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Senate Calendar

tuesday, march 20, 2007

77th DAY OF BIENNIAL SESSION

TABLE OF CONTENTS

                                                                                                                Page No.

CALLED UP

S. 27       Increasing the minimum tip wage....................................................... 232

                              Pending Action:  Second reading of the bill

                              Text of report of committee on Ec.Dev.,Housing & Gen. Affairs

                              Senator Miller amendment................................................. 232

UNFINISHED BUSINESS OF FRIDAY, MARCH 16, 2007

Second Reading

S. 118     Fiscal review of high spending districts and special education............. 233

                              Education Committee Report............................................. 233

NEW BUSINESS

Third Reading

S. 34       Humane treatment of animals in schools and the right to an................. 236

Second Reading

Favorable with Recommendation of Amendment

S. 37       Relating to mosquito control.............................................................. 236

                              Agriculture Committee Report............................................ 237

S. 123     Increased sex offender registry requirements...................................... 237

                              Judiciary Committee Report............................................... 237

House Proposal of Amendment

H. 302    Fiscal year 2007 budget adjustments................................................. 242

NOTICE CALENDAR

Favorable

S. 169     Civil violations for animal cruelty........................................................ 244

                              Judiciary Committee Report............................................... 244

Favorable with Recommendation of Amendment

S. 15       Removal of tuition costs from excess spending penalty of Act 60........ 244

                              Education Committee Report............................................. 244

S. 39       Health insurance reimbursement for naturopathic physicians............... 245

                              Health and Welfare Committee Report............................... 245

S. 45       Relating to the right to attend town meeting........................................ 246

                              Government Operations Committee Report........................ 246

S. 46                Wrongful discharge for voting or attending town meeting........... 246

                              Government Operations Committee Report........................ 246

S. 67       Closure of the Bennington state office building................................... 247

                              Ec. Dev., Housing and General Affairs Committee Report.. 247

S. 70       Empowering municipalities to regulate application of pesticides........... 250

                              Government Operations Committee Report........................ 250

S. 82       Use of Vermont addresses and representations of Vermont origin...... 251

                              Ec. Dev., Housing and General Affairs Committee Report.. 251

S. 92       Relating to groundwater mapping...................................................... 251      Natural Resources and Energy Committee Report............................................................................ 252

S. 97       Relating to correctional facilities......................................................... 253

                              Judiciary Committee Report............................................... 253

S. 102     Decrease percentage to determine school district excess spending...... 258

                              Education Committee Report............................................. 258

S. 115     Increasing transparency of prescription drug pricing & info................. 263

                              Health and Welfare Committee Report............................... 263

S. 120     Wine tasting at farmer’s markets....................................................... 271

                              Ec. Dev., Housing & General Affairs Committee Report..... 271

S. 122     Workforce development and technical centers................................... 273

                              Education Committee Report............................................. 273

S. 126     Creation of a statewide direct care provider registry.......................... 276

                              Health and Welfare Committee Report............................... 276

S. 136     Solid waste management facilities working group............................... 276

                              Natural Resources Committee Report................................ 276

S. 137     Amount of phosphorus allowed in household cleansing products........ 278

                              Natural Resources Committee Report................................ 278

S. 143     Use of racing fuel containing additive MTBE ..................................... 279

                              Transportation Committee Report...................................... 279

S. 148     Requirements for application to be a designated new town center....... 280

                              Natural Resources & Energy Committee Report................. 280

S. 164     Campaign finance and the Vermont campaign finance option.............. 280

                              Government Operations Committee Report........................ 280

S. 173     Awarding high school diplomas to veterans of the Vietnam war.......... 291

                              Education Committee Report............................................. 291

S. 177     Child poverty in Vermont.................................................................. 291      Health and Welfare Committee Report     291

Committee Bill for Notice

S. 189     Affordable electric rates for retired & lower income Vermonters........ 292



 

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ACTION CALENDAR

CALLED UP

Favorable

S. 27

An act relating to increasing the minimum tip wage.

PENDING ACTION:  Second reading of the bill.

Reported favorably by Senator Miller for the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs.

(Committee vote: 5-0-1)

AMENDMENT TO S. 27 TO BE OFFERED BY SENATOR MILLER, ON BEHALF OF THE COMMITTEE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, HOUSING AND GENERAL AFFAIRS

     Senator Miller, on behalf of the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs, moves that the bill be amended by striking out all after the enacting clause and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Sec. 1.  21 V.S.A. § 384(a) is amended to read:

(a)  An employer shall not employ an employee at a rate less than $7.00 an hour and, beginning January 1, 2006, at a rate less than $7.25, and, beginning January 1, 2007, and on each subsequent January 1, the minimum wage rate shall be increased by five percent or the percentage increase of the Consumer Price Index, CPI‑U, U.S. city average, not seasonally adjusted, or successor index, as calculated by the U.S. Department of Labor or successor agency for the 12 months preceding the previous September 1, whichever is smaller.  The minimum wage shall be rounded off to the nearest $0.01.  An employer in the hotel, motel, tourist place, and restaurant industry shall not employ a service or tipped employee at a basic wage rate less than $3.65 an hour, and beginning January 1, 2009, and on each January 1 thereafter, this basic tip wage rate shall be increased at the same percentage rate as the minimum wage rate.  For the purposes of this subsection, “a service or tipped employee” means an employee of a hotel, motel, tourist place, or restaurant who customarily and regularly receives more than $30.00 $120.00 per month in tips for direct and personal customer service.  If the minimum wage rate established by the United States government is greater than the rate established for Vermont for any year, the minimum wage rate for that year shall be the rate established by the United States government.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS OF FRIDAY, MARCH 16, 2007

Second Reading

S. 118

An act relating to fiscal review of high spending districts and special education.

Reported favorably with recommendation of amendment by Senator Collins for the Committee on Education.

     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.  16 V.S.A. § 2974 is amended to read:

§ 2974.  SPECIAL EDUCATION PROGRAM; FISCAL REVIEW PANEL OF HIGH SPENDING DISTRICTS

(a)  Annually, the commissioner shall report on:

(1)  special education expenditures by school districts;

(2)  the rate of growth or decrease in special education costs, including the identity of high and low spending districts;

(3)  outcomes for special education students;

(4)  the availability of special education staff;

(5)  the consistency of special education program implementation statewide; and

(6)  the status of the education support systems in school districts; and

(7)  a statewide summary of the special education student count, including:

(A)  the percentage of the total average daily membership represented by special education students statewide and by school district;

(B)  the percentage of special education students by disability category; and

(C)  the percentage of special education students by in‑district placement, day placement, and residential placement.

(b)  The commissioner shall review high spending districts to determine Annually, but no later than October 1, based on the previous year’s expenditures, the commissioner shall notify high spending districts that they have been designated as such.  Each designated district shall respond within 60 days with an explanation of its spending to address whether:

(1)  costs could be decreased while still providing needed special education services;

(2)  the district made reasonable efforts to provide, purchase, or contract for goods or services that are the most reasonably priced yet appropriate for its students;

(3)  the district reported special education expenditures appropriately; and

(4)  all expenditures identified as special education expenditures were properly attributed to eligible students and the services for which the expenditures were made were included in the students’ individualized education plans;

(5)  the district’s special education staff‑to‑child count ratios were higher than the state average, including a breakdown of ratios by staffing categories;

(6)  the number of students in more restrictive environments such as day programs and residential placements was above the state average of special education students in those placements and, if so, information about the categories of disabilities for the students in such placements;

(7)  the district was in compliance with section 2901 of this title; and

(8)  if the district’s proportion of its average daily membership who are enrolled in special education exceeds 20 percent of the statewide average, any unusual community characteristics contributed to this condition.

(c)  The commissioner shall review low spending districts to determine the reasons for their spending patterns and whether those districts used cost‑effective strategies appropriate to replicate in other districts.

(d)  For the purposes of this section, a “high spending district” is a school district that, in the previous school year, spent at least 20 percent more than the statewide average of special education eligible costs per average daily membership.  Also for the purposes of this section, a “low spending district” is a school district that, in the previous school year, spent no more than 80 percent of the statewide average of special education eligible costs per average daily membership.

(e)  For the purpose of advising the commissioner and providing technical assistance to school districts, the state board shall appoint a fiscal review panel of seven people who have expertise in the areas of data collection and finance, and in the fields of special education, business or health and human services. The panel, at the request of a district school board, shall work with the department of education to review spending patterns and provision of special education services in the district and provide advice to the school board and staff concerning cost control mechanisms and cost‑effective practices. In addition, the panel shall make recommendations on what types of data to collect for purposes of the annual report required under subsection (a) of this section, and how the data should be analyzed.  If, after a review of a high spending district’s explanation, the commissioner finds that the explanation is not satisfactory, the commissioner shall conduct a performance review to include one or more of the following:

(1)  a review of the district’s special education student count patterns over time;

(2)  a review of the district’s compliance with section 2901 of this title and any unusual community characteristics that exist;

(3)  an on‑site review to examine a sample of special education student records and related financial and business records;

(4)  a review of the district’s compliance with federal and state requirements to provide a free appropriate public education to eligible students; and

(5)  a review of other factors.

(f)  Within 60 days of completing the performance review, the commissioner shall notify the district in writing of his or her findings and whether the results of the performance review are satisfactory or not satisfactory.  If the results of the performance review are not satisfactory to the commissioner, the commissioner and the school district jointly shall develop a remediation plan.  The district shall have two years to make progress on the remediation plan.  At the conclusion of the two years or earlier, the district shall report its progress on the remediation plan. 

(g)  Within 30 days of receipt of the district’s report of progress, the commissioner shall notify the district that its progress is either satisfactory or not satisfactory. 

(1)  If the district has failed to make satisfactory progress by the conclusion of the remediation plan, the commissioner shall notify the district that in the ensuing year the district will be subject to a withholding of up to 10 percent of its special education expenditures reimbursement under section 2963 of this chapter.

(2)  If the district has failed to make satisfactory progress by the end of the year in which a portion of the special education expenditures reimbursement was withheld under subdivision (1) of this subsection, the commissioner shall notify the district that in the ensuing year the district will be subject to a withholding of up to 20 percent of its special education expenditures reimbursement.

(3)  If the district has failed to make satisfactory progress by the end of the year in which a portion of the special education expenditures reimbursement was withheld under subdivision (2) of this subsection, the commissioner shall notify the district that the state board of education will impose a plan of remediation, which may include administration by the state of the district’s special education program. 

(4)  If the district makes satisfactory progress under any subdivision of this subsection, the commissioner shall release to the district any special education expenditures reimbursement withheld for the prior fiscal year only.

(h)  Within 10 days after receiving the commissioner’s notice under subdivisions (g)(1), (2), or (3) of this section, the district may challenge the commissioner’s decision by filing a written objection to the state board of education outlining the reasons the district believes it made satisfactory progress on the remediation plan.  The commissioner may file a written response within 10 days after the district’s objection is filed.  The board may give the district and the commissioner an opportunity to be heard.  The board’s decision shall be final.  The state shall withhold no portion of the district’s reimbursement before the state board issues its decision under this subsection.

(Committee vote: 5-0-0)

NEW BUSINESS

Third Reading

S. 34

An act relating to humane treatment of animals in schools and the right to an instructional alternative to dissection.

Second Reading

Favorable with Recommendation of Amendment

S. 37

An act relating to mosquito control.

Reported favorably with recommendation of amendment by Senator Giard for the Committee on Agriculture.

