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Senate Calendar

friday, april 20, 2007

108th DAY OF BIENNIAL SESSION

TABLE OF CONTENTS

                                                                                                                Page No.

ACTION CALENDAR

UNFINISHED BUSINESS OF WEDNESDAY, APRIL 18, 2007

House Proposal of Amendment

S. 120     Wine tastings and farmers’ markets................................................... 895

UNFINISHED BUSINESS OF THURSDAY, APRIL 19, 2007

Second Reading

Favorable with Proposal of Amendment

H. 313    Administration & enforcement of fines within the judicial bureau......... 896

                        Judiciary Committee Report..................................................... 896

                        Appropriations Committee Report........................................... 913

Senate Resolution for Action

S.R. 15   Relating to designating April as sexual violence awareness month....... 913

NEW BUSINESS

Second Reading

Favorable with Proposal of Amendment

H. 148    Relating to the child abuse registry..................................................... 913

                        Judiciary Committee Report..................................................... 913

H. 154    Relating to stormwater management.................................................. 936

                        Natural Resources and Energy Committee Report.................... 936

H. 296    Relating to potable water supply & wastewater system permitting...... 939

                        Natural Resources and Energy Committee Report.................... 939

House Proposal of Amendment

S. 77       Transferring title to a motor vehicle to a surviving spouse.................... 941

NOTICE CALENDAR

Favorable with Recommendation of Amendment

S. 108     Election for statewide & national offices by instant runoff voting......... 943

                        Government Operations Committee Report.............................. 943

Favorable with Proposal of Amendment

H. 229    Corrections & clarifications to health care affordability act................. 948

                        Health and Welfare Committee Report..................................... 948

H. 405    Relating to capital construction and state bonding............................... 956

                        Institutions Committee Report.................................................. 956

                        Appropriations Committee Report........................................... 976

H. 522    Relating to the viability of Vermont agriculture.................................... 977

                        Agriculture Committee Report.................................................. 977

ORDERED TO LIE

S. 70       Empowering municipalities to regulate application of pesticides........... 989


S. 102     Decreasing percentage to determine school dist. excess spending....... 989

S. 118     Fiscal review of high spending districts & special education................ 989

Concurrent Resolutions for Action

(For text of Resolutions, see Addendum to April 19, 2007 Calendar)

SCR 20   Congratulating Steve Locke and David Rowlee................................ 192

SCR 21   Honoring Pati Papineau for her leadership roles................................ 193

HCR 117 Evelyn Weeks Great Falls Regional Chamber Person of Year.......... 194

HCR 118 Philip R. Benedict 36 years of service to Agency of Agriculture........ 195

HCR 119 Harwood Union H.S. students award-winning jazz musicianship197

HCR 120 Mount Abraham Union H.S. boys’ basketball team......................... 198

HCR 121 Middlebury Un. Middle School 2007 MATHCOUNTS champs..... 199

HCR 122 Musical choral ensemble Counterpoint & congratulating Robert DeCormier on receipt of honorary degree from Middlebury College......................................................................................... 201



 

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ACTION CALENDAR

UNFINISHED BUSINESS OF WEDNESDAY, APRIL 18, 2007

House Proposal of Amendment

S. 120

An act relating to wine tastings and farmers’ markets.

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

     First:  By striking  Sec. 2. and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

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

§ 67. WINE TASTINGS; PERMIT; PENALTIES

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

* * *

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

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

(b) A wine tasting event held pursuant to this section, not to include wine tasting events conducted on the premises of a manufacturer or rectifier or on the premises of a fourth class licensee pursuant to subdivision (a)(3) of this section or a promotional tasting promotional tastings pursuant to subdivision (d)(1) of this section:

* * *

(d) Promotional wine tasting.

(1) At the request of a holder of a first class or second class license, a holder of a manufacturer's, rectifier's, or wholesale dealer's license may distribute without charge to the first or second class licensee's management and staff, provided they are of legal drinking age, two ounces per person of vinous beverages for the purpose of promoting the beverage. No permit is required under this subdivision, but written notice of the event shall be provided to the department of liquor control at least 10 five days prior to the date of the tasting.

* * *

(3)  At the request of a holder of a wholesale dealer’s license, a first class licensee may dispense malt or vinous beverages for promotional purposes without charge to invited management and staff of first, second, or third class licensees, provided they are of legal drinking age.  The event shall be held on the premises of the first class licensee.  The first class licensee shall be responsible for complying with all applicable laws under this title. No permit is required under this subdivision, but the wholesale dealer shall provide written notice of the event to the department  of liquor control at least 10 days prior to the date of the tasting.

     Second:  By adding a new Sec. 3 to read as follows:

Sec. 3.  EFFECTIVE DATE

This act shall take effect on passage.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS OF THURSDAY, APRIL 19, 2007

Second Reading

Favorable with Proposal of Amendment

H. 313

An act relating to the administration and enforcement of fines within the judicial bureau.

Reported favorably with recommendation of proposal of amendment by Senator Sears 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.  4 V.S.A. § 1105 is amended to read:

§ 1105.  ANSWER TO COMPLAINT; DEFAULT

(a)  A violation shall be charged upon a summons and complaint form approved and distributed by the court administrator.  The complaint shall be signed by the issuing officer or by the state’s attorney.  The original shall be filed with the judicial bureau, a copy shall be retained by the issuing officer or state’s attorney and two copies shall be given to the defendant.  The complaint shall include a statement of rights, instructions, notice that a defendant may admit, not contest, or deny a violation, notice of the fee for failure to answer within 20 days, and other notices as the court administrator deems appropriate.  The court administrator, in consultation with appropriate law enforcement agencies, may approve a single form for charging all violations, or may approve two or more forms as necessary to administer the operations of the judicial bureau.

(b)  A person who is charged with a violation shall have 20 days from the date the complaint is issued to admit or deny the allegations or to state that he or she does not contest the allegations in the complaint.  The judicial bureau shall assess against a defendant a fee of $10.00 for failure to answer a complaint within the time allowed.  The fee shall be assessed in the default judgment and deposited in the court technology special fund established pursuant to section 27 of this title.

(c)  A person who admits or does not contest the allegations may so indicate and sign the complaint.  The bureau shall accept the admission or statement that the allegations are not contested and accept payment of the waiver penalty.

(d)  If the person sends in the amount of the waiver penalty without signing the complaint, the bureau shall accept the payment indicating that payment was made and that the allegations were not contested.

(e)  A person who denies the allegations may so indicate and sign the complaint.  Upon receipt, the bureau shall schedule a hearing.

(f)  If a person fails to appear or answer a complaint the bureau shall enter a default judgment against the person.  The bureau shall mail a notice to the person that a default judgment has been entered.  A default judgment may be set aside by the hearing officer for good cause shown.

(g)  All judicial bureau judgments shall contain a notice of tax setoff pursuant to 32 V.S.A. § 5941.

Sec. 2.  4 V.S.A. § 1109 is added to read:

§ 1109.  REMEDIES FOR FAILURE TO PAY

(a)  As used in this section:

(1)  “Amount due” means all financial assessments contained in a judicial bureau judgment, including penalties, fines, surcharges, court costs, and any other assessment authorized by law.

(2)  “Designated collection agency” means a collection agency designated by the court administrator.

(3)  “Designated credit bureau” means a credit bureau designated by the court administrator or the court administrator’s designee.

(b)  A judicial bureau judgment shall provide notice that a $15.00 fee shall be assessed for failure to pay within 30 days.  If the defendant fails to pay the amount due within 30 days, the fee shall be added to the judgment amount and deposited in the court technology special fund established pursuant to section 27 of this title.

(c)  Civil contempt proceedings.  If an amount due remains unpaid for 75 days after the judicial bureau provides the defendant with a notice of judgment, the judicial bureau may initiate civil contempt proceedings pursuant to this subsection.

(1)  Notice of hearing.  The judicial bureau shall provide notice by first class mail sent to the defendant’s last known address that a contempt hearing will be held pursuant to this subsection, and that failure to appear at the contempt hearing may result in the sanctions listed in subdivision (2) of this subsection.

(2)  Failure to appear.  If the defendant fails to appear at the contempt hearing, the hearing officer may direct the clerk of the judicial bureau to:

(A)  cause the matter to be reported to one or more designated credit bureaus; or

(B)  refer the matter to district court for contempt proceedings.

(3)  Hearing.  The hearing shall be conducted in a summary manner.  The hearing officer shall examine the defendant and any other witnesses and may require the defendant to produce documents relevant to the defendant’s ability to pay the amount due.  The state or municipality shall not be a party except with the permission of the hearing officer.  The defendant may be represented by counsel at the defendant’s own expense.

(4)  Contempt.

(A)  The hearing officer may conclude that the defendant is in contempt if the hearing officer states in written findings a factual basis for concluding that:

(i)  the defendant knew or reasonably should have known that he or she owed an amount due on a judicial bureau judgment;

(ii)  the defendant had the ability to pay all or any portion of the amount due; and

(iii)  the defendant failed to pay all or any portion of the amount due.

(B)  In the contempt order, the hearing officer may do one or more of the following:

(i)  Set a date by which the defendant shall pay the amount due.

(ii)  Assess an additional penalty not to exceed ten percent of the amount due.

(iii)  Direct the clerk of the judicial bureau to cause the matter to be reported to one or more designated credit bureaus.  The court administrator or the court administrator’s designee is authorized to contract with one or more credit bureaus for the purpose of reporting information about unpaid judicial bureau judgments.

(iv)  Recommend that the district court incarcerate the defendant until the amount due is paid.  If incarceration is recommended pursuant to this subdivision (4), the judicial bureau shall notify the district court that contempt proceedings should be commenced against the defendant.  The district court proceedings shall be de novo.  If the defendant cannot afford counsel for the contempt proceedings in district court, the defender general shall assign counsel at the defender general’s expense.

(d)  Collections.

(1)  If an amount due remains unpaid after the issuance of a notice of judgment, the court administrator may authorize the clerk of the judicial bureau to refer the matter to a designated collection agency.

(2)  The court administrator or the court administrator’s designee is authorized to contract with one or more collection agencies for the purpose of collecting unpaid judicial bureau judgments pursuant to 13 V.S.A. § 7171.

(e)  For purposes of civil contempt proceedings, venue shall be statewide.

(f)  Notwithstanding 32 V.S.A. § 502, the court administrator is authorized to contract with a third party to collect fines, penalties, and fees by credit card, debit card, charge card, prepaid card, stored value card, and direct bank account withdrawals or transfers, as authorized by 32 V.S.A. § 583, and to add on and collect, or charge against collections, a processing charge in an amount approved by the court administrator.

Sec. 3.  4 V.S.A. § 1110 is added to read:

§ 1110.  Licenses or governmental contracts

(a)  As used in this section:

(1)  “Agency” means any unit of state government, including agencies, departments, boards, commissions, authorities, or public corporations.

(2)  “Contract” means a contract for the provision of goods, services, or real estate space.

(3)  “License” means any license, certification or registration issued by an agency to conduct a trade or business, including a license to practice a profession or occupation, or a license required to engage in recreational activities, including licenses to hunt, fish, or trap.

(b)  Every applicant for a license shall sign a statement that the applicant is in good standing with respect to any unpaid judgment issued by the judicial bureau or district court for fines or penalties for a violation or criminal offense.  A license may not be issued or renewed without such a statement.

(c)  No agency shall enter into, extend, or renew any contract unless the person submits a statement that the person is in good standing with respect to any unpaid judgment issued by the judicial bureau or district court for fines or penalties for a violation or criminal offense as of the date the contract is made.

(d)  For the purposes of this section, a person is in good standing with respect to any unpaid judgment issued by the judicial bureau or district court for fines or penalties for a violation or criminal offense if:

(1)  60 days or fewer have elapsed since the date a judgment was issued; or

(2)  the person is in compliance with a repayment plan approved by the judiciary.

Sec. 4.  13 V.S.A. § 7171 is amended to read:

§ 7171.  Collection by complaint, information, or indictment

(a)  Fines, forfeitures, and penalties incurred or imposed by statute may be recovered by complaint, information, or indictment, unless some other mode of recovery is specially provided.

(b)  The attorney general court administrator is authorized to contract with private collection agencies for collection of fines, forfeitures, fees and penalties, fines, surcharges, court costs, and any other assessment authorized by law incurred or imposed by statute on persons who have failed to pay after reasonable notification of the debt, and the risk that the debt may be referred to a collection agency and that the debtor will be liable for the collection agency’s fee.  The attorney general and the court administrator may agree to pay collection agencies a fee based on a fixed rate for services rendered or a percentage of the amount actually collected by such agencies and remitted to the state.  Notwithstanding 32 V.S.A. § 502, the attorney general may charge against such collections an agreed‑upon fixed rate or percentage of collections  The debtor shall be liable for the collection agency’s fee, in addition to the judgment amount.  The collection agency shall deduct its fee from the collected amount and remit the balance to the judiciary.  All collection agency fees shall be governed by the contract with the court administrator and shall be clearly disclosed in all notices sent by the collection agency to the debtor.

Sec. 5.  23 V.S.A. § 2307 is amended to read:

§ 2307.  REMEDIES FOR FAILURE TO PAY TRAFFIC VIOLATIONS

(a)  As used in this section:,

(1)  “Amount “amount due” means all financial assessments contained in a judicial bureau judgment, including penalties, fines, surcharges, court costs, and any other assessment authorized by law.

(2)  “Designated collection agency” means a collection agency designated by the court administrator.

(3)  “Designated credit bureau” means a credit bureau designated by the court administrator or the court administrator’s designee.

(b)  Notice of risk of suspension.  A judgment for a traffic violation shall contain a notice that failure to pay or otherwise satisfy the amount due within 20 30 days of the notice will result in suspension of the person’s operator’s license or privilege to operate, and the denial, if the person is the sole registrant, of the person’s application for renewal of a motor vehicle registration, until the amount due is paid or otherwise satisfied.  If the defendant fails to pay the amount due within 20 30 days of the notice and the case is not pending on appeal, the judicial bureau shall provide electronic notice thereof to the commissioner of motor vehicles who, after 20 days from the date of receiving the electronic notice, shall suspend the person’s operator’s license or privilege to operate and deny, if the person is the sole registrant, the person’s application for renewal of a motor vehicle registration until the amount due is paid or otherwise satisfied. 

(c)  Civil contempt proceedings.  If an amount due remains unpaid for 45 days after the judicial bureau provides the defendant with a notice of risk of suspension pursuant to subsection (b) of this section, the judicial bureau may initiate civil contempt proceedings pursuant to this subsection.  During proceedings conducted pursuant to 4 V.S.A. § 1109, the hearing officer may apply the following mitigation remedies when the judgment is based upon a traffic violation:

(1)  Notice of hearing.  The judicial bureau shall provide notice by first class mail sent to the defendant’s last known address that a contempt hearing will be held pursuant to this subsection and that failure to appear at the contempt hearing may result in the sanctions listed in subdivision (c)(2) of this section and subject to procedures for tax setoffs under 32 V.S.A. § 5941.

(2)  Failure to appear.  If the defendant fails to appear at the contempt hearing, the hearing officer may direct the clerk of the judicial bureau to:

(A)  cause the matter to be reported to one or more designated credit bureaus; or

(B)  refer the matter to district court for contempt proceedings.

(3)  Hearing.  The hearing shall be conducted in a summary manner.  The hearing officer shall examine the defendant and any other witnesses and may require the defendant to produce documents relevant to the defendant’s ability to pay the amount due.  The state or municipality shall not be a party except with the permission of the hearing officer.  The defendant may be represented by counsel at the defendant’s own expense.

(4)  Mitigation remedies.

(A)(1)  The hearing officer may waive the reinstatement fee required by section 675 of this title or reduce the amount due on the basis of:

(i)(A)  the defendant’s driving history, ability to pay, or service to the community;

(ii)(B)  the collateral consequences of the violation; or

(iii)(C)  the interests of justice.

(B)(2)  The hearing officer may specify a date by which the defendant shall pay the amount due and may notify the commissioner of motor vehicles to reinstate the defendant’s operator’s license or privilege subject to payment of the amount due by the specified date.  If the defendant fails to pay the amount due by the specified date, the judicial bureau may notify the commissioner to suspend the defendant’s operator’s license or privilege.  A license may be reinstated under this subdivision only if the defendant’s license is suspended solely for failure to pay a judicial bureau judgment.

(C)(3)  The judicial officer shall have sole discretion to determine mitigation remedies pursuant to this subdivision, and the judicial officer’s determination shall not be subject to review or appeal in any court, tribunal, or administrative office.

(5)  Contempt.

(A)  The hearing officer may conclude that the defendant is in contempt if the hearing officer states in written findings a factual basis for concluding that:

(i)  The defendant knew or reasonably should have known that he or she owed an amount due on a judicial bureau judgment;

(ii)  The defendant had the ability to pay all or any portion of the amount due; and

(iii)  The defendant failed to pay all or any portion of the amount due.

(B)  The hearing officer may in the contempt order do one or more of the following:

(i)  Set a date by which the defendant shall pay the amount due;

(ii)  Assess an additional penalty not to exceed ten percent of the amount due;

(iii)  Direct the clerk of the judicial bureau to cause the matter to be reported to one or more designated credit bureaus.  The court administrator or the court administrator’s designee is authorized to contract with one or more credit bureaus for the purpose of reporting information about unpaid judicial bureau judgments; and

(iv)  Recommend that the district court incarcerate the defendant until the amount due is paid.  If incarceration is recommended pursuant to this subdivision, the judicial bureau shall notify the district court that contempt proceedings should be commenced against the defendant.  If the defendant cannot afford counsel for the contempt proceedings in district court, the defender general shall assign counsel at the defender general’s expense.

(d)  Collections.

(1)  If an amount due remains unpaid for one year after the issuance of a notice of risk of suspension pursuant to subsection (b) of this section and the defendant has failed to appear at a judicial bureau contempt hearing, the court administrator may authorize the clerk of the judicial bureau to refer the matter to a designated collection agency.

(2)(A)  The court administrator or the court administrator’s designee is authorized to contract with one or more collection agencies for the purpose of collecting unpaid judicial bureau judgments.

(B)  The court administrator may authorize a collection agency to settle a judicial bureau judgment for less than the amount due and to retain a portion of the amount collected for its services.  The judgment amount shall be reduced in the judicial bureau records to reflect the settlement amount and the fee retained by the collection agency.

(e)  For purposes of civil contempt proceedings, venue shall be statewide.

(f)  Notwithstanding 32 V.S.A. § 502, the court administrator is authorized to contract with a third party to collect fines, penalties, and fees by credit card, debit card, charge card, prepaid card, stored value card, and direct bank account withdrawals or transfers, as authorized by 32 V.S.A. § 583, and to add on and collect a processing charge in an amount approved by the court administrator.

Sec. 6.  23 V.S.A. § 305a is added to read:

§ 305a.  –WHEN NOT ISSUED

The commissioner shall not renew the registration of a person who is the sole registrant after receiving notice from the judicial bureau that the person has not paid a judgment for a traffic violation.

Sec. 7.  32 V.S.A. § 509a is added to read:

§ 509a.  Judiciary overpayment; refund

Notwithstanding the provisions of section 509 of this title, when a person who owes money to the judiciary makes an overpayment, the judiciary shall forthwith refund to that person the amount of such overpayment; however, there shall be no obligation to refund sums in the amount of $10.00 or less.  If a person is owed a refund of more than $10.00 and cannot be located by the judiciary, the refund shall be submitted to the abandoned property procedure.  For refunds of $10.00 or less which are not demanded by the person within a year after the payment, the refund shall revert to the state and be deposited into the revenue fund where the original payment was deposited. 

Sec. 8.  32 V.S.A. § 583 is amended to read:

§ 583.  Credit card payments

(a)  A statewide officer or secretary of a state agency, commissioner of a state department, or the court administrator may accept payment of taxes, registration fees, license fees, penalties, fines, interest, charges, surcharges, or any other fees or amounts due the state by means of credit cards, debit cards, charge cards, prepaid cards, stored value cards, and direct bank account withdrawals or transfers.

(b)  The court administrator may not accept credit cards, debit cards, charge cards, prepaid cards, stored value cards, and direct bank account withdrawals or transfers for payments of fines, penalties or surcharges assessed by a circuit of the district court.  However, the court administrator may accept credit cards, debit cards, charge cards, prepaid cards, stored value cards, and direct bank account withdrawals or transfers for any payments to the Chittenden, Essex, and Washington circuits of the district court.

