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Senate Calendar

wednesday, may 2, 2007

120th DAY OF BIENNIAL SESSION

TABLE OF CONTENTS

                                                                                                                Page No.

ACTION CALENDAR

UNFINISHED BUSINESS OF TUESDAY, MAY 1, 2007

Second Reading

Favorable with Proposal of Amendment

H. 449    Relating to foster care services and supports.................................... 1468

                        Health and Welfare Committee Report................................... 1468

House Proposal of Amendment

S. 39       Health ins. plan reimbursement for naturopathic physicians............... 1470

Senate Resolution for Action

S.R. 18   William McKibben & students from Middlebury College................. 1471

NEW BUSINESS

Third Reading

H. 520    Conservation of energy & generation of electricity........................... 1471

                        Sen. Illuzzi amendment........................................................... 1471

Joint Resolution for Action

JRS 35   To Adopt the Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act of 2007............ 1471

NOTICE CALENDAR

Favorable

H. 47      City of South Burlington requiring voter approval of budgets............ 1472

                        Government Operations Committee Report............................ 1472

Favorable with Proposal of Amendment

H. 99      Legislative interim study committee on public libraries...................... 1472

                        Education Committee Report................................................. 1472

H. 294    Relating to executive branch fees..................................................... 1474

                        Finance Committee Report.................................................... 1474

                        Appropriations Committee Report......................................... 1488

                        Sen. Mullin amendment.......................................................... 1490

H. 522    Relating to the viability of Vermont agriculture.................................. 1490

                        Agriculture Committee Report................................................ 1490

                        Finance Committee Report.................................................... 1502

                        Sen. Kitchel, Sears, Mazza and Illuzzi amendment.................. 1503

                        Sen. Condos Amendment...................................................... 1503

                        Sen. Giard amendment........................................................... 1503

H. 531    Relating to ensuring success in health care reform............................. 1504

                        Health and Welfare Committee Report................................... 1504

                        Appropriations Committee Report......................................... 1525

H. 534    Relating to prekindergarten education.............................................. 1525

                        Education Committee Report................................................. 1525

                        Appropriations Committee Report......................................... 1528

                        Sen. Coppenrath and Illuzzi amendment................................. 1529

House Proposals of Amendment

S. 6         Preventing conviction of innocent persons........................................ 1531

S. 93       Relating to miscellaneous changes to education law.......................... 1544

S. 137.... Phosphorus in household cleansing products used in dishwashers      1550

House Proposal of Amendment to Senate Proposal of Amendment

H. 148    Relating to child abuse registry........................................................ 1551

H. 154    Relating to stormwater management................................................ 1552

Report of Committee of Conference

H. 360    Employment protection & training for VT Guard Members.............. 1553

ORDERED TO LIE

S. 70       Empowering municipalities to regulate application of pesticides......... 1554


S. 102     Decreasing percentage to determine school dist. excess spending..... 1554

S. 118     Fiscal review of high spending districts & special education.............. 1554

JRS 24   Federal “fast track” process for congressional review of international ......       trade agreements          1554



 

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ACTION CALENDAR

UNFINISHED BUSINESS OF TUESDAY, MAY 1, 2007

Second Reading

Favorable with Proposal of Amendment

H. 449

An act relating to foster care services and supports.

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

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. § 4901 is amended to read:

§ 4901.  STATEMENT OF PURPOSES

The department may cooperate with the appropriate federal agency for the purpose of establishing, extending, and strengthening services which supplement or substitute for parental care and supervision including:

(1)  Preventing, remedying, or assisting in the solution of problems which may result in neglect, abuse, exploitation, or delinquency of children.

(2)  Protecting and caring for homeless, dependent or neglected children.

(3)  Protecting and promoting the welfare of children of working parents.

(4) Otherwise protecting and promoting the welfare of children, including the strengthening of their homes where possible or, where needed, providing adequate care away from their homes in child-care facilities.

(5)  Assisting youth in a successful transition to an independent adulthood, including the avoidance of homelessness, incarceration, and substance abuse.

Sec. 2.  33 V.S.A. § 4904 is added to read:

§ 4904.  FOSTER CARE; TRANSITIONAL YOUTH SERVICES

(a)  For purposes of this section, “youth” means a person between 18 and 22 years of age who either:

(1)  attained his or her 18th birthday while in the custody of the commissioner for children and families; or

(2)  while he or she was between 10 and 18 years of age, spent at least five of those years in the custody of the commissioner for children and families.

(b)(1)  The department shall provide foster care services as described in subsection (c) of this section to:

(A) any youth who elects to continue receiving such services after attaining the age of 18.

(B)  any individual under the age of 22 who leaves state custody after the age of 16 and at or before the age of 18 or any youth provided he or she voluntarily requests additional support services.

