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House Calendar

MONDAY, MARCH 17, 2008

71st DAY OF ADJOURNED SESSION

House Convenes at 10:00 A M

TABLE OF CONTENTS

                                                                                                              Page No.

ACTION CALENDAR

     Action Postponed Until Tuesday, March 18, 2008

H. 617  Relating to Guardianships.................................................................. 950

          Pending Action: Third reading of the bill

Favorable with Amendment

H. 331  Relating to Financing the Purchase of a Mobile Home........................ 950

          Rep. Baker of West Rutland for General, Housing and Military Affairs

H. 436  Discussion of Ballot items at Town Meeting....................................... 957

          Rep. Martin of Wolcott for Government Operations

          Rep. Martin Amendment....................................................................... 960

H. 588  Relating to Property Loaned to Museums.......................................... 961

          Rep. Livingston for Commerce

H. 689  Relating to Utility Prescriptive Rights.................................................. 964

          Rep. Shand for Commerce

H. 704  Notices of Transfer of Policies to an Affiliate...................................... 967

          Rep. Clerkin for Commerce

H. 776  Computation of Basic Needs Budget and the Livable Wage............... 969

          Rep. Howrigan for General, Housing and Military Affairs

          Rep. Johnson for Appropriations........................................................... 969

Favorable

H. 700  Sale of Bottles of Wine at Festivals.................................................... 970

          Rep. Moran for General, Housing and Military Affairs


NOTICE CALENDAR

Committee Bills for Second Reading

H. 879  Eliminating Reports; Improving Efficiency, etc. in Schools .................. 970

          Rep. Oxholm for Education

H. 880  Vermont Pension Investment Committee............................................ 970

          Rep. Jerman for Government Operations

H. 881  Facilitating Deployment of Communications Facilities......................... 970

          Rep. Kitzmiller for Commerce

Favorable with Amendment

H. 170  Relating Retirees of the University of Vermont.................................... 971

          Rep. Atkins for Government Operations

H. 203  Estate to Which a Surviving Souse is Entitled..................................... 971

          Rep. Jewett for Judiciary

H. 230  Appointments to Human Rights Commission...................................... 977
          Rep. Manwaring for Government Operations

H. 257  Codification of Existing Community Justice Centers............................ 978

          Rep. Clarkson for Judiciary

H. 306  Relating to Telemarketing.................................................................. 980

          Rep. Consejo for Commerce

H. 574  Requiring Beverage Container Manufacturers to Pay More................ 982

          Rep. Cheney for Natural Resources and Energy

H. 616  Relating to Farm-Fresh Milk.............................................................. 985

          Rep. Bray for Agriculture

H. 619  Regulation of Sexual Assault  Nurse Examiners.................................. 985

          Rep. Evans for Government Operations

H. 685  Enforcement of Environmental Laws.................................................. 987

          Rep. Courcelle for Fish, Wildlife and Water Resources

H. 690  Relating to Vermont Milk Commission............................................... 997

          Rep. Perry for Agriculture

H. 748  Permitting Students to Possess and Self-Administer Medicine........... 1002

          Rep. Clark for Education

H. 755  Development of Forests and Forest Products Industries................... 1003

          Rep. Bray for Agriculture

H. 777  Relating to Certificate of Need Program........................................... 1007

          Rep. Keogh for Health Care

H. 783  Relating to Home Improvement Fraud............................................. 1012

          Rep. Lippert for Judiciary

H. 784  Relating to Energy Conservation in Public Schools........................... 1014

          Rep. Canfield for Natural Resources and Energy

H. 809  Annual Fire Safety Inspections for Schools...................................... 1015

          Rep. Barnard for Education

H. 863  Affordable Housing and Smart Growth Development....................... 1016

          Rep. Head for General, Housing and Military Affairs

          Klein for Natural Resources and Energy.............................................. 1016                    Rep. Peterson for Ways and Means    1026

          Rep. Heath for Appropriations............................................................ 1028

          Rep. Head Amendment...................................................................... 1028

Favorable

H. 764  Expanded Eligibility for Vermont Veterans’ Medal........................... 1049

          Rep. Wright for General, Housing and Military Affairs

H. 871  Professional requirements for Court Officials.................................... 1049                    Rep. Pellett for Judiciary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ACTION CALENDAR

     Action Postponed Until Tuesday, March 18, 2008

H. 617

     An act relating to guardianships.

Pending Action: Third reading of the bill

Favorable with Amendment

H. 331

     An act relating to financing the purchase of a mobile home.

Rep. Baker of West Rutland, for the Committee on General, Housing and Military Affairs, recommends the bill be amended by striking all after the enacting clause and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Sec. 1.  9 V.S.A. § 2601 is amended to read:

§ 2601.  Definitions

(a)  As used in this chapter, unless the context requires otherwise, "mobile home" means:

(1)  Mobile home as defined in 10 V.S.A. § 6201.

(2)  An unmotorized vehicle, other than a travel or recreational trailer, designed to be towed and designed or equipped for use as sleeping, eating or living quarters.

(b)  A mobile home remains a mobile home for purposes of this chapter even though it may be used for advertising, sales, display or promotion of merchandise or services, or for any other commercial purposes except the transportation of property.

(c)  A mobile home that was financed as residential real estate shall be defined as residential real estate.

(d)  “Permanently sited” means the mobile home has become affixed to the land.   Factors that tend to show a mobile home is permanently sited include:

(1)  The mobile home has been set up on blocks or otherwise stabilized so that the wheels do not form a major part of the structural support.

(2)  The mobile home has been connected to utilities such as electricity, sewage, water, gas, or oil.

(3)  Skirting has been installed around the base of the mobile home.

(4)  The wheels or axles have been removed.

(5)  The mobile home has been situated in a place that makes removal unlikely.

Sec. 2.  9 V.S.A. § 2603(b) is amended to read:

(b)  An obligation to finance a mobile home if consummated while the A mobile home that is or is intended to be permanently sited in a manner intended for continuous residential occupancy by the owner on land owned that is:

(1)  Owned by the owner of the mobile home shall be financed as a residence residential real estate.

(2)  Leased by the owner of the mobile home may be financed as residential real estate.

Sec. 3.  9 V.S.A. § 2604 is amended to read:

§ 2604Penalty REAL ESTATE DEEDS FOR MOBILE HOMES

A person who violates a provision of this chapter:

(1)  Except for violations of subsection 2603(e) of this title, shall be fined not more than $5,000.00 for each occurrence.

(2)  Shall be subject to all the remedies and penalties available to a consumer and the attorney general under chapter 63 of this title.

(a)  Any mobile home purchased from a mobile home dealer on or after

July 1, 2008 that is financed as residential real estate pursuant to subsection 2603(b) of this title shall be conveyed by a warranty deed drafted in substantially the form provided in subsection (c) of this section.

(b)  An owner of a mobile home shall, upon financing or refinancing a mobile home as residential real estate or selling a mobile home that has been financed as residential real estate, issue to the grantee either a warranty deed or a quitclaim deed that is drafted in substantially the form provided in subsection (c) or (d) of this section.

(c)  A deed that is substantially in the form provided in this subsection shall, when duly executed and delivered, have the force and effect of a deed in fee simple to the grantee, the heirs, successors, and assigns, to their own use, with covenants on the part of the grantor, for the grantor, the grantor's heirs, executors, and administrators that, at the time of the delivery of the deed, the grantor was lawfully seized in fee simple of the mobile home; that the mobile home was free from all encumbrances, except as stated; that the grantor had good right to sell and convey the same to the grantee, the grantee's heirs, successors, and assigns; and that the grantor and the grantor's heirs, executors, and administrators shall warrant and defend the same to the grantee and the grantee's heirs, successors and assigns, against the lawful claims and demands of all persons.  No owner of land on which a mobile home is sited shall unreasonably withhold the consent required by this statutory form.

Form for Mobile Home Warranty Deed

                              , of                        ,                               County, State of____________,                         (“Grantor”), for consideration paid, grants to___________ of                   Street, Town (City) of                  ,____________ County, State of                  (“Grantee”), with warranty covenants, the________ (description of mobile home being conveyed: name of manufacturer, model and serial number and encumbrances, exceptions, reservations, if any) which mobile home is situated, or is to be situated, at __________ (state name of park, if any, and street address), Town (City) of __________, __________ County, State of Vermont.
The tract or parcel of land upon which the mobile home is situated, or is to be situated, is owned by                        by deed dated and recorded at Book        , Page      in the land records of the Town (City) of                        
.  

_______                        (wife) (husband) of said Grantor, releases to said Grantee all rights and other interests therein.
     Signed this __________ day of __________, ___.

(Here add acknowledgment)

__________, owner of the tract or parcel of land upon which the aforesaid mobile home is situated, or is to be situated, hereby consents to the conveyance of the mobile home.

Signed this __________ day of __________, ___.

(Here add acknowledgment)

[ ] Check box if the mobile home has been relocated from one site to another within Vermont, and attach a Relocation Statement in the form provided in section 2606 of this title.

(d)  A deed that is substantially in the form provided in this subsection shall, when duly executed and delivered, have the force and effect of a deed in fee simple to the grantee, the heirs, successors, and assigns, to their own use.  No owner of land on which the mobile home is sited shall unreasonably withhold consent required by this statutory form.

Form for Mobile Home Quitclaim Deed

___________, of ___________,              County, State  of__________ _________(“Grantor”), for

consideration paid, grants to___ ________ of _________ Street, Town (City) of ____       ,_   ____County, State of __________(“Grantee”), with quitclaim covenants, the (description of mobile home being conveyed:  name of manufacturer, model and serial number and encumbrances, exceptions, reservations, if any) which mobile home is situated, or is to be situated, at ________________ (state name of park, if any, and street address), Town (City) of _____________ County, State of Vermont.

The tract or parcel of land upon which the mobile home is situated, or is to be situated, is owned by ____________ by deed dated _____________ and recorded at Book ___, Page    , in the land records of the Town (City) of _________.  

    _____ (wife) (husband) of said Grantor releases to said Grantee all rights and other interest therein.

Signed this ___ day of _______    ,______.

(Here add acknowledgment)

_____________, owner of the parcel of land upon which the aforesaid mobile home is situated, or is to be situated, hereby consents to the conveyance of the mobile home.

Signed this ___day of__                __, _____.

(Here add acknowledgment)

[ ]  Check box if the mobile home has been relocated from one site to another within Vermont, and attach a relocation statement in the form provided in section 2606 of this title.

Sec. 4.  9 V.S.A. § 2605 is added to read:

§ 2605.  Mobile home bill of sale conversion process

The owner of any mobile home that was initially financed pursuant to a motor vehicle loan, motor vehicle retail installment contract, or another form of chattel mortgage shall, if the mobile home is subsequently financed as residential real estate pursuant to subsection 2603(b) of this title, file a request for purging of the security interest with the clerk of the municipality where the chattel mortgage for the mobile home was last recorded.

(1)  A request to purge the security interest of a mobile home shall include the most recent Vermont uniform bill of sale or certificate of origin, the terminated UCC financing statement or statements, and an executed warranty or quitclaim deed, which shall be drafted substantially in the form provided in section 2604 of this title.

(2)  Upon the filing of a request to purge the security interest of a mobile home with the clerk of the municipality where the chattel mortgage for the  mobile home was last recorded, and upon the owner's procuring the consent of the holders of any security interest in the mobile home shown to be unreleased, the mobile home shall become residential real estate.

(3)  Upon receiving a request to purge the security interest of a mobile home, the municipal clerk shall mark or stamp the originally filed Vermont uniform bill of sale or certificate of origin with the word “converted.”

(4)  A mobile home that has been converted to residential real estate shall not be converted or redefined as personal property.

Sec. 5.  9 V.S.A. § 2606 is added to read:

§ 2606.  Relocating mobile homes to another

       municipality or state

(a)  If a deed for any mobile home is recorded by the clerk of the municipality in which the mobile home is sited, and if that mobile home is relocated to another site within the state of Vermont, the owner of the mobile home shall, within 10 days of the relocation, do all the following:

(1)  File with the clerk of the municipality where the deed was last recorded a relocation statement substantially in the form provided in this subsection.

(2)  File with the clerk of the municipality where the mobile home is relocated a copy of the relocation statement as required by subdivision (1) of this subsection, together with the deed filed with the clerk of the municipality where the mobile home was previously sited.  If the records of a municipality in which the deed or conveyance is recorded are destroyed, an attested copy of the deed or other conveyance from the county clerk shall have the same validity as a copy from the municipal clerk's office.

(3)  Provide a copy of the relocation statement filed pursuant to subdivision (1) of this subsection to the holders of any unreleased, recorded security interests in the mobile home.

Form for Relocation Statement

                              , of                        ,                               County, State of                         , is the owner of (description of mobile home: name of manufacturer, model and serial number and encumbrances, exceptions, reservations, if any), which mobile home has been relocated.

The mobile home was previously located at __________ (state name of park, if any, and street address), Town (City) of __________, __________ County, State of Vermont and title, if any, to the same was recorded at Book ___, Page ___, in the records of the Town (City) of __________.

The mobile home is has been relocated to  __________ (state name of park, if any, and street address), Town (City) of __________, __________ County, State of Vermont and title, if any, to the same was recorded at Book___ ___, Page ___, in the records of the Town (City) of __________. 

The tract or parcel of land upon which the mobile home is situated is owned by                        by deed dated                               and recorded at

Book        , Page      in the land records of the Town (City) of                        .  

The mobile home is subject to an existing mortgage by _____________in favor of _____________, recorded at Book ___, Page    , in the land records of the Town (City) of _________.

If the relocation is to a municipality in Vermont other than the municipality in which the deed to the Grantor was recorded, a duplicate original of the deed to the Grantor shall be recorded in the land records of the municipality of the relocation at the same time this statement is recorded.

       Signed this __________ day of __________, ___.

(b)  An out-of-state transfer statement substantially in the form provided in this subsection shall, when duly executed and recorded by the clerk of the municipality in which the mobile home was previously located, have the force and effect of transferring title of the mobile home to the grantee, the grantee's heirs, successors, and assigns and terminating the record title or deed of the mobile home in the municipal records under circumstances by which the mobile home is relocated outside this state.  No owner of land on which a mobile home is sited shall unreasonably withhold the consent required by this statutory form.  No mobile home may be relocated to a site outside this state unless all holders of liens, attachments, or encumbrances, if any, consent in writing on the transfer statement.

Form for Out-of-State Transfer Statement

__________, of __________, County, State of __________ (“Grantor”), for consideration paid, grants to __________, (complete mailing address) __________, of __________ Street, Town (City) of __________, __________ County, State of __________ (“Grantee”), the __________ (Description of mobile home being conveyed: name of manufacturer, model and serial number and encumbrances, exceptions, reservations, if any) which mobile home was situated at __________ (state name of park, if any, and street address), Town (City) __________ of __________ County, State of Vermont.
The tract or parcel of land upon which the mobile home was situated is owned by __________ by deed __________ dated __________ and recorded at Book___, Page ___ in the __________ County Registry of Deeds. __________ (wife) (husband) of said Grantor, releases to said Grantee all rights and other interest therein.

The mobile home is transferred subject to an existing mortgage by __________in favor of _____________, recorded at Book ___, Page    , in the land records of the Town (City) of _________, State of Vermont.

Signed this __________ day of __________, ___.

(Here add acknowledgment)

        __________, owner of the tract or parcel of land upon which the aforesaid mobile home was situated, hereby consents to the conveyance of the mobile home.

Signed this __ day of __________, ___.

(Here add acknowledgment)

        __________, holder of (lien, attachment or encumbrance) hereby consent to the conveyance of the aforesaid mobile home, subject to condition that the aforesaid (lien, attachment or encumbrance) shall remain in force and effect thereon.

Signed this __________ day of __________, ___.

(Here add acknowledgment)

(c)  An attachment, mortgage, security interest, lien, or other encumbrance on a mobile home, when properly perfected, shall be enforceable until released or discharged notwithstanding the relocation of the mobile home within or outside this state.

Sec. 6.  9 V.S.A. § 2607 is added to read:

§ 2607.  PENALTY

A person who violates a provision of this chapter:

(1)  Except for violations of subsection 2603(e) of this title, shall be fined not more than $5,000.00 for each occurrence.

(2)  Shall be subject to all the remedies and penalties available to a consumer and the attorney general under chapter 63 of this title.

(Committee vote: 8-0-0)

 

H. 436

     An act relating to discussion of ballot items at town meeting.

Rep. Martin of Wolcott, for the Committee on Government Operations, recommends the bill be amended by striking all after the enacting clause and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Sec. 1.  17 V.S.A. § 2456 is amended to read:

§ 2456.  DISQUALIFICATIONS

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

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

Sec. 2.  17 V.S.A. § 2494 is amended to read:

§ 2494.  CONSTRUCTION WITH OTHER LAWS

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

Sec. 3.  17 V.S.A. § 2640(c) is amended to read:

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

Sec. 4.  17 V.S.A. § 2664 is amended to read:

§ 2664.  BUDGET

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

Sec. 5.  17 V.S.A. § 2680(g) is amended to read:

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

Sec. 6.  24 V.S.A. § 871 is amended to read:

§ 871.  ORGANIZATION OF SELECTMEN SELECTBOARD;

     APPOINTMENTS

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

(1)  Three fence viewers;

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

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

(4)  One or more weighers of coal; and

(5)  A tree warden.

Sec. 7.  24 V.S.A. § 1535(a) is amended to read:

(a)  The board may abate in whole or part taxes, interest, and or collection fees, other than those arising out of a corrected classification of homestead or nonresidential property, accruing to the town in the following cases:

* * *

Sec. 8.  24 V.S.A. § 4442(c) is amended to read:

(c)  Routine adoption.

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

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

Sec. 9.  32 V.S.A. § 1671(a)(6) is amended to read:

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

Sec. 10.  32 V.S.A. § 4774(b) is amended to read:

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

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

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

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

Sec. 11.  32 V.S.A. § 5137 is amended to read:

§ 5137. RECORDING DELINQUENT PAYMENTS

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

and that upon passage, the title of the bill shall read:

“AN ACT RELATING TO MISCELLANEOUS AMENDMENTS TO LOCAL ELECTION AND MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT LAWS

(Committee vote: 11-0-0)

Amendment to be offered by Rep. Martin of Wolcott to H. 436

Moves the proposal of amendment of Government Operations be further amended as follows::

First:  In Sec. 1, in the first sentence, after “town clerk,” by inserting “treasurer,

Second:  By striking Sec. 7 in its entirety and renumbering the remaining sections to be numerically correct

H. 588

     An act relating to property loaned to museums.

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

Sec. 1.  27 V.S.A. chapter 12 is added to read:

Chapter 12.  Museum Property

§ 1151.  DEFINITIONS

As used in this chapter:

(1)  “Lender” means a person whose name appears on the records of a museum as the person legally entitled to, or claiming to be legally entitled to, property held by the museum or, if such person is deceased, the legal heirs of such person.

(2)  “Loan” means a deposit of property not accompanied by a transfer of title to the property.

(3)  “Museum” means an institution operated by a nonprofit corporation or a public agency primarily for educational, scientific, historic preservation, or aesthetic purposes, and the institution owns, cares for, exhibits, studies, collects, archives, or catalogues property.  “Museum” also includes historical societies, parks, monuments, and libraries.

(4)  “Property” means a tangible object, animate or inanimate, that has intrinsic, historic, artistic, scientific, or cultural value, and the object is under the care of a museum.

§ 1152.  PROPERTY HELD WITHOUT A LOAN AGREEMENT

Any property held by a museum that is not subject to a loan agreement and has been held for 10 or more years and has remained unclaimed shall be deemed to be abandoned.  The property shall become the property of the museum, provided the museum has given notice pursuant to section 1154 of this title and no assertion of title has been filed for the property within 180 days from the date of the third published notice.

§ 1153.  PROPERTY HELD PURSUANT TO A LOAN AGREEMENT

(a)  Property in the possession of a museum subject to a loan agreement shall be deemed to be donated to the museum, provided:

(1)  No claim is made or action filed to recover the property after termination of the loan.

(2)  The museum provided notice as required pursuant to section 1154 of this title.

(3)  No assertion of title has been filed within 180 days following the date of the third published notice.

(b)  A museum may terminate a loan of property if the loan was for an indefinite term and the property has been held by the museum for 10 years or more by providing notice pursuant to section 1154 of this title.  For the purposes of this chapter, property on permanent loan shall be considered property loaned for an indefinite term.   

(c)  A museum may terminate a loan of property loaned for a specified term by providing notice pursuant to section 1154 of this title any time after the expiration of the specified term or earlier if permitted by the loan agreement.

(d)  The owner of property on loan to a museum shall notify the museum promptly of any transfer of ownership or change in address of the owner.

(e)  Prior to acceptance of a loan of property, a museum shall provide to the owner of the property written notice of the provisions of this chapter.

§ 1154.  NOTICE REQUIREMENTS BY MUSEUMS FOR

LOANED PROPERTY

(a)  A museum required to provide notice pursuant to this chapter shall mail by certified mail, return receipt requested, written notice to the last known owner at the most recent address.  If the museum has no record of the owner’s address or the museum has not received written proof of receipt of the mailed notice within 30 days after mailing, the museum shall publish at least one notice each month for three consecutive months in the principal newspaper of general circulation in each of the following:

(1)  the county of the last known address of the owner, if known.

(2)  the county in which the museum is located.  For the purposes of this subdivision, if property is loaned to a branch of a museum, the museum shall be considered to be located in the county in which the branch is located, otherwise a museum shall be located in the county in which it has its principal place of business.

(b)  The published notice shall contain all the following:

(1)  The notice shall be entitled:  “Notice of Abandonment.”

(2)  A clear description of the unclaimed property.

(3)  The last known name and address of the owner.

(4)  A request that any person who has any knowledge of the whereabouts of the owner provide written notice to the museum.

(5)  The name and address of the museum.

(6)  The name, address, and contact information of the person to be contacted regarding the property.

(7)  A statement that if written assertion of title is not presented by the owner to the museum within 180 days after the date of the final published notice, the property shall be considered abandoned or donated and shall become the property of the museum.

