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House Calendar

MONDAY, MAY 7, 2007

125th DAY OF BIENNIAL SESSION

House Convenes at 3:00 P M

TABLE OF CONTENTS

                                                                                                               Page No.

ACTION CALENDAR

Third Reading

J.R.H. 26  Urging Congress to Enact H. R. 676 National. Ins. Act............... 1758

Favorable with Amendment

S. 164  Relating to Campaign Finance.......................................................... 1758

               Rep. Sweaney for Government Operations

               Rep. Koch et al Amendment.......................................................... 1769

S. 167  Relating to Voter Registration........................................................... 1777

               Rep. Jerman for Government Operations

Favorable

S.   27  Increasing the Minimum Tip Wage.................................................... 1779

               Rep. Head for General, Housing and Military Affairs

Report Committee of Conference

H. 360  Employment Protection /Training for VT Nat’l Guard Members....... 1780

S.   13  Idling of Motor Vehicle Engines on School Property......................... 1780

For Action Under Rule 52

J.R.H. 32  Honoring Public Works Employees and Week............................ 1781

J.R.H. 33  Congratulating Chandler Arts Center 100th Anniversary.............. 1781

J.R.S. 35  Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act of 2007............................. 1782


NOTICE CALENDAR

Favorable with Amendment

S.   67  Closure of the Bennington State Office Building................................ 1782

               Rep. Koch for Institutions

S. 148  Application for Designated New Town Center.................................. 1786

               Rep. Lavoie for Natural Resources and Energy

S. 177  Relating to Child Poverty in Vermont................................................ 1782

               Rep. Pugh for Human Services

               Rep. Miller for Appropriations....................................................... 1788

S. 190  Establishing a Brown Field Advisory Committee............................... 1788

               Rep. Cheney for Natural Resources and Energy

 

S. 192  Relating to HIV Name-Based Reporting........................................... 1788

               Rep. Mrowicki for Human Services

 

J.R.H. 27  Urging Congress for Federal Funding for Transportation............. 1790

               Rep. Potter for Transportation

 

Senate Proposal of Amendment

H. 522  Viability of Vermont Agriculture....................................................... 1790

Senate Proposal of Amendment to House Proposal of Amendment

S. 116  Miscellaneous Election Law Amendments......................................... 1803

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ACTION CALENDAR

     Third Reading

J. R. H. 26

     Joint resolution urging Congress to enact H.R, 676, the National Health Insurance Act (or the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act)

Favorable with Amendment

S. 164

An act relating to campaign finance.

Rep. Sweaney of Windsor, for the Committee on Government Operations, 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 that:

(1)  Large campaign contributions reduce public confidence in the electoral process and increase the risk and the appearance that candidates and elected officials will not act in the best interests of all Vermont citizens.

(2)  Some candidates and elected officials, particularly when time is limited, respond and give access to contributors who make large contributions in preference to those who make small or no contributions.

(3)  In Vermont, contributions greater than the amounts specified in this act are considered by the general assembly, candidates, and elected officials to be large contributions.

(4)  In Vermont, contributions in the amounts permitted in this act adequately allow contributors to express their opinions, levels of support, and affiliations with respect to candidates, political committees, and political parties.

(5)  In Vermont, candidates can raise sufficient monies to fund effective campaigns from contributions no larger than the amounts specified in this act.

(6)  Limiting large contributions will encourage direct and small group contact between candidates and the electorate and will encourage the personal involvement of a larger number of citizens in campaigns, both of which are crucial to public confidence and the robust debate of issues.

(7)  In Vermont, campaign expenditures by persons who are not candidates have been increasing and public confidence is eroded when unidentified expenditures are made, particularly during the final days of a campaign.

(8)  Identification of persons who publish political advertisements and electioneering communications assists in enforcement of the campaign finance limitations established by this act.

(9)  Aggregate contributions limitations are necessary to limit the influence of a single source, political committee, or political party in an election.

(10)  There is an extensive record supporting the need for the regulation of campaign finance in Vermont that was compiled during the consideration of No. 64 of the Acts of 1997, and that was considered by the courts during the litigation of Landell v. Sorrell, 118 F.Supp. 459 (D.Vt. 2000), aff’d in part and vacated in part, 382 F.3d 91 (2d Cir. 2004), rev’d and remanded sub nom. Randall v. Sorrell, 126 S. Ct. 2479 (2006).

(11)  This act is necessary in order to implement more fully the provisions of Article 8 of Chapter I of the Constitution of the State of Vermont, which declares “That all elections ought to be free and without corruption, and that all voters, having a sufficient, evident, common interest with, and attachment to the community, have a right to elect officers, and be elected into `office, agreeably to the regulations made in this constitution.”

Sec. 2.  17 V.S.A. § 2801 is amended to read:

§ 2801.  DEFINITIONS

As used in this chapter:

(1)  “Candidate” means an individual who has taken affirmative action to become a candidate for state, county, local, or legislative office in a primary, special, general, or local election.  An affirmative action shall include one or more of the following:

(A)  accepting contributions or making expenditures totalling $500.00 or more; or

(B)  filing the requisite petition for nomination under this title or being nominated by primary or caucus; or

(C)  announcing that he or she seeks an elected position as a state, county, or local officer or a position as representative or senator in the general assembly.

(2)  “Clearly identified,” with respect to a candidate, means that:

(A)  The name of the candidate appears;

(B)  A photograph or drawing of the candidate appears; or

(C)  The identity of the candidate is apparent by unambiguous reference.

(3)  “Contribution” means a payment, distribution, advance, deposit, loan, or gift of money or anything of value, paid or promised to be paid to a person for the purpose of influencing an election, advocating a position on a public question, or supporting or opposing one or more candidates in any election, but shall not include services provided without compensation by individuals volunteering their time on behalf of a candidate, political committee or political party.  For purposes of this chapter, “contribution” shall not include a personal loan from a lending institution any of the following:

(A)  a personal loan of money to a candidate from a lending institution made in the ordinary course of business;

(B)  services provided without compensation by individuals volunteering their time on behalf of a candidate, political committee, or political party;

(C)  unreimbursed travel expenses incurred within the state of Vermont and paid for by an individual who volunteers personal services to a candidate, if the cumulative amount of these expenses does not exceed $500.00 per election;

(D)  unreimbursed campaign‑related travel expenses incurred within the state of Vermont and paid for by the candidate or the candidate’s spouse or civil union partner;

(E)  the payment by a political party of the costs of preparation, display, or mailing or other distribution of a party candidate listing;

(F)  documents, in printed or electronic form, including party platforms, single copies of issue papers, information pertaining to the requirements of this title, lists of registered voters and voter identification information, created, obtained, or maintained by a political party for the general purpose of party building and provided to a candidate who is a member of that party or to another political party;

(G)  compensation paid by a political party to its employees whose job responsibilities are not for the specific and exclusive benefit of a single candidate in any election;

(H)  campaign training sessions provided to three or more candidates;

(I)  costs paid for by a political party in connection with a campaign event at which three or more candidates are present;

(J)  the use of offices, telephones, computers, and similar equipment when that use does not result in additional cost to the provider;

(K)  activity or communication designed to encourage individuals to register to vote or to vote if that activity or communication does not mention or depict a clearly identified candidate;

(L)  compensation paid by a political party to its employees or consultants for the purpose of providing assistance to another political party.

(3)(4)  “Expenditure” means a payment, disbursement, distribution, advance, deposit, loan, or gift of money or anything of value, paid or promised to be paid, for the purpose of influencing an election, advocating a position on a public question, or supporting or opposing one or more candidates.  For the purposes of this chapter, “expenditure” shall not include any of the following:

(A)  a personal loan of money to a candidate from a lending institution made in the ordinary course of business;

(B)  services provided without compensation by individuals volunteering their time on behalf of a candidate, political committee, or political party;

(C)  unreimbursed travel expenses incurred within the state of Vermont and paid for by an individual who volunteers personal services to a candidate, if the cumulative amount of these expenses does not exceed $500.00 per election;

(D)  unreimbursed campaign‑related travel expenses incurred within the state of Vermont and paid for by the candidate or the candidate’s spouse or civil union partner.

(5)  “Party candidate listing” means any communication by a political party that:

(A)  lists the names of at least three candidates for election to public office;

(B)  is distributed through public advertising such as broadcast stations, cable television, newspapers and similar media, or through direct mail, telephone, electronic mail, publicly accessible sites on the internet or personal delivery;

(C)  treats all candidates in the communication in a substantially similar manner; and

(D)  is limited to:

(i)  the identification of each candidate, with which pictures may be used;

(ii)  the offices sought;

(iii)  the offices currently held by the candidates;

(iv)  the party affiliation of the candidates and a brief statement about the party or the candidates’ positions, philosophy, goals, accomplishments, or biographies;

(v)  encouragement to vote for the candidates identified; and

(vi)  information about voting, such as voting hours and locations.

(4)(6)  “Political committee” or “political action committee” means any formal or informal committee of two or more individuals, or a corporation, labor organization, public interest group, or other entity, not including a political party, which receives contributions of more than $500.00 and makes expenditures of more than $500.00 in any one calendar year for the purpose of supporting or opposing one or more candidates, influencing an election, or advocating a position on a public question in any election or affecting the outcome of an election.

(5)(7)  “Political party” means a political party organized under chapter 45 of this title or and any committee established, financed, maintained, or controlled by the party, including any subsidiary, branch, or local unit thereof and including national or regional affiliates of the party and shall be considered a single, unified political party.  The national affiliate of the political party shall be considered a separate political party.

(6)(8)  “Single source” means an individual, partnership, corporation, association, labor organization, or any other organization or group of persons which is not a political committee or political party.

(7)(9)  “Election” means the procedure whereby the voters of this state or any of its political subdivisions select a person to be a candidate for public office or fill a public office, or to act on public questions including voting on constitutional amendments.  Each primary, general, special, run‑off, or local election shall constitute a separate election.

(8)(10)  “Public question” means an issue that is before the voters for a binding decision.