(2)  The department shall require a youth receiving services under this section to be employed or to attend an educational or vocational program, and, if the youth is working, require that he or she contribute to the cost of services based on a sliding scale, unless the youth meets the criteria for an exception to the employment and educational or vocational program requirements of this section based on a disability or other good cause.  The department shall establish rules for the requirements and exceptions under this subdivision.

(c)  The commissioner shall establish by rule a program to provide a range of age-appropriate services for youth to ensure a successful transition to adulthood, including foster care and other services provided under this chapter to children as appropriate, housing assistance, transportation, case management services, assistance with obtaining and retaining health insurance or employment, and other services.

(d)  The commissioner shall establish a method for measuring, evaluating, and reporting the outcomes of transitional services provided under this section to the house committee on human services and the senate committee on health and welfare annually on January 15.

Sec. 3.  EFFECTIVE DATE

This act shall take effect upon passage.

(Committee Vote: 6-0-0)

(For House amendments, see House Journal for March 27, 2007, page 427; March 28, 2007, page 431.)


House Proposal of Amendment

S. 39

An act relating to health insurance plan reimbursement for covered services by naturopathic physicians.

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.  8 V.S.A. § 4088d is added to read:

§ 4088d.  COVERAGE FOR COVERED SERVICES PROVIDED BY NATUROPATHIC PHYSICIANS

(a)  A health insurance plan shall provide coverage for medically necessary health care services covered by the plan when provided by a naturopathic physician licensed in this state for treatment within the scope of practice described in chapter 81 of Title 26.  Health care services provided by naturopathic physicians may be subject to reasonable deductibles, co-payment and co-insurance amounts, fee or benefit limits, practice parameters,

cost-effectiveness and clinical efficacy standards, and utilization review consistent with any applicable regulations published by the department of banking, insurance, securities, and health care administration. Any amounts, limits, standards, and review shall not function to direct treatment in a manner unfairly discriminative against naturopathic care, and collectively shall be no more restrictive than those applicable under the same policy to care or services provided by other health care providers, but may allow for the management of the benefit consistent with variations in practice patterns and treatment modalities among different types of health care providers.  A health insurance plan may require that the naturopathic physician’s services be provided by a licensed naturopathic physician under contract with the insurer or shall be covered in a manner consistent with out-of-network provider reimbursement practices for primary care providers.  Nothing contained herein shall be construed as impeding or preventing either the provision or the coverage of health care services by licensed naturopathic physicians, within the lawful scope of naturopathic practice, in hospital facilities on a staff or employee basis.

(b)  As used in this section, “health insurance plan” means any individual or group health insurance policy, any hospital or medical service corporation or health maintenance organization subscriber contract, or any other health benefit plan offered, issued, or renewed for any person in this state by a health insurer, as defined by 18 V.S.A. § 9402.  The term shall not include benefit plans providing coverage for specific disease or other limited benefit coverage.

Sec. 2.  EFFECTIVE DATE

This act shall be effective on October 1, 2007.

Senate Resolution for Action

S.R. 18

Senate resolution relating to recognizing William McKibben and students from Middlebury College for their insightful leadership and foresight on climate change policy.

(For text of Resolution, see Senate Journal for Monday, April 30, 2007, page

NEW BUSINESS

Third Reading

H. 520

An act relating to the conservation of energy and increasing the generation of electricity within the state by use of renewable resources.

PROPOSAL OF AMENDMENT TO H. 520 TO BE OFFERED BY SENATOR ILLUZZI

Senator Illuzzi moves that the Senate propose to the House to amend the bill by adding a new section to be numbered Sec. 24a to read as follows:

Sec. 24a.  LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS; EXISTING OUTDOOR WOOD BOILERS GRANDFATHERED; IMPROPER USE; NEW RULE 05-P41 EFFECTIVE MARCH 31, 2008

The general assembly finds:

(1)  confusion and misinformation has caused some current owners of outdoor wood boilers to incorrectly conclude that they may be unable to use their units when Rule 05-P41 goes into effect;

(2)  Rule 05-P41, recently adopted by the agency of natural resources, raises emission standard requirements for new outdoor wood boilers purchased after March 31, 2008, and does not in any way affect Vermonters who currently own outdoor wood boilers, the proper use of which will be grandfathered unless a nuisance is created;

(3)  Rule 05-P41 for new outdoor wood boilers does not take effect until March 31, 2008, thereby giving fair warning to dealers and manufacturers;

(4)  Rule 05-P41 and 10 V.S.A. § 561 (variances) authorizes the secretary of natural resources, on application from an affected party, to extend the implementation date of the rule if the available technology cannot satisfy the air quality standards in the rule; and

(5)  it is unlawful for a person to use an outdoor wood boiler, as it is for other wood-burning equipment, to burn rubber, tires, plastics, common household waste, or hazardous waste of any kind, which when combusted often cause high levels of toxins to be emitted into our communities, in turn resulting in dirty and toxic air with complaints to municipal and state governments, and demands for stricter air quality rules.  See 24 V.S.A. § 2201 (relating to enforcement of solid waste law violations and municipal enforcement) and 10 V.S.A. Chapters 23 and 159 and the rules adopted thereunder (relating to the definitions of solid waste).