The Committee recommends that the bill be amended by adding Secs. 2 and 3 to read:

Sec. 2.  24 V.S.A. § 4831 is amended to read:

§ 4831.  CREATION OF COMMITTEE

The legislative branch of any two or more municipalities may by agreement create a joint municipal survey committee to plan for the strengthening of local governments and to promote plans for more efficient and economical operation of local government services within or by the participating municipalities.  For purposes of establishing a mosquito control district under chapter 85 of Title 6, a municipality may create a municipal survey committee under this section with all the powers and duties that a joint municipal survey committee possesses under this chapter.

Sec. 3.  EFFECTIVE DATE

This act shall take effect upon passage.

(Committee vote: 5-0-0)

S. 123

An act relating to increased sex offender registry requirements for noncompliant high-risk sex offenders.

Reported favorably with recommendation of amendment by Senator Sears 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.   13 V.S.A. § 5407 is amended to read:

§ 5407.  SEX OFFENDER’S DUTY TO REPORT

(a)  A Except as provided in section 5411d of this title, a sex offender shall report to the department as follows:

(1)  if convicted of a registry offense in another state, within 10 days after either establishing residence in this state or crossing into this state for purposes of employment, carrying on a vocation, or being a student, the sex offender shall provide the information listed in subsection 5403(a) of this title;

(2)  annually within 10 days after the registrant’s birthday, or if a person is determined to be a sexually violent predator, that person shall report to the department every 90 days;

(3)  within three days after any change of address, or if a person is designated as a high‑risk sex offender pursuant to section 5411b of this title, that person shall report to the department within 36 hours;

(4)  within three days after the registrant enrolls in or separates from any postsecondary educational institution; and

(5)  within three days after any change in place of employment; and

(6)  within three days of any name change.

* * *

(f)  A person required to register as a sex offender under this subchapter shall continue to comply with this section for the life of that person, except during periods of incarceration, if that person:

(1)  has at least one prior conviction for an offense described in subdivision 5401(10) of this subchapter or a comparable offense in another jurisdiction of the United States;

(2)  has been convicted of a sexual assault as defined in section 3252 of this title or aggravated sexual assault as defined in section 3253 of this title; however, if a person convicted under section 3252 is not more than six years older than the victim of the assault and if the victim is 14 years or older, then the offender shall not be required to register for life if the age of the victim was the basis for the conviction; or

(3)  has been determined to be a sexually violent predator pursuant to section 5405 of this subchapter title; or

(4)  has been designated as a noncompliant high‑risk sex offender pursuant to section 5411d of this title.

* * *

(h)  A registrant who has no permanent address shall report to the department to notify it as to his or her temporary residence.  Temporary residence, for purposes of this section, need not include an actual dwelling or numbered street address, but shall identify a specific location.  A registrant shall not be required to check in daily if he or she makes acceptable other arrangements with the department to keep his or her information current.  The department may enter into an agreement with a local law enforcement agency to perform this function, but shall maintain responsibility for compliance with this subsection.

Sec. 2.  13 V.S.A. § 5411 is amended to read:

§ 5411.  NOTIFICATION TO LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT AND LOCAL COMMUNITY

* * *

(e)  After 10 years have elapsed from the completion of the sentence, a person required to register as a sex offender for life pursuant to section 5407 of this title who is not designated as a noncompliant high‑risk sex offender pursuant to section 5411d of this title may petition the district court for a termination of community notification, including the internet.  The state shall make a reasonable attempt to notify the victim of the proceeding, and consider victim testimony regarding the petition.  If the registrant was convicted of a crime which requires lifetime registration, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that the person is a high‑risk sex offender.  Should the registrant present evidence that he or she is not a high‑risk offender, the state shall have the burden of proof to establish by a preponderance of the evidence that the person remains a high risk to reoffend.  The court shall consider whether the offender has successfully completed sex offender treatment.  The court may require the offender to submit to a psychosexual evaluation.  If the court finds that there is a high risk of reoffense, notification shall continue.  The Vermont Rules of Civil Procedure shall apply to these proceedings.  A lifetime registrant may petition the court to be removed from community notification requirements once every 60 months.  The presumption under this section that a lifetime registrant is a high‑risk offender shall not automatically subject the offender to increased public access to his or her status as a sex offender and related information under subdivision (c)(1) of this section or section 5411a of this title.

Sec. 3.  13 V.S.A. § 5411a is amended to read:

§ 5411a.  ELECTRONIC POSTING OF THE SEX OFFENDER REGISTRY

(a)  Notwithstanding sections 2056a–2056e of Title 20, the department shall electronically post information on the internet in accordance with subsection (b) of this section regarding the following sex offenders, upon their release from confinement:

* * *

(5)(A)  Sex offenders who have not complied with sex offender treatment recommended by the department of corrections or who are ineligible for sex offender treatment.  The department of corrections shall establish rules for the administration of this subdivision and shall specify what circumstances constitute noncompliance with treatment and criteria for ineligibility to participate in treatment.  Offenders subject to this provision shall have the right to appeal the department of corrections’ determination in superior court in accordance with Rule 75 of the Vermont Rules of Civil Procedure.  This subdivision shall apply prospectively and shall not apply to those sex offenders who did not comply with treatment or were ineligible for treatment prior to March 1, 2005. 

(B)  The department of corrections shall notify the department if a sex offender who is compliant with sex offender treatment completes his or her sentence but has not completed sex offender treatment.  As long as the offender complies with treatment, the offender shall not be considered noncompliant under this subdivision and shall not be placed on the internet registry in accordance with this subdivision alone.  However, the offender shall submit to the department proof of continuing treatment compliance every three months.  Proof of compliance shall be a form provided by the department that the offender’s treatment provider shall sign, attesting to the offender’s continuing compliance with recommended treatment.  Failure to submit such proof as required under this subdivision shall result in the offender’s placement on the internet registry in accordance with subdivision (A) of this subdivision (5).

* * *

Sec. 4.  13 V.S.A. § 5411d is added to read:

§ 5411d.  DESIGNATION OF NONCOMPLIANT HIGH‑RISK SEX OFFENDER

(a)  Prior to releasing a person from total confinement, the department of corrections shall designate the person as a noncompliant high‑risk sex offender if the person:

(1)  Is incarcerated on or after the effective date of this act for lewd and lascivious conduct with a child as defined in section 2602 of this title, sexual assault as defined in section 3252 of this title, aggravated sexual assault as defined in section 3253 of this title, or any attempt to commit a crime listed herein, or a comparable offense in another jurisdiction of the United States.

(2)  Is not subject to indeterminate life sentences under section 3271 of this title.

(3)  Is designated as a high‑risk sex offender pursuant to section 5411b of this title.

(4)  Is noncompliant with sex offender treatment as defined by department of corrections’ directives.

(b)  Noncompliant high‑risk sex offenders shall report to the department as follows:

(1)  In person, within 15 days from the date of release from department of corrections’ supervision, and within every 30 days thereafter.

(2)   Prior to any change of address.  However, if the change of address is unanticipated, the offender shall report within one day of the change of address.

(3)  Prior to enrollment in or separation from any postsecondary educational institution.  However, if the change in school status is unanticipated, the offender shall report within one day of the change.

(4)  Within one day of any change in a place of employment.

(c)  In addition to the registry information required in section 5403 of this title, a noncompliant high‑risk sex offender shall provide the department with the make, model, color, registration, and license plate number of any vehicle the person operates prior to operation.  An offender found in operation of a vehicle not on the list provided to the department shall be considered to be in violation of this subsection.

(d)  The department shall arrange for the noncompliant high‑risk sex offender to have his or her digital photograph updated annually for purposes of the electronic registry as provided in section 5411a of this title.  An offender who is requested by the department to report to the department or a local law enforcement agency for the purpose of being photographed for the internet registry shall comply with the request within 30 days.

(e)  The department shall conduct periodic unannounced registry compliance checks on noncompliant high‑risk sex offenders to verify the accuracy of registry information.  The department may enter into an agreement with a local law enforcement agency to perform duties under this subsection and under subdivision (b)(1) of this section, but shall maintain responsibility for compliance with this subsection.

(f)(1)  A noncompliant high‑risk sex offender may petition the district court to be relieved from the heightened registry requirements in this section once every five years from the date of designation.  The offender shall have the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that he or she:

(A)  no longer qualifies as a high‑risk offender as defined in section 5401 of this title and rules adopted by the department of corrections in accordance with section 5411b of this title; and

(B)  has complied with and completed sex offender treatment as provided by department of corrections’ directives.

(2)  The Vermont Rules of Civil Procedure shall apply to these proceedings.

(3)  If the court finds that the offender is not high‑risk and has successfully completed treatment, the court shall order that the offender is no longer considered a noncompliant high‑risk offender and is subsequently relieved from the heightened registry requirements of this section; however, the offender shall still continue to comply with sex offender registry and other requirements as provided elsewhere in this subchapter.

(g)(1)  A noncompliant high‑risk sex offender who violates any of the registry requirements under this section shall be imprisoned for a maximum term of life.  A sentence may be suspended in whole or in part, or the person may be eligible for parole or release on conditional reentry or furlough, provided the person is subject to electronic monitoring using an active global positioning system.  Electronic monitoring shall be an addition to intensive supervision by the department of corrections.

(2)  In a criminal proceeding for violating any of the registry requirements under this section, a defendant shall be prohibited from challenging his or her status as a noncompliant high‑risk sex offender.

Sec. 5.  4 V.S.A. § 437 is amended to read:

§ 437.  Civil jurisdiction of district court

The district court shall have jurisdiction of the following actions:

* * *

(9)  Sex offender notification proceedings pursuant to 13 V.S.A.

 § 5411(c) subsections 5411(e)  and 5411d(f) of Title 13.

* * *

Sec. 6.  EFFECTIVE DATE

This act shall take effect upon passage.

(Committee vote: 5-0-0)

House Proposal of Amendment

H. 302

An act relating to fiscal year 2007 budget adjustments.

The House proposes to the Senate to amend the proposals of amendment as follows:

     First:  In the first proposal of amendment in subsection (a) by striking out the words “to maintain salaries and benefits”

     Second:  In the ninth proposal of amendment at the end of subsection (g) by adding the words on a one-time basis

     Third:  In the tenth proposal of amendment by striking out subsection (b) in its entirety

     Fourth:  By striking out the twelfth proposal of amendment in its entirety

     Fifth:  By striking out the thirteenth proposal of amendment in its entirety

     Sixth:  By striking out the fifteenth proposal of amendment in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

          Fifteenth:  In Sec. 60, by striking out the figure “1,778,138,935” where it twice appears and inserting in lieu thereof the figure 1,777,897,870 and by striking out the figure “1,307,222,597” and inserting in lieu thereof the figure 1,306,981,532 and by striking out the figure “1,041,775” and inserting in lieu thereof the figure 1,041,775

     Seventh:  By striking out the nineteenth proposal of amendment in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

          Sec. 109.  NEXT GENERATION FUND

(a)  Of the total sum transferred from the fiscal year 2007 general fund to the next generation initiative fund, the sum of $1,100,000 is appropriated as follows:

(1)  The sum of $400,000 is appropriated to the agency of commerce and community development for the issuance of Vermont training program grants pursuant to 10 V.S.A. § 531.

(2)  The sum of $700,000 is appropriated to the workforce education and training fund created in Sec. 157a(d) of No. 62 of the Acts of 1999 as amended by Sec. 14 of No. 212 of the Acts of 2006.

     The House further proposes to amend the bill as follows:

     First:  By striking out Sec. 3 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 3 to read as follows:

Sec. 3.    Sec. 30 of No. 215 of the Acts of 2006 is amended to read:

Sec. 30.  Buildings and general services - fee for space

          Personal services                        10,529,817                   10,529,817

          Operating expenses                    10,548,400                   16,063,035

               Total                                     21,078,217                   26,592,852

     Source of funds

          Internal service funds                  21,078,217                   26,592,852

* * *

     (b)  The department shall increase the facilities operations charges to the agency of human services in fiscal year 2007 by $2,100,000 for the costs associated with the Bennington state office building.  The department shall credit $1,450,000 of this charge from state funds transferred else where.

