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Senate Calendar

wednesday, january 24, 2007

22nd DAY OF BIENNIAL SESSION

TABLE OF CONTENTS

                                                                                                                Page No.

NOTICE CALENDAR

Favorable with Recommendation of Amendment

S. 7         Relating to medical marijuana.............................................................. 28

                        ........................................................... Judiciary Committee Report      28

House Proposal of Amendment

JRS 8     Federal funds for agricultural disaster relief to VT farmers.................... 33




 

ORDERS OF THE DAY

NOTICE CALENDAR

Favorable with Recommendation of Amendment

S. 7

An act relating to medical marijuana.

Reported favorably with recommendation of amendment by Senator Campbell for the Committee on Judiciary.

The Committee recommends that the bill be amended by striking out all after the enacting clause and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Sec. 1.  18 V.S.A. chapter 86 is amended to read:

CHAPTER 86.  THERAPEUTIC USE OF CANNABIS

* * *

Subchapter 2.  Marijuana for Medical Use by Persons with Severe Illness

§ 4472.  DEFINITIONS

For the purposes of this subchapter:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(B)  a disease, medical condition, or its treatment that:

(i)  is chronic, progressive, and debilitating; and

(ii)  produces severe, persistent, and one or more of the following intractable symptoms: cachexia or wasting syndrome; severe pain; severe nausea; or seizures.

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

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

(5)  “Physician” means a person who is licensed:

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

(B)  to practice medicine and prescribe drugs under the comparable provisions of another jurisdiction.

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

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

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

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

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

§ 4473.  REGISTERED PATIENTS; QUALIFICATION STANDARDS AND PROCEDURES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

§ 4474.   REGISTERED CAREGIVERS; QUALIFICATION STANDARDS AND PROCEDURES

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

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

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

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

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

§ 4474a.  REGISTRATION; FEES

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

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

§ 4474b.  EXEMPTION FROM CRIMINAL AND CIVIL PENALTIES; SEIZURE OF PROPERTY

* * *

(e)  It shall not be a violation of state nursing home regulations to allow a registered patient to possess or use medical marijuana in a nursing facility.

* * *

and that, after passage, the title of the bill be amended to read:  “AN ACT RELATING TO THE COMPASSIONATE USE OF MARIJUANA FOR MEDICAL PURPOSES.”

(Committee vote: 4-1-0)


House Proposal of Amendment

J.R.S. 8

Joint resolution urging Congress to appropriate as quickly as possible federal funds for payments of agricultural disaster relief to Vermont’s financially pressed farmers.

The House proposes to the Senate to amend the resolution by striking out all after the title and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Whereas, during May 2006, Vermont experienced extremely heavy rainfall causing delayed planting and late harvests which resulted in poor crop yields and low quality feed, and

Whereas, this extremely damaging precipitation occurred at the same time that milk prices were low, and well below dairy farmers’ production costs, and

Whereas, as a result of the terrible May weather, Governor Douglas requested that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) office in Vermont prepare a damage assessment report for all crops in all counties in the state, and 

Whereas, the report tallied $53,955,513.00 in crop damage in Vermont, and the Vermont USDA-FSA office submitted it in June 2006 to United States Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns, and

Whereas, based on this report, on June 23, 2006, Secretary Johanns declared all counties in Vermont as agricultural disaster areas because each county had sustained at least 30 percent crop damage, and

Whereas, dairy farmers face severe problems due not only to the continuing low price for milk but also on account of the limited availability of feed for their herds due to the wet weather that persisted throughout the spring and summer of 2006, and

Whereas, because of the combination of low milk prices and crops of decreased quality and quantity, many Vermont farmers are carrying a larger debt burden that is hampering their ability to purchase seeds and fertilizers for the 2007 spring planting, and

Whereas, compounding the problems associated with poor crop yields in Vermont, livestock farmers are confronted with feed prices that have risen 25 to 30 percent or more in just the last two or three months, and

Whereas, the continuing high energy costs only add another burden for Vermont’s farmers to confront, and

Whereas, Vermont farmers need federal agricultural disaster aid  immediately in order to assist them to purchase seed for the rapidly  approaching 2007 spring planting and to pay other debts resulting from the abnormal weather conditions of the last year, and

Whereas, the state of Vermont responded quickly and generously this past Summer when the Emergency Board authorized the expenditure of $8.6 million for agricultural disaster assistance, but this sum is far from enough to meet the basic financial requirements of Vermont’s farmers, and

Whereas, the immediacy of this crisis cannot be overemphasized; and without federal assistance, future prospects are bleak for many Vermont farmers and the associated infrastructure of the state’s farm economy, now therefore be it  

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

That the General Assembly urges Congress to appropriate federal funds, as quickly as possible for payment of agricultural disaster relief to Vermont’s financially pressed farmers, and be it further

Resolved:  That the Secretary of State be directed to send a copy of this resolution to United States Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns; to United States Senators Tom Harkin and Saxby Chambliss, chair and ranking minority member, respectively, of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry; to United States Representatives Collin Peterson and Bob Goodlatte, chair and ranking minority, member respectively, of the House Committee on Agriculture; and to the members of the Vermont Congressional delegation.

