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Senate Calendar

wednesday, april 25, 2007

113th DAY OF BIENNIAL SESSION

TABLE OF CONTENTS

                                                                                                                Page No.

ACTION CALENDAR

UNFINISHED BUSINESS OF TUESDAY, APRIL 24, 2007

Third Reading

H. 148    Relating to the child abuse registry................................................... 1016

H. 154    Relating to stormwater management................................................ 1016

Second Reading

Favorable with Recommendation of Amendment

S. 108     Election for statewide & national offices by inst. runoff voting........... 1016

                        Government Operations Committee Report............................ 1016

NEW BUSINESS

Second Reading

Favorable with Proposal of Amendment

H. 518    Relating to technical tax amendments............................................... 1021

                        Finance Committee Report.................................................... 1021

                        Sen. Mullin amendment.......................................................... 1022

NOTICE CALENDAR

Favorable with Proposal of Amendment

H. 274    Relating to adult foster care............................................................. 1023

                        Health and Welfare Committee Report................................... 1023

                        Finance Committee Report.................................................... 1024

H. 368    Relating to regulation of professions and occupations....................... 1024

                        Government Operations Committee Report............................ 1024

                        Finance Committee Report.................................................... 1025

                        Appropriations Committee Report......................................... 1025

House Proposal of Amendment

S. 13       Relating to idling motor vehicle engines on school property............... 1025

S. 173     Awarding high school diplomas to veterans of the Vietnam era......... 1025


ORDERED TO LIE

S. 70       Empowering municipalities to regulate application of pesticides......... 1026


S. 102     Decreasing percentage to determine school dist. excess spending..... 1026

S. 118     Fiscal review of high spending districts & special education.............. 1026

S. 120     Wine tastings and farmers’ markets................................................. 1026



 

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ACTION CALENDAR

UNFINISHED BUSINESS OF TUESDAY, APRIL 24, 2007

Third Reading

H. 148

An act relating to the child abuse registry.

H. 154

An act relating to stormwater management.

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)

NEW BUSINESS

Second Reading

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"

     Third:  In Sec. 9, 32 V.S.A. §6061 subsection (14) by striking out the word “subdivsion” and inserting in lieu thereof subdivision

(Committee Vote: 6-0-1)

(No House amendments)

PROPOSAL OF AMENDMENT TO H. 518 TO BE OFFERED BY SENATOR MULLIN

Senator Mullin moves that the Senate propose to the House to amend the bill by adding new Secs. 11a, 11b and Subsection 12(4) to read as follows:

Sec. 11a. PAYMENT OF 2007 PROPERTY TAX ADJUSTMENT CLAIMS

     Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a property tax adjustment amount due under Chapter 154 of Title 32 for a claim filed in 2007 shall not be paid or credited to a municipality for adjustment to the property tax bill, but shall be paid to the claimant by the commissioner within 45 days after the claim is filed but no earlier than July 1, 2007.

Sec. 11b.  32 V.S.A. § 6066a(g) is added to read:

(g)  A claimant may elect to receive the property tax adjustment amount as an income tax refund, in lieu of a credit against the homestead property tax liability.  Payments to claimants electing under this subdivision shall be made by the commissioner within 45 days after the claim is filed but no earlier than July 1 following the date the claim is filed.

Sec. 12.  EFFECTIVE DATES

(4)  Sec. 11b of this act (optional cash payment of property tax adjustment amount) shall apply to claims filed in 2008 and after.


NOTICE CALENDAR

Favorable with Proposal of Amendment

H. 274

An act relating to adult foster care.

