for the probate court may be provided elsewhere by the county.  Each county shall provide fireproof safes or vaults for the safekeeping of the official files and records required to be kept by county officials, including the files and records of a justice of the peace who has vacated his or her office.  Use of the county courthouse by the supreme court, district court, family court or the judicial bureau may be permitted by the assistant judges when such use does not conflict with the use of the building by the superior court, provided that the office of court administrator shall pay the cost of any such use should the assistant judges choose not to pay the cost by use of county funds.  In this case, the court administrator shall pay the county a portion of debt service and the operating costs associated with the use of the building by the district or family court.  The amount paid shall be reflective of both the time and square footage use of the building by the district and family courts.  

Sec. 2.  24 V.S.A. § 84 is added to read:

§ 84.  AUTHORITY TO BORROW

The assistant judges may borrow for capital improvements without putting the matter before the voters, provided:

(1)  the terms of the loan require that it be paid back no more than 10 years from the date of execution;

(2)  the annual debt service payment for all loans combined, excluding bonded debt, is no greater than 15 percent of the revenues raised from taxes in the year before the loan is made;

(3)  at least 30 days prior to making a request for approval, the assistant judges notify the legislative bodies of the municipalities in the county that they intend to request approval for borrowing from the general assembly; and

(4)  the general assembly approves the borrowing.  If the general assembly is not in session and the assistant judges cannot wait for it to convene due to the need to borrow for an emergency project, permission from the joint fiscal committee shall suffice.

Sec. 3.  24 V.S.A. § 85 is added to read:

§ 85.  ESSENTIAL CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS

(a)  In this section, an “essential construction project” is a project which is necessary due to a federal or state requirement or which addresses threats to the health or safety of those using the building.

(b)  In order to request state assistance for an essential construction project, after consultation with the court administrator, the assistant judges shall submit preliminary plans and cost estimates to the governor who may include it in the consolidated capital budget request pursuant to 32 V.S.A. § 309.

Sec. 4.  24 V.S.A. § 133(e) is amended and (i) and (j) are added to read:

(e)  The proposed budget shall contain any cost estimates and preliminary plans for capital construction in the county pursuant to subchapter 2 of chapter 3 of this title, estimates of the indebtedness of the county, estimates of the probable ordinary expenses of the county for the ensuing year, and any and all other expenses and obligations of the county.  The budget may contain provision for additions to a reserve fund and the accumulated total reserve fund shall not at any time exceed an amount equal to ten percent of the current budget presented.  Pursuant to a capital program, as described in section 4426 of this title, the budget may also include a provision for a separate reserve fund for capital construction, reconstruction, remodeling, repairs, renovation, design, or redesign which shall not at any time exceed an amount equal to 50 percent of the current budget presented.  However, if capital construction, reconstruction, remodeling, repairs, renovation, design, or redesign is necessitated by an insured loss or damage to a county building, the separate reserve fund may also include the amount of insurance proceeds received as a result of the loss or damage.  All county budgets shall be presented on the form prescribed by the auditor of accounts, after consultation with the association of assistant judges, and shall include the amounts currently budgeted for each item included in the proposed budget.

(i)  Pursuant to a capital program, as described in section 4430 of this title, a proposed budget may also include a provision for a separate capital program reserve fund for capital construction, reconstruction, remodeling, repairs, renovation, design, or redesign.  The amount deposited into the capital program reserve fund in one year shall not be greater than 10 percent of the previous year’s operating budget, and the total amount in the fund shall not at any time exceed an amount equal to 50 percent of the previous year’s operating budget.  However, if capital construction, reconstruction, remodeling, repairs, renovation, design, or redesign is necessitated by an insured loss or damage to a county building, the separate reserve fund may also include the amount of insurance proceeds received as a result of the loss or damage.

(j)  The assistant judges may deposit some or all of any unencumbered funds remaining at the close of a fiscal year into a reserve fund established under subsection (i) of this section.  However, the total amount deposited into a reserve fund in any year shall not exceed the annual and total limits set in subsection (i) of this section. 

