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Senate Calendar

wednesday, april 11, 2007

99th DAY OF BIENNIAL SESSION

TABLE OF CONTENTS

                                                                                                                Page No.

ACTION CALENDAR

UNFINISHED BUSINESS OF TUESDAY, APRIL 10, 2007

Second Reading

Favorable with Proposal of Amendment

H. 372    Rendering nursing/medical services by professional corporations........ 608

                              Government Operations Committee Report........................ 608

House Proposal of Amendment

S. 37       Relating to mosquito control.............................................................. 608

NEW BUSINESS

Second Reading

Favorable

H. 156    Amendment to the charter of the town of Brattleboro......................... 609

                              Government Operations Committee Report........................ 609

H. 254    Transfer of payroll functions from Human Resources to Finance......... 609

                              .............................. Government Operations Committee Report      609

H. 525    Vermont fire service training council & division of fire safety............... 609      Government Operations Committee Report     609

Favorable with Recommendation of Amendment

S. 171     Relating to discharge of a mortgage by an attorney............................. 609

                              Judiciary Committee Report............................................... 609

Favorable with Proposal of Amendment

H. 334    Relating to restitution......................................................................... 611

                              ..................................................... Judiciary Committee Report      611

H. 510    Relating to Vermont life magazine...................................................... 621

                              .............................. Government Operations Committee Report      621

H. 516    Creation of 1fund within each of 3 Vermont retirement systems.......... 621

                              .............................. Government Operations Committee Report      621


House Proposal of Amendment

S. 57       Certain sunset provisions & extending juvenile study committee.......... 624

NOTICE CALENDAR

House Proposal of Amendment

S. 124     Planning/evaluating options for inpatient psych. Hosp. services........... 625

ORDERED TO LIE

S. 70       Empowering municipalities to regulate application of pesticides........... 628


S. 102     Decreasing percentage to determine school dist. excess spending....... 628

S. 118     Fiscal review of high spending districts & special education................ 628



 

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ACTION CALENDAR

UNFINISHED BUSINESS OF TUESDAY, APRIL 10, 2007

Second Reading

Favorable with Proposal of Amendment

H. 372

An act relating to the rendering of nursing and medical services by professional corporations.

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

The Committee recommends that the Senate propose to the House to amend the bill by adding a new Sec. 3 to read as follows:

Sec. 3.  EFFECTIVE DATE

This act shall take effect upon passage

(Committee Vote:  5-0-0)

(For House amendments, see House Journal for March 21, 2007, page 379.)

House Proposal of Amendment

S. 37

An act relating to mosquito control.

The House proposes to the Senate to amend the bill as follows:

First:  In Sec. 1, 6 V.S.A. § 1085(b), by striking the words “After approval of an application submitted” where they appear in the first sentence and inserting in lieu thereof “After submission of an application

Second:  By adding Sec. 2a to read as follows:

Sec. 2a.  STATEWIDE POLICY FOR MOSQUITO CONTROL

The agency of agriculture, food, and markets and the department of health shall propose a statewide policy for mosquito control and abatement.  The proposed policy may take the form of draft legislation.  On or before January 15, 2008, the agency of agriculture, food and markets and the department of health shall report to the house and senate committees on agriculture with the proposed statewide policy required by this section.

Second Reading

Favorable

H. 156

An act relating to approval of an amendment to the charter of the town of Brattleboro.

Reported favorably by Senator Flanagan for the Committee on Government Operations.

(Committee vote: 5-0-0)

(No House amendments)

H. 254

An act relating to the transfer of payroll functions from the department of human resources to the department of finance and management.

Reported favorably by Senator Doyle for the Committee on Government Operations.

(Committee vote: 5-0-0)

(No House amendments)

H. 525

An act relating to the Vermont fire service training council and the division of fire safety.

Reported favorably by Senator Coppenrath for the Committee on Government Operations.

(Committee vote: 4-0-1)

(No House amendments)

Favorable with Recommendation of Amendment

S. 171

An act relating to discharge of a mortgage by an attorney.

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

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

Sec. 1.  27 V.S.A. § 464a is amended to read:

§ 464a.  DISCHARGE BY LICENSED ATTORNEY

(a)  A recorded mortgage on a dwelling of two units or less occupied by the owner as the owner’s principal residence or on farmland may be discharged by an attorney‑at‑law licensed to practice in this state if:

(1)  the mortgagee, after receipt of payment of the mortgage in accordance with the payoff statement furnished to the mortgagor by the mortgagee, or the mortgagee’s agent, fails to make that discharge of the mortgage execute and record a discharge of the mortgage in accordance with section 461, 462, or 463 of this title;

(2)  the discharge is executed by, or is in the name of, a purported mortgagee that is not holder of record of the mortgage; or

(3)  the discharge of record was not executed in accordance with section 461, 462, or 463 of this title.