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

The Committee recommends that the Senate propose to the House to amend the bill by adding Secs. 3 and 4 to read as follows:

Sec. 3.  32 V.S.A. § 6061(5)(C) is amended to read:

(C)  without the inclusion of: any gifts from nongovernmental sources other than those described in subdivision (B) of this subdivision (5); surplus food or other relief in kind supplied by a governmental agency; or the first $6,500.00 of income earned by a full‑time student who qualifies as a dependent of the claimant under the federal Internal Revenue Code; the first $6,500.00 of income received by a person who qualifies as a dependent of the claimant under the Internal Revenue Code and who is the claimant’s parent or disabled adult child; or payments made by the state pursuant to chapters 49 and 55 of Title 33 for foster care, or the first $6,500.00 of payments made by the state or an agency designated in section 8907 of Title 18 for flexible family funding or difficulty of care payments made to an individual for the support of an eligible person with a developmental disability as defined in subdivision 8722(2) of Title 18 for adult foster care or to a family for the support of an eligible person with a developmental disability.  If the commissioner determines, upon application by the claimant, that a person resides with a claimant who is disabled or was at least 62 years of age as of the end of the year preceding the claim, for the primary purpose of providing attendant care services (as defined in section 6321 of Title 33) or homemaker or companionship services, with or without compensation, which allow the claimant to remain in his or her home or avoid institutionalization, the commissioner shall exclude that person’s modified adjusted gross income from the claimant’s household income.  The commissioner may require that a certificate in a form satisfactory to the commissioner be submitted which supports the claim.

Sec. 4.  EFFECTIVE DATE

Sec. 3 of this act shall apply to claims filed in 2008 and after.

(Committee Vote: 6-0-0)

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

The Committee recommends that the Senate propose to the House to amend the bill as recommended by the Committee on Health and Welfare and that the bill be further amended by adding new Secs. 5 and 6 to read as follows:

Sec. 5.  Sec. 14(b) of No. 185 of the Acts of 2005, Adjourned Session, is amended to read:

Sec. 14.  AMENDMENT OF MODIFIED ADJUSTED GROSS INCOME TRANSITION AND EFFECTIVE DATE

 (b)  Any tax assessments, including any penalties, related to prebate or rebate claims filed in 2005 or 2006 and which are contrary to the amendment in subsection (a) of this section shall be abated and any refund due to a claimant shall be paid with interest, in accordance with 32 V.S.A. § 3108.

Sec. 6.  EFFECTIVE DATE

     Sec. 5 of this act (abatement of penalties and payment of interest) shall be effective retroactively, as of May 25, 2006.

(Committee Vote: 7-0-0)

(No House amendments.)

H. 368

An act relating to the regulation of professions and occupations.

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

The Committee recommends that the Senate propose to the House to amend the bill by adding a new section to be numbered Sec. 78 to read as follows:

Sec. 78.  BOARD OF PUBLIC ACCOUNTANCY; RULEMAKING

No later than August 1, 2007, the board of public accountancy shall initiate rulemaking pursuant to chapter 25 of Title 3 to amend the board’s existing attest and audit experience requirements by filing proposed rules with the secretary of state.  The amended rules shall reflect applicant experience in non-public accounting settings and competency in the application of audit and attest techniques.  The board shall report its progress to the house and senate committees on government operations by January 15, 2008.

(Committee Vote: 5-0-0)


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

(Committee vote: 6-0-1)

Reported favorably by Senator Bartlett for the Committee on Appropriations.

(Committee vote: 6-0-1)

(No House amendments.)

House Proposals of Amendment

S. 13

An act relating to idling motor vehicle engines on school property.

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. § 1282(f) is added to read:

(f)  Subject to department of education rules, which may provide for limited idling in cold or otherwise inclement weather or to ensure the safety of students, the operator of a school bus shall not idle the engine while waiting for children to board or to exit the vehicle at a school and shall not start the engine until ready to leave the school premises.  The department, in consultation with the agency of natural resources, the department of health, and the department of motor vehicles, shall adopt rules to implement this subsection.

Sec. 2.  SCHOOL BOARDS; VEHICULAR IDLING

Nothing in this act or in department of education rules shall prevent a school board from adopting idling policies for motor vehicles other than school buses when present on school premises.

Sec. 3.  EFFECTIVE DATE

This act shall take effect on passage.  The rules required by this act shall take effect beginning in the 2007–2008 academic year.

S.  173

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

The House proposes to the Senate to amend the bill in Sec. 1, by striking the following: from February 28, 1961 through May 7, 1975


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

Thursday, April 26, 2007 - Room 11 - 2:00-6:00 p.m. - Re:  Governor’s Cap Proposal - House Committee on Education.



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
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Montpelier, Vermont


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