(c)  A copy of all notices required in this chapter relating to property in the form of identifiable works of art that changed hands in Europe between the years 1933 and 1945 shall be sent to The Art Loss Register or any successor organization having similar purposes on or before the date on which the notices are mailed or first published.

§ 1155.  PROVISION OF MISSION STATEMENT

(a)  Prior to the acquisition of property by gift, a museum, upon request, shall provide a donor or prospective donor with a written copy of its mission statement and collections policy, which shall include policies and procedures of the museum related to deaccessioning.

(b)  If the museum has the knowledge of a planned bequest of any property prior to the death of the testator, the museum shall provide the testator with a written copy of its mission statement and collections policy, which shall include policies and procedures of the museum relating to deaccessioning.

(c)  Any museum that routinely makes its mission statement and collections policy available on its website shall be deemed to have complied with this section.

§ 1156.  PROPERTY VESTED IN MUSEUMS

(a)  If no written assertion of title has been presented by the owner to the museum within 180 days after the date of the third published notice, title to the property shall vest in the museum free of all claims of the owner and any other person claiming under the owner.

(b)  A person who purchases or otherwise acquires property from a museum acquires good title to the property if the museum has acquired title to the property under this chapter.

§ 1157.  EXEMPTIONS

This chapter shall not apply to either of the following:

(1)  Any property that changed hands by theft, seizure, confiscation, forced sale, or other involuntary means in Europe between 1933 and 1945.

(2)  Any property reported as stolen in writing to a law enforcement officer, insurer, or The Art Loss Register, or any successor organization having similar purposes, notwithstanding any notice provided pursuant to section 1155 of this title.

§ 1158.  RECORD OF ACQUISITION

The museum shall maintain or continue to maintain to the extent such information is available a record of acquisition whether by purchase, bequest, gift, loan, or otherwise of property for display or collection and of deaccessioning or loan of property currently held or thereafter acquired for display or collection.

(Committee vote: 10-0-1)

H. 689

     An act relating to utility prescriptive rights.

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

Sec. 1.  TITLE

This act may be referred to as the Utility Prescriptive Rights Act of 2008.

Sec. 2.  LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS

The general assembly finds:

(1)  There are currently many instances where the utilities in Vermont maintain and operate utility lines in rights-of-way without having any record of an easement or other right to occupy such rights-of-way.

(2)  In some instances, the easement was not obtained when the line was initially constructed; in other instances, the easement document was lost or never recorded in the land records. 

(3)  Such utility lines often existed in their current location without written easements for many years, even decades. 

(4)  Vermont law generally recognizes that one may obtain property rights, including easements and rights-of-way, by adverse possession after 15 years of open, notorious, and hostile possession of the property; however, a single Vermont statute creates an exception to that doctrine for utility line easements.

(5)  Many of the utility lines which lack easements are old and will need to be rebuilt in order for the utilities to continue to provide reliable service. 

(6)  It is likely that such necessary rebuilding will be delayed if the utilities must go through individual and costly public service board condemnation proceedings in order to obtain easements where none exists today. 

(7)  Where a line is already in place, it is poor public policy to allow a landowner to impede necessary rebuilding of the line and impose expense on remaining customers by forcing the utility to commence a condemnation proceeding to obtain an easement. 

(8)  There is clearly a need for utilities to hold easements over rights‑of‑way where utility lines have already been built. 

Sec. 3.  30 V.S.A. § 111a is added to read:

§ 111a.  PREEXISTING UTILITY LINES

(a)  When a corporation seeks to condemn property or an easement or other right over property where a currently existing utility line, that has not been abandoned, was in place on July 1, 2008, there is a rebuttable presumption that the condemnation of the property right authorizing the existing utility line or lines is necessary in order that the petitioner may render service to the public, provided that the property right is limited to that which is required to allow the operation, maintenance, and repair of the existing line or lines and the replacement of the existing utility facilities with equivalent facilities in the usual course of business.

(b)  When a corporation seeks to condemn property or establish an easement or other right over property where a utility line, that has not been abandoned, was in place on July 1, 2008, the corporation shall present a petition to the public service board and to the department of public service describing the property or right, and why the action is necessary.  The property or right shall be limited to that which is required to allow the operation, maintenance, and repair of the existing line or lines and the replacement of the existing utility facilities with equivalent facilities in the usual course of business.  The board shall issue a citation upon each person whose property or right the petitioner proposes to condemn and each municipality and each planning body where the property is located, or on absent persons in such manner as the supreme court may by rule provide for service of process in civil actions, including by publication. 

(c)  Upon the filing of the petition with the board and department, any pending actions and proceedings against the petitioner affecting its right to use and enjoy the subject property are stayed for the pendency of the condemnation proceeding before the board, and the petitioner may enter upon the property to be condemned for the purposes of examination and obtaining necessary information in order to proceed with the taking and to conduct the minimum amount of maintenance and repairs necessary to provide service.

(d)  The board shall fix the time and the place for hearing.

(e)  If the utility line for which the corporation seeks to acquire easements through condemnation under this section crosses more than one property, the corporation may petition the board to hold a single hearing to determine necessity for all persons subject to condemnation under subsection (b) of this section.

(f)  A person owning or having an interest in lands or rights to be taken may stipulate as to the necessity of the taking.  The stipulation shall be filed with the board.  The board shall issue an order on necessity within 45 days upon receiving the stipulation.

(g)  A stipulation under subsection (f) of this section shall be accompanied by an affidavit sworn to before a person authorized to take acknowledgments.  The stipulation shall include the following:

(1)  a recital that the person or persons executing the stipulation have examined the proposed easement, which includes a description of the property or rights to be taken; and

(2)  an explanation of the legal and property rights affected.

(h)  If a hearing is required, the board shall hear all persons whose property or right is the subject of the condemnation petition and who wish to be heard at the time and place appointed for the hearing.  The board shall make findings of fact, and by its order, determine whether necessity requires the taking of the land and rights as set forth in the petition.

(i)  Following a determination of necessity pursuant to subsection (f) or (h) of this section, the board shall expeditiously appoint a time and place for examining the premises and provide an opportunity for a hearing on the issue of compensation, giving at least 10 days’ notice in writing to the persons that are subject to the condemnation petition.

(j)  Compensation for the taking or use of property rights under the provision of this section shall be the diminution of value caused by the existence of such utility lines across the property at the time the petition was filed with the board.  Where a property owner acquired the property with the utility line already in place, there is a rebuttable presumption that the diminution in value was reflected in the terms of acquiring the property.

(k)  The board shall fix the compensation to be paid to each person from whom land or rights are taken, and the petitioner shall file and record within 30 days the order in the office of the clerk of the town where the land is situated, and shall deliver to each person or persons a copy of that portion of the order directly affecting the person or persons and shall pay or tender the award to each person entitled which may be accepted, retained, and disposed of to his or her own use without prejudice to the person’s right of appeal.  If the petitioner took possession of the condemned property under subsection (i) of this section,  the petitioner shall tender the amount of the board’s award to the persons affected by the taking.  The petitioner shall tender any additional payment required by the board’s final compensation order. 

(l)  Section 112 of this title does not apply to petitions filed under this section.  An appeal or review relating to an action under this section shall be to the supreme court pursuant to section 12 of this title.

(m)  Nothing in this section shall impact any permitting or regulatory requirements that may apply to the corporation.

(Committee vote: 7-3-1)

H. 704

     An act relating to notices of transfer of policies to an affiliate proved by an insurer.

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

Sec. 1.  8 V.S.A. § 3882(c) is added to read:

(c)  An insurer may transfer a policy to an affiliate, as defined by subdivision 3681(1) of this title, upon expiration of the policy without providing notice of nonrenewal, provided that:

(1)  the rating by A. M. Best or a similarly qualified rating service of the affiliate is equal to or better than the transferring insurer;

(2)  there is no diminution in the terms and conditions of coverage; and

(3)  notice of the transfer is provided to the insured at least 45 days prior to the transfer by first class mail, and in connection with such notice the insurer:

(A)  complies with any requirements of federal law relating to notice of adverse credit determination;

(B)  includes in the notice of transfer a telephone number of the insurer, or the producer, if any, and a toll free telephone number of the insurer in the case of personal lines policies, where the insured can learn additional information concerning the transfer and the reasons for the transfer; and

(C)  complies with the other provisions of this section relating to renewal policies.

Sec. 2.  8 V.S.A. § 4225a is added to read:

§ 4225a.  RENEWAL POLICIES

(a)  If the insurer has the necessary information to issue the renewal policy, the insurer shall confirm in writing at least 45 days prior to expiration its intention to renew the policy and the premium at which the policy is to be renewed.  The insured shall have the right to renew the policy at this premium.

(b)  An insurer not complying with subsection (a) of this section shall grant its insured renewal coverage at the rate or premium in effect under the expiring or expired policy or at rates lawfully in effect on the expiration date, which have been approved by the commissioner.  This shall be done on a pro rata basis and shall continue for 45 days after the insurer confirms renewal coverage and premium.  This subsection shall not apply if the insured accepts the renewal policy.

(c)  An insurer may transfer a policy to an affiliate, as defined by subdivision 3681(1) of this title, upon expiration of the policy without providing notice of nonrenewal, provided that:

(1)  the rating by A. M. Best or a similarly qualified rating service of the affiliate is equal to or better than the transferring insurer;

(2)  there is no diminution in the terms and conditions of coverage; and

(3)  notice of the transfer is provided to the insured at least 45 days prior to the transfer by first class mail, and in connection with such notice the insurer:

(A)  complies with any requirements of federal law relating to notice of adverse credit determination;

(B)  includes in the notice of transfer a telephone number of the insurer, or the producer, if any, and a toll free telephone number of the insurer in the case of personal lines policies, where the insured can learn additional information concerning the transfer and the reasons for the transfer; and

(C)  complies with the other provisions of this section relating to renewal policies.

Sec. 3.  8 V.S.A. § 4715(c) is added to read:

(c)  An insurer may transfer a policy to an affiliate, as defined by subdivision 3681(1) of this title, upon expiration of the policy without providing notice of nonrenewal, provided that:

(1)  the rating by A. M. Best or a similarly qualified rating service of the affiliate is equal to or better than the transferring insurer;

(2)  there is no diminution in the terms and conditions of coverage; and

(3)  notice of the transfer is provided to the insured at least 45 days prior to the transfer by first class mail, and in connection with such notice the insurer:

(A)  complies with any requirements of federal law relating to notice of adverse credit determination;

(B)  includes in the notice of transfer a telephone number of the insurer, or the producer, if any, and a toll free telephone number of the insurer in the case of personal lines policies, where the insured can learn additional information concerning the transfer and the reasons for the transfer;

(C)  complies with the other provisions of this section relating to renewal policies.

and that upon passage, the title of the bill shall be:  “AN ACT RELATING TO NOTICES OF TRANSFER BY AN INSURER OF POLICIES TO AN AFFILIATE”

(Committee vote: 10-0-1)

H. 776

     An act relating to computation of the basic needs budget and the livable wage.

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

     In Sec. 2, subsection (b)(3), on line 20, by striking “a minority party” and inserting in lieu thereof “the largest minority party

(Committee vote: 7-0-1)

Rep. Johnson of South Hero, for the Committee on Appropriations, recommends the bill be amended as follows:

     First: In Sec. 1, in 2  V.S.A. §505, by striking subsections (c) and (d) and by inserting new subsections (c) and (d) to read:

(c)  The report and any revisions shall be presented to the house committee on general, housing and military affairs and the senate committee on economic development, housing and general affairs The methodology for calculating basic needs budgets shall be built on methodology described in the November 9, 1999 livable income study committee report, modified as appropriate by any statutory changes made by the general assembly and subsequent modifications adopted by the joint fiscal committee under subsection (d) of this section.

(d)  The joint fiscal committee may adopt modifications to the methodology used to determine the basic needs budget calculations under subsection (c) of this section to account for public policy changes, data availability, or any other factors that have had an impact on any aspects of the methodology. Changes or revisions in methodology adopted by the committee shall be effective no later than November in the year preceding the release of the report.

     Second:  In Sec. 2, in subsection (a), by striking the second sentence, and adding a new subsection (d) to read:

(d) The council shall convene at least every ten years, or as requested by the joint fiscal committee.

Third:  In Sec. 2, in subsection (c), following the second sentence, by adding the following: For service on the council, members of the council who are members of the general assembly shall be entitled to per diem compensation and reimbursement for expenses as provided in 2 V.S.A. §406; and other members of the council who are not also state employees shall be entitled to per diem compensation and reimbursement for expenses as provided to members of state boards by 32 V.S.A. §1010.

(Committee vote: 8-1-2)

Favorable

H. 700

     An act relating to sale of  bottles of wine at festivals.

Rep. Moran of Wardsboro, for the Committee on General, Housing and Military Affairs, recommends the bill ought to pass.

( Committee Vote: 8-0-0)

NOTICE CALENDAR

Committee Bills for Second Reading

H. 879

An act relating to the repeal of unnecessary, duplicative, and burdensome reports; the improved timeliness and efficiency of special education audits; and the simplification of union school district formation.

(Rep. Oxholm of Vergennes will speak for the Committee on Education.)

H. 880

An act relating to the Vermont pension investment committee.

(Rep. Jerman of Essex will speak for the Committee on Government Operations.)

H. 881

An act relating to the role of electric and gas utilities in facilitating the deployment of communications facilities throughout the state.

(Rep. Kitzmiller of Montpelier will speak for the Committee on Commerce.)

Favorable with Amendment

H. 170

     An act relating to retirees of the University of Vermont.

Rep. Atkins of Winooski, for the Committee on Government Operations, recommends the bill be amended by striking all after the enacting clause and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Sec. 1.  3 V.S.A. § 926 is amended to read:

§ 926.  GRIEVANCES

(a)  The board shall hear and make final determination on the grievances of all employees who are eligible to appeal grievances to the board.  Grievance hearings at the board level shall be conducted in accordance with the rules and regulations promulgated by the board.  The right to institute grievance proceedings extends to individual employees, groups of employees, and collective bargaining units.

(b)  The board shall hear and make final determination on the grievances of all retired individual employees of the University of Vermont, groups of such retired individuals, and retired collective bargaining unit members of the University of Vermont.  Grievances shall be limited to those relating to compensation and benefits that were accrued during active employment but are received after retirement.  For the purposes of this subsection, “grievance” means an allegation of a violation of a collective bargaining agreement, employee handbook provision, early retirement plan, individual separation agreement or other documented agreement, or rule or regulation of the University of Vermont.

(Committee vote: 9-0-2)

H. 203

     An act relating to increasing the amount of an estate to which a surviving spouse is entitled when the deceased spouse dies without a will.

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

Sec. 1.  REPEAL

Chapters 41, 43 and 45 of Title 14 are repealed.

Sec. 2.  14 V.S.A. chapter 42 is added to Part 2 to read:

Chapter 42.  Descent and Survivors’ Rights

Subchapter 1.  General Provisions

§ 301.  Intestate Estate

(a)  Any part of a decedent’s estate not effectively disposed of by will passes by intestate succession to the decedent’s heirs, except as modified by the decedent’s will.

(b)  A decedent’s will may expressly exclude or limit the right of an individual or a class to inherit property.  If such an individual or member of such a class survives the decedent, the share of the decedent’s intestate estate which would have passed to that individual or member of such a class passes subject to any such limitation or exclusion set forth in the will.

(c)  Nothing in this section shall preclude the surviving spouse of the decedent from making the election and receiving the benefits provided by section 319 of this title.

§ 302.  Dower and Curtesy Abolished

The estates of dower and curtesy are abolished.

§ 303.  Afterborn Heirs

For purposes of this chapter and chapter 1 of this title relating to wills, an individual in gestation at a particular time is treated as living at that time if the individual lives 120 hours or more after birth.

Subchapter 2.  Survivors Rights and Allowances

§ 311.  Share of Surviving Spouse

After payment of the debts, funeral charges, and expenses of administration, the intestate share of the decedent’s surviving spouse is as follows.

(1)  The entire intestate estate if no descendant of the decedent survives the decedent or if all of the decedent’s surviving descendants are also descendants of the surviving spouse.

(2)  In the event there shall survive the decedent one or more descendants of the decedent, who are not descendants of the surviving spouse and are not excluded by decedent’s will from inheriting from the decedent, the surviving spouse shall receive one-half of the intestate estate.

§ 312.  Surviving Spouse to Receive Household Goods

Upon motion, the surviving spouse of a decedent residing with the decedent at the time of the decedent’s death may receive out of the decedent’s estate all furnishings and furniture in the decedent’s household when the decedent leaves no descendants who object.  If any objection is made by any of the descendants, the court shall decide what, if any, of such personalty shall pass under this section.  Goods and effects so assigned shall be in addition to the distributive share of the estate to which the surviving spouse is entitled under other provisions of law.  In making a determination pursuant to this section, the court may consider the length of the decedent’s marriage, the sentimental and monetary value of the property, and the source of the decedent’s interest in the property.

§ 313.  Surviving spouse; vessel, snowmobile, or

     all-terrain vehicle

Whenever the estate of a decedent who dies intestate consists principally of a vessel, snowmobile, or all-terrain vehicle, the surviving spouse shall be deemed to be the owner of the vessel, snowmobile, or all-terrain vehicle, and title to the vessel, snowmobile, or all-terrain vehicle shall automatically pass to the surviving spouse.

§ 314.  Share of Heirs other than Surviving Spouse

(a)  The balance of the intestate estate not passing to the decedent’s surviving spouse under section 311 of this title passes to the decedent’s descendants by right of representation. 

(b)  If there is no taker under subsection (a) of this section, the intestate estate passes in the following order: 

(1)  to the decedent’s parents equally if both survive or to the surviving parent;

(2)  to the decedent’s siblings or the descendants of any deceased siblings by right of representation;

(3)  one-half of the intestate estate to the decedent’s paternal grandparents equally if they both survive or to the surviving paternal grandparent and one-half of the intestate estate to the decedent’s maternal grandparents equally if they both survive or to the surviving maternal grandparent and if decedent is survived by a grandparent, or grandparents on only one side, to that grandparent or those grandparents;

(4)  in equal shares to the next of kin in equal degree.

(c)  If property passes under this section by right of representation, the property shall be divided into as many equal shares as there are children or siblings of the decedent, as the case may be, who either survive the decedent or who predecease the decedent leaving surviving descendants.

§ 315.  Parent and Child Relationship

For the purpose of intestate succession, an individual is the child of his or her parents, regardless of their marital status, but a parent shall not inherit from a child unless the parent has openly acknowledged the child and not refused to support the child.  The parent and child relationship may be established in parentage proceedings under subchapter 3A of chapter 5 of Title 15.

§ 316.  Support of Surviving Spouse and Family During

     Settlement

The probate court may make reasonable allowance for the expenses of maintenance of the surviving spouse and minor children or either, constituting the family of a decedent, out of the personal estate or the income of real or personal estate from date of death until settlement of the estate, but for no longer a period than until their shares in the estate are assigned to them or, in case of an insolvent estate, for not more than eight months after administration is granted.  This allowance may take priority, in the discretion of the court, over debts of the estate.

§ 317.  Allowance to Children before Payment of Debts

When a person dies leaving children under 18 years of age, an allowance may be made for the necessary maintenance of such children until they become 18 years of age.  Such allowance shall be made before any distribution of the estate among creditors, heirs, or beneficiaries by will.

§ 318.  Allowance to Children After Payment of Debts

Before any partition or division of an estate among the heirs or beneficiaries by will, an allowance may be made for the necessary expenses of the support of the children of the decedent under 18 years of age until they arrive at that age.  The probate court may order the executor or administrator to retain sufficient estate assets for that purpose, except where some provision is made by will for their support.

§ 319.  Waiver of Will by Surviving Spouse.

(a)  A surviving spouse may waive the provisions of the decedent’s will and instead elect to take a percentage of the balance of the estate, after the payment of claims and expenses, equal to 33 percent plus twice the number of years of marriage to the decedent, not to exceed 50 percent.  The surviving spouse’s percentage of the decedent’s probate estate may be increased or decreased in the court’s discretion if that percentage share would be inequitable to any interested person, including the surviving spouse, after taking into consideration assets not subject to the probate court’s jurisdiction.

(b)  The surviving spouse must be living at the time this election is made.  If the surviving spouse is mentally disabled and cannot make the election personally, a guardian or attorney in fact under a valid durable power of attorney may do so.

(c)  The rights of election of the surviving spouse in subsection 319(a) of this chapter may be waived in whole or in part before or during marriage by a written contract or waiver signed by the surviving spouse that is witnessed and acknowledged.  Such an agreement is not enforceable if the surviving spouse proves any of the following:

(1)  the surviving spouse did not execute the waiver voluntarily;

(2)  the waiver was unfair when it was made or distributed;

(3)  one spouse did not have separate legal representation at the time the agreement was executed; or

(4)  the surviving spouse was not provided with a full and fair financial disclosure of the property or financial obligations of the decedent.

§ 320.  Effect of Divorce Order

A final divorce order from any state shall have the effect of nullifying a gift by will or inheritance by operation of law to an individual who was the decedent’s spouse at the time the will was executed if the decedent was no longer married to that individual at the time of death, unless his or her will specifically states to the contrary.

§ 321.  Conveyances to Defeat Spouse’s Interest

Except as provided in subsection 319(c) of this title, a voluntary transfer of any property by an individual during marriage, made without adequate consideration and for the primary purpose of defeating a surviving spouse in a claim to a share of the decedent’s property so transferred, shall be void and inoperative to bar the claim.  The decedent shall be deemed at the time of his or her death to be the owner and seised of an interest in such property sufficient for the purpose of assigning and setting out the surviving spouse’s share.

§ 322.  Unlawful Killing Affecting InheritancE

Notwithstanding sections 311 through 314 of this title or provisions otherwise made, in any case where an individual is entitled to inherit or receive property under the last will of a decedent, or otherwise, such individual’s share in the decedent’s estate shall be forfeited and shall pass to the remaining heirs or beneficiaries of the decedent if such person intentionally and unlawfully kills the decedent.  In any proceedings to contest the right of an individual to inherit or receive property under a will, the record of such person’s conviction of intentionally and unlawfully killing the decedent shall be admissible evidence that such person did intentionally kill the decedent.