(b)  The attorney An attorney‑at‑law who discharges a mortgage under this section shall execute and record with the discharge an affidavit in the record of deeds affirming that:

(1)  the affiant is an attorney‑at‑law in good standing and licensed to practice in Vermont;

(2)  the affidavit is made at the request of the mortgagor or the mortgagor’s executor, administrator, successor, assignee, or transferee or the transferee’s mortgagee;

(3)  the purported mortgagee has provided a payoff statement with respect to the loan secured by the mortgage;

(4)  the purported mortgagee has received payment of the mortgage in accordance with the payoff statement that has been proved by a bank check, certified check, or attorney client funds account check negotiated by the purported mortgagee or by evidence of receipt of payment by the purported mortgagee;

(5)  more than 30 days have elapsed since the payment was received by the purported mortgagee; and

(6)  the purported mortgagee has received written notification by certified mail 15 days in advance, sent to the purported mortgagee’s last known address, that the affiant intends to execute and record an affidavit in accordance with this section, enclosing a copy of the proposed affidavit; the purported mortgagee has not delivered a discharge or acknowledgment of satisfaction in response to the notification; and the purported mortgagee has failed to dispute payoff of the mortgage.

(b)(c)  The affidavit must include:  the names and addresses of the mortgagor and, the original mortgagee, and the purported mortgagee; the date of the mortgage,; and the book and page number and similar information with respect to the most recent recorded assignment of the mortgage.

(c)(d)  The affiant shall attach to the affidavit the following, certifying that each copy is a true copy of the original document:

(1)  photocopies of the documentary evidence that payment has been received by the purported mortgagee, including the purported mortgagee’s endorsement of a the payoff check, provided that the payor’s account number may be redacted from the copy of the payoff check; and

(2)  a photocopy of the payoff statement received from the purported mortgagee.

(d)(e)  An affidavit recorded under this section has the same effect as discharge under sections 431 section 461, 462, or 463 of this title.

(f)  An attorney‑at‑law who executes and records a discharge of mortgage in accordance with this section shall not be liable to the holder of the mortgage on account of such discharge except in the event of negligence or fraud by the discharging attorney.

(Committee vote: 4-0-1)

Favorable with Proposal of Amendment

H. 334

An act relating to restitution.

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

The Committee recommends that the Senate propose to the House to amend the bill by striking out all after the enacting clause and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Sec. 1.  12 V.S.A. § 2901 is amended to read:

§ 2901.  CREATION OF JUDGMENT LIEN

A final judgment issued in a civil action or a restitution order entered under section 7043 of Title 13 shall constitute a lien on any real property of a judgment debtor if recorded as provided in this chapter.

Sec. 2.  13  V.S.A. § 5312 is amended to read:

§ 5312. VICTIM'S INTEREST IN SPEEDY PROSECUTION

(a) The prosecutor's office, if practicable, shall make every effort to inform a victim of a listed crime of any pending motion that may substantially delay the prosecution any deposition, change of plea, trial, sentencing hearing, or restitution hearing. The prosecutor shall inform the court of how the victim was notified and the victim's position on the motion, if any.  In the event the victim was not notified, the prosecutor shall inform the court why notification did not take place.

* * *

Sec. 3.  13  V.S.A. § 5362 is amended to read:

§ 5362.  RESTITUTION UNIT

* * *

(c)  The restitution unit shall have the authority to:

* * *

(4)  Investigate and verify the amount of insurance or other payments paid to or for the benefit of a victim, and adjust reduce the amount collected or to be collected from the offender or disbursed to the victim from the crime victims' restitution special fund accordingly.  The restitution unit shall submit to the court a proposed revised restitution order stipulated to by the victim and the unit, with copies provided to the victim and the offender.  No hearing shall be required and the court shall amend the judgment order to reflect the amount stipulated to by the victim and the restitution unit.

* * *

(6)  Report offenders’ payment histories to credit reporting agencies, provided that the unit shall not report information regarding offenders who are incarcerated.

Sec. 4.  13 V.S.A. § 5363 is amended to read:

§ 5363.  CRIME VICTIMS' RESTITUTION SPECIAL FUND

* * *

(b)(1)  There shall be deposited into the fund:

* * *

(3)  If a victim who is entitled to receive an advance payment of restitution from the crime victims’ restitution special fund cannot be located, the restitution unit shall report the amount to the treasurer within the time limits provided by subsection 1247(d) of Title 27, and the treasurer shall report it as unclaimed property.  Notwithstanding any other provision of law, in no event shall the advance payments from the restitution special fund to which the victim is entitled be subject to ultimate deposit in the general or education fund. 

