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Senate Calendar

tuesday, march 27, 2007

85th DAY OF BIENNIAL SESSION

TABLE OF CONTENTS

                                                                                                                Page No.

ACTION CALENDAR

UNFINISHED BUSINESS OF WEDNESDAY, MARCH 21, 2007

Second Reading

Favorable with Recommendation of Amendment

S. 70       Empowering municipalities to regulate application of pesticides........... 345

                              Government Operations Committee Report........................ 345

S. 143     Use of racing fuel containing additive MTBE ..................................... 345

                              Transportation Committee Report...................................... 345

UNFINISHED BUSINESS OF FRIDAY, MARCH 23, 2007

Third Reading

S. 196     Failure to insure for workers’ compensation coverage........................ 346

NEW BUSINESS

Third Reading

S. 92       Groundwater mapping...................................................................... 346

Second Reading

Favorable

S. 170     Disposition of bodily remains and funeral goods and services............. 346

                              Sen. Illuzzi for the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs        346

                              Finance Committee Report................................................ 346

                              Sen. Illuzzi amendment (Sec. 1).......................................... 346

                              Sen. Illuzzi amendment (Sec. 5).......................................... 346

Favorable with Recommendation of Amendment

S. 164     Campaign Finance and the Vermont campaign finance option............. 348

                              Government Operations Committee Report........................ 348

                              Finance Committee Report................................................ 358


NOTICE CALENDAR

Favorable with Recommendation of Amendment

S. 67       Closure of the Bennington state office building................................... 358

                              Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs

                              ................................................................... Committee Report      358

                              Appropriations Committee Report..................................... 361

S. 190     Establishing a brownfields advisory committee................................... 363

                              Sen. Illuzzi for the Committee on Economic Development,

                              Housing and General Affairs............................................... 363

                              Appropriations Committee Report..................................... 363

Favorable with Proposal of Amendment

H. 357    Relating to registration of lobbyists.................................................... 363

                              Government Operations Committee Report........................ 363

ORDERED TO LIE

S. 194     Firefighters and cancer caused by employment.................................. 364



 

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ACTION CALENDAR

UNFINISHED BUSINESS OF WEDNESDAY, MARCH 21, 2007

Second Reading

Favorable with Recommendation of Amendment

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. 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)

UNFINISHED BUSINESS OF FRIDAY, MARCH 23, 2007

Third Reading

S. 196

An act relating to failure to insure for workers’ compensation coverage by employers and contractors.

NEW BUSINESS

Third Reading

S. 92

An act relating to groundwater mapping.

Second Reading

Favorable

S. 170

An act relating to the rights of family members, funeral directors, and crematory operators concerning the disposition of bodily remains and funeral services.

By the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs.  (Sen. Illuzzi for the Committee)

Reported favorably by Senator Cummings for the Committee on Finance.

(Committee vote: 6-0-1)

AMENDMENT TO S. 170 TO BE OFFERED BY SENATOR ILLUZZI

Senator Illuzzi moves to amend the bill in Sec. 1, 18 V.S.A. § 5233 by striking out the last sentence in its entirety.

AMENDMENT TO S. 170 TO BE OFFERED BY SENATOR ILLUZZI

Senator Illuzzi moves to amend the bill by adding a new section to be numbered Sec. 5 to read as follows:

Sec. 5.  18 V.S.A. § 5201 is amended to read:

§ 5201.  PERMITS; REMOVAL OF BODIES; CREMATION; WAITING PERIOD; INVESTIGATION INTO CIRCUMSTANCES OF DEATH

* * *

(b)  No operator of a crematory facility shall cremate or allow the cremation of a dead body until the passage of at least 24 hours following the death of the decedent, as indicated on the death certificate, unless, if the decedent died from a virulent, communicable disease, a department of health rule or order requires the cremation to occur prior to the end of that period.  If the attorney general, a state’s attorney, or any law enforcement officer requests the delay of a cremation based upon a reasonable belief that the cause of death might have been due to other than accidental or natural causes, the cremation of a dead human body shall be delayed, based upon such request, a sufficient time to permit a civil or criminal investigation into the circumstances that caused or contributed to the death.