     Second:  In Sec. 7 by striking out the figure “139,800,352” where it twice appears and inserting in lieu thereof the figure 141,640,641 and by striking out the figure “46,412,649” and inserting in lieu thereof the figure 48,252,938

     Third:  In Sec. 85(a)(2), by striking out the figure “$13,895,042” and inserting in lieu thereof the figure $14,029,517

     Fourth:  In Sec. 85(a)(3) after the words “fiscal year 2007” by inserting the following:  , and the secretary of administration shall transfer $300,000 to the general fund from available federal receipt funds in the agency of human services for the costs of the Bennington state office building at the close of fiscal year 2007

     Fifth:  In Sec. 85(a)(4), by striking out the figure “3,674,346” and inserting in lieu thereof the figure 4,864,635

     Sixth:  In Sec. 90(a)(2) by striking out the figure “$11,272,219” and inserting in lieu thereof the figure $10,516,405

(For House amendments, see House Journal for February 27, 2007, page 171; February 28, 2007, page 187.)

NOTICE CALENDAR

Favorable

S. 169

An act relating to civil violations for animal cruelty.

Reported favorably by Senator Campbell for the Committee on Judiciary.

(Committee vote: 4-0-1)

Favorable with Recommendation of Amendment

S. 15

An act relating to removal of tuition costs from the excess spending penalty of act 60.

Reported favorably with recommendation of amendment by Senator Starr for the Committee on Education.

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.  32 V.S.A. § 5401(12) is amended to read:

(12)  "Excess spending" means:

(A)  the per-equalized per equalized pupil amount of:

(i)  the district's education spending, plus any amount required to be added from a capital construction reserve fund under 24 V.S.A. § 2804(b); minus

(ii)  the portion of education spending which is approved school capital construction spending or deposited into a reserve fund under 24 V.S.A. § 2804 to pay future approved school capital construction costs, including that portion of tuition paid to an independent school designated as the public high school of the school district pursuant to 16 V.S.A. § 827 for capital construction costs by the independent school which has received approval from the state board of education, using the processes for preliminary approval of public school construction costs pursuant to 16 V.S.A. § 3448(a)(2); and minus

(iii)  a budget deficit in a district that pays tuition to a public school for all of its students in one or more grades in any year in which the deficit is solely attributable to tuition paid for one or more new students who moved into the district after the budget for the year creating the deficit was passed;

(B)  in excess of 125 percent of the statewide average district education spending per equalized pupil in the prior fiscal year, as determined by the commissioner of education.

Sec. 2.  EFFECTIVE DATE

This act shall take effect on July 1, 2006 and begin to apply to budgets approved for the 2007–2008 academic year.

(Committee vote: 5-0-0)

S. 39

An act relating to health insurance plan reimbursement for covered services provided by naturopathic physicians.

Reported favorably with recommendation of amendment by Senator White for the Committee on Health and Welfare.

The Committee recommends that the bill be amended by adding a Sec 2 to read as follows: 

Sec. 2.  8 V.S.A. chapter 107, subchapter 10 is added to read:

Subchapter 10.  Prostate Screenings

 § 4100f.  PROSTATE SCREENINGS; COVERAGE REQUIRED

(a)  Health insurers shall provide coverage for prostate cancer screenings.  Benefits provided shall be at least as favorable as coverage for other cancer screening procedures and subject to the same dollar limits, deductibles, and coinsurance factors within the provisions of the policy.

(b)  Coverage shall be provided for screenings at intervals consistent with the recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control or upon recommendation of a health care provider.

(c)  For purposes of this section, “health insurer” is defined by subdivision 9402(9) of Title 18.  The term does not apply to coverage for specified disease or other limited benefit coverage.

(Committee vote: 6-0-0)

S. 45

An act relating to the right to attend town meeting.

Reported favorably with recommendation of amendment by Senator Doyle for the Committee on Government Operations.

The Committee recommends that the bill be amended in Sec. 1, 21 V.S.A. § 472b(a), in the first sentence, by striking out the word “An” and inserting in lieu thereof the following: Subject to the efficient operation of a business, which shall prevail in any instance of conflict, an

(Committee vote: 4-0-1)

S. 46

An act relating to wrongful discharge for voting or attending town meeting.

Reported favorably with recommendation of amendment by Senator Flanagan for the Committee on Government Operations.

The Committee recommends that the bill be amended in Sec. 1, 21 V.S.A. § 496a(a), in the first sentence, by striking out the word “No” and inserting in lieu thereof the following: Subject to the efficient operation of a business, which shall prevail in any instance of conflict, no

(Committee vote: 4-0-1)


S. 67

An act relating to closure of the Bennington office state office building.

Reported favorably with recommendation of amendment by Senator Illuzzi for the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs.

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.  LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS AND STATEMENT OF PURPOSE

(a)  The general assembly finds the following:

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

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

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

(4)  Sarcoidosis is a disease of unknown causes characterized by inflammation in one or more organ.

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

(6)  The workers’ compensation system was established to provide benefits to individuals who suffer injury or illness arising out of and in the course of employment and represents a public policy compromise in which workers who suffer injury or illness arising out of and in the course of employment give up the right to sue the employer for negligence in return for which the employer assumes strict liability and the obligation to provide a speedy and certain remedy for work-related injuries and illnesses.  Gerrish v. Savard, 169Vt. 468 (1999).

(7)  Workers’ compensation laws are to be construed liberally to accomplish the humane purposes for which they were passed.  Giguere v. E.B. & A.C. Whiting Co., 107 Vt. 151(1935).

(8)  In workers’ compensation cases, the claimant has the burden of establishing all facts essential to the rights asserted.  Goodwin v. Fairbanks, 123 Vt. 161 (1962).

(9)  The claimant has the burden of showing a causal connection between the injury and employment, and that the claimant is therefore entitled to relief under the workers’ compensation act.  Egbert v. Book Press 144 Vt. 367 (1984).

(10)  There must be created in the mind of the trier of fact something more than a possibility, suspicion, or surmise that such was the cause, and the inference from the facts proved must be at least the more probable hypothesis, with reference to the possibility of other hypotheses.  Burton v. Holden & Martin Lumber Co., 112 Vt. 17 (1941).

(11)  It is difficult to prove a causal connection between sarcoidosis and the workplace, since the cause of sarcoidosis is unknown.  

(b)  The purpose of this act is:

(1)  To minimize the difficulty of proving causation by providing a mechanism for employees at the Bennington state office building who are diagnosed with sarcoidosis to be deemed eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, provided they meet the criteria identified in subsection (a) of this section.

(2)  To retain and not to contravene, amend, overturn, or in any way alter the conclusions of law in the cases referenced in subdivisions (a)(8), (9), and (10) of this section, except that claimants who satisfy the criteria of subsection (a) of this section are entitled to the presumption created by this act and shall not be required to satisfy the standards of proof regarding causation articulated in those cases.

Sec. 2.  WORKERS’ COMPENSATION; PRESUMPTION OF COMPENSABILITY; STATE EMPLOYEES; BENNINGTON STATE OFFICE BUILDING 

Any person who has worked as a state employee at the Bennington state office building for at least six consecutive months prior to January 1, 2007, and who, after that six-month period of employment, is or has been diagnosed with sarcoidosis, shall be presumed to have suffered a work illness, injury, or disease caused by exposure to the air quality of the work environment in the Bennington state office building, unless it is shown by a preponderance of the evidence that the illness, injury, or disease was proximately caused by nonwork‑related risk factors or exposure and shall be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits pursuant to chapter 9 of Title 21, notwithstanding any statute of limitations for filing a workers’ compensation claim.  Such state employee shall be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits beginning the first day that the employee was or is diagnosed with sarcoidosis, and those benefits shall be paid in accordance with the provisions of chapter 9 of Title 21.

Sec. 3.  BENNINGTON STATE OFFICE BUILDING; CLOSURE

(a)  No state employee with a workplace in the Bennington state office building shall be permitted to work in that building after April 1, 2007, until such time as the air quality and health conditions of the building have been determined by the department of health to be safe and free from levels of airborne pathogens, particulates, mold, and other environmental contaminants that are likely to cause injury or disease to humans.  This prohibition shall not apply to employees who are properly equipped to work in the building to perform rehabilitation and reconstruction work necessary to make the building habitable as an office. 

(b)  The department of buildings and general services shall on or before August 1, 2007, review available air test results and consider whether to accept or voluntarily advance payment of workers’ compensation benefits for employees diagnosed with asthma and who otherwise would qualify for the presumption set forth in subsection (a) of this section.

Sec. 4.  BENNINGTON STATE OFFICE LOCATION TASK FORCE; CREATION

(a)  The Bennington state office location task force is created for the purpose of evaluating the best alternatives for permanent relocation of the state employees in downtown Bennington in a single building, or if not, that the buildings are within easy walking distance of each other. 

(b)  The task force shall be composed of 12 members to include the following:

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

(2)  The Bennington town manager.

(3)  The director of planning and development from Bennington.

(4)  A member of the Bennington planning commission.

(5)  A member of the board of directors of the Better Bennington Corporation.

(6)  The executive director of the Better Bennington Corporation.

(7)  A member of the board of directors of the Bennington Area Chamber of Commerce.

(8)  The executive director of the Bennington Area Chamber of Commerce.

(9)  A member or employee of the Vermont state employees’ association.

(10)  The secretary of human services or designee.

(11)  The commissioner of buildings and general services or designee.

(12)  The senior member of the house of representatives from Bennington district 2-2.

(c)  The task force shall hold its first meeting no later than April 1, 2007 and will meet as needed thereafter until October 1, 2007.  No later than January 15, 2008, the task force shall issue a written report of its findings and recommendations for downtown office space for state employees in Bennington to the Bennington selectboard, the Vermont general assembly, and the governor. 

(Committee vote: 5-0-0)

S. 70

An act relating to empowering municipalities to regulate the application of pesticides within their borders.

Reported favorably with recommendation of amendment by Senator Ayer for the Committee on Government Operations.

The Committee recommends that the bill be amended in Sec. 1, 24 V.S.A. § 2291(23), by striking out the third sentence in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Regulations created by municipalities under this subdivision shall not regulate agricultural activities conducted consistent with accepted agricultural practices pursuant to 6 V.S.A. § 4810(a) and 10 V.S.A. § 1259(f), aquatic nuisance control activities conducted in compliance with a permit issued under 10 V.S.A. § 1263a, vegetation control activities undertaken by railroads pursuant 5 V.S.A. §§ 3671 and 3673 and 49 C.F.R. § 213.37, and roadside growth and vegetation control activities undertaken by the agency of transportation within the limits of a state highway pursuant to chapter 9 of Title 19.

(Committee vote: 4-0-1)


S. 82

An act relating to the use of Vermont addresses and representations of Vermont origin.

Reported favorably with recommendation of amendment by Senator Miller for the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs.

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.  ATTORNEY GENERAL; REPRESENTATIONS OF VERMONT ORIGIN; RULEMAKING

(a)  The attorney general shall amend the Representations of Vermont Origin rule CF 120.07 to include the following language:  “A company whose business it is to ship, distribute, or similarly process goods or provide services may use a Vermont address to describe the location of its own facilities in Vermont.  The company may also use, and permit the use of, its own name and Vermont address, as long as the company also discloses the name and out-of-state address of its client to identify where payments, returns, customer service inquiries, or similar transactions should be directed, and, when shipping goods, may use the name of the out-of-state client without that client’s address as long as the out-of-state address is provided within a reasonably short period of time, such as on an invoice.  A shipper or fulfillment house may not use, or permit the use of, a Vermont address to describe the location of its out-of-state client, in connection with the advertising, marketing, or selling of the client’s goods or services.”