(9)(11)  “Two‑year general election cycle” means the 24‑month period that begins 38 days after a general election. Expenditures related to a previous campaign and contributions to retire a debt of a previous campaign shall be attributed to the earlier campaign cycle.

(10)(12)  “Full name” means an individual’s full first name, middle name or initial, if any, and full legal last name, making the identity of the person who made the contribution apparent by unambiguous reference.

(11)(13)  “Telephone bank” means more than 500 telephone calls of an identical or substantially similar nature that are made to the general public within any 30‑day period.

Sec. 3.  17 V.S.A. § 2801a is amended to read:

§ 2801a.  EXCEPTIONS

The definitions of “contribution,” “expenditure,” and “electioneering communication” shall not apply to:

(1)  any news story, commentary, or editorial distributed through the facilities of any broadcasting station, newspaper, magazine, or other periodical publication which has not been paid for, or such facilities are not owned or controlled, by any political party, committee, or candidate; and

(2)  any communication distributed through a public access television station if the communication complies with the laws and rules governing the station, and all candidates in the race have an equal opportunity to promote their candidacies through the station.

Sec. 4.  17 V.S.A. § 2805 is amended to read:

§ 2805.  LIMITATIONS OF CONTRIBUTIONS

(a)  A candidate for state representative or local office shall not accept contributions totaling more than $200.00 $250.00 from a single source, or political committee or political party in for any two‑year general election cycle.

(b)  A candidate for state senator or county office shall not accept contributions totaling more than $300.00 $500.00 from a single source, or political committee or political party in for any two‑year general election cycle.

(c)  A candidate for the office of governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, state treasurer, auditor of accounts, or attorney general shall not accept contributions totaling more than $400.00 $750.00 from a single source, or political committee or political party in for any two‑year general election cycleA political committee, other than a political committee of a candidate, or a political party shall not accept contributions totaling more than $2,000.00 from a single source, political committee or political party in any two‑year general election cycle.

(d)  A candidate for the office of governor shall not accept contributions totaling more than $1,000.00 from a single source or political committee in any election.

(b)(e)  A single source, political committee or political party shall not contribute more to a candidate, political committee or political party than the candidate, political committee or political party is permitted to accept under subsection (a) of this section than $20,000.00 to all candidates in any two‑year general election cycle.  A single source shall not contribute more than $20,000.00 to all political committees and political parties in any two‑year general election cycle.

(c)(f)  A candidate, political party or political committee shall not accept, from a political party contributions totaling more than the following amounts in any two‑year general election cycle, more than 25 percent of total contributions from contributors who are not residents of the state of Vermont or from political committees or parties not organized in the state of Vermont:

(1)  For the office of governor, $30,000.00;

(2)  For the office of lieutenant governor, $10,000.00;

(3)  For the office of secretary of state, state treasurer, auditor of accounts, or attorney general, $5,000.00;

(4)  For the office of state senator or county office, $2,000.00;

(5)  For the office of state representative or local office, $1,000.00.

(g)  A single source, political committee, or political party shall not contribute more to a candidate, political committee, or political party than the candidate, political committee, or political party is permitted to accept under subsections (a) through (d) and (f) of this section.

(d)(h)  A candidate shall not accept a monetary contribution in excess of $50.00 unless made by check, credit or debit card, or other electronic transfer.

(e)(i)  A candidate, political party, or political committee shall not knowingly accept a contribution which is not directly from the contributor, but was transferred to the contributor by another person for the purpose of transferring the same to the candidate, or otherwise circumventing the provisions of this chapter.  It shall be a violation of this chapter for a person to make a contribution with the explicit or implicit understanding that the contribution will be transferred in violation of this subsection.

(f)(j)  This section shall not be interpreted to limit the amount a candidate or his or her immediate family may contribute to his or her own campaign.  For purposes of this subsection, “immediate family” means individuals related to the candidate in the first, second or third degree of consanguinity a candidate’s spouse or civil union partner, parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, sister, brother, stepparent, stepgrandparent, stepchild, stepgrandchild, stepsister, stepbrother, mother‑in‑law, father‑in‑law, brother‑in‑law, sister‑in‑law, son‑in‑law, daughter‑in‑law, guardian, or former guardian.

(g)(k)  The limitations on contributions established by this section shall not apply to contributions made for the purpose of advocating a position on a public question, including a constitutional amendment.

(h)(l)  For purposes of this section, the term “candidate” includes the candidate’s political committee.

(m)  The contribution limitations contained in this section shall be adjusted for inflation by increasing them based on the Consumer Price Index.  Increases shall be rounded up to the nearest $10.00.  Increases shall be effective for the first two‑year general election cycle beginning after the general election held in 2008.  On or before July 1, 2009, the secretary of state shall calculate and publish the amount of each limitation that will apply to the election cycle in which July 1, 2009 falls.  On July 1 of each subsequent odd‑numbered year, the secretary shall publish the amount of each limitation for the election cycle in which that publication falls.

(n)  Contributions accepted by candidates shall be treated as follows:

(1)  A candidate who accepts a contribution prior to the date of the primary election may designate the contribution, or portion of the contribution, as either a primary or general election contribution.  Once designated, a general election contribution accepted prior to the primary election shall be accounted for separately.

(2)  A contribution accepted by a candidate after the date of the primary election shall be a general election contribution.  A candidate may designate a contribution, or portion of the contribution, accepted after the date of the primary election as a primary election contribution only for the purpose of retiring debt incurred for the primary election.

(3)  Contributions that were accepted prior to the primary election may be used for the general election if all debt incurred for the primary election has been retired.

(4)  Expenditures related to a previous two-year general election cycle and contributions to retire a debt of a previous two-year general election cycle shall be attributed to the earlier two-year general election cycle.

(5)  Independent candidates and minor party candidates, who do not have primary elections, may accept contributions prior to the primary election date in the same manner and subject to the same limits as major party candidates.

(o)  A candidate accepts a contribution when the contribution is deposited in the candidate’s campaign account.

Sec. 5.  17 V.S.A. § 2805b is added to read:

§ 2805b.  LIMITATIONS ON CONTRIBUTIONS; POLITICAL

 COMMITTEES; POLITICAL PARTIES

(a)  In any two-year general election cycle:

(1)  A political committee, other than a political committee of a candidate, shall not accept contributions totaling more than $2,000.00 from a single source, political committee, or political party.

(2)  A political party shall not accept contributions totaling more than $2,000.00 from a single source or political committee.

(3)  A political party shall not accept contributions totaling more than $30,000.00 from another political party.

(b)  The contribution limitations contained in this section shall be adjusted for inflation by increasing them based on the Consumer Price Index.  Increases shall be rounded up to the nearest $10.00.  Increases shall be effective for the first two‑year general election cycle beginning after the general election held in 2008.  On or before July 1, 2009, the secretary of state shall calculate and publish the amount of each limitation that will apply to the election cycle in which July 1, 2009 falls.  On July 1 of each subsequent odd‑numbered year, the secretary shall publish the amount of each limitation for the election cycle in which that publication falls.

(c)  In any two-year general election cycle:

(1)  A single source, political committee, or political party shall not contribute more than $2,000.00 to a political committee, other than a political committee of a candidate. 

(2)  A single source or political committee shall not contribute more than $2,000.00 to a political party. 

(3)  A political party shall not contribute more than $30,000.00 to another political party. 

(d)  The limitations on contributions established by this section shall not apply to contributions made for the purpose of advocating a position on a public question, including a constitutional amendment.

Sec. 6.  17 V.S.A. § 2809 is amended to read:

§ 2809.  ACCOUNTABILITY FOR RELATED COORDINATED

EXPENDITURES

(a)  A related coordinated campaign expenditure made on a candidate’s behalf shall be considered a contribution to the candidate on whose behalf it was made.

(b)  A related coordinated campaign expenditure made on a candidate’s behalf shall be considered an expenditure by the candidate on whose behalf it was made.  However, if the expenditure did not exceed $50.00, the expenditure shall not be considered an expenditure by the candidate on whose behalf it was made.

(c)  For the purposes of this section, a “related coordinated campaign expenditure made on the candidate’s behalf” means any expenditure intended to promote the election of a specific candidate or group of candidates, or the defeat of an opposing candidate or group of candidates, if intentionally facilitated by, solicited by or approved by the candidate or the candidate’s political committee made by a single source, political committee, or political party in cooperation, consultation or concert with, or at the request or suggestion of, a candidate, a candidate’s political committee or an agent, unless otherwise exempt under subdivision 2801(3) or (4) or section 2801a of this title.

(d)  An expenditure made by a political party or by a political committee that recruits or endorses candidates, that primarily benefits six or fewer candidates who are associated with the political party or political committee making the expenditure, is presumed to be a related expenditure made on behalf of those candidates.  An expenditure made by a political party or by a political committee that recruits or endorses candidates, that substantially benefits more than six candidates and facilitates party or political committee functions, voter turnout, platform promotion or organizational capacity shall not be presumed to be a related expenditure made on a candidate’s behalf.  In addition, an expenditure shall not be considered a “related campaign expenditure made on the candidate’s behalf” if all of the following apply:

(1)  The expenditures were made in connection with a campaign event whose purpose was to provide a group of voters with the opportunity to meet the candidate personally.

(2)  The expenditures were made only for refreshments and related supplies that were consumed at that event.

(3)  The amount of the expenditures for the event was less than $100.00.