Joint Resolution for Action

J.R.S. 35

Joint resolution urging Congress to adopt the Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act of 2007.

(For text of Resolution, see Senate Journal for May 1, 2007, page 890)

NOTICE CALENDAR

Favorable

H. 47

An act relating to approval of amendments to the charter of the city of South Burlington which require voter approval of city and school district budgets.

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

(Committee vote: 4-0-1)

(For House amendments, see House Journal for April 19, 2007, page 633)

Favorable with Proposal of Amendment

H. 99

An act relating to legislative interim study committee on public libraries.

Reported favorably with recommendation of proposal of amendment by Senator Nitka for the Committee on Education.

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.  LEGISLATIVE STAFF STUDY OF LIBRARIES IN OTHER STATES 

(a)  The joint fiscal office (JFO) and the legislative council (LC) shall identify other states that are comparable to Vermont in terms of population or population density.  Once identified, the JFO and LC, in consultation with the Vermont department of libraries and the Vermont library association, shall examine those states regarding:

(1)  The number of public libraries per capita. 

(2)  The funding mechanisms for libraries.

(3)  The governance structures of libraries. 

(4)  The services provided to libraries from the state library.

(b)  After acquiring information regarding libraries in states of comparable population, the JFO and LC shall:

(1)  Determine the number of public libraries operating in Vermont.

(2)  Examine the demand for the services provided by  public libraries , including circulation of materials, use of electronic resources, prevalence of literacy programs, and interlibrary loan transactions,.

(3)  Examine the current and potential involvement of public libraries in providing adult education.

(4)  Explore the current and potential role of public libraries in connection with workforce training and development.

(5)  Compare the level of state funding provided to public libraries in Vermont to state funding provided to public libraries in states of similar population.

(6)  Identify the additional funding that will be required to meet the growing demand for services from public libraries in Vermont and maintain the quality of their operations.

(7)  Identify those libraries in the state at which existing toilet facilities are not accessible and determine the total cost of making necessary accessibility improvements to them.

(8)  Identify the number of incorporated libraries in the state that do not have the ability to install toilet facilities; explore the implications of providing them with exemptions to existing law to enable installation; and make recommendations to facilitate a solution.

(c)  The JFO and LC shall submit a report detailing the results of their study to the general assembly by January 15, 2008.

(Committee Vote: 5-0-0)

(For House amendments, see House Journal for April 4, 2007, page 527; April 4, 2007, page 533.)

H. 294

An act relating to executive branch fees.

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

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

* * * Department of Health * * *

      First:  By adding two new sections to be numbered Secs. 11a and 11b to read as follows:

Sec. 11a.  18 V.S.A. § 1752(c) is amended to read:

(c)  The commissioner shall certify risk assessors, designers, laboratories, inspectors, lead-safe renovation contractors, lead contractors, supervisors, abatement workers, and other persons engaged in lead-based paint activities when such persons have successfully completed an accredited training program and met such other requirements as the secretary may, by rule, impose.

Sec. 11b.  18 V.S.A. § 1753 is amended to read:

§ 1753.  ACCREDITATION AND LICENSE FEES

(a)  The commissioner shall assess fees for accrediting training programs and for certifications, licenses, and license renewals issued in accordance with this chapter.  Fees shall not be imposed on any state or local government or nonprofit training program and may be waived for the purpose of training state employees.

(b)  Each accredited training program and licensee shall be subject to the following fees:

Training courses                          $400.00 $480.00 per year

Lead contractors                                     $500.00 $600.00 per year

Lead workers                                         $ 50.00 $60.00 per year

Supervisors                                             $100.00 $120.00 per year

Inspectors                                               $150.00 $180.00 per year

Risk assessors                                         $150.00 $180.00 per year

Designers                                                $150.00 $180.00 per year

Laboratories                                           $500.00 $600.00 per year

Lead-safe renovation contractors $50.00 per year

(c)  Each lead abatement permitted project shall be subject to the following fees:

(1)  Lead abatement permit fee                $50.00

(2)  Lead abatement permit revision         $25.00

(d)  Fees imposed by this section shall be deposited into the lead paint abatement accreditation and licensing special fund.  Monies in the fund may be used by the commissioner only to support departmental accreditation, certification, and licensing activities related to this chapter.  The fund shall be subject to the provisions of subchapter 5 of chapter 7 of Title 32.