(b)  Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary and without having to comply with any further rulemaking requirements, the attorney general shall amend the Representations of Vermont Origin rule CF 120.07 by filing a revised adopted rule with the secretary of state and the legislative committee on administrative rules.

Sec. 2.  EFFECTIVE DATE

This act shall take effect upon passage.

(Committee vote: 5-0-0)

S. 92

An act relating to groundwater mapping.

Reported favorably with recommendation of amendment by Senator Snelling for the Committee on Natural Resources and Energy.

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.  10 V.S.A. § 1416 is added to read:

§ 1416.  GROUNDWATER MAPPING

(a)  In accordance with the requirements of subdivision 1392(a)(4) of this title to identify and map the groundwater resources of the state, the secretary of natural resources shall establish a groundwater mapping program within the office of the state geologist.  The groundwater mapping program shall identify public water supply sources and groundwater sources that may serve as future public water supply sources.  The office of the state geologist shall also identify areas of interest that require additional mapping, including location of water wells, mapping of surficial geology and bedrock, and, if funds are available, geophysical studies.

(b)  Prior to October 15, 2007, the secretary of natural resources shall develop a schedule for mapping the groundwater resources of the state.  In developing the schedule for mapping the groundwater resources of the state, the secretary shall give priority to municipalities, watersheds, and other areas subject to development pressure, groundwater supply shortages, groundwater quality issues, or commercial groundwater withdrawal.  The secretary shall submit the schedule required by this section to the legislative study committee on groundwater regulation and funding, the senate committee on natural resources and energy, and the house committee on fish, wildlife, and water resources.

(c)  The secretary of natural resources may adopt rules implementing the requirements of this section.

Sec. 2.  AGENCY OF NATURAL RESOURCES GROUNDWATER FUNDING REPORT

(a)  On or before October 15, 2007, the agency of natural resources shall report to the senate committee on natural resources and energy and the house committee on fish, wildlife and water resources with a recommendation for funding the groundwater resources of the state as required under sections 1392 and 1416 of Title 10.  The report shall include:

(1)  A summary of the current groundwater mapping conducted or completed by the agency of natural resources, including use of compiled groundwater data, well driller reports, and other groundwater data.

(2)  A summary of the appropriations and personnel currently available to the agency of natural resources for groundwater mapping.

(3)  An estimate of the appropriations and personnel necessary to fund the mapping of the groundwater resources of the state as required by sections 1392 and 1416 of Title 10 and a proposal for incorporating such appropriations into the agency of natural resources' annual budget.

(b)  Upon completion of the report required by this section, the agency of natural resources shall submit the report to the legislative study committee on groundwater regulation and funding.

(Committee vote: 5-0-0)

S. 97

An act relating to correctional facilities.

Reported favorably with recommendation of amendment by Senator Sears 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.  9 V.S.A. § 4501 is amended to read:

§ 4501.  DEFINITIONS:

As used in this chapter:

* * *

(10)  “Undue burden” means significant difficulty or expense.  In determining whether an action would result in an undue burden, the following factors shall be considered:

(A)  The nature and cost of the action needed.

(B)  The overall financial resources of the site or sites involved in the action; the number of persons employed at the site; the effect on expenses and resources; legitimate safety requirements necessary for safe operation, including crime prevention measures, or any other impact of the action on the operation of the site.

(C)  The geographic separateness and the administrative or fiscal relationship of the site or sites in question to any parent corporation or entity.

(D)  If applicable, the overall financial resources of any parent corporation or entity; the overall size of the parent corporation or entity with respect to the number of its employees; and the number, type and location of its facilities.

(E)  If applicable, the type of operation or operations of any parent corporation or entity, including the composition, structure and functions of the workforce of the parent corporation or entity.

(F)  In claims brought under this chapter by individuals in the custody of the commissioner of the department of corrections, the legitimate institutional and security concerns of the correctional facility.

Sec. 2.  9 V.S.A. § 4506(e) is added to read:

§ 4506.  ENFORCEMENT; CIVIL ACTION

* * *

(e)  An inmate incarcerated in a department of corrections facility may file a charge of discrimination with the human rights commission for violation of this chapter only after exhausting all grievance procedures pursuant to rules adopted by the department under section 854 of Title 28.  This requirement shall not be necessary where the inmate demonstrates that:

(1)  the corrections facility does not maintain a relevant grievance procedure;

(2)  the department of corrections has not rendered a determination on the grievance procedure within 60 days;

(3)  the health or safety of the inmate would be jeopardized otherwise; or

(4)  requiring exhaustion would subject the inmate to substantial and imminent retaliation.

Sec. 3.  13 V.S.A. § 1027 is amended to read:

§ 1027.  DISTURBING PEACE BY USE OF MAIL, TELEPHONE, OR OTHER ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS

(a)  A person who, with intent to terrify, intimidate, threaten, harass, or annoy, makes contact by means of a telephonic mail, telephone, or other electronic communication with another and (i) makes any request, suggestion, or proposal which is obscene, lewd, lascivious, or indecent; (ii) threatens to inflict injury or physical harm to the person or property of any person; or (iii) disturbs, or attempts to disturb, by repeated anonymous mailings, telephone calls, or other electronic communications, whether or not conversation ensues, the peace, quiet, or right of privacy of any person at the place where the communication or communications are received shall be fined not more than $250.00 or be imprisoned not more than three months or both.  If the defendant has previously been convicted of a violation of this section or of an offense under the laws of another state or of the United States which would have been an offense under this act if committed in this state, the defendant shall be fined not more than $500.00 or imprisoned for not more than six months, or both.

(b)  An intent to terrify, threaten, harass, or annoy may be inferred by the trier of fact from the use of obscene, lewd, lascivious, or indecent language or the making of a threat or statement or repeated anonymous mailings, telephone calls or other electronic communications as set forth in this section and any trial court may in its discretion include a statement to this effect in its jury charge.

(c)  An offense committed by use of a mail, telephone, or other electronic communication device as set forth in this section shall be considered to have been committed at either the place where the telephone call or calls originated or at the place where the mailings, communication or communications, or calls were received.

Sec. 4.  4 V.S.A. § 1102 is amended to read:

§ 1102.  JUDICIAL BUREAU; JURISDICTION

* * *

(b)  The judicial bureau shall have jurisdiction of the following matters:

* * *

(11)  violations of 18 V.S.A. § 4234b(b), relating to selling ephedrine base, pseudoephedrine base, or phenylpropanolamine base;

(12)  violations of 18 V.S.A. § 4249(f), relating to the introduction of tobacco or tobacco products into a correctional facility.

Sec. 5.  18 V.S.A. § 4249(f) is added to read:

§ 4249.  TRANSPORTATION OF ALCOHOL OR REGULATED DRUGS INTO PLACES OF DETENTION

* * *

(f)  No person shall knowingly carry or introduce or cause to be carried or introduced tobacco or tobacco products into a correctional facility.  An individual who violates this subsection shall be subject to a civil penalty of not more than $1,000.00 for the first offense and $2,500.00 for any subsequent offense.  An action under this subsection shall be brought in the same manner as for a traffic violation pursuant to chapter 24 of Title 23.

Sec. 6.  28 V.S.A. § 802 is amended to read:

§ 802.  CORRESPONDENCE OF INMATES

(a)  Any authorized employee of any correctional facility shall have the right to inspect all correspondence by or to inmates of the facility.  The employee shall have the right to withhold and prevent the transmission of material intended to be sent through the mails by or to an inmate if the material is contraband as defined by the rules of the facility or constitutes a clear and present danger to the security of the facility.

(b)  Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, any correspondence from an inmate to any public official of the state or of the United States, shall not be impeded in its transmission, nor shall it be inspected, opened, copied, duplicated, photographed, or examined in any way.

(c)  An inmate shall not correspond through the mail with another inmate committed to the custody and supervision of the department of corrections, whether in the same facility or in a different facility, except as follows:

(1)  To communicate with immediate family members who are inmates also in the custody and supervision of the department of corrections, subject to the prior approval of the superintendent or the superintendent’s designee.

(2)  To communicate with other inmates where the inmate’s classification or treatment team deems the correspondence in the best interests of both parties.

(3)  To communicate with another inmate regarding legal matters, so long as the superintendent or his or her designee knows the second inmate customarily offers legal advice to other inmates.

(4)  To correspond with other inmates, so long as the correspondence has been approved by the superintendent or the superintendent’s designee at his or her sole discretion.

(d)  Negative contact list.

(1)  Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, an inmate shall not correspond with any individual on the department of corrections’ negative contact list.

(2)  An individual may be added to the negative contact list by notifying the department of corrections in writing that he or she does not wish to receive any communications from a particular inmate or group of inmates.

(3)  A parent or authorized legal guardian of a minor may add the minor child to the negative contact list by notifying the department of corrections in writing that he or she does not wish the minor child to receive any communication from a particular inmate or group of inmates.  If the inmate is a parent of the minor, the inmate shall be presumed to have the right to have contact with the minor, unless the facility superintendent, in consultation with the director of victim services, finds the correspondence would not be in the best interests of the child.

Sec. 7.  JOINT LEGISLATIVE CORRECTIONS OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE

(a)  During the 2007 interim, the joint legislative corrections oversight committee shall engage policymakers and social scientists to pursue and obtain current and accurate data of the prevalence of current and recent inmates with serious mental illness.  The production of this data is necessary for the general assembly to plan for the future acute care needs of all persons with serious mental illnesses, including persons committed to corrections’ custody. 

(b)  The committee shall:

(1)  Study the number of mental health hospital beds needed, including those required by:

(A)  Inmates with acute mental health treatment needs.

(B)  Criminal defendants committed for pre-trial forensic evaluation in an inpatient setting.

(C)  Criminal defendants found incompetent to stand trial or insane at the time of the offense.

(2)  Review policies from other states that address issues of mental health in inmate populations.  The committee may consult with the National Council of State Legislatures or the Council of State Governments to meet the requirements of this subdivision.

(3)  Consider whether a separate inpatient psychiatric facility, administered by the agency of human services, for inmates with severe mental illness would address the mental health needs of the inmate population.

(4)  Consider whether “serious mental illness,” as defined in subdivision 906(1) of Title 28, should be amended to include all forms of developmental disabilities, including mental retardation, traumatic brain injury, autism, various forms of dementia, and other mental impairments that significantly and negatively impact daily functioning.

(c)  The committee shall report its findings and recommendations for legislation to the general assembly on or before January 15, 2008.

(Committee vote: 4-0-1)


S. 102

An act relating to decreasing the percentage to determine a school district’s excess spending.

Reported favorably with recommendation of amendment by Senator Collins for the Committee on Education.

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

* * * Excess Spending Percentage * * *

Sec. 1.  32 V.S.A. § 5401(12) is amended to read:

(12)  “Excess spending” means:

(A)  the per‑equalized pupil amount of:

(i)  the district’s education spending, plus any amount required to be added from a capital construction reserve fund under 24 V.S.A. § 2804(b); minus

(ii)  the portion of education spending which is approved school capital construction spending or deposited into a reserve fund under 24 V.S.A. § 2804 to pay future approved school capital construction costs, including that portion of tuition paid to an independent school designated as the public high school of the school district pursuant to 16 V.S.A. § 827 for capital construction costs by the independent school which has received approval from the state board of education, using the processes for preliminary approval of public school construction costs pursuant to 16 V.S.A. § 3448(a)(2);

(B)  in excess of 125 115 percent of the statewide average district education spending per equalized pupil in the prior fiscal year, as determined by the commissioner of education.