(c)  The state treasurer shall negotiate and contract with banks and bank credit card companies or others to provide as a method of payment to state agencies, or departments, or the judiciary the use of credit card or debit card accounts or direct bank account withdrawals or transfers, and may agree to pay such bank or other company a fee or percentage of the amount collected and remitted to the state.  The court administrator may so contract for the judiciary with the approval of the state treasurer.  Notwithstanding section 502 of this title, an agency, a department, or the judiciary may charge against such collections the percentage or fee imposed.

(d)(c)  The state treasurer shall assist each statewide officer, secretary, commissioner, and court administrator who elects to accept payments, as authorized by this section, with establishing procedures for accepting those payments.

(e)(d)  A statewide officer or secretary of a state agency, a commissioner of a state department, or the court administrator who has authority to accept payment of fees, penalties, fines, charges, surcharges, or any other amounts due the state by a credit card, debit card, charge card, prepaid card, or stored value card shall not charge or collect any additional amounts for using such card to make the payment unless the agency develops a policy regarding additional charges.  Each policy and recommended charge, except that which is adopted and recommended by the court administrator, shall be approved by the secretary of administration prior to applying the charge.  Any such charge shall approximate the cost of providing the service. 

(f)(e)  By January 15 of each year, the treasurer, with the assistance of the court administrator, shall file a report with the general assembly and the joint fiscal committee which:

* * *

Sec. 9.  DEBT COLLECTION BY JUDICIARY

The court administrator is authorized to send a notice to defendants who have failed to pay judicial bureau and district court judgments issued prior to September 25, 2006 to inform them of the judiciary’s intent to collect the debt through any authorized means, and that the debt will be subject to procedures for tax setoffs under 32 V.S.A. § 5941.  Concurrent with providing the notice to the debtor, the judiciary shall assess a $10.00 collection fee which shall be added to the judgment amount and deposited in the court technology special fund established pursuant to 4 V.S.A. § 27.  If the defendant satisfies the judgment within 20 days, the fee shall be waived.  The court administrator may charge the cost of preparing and sending the notice against revenues collected in this effort.  This authorization shall expire on June 30, 2009.

Sec. 10.  12 V.S.A. § 5540a is amended to read:

§ 5540a.  JURISDICTION OVER SMALL CLAIMS; ASSISTANT JUDGES; ADDISON, CHITTENDEN, FRANKLIN, GRAND ISLE, LAMOILLE, ORANGE, ORLEANS, WASHINGTON, WINDHAM, AND WINDSOR COUNTIES

(a)  Subject to the limitations in this section and notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, assistant judges of Addison, Chittenden, Franklin, Grand Isle, Lamoille, Orange, Orleans, Washington, Windham, and Windsor counties sitting alone shall hear and decide small claims actions filed under this chapter with the appropriate superior court if the assistant judges first elect to successfully complete the training required in subsection (b) of this section.

(b)  With the exception of assistant judges authorized to preside in small claims matters prior to the effective date of this act who have successfully completed the testing requirements established herein, an assistant judge hearing cases under this section shall have completed at least 100 hours of relevant training and testing, and observed 20 hours of small claims hearings in accordance with the protocol for said training and observation which shall be established by a majority of the assistant judges of the state, which shall include attendance at colleges or classes available in various locations in and outside the state to lay judges.  An assistant judge who hears cases under this section shall complete 16 hours of continuing education every year relating to jurisdiction exercised under this section and shall file a certificate to such effect with the court administrator.  Training shall be paid for on a per capita basis of those judges electing to take the training by the county, which expenditure is hereby authorized.  Law clerk assistance available to superior court judges shall be available to the assistant judges.

(c)  A decision of an assistant judge shall be entered as a small claims judgment and may be appealed pursuant to section 5538 of this title.  The appeal shall be decided by the presiding judge.

(d)  An assistant judge upon successful completion of the training under subsection (b) of this section, shall cause the superior court clerk to notify the court administrator of the assistant judge's successful completion of training. Upon receipt of such notification, small claims cases which require a hearing shall first be set for hearing before an assistant judge in the superior court in the county and shall be heard by the assistant judge.  If the assistant judge is unavailable due to illness, vacation, administrative leave, disability, or disqualification, the administrative judge pursuant to section 22 of Title 4 may assign a judge, or appoint and assign a member of the Vermont bar to serve temporarily as an acting judge, to hear small claims cases in Addison, Chittenden, Franklin, Grand Isle, Lamoille, Orange, Orleans, Washington, Windham, and Windsor counties.  No action filed or pending shall be heard at or transferred to any other location unless agreed to by the parties.  If both assistant judges of the county elect to successfully complete training to hear these matters, the senior assistant judge shall make the assignment of cases to be heard by each assistant judge.  The assistant judges, once qualified to preside in these matters, shall work with the court administrator's office and the administrative judge such that the scheduling of small claims cases before the assistant judges are at such times as to permit adequate current court personnel to be available when these cases are heard.

(e)  This section shall be repealed effective on July 1, 2008 July 1, 2011.

Sec. 11.  13 V.S.A. § 7043a is added to read:

§ 7043a.  Licenses or governmental contracts

(a)  As used in this section:

(1)  “Agency” means any unit of state government, including agencies, departments, boards, commissions, authorities, or public corporations.

(2)  “Contract” means a contract for the provision of goods, services, or real estate space.

(3)  “License” means any license, certification, or registration issued by an agency to conduct a trade or business, including a license to practice a profession or occupation, or a license required to engage in recreational activities, including a license to hunt, fish, or trap.

(b)  Every applicant for a license shall sign a statement that the applicant is in good standing with respect to any restitution order.  A license may not be issued or renewed without such a statement.

(c)  No agency shall enter into, extend, or renew any contract unless the person submits a statement that the person is in good standing with respect to any restitution order as of the date the contract is made.

(d)  For the purposes of this section, a person is in good standing with respect to any restitution order if:

(1)  60 days or fewer have elapsed since the date a restitution judgment was issued;

(2)  the person is in compliance with a repayment plan approved by the restitution unit; or

(3)  the person is in compliance with a court-ordered restitution judgment order.

Sec. 12.  15 V.S.A. § 798 is amended to read:

§ 798.  ENFORCEMENT OF CHILD SUPPORT ORDERS; SUSPENSION OF LICENSES

(a)  Upon noncompliance with an order issued under section 606 of this title, a motion may be filed seeking an order for suspension of licenses under this section.  The motion shall be scheduled for hearing in accordance with the Vermont Rules of Family Proceedings within 30 days of the filing of the motion.  At a hearing under this subsection, the obligor shall have the opportunity to present evidence relating to the reasons for noncompliance.  An inability to comply shall be a defense in an action brought under this subsection.  The noncomplying party shall have the burden of demonstrating inability to comply.  An order issued under subsection (b) of this section is in addition to other remedies available at law.

(b)  Upon a finding of noncompliance with an order issued under section 606 of this title and a delinquency of at least one-quarter of the annual support obligation, a family court judge or magistrate, if assigned by the presiding family court judge, may order a civil suspension of a noncomplying party 's motor vehicle operator's license issued under chapter 9 of Title 23 or commercial driver license issued under chapter 39 of Title 23, recreational license, and any other license certification or registration issued by an agency to conduct a trade or business, including a license to practice a profession or occupation.

(c)  Upon receipt of a license suspension order issued under this section, the license issuing authority shall suspend the license according to the terms of the order.  Prior to suspending the license, the license issuing authority shall notify the license holder of the pending suspension and provide the license holder with an opportunity to contest the suspension based solely on the grounds of mistaken identity or compliance with the underlying child support order.  The license shall be reinstated within five days of a reinstatement order from the court or notification from the office of child support or the custodial parent, where the rights of that parent have not been assigned to the office of child support, that the parent is in compliance with the underlying child support order.  The license issuing authority shall charge a reinstatement fee as provided for in section 675 of Title 23, or as otherwise provided by law or rule.

(d)  The license issuing authority shall adopt procedural rules in accordance with the provisions of chapter 25 of Title 3 to implement the provisions of this section.

(e)  Notwithstanding the provisions of this section to the contrary, after notifying the obligor of the pending revocation or suspension and giving the obligor an opportunity to object and request a grievance hearing pursuant to 33 V.S.A. § 4108 to contest the suspension on the grounds that the action is improper due to a mistake of fact, the office of child support may direct a licensing authority, with the exception of the department of motor vehicles, to revoke or suspend an obligor's right to a license,  and with respect to hunting, fishing and trapping, the right to hunt, fish and trap, without obtaining a modification of the court order if any amount due under the order has accumulated to one-twelfth of the annualized amount of child support.  All objections to the suspension shall be made to the office of child support and not to the licensing authority, and the licensing authority shall not be required to hold a hearing before suspending a license pursuant to this subsection.

(f)  A license shall be reinstated within five days of notification from the office of child support or the custodial parent, where the rights of that parent have not been assigned to the office of child support, that the obligor is in compliance with the underlying child support order or repayment plan.  The licensing authority shall charge a reinstatement fee as provided by law or rule.

Sec. 13.  APPROPRIATION FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PREVENTION

There is appropriated the amount of $190,000.00 from the general fund to the center for crime victims services.  The center shall use the funds to present grants to organizations that provide services to victims of domestic violence.  These funds shall be used for programs that are designed to prevent domestic violence and are targeted at the needs of children in families affected by domestic violence.  At the end of FY08, any unexpended portion of this appropriation shall be carried forward and used for the same purpose.

Sec. 14.  REPORTS

(a)(1)  The commissioner of the department of fish and wildlife, in consultation with the court administrator, the office of child support, the center for crime victims services, the department of motor vehicles, and the department of information and innovation, shall develop a proposal for an automated system for the department of fish and wildlife to suspend a license to hunt, fish, or trap for a violation of:

(A)  4 V.S.A. § 1110, relating to any unpaid judgment issued by the judicial bureau or district court for fines or penalties for a criminal offense;

(B)  13 V.S.A. § 7043, relating to failure to comply with a restitution order; and

(C)  15 V.S.A. §§ 795 and 798, relating to failure to comply with a child support order.

(2)  The commissioner shall report to the house and senate committees on judiciary and to legislative council not later than December 1, 2007 regarding the proposed automated system and any costs associated with implementation.

(b)  The commissioner of the department of motor vehicles and the court administrator shall report to the senate and house committees on judiciary no later than December 1, 2007 on methods to protect the interests of innocent owners when suspending the registrations of motor vehicles titled to more than one person on account of the failure of one of the titleholders to pay to the judicial bureau judgments for traffic violations.

(c)  The Vermont law school is requested to provide a report to the senate and house committees on judiciary no later than November 15, 2008 on the results and performance of assistant judges in deciding small claims cases.  The report shall include an analysis of a sufficient number of small claims decisions by assistant judges to permit a statistically supportable conclusion about whether the percentage of the decisions containing clear error is within a range which provides substantial justice to litigants. 

Sec. 15.  VICTIMS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT STUDY COMMITTEE

(a)  A committee is established to study certain issues related to victims of sexual assault.  The committee shall examine:

(1)  the financial cost of forensic sexual assault examination and other health care needs of sexual assault victims, including follow-up care for victims undergoing PEP, best practices in other states, and whether the cost of forensic sexual assault examinations should be capped;

(2)  how forensic sexual assault examination kits are collected and transported by law enforcement and how the kits are received and processed by the Vermont Forensic Laboratory;

(3)  the currency of practice standards for sexual assault nurse examiners, oversight and enforcement of standards, and the training and certification opportunities available in Vermont;

(4)  the feasibility of instituting a pediatric sexual assault examination program in Vermont.  The committee shall review the study conducted by the Vermont children’s alliance and consult with other state and national organizations with expertise in pediatric sexual assault examiner programs;

(5)  whether a victim of sexual assault shall be considered eligible for the victims compensation program based solely on a report to a sexual assault nurse examiner;

(6)  the current funding sources for the sexual assault nurse examiner program and the need for additional resources.

(b)  The committee shall consist of the following members:

(1)  One member appointed by the Vermont center for crime victim services, who shall serve as co-chair of the committee.

(2)  One member appointed by the Vermont center for the prevention and treatment of sexual abuse, who shall serve as co-chair of the committee.

(3)  One member appointed by the Vermont hospital association.

(4)  One member appointed by the Vermont network against domestic and sexual violence.

(5)  A survivor of sexual assault appointed by the Vermont center for crime victim services.

(6)  One member appointed by the department of public safety.

(7)  The director of the Vermont forensic laboratory.

(8)  One member of the Vermont children’s alliance.

(9)  A pediatrician appointed by the Vermont medical society.

(10) A sexual assault nurse examiner appointed by the sexual assault nurse examiner advisory board.

(11)  One member of the senate appointed by the committee on committees.

(c)  The committee shall have the assistance and cooperation of all state and local agencies and departments.  The center for crime victim services shall convene the meetings and provide professional and administrative support for the committee.

(d)(1)  Members of the committee who are not state employees shall be entitled to per diem compensation and reimbursement for expenses through the center for crime victim services to the same extent that legislative members of committees are entitled to such compensation and reimbursement under 2 V.S.A. § 406. 

(2)  For attendance at a meeting when the general assembly is not in session, the legislative member of the committee shall be entitled to per diem compensation and reimbursement for expenses as provided by 2 V.S.A. § 406.

(e)  The committee shall present its findings and recommendations, including proposals for legislative action, to the general assembly no later than December 1, 2007.

Sec. 16.  Sec. 9 of No. 169 of the Acts of the 2005 Adj. Sess. (2006) is amended to read:

Sec. 9.  DISSEMINATION OF ELECTRONIC CASE RECORDS

The judiciary shall not permit public access via the internet to criminal case records or family court case records prior to June 1, 2007 July 1, 2008.  The court may permit criminal justice agencies, as defined in 20 V.S.A. § 2056a, internet access to criminal case records for criminal justice purposes, as defined in section 2056a. 

Sec. 17.  EFFECTIVE DATE

(a)  In Sec. 5 of this act, 23 V.S.A. § 2307(b), the provisions relating to the denial of a motor vehicle registration, and Sec. 6 in its entirety shall take effect January 1, 2010. 

(b)  Secs. 3 and 11 shall take effect January 1, 2008.

(c)  Sec. 16 shall take effect on passage.

(d)  All other sections shall take effect July 1, 2007.

and, that upon passage, the title shall read:  “AN ACT RELATING TO THE ADMINISTRATION AND ENFORCEMENT OF JUDICIAL FINES AND JURISDICTION OF ASSISTANT JUDGES OVER SMALL CLAIMS”

(Committee Vote: 5-0-0)


Reported favorably by Senator Sears for the Committee on Appropriations.

(Committee vote: 6-0-1)

(No House amendments.)

Senate Resolution for Action

S. R. 15

Senate resolution relating to designating April as sexual violence awareness month.

(For text of Resolution, see Senate Journal for April 18, 2007, page 489)

NEW BUSINESS

Second Reading

Favorable with Proposal of Amendment

H. 148

An act relating to the child abuse registry.

Reported favorably with recommendation of proposal of amendment by Senator Nitka 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.  33 V.S.A. chapter 49, subchapter 2 is amended to read:

Subchapter 2.  Reporting Abuse of Children

* * *

§ 4912.  DEFINITIONS

As used in this subchapter:

(1)  “Child” means an individual under the age of majority.

(2)  An “abused or neglected child” means a child whose physical health, psychological growth and development or welfare is harmed or is at substantial risk of harm by the acts or omissions of his or her parent or other person responsible for the child’s welfare.  An “abused or neglected child” also means a child who is sexually abused or at substantial risk of sexual abuse by any person.

(3)  “Harm” can occur by:

(A)  Physical injury or emotional maltreatment;

(B)  Failure to supply the child with adequate food, clothing, shelter, or health care.  For the purposes of this subchapter, “adequate health care” includes any medical or nonmedical remedial health care permitted or authorized under state law.  Notwithstanding that a child might be found to be without proper parental care under chapter 55 of Title 33, a parent or other person responsible for a child’s care legitimately practicing his or her religious beliefs who thereby does not provide specified medical treatment for a child shall not be considered neglectful for that reason alone; or

(C)  Abandonment of the child.

(4)  “Risk of harm” means a significant danger that a child will suffer serious harm other than by accidental means, which harm would be likely to cause physical injury, neglect, emotional maltreatment or sexual abuse.

(5)  “A person responsible for a child’s welfare” includes the child’s parent; guardian; foster parent; any other adult residing in the home who serves in a parental role; an employee of a public or private residential home, institution or agency; or other person responsible for the child’s welfare while in a residential, educational or day child care setting, including any staff person.

(6)  “Physical injury” means death, or permanent or temporary disfigurement or impairment of any bodily organ or function by other than accidental means.

(7)  “Emotional maltreatment” means a pattern of malicious behavior which results in impaired psychological growth and development.

(8)  “Sexual abuse” consists of any act or acts by any person involving sexual molestation or exploitation of a child including but not limited to incest, prostitution, rape, sodomy, or any lewd and lascivious conduct involving a child.  Sexual abuse also includes the aiding, abetting, counseling, hiring, or procuring of a child to perform or participate in any photograph, motion picture, exhibition, show, representation, or other presentation which, in whole or in part, depicts a sexual conduct, sexual excitement or sadomasochistic abuse involving a child.

(9)  “Multi‑disciplinary team” means a group of professionals, paraprofessionals and other appropriate individuals, empanelled by the commissioner of social and rehabilitation services under this chapter, for the purpose of assisting in the identification and investigation of cases of child abuse and neglect, coordinating treatment services for abused and neglected children and their families and promoting child abuse prevention.

(10)  “Substantiated report” means that the commissioner or the commissioner’s designee has determined after investigation that a report is based upon accurate and reliable information that would lead a reasonable person to believe that the child has been abused or neglected.

(11)  [Repealed.]

(12)  “Member of the clergy” means a priest, rabbi, clergy member, ordained or licensed minister, leader of any church or religious body, accredited Christian Science practitioner, person performing official duties on behalf of a church or religious body that are recognized as the duties of a priest, rabbi, clergy, nun, brother, ordained or licensed minister, leader of any church or religious body, or accredited Christian Science practitioner. 

(13)  “Redacted investigation file” means the intake report, the investigation activities summary, and case determination report that are amended in accordance with confidentiality requirements set forth in subsection 4913(d) of this title.

(14)  “Child abuse and neglect registry” means a record of all investigations that have resulted in a substantiated report on or after January 1, 1992.

(15)  “Registry record” means an entry in the child abuse and neglect registry that consists of the name of an individual substantiated for child abuse or neglect, the date of the finding, the nature of the finding, and at least one other personal identifier, other than a name, listed in order to avoid the possibility of misidentification.

§ 4913.  SUSPECTED CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT; REMEDIAL ACTION

(a)  Any physician, surgeon, osteopath, chiropractor, or physician’s assistant licensed, certified, or registered under the provisions of Title 26, any resident physician, intern, or any hospital administrator in any hospital in this state, whether or not so registered, and any registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, medical examiner, dentist, psychologist, pharmacist, any other health care provider, school superintendent, school teacher, school librarian, day child care worker, school principal, school guidance counselor, mental health professional, social worker, probation officer, police officer, camp owner, camp administrator, camp counselor, or member of the clergy who has reasonable cause to believe that any child has been abused or neglected shall report or cause a report to be made in accordance with the provisions of section 4914 of this title within 24 hours.  As used in this subsection, “camp” includes any residential or nonresidential recreational program.

(b)  Any other concerned person not listed in subsection (a) of this section who has reasonable cause to believe that any child has been abused or neglected may report or cause a report to be made in accordance with the provisions of section 4914 of this title.

(c)  Any person enumerated in subsections subsection (a) or (b) of this section, other than a person suspected of child abuse, who in good faith makes a report to the department of social and rehabilitation services shall be immune from any civil or criminal liability which might otherwise be incurred or imposed as a result of making a report.

(d)  The name of and any identifying information about either the person making the report, or any person mentioned in the report shall be confidential unless the person making the report specifically requests allows disclosure or unless a judicial proceeding results therefrom or unless a court, after a hearing, finds probable cause to believe that the report was not made in good faith and orders the department to make the name of the reporter available.

(e)(1)  A person who violates subsection (a) of this section shall be fined not more than $500.00.

(2)  A person who violates subsection (a) of this section with the intent to conceal abuse or neglect of a child shall be imprisoned not more than six months or fined not more than $1,000.00, or both.

(3)  This section shall not be construed to prohibit a prosecution under any other provision of law.

(f)  Except as provided in subsection (g) of this section, a person may not refuse to make a report required by this section on the grounds that making the report would violate a privilege or disclose a confidential communication.