For the purposes of this section, a “coordinated campaign expenditure made on the candidate’s behalf” does not mean:

(1)  the cost of invitations and postage and of food and beverages voluntarily provided by an individual to provide an opportunity for a group of voters to meet a candidate, if the cumulative value of these activities by the individual on behalf of any candidate does not exceed $500.00 per election;

(2)  the sale of any food or beverage by a vendor at a charge less than the normal comparable charge, for use at a campaign event providing an opportunity for a group of voters to meet a candidate, if the charge to the candidate is at least equal to the cost of the food or beverages to the vendor and if the cumulative value of the food or beverages does not exceed $500.00 per election; or

(3)  amounts expended by an association or a membership organization in compiling and disseminating a nonpartisan voter guide that includes reports of votes on legislation by, or answers to written questions directed to, all or substantially all of the candidates seeking election to the general assembly or to statewide office, about the candidates’ positions on issues of concern to the association or organization, if both of the following apply:

(A)  the association or organization identifies itself as the sponsor of the communication, and accepts no funding from a candidate, political committee, or political party to defray the costs of the voter guide;

(B)  the voter guide does not contain a phrase such as “vote for,” “re‑elect,” “support,” “cast your ballot for,” “(name of candidate) for Senate,” “(name of candidate) in (year),” “vote against,” “defeat,” or “reject,” or other material that refers to a clearly identified candidate for office and that promotes or supports a candidate for that office, or attacks or opposes a candidate for that office.

* * *

Sec. 7.  17 V.S.A. § 2893(b) is amended to read:

(b)  In addition to any other reports required to be filed under this chapter, a person who makes expenditures for any one mass media activity totaling $500.00 or more within 30 days of a primary or general election shall, for each activity, file a mass media report with the secretary of state and send a copy copies, by a verifiable method of sending, of the mass media report and the complete mass media activity in the same format as distributed to the public to each candidate whose name or likeness is included in the activity within 24 hours of the expenditure or activity, whichever occurs first at the same time as the release of the information contained in the mass media activity to the public.  For the purposes of this section, a person shall be treated as having made an expenditure if the person has executed a contract to make the expenditure.  The report shall identify the person who made the expenditure with the name of the candidate involved in the activity and any other information relating to the expenditure that is required to be disclosed under the provisions of subsections 2803(a) and (b) of this title.

Sec. 8.  EVALUATION OF 2008 PRIMARY AND GENERAL ELECTIONS

The house and senate committees on government operations shall evaluate the 2008 primary and general elections to determine whether the major provisions of this act are accomplishing their intended purposes.

Sec. 9.  REPEAL

17 V.S.A. § 2805a (campaign expenditure limitations) is repealed.

Sec. 10.  EFFECTIVE DATE

This act shall take effect on July 17, 2007.

(Committee vote: 9-2-0)

Rep. Koch of Barre Town, Sunderland of Rutland Town and Flory of Pittsford, 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. 17 V.S.A. chapter 59A is added to read:

Chapter 59A. Campaign Finance

§ 2901. DEFINITIONS

As used in this chapter:

(1)  “Candidate” means an individual who has taken affirmative action to become a candidate for state, county, local, or legislative office in a primary, special, general, or local election.  An affirmative action shall include one or more of the following:

(A)  accepting contributions or making expenditures totaling $500.00 or more; or

(B)  filing the requisite petition for nomination under this title or being nominated by primary or caucus; or

(C)  announcing that he or she seeks an elected position as a state, county, or local officer or a position as representative or senator in the general assembly.

(2)  “Clearly identified,” with respect to a candidate, means that:

(A)  The name of the candidate appears;

(B)  A photograph or drawing of the candidate appears; or

(C)  The identity of the candidate is apparent by unambiguous reference.

(3)  “Contribution” means a payment, distribution, advance, deposit, loan, or gift of money or anything of value, paid or promised to be paid to a person for the purpose of influencing an election, advocating a position on a public question, or supporting or opposing one or more candidates in any election.  For purposes of this chapter, “contribution” shall not include any of the following:

(A)  a personal loan of money to a candidate from a lending institution made in the ordinary course of business;

(B)  services provided without compensation by individuals volunteering their time on behalf of a candidate, political committee, or political party;

(C)  unreimbursed travel expenses incurred within the state of Vermont and paid for by an individual who volunteers personal services to a candidate, if the cumulative amount of these expenses does not exceed $500.00 per election;

(D)  unreimbursed campaign‑related travel expenses incurred within the state of Vermont and paid for by the candidate or the candidate’s spouse or civil union partner;

(E)  the payment by a political party of the costs of preparation, display, or mailing or other distribution of a party candidate listing;

(F)  documents, in printed or electronic form, including party platforms, single copies of issue papers, information pertaining to the requirements of this title, lists of registered voters and voter identification information, created, obtained, or maintained by a political party for the general purpose of party building and provided to a candidate who is a member of that party or to another political party;

(G)  compensation paid by a political party to its employees whose job responsibilities are not for the specific and exclusive benefit of a single candidate in any election;

(H)  campaign training sessions provided to three or more candidates;

(I)  costs paid for by a political party in connection with a campaign event at which three or more candidates are present;

(J)  the use of offices, telephones, computers, and similar equipment when that use does not result in additional cost to the provider;

(K)  activity or communication designed to encourage individuals to register to vote or to vote if that activity or communication does not mention or depict a clearly identified candidate;

(L)  compensation paid by a political party to its employees or consultants for the purpose of providing assistance to another political party.

(4)  “Expenditure” means a payment, disbursement, distribution, advance, deposit, loan, or gift of money or anything of value, paid or promised to be paid, for the purpose of influencing an election, advocating a position on a public question, or supporting or opposing one or more candidates.  For the purposes of this chapter, “expenditure” shall not include any of the following:

(A)  a personal loan of money to a candidate from a lending institution made in the ordinary course of business;

(B)  services provided without compensation by individuals volunteering their time on behalf of a candidate, political committee, or political party;

(C)  unreimbursed travel expenses incurred within the state of Vermont and paid for by an individual who volunteers personal services to a candidate, if the cumulative amount of these expenses does not exceed $500.00 per election;

(D)  unreimbursed campaign‑related travel expenses incurred within the state of Vermont and paid for by the candidate or the candidate’s spouse or civil union partner.

(5)  “Party candidate listing” means any communication by a political party that:

(A)  lists the names of at least three candidates for election to public office;

(B)  is distributed through public advertising such as broadcast stations, cable television, newspapers and similar media, or through direct mail, telephone, electronic mail, publicly accessible sites on the internet or personal delivery;

(C)  treats all candidates in the communication in a substantially similar manner; and

(D)  is limited to:

(i)  the identification of each candidate, with which pictures may be used;

(ii)  the offices sought;

(iii)  the offices currently held by the candidates;

(iv)  the party affiliation of the candidates and a brief statement about the party or the candidates’ positions, philosophy, goals, accomplishments, or biographies;

(v)  encouragement to vote for the candidates identified; and

(vi)  information about voting, such as voting hours and locations.

(6)  “Political committee” or “political action committee” means any formal or informal committee of two or more individuals, or a corporation, labor organization, public interest group, or other entity, not including a political party, which receives contributions of more than $500.00 and makes expenditures of more than $500.00 in any one calendar year for the purpose of supporting or opposing one or more candidates, influencing an election, or advocating a position on a public question in any election or affecting the outcome of an election.

(7)  “Political party” means a political party organized under chapter 45 of this title and any committee established, financed, maintained, or controlled by the party, including any subsidiary, branch, or local unit thereof and shall be considered a single, unified political party.  The national affiliate of the political party shall be considered a separate political party.

(8)  “Single source” means an individual, partnership, corporation, association, labor organization, or any other organization or group of persons which is not a political committee or political party.

(9)  “Election” means the procedure whereby the voters of this state or any of its political subdivisions select a person to be a candidate for public office or fill a public office, or to act on public questions including voting on constitutional amendments.  Each primary, general, special, run‑off, or local election shall constitute a separate election.

(10)  “Public question” means an issue that is before the voters for a binding decision.

(11)  “Two‑year general election cycle” means the 24‑month period that begins 38 days after a general election.

(12)  “Full name” means an individual’s full first name, middle name or initial, if any, and full legal last name, making the identity of the person who made the contribution apparent by unambiguous reference.

§ 2902. CHECKING ACCOUNT; CANDIDATES, POLITICAL

COMMITTEES AND POLITICAL PARTIES

(a) Candidates who have made expenditures or received contributions of $500.00 or more and political committees shall be subject to the following requirements:

(1) All expenditures shall be paid by check from a single checking account in a single bank publicly designated by the candidate or political committee.

(2) Each candidate and each political committee shall name a treasurer, who may be the candidate or spouse, who is responsible for maintaining the checking account.

(b) Within ten days of reaching the $500.00 threshold, each political committee and each political party which has accepted contributions or made expenditures of $500.00 or more shall register with the secretary of state stating its full name and address, the name of its treasurer, and the name of the bank in which it maintains its campaign checking account.

§ 2903. MONETARY CONTRIBUTIONS

All monetary contributions in excess of $50.00 shall be made by check.

§ 2904. CONTRIBUTIONS AND EXPENDITURES TO BE REPORTED

(a) Each candidate for state or county office, each candidate for the general assembly, each political committee, and each political party required to register under section 2892 of this title shall report all expenditures made and contributions received as provided in this chapter.

(b) Each person required to report under this chapter shall file the information required under section 2895 with the secretary of state:

(1) within 72 hours of the time the contribution was received or the expenditure made; or

(2) if the contribution is received or the expenditure is made during the seven-day period immediately preceding the day of the election, within 24 hours of the time the contribution was received or the expenditure made.

(c) The secretary of state shall, without delay, post the information filed under this section on a website maintained by the secretary for this purpose.

(d) In addition, a political committee or political party which has accepted contributions or made expenditures of $500.00, or more, for the purpose of influencing a local election or supporting or opposing one or more candidates in a local election shall, in addition to other filings required by this chapter, file campaign finance reports ten days before and ten days after the local election with the clerk of the municipality in which the election is held and with the secretary of state.

§ 2905. FORM OF CAMPAIGN REPORT

(a) The secretary of state shall prescribe and provide a uniform reporting form for all campaign finance reports. The reporting form shall be designed to show the following information:

(1) if the contribution is in excess of $50.00, the full name, town of residence and mailing address of the contributor, the date of the contribution and the amount contributed;

(2) if the contribution is $50.00 or less, the total amount of the contribution and the total number of all such contributions;

(3) the amount, date, to whom paid and purpose of the expenditure;

(4) the amount contributed or loaned by the candidate to his or her own campaign; and

(5) the amount, date incurred, to whom owed and purpose of the debt or other obligation incurred.