Sec. 2.  32 V.S.A. § 5401(13) is amended to read:

(13)  “District spending adjustment” means the greater of: one or a fraction in which the numerator is the district’s education spending plus excess spending as set forth in subdivisions (A) and (B) of this subdivision (13), per equalized pupil, for the school year; and the denominator is the base education payment for the school year, as defined in section 4001 of Title 16.  Excess spending shall be added under this subdivision as follows:

(A)  One‑half of the excess spending in excess of 115 percent but not in excess of 125 percent; plus

(B)  The full amount of any excess spending in excess of 125 percent.

Sec. 3.  16 V.S.A. § 4011(h) is amended to read:

(h)  Annually, by October 1, the commissioner shall send to school boards for inclusion in town reports and publish on the department website the following information:

(1)  the statewide average district spending per equalized pupil for the current fiscal year, and 125 115 percent of that average spending; and

* * *

* * * School Construction * * *

Sec. 4.  16  V.S.A. § 3448(a)(2) is amended to read:

(2)  Approval of preliminary application.

(A)  When reviewing a preliminary application for approval, the commissioner shall consider:

(i)  regional educational opportunities and needs, including school building capacities across school district boundaries, and available infrastructure in neighboring communities;

(ii)  economic efficiencies;

(iii)  the suitability of an existing school building to continue to meet educational needs; and

(iv)  statewide educational initiatives and the strategic plan of the state board of education.

(B)  The commissioner may approve a preliminary application if:

(A)(i)  The project or part of the project fulfills a need occasioned by:

(i)(I)  conditions which threaten the health or safety of students or employees;

(ii)(II)  facilities which are inadequate to provide programs required by state or federal law or regulation;

(iii)(III)  excessive energy use resulting from the design of a building or reliance on fossil fuels or electric space heat; or

(iv)(IV)  deterioration of an existing building;

(B)(ii)  The need addressed by the project cannot reasonably be met by another means; and

(C)(iii)  The proposed type, kind, quality, size, and estimated cost of the project are suitable for the proposed curriculum and meet all legal standards.

* * * Superintendents * * *

Sec. 5.  16 V.S.A. § 241 is amended to read:

§ 241.  APPOINTMENT

(a)  Each supervisory union or supervisory district board, with the advice of the commissioner, may employ a superintendent of schools.

(b)  A superintendent shall be employed by written contract for a term not to exceed five years nor less than one year and shall work the number of hours required by contract, performing the duties designated in the contract or assigned by the board.  A superintendent of schools may be dismissed for cause or as specified in the contract of employment.

(c)  Not later than May 15 of a year in which an incumbent superintendent’s contract of employment expires, the supervisory union board shall meet to renew or act otherwise upon the superintendent’s contract.  If a supervisory union employs a superintendent, it shall be pursuant to subsection (d) of this section and the supervisory union board shall specify and assign the duties of a superintendent.  If the supervisory union board does not hire a superintendent, the board may assign any duties assigned to the superintendent under this title to the school principal or principals in the supervisory union or to other qualified persons designated by the board.

(d)(1)  When a superintendent vacancy occurs, the supervisory union board shall:

(A)  Conduct a needs assessment that addresses whether the existing boundaries of the supervisory union best serve the educational needs of students within the supervisory union and whether an alternative configuration would result in a more efficient and effective way to provide educational and support services to students.

(B)  Forward the completed needs assessment to the commissioner and request permission from the commissioner to hire a new superintendent.

(2)  Within 30 days of receiving the assessment and request from the supervisory union, the commissioner shall inform the supervisory union either that the supervisory union may proceed to hire a new superintendent or that the commissioner will schedule a hearing before the state board regarding the supervisory union’s request.

(3)  If the commissioner schedules a hearing pursuant to subdivision (2) of this subsection, the state board shall take testimony from the supervisory union and shall decide whether:

(A)  The boundaries of the existing supervisory union shall be changed;

(B)  The supervisory union shall be merged with another supervisory union; or

(C)  The boundaries of the supervisory union shall remain the same.

(4)  Any changes made to the boundaries of the supervisory union pursuant to subdivision (3) of this subsection shall take effect on July 1 of the year following the year of the state board’s decision.

* * * Qualifications of Business Managers * * *

Sec. 6.  FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT OF SCHOOL DISTRICTS AND SUPERVISORY UNIONS; MINIMUM CREDENTIALS

(a)  The commissioner of education, in consultation with the Vermont superintendents’ association, the Vermont school boards association, and the Vermont association for school business officials shall:

(1)  Examine the systems of financial management currently used by Vermont school districts and supervisory unions.

(2)  Examine the range of training and expertise currently held by persons responsible for the financial management of Vermont school districts and supervisory unions.

(3)  Examine and assess the training or credentials required of financial managers employed by public schools or school districts in other states.

(4)  Develop proposals to ensure that all school districts consistently use uniform, high‑quality financial management practices.

(b)  On or before November 15, 2007, the commissioner shall submit a report to the senate committee on education outlining the results of the examinations required in subdivisions (a)(1)–(3) of this section and recommending proposals to ensure uniform, high quality financial management practices as required in subdivision (a)(4) of this section.  The report shall include both an analysis of the budgetary impact, if any, of the commissioner’s proposals and drafts of any proposed legislation. 

* * * Mandates * * *

Sec. 7.  UNFUNDED MANDATES; REPORT

The legislative council, the joint fiscal office, the Vermont school boards association, the Vermont superintendents’ association, and the Vermont principals’ association, in consultation with school district administrators and staff, shall examine the requirements placed on local school districts resulting from legislation, regulations, and interagency cost shifts implemented since January 1, 1997.  The examination will identify and quantify associated process requirements, staffing effects, and financial implications.  Legislative council and the joint fiscal office shall prepare a report for submission to the senate committee on education on or before December 1, 2007.

* * * Special Education Cost Study * * *

Sec. 8.  SPECIAL EDUCATION SERVICES PROVISIONS; STUDY

The joint fiscal office, in consultation with the chairs of the senate and house committees on appropriations and education, the chair of the senate committee on health and welfare, the chair of the house committee on human services, the secretary of the agency of human services, the commissioners of the department of education and the department of employment and training, the Vermont superintendents’ association, the Vermont school boards association, and other members of the education community shall study how the agency of human services, the department of education, and the department of employment and training should provide for special education services for eligible persons under 22 years of age in school or out of school.  They shall also:

(1)  assess the extent to which school districts have absorbed service costs for special needs children that were historically paid by other service providers, including the extent to which:

(A)  children formerly admitted to institutional care are now being provided services through special education;

(B)  costs now found in school budgets historically were part of the budgets of nonschool agencies;

(C)  costs now found in school budgets would be attributable to nonschool agencies; and

(D)  Medicaid funds are being used to provide services;

(2)  examine the interagency agreement regarding coordination of special education services entered into pursuant to 20 U.S.C. § 1412(a)(12) to determine if services are currently provided and paid for in the most appropriate and cost-effective ways; and

(3)  report their findings and recommendations to the general assembly on or before November 1, 2007.

* * * Effective Dates * * *

Sec. 9.  EFFECTIVE DATES

(a)  Secs. 1 through 3 of this act shall take effect on January 1, 2010 and shall apply to budgets in the 2010–2011 school year.

(b)  All other sections of this act shall take effect on July 1, 2007.

and, upon passage, the title shall be:  “AN ACT RELATING TO EDUCATIONAL COST CONTAINMENT

(Committee vote: 5-0-0)

S. 115

An act relating to increasing transparency of prescription drug pricing and information.

Reported favorably with recommendation of amendment by Senator Racine for the Committee on Health and Welfare.

The Committee recommends that the bill be amended as follows:

First:  In Sec. 1, by striking out 33 V.S.A. § 1998(a)(7) and inserting in lieu thereof a new subdivision (7) to read:

(7)  A plan to inform Vermonters of the availability of health services provided by federally qualified health centers (FQHC) and FQHC look-alikes, including that prescription drug pricing is more affordable, focusing on participants in the Medicaid and Medicaid waiver programs, state employees, individuals under the supervision of corrections, individuals receiving workers’ compensation benefits if applicable, and any other state or publicly funded purchaser of prescription drugs.

Second:  In Sec. 1, by striking out 33 V.S.A. § 1998(c)(1) and inserting in lieu thereof a new subdivision (1) to read:

(c)(1)  The director may implement the pharmacy best practices and cost control program for any other health benefit plan within or outside this state that agrees to participate in the program.  For entities in Vermont, the director shall directly or by contract implement the program through a joint pharmaceuticals purchasing consortium.  The joint pharmaceuticals purchasing consortium shall be offered on a voluntary basis no later than January 1, 2008, with mandatory participation by state or publicly funded, administered, or subsidized purchasers to the extent practicable and consistent with the purposes of this chapter, by January 1, 2010.  If necessary, the office of Vermont health access shall seek authorization from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid to include purchases funded by Medicaid. “State or publicly funded purchasers” shall include the department of corrections, the division of mental health, Medicaid, the Vermont Health Access Program (VHAP), Dr. Dynasaur, Vermont Rx, VPharm, Healthy Vermonters, Healthy Vermonters Plus, workers’ compensation, and any other state or publicly funded purchaser of prescription drugs.

Third:  In Sec. 1, 33 V.S.A. § 1998(f)(6), by striking out the following:  reference to “(a)(8) and inserting in lieu thereof the following (c)(1)

Fourth:  In Sec. 2, 33 V.S.A. § 1998(g), by striking out the following: “, such as the Oregon Health and Science University Drug Effectiveness Review Project (DERP),

Fifth:  In Sec. 3, 33 V.S.A. § 2005(a)(3), by inserting the words and the office of Vermont health access where they firstly appear, after the words “department of health

Sixth:  In Sec. 5, 33 V.S.A. § 2010(b) by striking out the words “or may adopt its own standards by rule

Seventh:  In Sec. 5, by striking out subsection 33 V.S.A. § 2010(d) in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new subsection (d) to read:

(d)  When a manufacturer of prescription drugs dispensed in this state reports the information required under subsection (a) of this section, the president, chief executive officer, or a designated employee of the manufacturer shall certify to the office, on a form provided by the director of the office of Vermont health access, that the reported prices are the same as those reported to the federal government as required by 42 U.S.C. § 1396r‑8(b)(3) for the applicable rebate period.  A designated employee shall be an employee who reports directly to the chief executive officer or president and who has been delegated to make the certification under this section.

Eighth:  In Sec. 6, 33 V.S.A. § 2003, after subsection (b), by inserting the following:

(c)  As used in this section:

(1)  "Beneficiary" means any individual enrolled in either the Healthy Vermonters program or the Healthy Vermonters Plus program.

(2)  "Healthy Vermonters beneficiary" means any individual Vermont resident without adequate coverage:

(A)  who is at least 65 years of age, or is disabled and is eligible for Medicare or Social Security disability benefits, with household income equal to or less than 400 percent of the federal poverty level, as calculated under the rules of the Vermont health access plan, as amended; or

(B)  whose household income is equal to or less than 300 percent of the federal poverty level, as calculated under the rules of the Vermont Health access plan, as amended.

(3)  "Healthy Vermonters Plus beneficiary" means any individual Vermont resident without adequate coverage:

(A)  whose household income is greater than 300 percent and equal to or less than 350 percent of the federal poverty level, as calculated under the rules of the Vermont health access plan, as amended; or

(B)  whose family incurs unreimbursed expenses for prescription drugs, including insurance premiums, that equal five percent or more of household income or whose total unreimbursed medical expenses, including insurance premiums, equal 15 percent or more of household income.