* * *

(d)(1) The restitution unit is authorized to advance up to $10,000.00 to a victim or to a deceased victim's heir or legal representative if the victim:

* * *

(4)  If funds are available in the restitution special fund, the general assembly may through the appropriations process authorize the restitution unit to advance up to $10,000.00 from the special fund to a natural person for payment of restitution ordered prior to July 1, 2004. The restitution unit shall have the discretion to determine which restitution orders will receive payment from this appropriation, and in making its determination the unit shall consider the amount of the restitution order and the number of years it has been outstanding.

* * *

Sec. 5.  13 V.S.A. § 5365 is added to read:

§ 5365.  ACCESS TO FINANCIAL RECORDS

(a)  As used in this section:

(1)  "Depositor" means an owner of an account in a financial institution and includes "share account holders" of credit unions.

(2)  "Financial institution" means a savings and loan association, a trust company, a savings bank, an industrial bank, a banking organization, a commercial bank, or a credit union organized under the laws of this state or authorized to do business in this state.

(4)  "Offender" means a person who owes restitution.

(5)  "Restitution unit" means the state of Vermont restitution unit.

(6)  "Restitution" means an unsatisfied obligation to pay restitution that was ordered in connection with a criminal case and about which, prior to the issuance of the order, the offender had notice and an opportunity to contest the amount owed.

(b)  Upon receipt of a duly authorized written request from the restitution unit to identify depository accounts held by an offender, a financial institution shall search its depositor records in order to identify accounts in which the offender has an ownership or beneficial interest.

(c)  A financial institution shall notify the restitution unit of all accounts identified in response to a request filed under subsection (b) of this section.  The notification shall contain the following information, if available to the financial institution through its search procedure, for each account identified:

(1)  The full name, date of birth, and address that the offender provided for himself or herself to the financial institution.

(2)  The offender’s Social Security number.

(3)  The offender’s account number.

(4)  The amount of deposits contained in the offender’s account.

(5)  Whether the offender is the sole owner of the account.

(d)  The financial institution shall not provide notice in any form to a depositor identified by the restitution unit pursuant to this section.  Failure to provide notice to a depositor shall not constitute a violation of the financial institution's duty of good faith to its customers.

(e)  A financial institution may charge the restitution unit a fee for services provided under this section, provided that the fee shall not exceed the actual costs incurred by the financial institution.

(f)  The information provided to each other by the financial institution and the restitution unit pursuant to this section shall be confidential and shall be used only for the purpose of collecting unpaid restitution.

Sec. 6.  13 V.S.A. § 7043 is amended to read:

§ 7043.  RESTITUTION

(a)(1)  Restitution shall be considered in every case in which a victim of a crime, as defined in subdivision 5301(4) of this title, has suffered a material loss.

(2)  For purposes of this section, "material loss" means uninsured property loss, uninsured out-of-pocket monetary loss, uninsured lost wages, and uninsured medical expenses.

(b)(1)  When ordered, restitution may include:

(1) (A) return of property wrongfully taken from the victim;

(2) (B) cash, credit card, or installment payments paid to the restitution unit; or

(3) (C) payments in kind, if acceptable to the victim.

(2)  In the event of a victim’s crime-related death, the court may, at the request of the restitution unit, direct the unit to pay up to $10,000 from the restitution fund to the victim’s estate to cover future uninsured material losses caused by the death.  

(c)  In awarding restitution, the court shall make findings with respect to:

(1)  The total amount of the material loss incurred by the victim. If sufficient documentation of the material loss is not available at the time of sentencing, the court shall set a hearing on the issue, and notice thereof shall be provided to the offender.

(2)  The offender's current ability to pay restitution, based on all financial information available to the court, including information provided by the offender.

(d)(1)  An order of restitution shall establish the amount of the material loss incurred by the victim, which shall be the restitution judgment order. In the event the offender is unable to pay the restitution judgment order at the time of sentencing, the court shall establish a restitution payment schedule for the offender based upon the offender's current and reasonably foreseeable ability to pay, subject to modification under subsection (k) of this section.  Notwithstanding chapter 113 of Title 12 or any other provision of law, interest shall not accrue on a restitution judgment.

(2)(A)  Every order of restitution shall:

(i)  include the offender's name, address and social security number;

(ii)  include the name, address, and telephone number of the offender's employer; and

(iii)  require the offender, until his or her restitution obligation is satisfied, to notify the restitution unit within 30 days if the offender's address or employment changes, including providing the name, address, and telephone number of each new employer.

(B)  [Repealed.]