(g)  A member of the clergy shall not be required to make a report under this section if the report would be based upon information received in a communication which is:

(1)  made to a member of the clergy acting in his or her capacity as spiritual advisor;

(2)  intended by the parties to be confidential at the time the communication is made;

(3)  intended by the communicant to be an act of contrition or a matter of conscience; and

(4)  required to be confidential by religious law, doctrine, or tenet.

(h)  When a member of the clergy receives information about abuse or neglect of a child in a manner other than as described in subsection (g) of this section, he or she is required to report on the basis of that information even though he or she may have also received a report of abuse or neglect about the same person or incident in the manner described in subsection (g) of this section. 

§ 4914.  NATURE AND CONTENT OF REPORT; TO WHOM MADE

A report shall be made orally or in writing to the commissioner for children and families or designee.  The commissioner or designee shall request the reporter to follow the oral report with a written report, unless the reporter is anonymous.  Reports shall contain the name and address or other contact information of the reporter as well as the names and addresses of the child and the parents or other persons responsible for the child’s care, if known; the age of the child; the nature and extent of the child’s injuries together with any evidence of previous abuse and neglect of the child or the child’s siblings; and any other information that the reporter believes might be helpful in establishing the cause of the injuries or reasons for the neglect as well as in protecting the child and assisting the family.  If a report of child abuse or neglect involves the acts or omissions of the commissioner for children and families or employees of that department, then the report shall be directed to the secretary of the agency of human services who shall cause the report to be investigated by staff of the department of disabilities, aging, and independent living or of corrections or other appropriate agency staff other than staff of the department for children and families.  If the report is substantiated, services shall be offered to the child and to his or her family or caretaker according to the requirements of section 4915 of this title.

§ 4915.  INVESTIGATION; REMEDIAL ACTION

(a)  The commissioner of social and rehabilitation services shall cause an investigation to commence department shall begin an investigation within 72 hours after receipt of a report made pursuant to section 4914 of this title, provided that it has received sufficient information to proceed.

(b)  The investigation, to the extent that it is reasonable under the facts and circumstances presented by the particular allegation of child abuse, shall include all of the following:

(1)  A visit to the child’s place of residence or place of custody and to the location of the alleged abuse or neglect.

(2)  An interview with, or observance of the child reportedly having been abused or neglected.  If the investigator elects to interview the child, that interview may take place without the approval of the child’s parents, guardian, or custodian, provided that it takes place in the presence of a disinterested adult who may be, but shall not be limited to being, a teacher, a member of the clergy, child care provider regulated by the department, or a nurse.

(3)  Determination of the nature, extent, and cause of any abuse or neglect.

(4)  Determination of the identity of the person alleged to be responsible for such abuse or neglect.

(5)(A)  The identity, by name, of any other children living in the same home environment as the subject child.  The investigator shall consider the physical and emotional condition of those children and may interview them, unless the child is the person who is alleged to be responsible for such abuse or neglect, in accordance with the provisions of subdivision (2) of this subsection.

(B)  The identity, by name, of any other children who may be at risk if the abuse was alleged to have been committed by someone who is not a member of the subject child’s household.  The investigator shall consider the physical and emotional condition of those children and may interview them, unless the child is the person who is alleged to be responsible for such abuse or neglect, in accordance with the provisions of subdivision (2) of this subsection.

(6)  A determination of the immediate and longterm long‑term risk to each child if that child remains in the existing home or other environment.

(7)  Consideration of the environment and the relationship of any children therein to the person alleged to be responsible for the suspected abuse or neglect.

(8)  All other data deemed pertinent.

(c)  If the investigation produces evidence that the child has been abused or neglected For cases investigated by the department, the commissioner may, to the extent that it is reasonable, cause assistance to be provided provide assistance to the child and the child’s family in accordance with a written plan of treatment.

(d)  The commissioner, designee, or any person required to report under section 4913 or any other person performing an investigation pursuant to section 4914 may take or cause to be taken, photographs of trauma visible on a child who is the subject of a report.  The commissioner or designee may seek consultation with a physician.  If it is indicated as appropriate by the physician, the commissioner or designee may cause the child who is subject of a report to undergo a radiological examination, without the consent of the child’s parent or guardian. 

(e)  Services may be provided to the child’s immediate family whether or not the child remains in the home. 

(f)  The department shall report to and request assistance from law enforcement in the following circumstances:

(1)  Investigations of child sexual abuse by an alleged perpetrator age 10 or older.

(2)  Investigations of serious physical abuse or neglect likely to result in criminal charges or requiring emergency medical care.

(3)  Situations potentially dangerous to the child or department worker.

§ 4916.    CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT REGISTRY; RECORDS OF ABUSE AND NEGLECT

(a)(1)  The commissioner of social and rehabilitation services shall maintain a child abuse and neglect registry which shall contain written records of all investigations initiated under section 4915 of this title unless the commissioner or the commissioner’s designee determines after investigation that the reported facts are unsubstantiated, in which case, after notice to the person complained about, the records shall be destroyed unless the person complained about requests within one year that it not be destroyed a record of all investigations that have resulted in a substantiated report on or after January 1, 1992.  Except as provided in subdivision (2) of this subsection, prior to placement of a substantiated report on the registry, the commissioner shall comply with the procedures set forth in section 4916a of this title.

(2)  In cases involving sexual abuse or serious physical abuse of a child, the commissioner in his or her sole judgment may list a substantiated report on the registry pending any administrative review after:

(A)  Reviewing the investigation file.

(B)  Making written findings in consideration of:

(i)  the nature and seriousness of the alleged behavior; and

(ii)  the person’s continuing access to children.

(3)  A person alleged to have abused or neglected a child and placed on the registry in accordance with subdivision (2) of this subsection shall be notified of the registry entry, provided with the commissioner’s findings, and advised of the right to seek an administrative review in accordance with section 4916a of this title.

(b)  If no court proceeding is brought pursuant to subsection 4913(d) of this title within one year of the date of the notice to the person complained about, the records relating to the unsubstantiated report shall be destroyed  A registry record means an entry in the child abuse and neglect registry that consists of the name of an individual substantiated for child abuse or neglect, the date of the finding, the nature of the finding, and at least one other personal identifier, other than a name, listed in order to avoid the possibility of misidentification.

(c)  The commissioner shall adopt rules to permit use of the registry records as authorized by this subchapter while preserving confidentiality of the records registry and other department records related to abuse and neglect. 

(d)  Written Registry records maintained in the registry shall only be disclosed to the commissioner or person designated by the commissioner to receive such records, persons assigned by the commissioner to investigate reports, the person reported on, an employer as defined in subsection 4919(e) of this title, or a state’s attorney or the attorney general.  In no event shall registry records be made available for employment purposes, other than as set forth in section 309 or 4919 of this title, or for credit purposes, or to a law enforcement agency other than the state’s attorney.  Any person who violates this subsection, except as provided in section 4919 of this title, shall be fined not more than $500.00.

(e)(1)  Verbal Notice.  The commissioner or the commissioner’s designee shall promptly inform a parent or guardian of the child that a report has been made and substantiated.  If a parent or guardian is under investigation for abuse or neglect, such information need only be provided to that parent or guardian in accordance with subsection 4916(d) of this title.

(2)  Written Records.  If Absent good cause shown by the department, if a report has been substantiated, the commissioner or the commissioner’s designee may shall provide upon request the written record redacted investigation file to the child’s parent or guardian or, if there is a pending juvenile proceeding or if the child is in custody of the commissioner, to the child’s attorney. 

(f)(1)  The commissioner or the commissioner’s designee may inform the following persons that a report has been substantiated:

(1)(A)  The person responsible for supervising the staff in the child’s residential, educational or day child care setting.

(2)(B)  Upon request, to the person who made the report under subsection 4913(a) of this title.

(C)  Any person authorized by law to receive such information. 

(2)  A person receiving information under this subsection shall not disclose that information to persons who are not involved with the provision of treatment services under section 4915 of this title to the abused or neglected child.

(g)  A person may, at any time, apply to the human services board for relief if he or she has reasonable cause to believe that contents of the registry are being misused.  All registry records relating to an individual child shall be destroyed when the child reaches the age of majority.  All registry records relating to a family or siblings within a family shall be destroyed when the youngest sibling reaches the age of majority.   All registry records shall be maintained according to the name of the child who has been abused or neglected, and the name of the person about whom the report was made.

(h)  A person may, at any time, apply to the human services board for an order expunging from the registry a record concerning him or her on the grounds that it is unsubstantiated or not otherwise expunged in accordance with this section.  The board shall hold a fair hearing under section 3091 of Title 3 on the application at which hearing the burden shall be on the commissioner to establish that the record shall not be expunged.

§ 4916a.  CHALLENGING PLACEMENT ON THE REGISTRY

(a)  If an investigation conducted in accordance with section 4915 of this title results in a determination that a report of child abuse or neglect should be substantiated, the department shall notify the person alleged to have abused or neglected a child of the following:

(1)  The nature of the substantiation decision, and that the department intends to enter the record of the substantiation into the registry.

(2)  Who has access to registry information and under what circumstances.

(3)  The implications of having one’s name placed on the registry as it applies to employment, licensure, and registration.

(4)  The right to request a review of the substantiation determination by an administrative reviewer, the time in which the request for review shall be made, and the consequences of not seeking a review.

(5)  The right to receive a copy of the commissioner’s written findings made in accordance with subdivision 4916(a)(2) of this title if applicable.

(b)  Under this section, notice by the department to a person alleged to have abused or neglected a child shall be by first class mail sent to the person’s last known address.

(c)  A person alleged to have abused or neglected a child may seek an administrative review of the department’s intention to place the person’s name on the registry by notifying the department within 14 days of the date the department mailed notice of the right to review in accordance with subsections (a) and (b) of this section.

(d)  The department shall hold an administrative review conference within 14 days of receipt of the request for review.  At least seven days prior to the administrative review conference, the department shall provide to the person requesting review a copy of the redacted investigation file, notice of time and place of the conference, and conference procedures, including information that may be submitted and mechanisms for providing testimony.  The department shall also provide to the person those redacted investigation files that relate to prior investigations that the department has relied upon to make its substantiation determination in the case in which a review has been requested.

(e)  At the administrative review conference, the person who requested the review shall be provided with the opportunity to present documentary evidence or other information that supports his or her position and provides information to the reviewer in making the most accurate decision regarding the allegation.  The department shall have the burden of proving that it has accurately and reliably concluded that a reasonable person would believe that the child has been abused or neglected by that person.  Upon the person’s request, the conference may be held by teleconference.

(f)  The department shall establish an administrative case review unit within the department and contract for the services of administrative reviewers.  An administrative reviewer shall be a neutral and independent arbiter who has no prior involvement in the original investigation of the allegation.

(g)  Within seven days of the conference, the administrative reviewer shall:

(1)  reject the department’s substantiation determination;

(2)  accept the department’s substantiation; or

(3)  place the substantiation determination on hold and direct the department to further investigate the case based upon recommendations of the reviewer.

(h)  If the administrative reviewer accepts the department’s substantiation determination, a registry record shall be made immediately. 

(i)  Within seven days of the decision to reject or accept or to place the substantiation on hold in accordance with subsection (g) of this section, the administrative reviewer shall provide notice to the person of his or her decision.  If the administrative reviewer accepts the department’s substantiation, the notice shall advise the person of the right to appeal the administrative reviewer’s decision to the human services board in accordance with section 4916b of this title.

(j)  Persons whose names were placed on the registry on or after January 1, 1992 but prior to July 1, 2007 shall be entitled to an opportunity to seek an administrative review to challenge the substantiation pursuant to this section.

(k)  If no administrative review is requested, the department’s decision in the case shall be final, and the person shall have no further right of review under this section. The commissioner may grant a waiver and permit such a review upon good cause shown.

§ 4916b.  HUMAN SERVICES BOARD HEARING

(a)  Within 30 days of the date on which the administrative reviewer mailed notice of placement of a report on the registry, the person who is the subject of the substantiation may apply in writing to the human services board for relief. The board shall hold a fair hearing pursuant to 3 V.S.A. § 3091.  When the department receives notice of the appeal, it shall make note in the registry record that the substantiation has been appealed to the board.

(b)(1)  The board shall hold a hearing within 60 days of the receipt of the request for a hearing and shall issue a decision within 30 days of the hearing.

(2)  Priority shall be given to appeals in which there are immediate employment consequences for the person appealing the decision.

(c)  A hearing may be stayed upon request of the petitioner if there is a related case pending in court.

(d)  If no review by the board is requested, the department’s decision in the case shall be final, and the person shall have no further right for review under this section.  The board may grant a waiver and permit such a review upon good cause shown.

§ 4916c.  PETITION FOR EXPUNGEMENT FROM THE REGISTRY

(a)  A person whose name has been listed on the registry for at least seven years may file a written request with the commissioner, seeking a review for the purpose of expunging an individual registry record.  The commissioner shall grant a review upon request.

(b)  The person shall have the burden of proving that a reasonable person would believe that he or she no longer presents a risk to the safety or well‑being of children.  Factors to be considered by the commissioner shall include:

(1)  The nature of the substantiation that resulted in the person’s name being placed on the registry.

(2)  The number of substantiations, if more than one.

(3)  The amount of time that has elapsed since the substantiation.

(4)  The circumstances of the substantiation that would indicate whether a similar incident would be likely to occur.

(5)  Any activities that would reflect upon the person’s changed behavior or circumstances, such as therapy, employment, or education.

(6)  References that attest to the person’s good moral character.

(c)  At the review, the person who requested the review shall be provided with the opportunity to present any evidence or other information, including witnesses, that supports his or her request for expungement.  Upon the person’s request, the review may be held by teleconference.

(d)  A person may seek a review under this section no more than once every 36 months. 

(e)  Within 30 days of the date on which the commissioner mailed notice of the decision pursuant to this section, a person may appeal the decision to the human services board.  The person shall be prohibited from challenging his or her substantiation at such hearing, and the sole issue before the board shall be whether the commissioner abused his or her discretion in denial of the petition for expungement.  The hearing shall be on the record below, and determinations of credibility of witnesses made by the commissioner shall be given deference by the board.

(f)  The department shall take steps to provide reasonable notice to persons on the registry of their right to seek an expungement under this section.  Actual notice is not required.   Reasonable steps may include activities such as the production of an informative fact sheet about the expungement process, posting of such information on the department website, and other approaches typically taken by the department to inform the public about the department’s activities and policies.  The department shall send notice of the expungement process to any person listed on the registry for whom a registry check has been requested.

§ 4916d.  AUTOMATIC EXPUNGEMENT OF REGISTRY RECORDS

(a)  Registry entries concerning a person who was substantiated for behavior occurring before the person reached 10 years of age shall be expunged when the person reaches the age of 18, provided that the person has had no additional substantiated registry entries, unless the department determines that the registry record should not be expunged due to the nature and seriousness of the incident of abuse.

(b)  If the department determines that the registry record should not be expunged, the department shall provide written notice to the individual.  The individual shall have the opportunity to petition for expungement from the registry pursuant to section 4916c of this title.

§ 4916e.  NOTICE TO MINORS

If the person alleged to have abused or neglected a child is a minor, any notice required pursuant to this subchapter shall be sent:

(1)  to the minor’s parents or guardian; or

(2)  if the child is in the custody of the commissioner, to the social worker assigned to the child by the department and the child’s counsel of record. 

* * *

§ 4919.  DISCLOSURE OF INFORMATION

(a)  The commissioner shall maintain a registry which shall contain the following information: the names of all the individuals found on the basis of a substantiated report to have abused, neglected or exploited a child; the date of the finding; and the nature of the finding.  In addition, the commissioner shall require that, aside from a person’s name, at least one other personal identifier is listed in the registry to prevent the possibility of misidentification.

(b)  The commissioner or the commissioner’s designee may disclose registry information only as set forth in section 4916 of this title or as follows:

(1)  To the state’s attorney or the attorney general;

(2)  To the owner or operator of a facility regulated by the department for the purpose of informing the owner or operator that employment of a specific individual may result in loss of license or registration, as set forth in section 309 of this title;

(3)  To an employer if such information is used to determine whether to hire or retain a specific individual providing care, custody, treatment, transportation, or supervision of children or vulnerable adults.  The employer may submit a request concerning a current employee, volunteer, grantee, or contractor or an individual to whom the employer has given a conditional offer of a contract, volunteer position, or employment.  The request shall be accompanied by a release signed by the current or prospective employee, volunteer, grantee, or contractor.  If that individual has a record of a substantiated report, the commissioner shall provide the registry information record to the employer;

(4)  To the commissioner of disabilities, aging, and independent living, or the commissioner’s designee, for purposes related to the licensing or registration of facilities regulated by the department of disabilities, aging, and independent living;

(5)  To the commissioner of health or of disabilities, aging, and independent living, or the commissioner’s designee, for purposes related to oversight and monitoring of persons who are served by or compensated with funds provided by the departments of health and of disabilities, aging, and independent living, including persons to whom a conditional offer of employment has been made;

(6)  Upon request or when relevant to other states’ adult protective services offices; and

(7)  Upon request or when relevant to other states’ child protection agencies.

(b)  An employer providing transportation services to children or vulnerable adults may disclose registry records obtained pursuant to subdivision (a)(3) of this section to the agency of human services or its designee for the sole purpose of auditing the records to ensure compliance with this subchapter.  An employer shall provide such records at the request of the agency or its designee.  Only registry records regarding individuals who provide direct transportation services or otherwise have direct contact with children or vulnerable adults may be disclosed.

(c)  Volunteers shall be considered employees for purposes of this section.

(d)  Disclosure of registry records or information or other records used or obtained in the course of providing services to prevent child abuse or neglect or to treat abused or neglected children and their families by one member of a multidisciplinary team to another member of that team shall not subject either member of the multidisciplinary team, individually, or the team as a whole, to any civil or criminal liability notwithstanding any other provision of law.

(e)  “Employer,” as used in this section, means a person or organization who employs or contracts with one or more individuals to care for or provide transportation services to children or vulnerable adults, on either a paid or volunteer basis. 

* * *

Sec. 2.  33 V.S.A. § 6911 is amended to read:

§ 6911.  RECORDS OF ABUSE, NEGLECT, AND EXPLOITATION

* * *

(c)  The commissioner or the commissioner’s designee may disclose registry information only to:

* * *

(3)  an employer if such information is used to determine whether to hire or retain a specific individual providing care, custody, treatment, transportation, or supervision of children or vulnerable adults.  “Employer,” as used in this section, means a person or organization who employs or contracts with one or more individuals to care for or provide transportation services to children or vulnerable adults, on either a paid or volunteer basis.  The employer may submit a request concerning a current employee, volunteer, grantee, or contractor or an individual to whom the employer has given a conditional offer of a contract, volunteer position, or employment.  The request shall be accompanied by a release signed by the current or prospective employee, volunteer, grantee, or contractor.  If that individual has a record of a substantiated report, the commissioner shall provide the registry information to the employer;

* * *

(d)  An employer providing transportation services to children or vulnerable adults may disclose registry records obtained pursuant to subdivision (c)(3) of this section to the agency of human services or its designee for the sole purpose of auditing the records to ensure compliance with this chapter.  An employer shall provide such records at the request of the agency or its designee.  Only registry records regarding individuals who provide direct transportation services or otherwise have direct contact with children or vulnerable adults may be disclosed.

(e)  A person may, at any time, apply to the human services board for relief if he or she has reasonable cause to believe that the contents of the registry or investigative records are being misused.

(e)(f)  A person may at any time apply to the department for expungement of his or her name from the registry.  The petitioner shall have the burden of showing why his or her name should be expunged from the registry.

(f)(g)  Any person who violates this section shall be fined not more than $500.00.

(g)(h)  Volunteers shall be considered employees for purposes of this section.

Sec. 3.  15A V.S.A. § 1-113 is amended to read:

§ 1-113.  CRIMINAL RECORD CHECKS

(a)  Criminal record checks required under this title shall be obtained as provided in this section.

(b)  The commissioner of the department of social and rehabilitation services for children and families or any judge of the probate court shall obtain from the Vermont criminal information center the record of Vermont convictions and pending criminal charges for any person being evaluated to be an adoptive parent.

(c)  The commissioner or probate judge, through the Vermont criminal information center shall request the record of convictions and pending criminal charges of the appropriate criminal repositories in all states in which there is reason to believe the applicant has resided or been employed.