(b) The form shall require the reporting of all contributions and expenditures accepted or spent during the last 72 hours or, during the week prior to the election, during the last 24 hours and during the campaign to date, and shall require full disclosure of the manner in which any indebtedness is discharged or forgiven. Contributions and expenditures for the reporting period and for the campaign to date also shall be totaled in an appropriate place on the form.

(c) The secretary of state shall make the reporting form available for downloading from the secretary’s website, and shall provide for electronic filing of the information required to be reported as an alternative to traditional hard-copy methods.

§ 2906. FINAL CAMPAIGN FINANCE REPORTS; CANDIDATES FOR

STATE OFFICE, THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY, COUNTY

OFFICE, POLITICAL COMMITTEES AND POLITICAL PARTIES

(a) At any time, but not later than 40 days following the general election, a candidate for state office and each candidate for county office or for the general assembly who has made expenditures or received contributions of $500.00 or more shall file with the secretary of state a "final report," which shall constitute the termination of his or her campaign activities. The report shall list a complete accounting of all contributions and expenditures, and disposition of any surplus.

(b) A political committee or political party shall file a campaign finance report not later than 40 days following the general election. At any time, a political committee or a political party may file a "final report," which shall constitute the termination of its campaign activities. The report shall list a complete accounting of all contributions and expenditures.

(c) Each candidate for county office or for the general assembly required to file a final campaign finance report under this section shall also file the report with the officer with whom his or her nomination papers were filed.

§ 2907. SURPLUS CAMPAIGN FUNDS

(a) No member of a political committee which has surplus funds after all campaign debts have been paid shall convert the surplus to personal use.

(b) No candidate who has surplus funds after all campaign debts have been paid shall convert the surplus to personal use, other than to reduce personal campaign debts.

(c) The "final report" of a candidate shall indicate the amount of the surplus and how it has been or is to be liquidated.

§ 2908. NEW CAMPAIGN ACCOUNTS

Candidates who choose to open a new campaign account for public office may close out their former campaign by filing a final report with the secretary of state, converting all debts and assets to the new campaign. This final report shall disclose all contributions and expenditures and the disposition of all debts and assets attributable to the former campaign as of the date of the filing of the final report.

§ 2909. CAMPAIGN REPORTS; LOCAL CANDIDATES

Each candidate for local office who has made expenditures or accepted contributions of $500.00 or more shall file campaign finance reports ten days before and ten days after the local election. The reports shall be filed with the officer with whom the candidate’s nomination papers are filed.

§ 2910. PENALTIES

(a) A person who violates a provision of this chapter shall be fined not more than $2,500.00 or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.

(b) A person who knowingly and intentionally violates a provision of this chapter shall be fined not more than $10,000.00 or imprisoned not more than two years and one day, or both.

(c) A person who violates any provision of this chapter shall be subject to a civil penalty of up to $10,000.00 for each violation, with interest calculated as of the date of the violation.

(d) In addition to the other penalties herein provided, a state’s attorney or the attorney general may institute any appropriate action, injunction, or other proceeding to prevent, restrain, correct or abate any violation of this chapter.

Sec. 2. TRANSFER OF FUNDS IN THE VERMONT CAMPAIGN FUND

On the effective date of this act, all assets in the Vermont campaign fund shall be transferred to a special account and held for a period of one year to meet outstanding claims on the fund, if any. After the one-year period has expired, all remaining assets of the Vermont campaign fund shall revert to the general fund.

Sec. 3. 32 V.S.A. § 586 is amended to read:

§ 586.  APPLICATION

The provisions of this subchapter shall not apply to funds established to account for proceeds from the sale of bonds, to the general fund, the transportation fund, the fish and wildlife fund, the tobacco litigation settlement fund, or to any federal revenue funds, trust funds, enterprise funds, internal service funds, or agency funds, or to public service enterprise funds established to implement provisions of sections 211 and 212a through 212f of Title 30; the budget stabilization reserves created by sections 308 and 308a of this title; the low-level radioactive waste fund created by section 7013 of Title 10; the Vermont campaign fund created by section 2856 of Title 17; the lands and facilities trust fund created by section 2807 of Title 3; the education fund created by section 4025 of Title 16; or the Vermont housing and conservation trust fund created by section 312 of Title 10. 

Sec. 4. REPEAL

Chapter 59 of Title 17, §§ 2801 through 2893, relating to campaign financing and 32 V.S.A. § 5862c (Vermont campaign fund add-on) are repealed.

S. 167

An act relating to voter registration.

Rep. Jerman of Essex, for the Committee on Government Operations, 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.  17 V.S.A. § 2144 is amended to read:

§ 2144.  DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS

(a)   The town clerk shall not accept applications for persons’ names to be placed on the checklist after 12:00 noon 5:00 p.m. on the second Monday Wednesday preceding the day of the election.  The town clerk’s office shall be kept open on the second Monday Wednesday preceding the day of the election from no later than 10:00 a.m. until 12:00 noon 3:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m., for the purpose of receiving applications for addition to the checklist.  For purposes of this subsection, a mail application or an application submitted to the department of motor vehicles in connection with a motor vehicle driver’s license or an application accepted by a voter registration agency shall be considered to have met the filing deadline established by this subsection if the application is postmarked, submitted or accepted by 12:00 noon 5:00 p.m. of the second Monday Wednesday preceding the day of the election.

(b)  If a person is not eligible to register prior to the second Monday before the day of election voter registration deadline, but expects to be eligible on or before election day, he or she may file with the town clerk a written notice of intention to apply for addition of his or her name to the checklist.  The notice shall be filed prior to noon of the second Monday preceding the day of election the voter registration deadline, and the town clerk shall then accept the person's application at any time before the close of the polls on election day, and act upon the application forthwith.

(c)  If a person is not eligible to register prior to the second Monday before the day of the election voter registration deadline, and has submitted a written notice of intent to apply in accord with subsection (b) of this section, the clerk shall, upon application, allow the applicant to vote absentee. If the application is approved and the name added to the checklist prior to the close of the polls on election day, the early or absentee ballots cast by that voter shall be treated as other valid early or absentee ballots.

* * *

Sec. 2.  17 V.S.A. § 2351 is amended to read:

§ 2351.  PRIMARY ELECTION

A primary election shall be held on the second third Tuesday of September August in each even numbered even-numbered year for the nomination of candidates of major political parties for all offices to be voted for at the succeeding general election, except candidates for president and vice-president of the United States, their electors, and justices of the peace.

Sec. 3.  17 V.S.A. § 2353(a) is amended to read:

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

STATE OF VERMONT  

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

       ss.

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

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

Sec. 4.  17 V.S.A. § 2369 is amended to read:

§ 2369.  DETERMINING WINNER; TIE VOTES

Persons who receive a plurality of all the votes cast by a party in a primary shall be candidates of that party for the office designated on the ballot.  If two or more candidates of the same party are tied for the same office, the choice among those tied shall be determined:

(1)  Upon five days' notice, by the state committee of a party, for a state or congressional office;

(2)  By run-off election for a county office, for a state senator, or for a representative to the general assembly.  The run-off election shall be held on the fourth second Tuesday of September and shall be conducted in the same manner as the primary election.

Sec. 5.  17 V.S.A. § 2413(a) is amended to read:

(a)  The party members in each town, on or before the first third Tuesday of September August in each even numbered even-numbered year, upon the call of the town committee, may meet in caucus and nominate candidates for justice of the peace.  The committee shall give notice of the caucus as provided in subsection (d) of this section and the chairman and secretary shall file the statements required in sections 2385 through 2387 of this title.

Sec. 6.  17 V.S.A. § 2532 is amended to read:

§ 2532.  APPLICATIONS; FORM

* * *

(b)  A person temporarily residing in a foreign country who is eligible to register to vote in this state, or a military service absentee voter who is eligible to register to vote in this state, may apply for early voter absentee ballots in the same manner and within the same time limits that apply for other early or absentee voters.  An official federal postcard application shall suffice as a simultaneous request for an application for addition to the checklist and for an early voter absentee ballot, when properly submitted. Any other person also may make a simultaneous request for an application for addition to the checklist and for an early voter absentee ballot.  The provisions of this section shall apply to anyone who is not eligible to register prior to the second Monday before the day of election, but expects to be eligible on or before election day.

(c)  If the request is received by the town clerk not later than noon on the second Monday before the election prior to the voter registration deadline set forth in subsection 2144(a) of this title, the town clerk shall mail a blank application for addition to the checklist, together with a full set of early voter absentee ballots, to the person who has applied for early voter absentee ballots. All such applications for addition to the checklist which are returned to the town clerk before the close of the polls on election day shall be considered and acted upon by the board of civil authority before the ballots are counted. If the application is approved and the name added to the checklist, the early voter absentee ballots cast by that voter shall be treated as other valid early voter absentee ballots.

* * *

(Committee vote: 10-1-0)

(No Senate Amendments)

Favorable

S. 27

An act relating to increasing the minimum tip wage.

Rep. Head of South Burlington, for the Committee on General, Housing and Military Affairs, recommends that the bill ought to pass in concurrence.

(Committee Vote: 8-0-0)

(For text see Senate Journal March 20, 2007 P. 259; March 21 P. 269 )

Reports Committees of Conference

H. 360

TO THE SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:

The Committee of Conference, to which were referred the disagreeing votes of the two Houses upon House Bill, entitled:

H.360.  AN ACT RELATING TO EMPLOYMENT PROTECTION AND TRAINING PERIOD FOR VERMONT NATIONAL GUARD MEMBERS.

Respectfully report that they have met and considered the same and recommend that the House accede to the Senate proposal of amendment and that the bill be amended further in Sec. 1, 21 V.S.A. § 491(a), in the third sentence, by striking “full-time” and inserting in lieu thereof “permanent

Jeanette White

George Coppenrath

William Doyle

Committee on the part of the Senate

Helen Head

Richard Howrigan

Leo Valliere

Committee on the part of the House

S.13

TO THE SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:

The Committee of Conference, to which were referred the disagreeing votes of the two Houses upon Senate Bill, entitled:

S.13.  AN ACT RELATING TO THE IDLING OF MOTOR VEHICLE ENGINES ON SCHOOL PROPERTY .