(e)(1)  If not paid at the time of sentencing, restitution may be ordered as a condition of probation, supervised community sentence, furlough, preapproved furlough, or parole if the convicted person is sentenced to preapproved furlough, probation, or supervised community sentence, or is sentenced to imprisonment and later placed on parole.  A person shall not be placed on probation solely for purposes of paying restitution.  An offender may not be charged with a violation of probation, furlough, or parole for nonpayment of a restitution obligation incurred after July 1, 2004.

(2)  The department of corrections shall work collaboratively with the restitution unit to assist with the collection of restitution.  The department shall provide the restitution unit with information about the location and employment status of the offender.

(f)(1)  When restitution is requested but not ordered, the court shall set forth on the record its reasons for not ordering restitution.

(2)(A)  If restitution was not requested at the time of sentencing, or if expenses arose after the entry of a restitution order, the state may file a motion with the sentencing court to reopen the restitution case in order to consider a request for restitution payable from the restitution fund.  Restitution ordered under this subdivision shall not be payable by the offender. 

(B)  A motion under this subdivision shall be filed within one year after the imposition of sentence or the entry of the restitution order.

(g)  Restitution ordered under this section shall not preclude a person from pursuing an independent civil action for all claims not covered by the restitution order.

(h)(1)  The court shall transmit a copy of a restitution order to the restitution unit, which shall make payment to the victim in accordance with section 5363 of this title.

(2)  To the extent that the victims compensation board has made payment to or on behalf of the victim in accordance with chapter 167 of this title, restitution, if imposed, shall be paid to the restitution unit, which shall make payment to the victims compensation fund.

(i)  The restitution unit may bring an action to enforce a restitution order against an offender in the superior or small claims court of the county where the offender resides or in the county where the order was issued. In an action under this subsection, a restitution order issued by the district court shall be enforceable in superior or small claims court in the same manner as a civil judgment.  Superior and small claims court filing fees shall be waived for an action under this subsection, and for an action to renew a restitution judgment.

(j)  All restitution payments shall be made to the restitution unit, with the exception of restitution relating to a conviction for welfare fraud ordered under this section and recouped by the economic services division.  The economic services division shall provide the restitution unit with a monthly report of all restitution collected through recoupment.  This subsection shall have no effect upon the collection or recoupment of restitution ordered under Title 33.

(k)  The sentencing court may modify the payment schedule of a restitution order if, upon motion by the restitution unit or the offender, the court finds that modification is warranted by a substantial change in circumstances.

(l)(m)  If the offender fails to pay restitution as ordered by the court, the restitution unit may file an action to enforce the restitution order in superior or small claims court.  After an enforcement action is filed, any further proceedings related to the action shall be heard in the court where it was filed.  The court shall set the matter for hearing and shall provide notice to the restitution unit, the victim, and the offender.  If the court determines the offender has failed to comply with the restitution order, the court may take any action the court deems necessary to ensure the offender will make the required restitution payment, including:

(1)  amending the payment schedule of the restitution order;

(2)  ordering, in compliance with the procedures required in Rule 4.1 of the Vermont Rules of Civil Procedure, the disclosure, attachment, and sale of assets and accounts owned by the offender;

(3)  ordering the offender's wages withheld pursuant to subsection n (o) of this section; or

(4)  ordering the suspension of any recreational licenses owned by the offender.

(m)(1)(n)(1)  Any monies owed by the state to an offender who is under a restitution order, including lottery winnings and tax refunds, shall be used to discharge the restitution order to the full extent of the unpaid total financial losses, regardless of the payment schedule established by the courts.

(2)  When an offender is entitled to a tax refund, any restitution owed by the offender shall be withheld from the refund pursuant to subchapter 12 of chapter 151 of Title 32.

(3)(A)  For all Vermont lottery games, the lottery commission shall, before issuing prize money of $500.00 or more to a winner, determine whether the winner has an outstanding restitution order.  If the winner owes restitution, the lottery commission shall withhold the entire amount of restitution owed and pay it to the restitution unit.  The remainder of the winnings, if any, shall be sent to the winner.  The winner shall be notified by the restitution unit of the offset prior to payment to the victim and given a period not to exceed 20 days to contest the accuracy of the information.

(B)  The restitution unit shall inform the lottery commission of persons with outstanding restitution orders upon request. Each person subject to such an order shall be identified by name, address, and Social Security number.

(C)  If a lottery winner has an outstanding restitution order and an outstanding child support order, the lottery winnings shall be offset first pursuant to section 792 of Title 15 by the amount of child support owed, and second pursuant to this subsection by the amount of restitution owed.  The remainder of the winnings, if any, shall be sent to the winner.

(4)  Unless otherwise provided, monies paid under this subsection shall be paid directly to the restitution unit.