Subchapter 3.  Descent, Omitted Issue and Lapsed Legacies

§ 331.  Degrees; How Computed:  Kindred of Half-Blood

Kindred of the half-blood shall inherit the same share they would inherit if they were of the whole blood.

§ 332.  Share of After-Born Child

When a child of a testator is born after the making of a will and provision is not therein made for that child, he or she shall have the same share in the estate of the testator as if the testator had died intestate unless it is apparent from the will that it was the intention of the testator that provision should not be made for the child.

§ 333.  Share of Child or Descendant of Child Omitted

     from Will

When a testator omits to provide in his or her will for any of his or her children, or for the descendants of a deceased child, and it appears that the omission was made by mistake or accident, the child or descendants, as the case may be, shall have and be assigned the same share of the estate of the testator as if the testator had died intestate.

§ 334.  Omitted or After-born Child; From What Part of

     Estate Share Taken

When a share of a testator's estate is assigned to a child born after the making of a will, or to a child or the descendant of a child omitted in the will, the share shall be taken first from the estate not disposed of by the will, if there is any.  If that is not sufficient, so much as is necessary shall be taken from the devisees or legatees in proportion to the value of the estate they respectively receive under the will.  If the obvious intention of the testator, as to some specific devise, legacy, or other provision in the will, would thereby be defeated, the specific devise, legacy, or provision may be exempted from such apportionment and a different apportionment adopted in the discretion of the court.

§ 335.  Beneficiary Dying before Testator: Descendants

     to Take

When a testamentary gift is made to a child or other kindred of the testator, and the designated beneficiary dies before the testator, leaving one or more descendants who survive the testator, such descendants shall take the gift that the designated beneficiary would have taken if he or she had survived the testator, unless a different disposition is required by the will.

§ 336.  Individual Absent and Unheard of; Share of Estate

If an individual entitled to a distributive share of the estate of a decedent is absent and unheard of for six years, two of which are after the death of the decedent, the probate court in which the decedent’s estate is pending may order the share of the absent individual distributed in accordance with the terms of the decedent’s will or the laws of intestacy as if such absent individual had not survived the decedent.  If the absent individual proves to be alive, he or she shall be entitled to the share of the estate notwithstanding prior distribution, and may recover in an action on this statute any portion thereof which any other individual received under order.  Before an order is made for the payment of distribution of any money or estate as authorized in this section, notice shall be given as provided by the Vermont Rules of Probate Procedure.

§ 337.  Requirement that Individual Survive Decedent for

     120 hours

Except as provided in the decedent’s will, an individual who fails to survive the decedent by 120 hours is deemed to have predeceased the decedent for purposes of homestead allowance, exempt property, intestate succession, and taking under decedent’s will, and the decedent’s heirs and beneficiaries shall be determined accordingly.  If it is not established by clear and convincing evidence that an individual who would otherwise be an heir or beneficiary survived the decedent by 120 hours, it is deemed that the individual failed to survive for the required period.  This section is not to be applied if its application would result in escheat.

(Committee vote: 9-0-2)

H. 230

     An act relating to legislative appointments to the Human Rights Commission.

Rep. Manwaring of Wilmington, for the Committee on Government Operations, recommends the bill be amended by striking all after the enacting clause and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Sec. 1.  9 V.S.A. § 4551 is amended to read:

§ 4551. HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION; MEMBERS; COMPENSATION

* * *

(c) A member of the commission whose term has expired or who resigned during a term shall be eligible to act as an alternate at the request of the executive director of the commission if necessary to convene a quorum of the commission to act upon complaints pursuant to section 4554 of this title.  An alternate shall only participate in the consideration of complaints at meetings attended and shall not be involved in setting the policies of the commission. 

(d) Each member of the commission, including an alternate who is called to act, shall receive compensation as provided by 32 V.S.A. § 1010 with a maximum of $1,000.00 a year, and shall be entitled to expenses actually and necessarily incurred in the performance of his or her duties.

(d)(e) Three members of the commission shall constitute a quorum.

(Committee vote: 9-0-2)

H. 257

     An act relating to the codification of existing community justice centers.

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

Sec. 1.  24 V.S.A. chapter 58 is added to read:

CHAPTER 58.  COMMUNITY JUSTICE CENTERS

§ 1961.  Legislative findings

(a)  Consistent with the policy of restorative justice established in section 2a of Title 28, local communities in the state have established community justice centers to create a community-administered, nonadversarial process that:

(1)  Resolves conflicts among citizens.

(2)  Repairs damage to communities caused by criminal acts.

(3)  Addresses the wrongs that criminal acts inflict on individuals.

(4)  Responds to a person’s wrongdoing at its earliest onset.

(5)  Reduces the risk of an offender committing a more serious crime in the future that would require a more intensive and costly sanction.

(b)  A system of community justice centers that operates under the authority of a single statute will:

(1)  Help each community justice center collaborate more closely with law enforcement and state’s attorneys, state agencies, social service providers, victim advocacy organizations, and other community resources.

(2)  Enhance the services each community justice center provides.

(3)  Help each community justice center further its policy interest of achieving restorative justice.

§ 1962.  Definitions

As used in this chapter:

(1)  “Legislative body” means the mayor and board of aldermen of a city, a city council, a town selectboard, or the president and trustees of an incorporated village.

(2)  “Municipality” means a city, town, or incorporated village.

§ 1963.  Authority of municipalities

The legislative body of any municipality may create within its jurisdiction a community justice center to resolve civil disputes and address the wrongdoings of individuals who have committed municipal, juvenile, or criminal offenses.

§ 1964.  STRUCTURE OF THE COMMUNITY JUSTICE BOARDS

Each community justice center:

(1)  Shall have an advisory board comprised of 51 percent citizen volunteers.

(2)  May use a variety of restorative justice approaches, including community panels or boards, group conferencing, or mediation.

(3)  Shall include programs to resolve disputes, address the needs of victims, address the wrongdoing of the offender, and promote the rehabilitation of youthful and adult offenders.

§ 1965.  duties of the community justice centers

Each community justice center:

(1)  Shall work in close coordination with state agencies, law enforcement agencies, state’s attorneys, social service providers, victim advocacy organizations, and other community resources in administering the programs defined in subdivision 1964(3) of this title.

(2)  Shall, in collaboration with state and local agencies, provide training on the restorative justice process to citizen volunteers to enable their participation in the local community justice center.

(3)  May address quality of life issues in the community it serves by providing informational and educational resources to the community.

(4)  May, in addition to the funding it receives from the state, apply for funding from private foundations, other governmental sources, or other sources.

§ 1966.  Community JUSTICE centers’ relationship with state government entities

(a)  The agency of human services shall provide to the community justice centers the information, analysis, and technical and financial support which the community justice centers, in collaboration with the agency of human services, determine are necessary to further their policy of restorative justice.

(b)  Funding from the agency of human services.  The agency of human services may provide funding and authorize community justice centers to participate in the implementation of state programs related to juvenile and criminal offenses.

(c)  Access to information.  Community justice center employees and volunteers participating in state-funded programs shall have access to information, analysis, and technical support as necessary to carry out their duties within the program in accordance with state and federal confidentiality statutes and policies.

(d)  Liability.

(1)  For the purposes of defining liability, community justice center volunteers participating in programs funded by the agency of human services pursuant to subsection (b) of this section shall be considered volunteers of that agency.

(2)  In all other cases, the state and the municipality shall each be liable for the acts and omissions of employees operating within the scope of their employment.

(e)  The agency of human services, the attorney general, and community justice center directors shall study methods to expand the number of community justice centers in order to serve municipalities without community justice centers.  The study shall include consideration of how municipalities could work jointly to facilitate the expansion of community justice center services.   

§ 1967.  CASES PROHIBITED

No case involving domestic violence, domestic assault, sexual violence, sexual assault, or stalking shall be referred to a community justice center except in department of corrections offender reentry programs pursuant to protocols protecting victims.

(Committee vote: 10-0-1)

H. 306

     An act relating to telemarketing.

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

Sec. 1.  9 V.S.A. § 2464(a)(1) is amended to read:

(1)  “Express oral authorization” means that a consumer has explicitly authorized an electronic funds transfer from his or her financial account for goods or services offered by a telemarketer:

(A)  during a telephone call in which the telemarketer has clearly stated that the consumer is authorizing the transfer from his or her account, and has further stated the consumer’s name, a description of the specific goods or services offered, any material terms of the transaction, the date on or after which the account will be debited, the amount of the transfer, a telephone number for consumer inquiries that is answered during normal business hours, and the date of the authorization; and

(B)  where the telemarketer has either tape-recorded the consumer’s authorization entire telemarketing call on which the consumer has authorized the transaction and not disposed of the recording until at least two four years after the authorization, or has provided written notice to the consumer, prior to the settlement date of the transfer, confirming the terms of the authorization as described in subdivision (A) of this subdivision (2), (1) and has not disposed of the written notice until at least four years after the notice was created.

Sec. 2.  9 V.S.A. § 2464(b)(2) is amended to read:

(2)  to obtain or submit for payment a check, draft, or other form of negotiable instrument drawn on a person’s financial account without the consumer’s prior written authorization or to dispose of the written authorization until at least four years after the authorization.

Sec. 3.  9 V.S.A. § 2464(e) is added to read:

(e)  It is an unfair and deceptive act and practice in commerce for a party other than a federally-insured depository institution who processes a telemarketing transaction for payment from a consumer’s financial account to:

(1)  fail to obtain, before processing the transaction, any prior written authorization required by subdivision (2) of subsection (b) of this section, or any tape recording or copy of a written confirmation required by subdivision 3 of subsection (b) of this section as part of the consumer’s express oral authorization; or

(2)  dispose any document required by subdivision (1) of this subsection, or of telemarketer applications or agreements, records of payments processed or returned, electronic communications relating to telemarketers, consumer complaints, or any other category of record that the attorney general may prescribe by rule, until at least four years after the records were created.

(Committee vote: 9-0-2)

H. 574

     An act relating to requiring beverage container manufacturers to pay an additional one-half cent per container to retailers who do not comingle containers.

Rep. Cheney of Norwich, for the Committee on Natural Resources and Energy, recommends the bill be amended by striking all after the enacting clause and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Sec. 1.  10 V.S.A. § 1522a is added to read:

§ 1522a.  Rules

The secretary may adopt rules, in accordance with chapter 25 of Title 3, necessary for the administration of this chapter.  These rules may include the following:

(1)  provisions to ensure that beverage containers not labeled in accordance with section 1524 of this title are not redeemed;

(2)  provisions to ensure that beverage containers are commingled;

(3)  administrative penalties for the failure by a redemption center or retailer to remove beverage containers that are not labeled prior to pickup by a distributor or manufacturer.  Penalties may include nonpayment of the deposit and handling fee established under section 1522 of this title for a reasonable period of time and for the number of beverage containers that were not labeled;

(4)  any other provision that may be necessary for the implementation of this chapter.

Sec. 2.  10 V.S.A. § 1522(b) and (c) are amended to read:

(b)  A retailer or a person operating a redemption center who redeems beverage containers shall be reimbursed by the manufacturer or distributor of such beverage containers in an amount which is at least three and one-half cents per container for containers of beverage brands that are part of a commingling program and four cents per container for containers of beverage brands that are not part of a commingling program.

(c)  The secretary may adopt rules and regulations necessary to implement this chapter.

Sec. 3.  10 V.S.A. § 1523 is amended to read:

§ 1523.  Acceptance of beverage containers

(a)  Except as provided in section 1522 of this title:

(1)  A retailer shall not refuse to accept from any person any empty beverage containers, labeled in accordance with section 1524 of this title, of the kind, size, and brand sold by the retailer, or refuse to pay to that person the refund value of a beverage container as established by section 1522 of this title, except as provided in subsection (b) of this section.

(2)  A manufacturer or distributor may not refuse to accept pick up from a retailer that sells its product or a person operating a certified redemption center any empty beverage containers, labeled in accordance with section 1524 of this title, of the kind, size, and brand sold by the manufacturer or distributor, or refuse to pay the retailer or a person operating a redemption center the refund value of a beverage container as established by section 1522 of this title.

(b)  A retailer, with the prior approval of the secretary, may refuse to redeem beverage containers if a redemption center or centers are established which serve the public need.

(c)  A retailer or a person operating a redemption center may refuse to redeem beverage containers that are not clean, or are broken, or were not purchased in Vermont and shall not redeem beverage containers that are not labeled in accordance with section 1524 of this title.

(d)  A retailer or group of retailers may petition the secretary for the establishment of a redemption center.

(e)  The secretary shall notify the public regarding the petition. The secretary, after determination of need and service to be provided by the proposed redemption center, shall issue a certification authorizing the distributors or retailers affected and servicing the community or area involved to establish a redemption center or alternate method of redemption, or shall deny the petition if found adverse to the public need.

(f)  The secretary shall not certify a new redemption center from July 1, 2006 through July 1, 2007 unless the area is currently underserved.

Sec. 4.  10 V.S.A. §§ 1528 and 1529 are added to read:

§ 1528.  Beverage registration

No distributor or manufacturer shall sell a beverage container in the state of Vermont without the manufacturer registering the beverage container with the agency of natural resources prior to sale, unless distributed by the department of liquor control.  This registration shall take place on a form provided by the secretary and include the following:

(1)  The name and principal business address of the manufacturer;

(2)  The name of the beverage and the container size;

(3)  Whether the beverage is a part of an approved commingling agreement; and

(4)  The name of the person picking up the empty beverage container, if that person is different from the manufacturer.

§ 1529.  Redemption center certification

A person operating a redemption center may obtain a certification from the secretary.  A redemption center certification shall include the following:

(1)  Specification of the name and location of the facility;

(2)  If the certified redemption center redeems more than 250,000 containers per year, a requirement that the certified redemption center shall participate in an approved commingling agreement; and

(3)  Additional conditions, requirements, and restrictions as the secretary may deem necessary to implement the requirements of this chapter.  This may include requirements concerning reporting, recording, and inspections of the operation of the site.

Sec. 5COMMINGLING AND AUDIT PILOT PROGRAM

(a)  The secretary of natural resources may implement, by procedure, requirements for the commingling of beverage containers from differing manufacturers and auditing for compliance with these requirements.  This commingling program may include provisions establishing administrative penalties for the failure by a redemption center or retailer to remove containers that are not labeled prior to their pickup by a distributer or manufacturer.  Penalties may include nonpayment of the deposit and handling fee established under section 1522 of Title 10 for a reasonable period of time and for the number of containers that were not labeled.

(b)  The pilot program established by this section shall expire on July 1, 2010.

Sec. 6.  REPORT ON COMMINGLING PROGRAM

By no later than January 15, 2010, the secretary of natural resources shall report to the committees on natural resources and energy with regard to:

(1)  the implementation of the commingling program established by this act;

(2)  the implementation of the auditing program established by this act; and

(3)  the results of a redemption center survey regarding whether the commingling program has achieved cost efficiencies.

(Committee vote: 11-0-0)

 

H. 616

     An act relating to farm-fresh milk.

Rep. Bray of New Haven, for the Committee on Agriculture, recommends the bill be amended by striking all after the enacting clause and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Sec. 1.  6 V.S.A. § 2723(3) is amended to read:

(3)  A person who produces and sells or offers for sale less than 25 50 quarts of milk in any one day, but in such case an inspection may be made and reasonable sanitary requirements shall be complied with.

Sec. 2.  EFFECTIVE DATE

This act shall take effect upon passage.

(Committee vote: 9-0-2)

H. 619

     An act relating to the regulation of sexual assault nurse examiners.

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

Sec. 1.  DESIGNATION

33 V.S.A. chapter 3, §§ 301–311 are designated as:

Subchapter 1.  General Provisions

Sec. 2.  33 V.S.A. chapter 3, subchapter 2 is added to read:

Subchapter 2.  Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners

§ 321.  DEFINITION

As used in this chapter, “SANE” means sexual assault nurse examiner.

§ 322.  SANE BOARD

(a)  The SANE board is created for the purpose of regulating sexual assault nurse examiners.

(b)  The SANE board shall be composed of the following members:

(1)  the executive director of the Vermont nurses association, or designee;

(2)  the executive director of the Vermont hospital association, or designee;

(3)  the director of the Vermont state police crime lab, or designee;

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

(5)  an attorney with experience prosecuting sexual assault crimes, appointed by the attorney general;

(6)  the executive director of the Vermont center for crime victim services, or designee;

(7)  a law enforcement officer assigned to one of Vermont’s special units of investigation, appointed by the commissioner of public safety;

(8)  a law enforcement officer employed by a municipal police department, appointed by the executive director of the Vermont criminal justice training council;

(9)  three sexual assault nurse examiners, appointed by the attorney general;

(10)  a physician whose practice includes the care of victims of sexual assault, appointed by the Vermont medical society;

(11)  a pediatrician whose practice includes the care of victims of sexual assault, appointed by the Vermont chapter of the American Academy of Pediatricians;

(12)  the coordinator of the Vermont victim assistance program, or designee;

(13)  the president of the Vermont alliance of child advocacy centers, or designee; and

(14)  the chair of the Vermont state board of nursing, or designee; and

(15)  the commissioner for children and families, or designee.

(c)  The SANE board shall be attached to the attorney general’s office for administrative purposes.

§ 323.  SANE PROGRAM CLINICAL COORDINATOR

The SANE board may hire, subject to available funding, a SANE program clinical coordinator who shall serve at the pleasure of the board and who shall:

(1)  oversee the recruitment and retention of SANEs in the state of Vermont;

(2)  administer a statewide training program, including:

(A)  the initial SANE certification training;

(B)  ongoing training to ensure currency of practice for SANEs; and

(C)  advanced training programs as needed;

(3)  provide consultation and technical assistance to SANEs and hospitals regarding the standardized sexual assault protocol;

(4)  provide training and outreach to criminal justice and

community-based agencies as needed.

§ 324.  SANE BOARD; DUTIES

(a)  A person licensed under chapter 28 of Title 26 may obtain a specialized certification as a sexual assault nurse examiner if he or she demonstrates compliance with the requirements for specialized certification as established by the SANE board by rule.

(b)  The SANE board shall adopt the following by rule:

(1)  educational requirements for obtaining specialized certification as a sexual assault nurse examiner and statewide standards for the provision of education;

(2)  continuing education requirements and clinical experience necessary for maintenance of the SANE specialized certification;

(3)  a standardized sexual assault protocol and kit to be used by all physicians or hospitals in this state when providing forensic examinations of victims of alleged sexual offenses; and

(4)  a system of monitoring for compliance.

(c)  The SANE board may investigate complaints against a SANE and may revoke certification as appropriate.

Sec. 3.  SANE PROGRAM CLINICAL COORDINATOR; POSITION;

CREATION

The establishment of one (1) new full‑time exempt position – SANE program clinical coordinator – is authorized.

(Committee vote: 9-0-2)

H. 685

     An act relating to enforcement of environmental laws.

Rep. Courcelle of Rutland City, for the Committee on Fish, wildlife and Water Resources, recommends the bill be amended by striking all after the enacting clause and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Sec. 1.  10 V.S.A. § 8002 is amended to read:

§ 8002.  DEFINITIONS

As used in this chapter:

(1)  “Board” means the natural resources board defined by subdivision 6001(1) of this title.

(2)  “Compliance” means compliance with the statutes specified in section 8003 of this title, and with any related rules, permits, assurances, or orders.

(3)  “Investigator” means an investigator designated and duly authorized by the secretary or the board.

(4)  “Person” means any individual, partnership, company, corporation, association, unincorporated association, joint venture, trust, municipality, the state of Vermont or any agency, department or subdivision of the state, federal agency, or any other legal or commercial entity.

(5)  “Permit” means any permit, license, certification or transitional operational authority issued under any of the statutes specified in section 8003 of this title.

(6)  “Respondent” means a person who has committed or is alleged to have committed a violation.

(7)  “Secretary” means the secretary of the agency of natural resources, or the secretary’s duly authorized representative.

(8)  “Stop work order” means an order to cease construction or other activity.

(9)  “Violation” means noncompliance with one or more of the statutes specified in section 8003 of this title, or any related rules, permits, assurances, or orders.

(10)  “Land use panel” means the land use panel of the board, as established under chapter 151 of this title.

(11)  “Economic benefit” means a reasonable approximation of any gain, advantage, wrongful profit, or delayed avoided cost, financial or otherwise, obtained as a result of a violation.  Economic benefit shall not be limited to only competitive advantage obtained.

Sec. 2.  10 V.S.A. § 8006 is amended to read:

§ 8006.  WARNING; NOTICE OF ALLEGED VIOLATION

(a)  When the secretary determines that a violation will or is likely to occur, the secretary may issue a written warning which shall be served on the respondent in person or by certified mail, return receipt requested.  The warning shall include a brief description of the prospective violation, identification of the statute, rule, permit, assurance, or order that is the subject of the prospective violation and a brief description of the potential enforcement actions which may be taken if the violation occurs.

(b)  When the secretary determines that a violation exists, the secretary may issue a written notice of the alleged violation.  The notice shall be served on the respondent in person or by certified mail, return receipt requested.  The notice shall include a brief description of the alleged violation, identification of the statute, rule, permit, assurance, or order that is the subject of the violation and, a brief description of the secretary’s intended course of action to address the alleged violation, and, if appropriate, specific time lines and directives to achieve compliance.

Sec. 3.  10 V.S.A. § 8007 is amended to read:

§ 8007.  ASSURANCES OF DISCONTINUANCE

(a)  As an alternative to administrative or judicial proceedings, the secretary, or the land use panel, may accept from a respondent an assurance of discontinuance of a violation.  An assurance of discontinuance shall include:

(1)  a statement of the facts which provide the basis for claiming the violation exists and a description of the alleged violation determined by the secretary or the land use panel; and

(2)  an agreement by the respondent to perform specific actions to prevent, abate or alleviate environmental problems caused by the violation, or to restore the environment to its condition before the violation, including financial responsibility for such actions.