Respectfully report that they have met and considered the same and recommend that the House recede from its proposals of amendment and that the bill as approved by the Senate 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 state board of education rules, which may provide for limited idling, 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 board, 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.  The rules shall set forth periods or circumstances that reasonably require the idling of the engine, including periods when it is necessary to operate defrosting, heating, or cooling equipment to ensure the health or safety of the driver or passengers or to operate auxiliary equipment; and periods when the engine is undergoing maintenance or inspection.

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.  By January 1, 2008, the department of education shall develop a model policy relating to idling of vehicles other than school buses to be distributed to schools for their use.

Sec. 3.  EFFECTIVE DATE

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

Carol R. Hosford

Peter Peltz

Jim McCullough

Committee on the part of the House

Robert A. Starr

William t. Doyle

Harold Giard

Committee on the part of the Senate

For Action Under Rule 52

J. R. H. 32

     Joint resolution honoring public works employees and designating May 20-26 as public works week in Vermont.

J. R. H. 33

     Joint resolution congratulating the centennial anniversary of the Chandler Center for the Arts and designating August 20, 2007 as Chandler Center for the Arts Day.

 

J. R. S. 35

Joint resolution urging Congress to adopt the Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act of 2007.

(For text see House Journal Friday, May 4, 2007)

 

NOTICE CALENDAR

Favorable with Amendment

S. 67

An act relating to closure of the Bennington State Office building.

Rep. Koch of Barre Town, for the Committee on Institutions, 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.  LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS AND STATEMENT OF PURPOSE

(a)  The general assembly finds the following:

(1)  The state of Vermont has owned and operated the Bennington state office building (BSOB) located at 200 Veteran’s Memorial Drive since 1977.

(2)  In 1990, the state of Vermont completed a significant addition to the BSOB increasing the total square footage to 63,500 square feet.  At the end of 2006, approximately 135 people were employed at the BSOB.

(3)  Results of a health survey conducted by the Vermont department of health in 2006 found that the occupants of the BSOB reported higher than expected rates of sarcoidosis.

(4)  Sarcoidosis is a disease of unknown causes characterized by inflammation in one or more organs and may cause slight‑to‑major pain and disability.

(5)  To date, six current or former state employees who worked in the BSOB report that they have been diagnosed with sarcoidosis.  According to the Foundation for Sarcoidosis Research, nationally, sarcoidosis occurs at a rate of one in 10,000 people. 

(b)  Although the cause of sarcoidosis is not yet known and the relationship of sarcoidosis to the environment of the Bennington state office building cannot be determined, the general assembly is concerned about the welfare of any current and former state employees and intends to ensure that eligible affected state employees receive reasonable compensation for their suffering.  

Sec. 2.  SARCOIDOSIS BENEFIT TRUST FUND; CREATION; PURPOSE

(a)  The sarcoidosis benefit trust fund is hereby created to be managed in accordance with subchapter 5 of chapter 7 of Title 32 and administered by the department of buildings and general services.  The fund shall be composed of donations, contributions, or appropriations made to the fund.

(b)  The fund shall be used to provide compensation to any eligible current or former state employee who has been diagnosed with sarcoidosis after working in the Bennington state office building.  To be eligible for benefits under this section, a state employee shall meet both of the following conditions:

(1)  The diagnosis of sarcoidosis occurred after at least five months of continuous employment in the Bennington state office building located at 200 Veterans Memorial Drive.

(2)  The state employee has waived the right to any civil action against the state for damages relating to sarcoidosis and to workers’ compensation benefits relating to sarcoidosis pursuant to chapter 9 of Title 21.  The waiver shall be on a form approved by the commissioner of labor.

(c)  Unless the state has provided conclusive evidence that the sarcoidosis was caused by circumstances unrelated to the state employee’s exposure in the Bennington state office building, a state employee who meets the conditions set forth in subsection (b) of this section is entitled to all of the following benefits:

(1)  Reimbursement for medical expenses incurred for treatment of sarcoidosis prior to the effective date of this act not covered by other medical insurance.  Treatment of sarcoidosis after the effective date of this act shall be paid by the fund in accordance with the fee schedule established by the department of labor.

(2)  Reasonable and necessary travel and other expenses related to treatment of the sarcoidosis pursuant to rules adopted by the department of labor.

(3)  Temporary disability payments for wages lost from the time the eligible employee was unable to work as the result of sarcoidosis until the employee reaches a medical end result or returns to full‑time employment.  Payment under this subdivision shall be limited to the difference between any federal or state provided disability benefits received by the eligible state employee or to which the eligible state employee is entitled and two‑thirds of the employee’s average weekly wage computed for the 12 weeks prior to becoming disabled from work due to sarcoidosis.  The average weekly wage shall be computed in accordance with rules adopted by the department of labor and chapter 9 of Title 21.

(4)  Wage replacement benefits when an eligible state employee returns to work less than full time.  Payment under this subdivision shall be the difference between the gross wages earned and the employee’s average weekly wage computed pursuant to subdivision (2) of this section less any federal‑ or state‑provided disabilities benefits paid. 

(5)  Permanent disability payments for any permanent impairment of function resulting from sarcoidosis.  Impairment shall be evaluated in accordance with the most recent edition of the AMA Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment. 

(6)  Where appropriate, an eligible state employee shall be referred to the vocational rehabilitation division of the department of disabilities, aging, and independent living for evaluation of eligibility for vocational rehabilitation benefits under existing programs.

(d)  Eligible state employees shall provide documentation for reimbursement for out‑of‑pocket medical treatment and lost wages incurred prior to the effective date of this act no later than one year after the effective date of the act or within two years after the claim is reasonably discoverable and apparent.

(e)  Claims for compensation under the provisions of this section shall not be assignable and shall be exempt from all claims of creditors or third party payers.

(f)  The department of labor shall:

(1)  Adopt rules regarding determination of claims, dispute resolution procedures, and any other issue relating to effecting the purpose of the fund.

(2)  Create standard forms to assure efficient administration of the fund.

(3)   Resolve any disputes that arise between a state employee and the fund including eligibility for payment from the fund, causation, or the type or amount of benefit owed.

(g)  The department of buildings and general services shall continue to pay voluntary payments at least for out‑of‑pocket medical expenses for treatment of the sarcoidosis until rules have been adopted by the department of labor, and shall be credited for all voluntary payments made.

Sec. 3.  BENNINGTON STATE OFFICE BUILDING; CLOSURE

No state employee shall be permitted to work in the Bennington state office building located at 200 Veterans Memorial Drive until the department of health has determined that the air quality and health conditions of the building are safe and free from levels of airborne pathogens, particulates, mold, and other environmental contaminants that are likely to cause injury or disease to humans.  This prohibition shall not apply to employees who are properly equipped to work in the building to perform rehabilitation and reconstruction work necessary to make the building habitable as an office. 

Sec. 4.  BENNINGTON STATE OFFICE LOCATION TASK FORCE

(a)  The Bennington state office location task force is created to act as the representative of the “legislative body of the municipality” as that term is used in 24 V.S.A. § 2794(a)(12).  The task force is created specifically to evaluate the best alternatives for permanent relocation of the state employees in the event that the department of health determines that the Bennington state office building cannot be reoccupied and used as an office building.  If relocation is necessary, the task force shall consider multiple locations within the downtown area that are within easy walking distance of each other in the designated downtown district of Bennington.  The task force shall carry out the purposes of this section consistent with chapter 76a of Title 24.  

(b)  The task force shall be composed of nine members to include the following:

(1)  The chair of the Bennington selectboard, who shall be chair of the task force.

(2)  The Bennington town manager, or designee.

(3)  The director of planning and development for Bennington, or designee.

(4)  A member of the Bennington planning commission.

(5)  The executive director of the Better Bennington Corporation, or designee.

(6)  The executive director of the Bennington Area Chamber of Commerce, or designee.

(7)  The director of the Vermont state employees’ association, or designee.

(8)  A member of the house of representatives representing Bennington appointed by the speaker of the house.

(9)  A member of the senate from Bennington district appointed by the committee on committees.

(c)  The task force shall consult with the department of state’s attorneys and sheriffs prior to developing findings and recommendations.

(d)  The task force shall hold its first meeting within 30 days after the diagnostic report on the building is issued, and shall meet as needed thereafter.  No later than January 15, 2008, the task force shall issue a written report of its findings and recommendations for office space for state employees in the designated downtown of Bennington to the Bennington selectboard, the commissioner of buildings and general services, the senate committee on institutions and appropriations and the house committees on institutions and appropriations. 

Sec. 5.  APPROPRIATION; TRANSFER AUTHORITY

(a)  There is appropriated from the state insurance reserve fund to the sarcoidosis benefit trust fund in fiscal year 2008 the amount of $150,000.00.

(b)  Notwithstanding 32 V.S.A. § 135, the secretary of administration is authorized to transfer moneys from the state insurance reserve fund to the sarcoidosis benefit trust fund as needed to pay projected claims determined to be eligible pursuant to Sec. 2 of this act.

Sec. 6.  EFFECTIVE DATE

This act shall take effect on July 1, 2007, except that the department of labor shall begin the rule‑making process upon passage of this act.

(Committee vote: 10-0-1)

(For text see Senate Journal March 28, 2007- P. 325-326 )

S. 148

An act relating to the requirements for an application to be a designated new town center.

Rep. Lavoie of Swanton, for the Committee on Natural Resources and Energy, recommends that the House propose to the Senate that the bill be amended by striking Sec.2 in its entirety.

(Committee vote: 10-0-1)

(For text see Senate Journal March 22, 2007 – P.288 )

S. 177

An act relating to child poverty in Vermont.