* * * Department of Labor * * *

      Second:  By adding a new section to be numbered Sec. 22a to read as follows:

Sec. 22a.  33 V.S.A. § 504(a)(2) is amended to read:

(2)  Federally funded vocational rehabilitation and independent living services for persons with disabilities in accordance with the Rehabilitation Act.  The division of vocational rehabilitation may contract with clients at up to $51.00 per year per employee, or may charge up to $70.00 per hour, for services rendered by the employee assistance program.  The division shall charge $160.00 for each injured worker screening defined in the department of labor rules.  Fees shall be retained by the division.

* * *BISHCA* * *

      Third:  By striking out Sec. 23 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 23 to read as follows:

Sec. 23.  9 V.S.A. § 5302 is amended to read:

§ 5302.  NOTICE FILING

(a)  With respect to a federal covered security, as defined in 15 U.S.C. § 77r(b)(2), that is not otherwise exempt under sections 5201 through 5203 of this chapter, a rule adopted or an order issued under this chapter may require the filing of any or all of the following records:

(1)  before the initial offer of a federal covered security in this state, all records that are part of a federal registration statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission under 15 U.S.C. § 77a et seq. and a consent to service of process complying with section 5611 of this chapter signed by the issuer and the payment of a registration fee as set forth in subsection (d)(e) of this section;

(2)  after the initial offer of the federal covered security in this state, all records that are part of an amendment to a federal registration statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission under 15 U.S.C. § 77a et seq.; and

(3)  to the extent necessary or appropriate to compute fees, a report of the value of the federal covered securities sold or offered to persons present in this state in such form and at such time as the commissioner may prescribe if the state‑specific sales data are not included and available in records filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

(b)  A notice filing under subsection (a) of this section is effective for one year from the date the notice filing is accepted as complete by the office of the commissioner.  On or before expiration, the issuer may renew a notice filing by filing a copy of those records filed by the issuer with the Securities and Exchange Commission that are required by rule or order under this chapter to be filed and by paying an annual renewal fee as set forth in subsection (d)(e) of this section.  A previously filed consent to service of process complying with section 5611 of this chapter may be incorporated by reference in a renewal.  A renewed notice filing becomes effective upon the expiration of the filing being renewed.

(c)  With respect to a security that is a federal covered security under 15 U.S.C. § 77r(b)(4)(D), a rule under this chapter may require a notice filing by or on behalf of an issuer to include a copy of Form D, including the Appendix, as promulgated by the Securities and Exchange Commission, and a consent to service of process complying with section 5611 of this chapter signed by the issuer not later than 15 days after the first sale of the federal covered security in this state and the payment of a fee as set forth in subsection (d)(e) of this section.

(d)  Subject to the provisions of 15 U.S.C. § 77r(c)(2) and any rules adopted thereunder, with respect to any security that is a federal covered security under 15 U.S.C. § 77r(b)(3) or (4)(A)–(C) and that is not otherwise exempt under sections 5201–5203 of this chapter, a rule adopted or order issued under this chapter may require any or all of the following with respect to such federal covered securities, at such time as the commissioner may deem appropriate:

(1)  the filing of documents as deemed appropriate by the commissioner;

(2)  the filing of a consent to service of process complying with section 5611 of this chapter; and

(3)  the payment of fees as set forth in subsection (e) of this section, including but not limited to fees for renewal of a notice filing, as appropriate.  The notice filing shall be effective for one year from the date the notice filing is accepted as complete by the office of the commissioner.   

(e)  At the time of the filing of the information prescribed in subsections (a), (b), or (c), or (d) of this section, the issuer shall pay to the commissioner a fee of $1.00 for each $1,000.00 of the aggregate amount of the offering of the securities to be sold in this state for which the issuer is seeking to perfect a notice filing under this section, but in no case shall such fee be less than $400.00 nor more than $1,250.00.  If the notice filing is withdrawn or otherwise terminated, the commissioner shall retain the fee paid.  Open‑end investment companies subject to 15 U.S.C. § 80a‑1 et seq. shall pay an initial notice filing fee and annual renewal fee for each portfolio or class of investment company securities for which a notice filing is submitted. 

(e)(f)  Nothing in this section shall be construed to require the notice filing or payment of notice filing fees with respect to variable annuities or variable life insurance products.

(f)(g)  Except with respect to a federal covered security under 15 U.S.C.

§ 77r(b)(1), if the commissioner finds that there is a failure to comply with a notice or fee requirement of this section, the commissioner may issue a stop order suspending the offer and sale of a federal covered security in this state.  If the deficiency is corrected, the stop order is void as of the time of its issuance and no penalty may be imposed by the commissioner.