(b)  An assurance of discontinuance may include:

(1)  prevention, abatement, alleviation, or restoration schedules;

(2)  contribution toward other projects related to the violation, which the respondent and the secretary or the land use panel agree will enhance the natural resources of the area affected by the violation, or their use and enjoyment.  A contribution under this subdivision shall be subject to the following:

(A)  the respondent shall disburse all required contributions to the project or shall be in full and continuing compliance with a payment schedule established by the assurance of discontinuance no later than 180 days after the effective date of the assurance discontinuance requiring the funding of such project;

(B)  in the event that a respondent fails to comply with subdivision (A) of this subsection, the respondent shall place the funds into either an attorneys’ interest on lawyers trust account or an escrow account; and

(C)  unless otherwise contrary to requirements of federal law, a contribution is not permissible where the project primarily benefits the respondent, including activities:

(i)  that are required by law, likely to be required by law, or reasonably associated with the respondent’s usual course of business; or

(ii)  which the respondent has planned, budgeted for initiated, or completed prior to or during the current enforcement action.

(3)  payment of monetary penalties, including stipulated penalties for violation of the assurance. 

(c)  An assurance of discontinuance shall be in writing and signed by the respondent and shall specify the statute or regulation alleged to have been violated.  The assurance of discontinuance shall be simultaneously filed with the attorney general and the environmental court.  The secretary or the land use panel shall post a final draft assurance of discontinuance to its website and shall provide a final draft assurance of discontinuance to a person upon request.  When signed by the environmental court, the assurance shall become a judicial order.  Upon motion by the attorney general made within 10 days of the date the assurance is signed by the court and upon a finding that the order is insufficient to carry out the purposes of this chapter, the court shall vacate the order.

* * *

Sec. 4.  10 V.S.A. § 8008 is amended to read:

§ 8008.  ADMINISTRATIVE ORDERS

(a)  The secretary may issue an administrative order when the secretary determines that a violation exists.  The order shall be served on the respondent in person or by certified mail, return receipt requested acceptance of service, in accordance with court rules, by a person designated by the respondent.  A copy of the order also shall be delivered to the attorney general.  An order shall be effective on receipt unless stayed under subsection 8012(e) of this title.

(b)  An order shall include:

(1)  a statement of the facts which provide the basis for claiming the violation exists;

(2)  identification of the applicable statute, rule, permit, assurance or order;

(3)  a statement that the respondent has a right to a hearing under section 8012 of this title, and a description of the procedures for requesting a hearing;

(4)  a statement that the order is effective on receipt unless stayed on request for a hearing filed within 15 days; and

(5)  if applicable, a directive that the respondent take actions necessary to achieve compliance, to abate potential or existing environmental or health hazards, and to restore the environment to the condition existing before the violation.

(c)  An order may include:

(1)  a “stop work” order that directs the respondent to stop work until a permit is issued, compliance is achieved, a hazard is abated, or any combination of the above.  In issuing such an order, the secretary shall consider the economic effect of the order on individuals other than the respondent;

(2)  a stay of the effective date or processing of a permit under section 8011 of this title; and

(3)  a proposed penalty or penalty structure.

(d)(1)  The administrative order and proof of service shall be simultaneously filed with the attorney general and the environmental court.  The court shall sign the administrative order in the event that:

(A)  The administrative order is properly served on a respondent in accordance with subsection (a) of this section;

(B)  The respondent does not request a hearing in accordance with subsection (b) of this section; and

(C)  the order otherwise meets the requirements of this chapter.

(2)  When signed by the environmental court, the administrative order shall become a judicial order.  Upon motion by the attorney general made within 10 days of the date the administrative order is signed by the court and upon a finding by the court that the order is insufficient to carry out the purposes of this chapter, the court shall vacate the order.

Sec. 5.  10 V.S.A. § 8010 is amended to read:

§ 8010.  ADMINISTRATIVE PENALTIES

(a)  An administrative penalty may be included in an administrative order issued under section 8008 of this title or in an emergency administrative order issued under subdivision 8009(a)(1) or (3) of this title.  An order assessing administrative penalties shall be accompanied by an affidavit setting forth the facts establishing the date of violation.

(b)  In determining the amount of the penalty, the secretary shall consider the following:

(1)  the degree of actual or potential impact on public health, safety, welfare and the environment resulting from the violation;

(2)  the presence of mitigating circumstances, including unreasonable delay by the secretary in seeking enforcement;

(3)  whether the respondent knew or had reason to know the violation existed;

(4)  the respondent's record of compliance;

(5)  the economic benefit gained from the violation;

(6)  the deterrent effect of the penalty;

(7)  the state's actual costs of enforcement; and

(8)  the length of time the violation has existed.

(c) (1)  A penalty of not more than $25,000.00 $42,500.00 may be assessed for each determination of a separate violation.  In addition, if the secretary determines that a violation is continuing the secretary may assess a penalty of not more than $10,000.00 $17,000.00 for each day the violation continues.  The maximum amount of penalty assessed under this subsection shall not exceed $100,000.00 $170,000.00.

(2)  In addition to a penalty assessed under subdivision (1) of this subsection, the secretary may assess a penalty for the economic benefit gained from a violation.

(d)  Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection 8003(b) of this title, imposition of an administrative penalty under this section precludes imposition of any other administrative or civil penalty under any other provisions of law for the same violation.

(e)  Penalties assessed under this section shall be deposited in the general fund, except for those penalties which are assessed as a result of a municipality's enforcement action under chapter 64 of this title, in which case the municipality involved shall receive the penalty monies.

Sec. 6.  10 V.S.A. § 8011(a) is amended to read:

(a)  An administrative order may stay the effective date or processing of a permit:

(1)  when any activity has been commenced illegally without a permit.  The order may stay the effective date of the permit for a period of time up to the number of days that the activity was commenced before the permit was issued.  This period of time shall not include the time from the date that work was stopped until the date a permit is issued; or

(2)  when an applicant for a permit, or for an amendment to a permit, is not in compliance with an administrative order or an assurance of discontinuance with respect to a violation that is directly related to the activity which is the subject of the application; or

(3)  when an applicant for a permit, or for an amendment to a permit, has one or more current violations, which when viewed together constitute substantial noncompliance.

Sec. 7.  10 V.S.A. § 8014 is amended to read:

§ 8014.  ENFORCEMENT OF FINAL ORDERS; COLLECTION ACTIONS

(a)  The secretary may seek enforcement of a final administrative order or a landfill extension order in the superior or district court or before the environmental court.

(b)  If a penalty is assessed and the respondent fails to pay the assessed penalty within the time prescribed, the secretary may bring a collection action in any superior or district court.  In addition, when a respondent fails to pay an assessed penalty or fails to pay a contribution under subdivision 8007(b)(2) of this title within the prescribed time period, the secretary or the land use panel shall stay the effective date or the processing of any pending permit application or renewal application in which the respondent is involved until payment in full of all outstanding penalties has been received.  The secretary or the land use panel may collect interest on an assessed penalty that a respondent fails to pay within the prescribed time.  The secretary or the land use panel shall collect interest on a contribution under subdivision 8007(b)(2) of this title that a respondent fails to pay within the prescribed time.

(c)  The Notwithstanding 32 V.S.A. § 502, the secretary may contract with private collection agencies, or with attorneys engaged for similar purposes, for the collection of penalties or other monetary awards owed pursuant to assurances of discontinuance, final administrative orders, emergency administrative orders, or judgments after hearing or other judicial rulings.  The cost of collection shall be assessed against and added to the penalty assessed against a respondent.  The secretary may agree to pay private collection agencies or attorneys a fixed rate for services rendered or a percentage of the amount actually collected by the agencies or attorneys and remitted to the secretary.  Notwithstanding 32 V.S.A. § 502, the secretary may charge against collections an agreed-upon fixed rate or percentage of collections, for the purpose of making payments to private collection agencies or attorneys.

Sec. 8.  10 V.S.A. § 8015 is amended to read:

§ 8015.  STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, actions brought under this chapter or chapter 211 of this title shall be commenced within the latter later of:

(1)  six years from the date the violation is or reasonably should have been discovered; or

(2)  six years from the date a continuing violation ceases.

Sec. 9.  10 V.S.A. § 8017 is amended to read:

§ 8017.  ANNUAL REPORT

The secretary and the attorney general shall report annually to the president pro tempore of the senate, the speaker of the house, the house committee on fish, wildlife and water resources, and the chairs of the senate and house committees on natural resources and energy.  The report shall be filed no later than January 15, on the enforcement actions taken under this chapter, and on the status of citizen complaints about environmental problems in the state.  The report shall describe, at a minimum, the number of violations, the actions taken, disposition of cases, the amount of penalties collected, and the cost of administering the enforcement program.

Sec. 10.  10 V.S.A. § 8221(b)(6) is amended to read:

(b)  The court may grant temporary and permanent injunctive relief, and may:

* * *

(6)  levy a civil penalty as provided in this subdivision.  A civil penalty of not more than $50,000.00 $85,000.00 may be imposed for each violation.  In addition, in the case of a continuing violation, a penalty of not more than $25,000.00 $42,500.00 may be imposed for each day the violation continues. In fixing the amount of the penalty the court shall apply the criteria set forth in subsection 8010(b) of this title.  The cost of collection of penalties or other monetary awards shall be assessed against and added to a penalty assessed against a respondent.

Sec. 11.  10 V.S.A. § 6083(d) is amended to read:

(d)  The panels of the board and commissions shall make all practical efforts to process matters before the board and permits in a prompt manner.  The land use panel shall establish time limits for the processing of land use permits issued under section 6086 of this title as well as procedures and time periods within which to notify applicants whether an application is complete.  The land use panel shall report annually by February 15 to the house and senate committees on natural resources and energy and on government operations, and the house committee on fish, wildlife and water resources.  The annual report shall assess the performance of the board and commissions in meeting the limits; identify areas which hinder effective performance; list fees collected for each permit; summarize changes made to improve performance; and describe staffing needs for the coming year.  The annual report shall list the number of enforcement actions taken by the land use panel, the disposition of such cases, and the amount of penalties collected.

Sec. 12.  DATABASE OF ENVIRONMENTAL ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS

On or before January 15, 2009, the agency of natural resources, after consultation with the attorney general and the land use panel, shall report to the house committee on fish, wildlife and water resources and the house and senate committees on natural resources and energy with a recommendation for establishing a publicly available, searchable database of enforcement actions initiated by the agency of natural resources or the land use panel under chapter 201 of Title 10 and enforcement actions initiated by the attorney general under chapter 211 of Title 10.  The report shall include:

(1)  A recommendation on how to establish the database, including coordination among the agency of natural resources, the attorney general, and the land use panel;

(2)  A recommendation of the type of documents that should be posted to the database;

(3)  An estimate of the cost to the agency of natural resources, the attorney general, and the land use panel of establishing and maintaining the database; and

(4)  An estimate of the time necessary to develop the database so that it is available for public use.

Sec. 13.  ENVIRONMENTAL ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS

The commissioner of fish and wildlife shall deputize environmental enforcement officers employed by the agency of natural resources as deputy game wardens of the state, and environmental enforcement officers so deputized shall have the same powers and immunities as those conferred to deputy game wardens under 10 V.S.A. §§ 4193 and 4198, provided that the environmental enforcement officer shall comply with any additional requirements for certification under these sections. 

Sec. 14.  AGENCY OF NATURAL RESOURCES REPORT ON

                IMPLEMENTATION OF THE GENERAL PERMIT FOR

                POTABLE WATER SUPPLIES AND WASTEWATER SYSTEMS

On or before January 15, 2009, the agency of natural resources shall submit to the house committee on fish, wildlife and water resources and the senate committee on natural resources and energy a status report regarding implementation of the potable water supply and wastewater system general permitting program authorized under Act No. 32 of the 2007 Sess.  The report shall include:

(1)  The number of persons seeking coverage under the general permit for potable water supplies and wastewater systems;

(2)  The number of site visits completed by agency of natural resources personnel to review applications for coverage under and compliance with the general permit for potable water supplies and wastewater systems; and

(3)  the number of and disposition of enforcement actions brought by the agency of natural resources to enforce the requirements of the general permit for potable water supplies and wastewater systems.

Sec. 15.  AGENCY OF NATURAL RESOURCES REPORT ON

               IMPLEMENTATION OF STORMWATER GENERAL PERMITS

As part of the report required under 10 V.S.A. § 1264(f)(3), the agency of natural resources shall submit to the house committee on fish, wildlife and water resources and the senate committee on natural resources and energy on or before January 15, 2009, a status report on implementation of the stormwater general permits issued under chapter 47 of Title 10.  The report shall include:

(1)  The number of persons seeking coverage under each general permit issued under chapter 47 of Title 10;

(2)  The number of site visits completed by agency of natural resources personnel to review applications for coverage under and compliance with a general permit issued under chapter 47 of Title 10; and

(3)  The number of and disposition of enforcement actions brought by the agency of natural resources to enforce the requirements of a general permit issued under chapter 47 of Title 10.

Sec. 16.  AGENCY OF NATURAL RESOURCES REPORT ON

               ENFORCEMENT BY THE DEPARTMENT OF FORESTS,

               PARKS AND RECREATION

On or before January 15, 2009, the secretary of natural resources shall report to the house and senate committees on natural resources and energy, and the house committee on fish, wildlife and water resources with a proposal to increase enforcement of the existing laws and regulations within the jurisdiction of the department of forests, parks and recreation.  The report shall include:

(1)  An evaluation and recommendation of whether violations of laws and rules within the jurisdiction of the department of forests, parks and recreation should be enforced as judicial bureau offenses under 4 V.S.A.

§ 1102.

(2)  An analysis of whether effective enforcement of the laws and rules within the jurisdiction of the department of forests, parks and recreation requires additional enforcement authority not currently included in 10 V.S.A. chapter 201 or 29 V.S.A. chapter 11.

(3)  A recommendation of whether authority beyond the ability of filing a civil action should be granted to the department of forests, parks and recreation to enforce encroachments on state land boundaries, including the unauthorized cutting of trees.

(4)  An assessment of the feasibility and necessity for statutory or regulatory changes to enhance compliance with state park rules;

(5)  A proposal to clarify public access rights along state forest highways; and

(6)  A proposal to use rulemaking by the department of forests, parks and recreation to establish enforceable standards and increased fines and penalties where appropriate.

(Committee vote: 7-0-2)

H. 690

     An act relating to Vermont Milk Commission.

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

Sec. 1.  6 V.S.A. § 2922 is amended to read:

§ 2922.  VERMONT MILK COMMISSION; MEMBERSHIP

(a)  There shall be a Vermont milk commission, to consist of seven nine members, one member of which shall be the secretary of agriculture, food and markets.  The secretary shall be chair of the commission and serve without compensation.  A quorum shall be a majority of the commission.  The commission shall act only by an affirmative vote of at least six members.  The remaining commission members shall serve for terms of three years, except for the legislative members who shall serve for the term of their election, and be chosen as follows:

* * *

(5)  One member from the house committee on agriculture chosen by the speaker and one member from the senate committee on agriculture chosen by the president pro tempore of the senate.  For attendance at a meeting when the general assembly is not in session, these two legislative members shall be entitled to the same per diem compensation and reimbursement of necessary expenses as provided members of standing committees under 2 V.S.A. § 406.

(b)  All expenditures under this subchapter shall be paid from the receipts hereunder.

Sec. 2.  6 V.S.A. § 2923 is amended to read:

§ 2923.  ADMINISTRATIVE WORK

The Vermont agency of agriculture, food and markets shall perform the administrative work of the commission as directed by the commission.  The commission shall may reimburse the agency of agriculture, food and markets for the cost of services performed by the department agency.  The commission may enter into contracts with and employ technical experts and other such officers, agents, and employees as are necessary to effect the purposes of this chapter, and may fix their qualifications, duties, and compensation.

Sec. 3.  6 V.S.A. § 2924 is amended to read:

§ 2924.  POWERS AND DUTIES; PRICING AUTHORITY; PUBLIC

              HEARINGS

* * *

(b)  Equitable minimum producer prices.  The commission may establish by rule order after notice and hearing an equitable minimum price to be paid to dairy producers for milk produced dairy products sold in Vermont on the basis of the use thereof in the various classes, grades, and forms.  Because of the need to react immediately to changing market conditions and prices, an equitable minimum price may be established by emergency rule.  Prices so established which exceed federal order prices shall be collected by the commission from the handlers for distribution to dairy producers as a blend price.  The cost of administering the collection and distribution of these moneys shall be covered by such moneys, not to exceed $50,000.00.

* * *

(c)  Public hearings.  In order to be informed of the status of the state's dairy industry, the commission shall hold a public hearing:

(1)  At least annually.

(2)  Whenever the price paid to producers in Vermont, including the federal market order price and any over-order premiums, on average, has been reduced $0.50 or more for the previous month, except when such increase is attributable to normal seasonal changes in price by five percent or more over the last month or by 10 percent or more over the last three months.

(3)  Whenever the retail price, on average, has increased by more than $0.08 10 percent per gallon within a three-month period or $0.32 15 percent per gallon within a 12-month period.

(4)  Whenever the cost of production increases by 10 percent or more within a 12-month period.

(5)  Whenever a loss or substantial lessening of the supply of fluid dairy products of proper quality in a specified market has occurred or is likely to occur and that the public health is menaced, jeopardized or likely to be impaired or deteriorated by the loss or substantial lessening of the supply of fluid dairy products of proper quality in a specified market.

* * *

(e)  Premiums on handlers and distributors for milk dairy products sold at retail in Vermont.  The commission may assess a premium on handlers and distributors for milk dairy products sold at retail in Vermont.  The premiums assessed and received shall be paid to the state treasury and deposited in the special fund established pursuant to section 2938 of this chapter.  The proceeds of the premium shall be distributed to dairy producers as a blend price.  Any applicable provision of subsections 2925(b)-(f) of this title shall apply to the assessment of such premiums.  In assessing these premiums, the commission shall also take into account any similar assessments made by other New England states.

Sec. 4.  6 V.S.A. § 2925 is amended to read:

§ 2925.  MINIMUM PRODUCER PRICE REGULATION

(a)  The commission may make, rescind, or amend a rule an order regulating minimum producer prices if the commission finds that the federal milk marketing order minimum price is adequate or inadequate as the case may be to ensure that the price paid to dairy producers will cover the costs of milk production and provide a reasonable economic return to dairy producers sufficient to ensure a stable milk production and distribution system in Vermont.  The commission may amend or rescind a rule without a public hearing when necessary to conform the price with an increase in the federal market order price.

(b)  Guidelines for setting prices.  In setting equitable minimum prices, the commission may investigate and ascertain what are reasonable costs and charges for producing, hauling, handling, processing and any other services performed in respect to fluid dairy products.  The board commission shall take into consideration the balance between production and consumption of milk dairy products, the costs of production and distribution, the purchasing power of the public and the price necessary to yield a reasonable return to the producer producers, handlers, and to the distributors.

* * *

(2)  Minimum retail prices should reflect the lowest price at which milk purchased from Vermont producers can be received, processed, packaged, and distributed by handlers and distributors at a just and reasonable return.

(3)  In establishing minimum producer and retail prices, the commission shall make applicable findings regarding the competitive position of Vermont producers and their costs, handler and distributor costs, and reasonable rates of return, and actual handler and distributor rates of return.

* * *

(e)  Purchases by or sales to authorized officials of any town or city charity or public welfare department or by charitable organizations approved by the city or town officials for charitable uses, and school lunch milk, shall be exempt from the price-fixing provisions of this chapter.

(f)  This chapter shall apply to milk produced outside the state subject to regulation by the state in the exercise of its constitutional police powers.  Any sale or purchase by distributors or handlers of such milk within this state at a price less than a regulated minimum price shall be unlawful.

(g)  This section shall not apply to a producer-handler with an annual production of one million pounds of milk or less.

Sec. 5.  6 V.S.A. § 2929 is amended to read:

§ 2929.  POWER TO MAKE ORDERS AND CONDUCT HEARINGS;

       REGULATIONS

(a)  In administering this section and sections 2675, 2725, 2726, 2921-2928, and 2931-2933 of this title chapter, the commission shall have the power to make orders hereunder, conduct hearings, subpoena, and examine under oath producers, handlers, and distributors, their books, records, documents, correspondence, and accounts, and any other person it deems necessary to carry out the purposes and intent of said sections this chapter.

(b)  Any order issued under this chapter shall only be made final after a public hearing and after publication of a proposed order for public review and comment for 30 days following the publication of the proposed order.

(c)  The commission may adopt, promulgate and enforce such reasonable rules, and regulations, and procedures as are deemed necessary to carry out the administration of the provisions of this section and sections 2675, 2725, 2726, 2921-2928 and 2931-2933 of this title chapter.

Sec. 6.  6 V.S.A. § 2931(a) is amended to read:

(a)  Within 20 days after any final order or decision has been made by the commission, any party to the action or proceeding before the commission, or any person directly affected thereby, may apply for a rehearing in respect to any matter determined in the action or proceeding, or covered or included in the order, specifying in the motion for rehearing the ground therefor.  The commission may grant such rehearing if in its opinion good reason therefore is stated in such motion.

Sec. 7.  6 V.S.A. § 2932 is amended to read:

§ 2932.  DETERMINATION OF MOTION FOR REHEARING

Upon the filing of a motion for rehearing, the commission shall within ten days, either grant or deny the motion, or suspend the order or decision complained of pending further consideration, and any order of suspension may be upon terms and conditions prescribed by the commission.

Sec. 8.  6 V.S.A. § 2938 is added to read:

§ 2938.  FUND ESTABLISHED

The Vermont milk commission fund is established in the state treasury and shall be administered by the secretary of agriculture, food and markets in accordance with the provisions of subchapter 5 of chapter 7 of Title 32, except that interest earned on the fund shall be retained in the fund.  Proceeds from this chapter shall be deposited into the fund.  The fund shall be used as necessary for the purposes of this chapter.  The treasurer shall distribute funds as directed by the commission.

Sec. 9.  6 V.S.A. § 2723a(a) is amended to read:

(a)  It shall be unlawful for any person to distribute fluid dairy products as a distributor, as defined in this chapter, without a license issued by the commissioner secretary.  The commissioner secretary shall license all distributors annually.  Application for the license shall be made to the commissioner secretary upon a form furnished by the commissioner secretary.  The application shall be accompanied by an annual license fee of $15.00 for one year or any part thereof.  The license period shall be from January 1 to December 31.