Sec. 5.  EFFECTIVE DATE

This act shall take effect for fiscal year 2009.

(Committee vote: 8-2-1)

 

S.  7

An act relating to the compassionate use of marijuana for medical purposes.

Rep. Donahue of Northfield, for the Committee on Human Services, 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.  18 V.S.A. chapter 86 is amended to read:

CHAPTER 86.  THERAPEUTIC USE OF CANNABIS

* * *

Subchapter 2.  Marijuana for Medical Symptom Use

by Persons with Severe Illness

§ 4472.  DEFINITIONS

For the purposes of this subchapter:

(1)  “Bona fide physician-patient relationship” means a treating or consulting relationship of not less than six months duration, in the course of which a physician has completed a full assessment of the registered patient’s medical history and current medical condition, including a personal physical examination.

(2)  “Debilitating medical condition,” provided that, in the context of the specific disease or condition described in subdivision (A) or (B) of this subdivision (2), reasonable medical efforts have been made over a reasonable amount of time without success to relieve the symptoms, means:

(A)  end of life care for cancer or acquired immune deficiency syndrome; or

(B)  cancer, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus, multiple sclerosis, or the treatment of these diseases or medical conditions if:

(i)  the disease or condition or its treatment results in severe, persistent, and intractable symptoms; and

(ii)  in the context of the specific disease or condition, reasonable medical efforts have been made over a reasonable amount of time without success in relieving the symptoms.

(A)  cancer, multiple sclerosis, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, or the treatment of these conditions, if the disease or the treatment results in severe, persistent, and intractable symptoms; or

(B)  a disease, medical condition, or its treatment that is chronic, debilitating, and produces severe, persistent, and one or more of the following intractable symptoms: cachexia or wasting syndrome; severe pain; severe nausea; or seizures.

(3)  “Marijuana” shall have the same meaning as provided in subdivision 4201(15) of this title.

(4)  “Physician” means a person who is:

(A)  licensed under chapter 23 or chapter 33 of Title 26, and is licensed with authority to prescribe drugs under Title 26; or

(B)  a physician, surgeon, or osteopathic physician licensed to practice medicine and prescribe drugs under comparable provisions in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, or New York.

(5)  “Possession limit” means the amount of marijuana collectively possessed between the registered patient and the patient’s registered caregiver which is no more than one two mature marijuana plant plants, two four immature plants, and two ounces of usable marijuana.

(6)  “Registered caregiver” means a person who is at least 21 years old who has never been convicted of a drug-related crime and who has agreed to undertake responsibility for managing the well-being of a registered patient with respect to the use of marijuana for symptom relief.

(7)  “Registered patient” means a person who has been issued a registration card by the department of public safety identifying the person as having a debilitating medical condition pursuant to the provisions of this subchapter.

(8)  “Secure indoor facility” means a building or room equipped with locks or other security devices that permit access only by a registered caregiver or registered patient.

(9)  “Usable marijuana” means the dried leaves and flowers of marijuana, and any mixture or preparation thereof, and does not include the seeds, stalks, and roots of the plant.

(10)  “Use for symptom relief” means the acquisition, possession, cultivation, use, transfer, or transportation of marijuana or paraphernalia relating to the administration of marijuana to alleviate the symptoms or effects of a registered  patient’s debilitating medical condition which is in compliance with all the limitations and restrictions of this subchapter.  For the purposes of this definition, “transfer” is limited to the transfer of marijuana and paraphernalia between a registered caregiver and a registered patient.

§ 4473.  REGISTERED PATIENTS; QUALIFICATION STANDARDS AND PROCEDURES

(a)  To become a registered patient, a person must be diagnosed with a debilitating medical condition by a physician in the course of a bona fide physician-patient relationship. 