CONFIRMATIONS

The following appointments will be considered by the Senate, as a group, under suspension of the Rules, as moved by the President pro tempore, for confirmation together and without debate, by consent thereby given by the Senate.  However, upon request of any senator, any appointment may be singled out and acted upon separately by the Senate, with consideration given to the report of the Committee to which the appointment was referred, and with full debate; and further, all appointments for the positions of Secretaries of Agencies, Commissioners of Departments, Judges, Magistrates, and members of the Public Service Board shall be fully and separately acted upon.

Robert Britt of South Burlington - Member of the Vermont Economic Development Authority - By Sen. Condos for  the Committee on Finance.  (1/25)


REPORT ON FILE

Pursuant to the provisions of 2 V.S.A. §20(c), one (1) copy of the following reports is on file in the office of the Secretary of the Senate:

     43.  Legislative Study Committee of Groundwater Regulation and Funding Preliminary Report.  (Legislative Council)  (January 2007).

     44.  Office of Child Support Annual Report  (January 2007).

     45.  Report of the Collaboration Between the Vermont Department of Banking, Insurance, Securities and Health Care Administration and the Executive Office for the U.S. Trustees, U.S. Department of Justice.  (January 2007).

     46.  Common Claims Work Group Interim Report.  (Commission on Health Care Reform)  (January 2007).

     47.  Priorities for Designated Downtowns, Village Centers, and Growth Centers.  (Agency of Administration, Office of the Secretary)  (January 2007).

     48.  Sexual Violence Prevention Task Force:  Year One.  (Anti-Violence Partnership at the University of Vermont)  (January 2007).

     49.  Division of Property Valuation and Review  2007 Annual Report.  (Department of Taxes)  (January 2007).

     50.  Methamphetamine Public Information Campaign.  (Department of Health)  (January 2007).

     51.  Coordinated Healthy Activity, Motivation and Prevention Programs.  (Department of Health)  (January 2007).

     52.  Drugs and Medical Supply Repository Study.  (Department of Health)  (January 2007).

     53.  Gross Operating Revenues of Regulated Utilities for FY 2006.  (Public Service Board)  (January 2007).

     54.  Expenditures in the Lead Sinker Public Education Program.  (Department of Fish and Wildlife)  (January 2007).

     55.  Free and Honorary Hunting and fishing Licenses.  (Department of Fish and Wildlife)  (January 2007).

     56.  Reciprocal Fishing License for Lake Champlain. (Department of Fish and Wildlife)  (January 2007).

     57.  Management of the Deer Herd. (Department of Fish and Wildlife)  (January 2007).

     58.  Adult Disability Care Payments in Household Income.  (Agency of Human Services, Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living)  (January 2007).

     59.  Vermont Center for Geographic Information, Inc.  (January 2007).

     60.  Public Records Requirements in Vermont.  (Legislative Council)  (January 2007).

     61.  Implementation of a Vermont Advance Directive Registry Report.  (Department of Health)  (January 2007).

PUBLIC HEARINGS

     Thursday, January 25, 2007 - 6:30-8:30 P.M. - Room 11 - Re:  Public comment on final report of the Pre-Kindergarten Education Study Committee -  House Study Committee on Pre-Kindergarten Education.

PUBLIC HEARING

Joint Public Hearing on Fiscal Year 2008 budget

on Vermont Interactive Television

Appropriations Committees

Monday, February 5, 2006, 4:15-5:45 p.m. – The House and Senate Appropriations Committees will hold a joint public hearing on Vermont Interactive Television (V.I.T.) to give Vermonters throughout the state an opportunity to express their views about the State budget for fiscal year 2008.  All V.I.T. sites will be available for the hearing:  Bennington, Brattleboro, Castleton, Johnson, Lyndonville, Middlebury, Montpelier, Newport,  Randolph Center, Rutland, Springfield, St. Albans, Waterbury, White River Junction and Williston.  V.I.T.’s web site (www.vitlink.org) has an up-to-date location listing, including driving directions, addresses and telephone numbers.

For information about the format of this event, interested parties may call the House Appropriations Committee office at 802/828-2251.  Requests for interpreters should be made to the office by 12:00 noon on Friday, January 26.

 



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