(c)  The person in charge of the body shall not release for cremation the body of a person who died in Vermont until the person has received a certificate from the chief, regional or assistant medical examiner that the medical examiner has made personal inquiry into the cause and manner of death and is satisfied that no further examination or judicial inquiry concerning it is necessary.  The certificate shall be retained by the person in charge of the body by the crematory for a period of three years.  For the certificate, the medical examiner is entitled to a fee of $10.00 $25.00 payable by the person requesting cremation.

(d)(1)  For all cremations requested for the body of a person who died outside Vermont, the crematory operator must do the following before conducting the cremation:

(A)  obtain a permit for transit or cremation;

(B)  follow the guidelines of the medical examiner or comparable office for the jurisdiction in which the person died, including, to the extent that such waiting period is longer than that imposed by the provisions of subsection (b) of this section, postponing the cremation until the passage of any waiting period imposed by that state; and

(C)  if the state in which the person died issues a medical examiner’s permit, obtain a copy of that permit. 

(2)  No additional approval from the Vermont medical examiner’s office shall be required if compliance with the guidelines of the state in which the person died is achieved.

Favorable with Recommendation of Amendment

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)

Reported without recommendation by Senator MacDonald for the Committee on Finance.

NOTICE CALENDAR

Favorable with Recommendation of Amendment

S. 67

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

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

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

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. 

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)

Reported favorably with recommendation of amendment by Senator Sears for the Committee on Appropriations.

     The Committee recommends that the bill be amended by striking out Sec. 4 and inserting in lieu thereof the a new Sec. 4 to read as follows:

Sec. 4.  BENNINGTON STATE OFFICE LOCATION TASK FORCE

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

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

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

(2)  The Bennington town manager, or designee.

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

(4)  A member of the Bennington planning commission.

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Committee vote: 7-0-0)

S. 190

An act relating to establishing a brownfields advisory committee.

By the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs. (Sen. Illuzzi for the Committee)

Reported favorably with recommendation of amendment by Senator Shumlin for the Committee on Appropriations.

The Committee recommends that the bill be amended as follows:

First:  In Sec. 1, subsection (a), by striking out subdivisions (8) and (9) in their entirety and by renumbering the remaining subdivisions to be numerically correct

Second:  In Sec. 1, by striking out subsection (c) in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new subsection (c) to read as follows:

(c)  The agency of natural resources shall provide administrative support to the committee. 

(Committee vote: 7-0-0)

Favorable with Proposal of Amendment

H. 357

An act relating to registration of lobbyists.

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

The Committee recommends that the Senate propose to the House to amend the bill as follows:

First:  In Sec. 4, 2 V.S.A. § 264b, in subsection (a), in the first sentence, by striking out “a disclosure report which includes”,

Second:  In Sec. 4, 2  V.S.A. §264b subsection (b), in the first sentence, by striking out “Disclosure reports under this section shall be due on the same day as are lobbyist disclosure reports under subsection 264(a) of this title and” and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Every lobbying firm shall file a disclosure report on the same day as lobbyist disclosure reports are due under subsection 264(a) of this title which

(Committee Vote: 4-0-1)

(No House amendments.)


ORDERED TO LIE

S. 194

An act relating firefighters and cancer caused by employment.

PENDING ACTION:  Second reading of the bill.

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)

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

Susan K. Blair of Colchester - Alternate Member of the Parole Board - By Sen. Mazza for the Committee on Institutions.  (3/23)

William J. Pettengill of Guilford - Member Parole Board - By Sen. Coppenrath for the Committee on Institutions.  (3/23)

Jeffrey Larkin of Duxbury - Member of the Travel Information Council - By Sen. Scott for the Committee on Transportation.  (3/28)

PUBLIC HEARINGS

     Thursday, March 29, 2007 - 7:00-9:00 P.M. - Interactive television sites:  Bennington, Castleton, Johnson, Lyndonville, Middlebury, Montpelier, Randolph Center, Springfield, St. Albans, White River Junction and Williston.  Re:  S. 102, S. 118 - Education Cost Containment - Sen. Committee on Education.

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:

     127.  Vermont Department of State’s Attorneys Annual Report.  (March 2007).



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