(n)(1)(o)(1)  The sentencing court at the time of sentencing, or the superior or small claims court in a subsequent proceeding, may issue a wage withholding order directing All restitution orders made or modified on or after January 1, 2008 shall include an order for wage withholding unless the court in its discretion finds good cause not to order wage withholding or the parties have entered into an alternative arrangement by written agreement which is affirmatively stated in the order.  The wage withholding order shall direct current and subsequent employers of the offender to pay a portion of the offender's wages directly to the restitution unit until the offender's restitution obligation is satisfied.  The wages of the offender shall be exempt as follows:

(A)  to the extent provided under Section 303(b) of the Consumer Credit Protection Act (15 U.S.C. § 1673(b)); or

(B)  if the court finds the weekly expenses reasonably incurred by the debtor for his or her maintenance and that of dependents exceed the amounts exempted by subdivision (1)(A) of this subsection, such greater amount of earnings as the court shall order.

(2)  The court shall transmit all wage withholding orders issued under this section to the restitution unit, which shall forward the orders to the offender's employers.  Upon receipt of a wage withholding order from the restitution unit, an employer shall:

(A)  withhold from the wages paid to the offender the amount specified in the order for each wage period;

(B)  forward the withheld wages to the restitution unit within seven working days after wages are withheld, specifying the date the wages were withheld;

(C)  retain a record of all withheld wages;

(D)  cease withholding wages upon notice from the restitution unit; and

(E)  notify the restitution unit within 10 days of the date the offender's employment is terminated.

(3)  In addition to the amounts withheld pursuant to this section, the employer may retain not more than $5.00 per month from the offender's wages as compensation for administrative costs incurred.

(4)  Any employer who fails to withhold wages pursuant to a wage withholding order within 10 working days of receiving actual notice or upon the next payment of wages to the employee, whichever is later, shall be liable to the restitution unit in the amount of the wages required to be withheld.

(5)  An employer who makes an error in the amount of wages withheld shall not be held liable if the error was made in good faith.

(6)  For purposes of this subsection, "wages" means any compensation paid or payable for personal services, whether designated as wages, salary, commission, bonuses, or otherwise, and shall include periodic payments under pension or retirement programs and workers' compensation or insurance policies of any type.

(o)(p)  An obligation to pay restitution is part of a criminal sentence and is:

(1)  nondischargeable in the United States Bankruptcy Court to the maximum extent provided under 11 U.S.C. §§ 523 and 1328; and

(2)  not subject to any statute of limitations.

(p)(q)  A transfer of property made with the intent to avoid a restitution obligation shall be deemed a fraudulent conveyance for purposes of chapter 57 of Title 9, and the restitution unit shall be entitled to the remedies of creditors provided under section 2291 of Title 9.

Sec. 7.  23 V.S.A. § 1213c(j) is amended to read:

(j)  Order of forfeiture.  If the court orders the motor vehicle forfeited, it shall be delivered into the custody of the commissioner of buildings and general services, who shall dispose of the motor vehicle pursuant to section 1556 of Title 29.  The proceeds from the sale of the vehicle shall first be used to offset any costs of selling the vehicle, and then, after any liens on the vehicle have been paid in full, applied to any unpaid restitution owed by the defendant in connection with the charge that resulted in forfeiture.  Any balance remaining, after any liens on the vehicle have been paid in full, shall be deposited into the general fund.

Sec. 8.  27 V.S.A. § 1249 is amended to read:

§ 1249.  NOTICE AND PUBLICATION OF LISTS OF UNCLAIMED PROPERTY

(a)  The treasurer shall notify apparent owners of unclaimed property under this chapter in the manner and method set out in subsection (b) of this section. In deciding whether to use an additional method specified in subdivision (b)(2) of this section, and which of those methods to use, the treasurer shall employ the method he or she deems to be the most cost-effective method available within its appropriations, while also giving consideration to the effectiveness of the method.

(b)  The treasurer:

(1)  shall notify all apparent owners of unclaimed property in accordance with this section by means of posting on the treasurer's website on the internet;

(2)  may use any of the following to provide additional notice to the apparent owners:

(A)  publication in a newspaper of general circulation:

(i)  in the area of the state in which the last known address of a person to be named in the notice is located;

(ii)  in the area in which the holder has its principal place of business in the state; or

(iii)  in the area the treasurer deems to provide the best opportunity to reach the apparent owner;

(B)  individual contact by regular or electronic mail, or by telephone, if the treasurer has current contact information on file;

(C)  any other manner and method that the treasurer considers effective for providing notice and publication.

(c)  In the notice and publication under subsection (b) of this section, the treasurer shall provide the names of the apparent owners of the property and information regarding recovery of the unclaimed property.

(d)  The treasurer is not required to publish in the notice an item of less than $100.00 in value.