(d)  If no disqualifying record is identified at the state level, the The commissioner or probate judge through the Vermont criminal information center shall request from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) a national criminal history record check of the applicant’s convictions and pending criminal charges.  The request to the FBI shall be accompanied by a set of the applicant’s fingerprints and a fee established by the Vermont criminal information center which shall be paid by the applicant and shall reflect the cost of obtaining the record from the FBI.

(e)  The Vermont criminal information center shall send to the requester any record received pursuant to this section or inform the requester that no record exists.

(f)  The requester shall promptly provide a copy of any record of convictions and pending criminal charges to the applicant and shall inform the applicant of the right to appeal the accuracy and completeness of the record pursuant to rules adopted by the Vermont criminal information center.

(g)  Upon completion of the applicant process under this section, the applicant’s fingerprint card and any copies thereof shall be destroyed.

Sec. 4.  33 V.S.A. § 309 is amended to read:

§ 309.  ACCESS TO RECORDS

(a)(1)  The commissioner may obtain from the Vermont crime information center the record of convictions of any person to the extent the commissioner has determined by rule that such information is necessary to regulate a facility or individual subject to regulation by the department.

(2)  In cases involving the prospective placement of a child in foster care, the commissioner shall for any prospective foster parent:

(A)  Obtain from the Vermont criminal information center the record of Vermont convictions and pending criminal charges.

(B)  Request, through the Vermont criminal information center, from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) a national criminal history record check of the prospective foster parent.  The request to the FBI shall be accompanied by a set of the applicant’s fingerprints, and a fee established by the Vermont criminal information center shall reflect the cost of obtaining the record from the FBI.

(C)  The department shall bear all costs for obtaining criminal records for prospective foster parents licensed by the department.

(3)  The commissioner shall first notify the person receive written authorization from the person whose record is being requested before requesting the record from the Vermont crime information center.

(b)(1)  The owner or operator of a facility or program licensed or, registered, or otherwise regulated by the department may ask the commissioner for the record of convictions criminal record and the record of substantiated reports of child abuse child abuse and neglect registry record of the following individuals:

(A)  a current employee or;

(B)  a person to whom the owner or operator has given a conditional offer of employment; or

(C)  any other person to the extent the commissioner has determined by rule that such information is necessary to regulate a facility or program.

(2)  The request shall be in writing and shall be accompanied by a release signed by the current or prospective employee person whose record is sought. The owner or operator release form shall inform the current or prospective employee person that he or she has the right to appeal the accuracy and completeness of the record.  Upon receiving a request under this subsection, the commissioner shall ask the Vermont crime information center for the record of convictions of the current or prospective employee and shall promptly search the child abuse and neglect registry.

(c)  If the person has a record of convictions, the commissioner shall provide the owner or operator of the facility or program that is licensed, registered, or otherwise regulated by the department with a copy of the record. If the person has a record of substantiated reports of child abuse in the child abuse and neglect registry, the commissioner shall inform the requesting owner or operator that such record exists.

(d)  Information released to an owner or operator under this section shall not be released or disclosed by the owner or operator to any other person except as authorized by law.  Release or disclosure of such information by an owner or operator may result in loss of license or, registration, or certification.

(e)  As used in this section,:

(1)  “Commissioner” means the commissioner or the commissioner’s designee.

(2)  “Employee” shall include volunteers.

(3)  “Substantiated reports of child abuse” “Child abuse and neglect registry record” means reports of child abuse substantiated under section 4915 of this title and entered into the child abuse and neglect registry maintained by the department pursuant to chapter 49 of this title.

(4)  “Volunteer” means an individual who without compensation provides services through a public or private organization.

Sec. 5.  SUNSET

The amendments in Secs. 3 and 4 shall be repealed on July 1, 2009 and 15A V.S.A. § 1-113 and 33 V.S.A. § 309 shall revert to the prior statutory text.

Sec. 6.  STUDY

(a)  The commissioner of the department for children and families or a designee shall perform a study for the purpose of considering:

(1)  The need for the agency or its designee to have the authority to perform criminal background checks on individuals providing care, custody, treatment, transportation, or supervision for children or vulnerable adults.

(2)  The need for reciprocal agreements with New York, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire to share child abuse registry information for the purpose of performing child abuse registry checks on residents of those states who provide care, custody, treatment, transportation, or supervision for children or vulnerable adults in this state.  The commissioner shall consult with similar agency administrators in those states to determine the feasibility of these reciprocal agreements.

(3)  The need for broadened authority for employers providing care, custody, treatment, transportation, or supervision for children or vulnerable adults to perform criminal background checks on prospective and current employees.

(4)  Issues related to allegations of abuse or neglect of a child, including a tiered approach to the investigation and substantiation of child abuse or neglect that is based upon the severity of the behavior and the risk to children and the community and that establishes appropriate corresponding consequences and protections.

(b)  While considering the issues of subsection (a) of this section, the commissioner shall consult with the following individuals, organizations, and state agencies:

(1)  The agency of human services.

(2)  The agency of human services’ director of housing and transportation.

(3)  The defender general.

(4)  Early childhood educators and caregivers.

(5)  The family services unit of the department for children and families.

(6)  The network against domestic and sexual violence.

(7)  Teachers, school nurses, and school administrators.

(8)  Pediatricians.

(9)  The Vermont citizens advisory board.

(10)  The Vermont public transportation association.

(c)  The commissioner shall report the findings of this study to the senate and house committees on judiciary, the senate committee on health and welfare, and the house committee on human services on or before November 1, 2007.

Sec. 7.  3 V.S.A. § 5407 is amended to read:

§ 5407.  SEX OFFENDER’S DUTY RESPONSIBILITY TO REPORT

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

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

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

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

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

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

(6)  within three days of any name change.

* * *

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

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

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

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

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

* * *

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

Sec. 8.  13 V.S.A. § 5411 is amended to read:

§ 5411.  NOTIFICATION TO LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT AND LOCAL COMMUNITY

* * *

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

Sec. 9.  13 V.S.A. § 5411a is amended to read:

§ 5411a.  ELECTRONIC POSTING OF THE SEX OFFENDER REGISTRY

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

* * *

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

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

* * *

Sec. 10.  13 V.S.A. § 5411d is added to read:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sec. 11.  4 V.S.A. § 437 is amended to read:

§ 437.  Civil jurisdiction of district court

The district court shall have jurisdiction of the following actions:

* * *

(9)  Sex offender notification proceedings pursuant to 13 V.S.A. § 5411(c) subsections 5411(e) and 5411d(f) of Title 13.

* * *

Sec. 12.  EFFECTIVE DATE

(a)  In Sec. 2 of this act, the following provisions shall take effect September 1, 2007:  33 V.S.A. §§ 4916(a), 4916a, and 4916b.

(b)  All other sections shall take effect upon passage.

(Committee vote: 5-0-0)

(For House amendments, see House Journal for April 5, 2007, page 556.)

H. 154

An act relating to stormwater management.

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

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

First:  In Sec. 1, 10 V.S.A. § 1264(f)(3), by striking out “January 15, 2010” where it appears in the first sentence and inserting in lieu thereof January 15, 2009

Second:  By striking out Secs. 3 and 4 in their entirety and inserting in lieu thereof the following: 

Sec. 3.  EXTENSION OF SUNSET OF INTERIM STORMWATER PERMITTING PROGRAM AND CONVEYANCE OF REAL ESTATE WITH STORMWATER PERMITS

Sec. 10 of No. 140 of the Acts of the 2003 Adj. Sess. (2004), as amended by Sec. 8 of No. 154 of the Acts of the 2005 Adj. Sess. (2006), is further amended to read:

Sec. 10.  SUNSET

(a)  Sec. 2 of this act (interim permitting authority for regulated stormwater runoff), except for subsection 1264a(e) of Title 10, shall be repealed on September 30, 2007 January 15, 2009.

(b)  Sec. 4 of this act (local communities implementation fund) shall be repealed on September 30, 2012.

(c)  Sec. 6 of this act (stormwater discharge permits during transition period) shall be repealed on September 30, 2007 January 15, 2009.

Sec. 4.  AGENCY OF NATURAL RESOURCES REPORT ON IMPLEMENTATION OF STORMWATER TMDLS

Beginning January 15, 2008, and every two years thereafter, the agency of natural resources shall report to the house committee on fish, wildlife and water resources and the senate committee on natural resources and energy regarding agency progress in establishing and implementing the total maximum daily load (TMDL) plan for Lake Champlain.  Beginning January 15, 2009, and every two years thereafter, the agency of natural resources shall report to the house committee on fish, wildlife and water resources and the senate committee on natural resources and energy regarding agency progress in establishing and implementing the TMDLs for the stormwater-impaired waters of the state.  Prior to issuing the reports required under this section, the agency of natural resources shall hold a public hearing in the Lake Champlain watershed and each watershed of a stormwater-impaired water for which a permit has been issued implementing a total maximum daily load.  The reports required by this section shall include:

(1)  An assessment of the implementation plan for the TMDL based on available data, including an evaluation of the efficacy of the implementation plan;

(2)  An assessment of the hydrologic targets of the TMDL based on available data, including an evaluation of the adequacy of the hydrologic targets of the TMDL;

(3)  Recommendations, if any, for amending an implementation plan or reopening a TMDL.

Sec. 5.  10 V.S.A. chapter 47, subchapter 6 is added to read:

Subchapter 6.  Lake Champlain Water Quality

§ 1385.  LAKE CHAMPLAIN TOTAL MAXIMUM DAILY LOAD

(a)(1)  The secretary of natural resources shall reopen the total maximum daily load (TMDL) plan for Lake Champlain as it pertains to the waters of Vermont in order to:

(A)  Adopt a new hydrologic base year to reflect the average phosphorus load discharged to Lake Champlain between 1993 and 2004;

(B)  Allocate point source and non-point source load reductions on a subwatershed basis;

(C)  Ensure that the total, annual phosphorus discharged by wastewater treatment facilities does not exceed the total phosphorus load discharged to Lake Champlain by wastewater treatment facilities in 2006 and to adjust pollutant load allocations accordingly; and

(D)  Amend pollutant load allocations within the TMDL so as to reduce point source and non-point source load allocations in order to reasonably assure that the TMDL meets the Vermont water quality standards.

(2)  The amended TMDL shall be submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as required by 33 U.S.C. § 303.

(b)  In addition to the requirements of subsection (a) of this section, the secretary of natural resources shall amend the Vermont-specific implementation plan of the Lake Champlain TMDL to include a strategy for identifying and targeting critical source areas for non-point source pollution in each subwatershed.  For the purposes of this subsection, “critical source area” means an area in a watershed with high potential to release phosphorus to surface or subsurface runoff to waters of the state.

(c)  In amending the TMDL for Lake Champlain under subsection (a) of this section and in amending the Vermont-specific implementation plan of the Lake Champlain TMDL under subsection (b) of this section, the secretary of natural resources shall comply with the public participation requirements of 40 C.F.R. § 130.7(c)(1)(ii).

Sec. 6.  CLEAN AND CLEAR ACTION PLAN INDEPENDENT AUDIT

On or before January 15, 2008, the secretary of administration shall submit to the house and senate committees on appropriations, the house and senate committees on agriculture, the senate committee on natural resources and energy, and the house committee on fish, wildlife and water resources a program audit of the progress and efficacy of the clean and clear action plan, including a financial analysis of the utilization and spending of funds appropriated to the agency of natural resources and the agency of agriculture, food and markets as part of the clean and clear action plan.  The audit shall be conducted by a qualified, independent environmental consultant or organization with knowledge of the clean water act, state water quality requirements and programs, and the program elements of the clean and clear action plan.

Sec. 7.  EFFECTIVE DATE

(a)  This section and Secs. 1 (secretary issuance of TMDLs), 2 (notice of deferral of permit), 3 (extension of interim stormwater permit program), 4 (agency of natural resources TMDL report), and 6 (clean and clear action plan audit) of this act shall take effect upon passage.

(b)  Sec. 5  (Lake Champlain TMDL review and reopening) shall take effect July 1, 2008.

(Committee Vote: 4-1-0)

(For House amendments, see House Journal for March 21, 2007, page 374; March 22, 2007, page 388.)

H. 296

An act relating to potable water supply and wastewater system permitting.

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

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

First:  By striking out Sec. 1 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Sec. 1.  FINDINGS

The general assembly finds that:

(1)  The agency of natural resources’ assumption on July 1, 2007 of statewide jurisdiction over the permitting program for on‑site wastewater and potable water supply systems and implementation of the rules adopted under that program are intended to protect human health and the environment, prevent the creation of health hazards or unsanitary conditions, and ensure the availability of an adequate supply of potable water.

(2)  The cost of compliance with the state on‑site wastewater systems and potable water supply rules when replacement of a failed wastewater or potable water supply system is required can be expensive and, consequently, difficult for many homeowners in Vermont to afford.

(3)  To avoid burdening homeowners or jeopardizing a homeowner’s ability to remain in his or her home, the agency of commerce and community development and the agency of natural resources should cooperate and coordinate in order to estimate the number of failed wastewater or potable water supply systems per year and a proposed annual amount of funds to be utilized for loans to replace failed systems for eligible applicants for funding assistance, and the potential sources of funding that will ensure that the proposed assistance is sustainable.

(4)  As part of any funding assistance program for the replacement of failed wastewater or potable water supply systems, the general assembly expects the agency of commerce and community development to commit at least an additional $1 million to the regional revolving loan fund to be available for community development block grants that can be used by income‑eligible Vermont homeowners for the replacement of failed wastewater or potable water supply systems.

(5)  After 2008, the agency of commerce and community development should be encouraged to use the regional revolving loan funds to assist income-eligible Vermont homeowners to replace failed wastewater or potable water supply systems, but use of the regional revolving loan funds for this purpose should be supported by adequate, sustainable funding in order to maximize the benefits of the investment.

(6)  In addition to the use of the regional revolving loan funds, the agency of administration and the agency of commerce and community development should encourage other funding providers, such as the Vermont housing and conservation board and the Vermont housing finance agency, to develop programs or contribute funds to help homeowners in Vermont afford the cost of replacing failed wastewater or potable water supply systems, provided that no federal funds made available to Vermont and the Vermont housing and conservation board under the HOME affordable housing program shall be utilized for a revolving loan fund or any other program of assistance to homeowners with failed wastewater or potable water systems unless such funds are used to help develop new or rehabilitate existing housing that is perpetually affordable.

(7)  In addition to funding provided by the agency of commerce and community development, the agency of natural resources should utilize the special environmental revolving loan fund to provide loans to low and moderate income homeowners who will be required to replace failed wastewater or potable supply systems in order to remain in their homes.

Second:  By striking Sec. 6 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Sec. 6.  TRANSITION PROVISIONS

(a)  Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no permit or permit amendment shall be required for the design and installation of a replacement potable water supply serving only one single‑family residence on its own individual lot, provided:

(1)  the design and installation is performed in accordance with the Vermont Water Supply Rules;

(2)  a form provided by the secretary regarding the replacement well is recorded and indexed in the land records for the municipality where the project is located; and

(3)  no other action has been taken or has been caused to be taken that would require a permit under these rules.

(b)  This section shall remain in effect only until the date that the proposed revisions to the wastewater system and potable water supply rules have taken effect.

Sec. 7.  Effective DATE

This act shall take effect upon passage.

(Committee Vote: 4-1-0)

(For House amendments, see House Journal for March 27, 2007, page 417.)

House Proposal of Amendment

S. 77

An act relating to transferring title to a motor vehicle to a surviving spouse.

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.  23 V.S.A. § 2023(e) is amended to read:

(e)(1)  Notwithstanding other provisions of the law, and except as provided in subdivision (2) of this subsection, whenever the estate of an individual who dies intestate consists principally of an automobile in whole or in part of a motor vehicle, and the person’s will or other testamentary document does not specifically address disposition of motor vehicles, the surviving spouse shall be deemed to be the owner of the motor vehicle, and title to the same motor vehicle shall automatically and by virtue hereof pass to said the surviving spouse.  Registration and title of the motor vehicle in the name of the surviving spouse shall be effected by payment of a transfer fee of $7.00.  This transaction is exempt from the provisions of the purchase and use tax on motor vehicles.

(2)  This subsection shall apply to no more than two motor vehicles, and shall not apply if the motor vehicle is titled in the name of one or more persons other than the decedent and the surviving spouse.

Sec. 2.  REPORT

The department of motor vehicles shall report to the house and senate committees on judiciary on the advisability and feasibility of adding a transfer on death provision to motor vehicle titles and registrations.

Sec. 3.  12 V.S.A. § 5531 is amended to read:

§ 5531.  RULES GOVERNING PROCEDURE

(a)  The supreme court, pursuant to section 1 of this title, shall make rules under this chapter applicable to such court providing for a simple, informal, and inexpensive procedure for the determination, according to the rules of substantive law, of actions of a civil nature of which they have jurisdiction, other than actions for slander or libel and in which the plaintiff does not claim as debt or damage more than $3,500.00 $5,000.00. Claims for relief other than money damages may not be brought under this chapter. A claim in excess of $5,000.00 may not be split into two or more claims under this chapter. The procedure shall not be exclusive, but shall be alternative to the formal procedure begun by the filing of a complaint.

* * *

Sec. 4.  Rule 2 of the Vermont Rules of Small Claims Procedure is amended to read:

RULE 2.  JURISDICTION PLACE OF SUIT; FILING FEE

(a)  Jurisdiction. Actions on claims for money damages not exceeding $3,500.00 $5,000.00 may be brought under these rules, except claims based on defamation.  Claims for relief other than money damages may not be brought under these rules. A claim in excess of $3,500.00 $5,000.00 may not be split into two or more claims under these rules.

Sec. 5.  12 V.S.A. § 2681 is amended to read:

§ 2681.  EXECUTIONS IN SUPREME AND SUPERIOR COURTS; TIME

(a)  The supreme and superior courts may issue executions on final judgments rendered by them, which shall be made returnable within 60 days from the date thereof.  Such executions may be issued so long as the judgment remains unsatisfied, but not after eight years from the date of rendition of the judgment, except as provided in subsection (b) of this section.

(b)  Executions on small claims court judgments may be made so long as the judgment remains unsatisfied, but not after eight years from the date of rendition of the judgment. Actions to renew small claims court judgments shall be brought by filing a complaint in small claims court prior to the expiration of the judgment, and may be made for the amount of the judgment and any post-judgment costs, fees, and interest allowed by law.

and, that upon passage, the title shall read:  “AN ACT RELATING TO SMALL CLAIMS COURT AND TO TRANSFERRING TITLE TO A MOTOR VEHICLE TO A SURVIVING SPOUSE”

NOTICE CALENDAR

Favorable with Recommendation of Amendment

S. 108

An act relating to election for statewide and national offices by the instant runoff voting method.

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)  The principle of majority rule is fundamental to the concept of democracy.  When possible, election laws should be structured to uphold and facilitate this basic principle. 

(2)  In a multicandidate race, when no candidate receives a majority, the candidate with the most votes (the plurality) may actually be the candidate most opposed by the majority of voters.

(3)  On 22 occasions in Vermont history, the governor was elected by the general assembly rather than by the voters.

(4)  In 35 percent of all election years in Vermont, one or more federal or statewide races had a result with no majority.

(5)  In one election with no majority winner in the governor’s race, the general assembly deadlocked and elected no governor, forcing the lieutenant governor to serve as acting governor.

(6)  In another election, with no majority in the treasurer’s race, the general assembly elected the candidate who came in third with just three percent of the popular vote, and who subsequently refused to serve, leaving the state with no treasurer.

(7)  It would be desirable, and there is a popular preference, to have a direct popular election by majority vote in all elections for the offices of U.S. senator and U.S. representative.

(8)  A voting system known as “preferential voting” in Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised, and popularly known as “instant runoff voting,” which has been used for governmental elections for over 80 years in Australia, as well as in the Republic of Ireland, can fulfill these goals of majority rule, with direct popular election.

Sec. 2.  17 V.S.A. § 2103(43) and (44) are is added to read:

(43)  “Instant runoff method” means a method of casting, sorting, and counting votes as set forth in sections 2473a and 2593 of this title that accomplishes the same effect as all voters participating in a runoff election, whereby the two candidates with the greatest number of first choices advance to a runoff count, and the ballots of voters who chose nonadvancing candidates as their first choice are re-examined so that their votes are counted during the runoff count for whichever of the final candidates is ranked higher on that ballot. 

Sec. 3.  17 V.S.A. § 2473a is added to read:

§ 2473a.  INSTANT RUNOFF METHOD; APPLICATION; BALLOTS; RULES

(a)  Notwithstanding the provisions of section 2472 of this title to the contrary, the instant runoff method shall be used in all general election contests for the offices of U.S. senator and U.S. representative.