Rep. Pugh of Burlington, for the Committee on Human Services, recommends that the House propose to the Senate that the bill be amended as follows:

First:  In Sec. 1, by striking subdivision (b)(1) in its entirety and by inserting in lieu thereof the following:

(b)(1)  The council shall consist of the following members or their designees:

(A) the president pro tempore of the senate;

(B)  the speaker of the house of representatives;

(C)  the chair of the senate committee on health and welfare;

(D)  the chair of the house committee on human services;

(E)  the chair of the senate committee on education;

(F)  the chair of the house committee on education;

(G)  the commissioners for children and families; health; education; and labor; and

(H)  one representative each from Voices for Vermont’s Children, the Vermont low income advocacy council, Vermont Legal Aid, and the Vermont superintendents’ association. 

Second:  In Sec. 1, by striking subdivision (b)(3) in its entirety and by inserting in lieu thereof the following:

(3)  The council shall meet up to six times while the general assembly is not in session to perform its functions under this section.  In addition, during the 2007 legislative interim, the council shall hold 14 public hearings as required under subsection (d) of this section.

Third:  In Sec. 1, by striking subsection (d) in its entirety and by inserting in lieu thereof the following:

(d)  In developing the working plan, the council shall first consult with experts, with parents of children living in poverty, and with providers of services to children and families living in poverty.  The council shall hold one public hearing in each of the 14 counties.

Fourth:  In Sec. 1, by striking subsection (f) in its entirety and by inserting in lieu thereof the following:

(f)  Not later than January 1, 2008, the council shall submit the working plan to the house committees on appropriations and human services and the senate committees on appropriations and health and welfare.  On January 1, 2009, and annually thereafter, until January 1, 2018, the council shall report to these committees on yearly progress toward benchmarks, updates to the plan, and recommendations for budgetary and policy changes in order to accomplish the goals of this act.

(Committee vote: 8-3-0)

Rep. Miller of Shaftsbury, for the Committee on Appropriations, recommends the bill ought to pass in concurrence when amended as recommended by the Committee on Human Services.

(Committee vote: 9-0-2)

(For text see Senate Journal April 4, 2007 P. 372; April 5 – P. 405 )

S. 190

An act relating to establishing.

Rep. Cheney of Norwich, for the Committee on Natural Resources and Energy, recommends that the House propose to the Senate that the bill be amended as follows:

First:  In Sec. 1, subdivision (a)(1), after the word “designee” by adding the following: “, who shall convene the committee

Second:  In Sec. 1, subdivision (a)(8), before the word “who” by inserting the following:  “preferably

Third:  In Sec. 1, subdivision (a)(9), before the word “who” by inserting the following:  “preferably

Fourth:  In Sec. 1, subdivision (a)(12), by striking the word “and

Fifth:  In Sec. 1, subdivision (a)(13), before the period, by adding the following:  “;

(14)  a representative of the banking industry; and

(15)  a representative of the motor fuels industry, as recommended by the Vermont petroleum association

(Committee vote: 9-0-2)

(For text see Senate Journal March 28, 2007 – P. 327; April 4 – P. 370)

S. 192

An act relating to relating to HIV name-based reporting.

Rep. Mrowicki of Putney, for the Committee on Human Services, recommends that the House propose to the Senate that the bill be amended as follows:

     First:  By adding a new Sec. 1, to read:

The sole purpose of this act is to enable Vermont to continue to be eligible for federal funding which has been made contingent upon name-based HIV case reporting.

     and by renumbering the remaining sections to be numerically correct

     Second: In the newly numbered Sec. 2, 18 V.S.A. § 1001(a), by striking the last sentence, which begins with “The health department shall . . .”, and inserting in lieu thereof:

“The health department shall, by rule, require that any person required to report under this section has in place a procedure that ensures confidentiality.  In addition, in relation to the reporting of HIV and AIDS, the health department shall, by rule:

(1)  develop procedures, in collaboration with individuals living with HIV or AIDS and with representatives of the Vermont AIDS service organizations, to ensure confidentiality of all information collected pursuant to this section; and

(2) develop procedures for backing up encrypted, individually identifying information, including procedures for storage, location, and transfer of data.

     ThirdIn the newly numbered Sec. 2, 18 V.S.A. § 1001(d)(3), before the period, by adding “, and epidemiological follow-up

     Fourth:  By adding a new Sec. 4 to read:

Sec. 4.  NOTIFICATION TO INDIVIDUALS FOR CASES PREVIOUSLY REPORTED

     The department shall collaborate with individuals living with HIV or AIDS, representatives of the Vermont AIDS service organizations, and health care providers, to notify individuals for whom HIV-positive test results were reported by unique identifier that a new report will be made to the health department using the individual’s name.

     Fifth:  By adding a new Sec. 5 to read as follows:

Sec. 5.  CONTINGENT REPEAL

     This act shall be effective only so long as state receipt of federal funds is contingent upon names-based HIV case reporting, and shall expire upon the elimination of the federal requirement for names-based HIV case reporting, such as that contained in 42 U.S.C. § 300ff-28.  Upon such an occurrence, reporting of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) cases pursuant to 18 V.S.A. § 1001 shall be by a unique identifier only. 

     Sixth:  By adding a new Sec. 6 to read as follows:

Sec.6. EFFECTIVE DATE

     Sections 4 and 5 shall be effective immediately.  All other sections shall be effective on April 1, 2008, except that the department may immediately begin rulemaking pursuant to 18 V.S.A. § 1001 

(Committee vote: 8-3-0)

(No Senate Amendments)

J. R. H. 27

Joint resolution requesting Congress to maximize to the greatest extent possible the federal funding for state transportation construction projects and grant the states the maximum degree of flexibility in prioritization of projects to be financed.

Rep. Potter of Clarendon, for the Committee on Transportation, recommends that the resolution be amended by striking the first resolved clause in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof  the following:

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

That the General Assembly requests Congress to maximize, to the greatest extent possible, the amount of funding that it appropriates for transportation  construction projects within the states and grant the states the maximum flexibility in their expenditure of federal transportation funds with respect to the building and construction of individual state projects, and be it further

(Committee vote: 8-0-3)

Senate Proposal of Amendment

H. 522

     An act relating to the viability of Vermont agriculture.

     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.  GOALS

The goals of this act are for Vermont to:

(1)  Support programs and policies that foster the development of a diversified agricultural sector that:

(A)  offers farmers an opportunity to sell their products to a marketplace that pays them a reasonable rate of return for their labor and capital investments;

(B)  offers the public nutritious and safe foods;

(C)  produces, markets, and distributes agricultural products in a sustainable manner that conserves energy and the environment;

(D)  fosters on-farm renewable energy production and its infrastructure that maximizes energy conservation and efficiency and limits greenhouse gases;

(E)  provides economic stability to preserve the necessary infrastructure of the agricultural industry;

(F)  expands the market opportunities for farm-raised poultry and other meat products.

(2)  Maintain the state’s prominence as a major milk producer in the region, and;

(A)  assure a continued supply of high quality milk to processors and consumers in the region;

(B)  enable Vermont dairy farmers, processors, and retailers and their supporting infrastructure to achieve a positive return on their labor and investment;

(3)  Enable agricultural operations of diverse sizes producing a wide array of products to prosper in Vermont and contribute to the state and regional economy.

(4)  Support initiatives such as the development of a mobile slaughtering unit to serve Vermont poultry farmers.

(5)  Assure continued stewardship of the land with respect for the environment and efficient use of energy.

Sec. 2.  LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS

The general assembly finds:

(1)  A viable agricultural sector in Vermont represents part of a secure regional food supply, which in turn lends itself to energy and economic efficiencies.

(2)  The general public is increasingly interested in locally produced food.

(3)  The benefits of local food systems to local communities include open land, jobs, nutritious and safe foods, and youth education opportunities.

(4)  Farms are an integral part of Vermont’s overall economy.

(5)  Vermont agriculture is dependent upon a reliable and affordable supply of electrical energy, fuel, feed, and other supplies.

(6)  Vermont agriculture is dependent upon the availability of a competent work force; the shortage of willing and knowledgeable workers is detrimental to farm operations.

(7)  Current workers’ compensation insurance rates account for a significant portion of farmers’ payroll expenses.

(8)  Succession, or the transfer of farms from one generation to the next, is a critical part of a viable future for Vermont agriculture.

(9)  Vermont is the leading producer of fluid milk in New England, but only about five percent of its production is consumed in Vermont.

(10)  The current federal milk pricing system does not allow a reasonable return on labor and investment for most Vermont dairy farmers.

(11)  Regional marketing arrangements such as the Northeast Interstate Compact for Dairy Pricing have provided a positive operating margin without taxpayer subsidies or support.

(12)  The general assembly finds that dairy processing facilities in Vermont are crucial to both Vermont dairy farmers and the promotion of the Vermont name.

(13)  The “Vermont” name evokes a positive image for people and contributes to the marketing of Vermont products.

(14)  Value-added products offer profit potential and economic opportunity for Vermont producers and nonfarmer entrepreneurs alike.

(15)  Emerging agricultural sectors such as grape and wine growers and producers and artesan cheese makers have tremendous potential in Vermont and offer exciting value-added and agri-tourism opportunities to communities throughout the state.

(16)  Many factors affect the ability of businesses to process value-added food products, including shortage of capital, lack of design and engineering expertise, and issues relating to multi-layered state and federal regulation such as permitting, zoning, and inspection.

(17)  Institutional purchasers in Vermont have difficulty sourcing locally raised good quality products, including proteins such as meats and poultry.

(18)  There is a shortage of slaughter and meat processors as well as a lack of training opportunities for industry personnel.

(19)  Federal restrictions prevent interstate shipment of state-inspected meat from amenable species, although Vermont standards are equal to or exceed federal standards.

(20)  Relationship-based food systems such as farm-to-school programs, community supported agriculture (CSA) programs, farmers’ markets, and pick-your-own operations are increasingly popular and offer areas of opportunity for new farmers.

Sec. 3.  LEGISLATIVE INTENT

The general assembly intends:

(1)  To support and develop a more robust and self-sustaining agricultural sector that also promotes emerging agricultural industries.

(2)  That the policies and programs of the state will support and promote the Vermont agriculture industry as a vital component of the state’s economy and essential steward of our land.