(e)  The treasurer may establish a program to assist other state agencies holding property not presumed to be abandoned to locate the owners of the property.  Under this program, the treasurer may publish the owners’ names on the treasurer’s website and in any other manner the treasurer deems appropriate without taking possession of the property.  Owners contacting the treasurer’s office under this program would be referred to the state agency possessing the property.  Agencies participating in the program will remain obligated to report and remit the property to the treasurer’s office after it is presumed abandoned.

Sec. 9.  REPEAL OF SUNSET FOR RESTITUTION UNIT AND CRIME VICTIMS’ RESTITUTION SPECIAL FUND

Sec. 16 of No. 57 of the Acts of 2003 (sunset for restitution unit and crime victims’ restitution special fund) is repealed.

(Committee Vote: 4-0-1)

(For House amendments, see House Journal for March 2, 2007, page 273.)

H. 510

An act relating to Vermont Life magazine.

Reported favorably with recommendation of proposal of amendment by Senator Doyle 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. 1, 3 V.S.A. § 2473a(b), in the last sentence, after the words “outside influence”, by adding the words , including that from the legislative or executive branch of state government

Second:  In Sec. 1, 3 V.S.A. § 2473a(c), in the first sentence, by striking out the words “direction of the editor” and inserting in lieu thereof the words supervision of the business manager and at the direction of the publisher

Third:  By adding a new Sec. 2 to read as follows:

Sec. 2.  EFFECTIVE DATE

This act shall take effect upon passage.

(Committee Vote: 5-0-0)

(For House amendments, see House Journal for March 16, 2007, page 335.)

H. 516

An act relating to the creation of one fund within each of the three Vermont retirement systems and to compliance with federal requirements.

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. 6, 3 V.S.A. § 465(b)(1), in the second sentence, after the word “In” and before the words “the event”, by adding the words the absence of a written designation of beneficiary or in

Second:  In Sec. 11, 3 V.S.A. § 473(b)(1), in the first sentence, by striking out the word “an” and inserting in lieu thereof the word and

Third:  In Sec. 28, 16 V.S.A. § 1940(b)(1), in the second sentence, after the word “In” and before the words the event, by adding the words the absence of a written designation of beneficiary or in

Fourth:  By striking out Sec. 30 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 30 to read:

Sec. 30.  16 V.S.A. § 1942 is amended to read:

§ 1942.  BOARD OF TRUSTEES; MEDICAL BOARD; ACTUARY; RATE OF CONTRIBUTION; SAFEKEEPING OF SECURITIES

* * *

(o)  The Vermont pension investment committee shall designate from time to time a depository for the securities and evidences of indebtedness held in the various funds fund of the system and may contract for the safe‑keeping of securities and evidences of indebtedness within and without the state of Vermont in such banks, trust companies, and safe‑deposit facilities as it shall from time to time determine, and the necessary and incidental expenses of such safe‑keeping and for service rendered, including advisory services in investment matters, shall be paid from the expense fund hereinafter provided.  Any agreement for the safe‑keeping of securities or evidences of indebtedness, except securities loaned pursuant to a securities lending agreement as authorized by subsection (q) of this section, shall provide for the access to such securities and evidences of indebtedness at any time by the custodian or any authorized agent of the state for audit or other purposes.

(p) The board may enter into insurance arrangements to provide health and medical benefits for retired members and their dependents.  The board may enter into insurance arrangements to provide dental coverage for retired members and their dependents, provided the state or the system has no legal obligation to pay any portion of the dental benefit premiums.

(q)  The Vermont pension investment committee may authorize the loan of its securities pursuant to securities lending agreements that provide for collateral consisting of cash or securities issued or guaranteed by the United States government or its agencies equal to 100 percent or more of the market value of the loaned securities.  Cash collateral may be invested by the lending institution in funds investments approved by the state treasurer.  Approval of funds investments shall be made in accordance with the standard of care established by the prudent investor rule under chapter 147 of Title 9.

(r)  The board shall review annually the amount of state contribution recommended by the actuary of the retirement system as necessary to achieve and preserve the financial integrity of the funds fund established pursuant to section 1944 of this title.  Based on this review, the board shall recommend the amount of state contribution that should be appropriated for the next fiscal year to achieve and preserve the financial integrity of the funds.  On or before November 1 of each year, the board shall submit this recommendation to the governor and the house and senate committees on government operations and appropriations.

Fifth:  In Sec. 33, 16 V.S.A. § 1944(b), by striking out subdivision (7) in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new subdivision (7) to read:

(7)  The contributions of a member, and such interest as may be allowed thereon, paid upon the member’s death or withdrawn by the member as provided in this chapter, shall be paid from the annuity savings fund, and any balance of the accumulated contributions of such a member shall be transferred to the pension accumulation fund.  Upon the retirement of a member, the member’s accumulated contributions shall be transferred from the annuity savings fund to the annuity reserve fund.