(b)  For the purposes of subsection (a) of this section, the secretary of state shall supervise the counting of votes conducted by the instant runoff voting method which may take place at regional centers, and shall adopt procedures, in consultation with the Vermont municipal clerks and treasurers association, for implementing this section, including those involving:

(1)  the possible use of mechanical, electronic, or other devices for marking, sorting, and counting ballots and results;

(2)  modification of the form of the ballots and the directions to voters;

(3)  details with respect to the method of marking, sorting, counting, invalidating, and the counting of votes, provided that no change shall be made which will alter the intent or principles embodied in this chapter; and

(4)  a reasonable stipend for regional clerks and assistant election workers conducting an instant runoff count.

(c)  Ballots approved under this section shall allow a voter to rank up to five candidates for an office in order of choice.  If practical, ballots shall be designed such that voters may mark their first choices in the same manner as that for offices not elected by the instant runoff method. 

(d)  Instructions on the ballot shall include a statement to inform voters that they may choose to rank up to a total of five candidates, and that the marking of additional choices will not count against their first choice candidate.  Sample ballots to illustrate voting procedures, using fictitious names, shall be posted in or near the voting booth and included in the instruction materials for absentee ballots.  Prior to each general election, the secretary of state shall conduct a voter education campaign to educate voters on the use and purpose of the instant runoff voting method.  The secretary shall use public service announcements, as well as seek other media cooperation to the maximum extent practicable.

Sec. 4.  17 V.S.A. § 2587(b) is amended to read:

(b)  If the voter marks more names than there are persons to be elected to an office, except as provided in section 2473a of this title, or marks contradictory sides on any public question, his or her ballot shall not be counted for that office or public question.

Sec. 5.  17 V.S.A. § 2592 is amended to read:

§ 2592.  canvassing committees; canvass of votes in general or special elections

* * *

(h)(1)  The In the case of candidates other than candidates for the offices of U.S. senator and U.S. representative, the canvassing committee shall declare the person receiving the largest number of votes for each office to be elected, and it shall issue a certificate of election, signed by a majority of the canvassing committee, in substantially the following form:

    State of Vermont            )

                                           ) s.s. 

................  County              )     

At  ...................., on the  ............ day of .................... 20  .........., a canvassing committee appointed by law completed a canvass of the returns cast at a general election held on the ................ day of  ...................., 20  ........ for the office of  ..................... The committee hereby certifies that .................... of  .................... was duly elected to the office by the voters present and voting.

..............................................................................................................

(2)  The committee shall send or deliver the certificate to the candidate elected. In the case of representatives to the general assembly, the committee shall also send or deliver a copy of each certificate to the secretary of state.

* * *

(k)  In the case of the offices of governor, lieutenant governor, treasurer, secretary of state, attorney general, and auditor of accounts, the canvassing committee shall prepare a certificate of election but shall not sign it.  The prepared certificate shall be presented to the official canvassing committee appointed by the general assembly, pursuant to Chapter II, section § 47 of the Vermont Constitution of the State of Vermont, for their its use if they desire it desires.

Sec. 6.  17 V.S.A. § 2593 is added to read:

§ 2593.  INSTANT RUNOFF METHOD; INSTRUCTIONS FOR COUNTING VOTES

(a)  The provisions of sections 2584 and 2587 of this title shall apply to elections conducted by the instant runoff method unless inconsistent with the provisions of this section.

(b)  The following procedures shall be used to determine the winners in elections conducted by the instant runoff method:

(1)  Ballots shall be counted initially by the election officials according to the first choice marked on each ballot.  If one candidate receives a majority of the votes cast, the canvassing committee for U.S senator and U.S. representative shall issue a certificate of election in the manner provided in section 2592 of this title.

(2)  If, at the end of the initial count, no candidate receives a majority of  first choices, the canvassing committee established in section 2592 of this title shall forthwith petition the secretary of state to determine the candidate who received the major part of the votes by conducting instant runoff counts in the manner provided in this section.  The petition shall be supported by a statement that no candidate is the first choice of a majority of voters.  Upon receipt of the petition, the secretary of state shall issue a certification declaring the names of the advancing candidates and appoint an instant runoff count committee in the manner provided for under the procedures adopted by the secretary of state.

(3)  The instant runoff count committee shall count votes for candidates pursuant to procedures adopted by the secretary of state.  All candidates shall be eliminated except the two candidates with the greatest number of first choices.  Ballots which rank eliminated candidates and which indicate one of the final candidates as an alternate choice shall be counted as votes for whichever of the final candidates is ranked higher for that office on each ballot.  Each ballot is counted as one vote for the highest ranked advancing candidate on that ballot. 

(4)  The secretary of state shall prepare and sign the certificate that declares the winner.

(5)  The report and the counts performed by the committee shall be forwarded to the secretary of state who shall issue a certificate of election to whichever of the two remaining candidates received the greatest number of votes at the conclusion of the instant runoff count.

(c)  The following general provisions shall apply whenever the instant runoff method is used:

(1)  If after the first choice candidate is eliminated, a ballot does not indicate one of the advancing candidates as an alternate choice, the ballot is exhausted.

(2)  The fact that a voter gives more than one ranking to the same candidate shall not invalidate the vote.  The highest ranking given a particular candidate shall count as long as the candidate is not eliminated.

(3)  If there is a tie between candidates so that two or more candidates have an equal number of first choices and more than two candidates would advance to the runoff count, all of those candidates shall advance to the runoff count. 

Sec. 7.  17 V.S.A. § 2601 is amended to read:

§ 2601. RECOUNTS

(a)  If the difference between the number of votes cast for a winning candidate and the number of votes cast for a losing candidate is less than five percent of the total votes cast for all the candidates for an office, divided by the number of persons to be elected, that losing candidate shall have the right to have the votes for that office recounted.

(b)  In an election conducted by the instant runoff voting method, if the difference between the number of votes cast for a candidate advancing to the final round and the number of votes cast for a nonadvancing candidate is less than one half of one percent of the total votes cast for all the candidates for that office, the nonadvancing candidate shall have the right to have the votes for that office recounted.  The candidate requesting a recount shall do so within 24 hours of the secretary of state issuing a certification declaring the names of the advancing candidates pursuant to section 2593 of this title.  If a recount is requested in a timely manner, the instant runoff count shall be delayed until the completion of the recount.

Sec. 8.  EFFECTIVE DATE

This act shall take effect on January 1, 2008 and shall apply to the 2008 general election and subsequent general elections.

The Committee further recommends that after passage of the bill the title be amended to read as follows: “AN ACT RELATING TO THE ELECTION OF U.S. REPRESENTATIVE AND U.S. SENATOR BY THE INSTANT RUNOFF VOTING METHOD”

(Committee vote: 3-2-0)

Favorable with Proposal of Amendment

H. 229

An act relating to corrections and clarification to the health care affordability act of 2006 and related legislation.

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

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

First:  By striking out Sec. 11 and inserting a new Sec. 11 to read:

Sec. 11.  33 V.S.A. § 1974(b) and (c) are amended to read:

(b)  VHAP‑eligible premium assistance.

* * *

(3)  The agency shall determine whether it is cost‑effective to the state to enroll an individual in an approved employer‑sponsored insurance plan with the premium assistance under this subsection as compared to enrolling the individual in the Vermont health access plan. If the agency determines that it is cost‑effective, the individual shall be required to enroll in the approved employer‑sponsored plan as a condition of continued assistance under this section or coverage under the Vermont health access plan, except that dependents who are children of eligible individuals shall not be required to enroll in the premium assistance program.  Notwithstanding this requirement, an individual shall be provided benefits under the Vermont health access plan until the next open enrollment period offered by the employer or insurer.  The agency shall not consider the medical history, medical conditions, or claims history of any individual for whom cost‑effectiveness is being evaluated.

(c)  Uninsured individuals; premium assistance.

* * *

(5)  The agency shall determine whether it is cost‑effective to the state to require the individual to purchase the approved employer‑sponsored insurance plan with premium assistance under this subsection instead of Catamount Health established in section 4080f of Title 8 with assistance under subchapter 3a of chapter 19 of this title.  If providing the individual with assistance to purchase Catamount Health is more cost‑effective to the state than providing the individual with premium assistance to purchase the individual’s approved employer‑sponsored plan, the state shall provide the individual the option of purchasing Catamount Health with assistance for that product.  An individual may purchase Catamount Health and receive Catamount Health assistance until the approved employer‑sponsored plan has an open enrollment period, but the individual shall be required to enroll in the approved employer‑sponsored plan in order to continue to receive any assistance.  The agency shall not consider the medical history, medical conditions, or claims history of any individual for whom cost‑effectiveness is being evaluated.

Second:  By striking out Sec. 24 and inserting new Secs. 24 and 24a to read:

Sec. 24.  22 V.S.A. § 903 is added to read:

§ 903.  HEALTH INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

(a)  The commissioner shall facilitate the development of a statewide health information technology plan that includes the implementation of an integrated electronic health information infrastructure for the sharing of electronic health information among health care facilities, health care professionals, public and private payers, and patients.  The plan shall include standards and protocols designed to promote patient education, patient privacy, physician best practices, electronic connectivity to health care data, and, overall, a more efficient and less costly means of delivering quality health care in Vermont.

(b)  The health information technology plan shall:

(1)  support the effective, efficient, statewide use of electronic health information in patient care, health care policymaking, clinical research, health care financing, and continuous quality improvements;

(2)  educate the general public and health care professionals about the value of an electronic health infrastructure for improving patient care;

(3)  promote the use of national standards for the development of an interoperable system, which shall include provisions relating to security, privacy, data content, structures and format, vocabulary, and transmission protocols;

(4)  propose strategic investments in equipment and other infrastructure elements that will facilitate the ongoing development of a statewide infrastructure;

(5)  recommend funding mechanisms for the ongoing development and maintenance costs of a statewide health information system, including funding options and an implementation strategy for a loan and grant program;

(6)  incorporate the existing health care information technology initiatives in order to avoid incompatible systems and duplicative efforts;

(7)  integrate the information technology components of the blueprint for health established in chapter 13 of Title 18, the global clinical record, and all other Medicaid management information systems being developed by the office of Vermont health access, information technology components of the quality assurance system, the program to capitalize with loans and grants electronic medical record systems in primary care practices, and any other information technology initiatives coordinated by the secretary of administration pursuant to section 2222a of Title 3; and

(8)  address issues related to data ownership, governance, and confidentiality and security of patient information.

(c)(1)  The commissioner shall contract with the Vermont information technology leaders (VITL), a broad‑based health information technology advisory group that includes providers, payers, employers, patients, health care purchasers, information technology vendors, and other business leaders, to develop the health information technology plan, including applicable standards, protocols, and pilot programs.  In carrying out their responsibilities under this section, members of VITL shall be subject to conflict of interest policies established by the commissioner to ensure that deliberations and decisions are fair and equitable.

(2)  VITL shall be designated in the plan to operate the exclusive statewide health information exchange network for this state, notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (g) of this section requiring the recommendation of the commissioner and the approval of the general assembly before the plan can take effect.  Nothing in this section shall impede local community providers from the exchange of electronic medical data.

(d)  The following persons shall be members of VITL:

(1)  the commissioner, who shall advise the group on technology best practices and the state’s information technology policies and procedures, including the need for a functionality assessment and feasibility study related to establishing an electronic health information infrastructure under this section;

(2)  the director of the office of Vermont health access or his or her designee;

(3)  the commissioner of health or his or her designee; and

(4)  the commissioner of banking, insurance, securities, and health care administration or his or her designee.

(e)  On or before July 1, 2006, VITL shall initiate a pilot program involving at least two hospitals using existing sources of electronic health information to establish electronic data sharing for clinical decision support, pursuant to priorities and criteria established in conjunction with the health information technology advisory group.

(1)  Objectives of the pilot program shall include:

(A)  supporting patient care and improving quality of care;

(B)  enhancing productivity of health care professionals and reducing administrative costs of health care delivery and financing;

(2)  Objectives of the pilot program may include:

(A)  determining whether and how best to expand the pilot program on a statewide basis;

(B)  implementing strategies for future developments in health care technology, policy, management, governance, and finance; and

(C)  ensuring patient data confidentiality at all times.

(f)  The standards and protocols developed by VITL shall be no less stringent than the “Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information” established under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 and contained in 45 C.F.R., Parts 160 and 164, and any subsequent amendments.  In addition, the standards and protocols shall ensure that there are clear prohibitions against the out‑of‑state release of individually identifiable health information for purposes unrelated to treatment, payment, and health care operations, and that such information shall under no circumstances be used for marketing purposes.  The standards and protocols shall require that access to individually identifiable health information is secure and traceable by an electronic audit trail.

(g)  On or before January 1, 2007, VITL shall submit to the commission on health care reform, the secretary of administration, the commissioner, the commissioner of banking, insurance, securities, and health care administration, the director of the office of Vermont health access, the senate committee on health and welfare, and the house committee on health care a preliminary health information technology plan for establishing a statewide, integrated electronic health information infrastructure in Vermont, including specific steps for achieving the goals and objectives of this section.  A final plan shall be submitted July 1, 2007.  The plan shall include also recommendations for self‑sustainable funding for the ongoing development, maintenance, and replacement of the health information technology system.  Upon recommendation by the commissioner and approval by the general assembly, the plan shall serve as the framework within which certificate of need applications for information technology are reviewed under section 9440b of Title 18 by the commissioner.

(h)  Beginning January 1, 2006, and annually thereafter, VITL shall file a report with the commission on health care reform, the secretary of administration, the commissioner, the commissioner of banking, insurance, securities, and health care administration, the director of the office of Vermont health access, the senate committee on health and welfare, and the house committee on health care.  The report shall include an assessment of progress in implementing the provisions of this section, recommendations for additional funding and legislation required, and an analysis of the costs, benefits, and effectiveness of the pilot program authorized under subsection (e) of this section, including, to the extent these can be measured, reductions in tests needed to determine patient medications, improved patient outcomes, or reductions in administrative or other costs achieved as a result of the pilot program.  In addition, VITL shall file quarterly progress reports with the secretary of administration and the health access oversight committee and shall publish minutes of VITL meetings and any other relevant information on a public website.

(i)  VITL is authorized to seek matching funds to assist with carrying out the purposes of this section.  In addition, it may accept any and all donations, gifts, and grants of money, equipment, supplies, materials, and services from the federal or any local government, or any agency thereof, and from any person, firm, or corporation for any of its purposes and functions under this section and may receive and use the same, subject to the terms, conditions, and regulations governing such donations, gifts, and grants.

(j)  The commissioner, in consultation with VITL, may seek any waivers of federal law, of rule, or of regulation that might assist with implementation of this section.

(k)  VITL, in collaboration with the commissioner, health insurers, the Vermont Association of Hospitals & Health Systems, Inc., and other departments and agencies of state government, shall establish a loan and grant program to provide for the capitalization of electronic health records systems in blueprint communities and at primary care practices serving low income Vermonters.  Health information technology acquired under a grant or loan authorized by this section shall comply with data standards for interoperability adopted by VITL and the state health information technology plan.  An implementation plan for this loan and grant program shall be incorporated into the state health information technology plan.

Sec. 24a.  HEALTH INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY INTERIM FUND AND ELECTRONIC HEALTH RECORD PILOT PROGRAM

(a)  Purpose.  It is the intent of the general assembly that use of electronic health records for all Vermonters shall be promoted and encouraged.  The general assembly recognizes that the use and sharing of electronic health records have the potential to improve the quality of care delivered to Vermonters and, in the long term, to help contain increases in the costs of medical care.  Since many providers, especially primary care providers serving low income Vermonters, lack the capital to acquire the information technology necessary to implement electronic health records for their patients, a financing program is needed to facilitate the adoption of electronic health record use by providers. 

(b)  For the purposes of this section:

(1)  “Commissioner” shall mean the commissioner of the department of information and innovation.

(2)  “Department” shall mean the department of information and innovation.

(3)  “Pilot site” shall mean a blueprint community and primary care providers serving low income Vermonters in other communities. 

(c)  Vermont information technology leaders shall establish a health information technology fund which shall be used only during the duration of the electronic health record pilot program described in this section.  The interim fund shall be used for the purposes of:

(1)  encouraging and facilitating the development and utilization of electronic health records by pilot sites; and

(2)  promoting the sharing of electronic health records using the Vermont health information infrastructure created and managed by the Vermont health information technology leaders. 

(d)  VITL and the secretary of administration shall engage in activities designed to achieve the goal of raising at least $1 million for the interim fund created by this section and shall seek to raise these funds from a broad range of stakeholders who would benefit from electronic health records, including commercial health insurers, in relation to the number of insured and self‑insured lives each services in Vermont, the Vermont Association of Hospitals & Health Systems, Inc., self‑insured employers, other payers, and other sources.  On or before September 1, 2007, VITL and the secretary of administration shall report the results of the fundraising activities to the house committee on health care, the senate committee on health and welfare, and the commission on health care reform. 

(e)  On or before October 1, 2007, VITL shall issue a request for proposals:

(1)  to provide computer software or systems, or both, in connection with the development and implementation of a system to enable electronic health records use by pilot sites; and

(2)  for implementation‑consulting vendors to assist pilot sites with related training and system configuration support and upgrades to enable the implementation and use of electronic health record systems.  

(f)  On or before November 1, 2007, VITL shall establish criteria and award conditions for the selection of pilot sites. 

(g)  On or before January 1, 2008, VITL shall commence awarding pilot sites licenses to implement electronic health record systems, making use of the vendors selected in the process described in subsection (e) of this section. 

(h)  VITL shall include in the annual report required pursuant to section 9417 of Title 18 information concerning the interim fund and pilot program created pursuant to this section and shall additionally provide that report to the commissioner of health.  Information in the report concerning this program shall include:

(1)  an assessment of progress in implementing the provisions of this section including the acceptance of electronic health record use by providers, patients, and payers;

(2)  recommendations for additional funding and legislation required; and

(3)  an analysis of the costs, benefits, and effectiveness of the health information technology fund.   

(i)  VITL may use a portion of the interim fund for its costs in implementing and managing the electronic health record pilot program.

Third:  In Sec. 27, 21 V.S.A. § 2002(6) by striking “25” and inserting in lieu thereof “30

Fourth:  By adding Secs. 32–35 as follows:

Sec. 32.  3 V.S.A. § 2222a(c)(2) is amended to read:

(2)  The Vermont health information technology project pursuant to section 9417 of Title 18 903 of Title 22.

Sec. 33.  18 V.S.A. § 9416(a) is amended to read: 

(a)  The commissioner shall contract with the Vermont Program for Quality in Health Care, Inc. to implement and maintain a statewide quality assurance system to evaluate and improve the quality of health care services rendered by health care providers of health care facilities, including managed care organizations, to determine that health care services rendered were professionally indicated or were performed in compliance with the applicable standard of care, and that the cost of health care rendered was considered reasonable by the providers of professional health services in that area.  The commissioner shall ensure that the information technology components of the quality assurance system are incorporated into and comply with the statewide health information technology plan developed under section 9417 of this title 903 of Title 22 and any other information technology initiatives coordinated by the secretary of administration pursuant to section 2222a of Title 3.

Sec. 34.  18 V.S.A. § 9437 is amended to read: 

§ 9437.  CRITERIA

A certificate of need shall be granted if the applicant demonstrates and the commissioner finds that:

* * *

(7)  if the application is for the purchase or lease of new health care information technology, it conforms with the health information technology plan established under section 9417 of this title 903 of Title 22, upon approval of the plan by the general assembly.

Sec. 35.  18 V.S.A. § 9440b is amended to read: 

§ 9440b.  INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY; REVIEW PROCEDURES

Notwithstanding the procedures in section 9440 of this title, upon approval by the general assembly of the health information technology plan developed under section 9417 of this title 903 of Title 22, the commissioner shall establish by rule standards and expedited procedures for reviewing applications for the purchase or lease of health care information technology that otherwise would be subject to review under this subchapter.  Such applications may not be granted or approved unless they are consistent with the health information technology plan and the health resource allocation plan.  The commissioner’s rules may include a provision requiring that applications be reviewed by the health information advisory group authorized under subsection 9417(c) of this title section 903 of Title 22.  The advisory group shall make written findings and a recommendation to the commissioner in favor of or against each application.

(Committee Vote: 6-0-0)

(For House amendments, see House Journal for April 4, 2007, page 507.)

H. 405

An act relating to capital construction and state bonding.