(b)  The department of public safety shall review applications to become a registered patient using the following procedures:

(1)  A patient with a debilitating medical condition shall submit, under oath, a signed application for registration to the department.  If the patient is under the age of 18 the application must be signed by both the patient and a parent or guardian.  The application shall require identification and contact information for the patient and the patient’s registered caregiver applying for authorization under section 4474 of this title, if any.  The applicant shall attach to the application a copy of relevant portions of the patient’s medical record sufficient to establish that the patient has a debilitating medical condition medical verification form developed by the department pursuant to subdivision (2) of this subsection.

(2)  The department of public safety shall develop a medical verification form to be completed by a physician and submitted by a patient applying for registration in the program.  The form shall include:

(A)  A cover sheet which includes the following:

(i)  A statement of the penalties for providing false information.

(ii)  Definitions of the following statutory terms:

(I)  “Bona fide physician-patient relationship” as defined in subdivision 4472(1) of this title.

(II)  “Debilitating medical condition” as defined in subdivision 4472(2) of this title.

(III)  “Physician” as defined in subdivision 4472(4) of this title.

(B)  A verification sheet which includes the following:

(i)  A statement that a bona fide physician-patient relationship exists under subdivision 4472(1) of this title, or that under subdivision (3)(A) of this subsection (b) the debilitating medical condition is of recent or sudden onset, and the patient has not had a previous physician who is able to verify the nature of the disease and its symptoms.

(ii)  A statement that reasonable medical efforts have been made over a reasonable amount of time without success to relieve the symptoms.

(iii)  A statement that the patient has a debilitating medical condition as defined in subdivision 4472(2) of this title, including the specific disease or condition which the patient has and whether the patient meets the criteria under subdivision 4472(2)(A) or subdivision 4472(2)(B).

(iv)  A signature line which provides in substantial part: “I certify that I meet the definition of ‘physician’ under 18 V.S.A. § 4472(4)(A) or 4472(4)(B) (circle one), that I am a physician in good standing in the state of _______, and that the facts stated above are accurate to the best of my knowledge and belief.”

(v)  The physician’s contact information.  

(2)(3)(A) The department shall transmit the completed medical verification form to the physician and contact the physician him or her for purposes of verifying the existence of a bona fide physician-patient relationship and confirming the accuracy of the medical record information contained in the form.  The department may approve an application, notwithstanding the six-month requirement in subdivision 4472(1) of this title, if the department is satisfied that the medical verification form confirms that the debilitating medical condition is of recent or sudden onset and that the patient has not had a previous physician who is able to verify the nature of the disease and its symptoms.

(B)  If the physician is licensed in another state as provided by subdivision 4472(4)(B) of this title, the department shall contact the state’s medical practice board and verify that the physician is in good standing in that state.

(3)(4)  The department shall approve or deny the application for registration in writing within 30 days from receipt of a completed registration application.  If the application is approved, the department shall issue the applicant a registration card which shall include the registered patient’s name and photograph, as well as a unique identifier for law enforcement verification purposes under section 4474d of this title.

(4)(A)(5)(A)  A review board is established.  The medical practice board shall appoint three physicians licensed in Vermont to constitute the review board.  If an application under subdivision (1) of this subsection is denied, within seven days the patient may appeal the denial to the board.  Review shall be limited to information submitted by the patient under subdivision (1) of this subsection, and consultation with the patient’s treating physician.  All records relating to the appeal shall be kept confidential.  An appeal shall be decided by majority vote of the members of the board.

(B)  The board shall meet periodically to review studies, data, and any other information relevant to the use of marijuana for symptom relief.  The board may make recommendations to the general assembly for adjustments and changes to this chapter.

(C)  Members of the board shall serve for three-year terms, beginning February 1 of the year in which the appointment is made, except that the first members appointed shall serve as follows:  one for a term of two years, one for a term of three years, and one for a term of four years.  Members shall be entitled to per diem compensation authorized under section 1010 of Title 32.  Vacancies shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment for the unexpired portion of the term vacated.