Sixth:  In Sec. 36, 24 V.S.A. § 5051(23), by striking out the words “section 473 of Title 3” and inserting in lieu thereof the words section 5064 of Title 24

Seventh:  In Sec. 42, 24 V.S.A. § 5059(a), in the last sentence, after the words “group B and C” by adding the words , group C,

Eighth:  In Sec. 47, 24 V.S.A. § 5064(e), by adding a new subdivision (5) to read as follows:

(5)  The board may, in its discretion, waive part or all of a penalty assessment for good cause shown.

Ninth:  By striking out Sec. 49 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 49 to read:

Sec. 49.  24 V.S.A. § 5070 is amended to read:

§ 5070.  DEFINED CONTRIBUTION RETIREMENT PLAN

(a)  The board may approve a defined contribution retirement plan for one or more groups of members.  The plan shall qualify as a defined contribution plan under the United States Internal Revenue Code, as amended.  Participation in a defined contribution plan offered under this section shall be in lieu of participation in any other plan established under this title.  The board shall ensure that objective educational material be prepared and presented to the employees in order to enable them to make an informed decision, under the assumption that each participant is an unsophisticated investor.

(b)  The proper authority or officer responsible for making up each employer payroll shall certify to the board the amounts deducted on each and every payroll for employees participating in the defined contribution plan, and each of those amounts shall be paid into the defined contribution fund and credited to the individual account of the member from whose compensation the deduction was made.

(1)  Employer reports and corresponding member contributions required by this subsection shall be provided by the due date established by the board.  An employer that provides reports or remits contributions, which are more than 30 days delinquent, may be assessed a delinquent reporting fee of one percent of the amount that should have been reported and remitted for each month, or prorated portion of a month, that the report or contributions are delinquent.

(2)  Employers shall provide accurate reports.  An employer who provides an inaccurate report shall be responsible for correcting any deficiencies and shall reimburse the system for any costs incurred by the system as a result of inaccuracy.

(3)  In the event that an employer willfully files an inaccurate report, in addition to any other penalties provided by law, the employer shall pay the system an administrative penalty of up to 50 percent of the amount that was not accurately reported.

(4)  The system may enforce the provisions of this subsection in Washington superior court.

(5)  The board may, in its discretion, waive part or all of a penalty assessment for good cause shown.

(Committee Vote: 5-0-0)

(No House amendments.)

House Proposal of Amendment

S. 57

An act relating to eliminating certain sunset provisions and extending the juvenile proceedings study committee.

The House proposes to the Senate to amend the bill by striking all after the enacting clause and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Sec. 1.  REPEAL OF SUNSET FOR WARRANTS BY FAX

The following sections, all related to the sunset for warrants by fax, are repealed:

(1)  Sec. 4 of No. 44 of the Acts of 1997.

(2)  Sec. 34 of No. 121 of the Acts of the 1997 Adj. Sess. (1998).

(3)  Sec. 3 of No. 131 of the Acts of the 2001 Adj. Sess. (2002).

Sec. 2.  Sec. 8 of No. 198 of the Acts of the 2005 Adj. Session (2006) is amended to read:

Sec. 8.  STUDY

(a)  A committee shall be established for the purpose of studying and recommending legislative changes to chapter 55 of Title 33, relating to juvenile delinquency and children in need of care or supervision proceedings. 

* * *

(d)  The committee shall report its findings and recommendations to the house and senate committees on judiciary by January 15, 2007 January 1, 2008, after which the committee shall cease to exist.

Sec. 3.  EFFECTIVE DATE

This act shall take effect on passage.

NOTICE CALENDAR

House Proposal of Amendment

S. 124

An act relating to planning and evaluating options for inpatient psychiatric hospital services.

The House proposes to the Senate to amend the bill by striking all after the enacting clause and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Sec. 1.  STATE HOSPITAL; PLANNING; INDEPENDENT EVALUATION

(a)  The general assembly recognizes that there are some regulatory and legislative constraints on the department of health’s planning efforts related to developing new inpatient psychiatric services.  Nevertheless, the general assembly finds:

(1)  There has been inadequate evaluation of the options available to the state regarding the provision of inpatient psychiatric hospital services which are now provided at the Vermont state hospital (VSH).

(2)  The projected costs to plan, construct, and privately operate a 40‑ to 60‑patient bed facility on the main campus of Fletcher Allen Health Care (FAHC) in Burlington have not been adequately analyzed and compared with the projected costs of a publicly operated state facility or several smaller private or public facilities across the state.  Furthermore, FAHC has not made the necessary 50‑year commitment to host and operate the facility.