* * * Fish and Wildlife * * *

      Fourth:  In Sec. 26 by striking out all after the period and inserting in lieu thereof: “The tuition shall be $175.00.” and by adding a new Sec. 26a to read as follows:

Sec. 26a.  10 V.S.A. §4132(e) is amended to read:

(e) The commissioner, subject to the direction and approval of the secretary, shall adopt and publish regulations in the name of the agency for reasonable fees or charges for the use of the lands, roads, buildings, and other property, and the use of a tuition for the Green Mountain Conservation Camps, notwithstanding 32 V.S.A. § 603. Fees collected for the use of fish and wildlife lands and properties shall be deposited in the fish and wildlife fund.

* * * DEC * * *

Fifth:  By striking out Sec. 30 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof two new sections to be numbered Secs.30 and 30aa to read as follows:

Sec. 30.  3 V.S.A. § 2822(j) and (k) are amended to read:

(j)  In accordance with subsection (i) of this section, the following fees are established for permits, licenses, certifications, approvals, registrations, orders, and other actions taken by the agency of natural resources.

* * *

(2)  For discharge permits issued under 10 V.S.A. chapter 47 and orders issued under 10 V.S.A. § 1272, an administrative processing fee of $100.00 shall be paid at the time of application for a discharge permit in addition to any application review fee and any annual operating fee, except for permit applications under subdivisions (j)(2)(A)(iii)(III) and (IV) of this section subsection:

(A)  Application review fee

* * *

(iii)  Stormwater discharges.

* * *

(I)  Individual operating permit                          $300.00 $400.00 per acre

                     or application to operate                             impervious area;

                     under general operating                              minimum $150.00

                     permit for collected                                    per application.

                     stormwater runoff

                     which is discharged

                     Class B waters: original

                     application; amendment

                     for increased flows;

                     amendment for change

       in treatment process.

* * *

(III)  Individual permit or appli-                      $300.00 per

               cation to operate under                                     project for

               general permit for                                           construction

               construction activities;                                       projects five

               original application;                                       acres or greater

               amendment for increased                               in size; $30.00

               acreage.                                                           per project for     construction projects between one and five acres in size.

(aa)  Projects with low risk                        $30.00 per project;

to waters of the state.                                                    original application.

(bb)  Projects with                                     $250.00 per project;

moderate risk to waters of the state.                                      original application.

(cc)  Projects that                                     $500.00 per project;

require an individual permit.                                                     Original application.

* * *

(B)  Annual operating fee

* * *

(v)  Indirect discharge or under-

            ground injection control, exclud-

            ing stormwater discharges:

(I) Sewage

(aa) Individual permit           $385.00 plus $0.0317

$0.0617 per gallon of design capacity above 6,500 gpd. $350.00 minimum; maximum $27,500.00

(bb) Approval under                        $220.00

        general permit

(II) Nonsewage

(aa) Individual permit                       $0.013 $0.043 per gallon of design capacity. $100.00 minimum;

                                                                      maximum $5,500.00.

* * *

(4)  For potable water supply and wastewater permits issued under 10 V.S.A. chapter 64:

(A)  Subdivision of land

 (i)  Original application; major            $0.50 per gallon

amendments.                                                              per lot of daily design flow of potable water or wastewater whichever is greater.Minimum per lot $210.00.

(I)  Municipal or private                 $0.25 per gallon per lot of

sewer system and public water supply.               design flow of potable

water or wastewater, whichever is greater.  Minimum per lot $105.00.

(II)  All other projects.            $0.50 per gallon per lot of design flow of potable water or wastewater, whichever is greater.  Minimum per lot $210.00.

(ii)  Minor amendments.           $50.00

(B)  Potable water supply or wastewater system

(i)  Original application or          $0.50 per gallon of

major amendment when both                            design flow of

potable water and wastewater                           potable water or

are being constructed. New or                          wastewater, which

replacement systems.                                        is greater. Minimum per

                                                   application $210.00.

                  Maximum per

                  application $15,000.00.

(I)  Municipal or private            $0.25 per gallon

sewer system and public water supply.                 per lot of design flow of

   potable water or wastewater,     whichever is greater.  Minimum per lot $105.00.  Maximum per application $15,000.00.

(II)  All other projects. $0.50 per gallon of design flow of potable water or wastewater, whichever is greater.  Minimum per application $210.00.  Maximum per application $15,000.00.

(ii)  Original application or            $0.30 per gallon of

 major amendment when either potable           design flow. Mini-

water daily or wastewater, but not both,         mum per application

is being constructed.                                       $210.00.

New or replacement systems.                         Maximum per application $15,000.00

(I)  Municipal or private          $0.15 per gallon per lot

sewer system and public water supply. of design flow.