Ninth:  In Sec. 7, in 18  V.S.A. §9472, by striking out subdivision (a)(1) in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new subdivision (a)(1) to read:

(a)  Unless the contract provides otherwise, a pharmacy benefit manager that provides pharmacy benefit management for a health plan shall:

(1)  Discharge its duties with reasonable care and diligence and be fair and truthful under the circumstances then prevailing that a pharmacy benefit manager acting in like capacity and familiar with such matters would use in the conduct of an enterprise of a like character and with like aims.  In the case of a health benefit plan offered by a health insurer as defined by subdivision 9471(2)(A) of this title, the health insurer shall remain responsible for administering the health benefit plan in accordance with the health insurance policy or subscriber contract or plan and in compliance with all applicable provisions of Title 8 and this title.

Tenth:  In Sec. 7, in 18 V.S.A. §9472 by striking out subsection (c) in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new subsection (c) to read:

(c)  Compliance with the requirements of this section is required for pharmacy benefit managers entering into contracts with a health insurer in this state for pharmacy benefit management in this state.

Eleventh: In Sec. 7, by striking out 18 V.S.A. § 9473 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new § 9473 to read:

§ 9473.  ENFORCEMENT

(a)  Except as provided in subsection (d) of this section, in addition to any remedy available to the commissioner under this title and any other remedy provided by law, a violation of this subchapter shall be considered a violation of the Vermont consumer fraud act in subchapter 1 of chapter 63 of Title 1.  Except as provided in subsection (d) of this section, all rights, authority, and remedies available to the attorney general and private parties to enforce the Vermont consumer fraud act shall be available to enforce the provisions of this subchapter.

(b)  In connection with any action for violation of the Vermont consumer fraud act, the commissioner’s determinations concerning the interpretation and administration of the provisions of this subchapter and any rules adopted hereunder shall carry a presumption of validity.  The attorney general and the commissioner shall consult with each other prior to the commencement of any investigation or enforcement action with respect to any pharmacy benefit manager.

(c)  The commissioner may investigate, examine, or otherwise enforce a violation of this subchapter by a pharmacy benefit manager under section 9412 of this title as if the pharmacy benefit manager were a health insurer. 

(d)  The commissioner shall have the exclusive authority to investigate, examine, and otherwise enforce the provisions of this subchapter relating to a pharmacy benefit manager in connection with the pharmacy benefit manager's contractual relationship with, and any other activity with respect to, a health insurer defined by subdivision 9471(2)(A) of this title.

(e)  Notwithstanding the foregoing, the commissioner and the attorney general may bring a joint enforcement action against any person or entity for a violation of this subchapter.

Twelfth:  In Sec. 8, in 18 V.S.A. § 9421, by striking out subsections (b) and (c)(1) in their entirety and inserting a new (b) and (c)(1) to read:

(b)  In accordance with rules adopted by the commissioner, pharmacy benefit managers operating in the state of Vermont and proposing to contract for the provision of pharmacy benefit management shall notify health insurers when the pharmacy benefit manager provides a quotation that a quotation for an administrative-services-only contract with full pass through of negotiated prices, rebates, and other such financial benefits which would identify to the health insurer external sources of revenue and profit is generally available and whether the pharmacy benefits manager offers that type of arrangement.  Quotations for an administrative-services-only contract shall include a reasonable fee payable by the health insurer which represents a competitive pharmacy benefit profit.  This subsection shall not be interpreted to require a pharmacy benefits manager to offer an administrative-services-only contract.

(c)(1)  In order to enable periodic verification of pricing arrangements in administrative-services-only contracts, pharmacy benefit managers shall allow access, in accordance with rules adopted by the commissioner, by the health insurer who is a party to the administrative-services-only contract to financial and contractual information necessary to conduct a complete and independent audit designed to verify the following:

(A)  full pass through of negotiated drug prices and fees associated with all drugs dispensed to beneficiaries of the health plan in both retail and mail order settings or resulting from any of the pharmacy benefit management functions defined in the contract;

(B)  full pass through of all financial remuneration associated with all drugs dispensed to beneficiaries of the health plan in both retail and mail order settings or resulting from any of the pharmacy benefit management functions defined in the contract; and

(C)  any other verifications relating to the pricing arrangements and activities of the pharmacy benefit manager required by the contract if required by the commissioner.

Thirteenth:  In Sec. 12, 18 V.S.A. § 4622(a),after the following: “attorney general,” by inserting the following:  the University of Vermont area health center program, and the office of Vermont health access

Fourteenth:  In Sec. 12, 18 V.S.A. § 4622(c), by striking out the following “, such as the Oregon Health and Science University Drug Effectiveness Review Project (DERP)

Fifteenth:  By striking out Sec. 13 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 13 to read:

Sec. 13.  REPORT ON NEW HAMPSHIRE CONFIDENTIALITY OF PRESCRIPTION INFORMATION LAW

The staff of the legislative council shall report to the house committee on health care and the senate committee on health and welfare on the status of New Hampshire’s law prohibiting the commercial use of prescriber-identifiable data contained in prescription data no later than November 1, 2007.  The report shall include a summary of any court decisions and status of the litigation on this law currently pending in New Hampshire and any related information provided by the state of New Hampshire. 

Sixteenth:  By striking out Secs. 14, 15, and 16 in their entirety

Seventeenth:  By striking out Sec. 17 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 17 to read:

Sec. 17.  18 V.S.A. chapter 91, subchapter 5 is added to read:

Subchapter 5.  Unconscionable Pricing

§ 4651.  Purpose

The purpose of this subchapter is to ensure Vermonters affordable access to prescription drugs necessary for the treatment of certain health conditions determined to be a serious public health problem in the state.

§ 4652.  DEFINITIONS

For purposes of this subchapter:

(1)  “Affected party” means any person directly or indirectly affected by unconscionable prices of prescription drugs, including any organization representing such persons or any person or organization representing the public interest.

(2)  “Most favored purchase price” means the price offered with all rights and privileges accorded by the seller to the most favored purchaser in Vermont.

(3)  “Purchaser” means any person who engages primarily in selling drugs directly to consumers.

(4)  “Seller” means any person who trades in drugs for resale to purchasers in this state.

§ 4653.  UnconsCionable Pricing PROHIBITED

A manufacturer of prescription drugs or its licensee shall not sell, supply for sale, or impose minimum resale requirements for a prescription drug necessary to treat a serious public health threat provided for in section 4654 of this title that results in that prescription drug being sold in Vermont for an unconscionable price.

§ 4654.  SERIOUS PUBLIC health THREAT

(a)(1)  The commissioner of health may issue a declaration that a health condition or disease is prevalent in Vermont to such an extent as to constitute a serious public health threat.

(2)  The attorney general may request a determination by the commissioner of health on whether a health condition or disease meets the criteria in this section.  If the attorney general makes a request under this subdivision, the commissioner of health shall consider the request.

(b)  At minimum, the commissioner shall consider the following factors when declaring that a health condition or disease is a serious public health threat:

(1)  if a large number of Vermonters suffer from the health condition and the condition is life-threatening in the short term or has a severe consequence to health in the short term, or if the condition is highly contagious and threatens a large number of Vermonters;

(2)  if the costs to the state, employer-sponsored insurance, and private insurers of treating the health condition with prescription drugs would be expensive without intervention allowed for under this chapter;

(3)  if the cost of a prescription drug or a class of prescription drugs used to treat the health condition is prohibitively expensive, to the extent that information is available;

(4)  whether a prescription drug or class of prescription drugs is essential for maintaining health or life;

(5)  whether consumers affected with the health condition are unable to afford the prescription drug at the current price; and

(6)  other relevant factors as determined by the commissioner.

§ 4655.  Unconscionable pricing; PRIMA FACIE CASE

(a)  A prima facie case of unconscionable pricing as prohibited in section 4653 of this title shall be established where the wholesale price of a prescription drug in Vermont is over 30 percent higher than the prices available to federal agencies under the federal supply schedule, the prices available through the Healthy Vermonters program, or the most favored purchase price.

(b)  If a prima facie case of unconscionable pricing is shown, the burdens of providing evidence and of proving by a preponderance of the evidence shall shift to the defendant to show that a prescription drug is not unconscionably priced by showing the demonstrated costs of invention, development, and production of the prescription drug, global sales and profits to date, consideration of any government‑funded research that supported the development of the drug, and the impact of price on access to a prescription drug by residents and the government of Vermont.

§ 4656.  consumer fraud ACTION

The attorney general or state’s attorney shall enforce the provisions of this section under the Vermont consumer fraud act in chapter 63 of Title 9.  All rights, authority, and remedies available to enforce the consumer fraud act shall be available to enforce the provisions of this subchapter.

§ 4657.  Civil Action

(a)  Any affected party shall have standing to file a civil suit in a court of competent jurisdiction for a violation of this chapter and to seek a remedy, including declaratory and injunctive relief.

(b)  Whenever an affected party, other than the attorney general, brings an action pursuant to this chapter, a copy of any pleadings shall be served on the attorney general pursuant to Rule 5 of the Vermont Rules of Civil Procedure. Failure to comply with this provision shall not affect the validity of the proceedings commenced under this section.

§ 4658.  Remedies FOR CIVIL ACTIONS

If in an action brought by an affected party under section 4657 of this title, a court determines that any person has violated this chapter, the court is authorized to render:

(1)  temporary, preliminary, or permanent injunctions to enjoin the sales of prescription drugs in Vermont at unconscionable prices;

(2)  an order of damages, including treble damages;

(3)  an order requiring reimbursement to the state of Vermont for the reasonable value of its services and its expenses in investigating and prosecuting the action;

(4)  costs and reasonable attorney’s fees; and

(5)  any other relief deemed appropriate by the court.

Eighteenth:  By striking out Sec. 19 in its entirety and inserting a new Sec. 19 to read as follows:

Sec. 19.  9 V.S.A. § 2466a is added to read:

§ 2466a.  Consumer Protections; Prescription Drugs

(a)  A violation of section 4655 of Title 18 shall be considered a violation under this chapter.

(b)  As provided in section 9473 of Title 18, a violation of section 9472 shall be considered a violation under this chapter.

(c)(1)  It shall be a violation under this chapter for a manufacturer of prescription drugs to present or cause to be presented in the state a regulated advertisement if that advertisement does not comply with the requirements concerning misbranded drugs and devices and prescription drug advertising of federal law and regulations under 21 United States Code, Sections 331 and 352(n) and 21 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 202 and state rules.  A warning or untitled letter issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration shall be prima facie evidence of a violation of federal law and regulations.

(2)  For purposes of this section:

(A)  “Manufacturer of prescription drugs” means a person authorized by law to manufacture, bottle, or pack drugs or biological products, a licensee or affiliate of that person, or a labeler that receives drugs or biological products from a manufacturer or wholesaler and repackages them for later retail sale and has a labeler code from the federal Food and Drug Administration under 21 Code of Federal Regulations, 2027.20 (1999).

(B)  “Regulated advertisement” means the presentation to the general public of a commercial message regarding a prescription drug or biological product by a manufacturer of prescription drugs that is broadcast on television, cable, or radio from a station or cable company that is physically located in the state, broadcast over the internet from a location in the state, or printed in magazines or newspapers that are printed, distributed, or sold in the state.

(d)  No person shall sell, offer for sale, or distribute electronic prescribing software that advertises, uses instant messaging and pop-up advertisements, or uses other means to influence or attempt to influence the prescribing decision of a health care professional through economic incentives or otherwise and which is triggered or in specific response to the input, selection, or act of a health care professional or agent in prescribing a specific prescription drug or directing a patient to a certain pharmacy.  This subsection shall not apply to information provided to the health care professional about pharmacy reimbursement, prescription drug formulary compliance, and patient care management.

and by renumbering all Secs. to be numerically correct

(Committee vote: 6-0-0)

S. 120

An act relating to wine tastings at farmers’ markets.