(3)  As found by the Public Oversight Commission (POC) in its recommendation dated January 10, 2007 concerning the VSH Conceptual certificate of need (CON), the construction cost for new inpatient services approaches $100 million which, the POC suggested, is beyond the fiscal capability of the state if the overall components of the Futures Project, including necessary expansions to the community mental health system, were to be implemented and adequately funded.

(4)  No operating cost estimates of the proposed FAHC inpatient psychiatric facility or any other facility have been developed.

(5)  No determinative analysis has been made of the costs and policy implications that will be required to meet federal funding requirements associated with partnering or not partnering with a general hospital. 

(6)  Issues of concern to potential host communities have not been adequately addressed, including governance, accountability, and sustainability; design and development of the facility; public safety; the impact on municipal services, housing, community mental health programs, other community resources, and reimbursement to the host communities for the costs associated with such impacts.

(7)  The state’s community mental health system may be threatened by the cost to operate psychiatric inpatient services that are not adequately planned within the budgetary context of the full continuum of necessary mental health services.

(b)  The general assembly reaffirms its intent as stated in Sec. 141a of No. 122 of the Acts of the 2003 Adj. Sess. (2004) that all mental health programs, services, and supports, including inpatient psychiatric services, be provided to individuals with psychiatric disabilities or diagnoses or emotional disorders in a holistic, comprehensive continuum of care, that consumers be treated at all times with dignity and respect, that public resources be allocated efficiently and produce the best positive outcomes, and that direct services overseen and provided by the agency of human services and its community partners be client- and family-centered and -driven, accessible, and culturally competent, and it furthermore reaffirms the guiding principles identified therein for purposes of the Futures Plan.

(c)  Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, the remaining balance of the $1 million appropriated in Sec. 271(a)(3) of No. 215 of the Acts of the 2005 Adj. Sess. (2006) shall remain subject to the requirements as directed in Sec. 4 of  No. 147 of the Acts of the 2005 Adj. Sess. (2006), subdivisions (a)(2)(A)(ii) and (a)(2)(B), for use by the department of buildings and general services for the agency of human services to continue planning, designing, and permitting associated with the creation of a new inpatient facility to replace the current Vermont state hospital, except such funds expended for consulting services described in subsection (d) of this section.

(d)(1)  The committee on committees of the senate and the speaker of the house are authorized to retain one or more consultants to:

(A)  compile, analyze, and review the planning that has been done to date for replacing the services now provided at the VSH, including a review of the feasibility of recertifying the existing state hospital and obtaining authority to secure federal funding to support its operations;

(B)  investigate and make recommendations on the necessary steps to secure federal funding for the development of one or more regional or satellite psychiatric facilities in conjunction with other general hospitals and institutions for mental diseases, or stand-alone facilities, or both;

(C)  review and make recommendations regarding the feasibility of all the options available to the state for providing inpatient psychiatric services, taking into account the capacity needed; the time required to achieve the delivery of services; projected capital and operational costs; assurances of quality of care; the extent to which there will be integration with the chronic care initiative and integration of mental health care with overall health care; and the alternatives of public, private, public-private partnership, or other combination of operation and ownership structures; and

(D)  analyze the impact of the population involved in the criminal justice system on the needs, services, and costs of inpatient psychiatric hospitalization.

(2)  The committee on committees of the senate and the speaker of the house are authorized to spend up to $100,000.00 from the appropriation referenced in subsection (c) of this section to accomplish the purposes of this subsection. 

(3)  The consultant or consultants shall report preliminary progress on or before September 1, 2007  jointly to the chairs of the House and Senate Appropriations and Institutions Committees, the Senate Health and Welfare Committee, and the House Human Services Committee.  A final report shall be submitted to the above mentioned committee chairs, and to the Joint Fiscal Committee, the Mental Health Oversight Committee, the Secretary of Administration, and the Secretary of Human Services no later than November 1, 2007.

Sec. 2.  EFFECTIVE DATE                         

This act shall take effect from passage.

ORDERED TO LIE

S. 70

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

PENDING ACTION:  Second reading of the bill.

S. 102

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

PENDING ACTION:  Second reading of the bill.

S. 118

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

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)

Barbara Zander of St. Johnsbury - Family Court Magistrate - By Sen. Cummings for the Committee on Judiciary.  (4/4)

Celine F. Champine of Newport Center - Member of the Community High School of Vermont Board - By Sen. Starr for the Committee on Education.  (4/6)

Richard Fraser of South Ryegate - Member of the Community High School of Vermont Board - By Sen. Nitka for the Committee on Education.  (4/6)

Blanche Kelley of Rutland - Member of the Community High School of Vermont Board - By Sen. Giard for the Committee on Education. (4/6)



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us