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

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:

* * * Capital Appropriations * * *

Sec. 1.  STATE BUILDINGS

The sum of $11,592,381 is appropriated to the department of buildings and general services, and the commissioner is authorized to direct funds appropriated in this section to the projects contained in this section; however, no project shall be canceled unless the chairs of the house and senate committees on institutions are notified before that action is taken.  The individual appropriations in this section are estimates only.

(1)  Montpelier, design and construction of a state office and parking facility at the so‑called triangle site adjacent to the Dog River Road.  The funds shall be used to remove the ledges on the site, begin construction of facilities to house the state archives, build a parking lot, and develop plans for the location of the department of motor vehicles and the emergency operations center on the site:                                                                                                                 (1,700,000)

(2)  Montpelier, 120 State Street, exterior caulking:                                                                                                                                                          (350,000)

(3)  Statewide major maintenance:                                                (7,000,000)

(4)  Burlington, 32 Cherry Street, design and repairs:                                                                                                                                            (150,000)

(5)  Statewide, building reuse:                                                         (170,000)

(6)  Statewide, contingency fund:                                                    (500,000)

(7)  Statewide, planning:                                                                   (25,000)

(8)  Statewide, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA):

(A)  Robert H. Wood, Jr., Academy and Lee Emerson Courthouse:                                                                                                                (160,000)

(B)  Women’s shelters, phase II:                                                  (50,000)

(9)  Waterbury State Complex, fire alarm system:                                                                                                                                                              (200,000)

(10)  Springfield state office building, retaining wall, phase II, design and construction of a garage:                                                  (145,000)

(11)  State House flag conservation, phase II:                                   (20,000)

(12)  Renewable energy, wind project, Ed Weed fish culture station:                                                                                                                                   (25,000)

(13)  Middlesex, renewable energy, solar project:                            (30,000)

(14)  Bennington courthouse and state office building, either for work that will enable state employees and the public to reoccupy the building or to seek a new site for the facility.  Funds shall not be expended until the house and senate committees on institutions have reviewed diagnostic tests and approved a plan for spending the funds by majority vote of those present and voting at a joint meeting called by the chairs of the two committees for the purpose:                                                                                       (1,000,000)

(15)  Montpelier, State House, reconstruction of the fire escape leading from the 2nd and 3rd floor annex:                                           60,000

(16)  Montpelier, State House, renovation of the Robert H. Gibson Senate Cloak Room:                                                                          7,381

(Total appropriation – Section 1                                                         $11,592,381)

Sec. 2.  TAXES

The sum of $100,000 is appropriated to the department of taxes as the fourth appropriation in an ongoing project to update statewide quadrangle maps through digital orthophotographic quadrangle mapping.

(Total appropriation – Section 2                     $100,000)

Sec. 3.  HEALTH AND PUBLIC SAFETY LABORATORIES/BUILDING 617 IN ESSEX

The sum of $7,500,000 is appropriated to the department of buildings and general services for construction and renovation of building 617 in Essex, including co-location of the department of health and department of public safety forensics laboratories.

(Total appropriation - Section 3                                                           7,500,000)

Sec. 4.  HUMAN SERVICES

The sum of $1,100,000 is appropriated to the department of buildings and general services for the agency of human services for the projects described in this section.

(1)  Site acquisition for corrections work camps:                           (100,000)

(2)  Vermont state hospital, renovations:                                       (100,000)

(3)  St. Albans, Northwest state correctional facility, sewage treatment:                                                                                                              (150,000)

(4)  Windsor, Southeast state correctional facility:

(A)  dam inspection and repair:                                                (100,000)

(B)  access road repairs:                                                         (300,000)

(5)  Woodside Juvenile Rehabilitation Center, conversion of the underused racquetball court into classrooms:                       (300,000)

(6)  Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility, installation of cameras, replacing security windows in the “F” unit, providing four new security doors in the “A2” unit, painting, and carpet replacements:                             (50,000)

(Total appropriation – Section 4                                                        $1,100,000)

Sec. 5.  JUDICIARY

(a)  The sum of $270,000 is appropriated to the department of buildings and general services for security at the Barre district court building, including security cameras to be mounted on the outside of the building.  The commissioner of buildings and general services and the district court administrator shall work with the Barre City Council to determine placement of the cameras.

(b)  The amount of $45,000 is appropriated to the department of buildings and general services for replacement of windows with energy efficient windows, and replacement of shelving and file cabnets to increase the storage space in the vaults of the Grand Isle County Courthouse.

(Total appropriation – Section 5                                                            $315,000)

Sec. 6.  BUILDING COMMUNITIES GRANTS

The following sums are appropriated for building community grants:

(1)  To the agency of commerce and community development, division for historic preservation, for the historic preservation grant program established in Sec. 4(a) of No. 90 of the Acts of 1987:                                200,000

(2)  To the agency of commerce and community development, division for historic preservation, for the historic barns preservation grant program established in Sec. 4(b)(2) of No. 93 of the Acts of 1991:                           200,000

(3)  To the agency of commerce and community development, division for historic preservation, for the cultural facilities competitive grant program, to be administered by the Vermont Arts Council and made available on a one‑for-one matching basis with funds raised from nonstate sources.  No grant shall be available for a project receiving funding from any other appropriation of this act.  No portion of this appropriation shall be used to pay salaries.  The appropriation shall be awarded on a competitive basis.  In recommending grant awards, a review panel shall give priority consideration to applicants who demonstrate greater financial need or are in underserved areas of the state: 

                                                                                                   200,000

(4)  To the department of buildings and general services for the recreational and educational facilities grant program established in Sec. 34 of No. 43 of the Acts of 2005:                                                                            200,000

(5)  To the Vermont telecommunications authority established by the general assembly in 2007 for broadband development grants.  However, if no Vermont telecommunications authority is created by the general assembly in the 2007 legislative session, these funds shall be appropriated to the department of information and innovation for a broadband development grant program established in Sec. 35 of No. 43 of the Acts of 2005:          200,000

(6)  To the department of buildings and general services for the human services grant program established in Sec. 36 of No. 43 of the Acts of 2005:                                                                                                                                           200,000

(7)  To the department of agriculture, food and markets for emergency funding for farm capital needs resulting from the February 2007 blizzard.  The funds shall be used according to a plan determined by the secretary of the agency of agriculture, food and markets.                                                 200,000

(Total appropriation – Section 6                                                      $1,400,000)

Sec. 7.  COMMERCE AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

(a)  The sum of $250,000 is appropriated to the department of buildings and general services for the agency of commerce and community development for major maintenance at historic sites statewide; provided, the maintenance shall be under the supervision of the department of buildings and general services.

(b)  The sum of $100,000 is appropriated to the department of buildings and general services for the agency of commerce and community development for the design for an addition to the visitors’ center at the President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site.

(c)  The sum of $50,000 is appropriated to the agency of commerce and community development for underwater preserves. 

(d)  The sum of $15,000 is appropriated to the agency of commerce and community development for roadside historic site markers.

(e)  The sum of $50,000 is appropriated to the agency of commerce and community development for protecting, preserving, moving, or re-interring human remains discovered in unmarked burial sites.

(Total appropriation – Section 7                                                             $465,000)

Sec. 8.  EDUCATION

(a)  The sum of $9,082,738 is appropriated to the department of education for state aid for school construction projects pursuant to section 3448 of Title 16.  Of this amount:

(1)  $1,800,000 shall be used to fund emergency projects under 16 V.S.A. § 3448(a)(3)(A).

(2)  $1,550,000 shall be used for partial payment of the state share of the purchase of biomass heating systems pursuant to 16 V.S.A. § 3448(a)(3)(B) as follows:

(A)  Mount Abraham Union High School District        448,447

(B)  Burlington School District                                                427,338

(C)  Mount Anthony Union High School District                     504,935

(D)  Williamstown School District                               169,280

(3)  $5,448,217 shall be for partial payment of the final school construction awards pursuant to 16 V.S.A. § 3448 as follows:

(A)  Brattleboro Union High School District                            $2,179,945

(B)  Dresden School District                                       $1,031,529

(C)  Williamstown School District                                           $   579,098

(D)  Rockingham School District for Saxtons River Elementary School                                                                                         $   552,250

(E)  Rockingham School District for Bellows Falls Central Elementary School                                                           $   552,250

(F)  Waterbury-Duxbury Union School District                       $   553,145

(4)  $242,000 shall be for the state share of energy performance contracts entered into pursuant to section 3448f of Title 16.

(b)  The sum of $1,000,000 is appropriated to the department of education for construction at regional technical centers as follows: 

(1)  For completion of construction at the Patricia Hannaford Career Center in Middlebury, up to the amount of $48,610. 

(2)  The remainder shall be used for construction at the Windham Regional Career Center in Brattleboro.

(c)  The sum of $20,000 is appropriated to the department of education to reimburse school districts for costs incurred to install wiring harnesses capable of being connected to emergency electrical power generators during emergencies when schools are used as community shelters or operation centers, or both.

(d)  The sum of $22,521 is appropriated to the department of education to pay the Williamstown school district for 25 percent of the approved costs of   replacement of a roof at the Williamstown elementary school. 

(Total appropriation – Section 8                                                         $10,082,738)

Sec. 9.  UNIVERSITY OF VERMONT

The sum of $1,500,000 is appropriated to the University of Vermont for construction, renovation, or maintenance projects.  The university shall file with the general assembly an annual report, on or before January 15, that details the status of capital projects funded in whole or in part by state capital appropriations.

(Total appropriation – Section 9                                                          $ 1,500,000)

Sec. 10.  VERMONT STATE COLLEGES

The sum of $1,500,000 is appropriated to the Vermont State Colleges for major facility maintenance.  The state colleges shall file with the general assembly an annual report, on or before January 15, that details the status of capital projects funded in whole or in part by state capital appropriations.

(Total appropriation – Section 10                                                         $1,500,000)

Sec. 11.  NATURAL RESOURCES 

(a)  The sum of $3,950,000 is appropriated to the agency of natural resources for water pollution control projects.  Of this amount:

(1)  $1,700,000 shall be for the state match for the pollution control and clean water state revolving fund administered in accordance with chapter 55 of Title 10 and chapter 120 of Title 24;

(2)  $300,000 shall be for completion of pollution control projects on a list prepared by the agency of natural resources, dated May 20, 2003 entitled “Wastewater Project Phase-In List from the Capital Bill Conference Committee 2003; Legislative Session” and referenced in Sec. 55 of No. 63 of the Acts of 2003; and

(3)  $1,950,000 shall be for construction of the wastewater facilities project in Pownal and interest paid on funds borrowed for the project.

(b)  The sum of $1,900,000 is appropriated to the agency of natural resources for the drinking water program.  Of this amount:

(1)  $1,650,000 shall be used for the state match for the federal FY07 capitalization grant; and

(2)  $250,000 shall be for the drinking water state revolving fund loan program.

(c)  The sum of $2,100,000 is appropriated to the agency of natural resources for the clean and clear program to accelerate the reduction of phosphorus discharges into Lake Champlain and other waters of the state, as follows:

(1)  Wetlands restoration and protection:  $250,000

(2)  Stream stabilization grants:  $1,250,000.  Of this amount, $100,000 shall be used for long‑term flood mitigation along the Dog River in Roxbury

(3)  $600,000 for wastewater phosphorus treatment at municipal wastewater treatment plants as follows:

(A)  Hardwick                                                                       100,000

(B)  Proctor                                                                             50,000

(C)  Ludlow                                                                             30,000

(D)  Milton                                                                             270,000

(E)  Richmond                                                                          50,000

(F)  Springfield                                                                       100,000

(d)  The sum of $300,000 is appropriated to the agency of natural resources for maintenance and repair of state-owned dams.

(e)  The sum of $800,000 is appropriated to the agency of natural resources for the department of forests, parks and recreation for rehabilitation of aging state park infrastructure.

(f)  The sum of $50,000 is appropriated to the agency of natural resources for the Green Mountain Club, Inc. for the procurement, in fee simple or by easement, of properties along the Long Trail. 

(g)  The sum of $50,000 is appropriated to the agency of natural resources for the Lake Champlain Walleye Association, Inc. as follows:

(1)  To purchase weed mats for three ponds in Franklin County:    21,150

(2)  To build an advanced fry system at the Bald Hill hatchery.  The Walleye association shall give the fry system to the department of fish and wildlife:                                                                                                                  28,850

(h)  The sum of $300,000 is appropriated to the agency of natural resources for the department of fish and wildlife to carry out phase II of renovations to the Bennington fish culture station.

(Total appropriation – Section 11                                                        $9,450,000)

Sec. 12.  MILITARY

The sum of $200,000 is appropriated to the department of the military for major maintenance, to investigate the cost-effectiveness of potential energy efficiency upgrades, and to design improvements to make the armories ADA compliant.

(Total appropriation – Section 12                                                           $200,000)

Sec. 13.  PUBLIC SAFETY AND FIRE SERVICE TRAINING COUNCILS

(a)  The sum of $30,000 is appropriated to the department of buildings and general services for the department of public safety to install monitoring equipment on underground storage tanks at various state police offices.

(b)  The sum of $200,000 is appropriated to the department of buildings and general services for programming and design to relocate the Williston public safety barracks and E911 to building 617 in Essex.

(c)  The sum of $50,000 is appropriated to the department of buildings and general services for the department of public safety for a feasibility study for a new public safety field station to serve southeastern Vermont.

(d)  The sum of $70,000 is appropriated to the department of buildings and general services to make improvements to the existing parking lot and loading dock at the Vermont fire service training council facility in Pittsford.

(Total appropriation – Section 13                                                           $350,000)

Sec. 14.  CRIMINAL JUSTICE

(a)  The sum of $125,000 is appropriated to the department of buildings and general services to improve the firing range at the Vermont criminal justice training council in Pittsford. 

(b)  The sum of $42,000 is appropriated to the department of buildings and general services to construct new kennel facilities at the Vermont criminal justice training council in Pittsford. 

(Total appropriation – Section 14                                                      $167,000)

Sec. 15.  AGRICULTURE, FOOD AND MARKETS

(a)  The sum of $1,800,000 is appropriated to the agency of agriculture, food and markets, best management practice implementation cost share program, for agricultural nonpoint source pollution reduction.  Farmers participating in this program may receive a maximum of 80 percent of state aid when no federal dollars are available.

(b)  The sum of $200,000 is appropriated to the agency of agriculture, food and markets for the competitive grants program for agricultural fair capital projects.  No single entity shall be awarded more than ten percent of this appropriation.

(c)  The sum of $100,000 is appropriated to the agency of agriculture, food and markets to assist with the construction of an underground cattle pass on Vermont Route 100 to serve the Turner farm in Waitsfield.  In fiscal year 2008, the agency shall use the funds to design, permit, and install the pass and associated highway traffic safety features.  The associated work is contingent upon the Turner estate donating any necessary right-of-way outside the existing highway right-of-way and entering into an agreement binding the Turner estate and its successors-in-interest to a maintenance and liability agreement satisfactory to the agency of transportation.

(Total appropriation – Section 15                                                         $2,100,000)

Sec. 16.  VERMONT PUBLIC TELEVISION

The sum of $250,000 is appropriated to Vermont Public Television for continued work on the federally mandated conversion of Vermont Public Television’s transmission sites to digital broadcasting format. 

(Total appropriation – Section 16                                                            $250,000)

Sec. 17.  VERMONT INTERACTIVE TELEVISION

The sum of $120,000 is appropriated to Vermont Interactive Television for audio upgrade of the system. 

(Total appropriation – Section 17                                                           $120,000)

Sec. 18.  VERMONT RURAL FIRE PROTECTION

The sum of $100,000 is appropriated to Vermont rural fire protection for the Vermont rural fire protection task force to continue the dry hydrant program.

(Total appropriation – Section 18                                                            $100,000)

Sec. 19.  VERMONT VETERANS HOME

The sum of $1,000,000 is appropriated to the department of buildings and general services for the Vermont Veterans Home for phase II of geothermal HVAC renovations.

(Total appropriation – Section 19                                                                $1,000,000)

* * * Financing This Act * * *

Sec. 20.  REALLOCATION OF FUNDS

The following are reallocated to the department of buildings and general services to defray expenditures authorized in Sec. 1 of this act:

(1)  $2,404 of the amount appropriated in Sec. 8 of No. 29 of the Acts of 1999 (Battle of the Wilderness Civil War monument).

(2)  $50,000 of the amount appropriated in Sec. 4 of No. 43 of the Acts of 2005 (Rutland courthouse).

(3)  $1,350 of the amount appropriated by Sec. 14 of No. 63 of the Acts of 2003 (Heat project at 116 State St.).

(4)  $8,260 of the amount appropriated by Sec. 3 of No. 121 of the Acts of the 2003 Adj. Sess. (2004) (renovations to the Dale Correctional facility).

(4)  $105 of the amount appropriated by Sec. 14 of No. 121 of the Acts of the 2003 Adj. Sess. (2004) (firefighter equipment).

(Total reallocation– Section 21                                                                 $62,119)

Sec. 21.  GENERAL OBLIGATION BONDS

The state treasurer is authorized to issue general obligation bonds in the amount of $49,200,000 for the purpose of funding the appropriations of this act.  The state treasurer, with the approval of the governor, shall determine the appropriate form and maturity of the bonds authorized by this section consistent with the underlying nature of the appropriation to be funded.  The state treasurer shall allocate the estimated cost of bond issuance, or issuances, to the entities to which funds are appropriated pursuant to this section and for which bonding is required as the source of funds, pursuant to 32 V.S.A. § 954.

(Total bonding – Section 22                                                               $49,200,000)

Sec. 22.  FUNDS FROM SALE OF LAND

Proceeds from the sale of a portion of state land located on Swift Street at the Chittenden regional correctional facility to the city of South Burlington shall be used to defray expenditures authorized in this act.               

(Total funds from sale of land - Section 22                                             $30,000)

* * * Managing This Act * * *

Sec. 23.  REALLOCATION; TRANSFER OF FUNDS

The secretary of natural resources, with the approval of the secretary of administration, may transfer any unexpended project balances among projects authorized in Sec. 11 of this act.

Sec. 24.  ACCEPTANCE OF GRANTS AND OTHER FUNDS

(a)  Notwithstanding section 5 of Title 32 (acceptance of grants):

(1)  The commissioner of environmental conservation, with the approval of the secretary of natural resources, may accept federal grants made available through the federal Clean Water Act and the federal Drinking Water Act in accordance with chapter 120 of Title 24.  Acceptance of this grant money is hereby approved, provided all notifications are made under subsection 4760(a) of Title 24.

(2)  The commissioner of corrections, with the approval of the secretary of human services, may accept federal grants made available through federal crime bill legislation. 

(3)  The commissioner of buildings and general services may accept grants of funds, equipment, and services from any source, including federal appropriations, for the installation, operation, implementation, or maintenance of energy conservation measures or improvements at state buildings.

(4)  The commissioner of buildings and general services may accept federal grant funds in connection with the state health and forensic laboratories.  These funds may be used to defray or supplement costs in Sec. 3 of this act.

(b)  Each receipt of a grant or gift authorized by this section shall be reported by the commissioner of the department receiving the funds to the chairs of the house and senate committees on institutions and to the joint fiscal committee. 

* * * Buildings and General Services; State Buildings * * *

Sec. 25.  PROJECTS FUNDED IN PRIOR YEARS

(a)  Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, the commissioner of buildings and general services is authorized to use funds appropriated under this act for capital projects requiring additional support that were funded with capital or general appropriations made in prior years.

(b)  Funds appropriated in Sec. 5(c) No. 147 of the Acts of the 2005 Adj. Sess. (2006) shall be used only for improvements to the Bennington District and Family Court as directed by that act.         

Sec. 26.  PROPERTY TRANSACTIONS; MISCELLANEOUS

The commissioner of buildings and general services is authorized, with the approval of the secretary of administration, to sell the properties listed in this section pursuant to 29 V.S.A. § 166.  Up to $700,000 of proceeds from the sales shall be reserved by the department of buildings and general services for renovations to the third floor offices of the attorney general at 109 State Street in Montpelier. 

(1)  Brandon.  Notwithstanding the provisions of Sec. 1(b) of No. 59 of the Acts of 1993, all remaining parcels of land and buildings owned by the state of Vermont that once constituted the Brandon training school may be sold without approval from the emergency board. 

(2)  Newport.  All remaining condominium units in the Hebard state office building. 

(3)  Duxbury.  The 37-acre parcel of state land on route 100 next to Harwood Union High School. 