Reported favorably with recommendation of amendment by Senator Miller for the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs.

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.  7 V.S.A. § 2(15) is amended to read:

(15)  “Manufacturer’s or rectifier’s license”:  a license granted by the liquor control board that permits the holder to manufacture or rectify, as the case may be, malt beverages and vinous beverages for export and for sale to bottlers or wholesale dealers, or spirituous liquors for export and for sale to the liquor control board, upon application of a manufacturer or rectifier and the payment to the liquor control board of the license fee as required by subdivision 231(1) of this title for either license.  The liquor control board may grant to a licensed manufacturer or rectifier a first class restaurant or cabaret license or first and third class restaurant or cabaret license permitting the licensee to sell alcoholic beverages to the public only at the manufacturer’s premises.  A manufacturer of malt beverages who also holds a first class restaurant or cabaret license may serve to a customer malt beverages by the glass, not to exceed eight glasses at one time and not to exceed four ounces in each glass.  The liquor control board may grant to a licensed manufacturer or a rectifier of malt beverages a second class license permitting the licensee to sell alcoholic beverages to the public only at the manufacturer’s or rectifier’s premises.  Upon application and payment of the license fee as required by subdivision 231(11) of this title, the liquor control board may grant to a licensed manufacturer or rectifier of vinous beverages up to 10 fourth class or farmers’ market licenses permitting the licensee to sell these beverages by the bottle to the public at the licensed premises or at a farmers’ market provided that the beverages were produced by the manufacturer or rectifier.  No more than a combined total of ten fourth class and farmers’ market licenses may be granted to any licensed manufacturer or rectifier.  An application for a farmers’ market license shall include copies of the farmers’ market regulations, the agreement between the farmers’market and the applicant, and the location and dates of operation of the farmers’ market.  A farmers’ market license shall be valid for all dates of operation for a specific farmers’ market location.  However, in no case may a person with an interest in more than one manufacturer’s or rectifier’s license have an interest in more than four fourth class licenses.  The manufacturer or rectifier shall pay directly to the commissioner of taxes the sum of 26 1/2 cents per gallon for every gallon of malt beverage and the sum of 55 cents per gallon for each gallon of vinous beverage manufactured by the manufacturer or rectifier and provided for sale pursuant to the first class license or the second class license or the fourth class license or combination thereof held by the manufacturer or rectifier.  Holders of a manufacturer’s or rectifier’s second class license for malt beverages may distribute, with or without charge, malt beverages by the glass, not to exceed two ounces per product and eight ounces in total, to all persons of legal drinking age.  The malt beverages must be consumed upon the premises of the holder of the license.  At the request of a person holding a first class or second class license, a holder of a manufacturer’s or rectifier’s license for malt beverages may distribute without charge to the management and staff of the license holder, provided they are of legal drinking age, no more than four ounces per person of a malt beverage for the purpose of promoting the beverage.  Written notice shall be provided to the department of liquor control at least 10 days prior to the date of the tasting.

Sec. 2.  7 V.S.A. § 67(a) is amended to read:

(a)  Provided an applicant submits to the department of liquor control a written application in a form required by the department accompanied by the permit fee as required by subdivision 231(15) of this title at least 15 days prior to the date of the wine tasting event and the applicant is determined to be in good standing, the department of liquor control may grant a permit to conduct a wine tasting event to:

* * *

(2)  A licensed manufacturer or rectifier of vinous beverages.  The permit authorizes the permit holder to dispense vinous beverages produced by the manufacturer or rectifier to retail customers of legal age for consumption on the premises of a second class licensee or at a farmers’ market.  Pursuant to this permit, a manufacturer or rectifier may conduct no more than one tasting a day on the premises of a second class licensee.  No more than four wine tasting permits per month for a tasting event held on the premises of second class licensees and no more than 60 wine tasting permits per year for a tasting event held on the premises of a farmers’ market shall be issued to any manufacturer or rectifier.

(3)  A licensed manufacturer or rectifier of vinous beverages with a fourth class or farmers’ market license.  The permit authorizes licenses authorize the licensee to dispense, with or without charge, vinous beverages by the glass, not to exceed two ounces per product and a total of eight ounces to a retail customer of legal age for consumption on the licensee’s premises or at a farmers’ market.

(Committee vote: 5-0-0)

S. 122

An act relating to scholarships for postsecondary education and training and grants for workforce development and technical centers.

Reported favorably with recommendation of amendment by Senator Collins for the Committee on Education.

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.  APPROPRIATIONS; SCHOLARSHIPS FOR POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION AND TRAINING AND GRANTS FOR WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT AND TECHNICAL CENTERS

(a)  The sum of $8,900,000.00 in fiscal year 2008 general fund dollars is appropriated for the purposes of postsecondary education and training and for workforce development and technical centers to be distributed as follows:

(1)  The sum of $1,000,000.00 is appropriated to the University of Vermont and State Agricultural College for the purpose of providing scholarships to Vermont students.  Each student receiving a scholarship may be eligible to receive scholarship funds for each year he or she is enrolled in the University of Vermont and is working toward an undergraduate degree.  Priority shall be given to students in programs aligned with the economic development strategies of the department of economic development and the State’s agricultural goals.  No student, however, shall receive more than $5,000.00 per year under this subdivision or receive a scholarship under this subdivision for more than four years.  The scholarship shall be in addition to, and not in lieu of, any other scholarship or grant the student would otherwise receive.

(2)  The sum of $1,500,000.00 is appropriated to the Vermont State Colleges for the purpose of providing scholarships to Vermont students.  Each student receiving a scholarship may be eligible to receive scholarship funds for each year he or she is enrolled within the Vermont state college system and is working toward an undergraduate degree.  Priority shall be given to students in programs aligned with the economic development strategies of the department of economic development and the State’s agricultural goals.  No student, however, shall receive more than $5,000.00 per year under this subdivision or receive a scholarship under this subdivision for more than four years.  The scholarship shall be in addition to, and not in lieu of, any other scholarship or grant the student would otherwise receive.

(3)  The total sum of $1,500,000.00 is appropriated to the Vermont student assistance corporation as follows:

(A)  Of the total sum appropriated, the sum of $1,000,000.00 is appropriated for the purpose of providing scholarships to Vermont students enrolled in a degree program at a postsecondary institution in Vermont.  Each student receiving a scholarship may be eligible to receive scholarship funds for each year he or she is enrolled in the institution in Vermont.  No student, however, shall receive more than $5,000.00 per year under this subdivision or receive a scholarship under this subdivision for more than four years.  The scholarship shall be in addition to, and not in lieu of, any other scholarship or grant the student would otherwise receive.

(B)  Of the total sum appropriated, the sum of $500,000.00 is appropriated for the purpose of providing non-degree grants to Vermonters to improve job skills and increase overall employability by enrolling in a postsecondary education or training program, including adult-technical education, that is not part of a degree or accredited certificate program. 

(C)  Scholarships and grants under this subsection shall be awarded based on financial need as determined under 16 V.S.A. § 2844(a). 

(4)  The sum of $1,500,000.00 is appropriated to the Vermont student assistance corporation for the purpose of repaying the loans of Vermont residents who have completed their education in any postsecondary institution or postsecondary education or training program, regardless of where it is located, provided the Vermont resident is employed in Vermont in one of up to five targeted fields to be identified by the workforce development council; and further provided that loan repayment is available on an annual basis for up to three consecutive years for each year the Vermont resident continues to be employed in the targeted field in Vermont.  

(5)  The sum of $1,000,000.00 is appropriated to the department of labor, working with the workforce development council, for the purpose of awarding grants to regional technical centers and comprehensive high schools to provide adult technical education, as that term is defined in 16 V.S.A. § 1522, to unemployed and underemployed Vermont adults. 

(6)  The sum of $150,000.00 is appropriated to the department of education, which shall work in coordination with the department of labor and the Vermont student assistance corporation, for the purpose of awarding grants to school districts for programs to assist students in grades 6 through 12 to develop career exploration and development strategies, with a specific focus on programs available through the regional technical centers, comprehensive high schools, the community high school of Vermont, and local organizations designated by the local workforce investment boards..

(7)  The sum of $250,000.00 is appropriated to the department of education for the purpose of awarding grants to regional technical centers and comprehensive high schools for summer career exploration programs for students entering grades 7 through 9.

(8)  The sum of $700,000.00 is appropriated to the department of education for the purpose of awarding grants to regional technical centers, comprehensive high schools, the community high school of Vermont, and non-profit organizations designated by the workforce development council to establish intensive vocational/academic summer programs in which students entering grades 11 and 12 can earn necessary credits toward graduation.

(9)  The sum of $300,000.00 is appropriated to the department of education for the purpose of awarding grants to regional technical centers, comprehensive high schools, the community high school of Vermont, and non-profit organizations designated by the workforce development council to establish intensive vocational/academic programs in which students entering grades 9 through 12 can earn necessary credits toward graduation.

(10)  The sum of $500,000.00 is appropriated to the Vermont state colleges for the purpose of awarding grants to high school students participating in dual enrollment, internship, and apprenticeship programs.

(11)  The sum of $500,000.00 is appropriated to the Vermont student assistance corporation for the purpose of awarding grants to high school students participating in dual enrollment internship, and apprenticeship programs at institutions other than the Vermont state colleges.

(b)  On or before March 15, 2008, the entities receiving appropriations under this section shall report to the senate and house committees on education regarding the distribution of funds, the number and categories of students served, and reportable benefits to the state.

(Committee vote: 5-0-0)

S. 126

An act relating to the creation of a statewide direct care provider registry.

Reported favorably with recommendation of amendment by Senator White for the Committee on Health and Welfare.

The Committee recommends that the bill be amended by adding Sec. 3 to read:

Sec. 3.  AUTHORIZATION OF LIMITED SERVICE POSITION

There is authorized in the department of disabilities, aging, and independent living one limited service position for fiscal years 2008, 2009, and 2010 to implement the statewide direct care provider registry.

(Committee vote: 5-0-1)

S. 136

An act relating to a solid waste management facilities working group.

Reported favorably with recommendation of amendment by Senator Hartwell for the Committee on Natural Resources and Energy.