                                            Minimum per lot $105.00. 

 Maximum per application     $15,000.00.

(II)  All other projects. $0.30 per gallon of design flow.

Minimum per application

$210.00.  Maximum per application $15,000.00.

(iii)  Original application or          $0.50 per gallon

major amendment when design                       of increased daily

flow of potable water or                                 design flow of

wastewater is increased but no                       potable water or

construction is required.                                  wastewater, which

                                                           is greater.  Minimum per

                                              application $135.00. Maximum per

                                              application $15,000.00.

(I)  Municipal or private          $0.25 per gallon of

sewer system and public water supply.            increased design flow of potable water or wastewater, whichever is greater.  Minimum per lot $67.50.  Maximum per application $15,000.00.

(II)  All other projects. $0.50 per gallon of increased design flow of potable water or wastewater, whichever is greater.  Minimum per application $135.00.  Maximum per application $15,000.00.

* * *

(5)  For well drillers licenses issued

under 10 V.S.A. chapter 48:                                         $105.00 $155.00 per year.

Fees shall be paid on an annual basis over the term of the license.

* * *

(7)  For public water supply and bottled water permits and approvals issued under 10 V.S.A. chapter 56 and interim groundwater withdrawal permits and approvals issued under 10 V.S.A. chapter 48:

(A)  For public water supply construction permit applications: $275.00 $350.00 per application plus $0.0055 per gallon of design capacity.  Amendments $110.00 per application.

(B)  For water treatment plant applications, except those applications submitted by a municipality as defined in section 126 of Title 1 or a consolidated water district established under section 3342 of Title 24: $0.003 per gallon of design capacity. Amendments $110.00 per application.

(C) For source permit applications for community water systems: $615.00 $715.00 per source. Amendments $110.00 per application.

(D) For public water supplies and bottled water facilities, annually:

(i) Transient noncommunity:                       $45.00

(ii) Nontransient, noncommunity:                                        $0.0294 $0.0394 per 1,000 gallons of water produced          annually or $70.00,       whichever is greater.

(iii) Community:                                                                 $0.0295 per 1,000 gallons of water produced annually for fiscal year 2005; $0.0325 per 1,000 gallons

of water produced annually for fiscal year 2006; and $0.0359 $0.0409 per 1,000 gallons of water produced annually for fiscal          year 2007 and thereafter.

(iv) Bottled water:                                                          $550.00 $1,000.00 per permitted facility.

(E) Amendment to bottled water facility permit, $110.00 per application.

(F)  For permit applications for interim groundwater withdrawal permits:  $960.00 per facility.  Amendments $110.00 per application.

(G)  In calculating flow-based fees under this subsection, the secretary will use metered production flows where available.  When metered production flows are not available, the secretary shall estimate flows based on the standard design flows for new construction.

(G)(H)  The secretary shall bill public water supplies and bottled water companies for the required fee.  Annual fees may be divided into semiannual or quarterly billings.

(8)  For public water system operator certifications issued under 10 V.S.A. § 1674:

Class I IA and IB                     $40.00 per initial certificate or renewal.

                                                Fee is waived for operators who are permittees under the transient noncommunity water system general permit.

            All Other Classes                      $70.00 per initial certificate or renewal.

(9)(A)  For solid waste hauler permits issued under 10 V.S.A. § 6607a $25.00 $35.00 per vehicle used, by the commercial hauler that is permitted, for transporting waste.  This fee shall be submitted with the permit application and each year thereafter for the duration of the permit, at the time of the filing of the annual statement required by 10 V.S.A. § 6605f(m).

(B)  For hazardous waste hauler permits issued under 10 V.S.A. § 6607a: $100.00 per vehicle used, by the commercial hauler that is permitted, for transporting waste.  This fee shall be submitted with the permit application and each year thereafter for the duration of the permit, at the time of the filing of the annual statement required by 10 V.S.A. § 6605f(m).

* * *

(16)  For underground storage tank permits issued under 10 V.S.A.

chapter 59:                                                     $35.00 $135.00 per tank per year.

* * *

(25)  For hazardous waste generator registrations required by 10 V.S.A. § 6608(f).

(A)  small quantity generators           $40.00 $100.00 per year.

(B)  large quantity generators           $300.00 $500.00 per year.

* * *

(k)  Commencing with registration year 1993 and for each year thereafter, any person required to pay a fee to register an air contaminant source under 10 V.S.A. § 555(c) in addition shall pay fees for any emissions of the following types of hazardous air contaminants.  The following fees shall not be assessed for emissions resulting from the combustion of any fuels, except solid waste, in fuel burning or manufacturing process equipment.