Sec. 10.  6 V.S.A. § 2981(b) is amended to read:

(b)  Each distributor handler shall pay the Vermont milk commission council each month two cents per hundredweight on all fluid milk sold for consumption within the state of Vermont.  Each distributor handler shall file a report and pay the distributor's handler’s hundredweight fee to the commission council on forms provided for that purpose, except that distributors handlers who sell less than 100 quarts of fluid milk per day may file reports and pay the prescribed hundredweight fees at the end of each three-month period.  In case the same fluid milk is handled by more than one distributor handler, the first distributor handler within the state dealing in or handling the fluid milk shall be the distributor handler within the meaning of this chapter.

Sec. 11.  REPEAL

6 V.S.A. §§ 2928, 2930, 2951, and 2987(b) are repealed.

Sec. 12.  EFFECTIVE DATE

This act shall take effect on passage.

(Committee vote: 9-0-2)

H. 748

     An act relating to permitting students to possess and self-administer life-saving medicine.

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

Sec. 1.  16 V.S.A. § 1387 is added to read:

§ 1387.  POSSESSION AND SELF-ADMINISTRATION OF EMERGENCY MEDICATION

(a)  Pursuant to the requirements of this section, each public and approved independent school in the state shall permit students with life-threatening allergies or with asthma to possess and self-administer emergency medication on school grounds, at school-sponsored activities, while on school-provided transportation, and during school-related programs.

(b)  In each school year for which possession and self‑administration of emergency medication is requested, the student’s parent or guardian shall provide the school with:

(1)  Written authorization, on a form to be provided by the school, for the student to possess and self-administer emergency medication. 

(2)  Written documentation from the student’s physician:

(A)  Stating that the student has one or more life-threatening allergies or asthma or both.

(B)  Providing the name of the emergency medication, the dosage, and the times and circumstances under which the medication is to be taken.

(C)  Affirming that the student is capable of, and has been instructed in, the proper method of self-administration of the emergency medication.

(c)  In each school year for which possession and self‑administration of

emergency medication is requested, the student’s parent or guardian shall develop, in consultation with the school nurse or a nurse under contract with an approved independent school, a plan of action regarding the student’s life‑threatening allergy or allergies or asthma.  The plan of action shall be based upon the written documentation provided by the student’s physician and shall include the name of each emergency medication, the dosage, and the times and circumstances under which the medication is to be taken.

(d)  The student’s parent or guardian shall sign a statement on a form to be provided by the school, releasing the school and its employees and agents, including volunteers, from liability as a result of any injury arising from the student’s self-administration of the emergency medication, except when the conduct of the school, school employee, or agent would constitute gross negligence, willful and wanton misconduct, or intentional misconduct. 

Sec. 2.  EFFECTIVE DATE

This act shall apply during the 2008–2009 academic year and after.

and that upon passage, the title shall be “AN ACT RELATING TO PERMITTING STUDENTS TO POSSESS AND SELF‑ADMINISTER EMERGENCY MEDICATION”

(Committee vote: 11-0-0)

H. 755

     An act relating to economic development of the forestry and forest products industries.

Rep. Bray of New Haven, for the Committee on Agriculture, recommends 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)  The forests of Vermont are integral to the economy, culture, beauty, and appeal of the state.

(2)  The annual contributions of forest-based manufacturing and

forest-related recreation and tourism contribute $1.5 billion to the Vermont economy annually.

(3)  Revenues from forest-related recreation and tourism activities totaled $485 million in 2005.

(4)  Forest-based manufacturing contributes approximately 10 percent of Vermont’s total manufacturing sales.

(5)  The forest-based manufacturing industry provides employment for 6,379 people and generates a payroll of over $207.4 million.

(6)  Forest-based recreation and tourism provide employment for over 6,300 people and generate payrolls of $93.0 million.

(7)  Each 1,000 acres of forest land in Vermont supports 1.4 forest-based manufacturing, forestry, and logging jobs and 1.4 forest-related tourism and recreation jobs.

(8)  Wood provides the energy for approximately six percent of electrical and heating use in Vermont.

(9)  The forests of Vermont help maintain the environment and health of Vermont by aiding the filtering of clean water and clean air and by providing wildlife habitat to a diversity of animals.

(10)  Despite the significant, unparalleled contributions of the forests, forest-based manufacturing, and forest-related recreation and tourism to the state’s economy, jobs, energy, and environment, the forestry and forest products industries receive considerably less support and financial assistance than those afforded other Vermont industries, such as agriculture.

Sec. 2.  10 V.S.A. chapter 85 is added to read:

CHAPTER 85.  VALUE-ADDED FORESTRY AND FOREST PRODUCTS

Subchapter 1.  General Provisions

§ 2701.  POLICY

It is the policy of the state to encourage the sustainable management and use of its forests and woodlands; to preserve the natural beauty of the state’s forests and woodlands; to protect its wildlife; to preserve and protect the forest environment and health; and to promote, foster, and encourage the forestry and forest products industries of the state.  To achieve these goals, the general assembly declares it to be in the best interests of the state to promote opportunities and markets for value-added forest products.  Fostering and enhancing the value-added forestry markets will help the state retain and expand the state’s forest products manufacturing sector, will retain manufacturing jobs within the state, and will protect the health and viability of the forest environment.

Subchapter 2.  Forestry and Forest Products Viability Program

§ 2721.  VERMONT FORESTRY AND FOREST PRODUCTS VIABILITY

        PROGRAM

(a)  The Vermont forestry and forest products viability program is a voluntary program established at the department of forests, parks and recreation to provide assistance to Vermont timber harvesters, foresters, and forest products manufacturers to enhance the financial success and

long-term viability of the Vermont forest products industry.  In administering the program, the commissioner shall:

(1)  Collaborate with the Vermont housing and conservation board, the members of the Vermont wood products marketing council, the Vermont woodlands association, the Vermont loggers association, state agencies, federal agencies, private entities, and service groups to develop, coordinate, and provide technical and financial assistance to Vermont timber harvesters, foresters, and forest products manufacturers.

(2)  Include teams of experts to assist timber harvesters, foresters, and forest products manufacturers in areas such as assessing business resources and potential; researching, developing, and adopting new technologies; improving product quality; developing value-added products; finding and reaching new markets; improving and refining existing markets; and lowering costs of production for Vermont’s forest products sector.

(3)  Encourage economic development through investing in improvements to essential infrastructure and the promotion of timber harvesters, foresters, and forest products manufacturers in Vermont.

(4)  Enter into agreements with private organizations or individuals or with any agency or instrumentality of the United States or of this state and employ technical experts to carry out the purposes of this section.

(5)  In consultation with the Vermont housing and conservation board, other state agencies, foresters, harvesters, and forest products manufacturers establish:

(A)  enrollment criteria for the forestry and forest products viability program created by this section;

(B)  criteria for awarding grants from the forestry and forest products viability program special fund created by subsection (b) of this section.  The grant criteria shall include at least the following requirements:

(i)  the grant recipients shall be enrolled in and committed to participating in the forestry and forest products viability program;

(ii)  the grant application is developed in consultation with timber harvesters, foresters, or forest products manufacturers;

(iii)  the use of the funds will improve the economic viability of a timber harvester, forester, or forest products manufacturer.

(C)  performance goals, evaluative measures, and other criteria to implement and evaluate the effectiveness of the forestry and forest products viability program;

(b)(1)  The forestry and forest products viability program special fund is established in the state treasury and shall be administered by the commissioner of forests, parks and recreation in accordance with the provisions of subchapter 5 of chapter 7 of Title 32, except that interest earned on the fund shall be retained in the fund.  The fund shall be used only for the purpose of implementing and effectuating the forestry and forest products viability program established by this section.  Any monies appropriated by the general assembly or received by the commissioner of forests, parks and recreation from any other source, public or private, shall be deposited in the fund.  The fund shall be used only for the purposes of:

(A)  providing funds for the forestry and forest products viability program as established in this section;

(B)  providing funds to enrolled timber harvesters, foresters, or forest products manufacturers;

(C)  providing funds to service providers for administrative expenses of the program; and

(D)  leveraging other competitive public and private funds, grants, and contributions for the forestry and forest products viability program.

(2)  The commissioner of forests, parks and recreation may solicit federal funds, grants, and private contributions for the forestry and forest products viability program.

(c)(1)  The commissioner of forests, parks and recreation shall report in writing to the senate and house committees on agriculture and the senate and house committees on natural resources and energy on or before January 31 of each year with a report on the activities and performance of the forestry and forest products viability program.  At a minimum, the report shall include:

(A)  an evaluation of the program utilizing the performance goals and evaluative measures established pursuant to subdivision (a)(5)(C) of this section;

(B)  a summary of the money received in the fund and expended from the fund;

(C)  an estimate of the financial impact of the Vermont forestry and forest products viability program on the forestry and forest products industries; and

(D)  an assessment of the potential demand for the program over the succeeding three years.

(2)  The department of forests, parks and recreation shall include in its annual budget request funds to carry out this initiative.

Sec. 3.  DEPARTMENT OF FORESTS, PARKS AND RECREATION REPORT ON SUSTAINABLE CERTIFICATION OF STATE FOREST LANDS

On or before January 15, 2009, the commissioner of forests, parks and recreation shall report to the house and senate committees on agriculture, and the house and senate committees on natural resources and the environment regarding the feasibility of certifying the management of and sourcing of materials from state forests under the forest stewardship council (FSC) chain of custody, the sustainable forestry initiative (SFI), and the American tree farm system (ATFS) standards.  The report shall include:

(1)  A summary of the requirements for certification under the FSC, the SFI, and the ATFS standards;

(2)  An estimate of the economic value to the Vermont forestry and forest products industries of certification;

(3)  An estimate of the financial cost to the department of forests, parks and recreation to conduct certification of all state forest land;

(4)  An analysis of how certification standards could be of benefit in emerging carbon markets;

(5)  A recommendation as to whether the department of forests, parks and recreation should certify Vermont state forest land under the FSC, the SFI, and the ATFS standards; and

(6)  A recommendation as to whether the department should establish a program under which a certain percentage of timber sales from state forest lands will be reserved for sale to value-added forest products manufacturers in Vermont.

(Committee vote: 9-0-2)

H. 777

     An act relating to the certificate of need program.

Rep. Keogh of Burlington, for the Committee on Health Care, recommends the bill be amended by striking all after the enacting clause and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Sec. 1.  18 V.S.A. § 9432(4) is amended to read:

(4)  “Capital expenditure” means an expenditure for the plant or equipment which is not properly chargeable as an expense of operation and maintenance and includes acquisition by purchase, donation, leasehold expenditure, or operating lease which is treated as capital expense in accordance to the accounting standards established for lease expenditures by the Financial Accounting Standards Board, calculated over the length of the lease for plant or equipment, and includes assets having an expected life of at least three years.  A capital expenditure includes the cost of studies, surveys, designs, plans, working drawings, specifications and other activities essential to the acquisition, improvement, expansion, or replacement of the plant and equipment.

Sec. 2.  18 V.S.A. § 9439(b) is amended to read:

(b)  When a letter of intent to compete has been filed, the review process is suspended and the time within which a decision must be made as provided in subdivision 9440(c)(2) 9440(d)(4) of this title is stayed until the competing application has been ruled complete or for a period of 55 days from the date of notification under subdivision 9440(b)(4) 9440(c)(8) as to the original application, whichever is shorter.

Sec. 3.  18 V.S.A. § 9440(c)(6) is amended to read:

(6)  If an applicant fails to respond to an information request under subdivision (4) of this subsection within six months or, in the case of review cycle applications under section 9439 of this title, within such time limits as the commissioner shall establish by rule, the application will be deemed inactive unless the applicant has, within said six months, filed an adequate, as determined by the commissioner, amended letter of intent requests in writing that the application be reactivated and the commissioner grants the request.  If an applicant fails to respond to an information request within 12 months or, in the case of review cycle applications under section 9439 of this title, within such time limits as the commissioner shall establish by rule, the application will become invalid unless the applicant requests, and the commissioner grants, an extension.

Sec. 4.  18 V.S.A. § 9440(c)(9) is amended to read:

(9)  The health care ombudsman’s office established under section 4089j subchapter 1A of chapter 107 of Title 8 or, in the case of nursing homes, the long-term care ombudsman’s office established under section 7502 of Title 33, is authorized but not required to participate in any administrative or judicial review of an application under this subchapter and shall be considered an interested party in such proceedings upon filing a notice of intervention with the commissioner.

Sec. 5.  18 V.S.A. § 9440(d)(4) and (7) are amended to read:

(4)  A review shall be completed and the commissioner shall make a final decision within 120 days after the date of notification under subdivision (b)(4)(c)(4) of this section.  Whenever it is not practicable to complete a review within 120 days, the commissioner may extend the review period up to an additional 30 days.  Any review period may be extended with the written consent of the applicant and all other applicants in the case of a review cycle process.

(7)  Notice of the final decision shall be sent to the applicant, competing applicants, and interested parties.  This notice The final decision shall make include written findings and conclusions stating the basis of the decision.

Sec. 5a.  18 V.S.A. § 9440(e) is amended to read:

(e) The commissioner shall adopt rules governing procedures for the expeditious processing of applications for replacement, repair, rebuilding, or reequipping of any part of a health care facility or health maintenance organization destroyed or damaged as the result of fire, storm, flood, act of God, or civil disturbance, or any other circumstances beyond the control of the applicant, and of applications where the health care facility is affected by bankruptcy proceedings, where the commissioner finds that the circumstances require action in less time than normally required for review. If the nature of the emergency requires it, an application under this subsection may be reviewed by the commissioner only, without notice and opportunity for public hearing or intervention by any party.

Sec. 5b.  18 V.S.A. § 9440(g) is added to read:

(g)  If the commissioner has reason to believe that the applicant has violated a provision of this subchapter, a rule adopted pursuant to this subchapter, or the terms or conditions of a prior certificate of need, the commissioner may take into consideration such violation in determining whether to approve, deny, or approve the application subject to conditions.  The commissioner may impose as a condition of approval of the application that a violation be corrected or remediated before the certificate may take effect.    

Sec. 5c.  18 V.S.A. § 9445(d) is added to read:

(d)  The commissioner shall adopt by rule criteria for assessing the circumstances in which a violation of a provision of this subchapter, a rule adopted pursuant to this subchapter, or the terms or conditions of a certificate of need require that a penalty under this section shall be imposed, and criteria for assessing the circumstances in which a penalty under this section may be imposed.

Sec. 5d.  18 V.S.A. § 9440(c)(5) is amended to read:

(5) An applicant seeking expedited review of a certificate of need application may simultaneously file a letter of intent and an application with the commissioner. Upon making a determination that the proposed project may be uncontested and does not substantially alter services, as defined by rule, or upon making a determination that the application relates to a health care facility affected by bankruptcy proceedings, the commissioner shall issue public notice of the application and the request for expedited review and identify a date by which a competing application or petition for interested party status must be filed.  If a competing application is not filed and no person opposing the application is granted interested party status, the commissioner may formally declare the application uncontested and may issue a certificate of need without further process, or with such abbreviated process as the commissioner deems appropriate.  If a competing application is filed or a person opposing the application is granted interested party status, the applicant shall follow the certificate of need standards and procedures in this section, except that in the case of a health care facility affected by bankruptcy proceedings, the commissioner after notice and an opportunity to be heard may issue a certificate of need with such abbreviated process as the commissioner deems appropriate, notwithstanding the contested nature of the application.

Sec. 5e.  18 V.S.A. § 9440(e) is amended to read:

(e) The commissioner shall adopt rules governing procedures for the expeditious processing of applications for replacement, repair, rebuilding, or reequipping of any part of a health care facility or health maintenance organization destroyed or damaged as the result of fire, storm, flood, act of God, or civil disturbance, or any other circumstances beyond the control of the applicant, and of applications where the health care facility is affected by bankruptcy proceedings, where the commissioner finds that the circumstances require action in less time than normally required for review. If the nature of the emergency requires it, an application under this subsection may be reviewed by the commissioner only, without notice and opportunity for public hearing or intervention by any party.

Sec. 6.  18 V.S.A. § 9444 is amended to read:

§ 9444.  REVOCATION OF CERTIFICATES; MATERIAL CHANGE

The commissioner may revoke a certificate of need for substantial noncompliance with the scope of the project as designated in the application, or for failure to comply with the conditions set forth in the certificate of need granted by the commissioner.  In the event that after a project has been approved, its proponent wishes to materially change the scope or cost of the approved project, all such changes are subject to review under this subchapter. If a change itself would be considered a new health care project as defined in subsection 9434(a) section 9434 of this title, it shall be considered as material.  If the change itself would not be considered a new health care project as defined in subsection 9434(a) section 9434 of this title, the commissioner may decide not to review the change and shall notify the applicant and all parties of such decision.  Where the commissioner decides not to review a change, such change will be deemed to have been granted a certificate of need.

Sec. 7.  18 V.S.A. § 9445 is amended to read:

§ 9445.  ENFORCEMENT

(a)  Any person who offers or develops any new health care project within the meaning of this subchapter without first obtaining a certificate of need as required herein, or who otherwise violates any of the provisions of this subchapter, shall may be subject to the following administrative sanctions by the commissioner, after notice and an opportunity to be heard:

(1)  The state shall not issue a commissioner may order that no license or certificate permitted to be issued by the department or any other state agency may be issued to any health care facility to operate, offer, or develop any new health care project in violation of this subchapter and without a certificate of need or certificate of exemption issued pursuant thereto for a specified period of time, or that remedial conditions be attached to the issuance of such licenses or certificates.

(2)  The state shall not furnish from any reimbursement program commissioner may order that payments or reimbursements to the entity for claims made under any health insurance policy, subscriber contract, or health benefit plan offered or administered by any public or private health insurer, including the Medicaid program and any other health benefit program administered by the state, nor shall any entity chartered under the laws of this state or any person doing business in the state provide reimbursement for any new health care project offered or developed in contravention of the requirements of this subchapter be denied, reduced, or limited, and in the case of a hospital that the hospital’s annual budget approved under subchapter 7 of this chapter be adjusted, modified or reduced.

(3)(b)  In addition to all other sanctions, if any person offers or develops any new health care project without first having been issued a certificate of need or certificate of exemption therefore, or violates any other provision of this subchapter or any lawful rule or regulation promulgated thereunder, the commissioner and health care providers or consumers located in the state shall have standing to maintain a civil action in the superior court of the county wherein such alleged violation has occurred, or wherein such person may be found, to enjoin, restrain, or prevent such violation.  Upon written request by the commissioner, it shall be the duty of the attorney general of the state to furnish appropriate legal services and to prosecute an action for injunctive relief to an appropriate conclusion, which shall not be reimbursed under subdivision (2) of this subsection.

(b)(c)  After notice and an opportunity for hearing, the commissioner may impose on a person who knowingly violates a provision of this subchapter, or a rule or order adopted pursuant to this subchapter or section 15 of Title 8, a civil administrative penalty of no more than $40,000.00, or in the case of a continuing violation, a civil administrative penalty of no more than $100,000.00 or one-tenth of one percent of the gross annual revenues of the health care facility, whichever is greater, which shall not be reimbursed under subdivision (a)(2) of this section, and the commissioner may order the entity to cease and desist from further violations, and to take such other actions necessary to remediate a violation.  A person aggrieved by a decision of the commissioner under this subdivision may appeal the commissioner’s decision to the supreme court.

Sec. 8.  EMERGENCY RULES; EFFECTIVE DATE; PROSPECTIVE REPEAL

(a)  The commissioner may adopt emergency rules to carry out the purposes of Sec. 5a of this act.

(b)  This act shall take effect on July 1, 2008, except that Sec. 5a of this act shall take effect on passage, and Sec. 5e of this act shall take effect on July 1, 2009.

(c)  Subsection (a) of this section shall be repealed on June 30, 2009.

(Committee vote: 10-0-1)

H. 783

     An act relating to home improvement fraud.

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

Sec. 1.  13 V.S.A. § 2029 is amended to read:

§ 2029. HOME IMPROVEMENT FRAUD

(a) As used in this section, "home improvement" includes the fixing, replacing, remodeling, removing, renovation, alteration, conversion, improvement, demolition, or rehabilitation of or addition to any building or land, or any portion thereof, which is used or designed to be used as a residence or dwelling unit. Home improvement shall include the construction, replacement, installation, paving, or improvement of driveways, roofs, and sidewalks, and the limbing, pruning, and removal of trees or shrubbery and other improvements to structures or upon land that is adjacent to a dwelling house.

(b) A person commits the offense of home improvement fraud when he or she knowingly enters into a contract or agreement, written or oral, for $500.00 or more, with an owner for home improvement, or into several contracts or agreements for $2,500.00 or more in the aggregate, with more than one owner for home improvement, and he or she knowingly:

(1) promises performance that he or she does not intend to perform or knows will not be performed, in whole or in part;

(2) misrepresents a material fact relating to the terms of the contract or agreement or to the condition of any portion of the property involved;

(3) uses or employs any unfair or deceptive act or practice in order to induce, encourage, or solicit such person to enter into any contract or agreement or to modify the terms of the original contract or agreement; or

(4) when there is a declared state of emergency, charges for goods or services related to the emergency a price that exceeds two times the average price for the goods or services and the increase is not attributable to the additional costs incurred in connection with providing those goods or services.

(c) It shall be a permissive inference that the person acted knowingly under subdivision (b)(1) of this section if the person fails to perform the contract or agreement and, when the owner requests performance of the contract or agreement or a refund of payments made, the person fails to:

(1) return the payments or deliver the materials or make and comply with a reasonable written repayment plan for the return of the payments; or

(2) make and comply with a reasonable written plan for completion of the contract or agreement.

(d) A person convicted of home improvement fraud shall register with the department of labor office of attorney general. The court shall notify the department of labor office of attorney general of a conviction under this section. A person who is sentenced pursuant to subdivisions (e)(2), (3), or (4) of this section shall not engage in home improvement activities for compensation unless he or she has filed a surety bond or an irrevocable letter of credit with the department of labor office of attorney general in an amount of not less than $50,000.00. The department office shall release the letter of credit at such time when:

(1) any claims against the person relating to home improvement fraud have been paid;

(2) there are no pending actions or claims against the person for home improvement fraud; and

(3) the person has not been engaged in home improvement activities for at least six years and has signed an affidavit attesting to such.