Sec. 27.  29 V.S.A. § 44a(a) is amended to read:

(a)  The commissioner shall:

* * *

(7)  Ensure that early in the building design phase, the architect will discuss the placement and form of artwork with the selected artist, and that bid specifications will inform potential contractors of the artwork to be installed in the building or facility.

Sec. 28.  29 V.S.A. § 45 is amended to read:

§ 45.  DUTIES OF CONTRACTING AGENCY

Upon selection of an architect for any project, the contracting agency shall:

(1)  notify the architect of the provisions of this chapter; and

(2)  notify the commissioner and the council of the selection of the architect and the details of the project; and

(3)  ensure that the architect discusses the form and placement of the artwork with the artist early in the planning and design phase of the building.

Sec. 29.  29 V.S.A. § 48 is amended to read:

§ 48.  POWERS AND DUTIES OF COUNCIL

(a)  The council shall facilitate a process which will result in a recommendation of an artist or artist team for each project selected for installation of artwork.  The artist or artist team shall collaborate with the project architect or design team during the initial design phase of the project.

(b)  Following design of the project, the council shall:

(1)  appoint persons to serve on the art selection panel;

(2)  establish contract procedures for contracting with artists for works of art and with architects for services related to the planning for the acquisition of works of art;

(3)  on the advice of the art selection panel, arrange contracts with artists and order payments from the art acquisition fund for such works of art;

(4)  review the final installation and placement of works of art.  In the case of works to be commissioned, the art selection panel shall review the design, the final execution and the placement of the commissioned work;

(5)  assist occupant and contracting agencies in locating insurance when it deems such insurance is necessary for the protection of the works of art which are purchased.

(b)(c)  Without further appropriation, the council may expend funds transferred to it for administration of this chapter. 

Sec. 30.  29 V.S.A. § 152(c) is amended to read:

(c)  Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the commissioner of buildings and general services is authorized to:

(1)  Implement a “Motorist Aid Refreshment Program” at state rest areas and information centers.  The commissioner is authorized to accept, without active solicitation, donations for the services and associated supplies, and may use surplus funds to pay for the information center program.

(2)  Permit nonprofit organizations and contracted information center operators to provide free refreshments to motorists.  Nonprofits and contracted information center operators may accept voluntary donations, without active solicitation, from motorists.

(3)  Adopt rules governing the provision of refreshments in accordance with this subsection.

Sec. 31.  29 V.S.A. § 152(a)(30) is added to read:

(30)  Provide services to the traveling public, lease space, sell products, and conduct any other activities within limits set forth in the federal Surface Transportation Act and Randolph-Sheppard Act and rules promulgated thereunder, to administer the information and welcome centers; and use funds generated in the centers to supplement funds for maintaining and operating the centers.

* * * Education * * *

Sec. 32.  16 V.S.A. § 3448(a)(3)(B) is amended to read:

(B)  Second priority is given to construction projects in excess of $10,000.00 which address a need occasioned by deterioration of an existing building or equipment pursuant to subdivision (2)(A) of this subsection, and which extend the useful life of the building but which do not make extensive additions or extensive alterations to existing school facilities in which students are provided services.  Examples of projects given priority under this subdivision are replacement, addition, or repair to utilities,; projects which address environmental quality issues,; repair of a roof,; replacement of an existing space-heating, water-heating space-heating, water-heating, cooling, or refrigeration system that uses fossil fuels with a system for the same purpose that uses, or primarily relies upon, biomass, a geothermal/ground source, wind, or solar energy, or replacement of a system with a more efficient fossil fuel system that reduces fuel use by 10 percent or more or utilizes new technologies such as microturbines, cogeneration, fuel cells, or distributed generation, or; and replacement or upgrading of mechanical equipment.

Sec. 33.  16 V.S.A. § 3448(a)(4)(C) is amended to read:

(C)  the cost of projects to extend the life of a building which the board has approved but not yet reimbursed due to insufficient funds, as well as the estimated cost of those which might be approved by the state board in the coming fiscal year under subdivision (3)(B) of this subsection.  The legislature shall not approve an amount for this line item which exceeds more than five percent of the annual capital budget approved under subdivisions (A) and (B) of this subdivision (4).

Sec. 34.  16 V.S.A. § 3448(a)(7) is amended to read:

(7)  Award of construction aid.

(A)  The Except as provided in other subdivisions of this subdivision (7) and elsewhere in law, the amount of an award shall be 30 percent of the approved cost of the project.

(B)  The amount of an award for the incremental costs associated with the installation of a space heating, water heating, cooling, or refrigeration system that uses biomass, a geothermal/ground source, wind, or solar energy as the primary heating or cooling source shall be 75 percent of the approved cost of those elements of the project specifically related to the renewable fuel source being used; provided that those elements:

(i)  may include the costs of necessary equipment, a chimney, air quality technology, and additional square footage necessary to house the heating unit and fuel; and further provided that those elements

(ii)  shall not include the costs of staff areas, site improvements relating to fuel delivery, and other ancillary costs as determined by the commissioner; and

(iii)  will realize savings which are life-cycle cost-effective as determined by the commissioner.

(C)  The amount of an award shall be 50 percent of the approved cost of a project or applicable portion of a project which results in consolidation of two or more school buildings and which will serve the educational needs of students in a more cost-effective and educationally appropriate manner as compared to individual projects constructed separately.  A decision of the commissioner as to eligibility for aid under this subdivision (C) shall be final.  This subdivision (C) shall apply only to a project which has received preliminary approval by June 30, 2010.

Sec. 35.  16 V.S.A. § 3448f(f)(2) and (4) are amended to read:

(2)  Approval of application.  The commissioner may approve an application for state aid under this section if the commissioner finds that the potential energy and operational cost-savings are likely to be equal to or greater than the cost of the project by the end of the contract period.  After consultation with the department of buildings and general services and any other expert resources that may be available, including Efficiency Vermont and the school energy management program of the Vermont superintendents association, the commissioner may approve a complete application.

(4)  Award of state aid.  A district shall not be reimbursed for debt incurred due to borrowing funds in anticipation of aid under this section.  The total amount of an award shall be 20 percent of the approved total cost of the project, provided the total award shall not exceed the total payment that would be due from the district, less interest.  The general assembly shall not approve an amount for this line item which exceeds five percent of the capital budget allocated for school construction projects in that year.

Sec. 36.  16  V.S.A. § 4028(b) is amended to read:

(b)  Payments made for special education under chapter 101 of this title, for technical education, including educational program equipment for regional technical education centers and comprehensive high schools under chapter 37 of this title, and for other aid and categorical grants paid for support of education shall also be from the education fund.

Sec. 37.  SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION; STATE AID; MORATORIUM

(a)  The commissioner of education shall not accept any final applications for state aid under chapter 123 of Title 16 unless prior to March 7, 2007, the electorate has voted funds or authorized bonds, and thereafter all periods for reconsideration of the vote have expired, except for those projects which are:

(1)  emergency projects eligible to be assigned first priority under 16 V.S.A. § 3448(a)(3)(A);

(2)  necessary to ensure the health and safety, as determined by the commissioner, of students and employees using the building;

(3)  school consolidation projects eligible for 50 percent aid under 16 V.S.A. § 3448(a)(7)(C);

(4)  built under a performance contract and eligible for 20 percent aid under 16 V.S.A. § 3448f; and

(5)  biomass projects eligible for 75 percent aid under 16 V.S.A. § 3448(a)(7)(B).

(b)  This moratorium on state aid for school construction shall continue until all eligible applications have received all obligated state aid, and until the general assembly has adopted a plan to address the needs and pressures of school construction.

Sec. 38.  COMMISSIONER OF EDUCATION; REPORT

On or before January 1, 2008, the commissioner of education shall report to the general assembly on options considered and specific recommendations to address the needs and pressures of school construction, including recommendations for a funding mechanism for state school construction aid and revisions to criteria for school construction project approval.

Sec. 39.  REPEAL

Sec. 49 of No. 68 of the Acts of 2003 and amended by Sec. 54 of No. 121 of the Acts of 2004, relating to construction aid for school consolidation is repealed.

* * * State Colleges * * *

Sec. 40.  SPENDING AND BONDING AUTHORIZATION; VERMONT STATE COLLEGES

Pursuant to subsection 2171(e) of Title 16, the Vermont State Colleges is authorized to expend up to $1,000,000 of its self-generated revenues established for the purpose of capital improvements on housing, dining, and general purpose facilities.

Sec. 41.  16 V.S.A. § 2171(e) is amended to read:

(e)  The corporation may make expenditures for capital improvements provided those capital improvements receive the specific prior approval of the general assembly.  Upon receiving approval, the.  The corporation is authorized to borrow money for building purposes, to give security therefor as may be required, to execute necessary or proper instruments in connection therewith, and is also authorized to accept, use, and administer such funds as may be made available to it for any of its corporate purposes by the United States or any of its agencies, and to agree to any terms and conditions with reference thereto which may be required thereby not inconsistent with its corporate purposes.

* * * Agency of Natural Resources * * *

Sec. 42.  10 V.S.A. § 1626a(c) is amended to read:

(c)  Additional state assistance eligibility.

(1)  Grants.  A proposed wastewater treatment plant which is eligible for a loan under subsection (b) of this section, and a wastewater treatment plant with a design hydraulic capacity of 250,000 or more gallons per day which is being refurbished, shall in addition be eligible for a grant of up to 50 percent of the cost of that portion of the plant to be used to treat septage, or septage and sludge in combination, if the commissioner of environmental conservation finds that the proposed plant capacity will be sufficient to receive, treat and dispose of septage alone in a quantity equivalent to the ratio of 4,000 gallons or more of such septage per day for each 1,000,000 gallons per day of plant design hydraulic capacity.  The portion of the plant used for processing septage, or septage and sludge in combination, shall include facilities for receiving septage and for the storage, treatment, transfer, and disposal of both septage and sludge.

* * *

Sec. 43.  24 V.S.A. § 4753(d) is amended to read:

(d)  Funds from the Vermont environmental protection agency pollution control fund and the Vermont pollution control revolving fund, established by subdivisions (a)(1) and (2) of subsection (a) of this section, may be awarded for:

(1)  the refurbishment or construction of a new or an enlarged wastewater treatment plant with a resulting total capacity of 250,000 gallons or more per day in accordance with the provisions of this chapter and section 1626a of Title 10; or

* * *

Sec. 44.  Sec. 8(a)(2) of No. 52 of the Acts of 1989, as amended by Sec. 18 of No. 276 of the Acts of the 1988 Adj. Sess. (1989) and Sec. 32 of No. 29 of the Acts of 1999, is amended to read:

(2)  That this conveyance shall be completed within 20 30 years of the effective date of this act.

Sec. 45.  24 V.S.A. § 4751 is amended to read:

§ 4751.  DECLARATION OF POLICY

It is hereby declared to be in the public interest to foster and promote timely expenditures by municipalities for water supply, water pollution control and solid waste management, each of which is declared to be an essential governmental function when undertaken and implemented by a municipality.  It is also declared to be in the public interest to promote expenditures for certain existing privately-owned public water systems and certain privately-owned wastewater and potable water supply systems to bring those systems into compliance with federal and state standards and to protect public health.

Sec. 46.  24 V.S.A. § 4753(a) is amended to read:

(a)  There is hereby established a series of special funds to be known as:

(1)  The Vermont environmental protection agency (EPA) pollution control revolving fund which shall be used to provide loans to municipalities, state agencies, and the Vermont housing finance agency, for planning sewage systems and sewage treatment or disposal plants as defined in sections 3501(6) and 3601 of this title, for constructing publicly-owned sewage systems and sewage treatment or disposal plants as defined in sections 3501(6) and 3601 of this title, for planning or construction of certain privately-owned wastewater systems, and for implementing related management programs.

(2)  The Vermont pollution control revolving fund which shall be used to provide loans to municipalities, state agencies, and the Vermont housing finance agency, for planning pollution control facilities and, for constructing publicly-owned pollution control facilities, and for constructing certain privately-owned wastewater systems and potable water supply systems.

* * *

Sec. 47.  24 V.S.A. § 4753a is amended to read:

§ 4753a.  AWARDS FROM REVOLVING LOAN FUNDS

(a)  Pollution control.  The general assembly shall approve all categories of awards made from the special funds established by section 4753 of this title for water pollution control facility construction, in order to assure that such awards conform with state policy on water quality and pollution abatement, and with the state policy that, except as provided in subsection (c) of this section, municipal entities shall receive first priority in the award of public monies for such construction, including monies returned to the revolving funds from previous awards.  To facilitate this legislative oversight, the secretary of natural resources shall annually no later than January 15 report to the house and senate committees on institutions and on natural resources and energy on all awards made from the relevant special funds during the prior and current fiscal years, and shall report on and seek legislative approval of all the types of projects for which awards are proposed to be made from the relevant special funds during the current or any subsequent fiscal year.  Where feasible, the specific projects shall be listed.

(b)  Water supply.  The secretary of natural resources shall no later than January 15, 2000 recommend to the house and senate committees on institutions and on natural resources and energy a procedure for reporting to and seeking the concurrence of the legislature with regard to the special funds established by section 4753 of this title for water supply facility construction.

(c)  Notwithstanding other priorities established in law, the secretary may award up to $500,000.00 of the funds from the Vermont environmental protection agency control fund and the Vermont pollution control revolving fund, combined, to a state agency, the Vermont housing finance agency, or a municipality for the administration of loans for the repair or replacement of failed wastewater systems and failed potable water supplies, as those terms are defined in section 1972 of Title 10.  Upon award of funds under this section, the state agency, Vermont housing finance agency, or municipality shall agree, pursuant to a memorandum of understanding with the secretary of natural resources, to repay the funds awarded to the special fund from which they were drawn.

* * * Vermont State Hospital * * *

Sec. 48.  VERMONT STATE HOSPITAL FUTURE PLANNING ADVISORY GROUP; MENTAL HEALTH OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE; REPEAL

The Vermont State Hospital future planning advisory group and the mental health oversight committee created by Secs. 141a and 141c of No. 122 of the Acts of the 2003 Adj. Sess. (2004), and extended to July 1, 2009 by Secs. 293 and 293a of No. 215 of the 2005 Adj. Sess. (2006), shall cease to exist on passage of this act.

Sec. 49.  Sec.1(c) of  S.124 as enacted by the general assembly during the 2007 legislative session is amended to read:

(c)  Notwithstanding Sec. 3(b) of No. 43 of 2005 and Sec. 4(a) of No. 147 of the 2005 Adj. Sess. (2006) which appropriated funds to the department of buildings and general services for planning, design, and permitting associated with the creation of a new inpatient facility to replace the current Vermont state hospital, and which made encumbrance of the funds contingent upon approval by the mental health oversight committee and the joint fiscal committee, the department of buildings and general services may encumber and disburse the funds without approval of the two committees, except such funds expended for consulting services described in subsection (d) of this section.  Funds shall be used for work authorized by the conceptual certificate of need received on April 12, 2007 necessary to complete an application for a certificate of need under subchapter 5 of chapter 221 of 18 V.S.A.

Sec. 50.  Sec.1(d)(3) of  S.124 as enacted by the general assembly during the 2007 legislative session is amended to read:

(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.  At the same meeting, the secretary of human services and commissioner of buildings and general services shall report on the progress of the work necessary to complete an application for a certificate of need and carried out under subsection (c) of this section.  Following this report, the secretary and commissioner shall work with the senate and house committees on institutions to develop a proposal that will be taken to the department of banking, insurance, securities, and health care administration for phase two of the certificate of need application.  The consultant or consultants shall submit a final report to the above mentioned committee chairs, and to the joint fiscal committee, the secretary of administration, and the secretary of human services no later than November 1, 2007.

* * * Effective Dates * * *

Sec. 51.  EFFECTIVE DATES

This act shall take effect on passage.  The sums appropriated and the spending authority authorized by this act shall be continuing and shall not revert at the end of the fiscal year.

(Committee Vote: 5-0-0)

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

The Committee recommends that the Senate propose to the House to amend the bill as recommended by the Committee on Institutions with the following amendments thereto:

First: By striking out Sec. 37 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof two new sections to be Secs. 37 and 37a to read:

Sec. 37.  STATE SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION AID; FINDINGS

The general assembly finds that:

(1)  The capital debt affordability advisory committee has recommended that the state issue general obligation bonds in the amount of no more than $49,200,000 in fiscal year 2008.

(2)  This act commits $10,082,738 of the $49,200,000 to state aid for school construction but is unable to meet the actual state obligation for school construction aid of  $33,333,264.

(3)  The 1996 general assembly set up a procedure by which school districts may proceed with urgently needed school construction projects and not be delayed by the state's inability to have its share of state aid to school construction aid available as needed.

Sec. 37a.  24 V.S.A. § 1758(b)(3) is amended and (4) is added to read:

(3) The warning and ballot shall contain the following set forth in bold-faced type:

State funds may not be available at the time this project is otherwise eligible to receive state school construction aid. The commissioner of education estimates that this project may not receive state aid for        years.  The district is responsible for all costs incurred in connection with any borrowing done in anticipation of state school construction aid.

(4)  Each September, the commissioner of education shall estimate the number of years likely to elapse prior to each of priority 1, 2, and 3 school construction projects receiving a first payment under 16 V.S.A. chapter 123.  The commissioner shall make these figures available so that a school board may enter them into the ballot language required for a bond vote pursuant to subdivision (3) of this subsection.

Second:  By striking out Secs. 48, 49, and 50 in their entirety

(Committee Vote: 7-0-0)

(For House amendments, see House Journal for March 1, 2007, page 291.)

H. 522

An act relating to the viability of Vermont agriculture.

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

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.  GOALS

The goals of this act are for Vermont to:

(1)  Support programs and policies that foster the development of a diversified agricultural sector that:

(A)  offers farmers an opportunity to sell their products to a marketplace that pays them a reasonable rate of return for their labor and capital investments;

(B)  offers the public nutritious and safe foods;

(C)  produces, markets, and distributes agricultural products in a sustainable manner that conserves energy and the environment;

(D)  fosters on-farm renewable energy production and its infrastructure that maximizes energy conservation and efficiency and limits greenhouse gases;

(E)  provides economic stability to preserve the necessary infrastructure of the agricultural industry;

(F)  expands the market opportunities for farm-raised poultry and other meat products.

(2)  Maintain the state’s prominence as a major milk producer in the region, and;

(A)  assure a continued supply of high quality milk to processors and consumers in the region;

(B)  enable Vermont dairy farmers, processors, and retailers and their supporting infrastructure to achieve a positive return on their labor and investment;

(3)  Enable agricultural operations of diverse sizes producing a wide array of products to prosper in Vermont and contribute to the state and regional economy.

(4)  Support initiatives such as the development of a mobile slaughtering unit to serve Vermont poultry farmers.

(5)  Assure continued stewardship of the land with respect for the environment and efficient use of energy.

Sec. 2.  LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS

The general assembly finds:

(1)  A viable agricultural sector in Vermont represents part of a secure regional food supply, which in turn lends itself to energy and economic efficiencies.

(2)  The general public is increasingly interested in locally produced food.

(3)  The benefits of local food systems to local communities include open land, jobs, nutritious and safe foods, and youth education opportunities.

(4)  Farms are an integral part of Vermont’s overall economy.

(5)  Vermont agriculture is dependent upon a reliable and affordable supply of electrical energy, fuel, feed, and other supplies.

(6)  Vermont agriculture is dependent upon the availability of a competent work force; the shortage of willing and knowledgeable workers is detrimental to farm operations.

(7)  Current workers’ compensation insurance rates account for a significant portion of farmers’ payroll expenses.

(8)  Succession, or the transfer of farms from one generation to the next, is a critical part of a viable future for Vermont agriculture.

(9)  Vermont is the leading producer of fluid milk in New England, but only about five percent of its production is consumed in Vermont.

(10)  The current federal milk pricing system does not allow a reasonable return on labor and investment for most Vermont dairy farmers.

(11)  Regional marketing arrangements such as the Northeast Interstate Compact for Dairy Pricing have provided a positive operating margin without taxpayer subsidies or support.

(12)  The general assembly finds that dairy processing facilities in Vermont are crucial to both Vermont dairy farmers and the promotion of the Vermont name.

(13)  The “Vermont” name evokes a positive image for people and contributes to the marketing of Vermont products.

(14)  Value-added products offer profit potential and economic opportunity for Vermont producers and nonfarmer entrepreneurs alike.

(15)  Emerging agricultural sectors such as grape and wine growers and producers and artesan cheese makers have tremendous potential in Vermont and offer exciting value-added and agri-tourism opportunities to communities throughout the state.