(3)  That current policies and programs pertaining to the viability of Vermont’s agricultural industry be reviewed and confirmed or changed in order to assure the long-term economic prosperity of the industry.

(4)  That Vermont will cooperate and coordinate with other northeastern states to assure stable and fair prices for milk sold in the northeastern market.

(5)  That Vermont will promote processing and consumption of agricultural products bearing the Vermont seal of quality.

* * * Local Food Procurement * * *

Sec. 4.  FOOD AND DAIRY PROCUREMENT

(a)  The agency of agriculture, food and markets in cooperation with the agency of administration and the department of buildings and general services shall establish a system whereby the state will follow its own “buy local” campaign by purchasing local food and dairy products.  In so doing, the agency shall determine:

(1)  The amount of food and dairy products purchased annually by the state and state-funded entities, other than primary and secondary schools, and the associated costs.

(2)  The number and type of government and state-funded entities that purchase food and dairy products and the quantities and varieties purchased by each.

(3)  The person or persons with authority to make food and dairy purchasing decisions within each entity and the scope of that authority.

(4)  The implications of a program that directs “local” purchasing.

(b)  The agency of agriculture, food and markets, the agency of administration, and the department of buildings and general services shall:

(1)  Establish a system for local producers and processors to market their products to state purchasing entities.

(2)  Establish a system for state purchasing entities to advertise to and connect with local producers and processors.

(3)  Establish a program in the agency of agriculture, food and markets to provide strategic and technical assistance to local producers and processors for creating or enlarging the facilities necessary to produce or process food for sale to the state or other expanded markets.

(4)  Establish a system for the purchase of local food and dairy products at all levels of state government, other than primary and secondary schools, and at state-funded entities, other than primary and secondary schools.

(5)  Draft rules, policies and procedures for this section and report their findings with respect to feasibility, cost and progress to the joint agriculture committees on or before November 1, 2007.

(c)  All rules, policies, and procedures necessary to implement this section shall be adopted on or before October 1, 2008.

(d)  In carrying out the provisions of this section, the agency of agriculture, food and markets, the agency of administration, and the department of buildings and general services shall seek input from and work with citizen and farmer organizations such as the Northeast Organic Farming Association, Vermont F.E.E.D., and the Vermont Fresh Network.

* * * Dairy Processing * * *

Sec. 5.  INSTATE PROCESSING FACILITIES

(a)  Legislative finding.  The general assembly finds that dairy processing facilities in Vermont are an integral part of the infrastructure of both Vermont agriculture and the entire Vermont economy.  These facilities provide jobs and create income that is spent multiple times in Vermont.

(b)  The secretary of agriculture, food and markets shall:

(1)  Determine ways to attract and retain dairy processors to the state;

(2)  Determine ways to increase the numbers of producers processing their own milk;

(3)  Calculate the additional costs and benefits to dairy producers that may result from these additional processors;

(4)  Develop proposals for developing additional instate processing facilities.  These proposals and any recommendations for legislative action shall be presented to the house and senate committees on agriculture on or before November 1, 2007.

Sec. 6.  DAIRY PRICING INITIATIVE

The secretary of the agency of agriculture, food and markets shall endeavor to reestablish the Northeast Interstate Compact for Dairy Pricing or establish an alternative regional pricing system that assures Vermont dairy farmers of a fair, stable, and equitable price for their milk.  The secretary shall collaborate with Vermont’s Congressional delegation, the governor’s dairy task force, the coordinated milk pricing group, the region’s dairy cooperatives, and the Congressional delegations and state legislatures of the other states in the region to take such steps as necessary to assure the continued viability of dairy farming in the northeast and to assure consumers of an adequate, local supply of pure and wholesome milk.

* * * On-farm Poultry Processing and Labeling for Sale * * *

Sec. 7.  DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND AGENCY OF AGRICULTURE, FOOD AND MARKETS REGULATIONS

The department of health shall not require inspection of poultry that is exempt from inspection under 6 V.S.A. § 3312(b).

Sec. 8.  6 V.S.A § 3312 is amended to read:

§ 3312.  INSPECTION; EXCEPTION EXCEPTIONS

(a)  Inspection shall not be provided under this chapter at any establishment for the slaughter of livestock or poultry or the preparation of any livestock products or poultry products which are not intended for use as human food, but these products shall, prior to their offer for sale or transportation in intrastate commerce, unless naturally inedible by humans, be denatured or otherwise identified as prescribed by rules of the secretary to deter their use for human food.  These licensed establishments shall be subject to periodic review.

(b)  Inspection shall not be required for the slaughter or preparation of poultry products of the producer’s own raising on the producer’s own farm, whether or not they are intended for use as human food if:

(1)  Fewer than 1,000 birds are slaughtered annually; and

(2)  No birds are offered for sale or transportation in interstate commerce; and

(3)  The poultry products are only sold, as whole birds only, from the farm, at a farmers’ market, or to a food restaurant licensed by the commissioner of health, or are for personal use.

(c)  All poultry sold at a farmers’ market or to a restaurant pursuant to the exemption in subsection (b) of this section shall be labeled with the following information:

(1)  Name of farm and name of producer;

(2)  Address of farm including zip code;

(3)  “Exempt per 6 V.S.A. § 3312(b):  NOT INSPECTED.”  This statement shall be prominently displayed with such conspicuousness (as compared with other words or statements, designs, or devices in the labeling) as to render it likely to be read and understood under customary conditions of purchase and use.

(4)  Safe handling and cooking instructions as follows:

“SAFE HANDLING INSTRUCTIONS:

Keep refrigerated or frozen.  Thaw in refrigerator or microwave.

Keep raw poultry separate from other foods.

Wash working surfaces, including cutting boards, utensils, and hands after touching raw poultry.

Cook thoroughly to an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit maintained for at least 15 seconds.

Keep hot foods hot.  Refrigerate leftovers immediately or discard.”

(d)  Any menu item that includes poultry that is exempt under this section shall clearly state the name of the farm from which the poultry was purchased and shall prominently display the words “poultry processed on the farm and not inspected” on the menu in proximity to the menu item.  Poultry sold to food restaurants under the exemption in this section shall include a label alerting the purchaser to these labeling requirements.

(e)  The poultry producer, upon first selling poultry to a food restaurant, must procure a signed statement from the food restaurant stating that the food restaurant is aware that the poultry is exempted from inspection under subsection (b) of this section, and that the menu of the food restaurant must have the information required by subsection (d) of this section.  The poultry producer must keep the signed statement on file as long as the producer is selling poultry to the food restaurant under this section.  The poultry producer must have a signed statement on file from each food restaurant to which poultry is sold under this section and an exact copy of each statement, including the name of the producer and the name of the purchasing restaurant shall be forwarded to the department of health.

Sec. 8a.  18 V.S.A. § 4306 is amended to read:

§ 4306.  INSPECTION

It shall be the duty of the board to enforce the provisions of this subchapter and of  6 V.S.A. § 3312(d), and it shall be permitted to inspect through its duly authorized officers, inspectors, agents or assistants, at all reasonable times, an establishment subject to the provisions of this subchapter.

Sec. 8b.  18 V.S.A. § 4309 is amended to read:

§ 4309.  PENALTY

A person who violates a provision of this subchapter or 6 V.S.A. § 3312(d), for which no other penalty is provided, shall be fined not more than $300.00 for the first offense and, for each subsequent offense, not more than $500.00.

Sec. 9.  POULTRY SLAUGHTER STUDY

(a)  The agency of agriculture, food and markets shall review the effectiveness of the mobile processing units authorized by this act and the exemption from inspection authorized by this act.  The agency shall also consider the benefits to the poultry industry of each program individually and both programs working together.

(b)  The agency shall report its findings and recommendations no sooner than November 1, 2009 and no later than December 1, 2009.

* * * Authorizing Mobile Processing Units * * *

Sec. 10.  6 V.S.A. § 3302 is amended to read:

§ 3302. DEFINITIONS

As used in this chapter, except as otherwise specified, the following terms shall have the meanings stated below:

* * *

(42)  “Mobile slaughter and processing establishment” means any transportable structure used for slaughtering or processing of meat or poultry products on a farm or on an agricultural fairground registered pursuant to section 3902 of Title 20. 

Sec. 11.  6 V.S.A. § 3305(17) and (18) are added to read:

(17)  authorize and recognize mobile slaughter and processing establishments as official establishments or exempt them under subdivision 3305(13) of this section;

(18)  sell or lease a mobile slaughtering unit and may retain any proceeds therefrom in a revolving fund designated for the purpose of purchasing additional mobile slaughtering units by the agency.

* * * Vermont Seal of Quality * * *

Sec. 12.  6 V.S.A. § 2964(e) is amended and (f) is added to read:

(e)  As used in this chapter, "agricultural products" means any product of a farming operation as defined in 10 V.S.A. § 6001(22)(A), (B), (C) and, (D), and poultry slaughtered and inspected using a mobile processing unit authorized pursuant to subdivision 3305(17) of this title.

(f)  The secretary shall annually review the effectiveness of the identification program for increasing the value of Vermont agricultural products.

* * * Mobile Processing Units Comply with AAPs * * *

Sec. 13.  6 V.S.A. § 4810(a)(1) is amended to read:

(1)  "Accepted Agricultural Practices" (AAPs) shall be standards to be followed in conducting agricultural activities in this state.  These standards shall address activities which have a potential for causing pollutants to enter the groundwater and waters of the state, including dairy and other livestock operations plus all forms of crop and nursery operations and on-farm or agricultural fairground, registered pursuant to section 3902 of Title 20, livestock and poultry slaughter and processing activities.  The AAPs shall include, as well as promote and encourage, practices for farmers in preventing pollutants from entering the groundwater and waters of the state when engaged in, but not limited to, animal waste management and disposal, soil amendment applications, plant fertilization, and pest and weed control.  Persons engaged in farming, as defined in section 6001 of Title 10, who follow these practices shall be presumed to be in compliance with water quality standards. AAPs shall be practical and cost effective to implement.  The AAPs for groundwater shall include a process under which the agency shall receive, investigate, and respond to a complaint that a farm has contaminated the drinking water or groundwater of a property owner.