(e)(1) A person who violates subsection (b) of this section shall be imprisoned not more than two years or fined not more than $1,000.00, or both, if the loss to a single consumer is less than $1,000.00.

(2) A person who is convicted of a second or subsequent violation of subdivision (1) of this subsection shall be imprisoned not more than three years or fined not more than $5,000.00, or both.

(3) A person who violates subsection (b) of this section shall be imprisoned not more than three years or fined not more than $5,000.00, or both, if:

(A) the loss to a single consumer is $1,000.00 or more; or

(B) the loss to more than one consumer is $2,500.00 or more in the aggregate.

(4) A person who is convicted of a second or subsequent violation of subdivision (3) of this subsection shall be imprisoned not more than five years or fined not more than $10,000.00, or both.

(5) A person who violates subsection (d) of this section shall be imprisoned for not more than two years or fined not more than $1,000.00, or both.

(Committee vote: 9-0-2)

H. 784

     An act relating to energy conservation in public schools.

Rep. Canfield of Fair Haven, for the Committee on Natural Resources and Energy, recommends the bill be amended by striking all after the enacting clause and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Sec. 1.  FACILITY OPERATING PLAN INITIATIVE

The commissioners of education and public service, in consultation with the superintendents’ association and other interested persons as they deem appropriate, shall develop a methodology for guiding the proper management of school energy systems and encouraging energy efficiency and energy conservation in schools, attempting to do so within the bounds and funding of existing programs.  The commissioners shall report back to the committees on natural resources and energy by no later than January 15, 2009 with regard to their implementation of this section and barriers to that implementation.

(Committee vote: 11-0-0)

H. 809

     An act relating to requiring annual fire safety inspections for approved independent residential schools.

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

Sec. 1.  16 V.S.A. § 166(b) is amended to read:

(b)  Approved independent schools.  On application, the state board shall approve an independent school which offers elementary or secondary education if it finds, after opportunity for hearing, that the school provides a minimum course of study and that it substantially complies with the board's rules for approved independent schools.  Except as provided in subdivision (6) of this subsection, the board's rules must at minimum require that the school has the resources required to meet its stated objectives, including financial capacity, faculty who are qualified by training and experience in the areas in which they are assigned, and physical facilities and special services that are in accordance with any state or federal law or regulation.  Approval may be granted without state board evaluation in the case of any school accredited by a private, state, or regional agency recognized by the state board for accrediting purposes.

* * *

(7)  Approval for independent residential schools under this subsection is also contingent upon proof of the school’s satisfactory completion of an annual fire safety inspection by the department of public safety or its designee  pursuant to subchapter 2 of chapter 173 of Title 20.  A certificate executed by the inspecting entity, declaring satisfactory completion of the inspection and identifying the date by which a new inspection must occur, shall be posted at the school in a public location.  The school shall provide a copy of the certificate to the commissioner of education after each annual inspection.  The school shall pay the actual cost of the inspection unless waived or reduced by the inspecting entity.

Sec. 2.  EFFECTIVE DATE

This act shall take effect upon passage. 

(Committee vote: 10-0-1)

 

H. 863

     An act relating to creation and preservation of affordable housing and smart growth development.

(Rep. Head of South Burlington will speak for the Committee on General, Housing and Military Affairs.)

Rep. Klein of East Montpelier, for the Committee on Natural Resources and Energy, recommends the bill be amended as follows:

By striking Secs.1 through 4, Secs. 5 through 7, and Sec.10 in their entirety, by inserting in lieu thereof the following, and by renumbering the remaining sections to be numerically correct:

* * * Vermont Neighborhoods Program * * *

Sec. 1.  24 V.S.A. § 2791(15) is added to read:

(15)  “Vermont neighborhood” means an area of land that is in a municipality with an approved plan, a confirmed planning process, zoning bylaws, and subdivision regulations, and:

(A)  that is located in one of the following:

(i)  A designated downtown, village center, new town center, or growth center; or

(ii)  An area of land that is within the municipality and outside but contiguous to a designated downtown, village center, or new town center, and is not more than 50 percent of the total acreage of the designated downtown, village center, or new town center; and

(B)  that contains substantially the following characteristics:

(i)  Its contiguous land, if any, complements the existing downtown district, village center, or new town center by integrating new housing units with existing residential neighborhoods, commercial and civic services and facilities, and transportation networks, and is consistent with smart growth principles.                    

(ii)  It is served by either a municipal sewer infrastructure or a community or alternative wastewater system approved by the agency of natural resources.

(iii)  It incorporates minimum residential densities of no fewer than four units of single-family, detached dwelling units per acre, and higher densities for duplexes and multi-family housing.

(iv)  It incorporates neighborhood design standards that promote compact, pedestrian-oriented development patterns and networks of sidewalks or paths for both pedestrians and bicycles that connect with adjacent development areas.

Sec. 2.  24 V.S.A. § 2793d is added to read:
§ 2793d.  DESIGNATION OF VERMONT NEIGHBORHOODS

(a)  A municipality that has a duly adopted and approved plan and a planning process that is confirmed in accordance with section 4350 of this title, has adopted zoning bylaws and subdivision regulations in accordance with section 4442 of this title, and has a designated downtown district, a designated village center, a designated new town center or a designated growth center served by municipal sewer infrastructure or a community or alternative

wastewater system approved by the agency of natural resources, is authorized to apply for designation of a Vermont neighborhood.  A municipal decision to apply for designation shall be developed according to the procedures established in sections 4441 and 4442 of this title, with regard to the development by the planning commission of a proposed bylaw, and its adoption or rejection by the municipal legislative body.  

Designation is possible in two different situations:

(1)  If an application is submitted in compliance with this subsection for a designated Vermont neighborhood that would have boundaries that are entirely within the boundaries of a designated downtown district, designated village center, designated new town center, or designated growth center, the downtown board shall issue the designation.

(2)  If an application is submitted in compliance with this subsection, by a municipality that does not have a designated growth center and that proposes to create a Vermont neighborhood that has boundaries that include land that is not within its designated downtown, village center, or new town center, the downtown board, in its expanded configuration in which it considers growth center applications, shall consider the application.  This application may be for approval of one or more Vermont neighborhoods that is outside but contiguous to a designated downtown district, designated village center, or designated new town center.  The application for designation shall include a map of the boundaries of the proposed Vermont neighborhood, including the property outside but contiguous to a designated downtown district, village center, or new town center and evidence that the municipality has notified the regional planning commission and the regional development corporation of its application for this designation. 

(b)  Within 45 days of receipt of a completed application, the expanded downtown board shall designate a Vermont neighborhood if the board finds the applicant has met the requirements of subsections (a) and (c) of this section.  When designating a Vermont neighborhood, the board may change the boundaries that were contained in the application by reducing the size of the area proposed to be included in the designated neighborhood, but may not include in the designation land that was not included in the application for designation.  Any Vermont neighborhood designation shall terminate when the underlying downtown, village center, new town center, or growth center designation terminates.

(c)  The applicant shall demonstrate all of the following:

(1)  The municipality has a duly adopted and approved plan and a planning process that is confirmed in accordance with section 4350 of this title, and has adopted zoning bylaws and subdivision regulations in accordance with section 4442 of this title.

(2)  The cumulative total of all Vermont neighborhood land located within the municipality but outside a designated downtown district, designated village center, or designated new town center is not more than 50 percent of the total acreage of the designated downtown district, village center, or new town center.

(3)  The contiguous land of the Vermont neighborhood complements the existing designated downtown district, village center, or new town center by integrating new housing units with existing residential neighborhoods, commercial and civic services and facilities, and transportation networks, and the contiguous land, in combination with the designated downtown development district, village center, or new town center, is consistent with smart growth principles established under subdivision 2791(13) of this title.

(4)  The Vermont neighborhood will be served by either:

(A)  a municipal sewer infrastructure; or

(B)  a community or alternative wastewater system approved by the agency of natural resources.

(5)  The municipal zoning bylaw requires both of the following:

(A)  Minimum residential densities that may be calculated by excluding land occupied by community wastewater systems, flood hazard areas, wetlands, rare and irreplaceable natural areas, necessary wildlife habitat, or other resource lands that are not able to be developed due to state or federal regulation, and that shall require the following:

(i)  No fewer than four units of single-family, detached dwelling units per acre, exclusive of accessory apartments.

(ii)  Higher density for duplexes and multi-family housing.

 (B)  Neighborhood design standards that promote compact, pedestrian-oriented development patterns that include the following:

(i)  Pedestrian scale and orientation of development.  Networks of sidewalks or paths, or both, are provided and available to the public to connect the Vermont neighborhood with adjacent development areas, existing and planned adjacent sidewalks, paths, and public streets and the designated downtown, village center, or new town center.

(ii)  Interconnected and pedestrian-friendly street networks.  Street networks are designed to safely accommodate both pedestrians and bicycles through the provisions of sidewalks on at least one side of the street, on-street parking, and traffic-calming features.

 (d)  Incentives for Vermont neighborhoods include the following:

(1)  The agency of natural resources shall charge no more than a $50.00 fee for wastewater applications where the applicant has received an allocation for sewer capacity from an approved municipal system.  Act 250 fees for residential developments in Vermont neighborhoods shall be 50 percent of the fee normally charged.

(2)  Fifty percent of Act 250 fees for all proposed development in Vermont neighborhoods shall be paid upon application, and 50 percent shall be paid within 30 days of the issuance of a decision.

(3)  No land gains tax shall be levied on a transfer of land in Vermont neighborhoods.

(e)   Initial designation shall be for a period of three years.  After that time has expired, the expanded state board shall review a Vermont neighborhood concurrently with the next periodic review conducted of the underlying designated entity, even if the underlying designated entity was not designated originally by the expanded state board.  However, the expanded board may review compliance with the designation requirements at more frequent intervals.  If at any time the expanded state board determines that the designated Vermont neighborhood no longer meets the standards for designation established in this section, it may take any of the following actions:

(1)  require corrective action;

(2)  remove the Vermont neighborhood designation, with that removal not affecting any of the benefits previously awarded to the designated Vermont neighborhood; or

(3)  limit eligibility for the benefits established in this chapter, with the limitation not affecting any of the benefits previously awarded to the designated Vermont neighborhood.

(f)  Designation decisions made under this section may be appealed to the environmental court pursuant to Rule 5 of the Vermont Rules for Environmental Proceedings by an interested person as defined in subsection 4465(b) of this title.  Review by the environmental court shall be de novo.

* * * Agency of Natural Resources Fees * * *

Sec. 3.  3 V.S.A. § 2822(j)(4)(D) is amended to read:

(D)  Notwithstanding the other provisions of this subdivision,:

* * *

(ii)  when a potable water supply is subject to the fee provisions of this subdivision and subdivision (j)(7)(A) of this section, only the fee required by subdivision (j)(7)(A) shall be assessed; and

(iii)  when a project is subject to the fee provision for the subdivision of land and the fee provision for potable water supplies and wastewater systems of this subdivision, only the higher of the two fees shall be assessed; and

(iv)  when a project is located in a Vermont neighborhood, as designated under 24 V.S.A. chapter 76A, the fee shall be no more than $50.00 in situations in which the application has received an allocation for sewer capacity from an approved municipal system.

* * * Act 250 Provisions * * *  

Sec. 4.  10 V.S.A. § 6001(3)(B) and (C) are amended to read:  

(3)(A)  “Development” means:

* * *

(B)(i)  Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision (3)(A) of this section, if a project consists exclusively of any combination of mixed income housing or mixed use and is located entirely within a growth center designated pursuant to 24 V.S.A. § 2793c or within a downtown development district designated pursuant to 24 V.S.A. § 2793, “development” means:

(i)(I)  Construction of mixed income housing with 200 or more housing units or a mixed use project with 200 or more housing units, in a municipality with a population of 25,000 or more.

(II)  Construction of mixed income housing with 100 or more housing units or a mixed use project with 100 or more housing units, in a municipality with a population of 20,000 15,000 or more, but less than 25,000.

(ii)(III)  Construction of mixed income housing with 50 or more housing units or a mixed use project with 50 or more housing units, in a municipality with a population of 10,000 7,000 or more but less than 20,000 15,000.

(iii)(IV)  Construction of mixed income housing with 30 or more housing units or a mixed use project with 30 or more housing units, in a municipality with a population of 5,000 3,000 or more and less than 10,000 7,000.

(iv)(V)  Construction of mixed income housing with 25 or more housing units or a mixed use project with 25 or more housing units, in a municipality with a population of less than 5,000 3,000.

(v)(VI)  Construction of 10 or more units of mixed income housing or a mixed use project with 10 or more housing units where the construction involves the demolition of one or more buildings that are listed on or eligible to be listed on the state or national register of historic places.  However, demolition shall not be considered to create jurisdiction under this subdivision if the division for historic preservation has determined the proposed demolition will have no adverse effect, an effect that will not be adverse provided that specified conditions are met, or an adverse effect that will be adequately mitigated, and if any imposed conditions are enforceable through a grant condition, deed covenant, or other legally binding document.

(ii) Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision (3)(A) of this section, if a project consists exclusively of mixed income housing located entirely within a Vermont neighborhood designated pursuant to 24 V.S.A. § 2793d, but outside of a growth center designated pursuant to 24 V.S.A. § 2793c or a downtown development district designated pursuant to 24 V.S.A. § 2793, “development" shall be determined in accordance with the numerical thresholds established in subdivision (3)(B)(i) of this section.

(C)  For the purposes of determining jurisdiction under subdivisions (3)(A) and (3)(B) of this section:

(i)  Housing units constructed by a person partially or completely outside a designated downtown development district or designated growth center shall not be counted to determine jurisdiction over housing units constructed by a person entirely within a designated downtown development district or designated growth center.

(ii)  Within any continuous period of five years, housing units constructed by a person entirely within a designated downtown district, or designated growth center, or designated Vermont neighborhood shall be counted together with housing units constructed by a person partially or completely outside a designated downtown development district, or designated growth center, or designated Vermont neighborhood to determine jurisdiction over the housing units constructed by a person partially or completely outside the designated downtown development district, or designated growth center, or designated Vermont neighborhood and within a five-mile radius.

(iii)  All housing units constructed by a person within a designated downtown development district, or designated growth center, or designated Vermont neighborhood within any continuous period of five years, commencing on or after the effective date of this subdivision, shall be counted together, but only if they are part of a discrete project located on a single tract or multiple contiguous tracts of land.

(iv)  In the case of  a project undertaken by a railroad, no portion of a railroad line or railroad right-of-way that will not be physically altered as part of the project shall be included in computing the amount of land involved.  In the case of a project undertaken by a person to construct a rail line or rail siding to connect to a railroad’s line or right-of-way, only the land used for the rail line or rail siding that will be physically altered as part of the project shall be included in computing the amount of land involved.

(v)  Notwithstanding subdivision (C)(iii) of this subdivision (3), any affordable housing units, as defined by this section, (3)(A)(iv) and subdivision (19) of this section, jurisdiction shall be determined exclusively by counting housing units, and when counting housing units to determine jurisdiction, only housing units in a discrete project on a single tract or multiple contiguous tracts of land shall be counted, regardless of whether located within an area designated under 24 V.S.A. chapter 76A, provided that the housing units are affordable housing units, as defined by this section, that are subject to housing subsidy covenants as defined in 27 V.S.A. § 610 that preserve their affordability for a period of 99 years or longer, and that are constructed by a person within a designated downtown development district, designated village center, or designated growth center, shall count toward the total number of housing units used to determine jurisdiction only if they were constructed within the previous 12-month period, commencing on or after the effective date of this subdivision.

Sec. 5. REPEAL

10 V.S.A. § 6001(16)(rural growth areas definition) is repealed.

Sec. 6.  10 V.S.A. § 6001(31) and (32) are added to read:

(31)  “Existing settlement” means an extant community center similar to the traditional Vermont center which is compact in size and contains a mixture of uses which may include commercial, industrial, and residential components which are, to a large extent, within walking distance of each other, and which have appreciably higher densities than densities that occur outside these areas.  For the purposes of this subdivision, the term shall include downtown development districts designated in accordance with 24 V.S.A. § 2793, village centers designated in accordance with 24 V.S.A. § 2793a, new town centers designated in accordance with 24 V.S.A. § 2793b, growth centers designated in accordance with 24 V.S.A. § 2793c, and Vermont neighborhoods designated in accordance with 24 V.S.A. § 2793d.  This term specifically excludes areas of commercial, highway-oriented uses commonly referred to as “strip development.”

(32)  “Strip development” means linear commercial development along an arterial highway leading from an existing settlement or connecting two existing settlements.  The characteristics of strip development, which need not all be present in order for strip development to exist, include the following:  broad road frontage; individual curb cuts for individual projects; lack of connection to existing settlements by anything except highway; limited accessibility to pedestrians; and lack of coordination with surrounding projects in terms of design, signs, lighting and parking.

Sec. 7.  10 V.S.A. § 6083a is amended to read:

§ 6083a.  ACT 250 FEES

* * *

(d)  Fees for residential development in a Vermont neighborhood designated according to 24 V.S.A. § 2793d shall be no more than 50 percent of the fee otherwise charged, with 50 percent due with the application and 50 percent due within 30 days after issuance of a decision. 

Sec. 8.  10 V.S.A. § 6086(a)(5) is amended to read:

(5)  Will not cause unreasonable congestion or unsafe conditions with respect to use of the highways, sidewalks, bikeways, waterways, railways, airports, and airways, and other means of transportation existing or proposed and provides appropriate connections to transit, bicycle, and pedestrian networks, where existing or planned, with the objective of minimizing motor vehicle use.

Sec. 9.  10 V.S.A. § 6086(a)(9)(L) is amended to read:

(L)  Rural growth areas. A permit will be granted for the development or subdivision of rural growth areas when it is demonstrated by the applicant that in addition to all other applicable criteria provision will be made in accordance with subdivisions (9)(A) “impact of growth,” (G) “private utility service,” (H) “costs of scattered development” and (J) “public utility services” of subsection (a) of this section for reasonable population densities, reasonable rates of growth, and the use of cluster planning and new community planning designed to economize on the cost of roads, utilities and land usage.

Settlement Patterns.

(i)  Inside existing settlements, a permit shall be granted for development or subdivision of land if the applicant, in addition to other applicable criteria, demonstrates that the project will not significantly detract from Vermont’s historic settlement pattern of compact village and urban centers separated by rural countryside, which shall be accomplished by complying with planned densities that are appreciably higher than densities outside existing settlements within the municipality and region.  

(ii)  In rural areas outside existing settlements, a permit shall be granted for development or subdivision if, in addition to all other applicable criteria, the applicant demonstrates that the project:

(I)  will not substantially detract from Vermont’s historic settlement pattern of compact village and urban centers separated by rural countryside, which shall be accomplished by contributing to overall densities that are appreciably lower than densities planned for existing settlements within the municipality and region;

(II)  will not establish or extend a pattern of strip development along public highways.  In situations in which a pattern of strip development has already been established, development should reinforce compact in-fill site design;

(III)  will promote an efficient use of land, energy, roads, utilities and other supporting infrastructure through compact site development, clustering, or conservation subdivision design, in order to avoid conflicts with agriculture, forestry, and other natural resource‑based land uses; and will promote the preservation of open space, as well as the protection of headwaters, streams, shorelines, floodways, rare and irreplaceable natural areas, necessary wildlife habitat, wetlands, endangered species, productive forest lands, and primary agricultural soils.

* * * Consolidated Appeals * * *

Sec. 10.  10 V.S.A. § 8502(9) is added to read:

(9) “State board,” also referred to as the “Vermont downtown development board,”  means a board created pursuant to 24 V.S.A. § 2792. 

Sec. 11.  10 V.S.A. § 8503(b)(4) is added to read:

(4)  Appeals from designation decisions issued by the state board in its review of a Vermont neighborhood for conformance with the criteria of 24 V.S.A. §  2793d. 

Sec. 12.  10 V.S.A. § 8504(a) is amended to read:

(a)  Act 250 and agency appeals.  Within 30 days of the date of the act or decision, any person aggrieved by an act or decision of the secretary, a district coordinator, or a district commission under the provisions of law listed in section 8503 of this title, or any party by right, may appeal to the environmental court. Within 30 days of the date of a Vermont neighborhood designation decision issued by the state board under 24 V.S.A. chapter 76A, an interested person, as defined in 24 V.S.A. § 4465(b), may appeal to the environmental court.

Sec. 13.  10 V.S.A. § 8504(c)(2) is amended to read:

(2) Upon the filing of an appeal from the act or decision of the secretary or from a Vermont neighborhood designation decision of the state board  under the provisions of law listed in section 8503 of this title, the appellant shall provide notice of the filing of an appeal to the following persons: the applicant before the agency of natural resources or the state board, if other than the appellant; the owner of the land where the project is located if the applicant is not the owner; the municipality in which the project is located; the municipal and regional planning commissions for the municipality in which the project is located; if the project site is located on a boundary, any adjacent Vermont municipality and the municipal and regional planning commissions for that municipality; any state agency affected; the solid waste management district in which the project is located, if the project constitutes a facility pursuant to subdivision 6602(10) of this title; all persons required to receive notice of receipt of an application or notice of the issuance of a draft permit; and all persons on any mailing list for the decision involved. In addition, the appellant shall publish notice not more than 10 days after providing notice as required under this subsection, at the appellant's expense, in a newspaper of general circulation in the area of the project which is the subject of the decision.

Sec. 14.  10 V.S.A. § 8504(n) is amended to read:

(n) Intervention. Any person may intervene in a pending appeal if that person:

(1) appeared as a party in the action appealed from and retained party status;

(2) is a party by right;

(3) is the natural resources board, or either panel of the board;

(4) is a person aggrieved, as defined in this chapter;

(5) qualifies as an "interested person," as established in 24 V.S.A. § 4465, with respect to appeals under 24 V.S.A. chapter 117 or appeals of a Vermont neighborhood designation decision by the state board; or

(6) meets the standard for intervention established in the Vermont Rules of Civil Procedure.

* * * Chapter 117 Conditional Use Appeals * * *

Sec. 15.  24 V.S.A. § 4471(e) is added to read:

(e)  Notwithstanding subsection (a) of this section, a determination by an appropriate municipal panel that the density of a proposed residential development within a designated downtown development district, designated growth center, or Vermont neighborhood seeking conditional use approval shall not result in an undue adverse effect on the character of the area affected as provided in subdivision 4414(3)(A)(ii) of this title is not subject to appeal.