(1)  Contaminants which cause short-term irritant effects--$0.008 per pound of emissions;

(2)  Contaminants which cause chronic systemic toxicity (low potency) -$0.084 $0.015 per pound of emissions;

(3)  Contaminants which cause chronic systemic toxicity (high potency) -$0.02 per pound of emissions;

(4)  Contaminants known or suspected to cause cancer (low potency) -$0.84 $0.55 per pound of emissions;

(4)(5)  Contaminants known or suspected to cause cancer (high potency) - $8.40 $10.00 per pound of emissions.

Sec. 30aa.  3 V.S.A. § 2805 is amended to read:

§ 2805.  ENVIRONMENTAL PERMIT FUND

There is hereby established a special fund to be known as the environmental permit fund for the purpose of implementing the programs specified under the provisions of 3 V.S.A. § 2822(i) and (j).  Revenues to the fund shall be those fees collected in accordance with 3 V.S.A. § 2822(i) and (j), and 10 V.S.A. § 2625 and gifts and appropriations. The secretary of natural resources shall be responsible for the fund and shall account for the revenues and expenditures of the agency of natural resources.  Any fee required to be collected under 3 V.S.A. § 2822(j)(1) shall be utilized solely to cover all reasonable (direct or indirect) costs required to support the operating permit program authorized under 10 V.S.A. chapter 23.  Any fee required to be collected under 3 V.S.A. § 2822(k), (l), or (m) for air pollution control permits or registrations or motor vehicle registrations shall be utilized solely to cover all reasonable (direct or indirect) costs required to support the programs authorized under 10 V.S.A. chapter 23.  Fees collected pursuant to subsections 2822(k), (l), and (m) of this title shall be used by the secretary to fund activities related to the secretary's hazardous or toxic contaminant monitoring programs and motor vehicle-related programs.  Annually, $370,000.00 of funds collected under subdivisions 2822(j)(2)(A)(iii)(I), (2)(B)(v)(I)(aa), (5), (7)(B), (7)(C), (7)(D)(ii)-(iv), and (16) shall be used by the secretary to conduct groundwater mapping under chapter 48 of Title 10. The revenue dedicated to groundwater mapping under this section shall not revert to the general fund at the close of the fiscal year. The environmental permit fund shall be subject to the provisions of subchapter 5 of chapter 7 of Title 32, except that any unencumbered environmental permit fund balance in excess of those fees collected under subdivision 2822(j)(1) and subsections (k), (l), and (m) of this title, and in excess of $350,000.00 from those fees collected from environmental permit fund sources other than subdivision 2822(j)(1) and subsections (k), (l), and (m) at the close of a fiscal year shall revert to the general fund.

      Sixth:  By striking out Secs. 30a and 30b in their entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new section to be numbered Sec. 30a to read as follows:

Sec. 30a.  3 V.S.A. § 2822(i) is amended to read:

(i)  The secretary shall not process an application for which the applicable fee has not been paid unless the secretary specifies that the fee may be paid at a different time or unless the person applying for the permit is exempt from the permit fee requirements pursuant to section 710 of Title 32.  In addition, the persons who are exempt under section 710 of Title 32 are also exempt from the application fees for stormwater operating permits specified in subdivisions (j)(2)(A)(iii)(I) and (II) of this section if they otherwise meet the requirements of section 710.  Municipalities shall be exempt from the payment of fees under this section except for those fees prescribed in subdivisions (j)(1), (2), (7), (8), (14), and (15) of this section for which a municipality may recover its costs by charging a user fee to those who use the permitted services, except that a municipality shall also be exempt from those fees for orphan stormwater systems prescribed in subdivision (j)(2)(A)(iii) of this section when the municipality agrees to become an applicant or co-applicant for an orphan stormwater system under section 1246c of title 10.

* * * Vermont Criminal Information Center * * *

      Seventh:  By adding a new section to be numbered Sec. 33b to read as follows:

Sec. 33b.  20 V.S.A. § 2063 is amended to read:

§ 2063.  CRIMINAL HISTORY RECORD FEES; CRIMINAL HISTORY   RECORD CHECK FUND

* * *

(b)  Requests made by criminal justice agencies for criminal justice purposes or other purposes authorized by state or federal law shall be exempt from all record check fees.  The following types of requests shall be exempt from the Vermont criminal record check fee:

* * *

(4)  Requests made by the Vermont state housing authority and other public housing authorities pursuant to 24 V.S.A § 4010(c).

* * *

* * * Agency of Transportation * * *

      Eighth:  By adding two new sections to be numbered Secs. 33c and 33d to read as follows:

Sec. 33c.  23 V.S.A. § 3502(b) is amended to read:

(b)  An all-terrain vehicle registration shall become void two years from the first day of the month following the month of issue  The provisions of section 305 of this title shall apply to a registration, except the registration of a vehicle registered under subsection 3504(b) of this title shall become void on the last day of February next following the date of issue.  The provisions of section 305 of this title shall apply to a registration.

