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Senate Calendar

tuesday, april 24, 2007

112th DAY OF BIENNIAL SESSION

TABLE OF CONTENTS

                                                                                                                Page No.

ACTION CALENDAR

Third Reading

H. 148    Relating to the child abuse registry..................................................... 993

H. 154    Relating to stormwater management.................................................. 993

                        Sen. Illuzzi amendment............................................................. 993

H. 296    Relating to potable water supply & wastewater system permitting...... 994

                        Sen. Bartlett amendment.......................................................... 994

H. 313    Administration & enforcement of fines within the judicial bureau......... 994

                        Sen. Illuzzi amendment............................................................. 994

Second Reading

Favorable with Recommendation of Amendment

S. 108     Election for statewide & national offices by instant runoff voting......... 995

                        Government Operations Committee Report.............................. 995

Favorable with Proposal of Amendment

H. 522    Relating to the viability of Vermont agriculture.................................. 1000

                        Agriculture Committee Report................................................ 1000

NOTICE CALENDAR

Favorable with Proposal of Amendment

H. 518    Relating to technical tax amendments............................................... 1012

                        Finance Committee Report.................................................... 1012

ORDERED TO LIE

S. 70       Empowering municipalities to regulate application of pesticides......... 1013


S. 102     Decreasing percentage to determine school dist. excess spending..... 1013

S. 118     Fiscal review of high spending districts & special education.............. 1013

S. 120     Wine tastings and farmers’ markets................................................. 1014




 

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ACTION CALENDAR

Third Reading

H. 148

An act relating to the child abuse registry.

H. 154

An act relating to stormwater management.

PROPOSAL OF AMENDMENT TO H. 154 TO BE OFFERED BY SENATOR ILLUZZI BEFORE THIRD READING

Senator Illuzzi moves that the Senate propose to the House to amend the bill by adding a new section to be numbered Sec. 6a to read as follows:

Sec. 6a.  STUDY COMMITTEE

     (a)  The secretary of natural resources shall study whether the maximum daily load (TMDL) plan for Lake Champlain should be amended and filed with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as required by 33 U.S.C. §303.

     (b)  In conducting the study the Secretary shall confer with interested and affected parties, including the Conservation Law Foundation, the Vermont Natural Resources Council, the Lake Champlain Basin Program, the Lake Champlain Committee, the Greater Burlington Industrial Corporation, Franklin County Industrial Development Corporation, and Addison County Economic Development Corporation.

     (c)  The study shall specifically address whether the secretary of natural resources shall reopen the total maximum daily load plan for Lake Champlain as it pertains to the water 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;

(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; and

(E)  Estimate costs to the state, municipalities and businesses associated with any amended TMDL plan.

     (d)  The secretary shall submit his or her report and recommendations no later than January 15, 2008, to the senate committee on economic development, housing and general affairs and to the senate and house committees on natural resources and energy.

H. 296

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

PROPOSAL OF AMENDMENT TO H. 296 TO BE OFFERED BY SENATOR BARTLETT BEFORE THIRD READING

Senator Bartlett moves that the Senate propose to the House to amend the bill by striking out Sec 1 in its entirety and renumbering the remaining sections of the bill to be numerically correct.

H. 313

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

PROPOSAL OF AMENDMENT TO H. 313 TO BE OFFERED BY SENATOR ILLUZZI BEFORE THIRD READING

Senator Illuzzi moves to amend the Senate proposal of amendment by striking out Sec. 18 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 18 to read as follows:

Sec. 18.  24 V.S.A. § 441 is amended to read:

§ 441. APPOINTMENT; JURISDICTION; EX OFFICIO NOTARIES; APPLICATION

(a) The judges of the superior court may appoint as many notaries public for the county as the public good requires, to hold office until ten days after the expiration of the term of office of such judges, whose jurisdiction shall extend throughout the state.

(b) The clerk of the supreme court, county clerks, district court clerks, family court clerks, justices of the peace, and town clerks and their assistants shall be ex officio notaries public.

(c)(1) Unless subdivision (2) of this subsection applies, every Every applicant for appointment and commission as a notary public shall complete an application to be filed with the clerk of the superior court stating that the applicant is a resident of the county and has reached the age of majority, giving his business or home address and providing a handwritten specimen of the applicant's official signature.

(2)  The judges of the superior court may appoint as a notary public a person not less than 17 years of age upon application to the clerk of the superior court stating that the applicant is an honor student and a resident of the county, giving the applicant’s home address and providing a handwritten specimen of his or her official signature.  The application shall be accompanied by a certification from the applicant’s school that the applicant is an honor student under criteria established by the school. 

(d)  The attorney general, a state’s attorney, a deputy attorney general, an assistant attorney general, and a deputy state’s attorney shall be ex officio notaries public.

(d)(e)  An ex officio notary public shall cease to be a notary public when he vacates the office on which his status as a notary public depends.

Second Reading

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. 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.)

NOTICE CALENDAR

Favorable with Proposal of Amendment

H. 518

An act relating to technical tax amendments.

Reported favorably with recommendation of proposal of amendment by Senator Maynard for the Committee on Finance.

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

     First:  By striking out Sec. 4 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 4 to read as follows:

Sec. 4.  32 V.S.A. § 5941(a) and (b) are amended to read:

(a)  The court shall include in any judgment a notice that any unpaid amounts shall amount of a fine, penalty, surcharge, or fee, but not damages, may be certified to the department for a setoff on the judgment debtor’s income tax refund and property tax adjustment under chapter 154 of this title, and the notice shall explain how the judgment debtor may challenge the certification.

(b) Sections 5934(c) and 5936 of this title, relating to the procedure for contesting the debt, shall not apply to a court seeking information setoff from a judgment debtor under this subchapter.

     Second:  In Sec. 9, 32 V.S.A., §6061 in the first line of subsection (14), by striking through the word "municipality's" as follows:  "municipality's"

(Committee Vote: 6-0-1)

(No House amendments)

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.


S. 120

An act relating to wine tastings and farmers’ markets.

PENDING QUESTION: Shall the Senate concur in the House proposal of amendment?

(For text of House Proposal of Amendment, see Senate Calendar of April 20, 2007, page 895)

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)

Steven Gurin of Barre - Member of the Educational and Health Buildings Finance Agency - 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)

PUBLIC HEARINGS

Tuesday, April 24, 2007 - Room 11 - 6:30-9:00 p.m. - Re:  Next steps for health care reform - Senate Committee on Health and Welfare and House Committee on Health Care.

Thursday, April 26, 2007 - Room 11 - 2:00-6:00 p.m. - Re:  Education quality and cost control - House Committee on Education.



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us