* * * Enforcement of Accepted Agriculture Practices * * *

Sec. 14.  6 V.S.A. § 4812 is amended to read:

§ 4812.  CORRECTIVE ACTIONS

(a)  When the secretary of agriculture, food and markets determines that a person engaged in farming is managing a farm using practices which are inconsistent with practices defined by rules under this subchapter, the secretary may issue a written warning which shall be served in person or by certified mail, return receipt requested.  The warning shall include a brief description of the alleged violation, identification of this statute and applicable rules, a recommendation for corrective actions that may be taken by the person, along with a summary of federal and state assistance programs which may be utilized by the person to remedy the violation and a request for an abatement schedule from the person according to which the practice shall be altered.  The person shall have 30 days to respond to the written warning.  If the person fails to respond to the written warning within this period or to take corrective action to change the practices in order to protect water quality, the secretary may act pursuant to subsection (b) of this section in order to protect water quality.

(b)  After an opportunity for a hearing, the secretary may issue cease and desist orders and institute appropriate proceedings on behalf of the agency to enforce this subchapter.

(c)  Whenever the secretary believes that any person engaged in farming is in violation of this subchapter or rules adopted thereunder, an action may be brought in the name of the agency in a court of competent jurisdiction to restrain by temporary or permanent injunction the continuation or repetition of the violation.  The court may issue temporary or permanent injunctions, and other relief as may be necessary and appropriate to curtail any violations.

(d)  The secretary may assess administrative penalties in accordance with sections 15, 16, and 17 of this title against any farmer who violates a cease and desist order or other order issued under subsection (b) of this section.

(e)  Any person subject to an enforcement order or an administrative penalty who is aggrieved by the final decision of the secretary may appeal to the superior court within 30 days of the decision.  The administrative judge may specially assign an environmental judge to superior court for the purpose of hearing an appeal.

* * * Permit Amendments * * *

Sec. 15.  10 V.S.A. § 6081(s) is added to read:

(s)  No permit amendment is required for farming that:

(1)  will occur on primary agricultural soils preserved in accordance with section 6093 of this title; or

(2)  will not conflict with any permit condition issued pursuant to this chapter. 

Permits shall include a statement that farming is permitted on lands exempt from amendment jurisdiction under this subsection.

* * * Farm Workers’ Compensation * * *

Sec. 16.  FARM WORKERS’ COMPENSATION INSURANCE

(a)  The secretary of the agency of agriculture, food and markets shall consult with the department of labor; the department of banking, insurance, securities, and health care; representatives of the farm labor community; and representatives of the farm community to determine what can be done to lower the cost of workers’ compensation for agricultural employers.  The secretary shall report with recommendations specific to issues of farm labor to the house and senate committees on agriculture on or before November 1, 2007.

(b)  The department of labor, in consultation with the agency of agriculture, food and markets, the University of Vermont extension service, the department of health, the Vermont farm bureau, the Green Mountain Council of Cooperatives, and other interested parties, shall develop a statewide farm safety initiative.  The initiative shall perform outreach, technical assistance, and training for farmers and farm workers in best safety practices to be followed and assist in reinforcing a culture of safety on the farm.  In conjunction with this effort, the department of banking, insurance, securities, and health care administration shall work with insurers to get merit rating and other discounts for farms with good safety records.

(c)  The agency of agriculture, food and markets shall collaborate with farm organizations to alert farmers of the advantages of consulting alternative providers about the cost of their farm workers’ compensation insurance.

(d) The agency of agriculture, food and markets, the department of labor, and the department of banking, insurance, securities and health care administration shall submit a brief report on the effectiveness of this section in reducing workers’ compensation insurance rates. The report shall be submitted no later than January 15, 2008.

* * * Farm Energy * * *

Sec. 17.  FARM ENERGY PURCHASE REPORT

(a)  Legislative findings.  The general assembly finds that state government buildings use 4.2 megawatt hours of electricity each year.

(b)  The agency of agriculture, food and markets, in consultation with the Vermont electric utility companies and other renewable attribute companies, shall study establishing a farm energy purchase program to purchase renewable energy attributes from farm-based renewable energy projects to ensure a market for farm-produced energy.  The study shall also consider how farm‑based renewable energy can help to support a program of state government electrical usage similar to a voluntary statewide program modeled after Central Vermont Public Service’s “Cow Power” program.  The agency shall report to the house and senate committees on agriculture on or before November 1, 2007 with its findings and any legislative proposals.

* * * Statutory Review * * *

Sec. 18.  AGENCY OF AGRICULTURE, FOOD AND MARKETS REVIEW

(a)  The agency of agriculture, food and markets in consultation with the legislative council shall jointly review existing state statutes as they pertain to public or quasi public entities created to provide and promote services to the Vermont agriculture sector.  The review shall consider the relevancy of the statutes as they relate to economic conditions in which Vermont agriculture is operating today.  The review shall include recommended changes in authorizing language to improve effectiveness in the development and delivery of programs designed to enhance the long-term viability of Vermont’s agriculture industry.

(b)  The agency of agriculture, food and markets with the legislative council shall report their findings back to the house and senate committees on agriculture no later than November 1, 2007.

* * * Viticulture * * *

Sec. 19.  VERMONT GRAPE AND WINE COUNCIL

(a)  The agency of agriculture, food and markets shall help establish a Vermont grape and wine council.  The council shall include representatives of grape growers, wine producers,  the University of Vermont extension program, the University of Vermont College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the agency of agriculture, food and markets, the department of economic development, the department of tourism and marketing and the hospitality council of the Vermont chamber of commerce.

(b)  The Vermont grape and wine council shall:

(1)  provide long-term support to the emerging grape and wine industries in Vermont by providing services, including research and education;

(2)  explore mechanisms such as grants and dues from its institutional members for funding its activities;

(3)  collaborate with the department of labor in order to seek workforce development funding;

(4)  foster the development of partnerships between all parties interested in the emerging grape and wine industry.

* * * Meat Production * * *

Sec. 20.  MEAT CUTTERS

The Department of labor in cooperation with the agency of agriculture, food and markets shall work with the meat processing industry to provide technical assistance, training, education, and other assistance to help expand the industry in Vermont.

* * * Labor * * *

Sec. 21.  DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

(a)  Legislative finding.  All agricultural industries are experiencing an

ever-increasing need for workers who are willing to work the hours involved in agriculture and who have the multiple skills necessary to handle successfully the multiple and varied responsibilities of the various facets of the agriculture industry.  Therefore, the department of labor has a crucial and ongoing role in the long-term viability of Vermont agriculture.

(b)  The department of labor shall at all times work in cooperation with the agency of agriculture, food and markets as well as the varied agricultural industries in Vermont and shall focus efforts on sustaining and strengthening the viability of Vermont agriculture by recruiting, educating, training, and maintaining a strong agricultural workforce that is not only capable of working in existing agricultural industries but also in emerging areas of Vermont agriculture where the need for skilled workers is even more profound.

* * * Dairy Pricing * * *

Sec. 22.  6 V.S.A. § 2924(f) is added to read:

(f)  Payment Statements. Payment statements provided to producers of cows’ milk shall include in the payment statement the national support price, the Boston, Massachusetts price, the producer price differential, and the amount per hundredweight of any charges or deductions where applicable.  The format shall be provided with clear language and with no abbreviations, except where the abbreviation is spelled out elsewhere in the statement.

Sec. 23.  PAYMENT STATEMENT DRAFTING

The agency of agriculture, food and markets shall draft a model payment statement that carries out the intent of Sec. 22 of this act and that may be used by milk purchasers.

Sec. 23a.  STUDY ON THE CAUSES OF THE PRECIPITOUS DECLINE IN

HONEYBEE POPULATION

The secretary of the agency of agriculture, food and markets shall study the causes of the precipitous decline in the wild and domestic honeybee population in Vermont. The secretary shall study the impact of the varroa mite and colony collapse disorder. The secretary shall also determine the effects of the application of pesticides. In addition, the secretary of agriculture, food and markets shall consult with the commissioner of the department of public service in determining the effect, if any, of electromagnetic fields and mobile phone use on honeybees. The secretary shall report his findings with recommendations for assisting Vermont beekeepers to the house and senate committees on agriculture on or before January 15, 2008.

Sec. 24.  EFFECTIVE DATE

This act shall take effect upon passage.

(For text see House Journal March 22, 2007 – P. 385)

Senate Proposal of Amendment to House Proposal of Amendment

S. 116

     An act relating to miscellaneous election law amendments.

The Senate has concurred in the House proposal of amendment with further proposal of amendment as follows:

First:  By striking out Sec. 8a in its entirety

Second:  In Sec 8b subsection (a) in the last sentence by striking out the word “may” and inserting in lieu thereof the word shall and in subsection (b) in the second sentence by striking out the word “may” and inserting in lieu thereof the word shall

Third:  By striking out Sec. 9a in its entirety

Fourth:  By striking out Sec. 14 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 14 to read:

Sec. 14.  17 V.S.A. § 2682(e) is amended to read:

(e)  If there is a tie vote for any office, the legislative body, or in their stead, the municipal clerk, shall within seven days warn a runoff election to be held not less than 15 days nor more than 22 days after the warning.  The only candidates in the runoff election shall be those who were tied in the original election.  However, if one of the candidates that are tied withdraws his or her candidacy within five days after the election, the town clerk shall certify the other tied candidate as the winner, and there shall be no runoff election.

(For text see Senate Journal  03/01/07 – P. 199; 03/15/07 – P.243 )

(For text see House Journal May 1, 2007 P. 848-853)

INFORMATION NOTICE

The following item was received by the Joint Fiscal Committee:

            JFO #2289 – Request from the Department of Public Safety to establish one (1) new limited service position—Southern Exercise Coordinator.  This sponsored position is 100% federally funded and associated with the continuing Homeland Security grant program. 

[JFO received 05/03/07]

 

 



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us