(16)  Many factors affect the ability of businesses to process value-added food products, including shortage of capital, lack of design and engineering expertise, and issues relating to multi-layered state and federal regulation such as permitting, zoning, and inspection.

(17)  Institutional purchasers in Vermont have difficulty sourcing locally raised good quality products, including proteins such as meats and poultry.

(18)  There is a shortage of slaughter and meat processors as well as a lack of training opportunities for industry personnel.

(19)  Federal restrictions prevent interstate shipment of state-inspected meat from amenable species, although Vermont standards are equal to or exceed federal standards.

(20)  Relationship-based food systems such as farm-to-school programs, community supported agriculture (CSA) programs, farmers’ markets, and pick-your-own operations are increasingly popular and offer areas of opportunity for new farmers.

Sec. 3.  LEGISLATIVE INTENT

The general assembly intends:

(1)  To support and develop a more robust and self-sustaining agricultural sector that also promotes emerging agricultural industries.

(2)  That the policies and programs of the state will support and promote the Vermont agriculture industry as a vital component of the state’s economy and essential steward of our land.

(3)  That current policies and programs pertaining to the viability of Vermont’s agricultural industry be reviewed and confirmed or changed in order to assure the long-term economic prosperity of the industry.

(4)  That Vermont will cooperate and coordinate with other northeastern states to assure stable and fair prices for milk sold in the northeastern market.

(5)  That Vermont will promote processing and consumption of agricultural products bearing the Vermont seal of quality.

* * * Local Food Procurement * * *

Sec. 4.  FOOD AND DAIRY PROCUREMENT

(a)  The agency of agriculture, food and markets in cooperation with the agency of administration and the department of buildings and general services shall establish a system whereby the state will follow its own “buy local” campaign by purchasing local food and dairy products.  In so doing, the agency shall determine:

(1)  The amount of food and dairy products purchased annually by the state and state-funded entities, other than primary and secondary schools, and the associated costs.

(2)  The number and type of government and state-funded entities that purchase food and dairy products and the quantities and varieties purchased by each.

(3)  The person or persons with authority to make food and dairy purchasing decisions within each entity and the scope of that authority.

(4)  The implications of a program that directs “local” purchasing.

(b)  The agency of agriculture, food and markets, the agency of administration, and the department of buildings and general services shall:

(1)  Establish a system for local producers and processors to market their products to state purchasing entities.

(2)  Establish a system for state purchasing entities to advertise to and connect with local producers and processors.

(3)  Establish a program in the agency of agriculture, food and markets to provide strategic and technical assistance to local producers and processors for creating or enlarging the facilities necessary to produce or process food for sale to the state or other expanded markets.

(4)  Establish a system for the purchase of local food and dairy products at all levels of state government, other than primary and secondary schools, and at state-funded entities, other than primary and secondary schools.

(5)  Draft rules, policies and procedures for this section and report their findings with respect to feasibility, cost and progress to the joint agriculture committees on or before November 1, 2007.

(c)  All rules, policies, and procedures necessary to implement this section shall be adopted on or before October 1, 2008.

(d)  In carrying out the provisions of this section, the agency of agriculture, food and markets, the agency of administration, and the department of buildings and general services shall seek input from and work with citizen and farmer organizations such as the Northeast Organic Farming Association, Vermont F.E.E.D., and the Vermont Fresh Network.

* * * Dairy Processing * * *

Sec. 5.  INSTATE PROCESSING FACILITIES

(a)  Legislative finding.  The general assembly finds that dairy processing facilities in Vermont are an integral part of the infrastructure of both Vermont agriculture and the entire Vermont economy.  These facilities provide jobs and create income that is spent multiple times in Vermont.

(b)  The secretary of agriculture, food and markets shall:

(1)  Determine ways to attract and retain dairy processors to the state;

(2)  Determine ways to increase the numbers of producers processing their own milk;

(3)  Calculate the additional costs and benefits to dairy producers that may result from these additional processors;

(4)  Develop proposals for developing additional instate processing facilities.  These proposals and any recommendations for legislative action shall be presented to the house and senate committees on agriculture on or before November 1, 2007.

Sec. 6.  DAIRY PRICING INITIATIVE

The secretary of the agency of agriculture, food and markets shall endeavor to reestablish the Northeast Interstate Compact for Dairy Pricing or establish an alternative regional pricing system that assures Vermont dairy farmers of a fair, stable, and equitable price for their milk.  The secretary shall collaborate with Vermont’s Congressional delegation, the governor’s dairy task force, the coordinated milk pricing group, the region’s dairy cooperatives, and the Congressional delegations and state legislatures of the other states in the region to take such steps as necessary to assure the continued viability of dairy farming in the northeast and to assure consumers of an adequate, local supply of pure and wholesome milk.

* * * On-farm Poultry Processing and Labeling for Sale * * *

Sec. 7.  DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND AGENCY OF AGRICULTURE, FOOD AND MARKETS REGULATIONS

The department of health shall not require inspection of poultry that is exempt from inspection under 6 V.S.A. § 3312(b).

Sec. 8.  6 V.S.A § 3312 is amended to read:

§ 3312.  INSPECTION; EXCEPTION EXCEPTIONS

(a)  Inspection shall not be provided under this chapter at any establishment for the slaughter of livestock or poultry or the preparation of any livestock products or poultry products which are not intended for use as human food, but these products shall, prior to their offer for sale or transportation in intrastate commerce, unless naturally inedible by humans, be denatured or otherwise identified as prescribed by rules of the secretary to deter their use for human food.  These licensed establishments shall be subject to periodic review.

(b)  Inspection shall not be required for the slaughter or preparation of poultry products of the producer’s own raising on the producer’s own farm, whether or not they are intended for use as human food if:

(1)  Fewer than 1,000 birds are slaughtered annually; and

(2)  No birds are offered for sale or transportation in interstate commerce; and

(3)  The poultry products are only sold, as whole birds only, from the farm, at a farmers’ market, or to a food restaurant licensed by the commissioner of health, or are for personal use.

(c)  All poultry sold at a farmers’ market or to a restaurant pursuant to the exemption in subsection (b) of this section shall be labeled with the following information:

(1)  Name of farm and name of producer;

(2)  Address of farm including zip code;

(3)  “Exempt per 6 V.S.A. § 3312(b):  NOT INSPECTED.”  This statement shall be prominently displayed with such conspicuousness (as compared with other words or statements, designs, or devices in the labeling) as to render it likely to be read and understood under customary conditions of purchase and use.

(4)  Safe handling and cooking instructions as follows:

“SAFE HANDLING INSTRUCTIONS:

Keep refrigerated or frozen.  Thaw in refrigerator or microwave.

Keep raw poultry separate from other foods.

Wash working surfaces, including cutting boards, utensils, and hands after touching raw poultry.

Cook thoroughly to an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit maintained for at least 15 seconds.

Keep hot foods hot.  Refrigerate leftovers immediately or discard.”

(d)  Poultry sold to food restaurants under the exemption in subsection (b) of this section shall also include the following on the label:

“Any menu item that includes this poultry must clearly state the name of the farm and have the words “poultry processed on the farm and not inspected” on the menu in proximity to the menu item.”

(e)  The poultry producer, upon first selling poultry to a food restaurant, must procure a signed statement from the food restaurant stating that the food restaurant is aware that the poultry is exempted from inspection under subsection (b) of this section, and that the menu of the food restaurant must have the information required by subsection (d) of this section.  The poultry producer must keep the signed statement on file as long as the producer is selling poultry to the food restaurant under this section.  The poultry producer must have a signed statement on file from each food restaurant to which poultry is sold under this section and an exact copy of each statement, including the name of the producer and the name of the purchasing restaurant shall be forwarded to the department of health.

Sec. 9.  POULTRY SLAUGHTER STUDY

(a)  The agency of agriculture, food and markets shall review the effectiveness of the mobile processing units authorized by this act and the exemption from inspection authorized by this act.  The agency shall also consider the benefits to the poultry industry of each program individually and both programs working together.

(b)  The agency shall report its findings and recommendations no sooner than November 1, 2009 and no later than December 1, 2009.

* * * Authorizing Mobile Processing Units * * *

Sec. 10.  6 V.S.A. § 3302 is amended to read:

§ 3302. DEFINITIONS

As used in this chapter, except as otherwise specified, the following terms shall have the meanings stated below:

* * *

(42)  “Mobile slaughter and processing establishment” means any transportable structure used for slaughtering or processing of meat or poultry products on a farm or on an agricultural fairground registered pursuant to section 3902 of Title 20. 

Sec. 11.  6 V.S.A. § 3305(17) and (18) are added to read:

(17)  authorize and recognize mobile slaughter and processing establishments as official establishments or exempt them under subdivision 3305(13) of this section;

(18)  sell or lease a mobile slaughtering unit and may retain any proceeds therefrom in a revolving fund designated for the purpose of purchasing additional mobile slaughtering units by the agency.

* * * Vermont Seal of Quality * * *

Sec. 12.  6 V.S.A. § 2964(e) is amended and (f) is added to read:

(e)  As used in this chapter, "agricultural products" means any product of a farming operation as defined in 10 V.S.A. § 6001(22)(A), (B), (C) and, (D), and poultry slaughtered and inspected using a mobile processing unit authorized pursuant to subdivision 3305(17) of this title.

(f)  The secretary shall annually review the effectiveness of the identification program for increasing the value of Vermont agricultural products.

* * * Mobile Processing Units Comply with AAPs * * *

Sec. 13.  6 V.S.A. § 4810(a)(1) is amended to read:

(1)  "Accepted Agricultural Practices" (AAPs) shall be standards to be followed in conducting agricultural activities in this state.  These standards shall address activities which have a potential for causing pollutants to enter the groundwater and waters of the state, including dairy and other livestock operations plus all forms of crop and nursery operations and on-farm or agricultural fairground, registered pursuant to section 3902 of Title 20, livestock and poultry slaughter and processing activities.  The AAPs shall include, as well as promote and encourage, practices for farmers in preventing pollutants from entering the groundwater and waters of the state when engaged in, but not limited to, animal waste management and disposal, soil amendment applications, plant fertilization, and pest and weed control.  Persons engaged in farming, as defined in section 6001 of Title 10, who follow these practices shall be presumed to be in compliance with water quality standards. AAPs shall be practical and cost effective to implement.  The AAPs for groundwater shall include a process under which the agency shall receive, investigate, and respond to a complaint that a farm has contaminated the drinking water or groundwater of a property owner.

* * * Enforcement of Accepted Agriculture Practices * * *

Sec. 14.  6 V.S.A. § 4812 is amended to read:

§ 4812.  CORRECTIVE ACTIONS

(a)  When the secretary of agriculture, food and markets determines that a person engaged in farming is managing a farm using practices which are inconsistent with practices defined by rules under this subchapter, the secretary may issue a written warning which shall be served in person or by certified mail, return receipt requested.  The warning shall include a brief description of the alleged violation, identification of this statute and applicable rules, a recommendation for corrective actions that may be taken by the person, along with a summary of federal and state assistance programs which may be utilized by the person to remedy the violation and a request for an abatement schedule from the person according to which the practice shall be altered.  The person shall have 30 days to respond to the written warning.  If the person fails to respond to the written warning within this period or to take corrective action to change the practices in order to protect water quality, the secretary may act pursuant to subsection (b) of this section in order to protect water quality.

(b)  After an opportunity for a hearing, the secretary may issue cease and desist orders and institute appropriate proceedings on behalf of the agency to enforce this subchapter.

(c)  Whenever the secretary believes that any person engaged in farming is in violation of this subchapter or rules adopted thereunder, an action may be brought in the name of the agency in a court of competent jurisdiction to restrain by temporary or permanent injunction the continuation or repetition of the violation.  The court may issue temporary or permanent injunctions, and other relief as may be necessary and appropriate to curtail any violations.

(d)  The secretary may assess administrative penalties in accordance with sections 15, 16, and 17 of this title against any farmer who violates a cease and desist order or other order issued under subsection (b) of this section.

(e)  Any person subject to an enforcement order or an administrative penalty who is aggrieved by the final decision of the secretary may appeal to the superior court within 30 days of the decision.  The administrative judge may specially assign an environmental judge to superior court for the purpose of hearing an appeal.

* * * Permit Amendments * * *

Sec. 15.  10 V.S.A. § 6081(s) is added to read:

(s)  No permit amendment is required for farming that:

(1)  will occur on primary agricultural soils preserved in accordance with section 6093 of this title; or

(2)  will not conflict with any permit condition issued pursuant to this chapter. 

Permits shall include a statement that farming is permitted on lands exempt from amendment jurisdiction under this subsection.

* * * Farm Workers’ Compensation * * *

Sec. 16.  FARM WORKERS’ COMPENSATION INSURANCE

(a)  The secretary of the agency of agriculture, food and markets shall consult with the department of labor; the department of banking, insurance, securities, and health care; and representatives of the farm community to determine what can be done to lower the cost of workers’ compensation for agricultural employers.  The secretary shall report with recommendations to the house and senate committees on agriculture on or before November 1, 2007.

(b)  The department of labor, in consultation with the agency of agriculture, food and markets, the University of Vermont extension service, the department of health, the Vermont farm bureau, the Green Mountain Council of Cooperatives, and other interested parties, shall develop a statewide farm safety initiative.  The initiative shall perform outreach, technical assistance, and training for farmers and farm workers in best safety practices to be followed and assist in reinforcing a culture of safety on the farm.  In conjunction with this effort, the department of banking, insurance, securities, and health care administration shall work with insurers to get merit rating and other discounts for farms with good safety records.

(c)  The agency of agriculture, food and markets shall collaborate with farm organizations to alert farmers of the advantages of consulting alternative providers about the cost of their farm workers’ compensation insurance.

(d) The agency of agriculture, food and markets, the department of labor, and the department of banking, insurance, securities and health care administration shall submit a brief report on the effectiveness of this section in reducing workers’ compensation insurance rates. The report shall be submitted no later than January 15, 2008.

* * * Farm Energy * * *

Sec. 17.  FARM ENERGY PURCHASE REPORT

(a)  Legislative findings.  The general assembly finds that state-government buildings use 4.2 megawatt hours of electricity each year.

(b)  The agency of agriculture, food and markets shall study establishing a farm energy purchase program in coordination with the Vermont electric utility companies.  The study shall consider whether there is a need to develop a program to purchase renewable energy attributes from farm-based renewable energy projects to ensure a market for farm produced energy.  The study shall also consider how farm-based renewable energy can help to support a portion of state government electrical usage and the possibility of modeling a voluntary statewide program after Central Vermont Public Service’s “Cow Power” program.  The agency shall report to the house and senate committees on or before November 1, 2007 with its findings and any legislative proposals.

* * * Statutory Review * * *

Sec. 18.  AGENCY OF AGRICULTURE, FOOD AND MARKETS REVIEW

(a)  The agency of agriculture, food and markets in consultation with the legislative council shall jointly review existing state statutes as they pertain to public or quasi public entities created to provide and promote services to the Vermont agriculture sector.  The review shall consider the relevancy of the statutes as they relate to economic conditions in which Vermont agriculture is operating today.  The review shall include recommended changes in authorizing language to improve effectiveness in the development and delivery of programs designed to enhance the long-term viability of Vermont’s agriculture industry.

(b)  The agency of agriculture, food and markets with the legislative council shall report their findings back to the house and senate committees on agriculture no later than November 1, 2007.

* * * Viticulture * * *

Sec. 19.  VERMONT GRAPE AND WINE COUNCIL

(a)  The agency of agriculture, food and markets shall help establish a Vermont grape and wine council.  The council shall include representatives of grape growers, wine producers,  the University of Vermont extension program, the University of Vermont College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the agency of agriculture, food and markets, the department of economic development, the department of tourism and marketing and the hospitality council of the Vermont chamber of commerce.

(b)  The Vermont grape and wine council shall:

(1)  provide long-term support to the emerging grape and wine industries in Vermont by providing services, including research and education;

(2)  explore mechanisms such as grants and dues from its institutional members for funding its activities;

(3)  collaborate with the department of labor in order to seek workforce development funding;

(4)  foster the development of partnerships between all parties interested in the emerging grape and wine industry.

* * * Meat Production * * *

Sec. 20.  MEAT CUTTERS

The Department of labor in cooperation with the agency of agriculture, food and markets shall work with the meat processing industry to provide technical assistance, training, education, and other assistance to help expand the industry in Vermont.

* * * Labor * * *

Sec. 21.  DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

(a)  Legislative finding.  All agricultural industries are experiencing an

ever-increasing need for workers who are willing to work the hours involved in agriculture and who have the multiple skills necessary to handle successfully the multiple and varied responsibilities of the various facets of the agriculture industry.  Therefore, the department of labor has a crucial and ongoing role in the long-term viability of Vermont agriculture.

(b)  The department of labor shall at all times work in cooperation with the agency of agriculture, food and markets as well as the varied agricultural industries in Vermont and shall focus efforts on sustaining and strengthening the viability of Vermont agriculture by recruiting, educating, training, and maintaining a strong agricultural workforce that is not only capable of working in existing agricultural industries but also in emerging areas of Vermont agriculture where the need for skilled workers is even more profound.

* * * Dairy Pricing * * *

Sec. 22.  6 V.S.A. § 2924(f) is added to read:

(f)  Payment Statements. Payment statements provided to producers of cows’ milk shall include in the payment statement the national support price, the Boston, Massachusetts price, the producer price differential, and the amount per hundredweight of any charges or deductions where applicable.  The format shall be provided with clear language and with no abbreviations, except where the abbreviation is spelled out elsewhere in the statement.

Sec. 23.  PAYMENT STATEMENT DRAFTING

The agency of agriculture, food and markets shall draft a model payment statement that carries out the intent of Sec. 22 of this act and that may be used by milk purchasers.

Sec. 24.  EFFECTIVE DATE

This act shall take effect upon passage.

(Committee Vote: 5-0-0)

(For House amendments, see House Journal for March 22, 2007, page 385.)

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.


CONSENT CALENDAR

Concurrent Resolutions for Adoption Under Joint Rule 16a

     The following concurrent resolutions have been introduced for approval by the Senate and House and will be adopted automatically unless a Senator or Representative requests floor consideration before today’s adjournment.  Requests for floor consideration in either chamber should be communicated to the Secretary’s office and/or the House Clerk’s office, respectively.  For text of resolutions, see Addendum to Senate Calendar of Thursday, April 19, 2007.

S.C.R. 20.

     Senate concurrent resolution congratulating Steve Locke and David Rowlee on the completion of their leadership service at the Vermont Professional Firefighters Association.

S.C.R. 21. 

     Senate concurrent resolution honoring Pati Papineau for her leadership roles as a mentor for young women, a broadcast journalist, and for her religious and community-based charitable activities.

H.C.R. 117

House concurrent resolution congratulating Evelyn Weeks of Bellows Falls on her selection as the 2007 Great Falls Regional Chamber of Commerce Person of the Year

H.C.R.  118

House concurrent resolution honoring Philip R. Benedict for his 36 years of exemplary service at the Vermont agency of agriculture, food and markets

H.C.R.  119

House concurrent resolution congratulating Harwood Union High School students’ award-winning jazz musicianship

H.C.R.  120

House concurrent resolution congratulating the 2007 Mount Abraham Union High School Eagles Division II championship boys’ basketball team

H.C.R.  121

House concurrent resolution honoring the Middlebury Union Middle School 2007 MATHCOUNTS® Vermont state championship team


H.C.R.  122

House concurrent resolution honoring the musical choral ensemble Counterpoint and congratulating Robert De Cormier on his receipt of an honorary degree from Middlebury College

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)

Kathryn  T. Boardman of Shelburne - Member of the Vermont Municipal Bond Bank - By Sen. Condos for the Committee on Finance.  (4/18)

David Coen of Shelburne - Member of the Public Service Board - By Sen. Ayer for the Committee on Finance.  (4/18)

Steven Gurin of Barre - Member of the Educational and Health Buildings Finance Agency - By Sen. Maynard for the Committee on Finance.  (4/18)

Paulettte Thabault of South Burlington - Commissioner of the Department of Banking, Insurance, Securities and Health Care Administration - By Sen. Maynard for the Committee on Finance.  (4/18)

Paulette Thabault of South Burlington - Commissioner of the Department of Banking, Insurance, Securities and Health Care Administration - by Sen. Maynard for the Committee on Finance.  (4/18)

Laurie A. Rowell of Rockingham - Member of the Valuation Appeals Board - by Sen. McCormack for the Committee on Finance.  (4/24)



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us