§ 4474.  REGISTERED CAREGIVERS; QUALIFICATION STANDARDS
  AND PROCEDURES

(a)  A person may submit a signed application to the department of public safety to become a registered patient’s registered caregiver.  The department shall approve or deny the application in writing within 30 days.  The department shall approve a registered caregiver’s application and issue the person an authorization card, including the caregiver’s name, photograph, and a unique identifier, after verifying:

(1)  the person will serve as the registered caregiver for one registered patient only; and

(2)  the person has never been convicted of a drug‑related crime.

(b)  Prior to acting on an application, the department shall obtain from the Vermont criminal information center a Vermont criminal record, an out-of-state criminal record, and a criminal record from the Federal Bureau of Investigation for the applicant.  For purposes of this subdivision, “criminal record” means a record of whether the person has ever been convicted of a drug-related crime.  Each applicant shall consent to release of criminal records to the department on forms substantially similar to the release forms developed by the center pursuant to section 2056c of Title 20.  The department shall comply with all laws regulating the release of criminal history records and the protection of individual privacy.  The Vermont criminal information center shall send to the requester any record received pursuant to this section or inform the department of public safety that no record exists.  If the department disapproves an application, the department shall promptly provide a copy of any record of convictions and pending criminal charges to the applicant and shall inform the applicant of the right to appeal the accuracy and completeness of the record pursuant to rules adopted by the Vermont criminal information center.  No person shall confirm the existence or nonexistence of criminal record information to any person who would not be eligible to receive the information pursuant to this subchapter.

(c)  A registered caregiver may serve only one registered patient at a time, and a registered patient may have only one registered caregiver at a time.

§ 4474a.  REGISTRATION; FEES

(a)  The department shall collect a fee of $100.00 $50.00 for the application authorized by sections 4473 and 4474 of this title.  The fees received by the department shall be deposited into a registration fee fund and used to offset the costs of processing applications under this subchapter.

(b)  A registration card shall expire one year after the date of issue, with the option of renewal, provided the patient submits a new application which is approved by the department of public safety, pursuant to sections section 4473 or 4474 of this title, and pays the fee required under subsection (a) of this section.

* * *

(Committee vote: 10-1-0)

S. 13

An act relating to idling motor vehicle engines on school property.

Rep. Hosford of Waitsfield, for the Committee on Education, 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. § 1282(f) is added to read:

(f)  Subject to department of education rules, which may provide for limited idling in cold or otherwise inclement weather or to ensure the safety of students, the operator of a school bus shall not idle the engine while waiting for children to board or to exit the vehicle at a school and shall not start the engine until ready to leave the school premises.  The department, in consultation with the agency of natural resources, the department of health, and the department of motor vehicles, shall adopt rules to implement this subsection.

Sec. 2.  SCHOOL BOARDS; VEHICULAR IDLING

Nothing in this act or in department of education rules shall prevent a school board from adopting idling policies for motor vehicles other than school buses when present on school premises.

Sec. 3.  EFFECTIVE DATE

This act shall take effect on passage.  The rules required by this act shall take effect beginning in the 2007–2008 academic year.

(Committee vote: 9-1-1)

 

S. 173

An act relating to the awarding of high school diplomas to veterans of the Vietnam era.

Rep. Gilbert of Fairfax, for the Committee on Education, recommends that the House propose to the Senate that the bill be amended in Sec. 1, by striking the following: “from February 28, 1961 through May 7, 1975

(Committee vote: 10-0-1)

 

INFORMATION NOTICE

The following item was received by the Joint Fiscal Committee:

     JFO #2288 – $2,000 donation from the Vermont Retired Teachers Association to the Department of Corrections.  This donation to the Community High School of Vermont will be used by recipients of the Beryle Gardner Award.  The funds will provide financial assistance to graduates to pay for books for college or be used to purchase supplies needed for employment. 

[JFO received 04/12/07]

 

 

 

 



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us