* * * Reports * * *

Sec. 16.  REPORT ON POLLUTION CONTROL SYSTEM

By no later than January 15, 2009, the secretary of natural resources shall report to the legislative committees on natural resources and energy with regard to the agency’s implementation of and compliance with the municipal pollution control priority system rules, and as to the impact of these rules on development.

Sec. 16.   STATE SURPLUS LAND AND HOUSING

     The department of housing and community affairs, in consultation with the Vermont housing finance agency, the Vermont housing and conservation board, and other interested parties, shall develop program recommendations for the use of state land that may be available and appropriate for the creation of affordable housing, exclusively.  The proposal shall include methods to ensure that each affordable housing project shall include a substantial number of permanently affordable units.  The department shall present the program recommendations no later than January 15, 2009 to the house committee on general, housing and military affairs, the senate committee on economic development, housing and general affairs, and the house and senate committees on natural resources and energy.

(Committee vote: 7-4-0)

Rep. Peterson of Williston, for the Committee on Ways and Means, recommends the amendment offered by the Committee on Natural Resources and Energy be amended as follows:

First:  In Sec. 2, in 24 V.S.A. § 2793d(d), by striking subdivisions (1) through (3) and inserting new subdivisions (1) through (3) to read:

(1)  The agency of natural resources shall charge no more than a $50.00 fee for wastewater applications under 3 V.S.A. § 2822(j)(4) where the applicant has received an allocation for sewer capacity from an approved municipal system.  Act 250 fees under 10 V.S.A. § 6083a for residential developments in Vermont neighborhoods shall be 50 percent of the fee otherwise applicable.

(2)  Fifty percent of Act 250 fees under 10 V.S.A. § 6083a  for proposed development in Vermont neighborhoods shall be paid upon application, and 50 percent shall be paid within 30 days of the issuance or denial of the permit.

(3)  No land gains tax under Chapter 236 of Title 32 shall be levied on a transfer of land in a Vermont neighborhood.

Second:  By striking Sec. 7 and inserting a new Sec. 7 to read:

Sec. 7.  10 V.S.A. § 6083a is amended to read:

§ 6083a.  ACT 250 FEES

* * *

(d)  Fees for residential development in a Vermont neighborhood designated according to 24 V.S.A. § 2793d shall be no more than 50 percent of the fee otherwise charged under this section, with 50 percent due with the application and 50 percent due within 30 days after issuance or denial of the permit. 

     and the committee further recommends that the underlying bill be amended as follows:

First:    On pages 14 and 15, by striking Sec. 4a and inserting a new Sec. 4a to read:

Sec. 4a.  24  V.S.A. § 2793e is added to read:

§2793e.  MUNICIPAL FEE FOR EXEMPT HOUSING UNIT IN A VERMONT NEIGHBORHOOD

(a)  The developer of a project in a Vermont neighborhood designated in accordance with 24 V.S.A. § 2793d and exempted from Act 250 review under the definition of “development” in 10  V.S.A. § 6001(3)(B) shall pay a municipal fee of $500.00 for each housing unit in the exempt project. The fee shall be paid to the municipality in which the development is located at the time of the closing of the initial sale of the unit.  Municipalities shall have the authority to collect and enforce fees imposed by this section in the manner authorized for the collection of municipal impact fees under chapter 131 of Title 24.

(b)  Revenues from the fees imposed by this section may be used by the municipality only to improve or create public infrastructure required by the Vermont neighborhoods program under 24 V.S.A. § 2793d; to cover the municipality’s expenses of the planning process relating to the Vermont neighborhoods program; or to create pedestrian and multimodal transportation infrastructure, recreation facilities, or other services deemed necessary by the municipality as a result of new housing units created under the Vermont neighborhoods program.

Second:   On page 27, by striking Sec. 14 and inserting a new Sec. 14 to read:

Sec. 14.  32 V.S.A. § 9602(1) is amended to read:

A tax is hereby imposed upon the transfer by deed of title to property located in this state.  The amount of the tax equals one and one quarter

one-quarter percent of the value of the property transferred, or $1.00, whichever is greater, except as follows:

(1)  with respect to the transfer of property to be used for the principal residence of the transferee:  the tax shall be imposed at the rate of five-tenths of one percent of the first $100,000.00 in value of the property transferred and at the rate of one and one quarter one-quarter percent of the value of the property transferred in excess of $100,000.00; except that no tax shall be imposed on the first $110,000.00 in value of the property transferred if the purchaser obtains a purchase money mortgage funded in part with a homeland grant through the Vermont housing and conservation trust fund or which the Vermont housing and finance agency or U.S. Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has committed to make or purchase and tax at the rate of one and one-quarter percent shall be imposed on the value of that property in excess of $110,000.00.

(Committee vote: 6-4-1)

Rep. Heath of Westford, for the Committee on Appropriations, recommends the bill ought to pass when amended as recommended by the Committee on Natural Resources and Energy and when further amended as recommended by the Committee on Ways and Means.

(Committee Vote: 6-4-1)

Amendment to be offered by Rep. Head of South Burlington to H. 863

     Moves, in substitution for the recommendations of the Committees on General, Housing and  Military Affairs, Natural Resources and Energy, Ways and Means and Appropriations, to strike all after the enacting clause and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

* * * Vermont Neighborhoods Program * * *

Sec. 1.  24 V.S.A. § 2791(15) is added to read:

(15)  “Vermont neighborhood” means an area of land that is in a municipality with an approved plan, a confirmed planning process, zoning bylaws, and subdivision regulations, and:

(A)  that is located in one of the following:

(i)  A designated downtown, village center, new town center, or growth center; or

(ii)  An area of land that is within the municipality and outside but contiguous to a designated downtown, village center, or new town center, and is not more than 50 percent of the total acreage of the designated downtown, village center, or new town center; and

(B)  that contains substantially the following characteristics:

(i)  Its contiguous land, if any, complements the existing downtown district, village center, or new town center by integrating new housing units with existing residential neighborhoods, commercial and civic services and facilities, and transportation networks, and is consistent with smart growth principles.                    

(ii)  It is served by either a municipal sewer infrastructure or a community or alternative wastewater system approved by the agency of natural resources.

(iii)  It incorporates minimum residential densities of no fewer than four units of single-family, detached dwelling units per acre, and higher densities for duplexes and multi-family housing.

(iv)  It incorporates neighborhood design standards that promote compact, pedestrian-oriented development patterns and networks of sidewalks or paths for both pedestrians and bicycles that connect with adjacent development areas.

Sec. 2.  24 V.S.A. § 2793d is added to read:
§ 2793d.  DESIGNATION OF VERMONT NEIGHBORHOODS

(a)  A municipality that has a duly adopted and approved plan and a planning process that is confirmed in accordance with section 4350 of this title, has adopted zoning bylaws and subdivision regulations in accordance with section 4442 of this title, and has a designated downtown district, a designated village center, a designated new town center or a designated growth center served by municipal sewer infrastructure or a community or alternative

wastewater system approved by the agency of natural resources, is authorized to apply for designation of a Vermont neighborhood.  A municipal decision to apply for designation shall be developed according to the procedures established in sections 4441 and 4442 of this title, with regard to the development by the planning commission of a proposed bylaw, and its adoption or rejection by the municipal legislative body.  

Designation is possible in two different situations:

(1)  If an application is submitted in compliance with this subsection for a designated Vermont neighborhood that would have boundaries that are entirely within the boundaries of a designated downtown district, designated village center, designated new town center, or designated growth center, the downtown board shall issue the designation.

(2)  If an application is submitted in compliance with this subsection, by a municipality that does not have a designated growth center and that proposes to create a Vermont neighborhood that has boundaries that include land that is not within its designated downtown, village center, or new town center, the downtown board, in its expanded configuration in which it considers growth center applications, shall consider the application.  This application may be for approval of one or more Vermont neighborhoods that is outside but contiguous to a designated downtown district, designated village center, or designated new town center.  The application for designation shall include a map of the boundaries of the proposed Vermont neighborhood, including the property outside but contiguous to a designated downtown district, village center, or new town center and evidence that the municipality has notified the regional planning commission and the regional development corporation of its application for this designation. 

(b)  Within 45 days of receipt of a completed application, the expanded downtown board shall designate a Vermont neighborhood if the board finds the applicant has met the requirements of subsections (a) and (c) of this section.  When designating a Vermont neighborhood, the board may change the boundaries that were contained in the application by reducing the size of the area proposed to be included in the designated neighborhood, but may not include in the designation land that was not included in the application for designation.  Any Vermont neighborhood designation shall terminate when the underlying downtown, village center, new town center, or growth center designation terminates.

(c)  The applicant shall demonstrate all of the following:

(1)  The municipality has a duly adopted and approved plan and a planning process that is confirmed in accordance with section 4350 of this title, and has adopted zoning bylaws and subdivision regulations in accordance with section 4442 of this title.

(2)  The cumulative total of all Vermont neighborhood land located within the municipality but outside a designated downtown district, designated village center, or designated new town center is not more than 50 percent of the total acreage of the designated downtown district, village center, or new town center.

(3)  The contiguous land of the Vermont neighborhood complements the existing designated downtown district, village center, or new town center by integrating new housing units with existing residential neighborhoods, commercial and civic services and facilities, and transportation networks, and the contiguous land, in combination with the designated downtown development district, village center, or new town center, is consistent with smart growth principles established under subdivision 2791(13) of this title.

(4)  The Vermont neighborhood will be served by either:

(A)  a municipal sewer infrastructure; or

(B)  a community or alternative wastewater system approved by the agency of natural resources.

(5)  The municipal zoning bylaw requires both of the following:

(A)  Minimum residential densities that may be calculated by excluding land occupied by community wastewater systems, flood hazard areas, wetlands, rare and irreplaceable natural areas, necessary wildlife habitat, or other resource lands that are not able to be developed due to state or federal regulation, and that shall require the following:

(i)  No fewer than four units of single-family, detached dwelling units per acre, exclusive of accessory apartments.

(ii)  Higher density for duplexes and multi-family housing.

 (B)  Neighborhood design standards that promote compact, pedestrian-oriented development patterns that include the following:

(i)  Pedestrian scale and orientation of development.  Networks of sidewalks or paths, or both, are provided and available to the public to connect the Vermont neighborhood with adjacent development areas, existing and planned adjacent sidewalks, paths, and public streets and the designated downtown, village center, or new town center.

(ii)  Interconnected and pedestrian-friendly street networks.  Street networks are designed to safely accommodate both pedestrians and bicycles through the provisions of sidewalks on at least one side of the street, on-street parking, and traffic-calming features.

 (d)  Incentives for Vermont neighborhoods include the following:

(1)  The agency of natural resources shall charge no more than a $50.00 fee for wastewater applications under 3 V.S.A. § 2822(j)(4) where the applicant has received an allocation for sewer capacity from an approved municipal system.  Act 250 fees under 10 V.S.A. § 6083a for residential developments in Vermont neighborhoods shall be 50 percent of the fee otherwise applicable.

(2)  Fifty percent of Act 250 fees under 10 V.S.A. § 6083a  for proposed development in Vermont neighborhoods shall be paid upon application, and 50 percent shall be paid within 30 days of the issuance or denial of the permit.

(3)  No land gains tax under Chapter 236 of Title 32 shall be levied on a transfer of land in a Vermont neighborhood.

 (e)   Initial designation shall be for a period of three years.  After that time has expired, the expanded state board shall review a Vermont neighborhood concurrently with the next periodic review conducted of the underlying designated entity, even if the underlying designated entity was not designated originally by the expanded state board.  However, the expanded board may review compliance with the designation requirements at more frequent intervals.  If at any time the expanded state board determines that the designated Vermont neighborhood no longer meets the standards for designation established in this section, it may take any of the following actions:

(1)  require corrective action;

(2)  remove the Vermont neighborhood designation, with that removal not affecting any of the benefits previously awarded to the designated Vermont neighborhood; or

(3)  limit eligibility for the benefits established in this chapter, with the limitation not affecting any of the benefits previously awarded to the designated Vermont neighborhood.

(f)  Designation decisions made under this section may be appealed to the environmental court pursuant to Rule 5 of the Vermont Rules for Environmental Proceedings by an interested person as defined in subsection 4465(b) of this title.  Review by the environmental court shall be de novo.

* * * Agency of Natural Resources Fees * * *

Sec. 3.  3 V.S.A. § 2822(j)(4)(D) is amended to read:

(D)  Notwithstanding the other provisions of this subdivision,:

* * *

(ii)  when a potable water supply is subject to the fee provisions of this subdivision and subdivision (j)(7)(A) of this section, only the fee required by subdivision (j)(7)(A) shall be assessed; and

(iii)  when a project is subject to the fee provision for the subdivision of land and the fee provision for potable water supplies and wastewater systems of this subdivision, only the higher of the two fees shall be assessed; and

(iv)  when a project is located in a Vermont neighborhood, as designated under 24 V.S.A. chapter 76A, the fee shall be no more than $50.00 in situations in which the application has received an allocation for sewer capacity from an approved municipal system.

* * * Act 250 Provisions * * *  

Sec. 4.  10 V.S.A. § 6001(3)(B) and (C) are amended to read:  

(3)(A)  “Development” means:

* * *

(B)(i)  Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision (3)(A) of this section, if a project consists exclusively of any combination of mixed income housing or mixed use and is located entirely within a growth center designated pursuant to 24 V.S.A. § 2793c or within a downtown development district designated pursuant to 24 V.S.A. § 2793, “development” means:

(i)(I)  Construction of mixed income housing with 200 or more housing units or a mixed use project with 200 or more housing units, in a municipality with a population of 25,000 or more.

(II)  Construction of mixed income housing with 100 or more housing units or a mixed use project with 100 or more housing units, in a municipality with a population of 20,000 15,000 or more, but less than 25,000.

(ii)(III)  Construction of mixed income housing with 50 or more housing units or a mixed use project with 50 or more housing units, in a municipality with a population of 10,000 7,000 or more but less than 20,000 15,000.

(iii)(IV)  Construction of mixed income housing with 30 or more housing units or a mixed use project with 30 or more housing units, in a municipality with a population of 5,000 3,000 or more and less than 10,000 7,000.

(iv)(V)  Construction of mixed income housing with 25 or more housing units or a mixed use project with 25 or more housing units, in a municipality with a population of less than 5,000 3,000.

(v)(VI)  Construction of 10 or more units of mixed income housing or a mixed use project with 10 or more housing units where the construction involves the demolition of one or more buildings that are listed on or eligible to be listed on the state or national register of historic places.  However, demolition shall not be considered to create jurisdiction under this subdivision if the division for historic preservation has determined the proposed demolition will have no adverse effect, an effect that will not be adverse provided that specified conditions are met, or an adverse effect that will be adequately mitigated, and if any imposed conditions are enforceable through a grant condition, deed covenant, or other legally binding document.

(ii) Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision (3)(A) of this section, if a project consists exclusively of mixed income housing located entirely within a Vermont neighborhood designated pursuant to 24 V.S.A. § 2793d, but outside of a growth center designated pursuant to 24 V.S.A. § 2793c or a downtown development district designated pursuant to 24 V.S.A. § 2793, “development" shall be determined in accordance with the numerical thresholds established in subdivision (3)(B)(i) of this section.

(C)  For the purposes of determining jurisdiction under subdivisions (3)(A) and (3)(B) of this section:

(i)  Housing units constructed by a person partially or completely outside a designated downtown development district or designated growth center shall not be counted to determine jurisdiction over housing units constructed by a person entirely within a designated downtown development district or designated growth center.

(ii)  Within any continuous period of five years, housing units constructed by a person entirely within a designated downtown district, or designated growth center, or designated Vermont neighborhood shall be counted together with housing units constructed by a person partially or completely outside a designated downtown development district, or designated growth center, or designated Vermont neighborhood to determine jurisdiction over the housing units constructed by a person partially or completely outside the designated downtown development district, or designated growth center, or designated Vermont neighborhood and within a five-mile radius.

(iii)  All housing units constructed by a person within a designated downtown development district, or designated growth center, or designated Vermont neighborhood within any continuous period of five years, commencing on or after the effective date of this subdivision, shall be counted together, but only if they are part of a discrete project located on a single tract or multiple contiguous tracts of land.

(iv)  In the case of  a project undertaken by a railroad, no portion of a railroad line or railroad right-of-way that will not be physically altered as part of the project shall be included in computing the amount of land involved.  In the case of a project undertaken by a person to construct a rail line or rail siding to connect to a railroad’s line or right-of-way, only the land used for the rail line or rail siding that will be physically altered as part of the project shall be included in computing the amount of land involved.

(v)  Notwithstanding subdivision (C)(iii) of this subdivision (3), any affordable housing units, as defined by this section, (3)(A)(iv) and subdivision (19) of this section, jurisdiction shall be determined exclusively by counting housing units, and when counting housing units to determine jurisdiction, only housing units in a discrete project on a single tract or multiple contiguous tracts of land shall be counted, regardless of whether located within an area designated under 24 V.S.A. chapter 76A, provided that the housing units are affordable housing units, as defined by this section, that are subject to housing subsidy covenants as defined in 27 V.S.A. § 610 that preserve their affordability for a period of 99 years or longer, and that are constructed by a person within a designated downtown development district, designated village center, or designated growth center, shall count toward the total number of housing units used to determine jurisdiction only if they were constructed within the previous 12-month period, commencing on or after the effective date of this subdivision.

Sec. 4a. [w+m] 24  V.S.A. § 2793e is added to read:

§2793e.  MUNICIPAL FEE FOR EXEMPT HOUSING UNIT IN A VERMONT NEIGHBORHOOD

(a)  The developer of a project in a Vermont neighborhood designated in accordance with 24 V.S.A. § 2793d and exempted from Act 250 review under the definition of “development” in 10  V.S.A. § 6001(3)(B) shall pay a municipal fee of $500.00 for each housing unit in the exempt project. The fee shall be paid to the municipality in which the development is located at the time of the closing of the initial sale of the unit.  Municipalities shall have the authority to collect and enforce fees imposed by this section in the manner authorized for the collection of municipal impact fees under chapter 131 of Title 24.

(b)  Revenues from the fees imposed by this section may be used by the municipality only to improve or create public infrastructure required by the Vermont neighborhoods program under 24 V.S.A. § 2793d; to cover the municipality’s expenses of the planning process relating to the Vermont neighborhoods program; or to create pedestrian and multimodal transportation infrastructure, recreation facilities, or other services deemed necessary by the municipality as a result of new housing units created under the Vermont neighborhoods program.

* * *  Rules on Mixed Income Housing * * *

Sec. 4b. [general cte]  3 V.S.A. § 2472(a) is amended to read:

(a)  The department of housing and community affairs is created within the agency of commerce and community development.  The department shall:

* * *

(4)  In partnership with the division for historic preservation, direct, supervise, and administer the Vermont downtown program, and any other program designed to preserve the continued economic vitality of the state’s traditional commercial districts.  By no later than May 1, 2009, the commissioner, in consultation with the Vermont housing finance agency and the Vermont housing and conservation trust, shall adopt rules that establish mechanisms and options for assuring affordability, which shall be used in determinations of jurisdiction over mixed income housing, under 10 V.S.A. chapter 151.

Sec. 4c. [general cte] 10 V.S.A. § 6001(27) is amended to read:

(27)  “Mixed income housing” means a housing project in which at least 15 20 percent of the total housing units are affordable housing units:

(A)  Owner-occupied housing, the purchase price of which does not exceed 80 percent of the new construction targeted area purchase price limits established by the Vermont housing finance agency.  Owner household income shall meet Vermont housing finance agency income limits.  The housing shall be in compliance with affordability requirements established in rules adopted by the commissioner of housing and community affairs, in consultation with the Vermont housing finance agency and the Vermont housing and conservation board, and shall have a duration of affordability of no less than 15 years; or

 (B)  Housing that is rented by the occupants whose gross annual household income does not exceed 60 percent of the county median income, or 60 percent of the standard metropolitan statistical area income if the municipality is located in such an area, as defined by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development for use with the Housing Credit Program under Section 42(g) of the Internal Revenue Code, and the total annual cost of the housing, as defined at Section 42(g)(2)(B) is not more than 30 percent of the gross annual household income as defined at Section 42(g)(2)(C), and with a duration of affordability of no less than 15 years.

Sec. 4d. [general cte] EFFECTIVE DATES

The following sections shall take effect upon May 1, 2009:  Sec. 4, which amends the 10 V.S.A. § 6001(3), definition of “development”; Sec. 4c, which amends the 10 V.S.A. § 6001(27), definition of “mixed income housing”; and Sec. 4a, as proposed by the Committee on Ways and Means, which adds 24 V.S.A. § 2793e, municipal incentives.

Sec. 5. REPEAL

10 V.S.A. § 6001(16)(rural growth areas definition) is repealed.

Sec. 6.  10 V.S.A. § 6001(31) and (32) are added to read:

(31)  “Existing settlement” means an extant community center similar to the traditional Vermont center which is compact in size and contains a mixture of uses which may include commercial, industrial, and residential components which are, to a large extent, within walking distance of each other, and which have appreciably higher densities than densities that occur outside these areas.  For the purposes of this subdivision, the term shall include downtown development districts designated in accordance with 24 V.S.A. § 2793, village centers designated in accordance with 24 V.S.A. § 2793a, new town centers designated in accordance with 24 V.S.A. § 2793b, growth centers designated in accordance with 24 V.S.A. § 2793c, and Vermont neighborhoods designated in accordance with 24 V.S.A. § 2793d.  This term specifically excludes areas of commercial, highway-oriented uses commonly referred to as “strip development.”

(32)  “Strip development” means linear commercial development along an arterial highway leading from an existing settlement or connecting two existing settlements.  The characteristics of strip development, which need not all be present in order for strip development to exist, include the following:  broad road frontage; individual curb cuts for individual projects; lack of connection to existing settlements by anything except highway; limited accessibility to pedestrians; and lack of coordination with surrounding projects in terms of design, signs, lighting and parking.