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.  SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT FACILITIES WORKING GROUP

The agency of natural resources shall convene a working group, by no later than July 1, 2007, to review the statutory and regulatory requirements for solid waste management facilities in Vermont and to develop best management practices for solid waste facilities in the state.  The working group shall include: one member of the senate to be appointed by the committee on committees; one member of the house of representatives to be appointed by the speaker of the house; the secretary of natural resources or his or her designee; two representatives of solid waste management districts to be appointed by the districts; two representatives of citizens groups involved with solid waste issues to be appointed by the speaker of the house; a member of the Vermont league of cities and towns to be appointed by the league; a representative of an environmental group to be appointed by the committee on committees; two representatives of the private solid waste industry in Vermont, one a landfill owner and one a solid waste hauler, to be appointed by the secretary of natural resources; a representative from the business sector appointed by the committee on committees; and a third party consultant skilled in solid waste facility design or risk assessment to be appointed by the secretary of natural resources.  The working group shall report to the house and senate committees on natural resources and energy by January 15, 2009.  The report shall include:

(1)  A summary of the current state law for solid waste management facility siting and certification in Vermont;

(2)  An analysis of how and if current state law helps or hinders waste reduction in the state, including an analysis of the effectiveness of solid waste management planning and an analysis of the impact of subsidies, the policies of solid waste management districts, recycling mandates, and funding for waste reduction;

(3)  An analysis of the effectiveness of current state and federal law for solid waste management facility siting, design, and operational certification in Vermont and any recommended changes;

(4)  An evaluation of existing solid waste management in the state, including number of landfills serving the state, capacity of existing landfills, the current and future impacts of existing landfills, and any current excess landfill capacity or need for additional landfill capacity mindful of the time required to site, design, permit, and construct new facilities;

(5)  An analysis of the future needs of Vermont for solid waste disposal and solid waste management facilities;

(6)  An analysis of and recommendation regarding whether solid waste management facilities in Vermont should be subject to a certificate of need or public good process with a recommendation on how to repay the investment of public funds expended for site acquisition, facility design, and permitting of solid waste facilities already permitted or identified in an approved solid waste plan should they be subsequently ruled ineligible;

(7)  Recommended best management practices for the siting, design, and operation of solid waste management facilities;

(8)  An assessment of the comprehensive costs of landfills, including short- and long-term health impacts, environmental impacts, impacts on property values, and other economic impacts;

(9)  An analysis of the costs and benefits of implementing a cradle-to-grave waste management scheme, including requiring industry or businesses to take responsibility for the solid waste produced from the packaging and sale of products;

(10)  Recommended environmental best management practices, including:

(A)  Policies to further promote and implement the reduction, recycling, and reuse of solid waste;

(B)  Methods for separating waste streams;

(C)  Policies or incentives to encourage reduced waste disposal;

(D)  Improving and maximizing methane gas management for energy recovery;

(E)  Reducing the impacts of solid waste production and management on climate change;

(F)  Mitigating the impacts of solid waste transportation on town and state highway infrastructure and neighboring property owners; and

(G)  Implementing statewide actions such as enacting landfill bans on certain material and implementing extended product responsibility for certain consumer goods.

(Committee vote: 5-0-0)

S. 137

An act relating to reducing the amount of phosphorus allowed in household cleansing products used in dishwashers.

Reported favorably with recommendation of amendment by Senator MacDonald for the Committee on Natural Resources and Energy.

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.  10 V.S.A. § 1382 is amended to read:

§ 1382.  PROHIBITIONS

(a)  No household cleansing products except those used in dishwashers, for cleansing medical and surgical equipment, food and beverage processing equipment, and dairy equipment may be distributed, sold, offered, or exposed for sale at retail, after April 1, 1978, or at wholesale, after January 1, 1978, or used in a commercial establishment in this state, after April 1, 1978, which shall contain a phosphorus compound in concentrations in excess of a trace quantity.

(b)  No household cleansing products used in dishwashers, for cleansing medical and surgical equipment and food and beverage processing equipment, may be distributed, sold, offered, or exposed for sale at retail, after April 1, 1978, or at wholesale, after January 1, 1978, or used in a commercial establishment in this state, after April 1, 1978, which shall contain a phosphorus compound in concentrations in excess of 8.7 percent by weight expressed as elemental phosphorus.  No household cleansing products used in dishwashers may be distributed, sold, offered, or exposed for sale at retail or wholesale after July 1, 2010, which shall contain a phosphorus compound in concentrations in excess of a trace quantity.

* * *

(Committee vote: 5-0-0)

S. 143

An act relating to authorizing the use of racing fuel containing the additive MTBE or other gasoline ethers.

Reported favorably with recommendation of amendment by Senator Scott  for the Committee on Transportation.

The Committee recommends that the bill be amended in Sec. 1, 10 V.S.A. § 577 on page 2, by striking out subsection (c) in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new subsection (c) to read as follows:

(c)  A fuel product used in a race or sports car event, as both are defined in 26 V.S.A. § 4801, may contain a gasoline ether and may be sold at retail or sold for use in the state, provided that it is sold in prepackaged drums, pails, or containers.

(Committee vote: 5-0-0)


S. 148

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

Reported favorably with recommendation of amendment by Senator Lyons for the Committee on Natural Resources and Energy.

The Committee recommends that the bill be amended by adding a Sec. 2 to read as follows:

Sec. 2.  10 V.S.A. § 6093(a)(3)(B) is amended to read:

(B)  Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision (2) of this subsection and subdivision 6086(a)(9)(B)(iii) of this title pertaining to a development or subdivision on primary agricultural soils outside a designated growth center, the district commission may, in appropriate circumstances, approve off‑site mitigation or some combination of onsite and off‑site mitigation if that action is deemed consistent with the agricultural elements of local and regional plans and the goals of section 4302 of Title 24 and the project incorporates innovative land use design resulting in compact development patterns on the project tract.  For projects located outside a designated growth center, all factors used to calculate suitable mitigation acreage or fees, or some combination of these measures, shall be as specified in this subsection, subject to a ratio of no less than 2:1, but no more than 3:1.

(Committee vote: 5-0-0)

S. 164

An act relating to campaign finance and the Vermont campaign finance option.

Reported favorably with recommendation of amendment by Senator White for the Committee on Government Operations.

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.  FINDINGS

The general assembly finds that:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

§ 2801.  DEFINITIONS

As used in this chapter:

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

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

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

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

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

(A)  The name of the candidate appears;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(E)  the payment by a party’s state, county, or town committee of the costs of preparation, display, or mailing or other distribution of a party candidate listing;

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

(G)  compensation paid by a state party committee to its employees or consultants for the following purposes:

(i)  providing no more than a total of 20 hours of assistance from its employees for the specific and exclusive benefit of a single candidate in any election;

(ii)  recruiting and overseeing volunteers for campaign activities involving three or more candidates; or

(iii)  coordinating campaign events involving three or more candidates;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(D)  is limited to:

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

(ii)  the offices sought;

(iii)  the offices currently held by the candidates;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

§ 2801a.  EXCEPTIONS

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

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

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

(3)  any communication by any membership organization or corporation to its members or stockholders unless the communication is made primarily for the purpose of influencing the nomination or election of any person to state or county office.

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

§ 2805.  LIMITATIONS OF CONTRIBUTIONS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

§ 2805b.  LIMITATIONS ON CONTRIBUTIONS; POLITICAL COMMITTEES

A political committee, other than a political committee of a candidate, or a political party shall not accept contributions totaling more than $2,000.00 from a single source, political committee or political party in any two-year general election cycle.

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

§ 2809.  ACCOUNTABILITY FOR RELATED COORDINATED EXPENDITURES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(A)  the association or organization has been in continuous existence at least six months prior to the primary election date and was not created for the primary purpose of influencing elections;

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

(C)  the voter guide does not contain a phrase such as “vote for,” “re‑elect,” “support,” “cast your ballot for,” “(name of candidate) for Senate,” “(name of candidate) in (year),” “vote against,” “defeat,” or “reject,” or equivalent campaign slogans or words that advocate the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate; and

(D)  the voter guide does not contain photographs or messages provided by a candidate or his or her political committee or agents other than responses of 10 words or less to the general questionnaire submitted to all candidates.

* * *

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

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

Sec. 8.  REPEAL

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

Sec. 9.  EFFECTIVE DATE

This act shall take effect upon passage.

The Committee further recommends that after passage of the bill the title be amended to read as follows:  “AN ACT RELATING TO CAMPAIGN FINANCE”

(Committee vote: 4-0-1)


S. 173

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

Reported favorably with recommendation of amendment by Senator Nitka for the Committee on Education.

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.  16 V.S.A. § 563(25) is amended to read:

§ 563.  POWERS OF SCHOOL BOARDS

The school board of a school district, in addition to other duties and authority specifically assigned by law:

* * *

(25)  Shall, if it is a school board of a school district which maintains a secondary school, upon request, award a high school diploma to any Vermont resident who served in the military in World War II or, the Korean War, or during the Vietnam era from February 28, 1961 through May 7, 1975, was honorably separated from active federal military service, and does not hold a high school diploma.  The state board shall develop and make available an application form for veterans who wish to request a high school diploma.

The Committee further recommends that after passage of the bill the title be amended to read as follows: “AN ACT RELATING TO THE AWARDING OF HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMAS TO VETERANS OF THE VIETNAM ERA”

(Committee vote: 5-0-0)

S. 177

An act relating to child poverty in Vermont.

Reported favorably with recommendation of amendment by Senator Racine for the Committee on Health and Welfare.

The Committee recommends that the bill be amended by as follows:

First:  In Sec. 1, by striking out subdivision (b)(1)(A) and inserting in lieu thereof a new (A) to read:

(A)  the secretary of human services and the secretary of agriculture, food and markets;

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

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

and in Sec. 1, by striking out subdivisions (b)(1)(H) and (I)

Third:  In  Sec. 1, by striking out subdivision (b)(2) and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

(2)  The council, at its first meeting, shall elect one of the legislative members as chair or two legislative members as cochairs.  The legislative council and the joint fiscal office shall provide staff support to the council.

(Committee vote: 5-0-1)

Committee Bill for Notice

S. 189

An act relating to affordable electric rates for retired and lower income Vermonters.

By the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs.

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)

David E. L. Brown of Shelburne - Member of the Board of Libraries - By Sen. Giard for the Committee on Education.  (1/31)

John Rosenthal of Charlotte - Member of the Board of Libraries - By Sen. Doyle for the Committee on Education.  (1/31)

Kenneth Gibbons of Hyde Park - Member of the Vermont Educational and Health Buildings Finance Agency - By Sen. McCormack for the Committee on Finance.  (2/2)

David R. Coates of Colchester - Member of the Municipal Bond Bank - By Sen. Condos for the Committee on Finance.  (2/21)

Paul. Beaulieu of Manchester Center - Member of the Vermont Housing Finance Agency - By Sen. Maynard for the Committee on Finance.  (2/21)

Susan Davis of Shelburne - Member of the Travel Information Council - By Sen. Mazza for the Committee on Transportation.  (3/13)

Jireh Billings of Bridgewater - Member of the Capitol Complex Commission - By Sen. Campbell for the Committee on Institutions.  (3/14)

Bonnie Rutledge of Waterbury - Commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles - By Sen. Shumlin for the Committee on Transportation.  (3/16)

John LaBarge of South Hero - Member of the Travel Information Council - By Sen. Mazza for the Committee on Transportation.  (3/21)

JOINT ASSEMBLY

     Thursday, March 22, 2007 - 10:30 A.M. - House Chamber - Retention of Superior Court Judges:  Hon. William Cohen, Hon. M. Kathleen Manley, Hon. Matthew Katz.

     Retention of District Judges:  Hon. James Crucitti, Hon. M. Patricia Zimmerman, Hon. Ben Joseph, and Hon. Thomas Zonay.

SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE

FY 2008 Budget

ADVOCATES TESTIMONY

     On Monday afternoon, March 26 beginning at 3:00 pm, the Senate Appropriations Committee will be taking testimony from advocates regarding the Fiscal Year 2008 Budget in Room 10 of the State House.  To schedule time before the Committee please contact Becky Buck at the Legislative Joint Fiscal Office located at 1 Baldwin Street (phone:  828-5969).  

REPORTS 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:

     119. Transportation of Individuals in the Custody of the State.  (Agency of Human Services, Department of Health)  (March 2007).

     120.  Errata to the Implementation of Act 114 at the Vermont State Hospital Report.  (Agency of Human Services, Department of Health)  (March 2007).

     121.  Act 145, Vermont Products and Nutrition Education in Schools.  (Agency of Human Services)  (March 2007).

     122.  Blueprint for Health Annual Report.  (Agency of Human Services, Department of Health)  (March 2007).

     123.  Adult Job Training Funding.  (Department of Labor)  (March 2007).

     124.  Vermont Labor Relations Board 2006 Annual Report.  (March 2007)

     125.  Status Report-Orphan Stormwater System Grant Project.  (Department of Environmental Conservation, Water Quality Division, Stormwater Section)  (March 2007).



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