Sec. 7. [w+m] 10 V.S.A. § 6083a is amended to read:

§ 6083a.  ACT 250 FEES

* * *

(d)  Fees for residential development in a Vermont neighborhood designated according to 24 V.S.A. § 2793d shall be no more than 50 percent of the fee otherwise charged under this section, with 50 percent due with the application and 50 percent due within 30 days after issuance or denial of the permit. 

Sec. 8.  10 V.S.A. § 6086(a)(5) is amended to read:

(5)  Will not cause unreasonable congestion or unsafe conditions with respect to use of the highways, sidewalks, bikeways, waterways, railways, airports, and airways, and other means of transportation existing or proposed and provides appropriate connections to transit, bicycle, and pedestrian networks, where existing or planned, with the objective of minimizing motor vehicle use.

Sec. 9.  10 V.S.A. § 6086(a)(9)(L) is amended to read:

(L)  Rural growth areas. A permit will be granted for the development or subdivision of rural growth areas when it is demonstrated by the applicant that in addition to all other applicable criteria provision will be made in accordance with subdivisions (9)(A) “impact of growth,” (G) “private utility service,” (H) “costs of scattered development” and (J) “public utility services” of subsection (a) of this section for reasonable population densities, reasonable rates of growth, and the use of cluster planning and new community planning designed to economize on the cost of roads, utilities and land usage.

Settlement Patterns.

(i)  Inside existing settlements, a permit shall be granted for development or subdivision of land if the applicant, in addition to other applicable criteria, demonstrates that the project will not significantly detract from Vermont’s historic settlement pattern of compact village and urban centers separated by rural countryside, which shall be accomplished by complying with planned densities that are appreciably higher than densities outside existing settlements within the municipality and region.  

(ii)  In rural areas outside existing settlements, a permit shall be granted for development or subdivision if, in addition to all other applicable criteria, the applicant demonstrates that the project:

(I)  will not substantially detract from Vermont’s historic settlement pattern of compact village and urban centers separated by rural countryside, which shall be accomplished by contributing to overall densities that are appreciably lower than densities planned for existing settlements within the municipality and region;

(II)  will not establish or extend a pattern of strip development along public highways.  In situations in which a pattern of strip development has already been established, development should reinforce compact in-fill site design;

(III)  will promote an efficient use of land, energy, roads, utilities and other supporting infrastructure through compact site development, clustering, or conservation subdivision design, in order to avoid conflicts with agriculture, forestry, and other natural resource‑based land uses; and will promote the preservation of open space, as well as the protection of headwaters, streams, shorelines, floodways, rare and irreplaceable natural areas, necessary wildlife habitat, wetlands, endangered species, productive forest lands, and primary agricultural soils.

* * * Consolidated Appeals * * *

Sec. 10.  10 V.S.A. § 8502(9) is added to read:

(9) “State board,” also referred to as the “Vermont downtown development board,”  means a board created pursuant to 24 V.S.A. § 2792. 

Sec. 11.  10 V.S.A. § 8503(b)(4) is added to read:

(4)  Appeals from designation decisions issued by the state board in its review of a Vermont neighborhood for conformance with the criteria of 24 V.S.A. §  2793d. 

Sec. 12.  10 V.S.A. § 8504(a) is amended to read:

(a)  Act 250 and agency appeals.  Within 30 days of the date of the act or decision, any person aggrieved by an act or decision of the secretary, a district coordinator, or a district commission under the provisions of law listed in section 8503 of this title, or any party by right, may appeal to the environmental court. Within 30 days of the date of a Vermont neighborhood designation decision issued by the state board under 24 V.S.A. chapter 76A, an interested person, as defined in 24 V.S.A. § 4465(b), may appeal to the environmental court.

Sec. 13.  10 V.S.A. § 8504(c)(2) is amended to read:

(2) Upon the filing of an appeal from the act or decision of the secretary or from a Vermont neighborhood designation decision of the state board  under the provisions of law listed in section 8503 of this title, the appellant shall provide notice of the filing of an appeal to the following persons: the applicant before the agency of natural resources or the state board, if other than the appellant; the owner of the land where the project is located if the applicant is not the owner; the municipality in which the project is located; the municipal and regional planning commissions for the municipality in which the project is located; if the project site is located on a boundary, any adjacent Vermont municipality and the municipal and regional planning commissions for that municipality; any state agency affected; the solid waste management district in which the project is located, if the project constitutes a facility pursuant to subdivision 6602(10) of this title; all persons required to receive notice of receipt of an application or notice of the issuance of a draft permit; and all persons on any mailing list for the decision involved. In addition, the appellant shall publish notice not more than 10 days after providing notice as required under this subsection, at the appellant's expense, in a newspaper of general circulation in the area of the project which is the subject of the decision.

Sec. 14.  10 V.S.A. § 8504(n) is amended to read:

(n) Intervention. Any person may intervene in a pending appeal if that person:

(1) appeared as a party in the action appealed from and retained party status;

(2) is a party by right;

(3) is the natural resources board, or either panel of the board;

(4) is a person aggrieved, as defined in this chapter;

(5) qualifies as an "interested person," as established in 24 V.S.A. § 4465, with respect to appeals under 24 V.S.A. chapter 117 or appeals of a Vermont neighborhood designation decision by the state board; or

(6) meets the standard for intervention established in the Vermont Rules of Civil Procedure.

* * * Chapter 117 Conditional Use Appeals * * *

Sec. 15.  24 V.S.A. § 4471(e) is added to read:

(e)  Notwithstanding subsection (a) of this section, a determination by an appropriate municipal panel that the density of a proposed residential development within a designated downtown development district, designated growth center, or Vermont neighborhood seeking conditional use approval shall not result in an undue adverse effect on the character of the area affected as provided in subdivision 4414(3)(A)(ii) of this title is not subject to appeal.

* * * Reports * * *

Sec. 16.  REPORT ON POLLUTION CONTROL SYSTEM

By no later than January 15, 2009, the secretary of natural resources shall report to the legislative committees on natural resources and energy with regard to the agency’s implementation of and compliance with the municipal pollution control priority system rules, and as to the impact of these rules on development.

Sec. 17.   STATE SURPLUS LAND AND HOUSING

     The department of housing and community affairs, in consultation with the Vermont housing finance agency, the Vermont housing and conservation board, and other interested parties, shall develop program recommendations for the use of state land that may be available and appropriate for the creation of housing.  The proposal shall include methods to ensure that each housing project shall include a substantial amount of affordable housing, including permanently affordable units.  The department shall present the program recommendations no later than January 15, 2009 to the house committee on general, housing and military affairs, the senate committee on economic development, housing and general affairs, and the house and senate committees on natural resources and energy.

* * * Sales and Use Tax provisions * * *

Sec. 18.  32 V.S.A. § 9819(c)(2) is amended to read:

(2)  "Qualified project" means expansion or rehabilitation of contiguous real property that is or will be used at the completion of the expansion or rehabilitation as of a structure in a downtown development district or Vermont neighborhood, designated under in accordance with chapter 76A of Title 24, but only to the extent that the expansion or rehabilitation becomes an integral component of the real property and the project does not seek qualification for either tax credit authorized under subsection 5930cc(a) or (b) of this title. "Qualified project" also means new construction of contiguous real property that will be used at the completion of the construction as a structure in a downtown development district or Vermont neighborhood, designated under in accordance with chapter 76A of Title 24, but only to the extent that the new construction is compatible with the buildings that contribute to the integrity of the district or Vermont neighborhood in terms of materials, features, size, scale, and proportion, and massing of buildings.

* * * Land Gains Tax * * *

Sec. 19.  32 V.S.A. § 10002(p) is added to read:

(p)  Also excluded from the definition of “land” is any land in a Vermont neighborhood designated in accordance with 24 V.S.A. § 2793d.

* * * VHFA Sunset Repeal * * *

Sec. 20.  10 V.S.A. § 625(1) is amended to read:

(1)  The residential housing is primarily for occupancy by persons and families of low and moderate income, or qualifies for financing with proceeds of federally tax-exempt obligations, or at least 20 percent of the units are for occupancy by persons and families of low and moderate income;

Sec. 21.  EFFECTIVE DATE

Sec. 20 of this act shall take effect July 1, 2008.  The prospective repeal provisions of Sec. 7a of No. 189 of the 2005 Adj. Sess. (2006) shall have no force or effect.

* * * Housing Tax Credit * * *

Sec. 22. 32 V.S.A. § 5930u is amended to read:

§ 5930u.  TAX CREDIT FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING

(a)  As used in this section:

(1)  “Affordable housing project” or “project” means a rental housing project identified in 26 U.S.C. § 42(g) or owner-occupied housing identified in 26 U.S.C. § 143(e) and (f) and eligible under the Vermont housing finance agency allocation plan criteria.

(2)  “Affordable housing tax credits” means the tax credit provided by this subchapter.

(3)  “Allocating agency” means the Vermont housing finance agency.

(4)  “Committee” means the joint committee on tax credits consisting of five members; a representative from the department of housing and community affairs, the Vermont housing and conservation board, the Vermont housing finance agency, the Vermont state housing authority, and the office of the governor.

(5)  “Credit certificate” means a certificate issued by the allocating agency to a taxpayer that specifies the amount of affordable housing tax credits that can be applied against the taxpayer’s individual or corporate income tax or franchise or insurance premium tax liability as provided in this subchapter.

(6)  “Eligible applicant” means any municipality, private sector developer, department of state government as defined in 10 V.S.A. § 6302(a), nonprofit organization qualifying under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or cooperative housing organization, the purpose of which is the creation and retention of affordable housing for lower income Vermonters, and the bylaws that require that housing to be maintained as affordable housing for lower income Vermonters on a perpetual basis.

(7)  “Eligible cash contribution” means an amount of cash contributed to the owner, developer, or sponsor of an affordable housing project and determined by the allocating agency as eligible for affordable housing tax credits.

(8)  “Section 42 credits” means tax credit provided by 26 U.S.C. §§ 38 and 42.

(9)  “Allocation plan” means the plan recommended by the committee and approved by the Vermont housing finance agency, which sets forth the eligibility requirements and process for selection of eligible housing projects to receive affordable housing tax credits under this section.  The allocation plan shall include requirements for creation and retention of affordable housing for low income persons, and requirements to ensure that eligible housing is maintained as affordable by subsidy covenant, as defined in 27 V.S.A. § 610 on a perpetual basis, and meets all other requirements of the Vermont housing finance agency related to affordable housing.

(b)(1)  Affordable housing credit allocation.  Prior to the placement of an affordable housing project in service, the owner, or a person having the right to acquire ownership of a building, may apply to the committee for an allocation of affordable housing tax credits under this section.  The committee shall advise the allocating agency on an affordable housing tax credit application based upon published priorities and criteria.  An eligible applicant may apply to the allocating agency for an allocation of affordable housing tax credits under this section related to an affordable housing project authorized by the allocating agency under the allocation plan.  In the case of a specific affordable rental housing project, the eligible applicant must also be the owner or a person having the right to acquire ownership of the building and must apply prior to placement of the affordable housing project in service.  In the case of

owner-occupied housing units, the applicant must apply prior to purchase of the unit and must ensure that the allocated funds will be used to ensure that the housing qualifies as affordable for all future owners of the housing.  The allocating agency shall issue a letter of approval if it finds that the applicant meets the priorities, criteria, and other provisions of subdivision (2) of this subsection.  The burden of proof shall be on the applicant.

(2)  Upon receipt of a completed application, an allocation of affordable housing tax credits with respect to a project under this section shall be granted to an applicant, provided the applicant demonstrates to the satisfaction of the committee all of the following:

(A)  The owner of the project has received from the allocating agency a binding commitment for, a reservation or allocation of, an out-of-cap determination letter for, Section 42 credits, or meets the requirements of the allocation plan for development of units to be owner-occupied;

(B)  The project has received community support.

(c)  Amount of credit.  A taxpayer who makes an eligible cash contribution shall be entitled to claim against the taxpayer’s individual income, corporate, franchise, or insurance premium tax liability a credit in an amount specified on the taxpayer’s credit certificate.  The first-year allocation of a credit amount to a taxpayer shall also be deemed an allocation of the same amount in each of the following four years.

* * *

(e)  Claim for credit.  A taxpayer claiming affordable housing tax credits shall submit with each return on which such credit is claimed a copy of the allocating agency’s credit allocation to the affordable housing project and the taxpayer’s credit certificate.  Any unused affordable housing tax credit may be carried forward to reduce the taxpayer’s tax liability for no more than 14 succeeding tax years, following the first year the affordable housing tax credit is allowed.

(f)  [Deleted.]

(g)  In any fiscal year, the allocating agency may award up to $400,000.00 in total first-year credit allocations to all applicants under this subchapter for rental housing projects; and may award up to $100,000.00 per year for owner‑occupied unit applicants.  In any fiscal year, total first-year allocations plus succeeding-year deemed allocations shall not exceed $2,000,000.00 $2,500.000.00.

* * * Property Transfer Tax * * *

Sec. 23. [w+m] 32 V.S.A. § 9602(1) is amended to read:

A tax is hereby imposed upon the transfer by deed of title to property located in this state.  The amount of the tax equals one and one quarter

one-quarter percent of the value of the property transferred, or $1.00, whichever is greater, except as follows:

(1)  with respect to the transfer of property to be used for the principal residence of the transferee:  the tax shall be imposed at the rate of five-tenths of one percent of the first $100,000.00 in value of the property transferred and at the rate of one and one quarter one-quarter percent of the value of the property transferred in excess of $100,000.00; except that no tax shall be imposed on the first $110,000.00 in value of the property transferred if the purchaser obtains a purchase money mortgage funded in part with a homeland grant through the Vermont housing and conservation trust fund or which the Vermont housing and finance agency or U.S. Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has committed to make or purchase and tax at the rate of one and one-quarter percent shall be imposed on the value of that property in excess of $110,000.00.

Sec 24.  EFFECTIVE DATES

(a)  Sec. 22 of this act, amending 32 V.S.A. § 5930u, shall apply to fiscal years 2009 and after.

(b)  Sec. 23 of this act, amending 32 V.S.A. § 9602, shall apply to transfers on or after July 1, 2008.

* * * Preservation of Affordable Housing * * *

Sec. 25.  20 V.S.A. Part 7A, chapter 181 is added to read:

Chapter 181.  RENtal Housing Safety and Habitability

§ 3201.  LEGISLATIVE PURPOSE AND INTENT

It is the intent of the general assembly to provide for rental housing safety and habitability and to establish a statewide rental housing inspection program and registry to achieve the following goals:

(1)  Promote the health and safety of the citizens of Vermont;

(2)  Facilitate compliance with existing health and safety standards;

(3)  Provide support to municipal health officers;

(4)  Create a resource for tenants and landlords;

(5)  Enable communities to focus on problem properties;

(6)  Encourage a private sector response to a public health and safety need;

(7)  Reduce fire fatalities.

§ 3202.  SAFE RENTAL HOUSING TASK FORCE

(a)  A safe rental housing task force is created to consist of the following 12 members:

(1)  The director of the division of fire safety or designee;

(2)  The commissioner of the department of health or designee;

(3)  The commissioner of the department of housing and community affairs or designee;

(4)  The attorney general or designee;

(5)  The executive director of the Vermont housing finance agency or designee.

(6)  A representative of commercial landlords.

(7)  A representative of nonprofit landlords.

(8)  A tenant representative.

(9)  A municipal inspection program representative.

(10)  A town health officer from a municipality without an exempt program.

(11)  A regional revolving loan fund representative.

(12)  An architect.

(b)  The speaker of the house and the senate president pro tempore shall appoint members of the task force that are not ex-officio and shall designate a chair.

(c)  The task force shall, before January 15, 2009:

(1)  Identify information to be gathered for the rental housing registry, develop a questionnaire for rental unit sites and coordinate with existing data collected by the department of health, the department of taxes, the department of housing and community affairs, and the department of public service.

(2)  Develop a simplified rental housing code, to include lead safety, habitability, and basic life safety standards.

(3)  Establish a priority for inspections based on factors including:  the age of the rental unit, a score of the rental units’ self-assessment, and complaints from rental units at the address.

(4)  Develop procedures for scheduled, complaint-based, emergency and time-of-sale inspections, including a time frame and a priority for scheduled inspections.

(5)  Develop standards for licensed rental housing inspectors, including:

(A)  Training standards;

(B)  A code of professional ethics.

(C)  Curriculum outlines and a delivery mechanism.

(6)  Recommend a fee structure necessary and appropriate to implement the inspection program and registry.

(7)  Establish a procedure for issuing a certificate of habitability.

(8)  Develop procedures to assure enforcement and compliance.

(9)  Make recommendations regarding the role of town health officers in regard to safe rental housing in municipalities without an exempt program.

(10)  Develop training and education resources for landlords and tenants, including all the following:

(A)  A rental housing code self-assessment checklist.

(B)  A one‑stop shopping resource for rental unit owners and managers that provides:

(i)  Lead safety, minimum housing habitability, and basic life safety standards available from one site.

(ii)  Coordinated training across disciplines for owners and managers of rental housing units.

(11)  Recommend incentives and develop a process for nonexempt municipalities to establish an inspection program.

(12)  Establish an implementation schedule, to begin July 1, 2009, to include all the following:

(A)  Training of inspectors and certification by the department of public safety.

(B)  Collection of rental housing information for the registry.

(C)  Collection of fees.

(D)  Commencement of inspections beginning January 1, 2010.

(13)  Recommend staffing levels necessary to establish and maintain the program and provide for enforcement.

(14)  Recommend an appropriation sufficient to fund the certification program, licensing, complaint-driven inspections, enforcement, and the registry.

(15)  Develop a system for coordinating appropriate displacement services.

(16)  Develop a program and identify resources for repair and improvement.

(d)  The task force shall submit a written report on its progress on or before January 15 of each year to the house committee on general, housing and military affairs and the senate committee on economic development, housing and general affairs.

§ 3203.  RENTAL HOUSING SAFETY AND HABITABILITY FUND;

              ESTABLISHED

(a)  A rental housing safety and habitability fund is established in the state treasury for the purpose of creating a statewide rental housing inspection program to be administered by the department of public safety for the purposes of collecting and maintaining data about rental housing units in Vermont and providing education, training, and support to landlords and tenants to assure that the safety and habitability of rental housing are maintained for the benefit of owners, tenants, and communities.  The fund shall provide financing for scheduled, complaint-based, and emergency inspections of rental housing units, the enforcement of orders issued in conjunction with inspections, and enhancing communications among owners, tenants, and compliance personnel.

(b)  Proceeds from fees, grants, donations, contributions, and other sources of revenue that may be provided by statute or by rule may be deposited in the fund.  Interest earned on the fund and any balances remaining at the end of a fiscal year shall be retained in the fund.

§ 3204.  RENTAL HOUSING REGISTRY

The department of public safety in association with the Vermont housing finance agency, the department of health, and the department of housing and community affairs shall manage a database set up by a private contractor to include all rental housing, including rented single-family homes and rental units in owner-occupied multi-family buildings of two or more rental units and excluding vacation homes.

§ 3205.  RENTAL HOUSING SAFETY INSPECTOR LICENSING

               PROGRAM

The department of public safety shall establish and manage a licensing program for rental housing safety inspectors beginning July 1, 2009.

§ 3206.  RENTAL HOUSING HEALTH AND SAFETY STANDARDS

The department of public safety shall adopt minimum standards that apply to existing rental housing.  The standards shall include life safety, electrical, plumbing, and boiler codes, the rental housing health code, and lead paint requirements.

§ 3207.  RENTAL HOUSING SAFETY INSPECTION PROGRAM

The department of public safety shall establish a cyclical and point-of-sale rental housing safety inspection program beginning January 1, 2010.

(1)  Regular inspections shall be carried out by a licensed rental housing safety inspector under contract with the unit owner to assure units meet the rental housing health and safety standards.

(2)  Complaint-driven inspections shall be carried out by a licensed rental housing safety inspector under contract with the state or the municipality.

§ 3208.  RULES

The department of public safety shall adopt rules to implement the recommendations of the safe rental housing task force to carry out the purposes of this chapter.  The department shall propose such rules no later than January 15, 2009.

§ 3209.  EXEMPTIONS

Rental housing units subject to the jurisdiction of municipal housing programs organized pursuant to 24 V.S.A. chapter 123 are exempt from the provisions of this chapter.  This chapter shall not be interpreted to limit or decrease the authority of the exempt municipal housing program in regard to building, housing, and fire safety codes.  A municipal program may lose this exemption if the commissioner of public safety determines that any of the following is true:

(1)  The habitability and enforcement criteria, including standards for issuing certificates of habitability, are less stringent than those of the state program.

(2)  Regularly scheduled inspections of the municipal program are less frequent than those of the state program.

(3)  The municipal program permits rental of units that lack a current certificate of habitability.

(4)  Any other aspect of the municipal program is less stringent than the state program.

Sec. 26.  APPROPRIATION

In fiscal year 2009, there is appropriated from the general fund to the department of public safety the amount of $30,000.00 to be used by the department for the purpose of retaining a consultant to assist the safe rental housing task force in carrying out its duties under chapter 181 of Title 20.

Favorable

H. 764

     An act relating to expanded eligibility for Vermont Veterans’ Medal.

Rep. Wright of Burlington, for the Committee on General, Housing and Military Affairs, recommends the bill ought to pass.

( Committee Vote: 8-0-0)

H. 871

     An act relating to professional requirements for the deputy attorney general, assistant attorneys general, probate judges, deputy state’s attorneys, constables and sheriffs.

Rep. Pellett of Chester, for the Committee on Judiciary, recommends the bill ought to pass.

( Committee Vote: 10-0-1)

JOINT ASSEMBLY

Thursday, March 20, 2008 - 10:30 A.M. - House Chamber - Retention of Superior Court Judges:  Hon. Amy M. Davenport, Hon. Katherine A. Hayes.

Retention of District Judges:  Hon. Nancy S. Corsones, Hon. Walter M. Morris, Jr., Hon. David T. Suntag.

Retention of Environmental Judge:  Merideth Wright.

 

PUBLIC HEARINGS

     Thursday, March 27, 2008, Room 11 – 5:00 –7:00 PM, House Committee on Fish, Wildlife and Water Resources – H. 543  Funding of the Department of Fish and Wildlife

 

 

 



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us