Sec. 33d.  23 V.S.A. § 3504(a) is amended to read:

§ 3504.  REGISTRATION FEES AND PLATES

(a)  The registration fee for all-terrain vehicles other than as provided for in subsection (b) of this section is $35.00 $25.00.  Duplicate registration certificates may be obtained upon payment of $5.00 to the department.

* * * Department of Corrections * * *

      Ninth:  By adding a new section to be numbered Sec. 33e to read as follows:

Sec. 33e.  28 V.S.A. § 102(c) is amended to read:

(c)  The commissioner is charged with the following responsibilities:

* * *

(21)  The commissioner is authorized to contract for payment processing services for receiving deposits to inmate financial accounts.  The department, directly or through a processing agent, may assess a fee for deposits to each account so long as the fee does not exceed the costs incurred.

* * * Town Clerk Fees * * *

      Tenth:  By adding a new section to be numbered Sec. 33f to read as follows:

Sec. 33f.  32 V.S.A. § 1712(5) is amended to read:

(5)  $9.50 for each certified copy of birth, death, civil union, or marriage certificate Fees for vital records shall be equivalent to those received by the commissioner of health or the commissioner of buildings and general services pursuant to subsection 1715(a) of this title.

* * * Judiciary * * *

Eleventh:  By adding three new sections to be numbered Secs. 33g, 33h and 33i to read as follows:

Sec. 33g.  4 V.S.A. § 1105(b) is amended to read:

(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.

Sec. 33h.  4 V.S.A. § 1109(b) is added to read:

(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.

Sec. 33i.  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 section 27 of this title.  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.

      Twelfth:  By striking out Sec. 34 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 34 to read as follows:

Sec. 34.  EFFECTIVE DATES

(a)  This section and Secs. 1, 9, 22a, 23, 24, 25, and 33e shall take effect on passage.

(b)  Secs. 26, 27, 28, and 29 shall take effect on January 1, 2008.

(Committee Vote: 7-0-0)

Reported favorably with recommendation of proposal of amendment by Senator Kitchel 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 Finance with the following amendments thereto:

First:  By striking out the fifth proposal of amendment in its entirety

Second:  By adding a new Sec. 33j to read as follows:

Sec. 33j.  SPECIAL COMMEMORATIVE LICENSE PLATES

(a)  Legislative intent.  The general assembly intends this section to allow the design, purchase, sale, and display of specialty motor vehicle license plates commemorating an organization or special interest.

(b)  Authority.  Organizations are authorized to design, produce, purchase, distribute, and sell commemorative motor vehicle plates as described in subsection (a) of this section.  Plates shall not be produced, sold, distributed, or displayed unless approved by the commissioner of the department of motor vehicles.  An organization applying for a special plate under this subsection shall present the commissioner with a name and emblem that is not obscene, offensive, or confusing to the general public and does not promote, advertise, or endorse a product, brand, or service provided for sale, or promote any specific religious belief or political party.  The organization's name and emblem must not infringe or violate trademarks, trade names, service marks, copyrights, or other proprietary or property rights, and the organization must have the right to use the name and emblem.  An organization may have only one design, regardless of the number of individual organizational units within the state.   Requests which are received during the course of the calendar year will be approved for distribution in the following calendar year.

(c)  Fee.  Pursuant to 32 V.S.A. § 603, the commissioner may set and charge a fee to each organization applying for a specialty plate under subsection (b) of this section.  

(d)  Use.  Residents of the state of Vermont may display one approved commemorative plate on the front of any registered motor vehicle.  The commemorative plates shall not replace regular registration plates, nor are they required to be displayed on a motor vehicle.  The commemorative plate may be displayed on a motor vehicle registered as a pleasure car or a motor truck registered for less than 26,001 pounds, excluding vehicles registered under the International Registration Plan by covering the front registration plate with the commemorative plate for the period January 1 of the year issued through December 31 of the following year.  The regular front registration plate shall not be removed.  The rear registration plate shall be in place and clearly visible at all times. 

(e)  Price.  The retail price shall be established by the issuing organization.

Third:  By adding a new Sec. 33k to read as follows:

Sec. 33k.  28 V.S.A. § 801 is amended to read:

§ 801.  MEDICAL CARE OF INMATES

* * *

(d)  The department is authorized to deduct a fee of up to $5.00 from inmate accounts for each request for sick call by an inmate.  This fee shall not be imposed for scheduled medical interventions or follow-ups.  The department shall establish a sliding scale for indigent inmates based on the balance in their accounts.  The fee shall be deposited in a special fund administered pursuant to subchapter 5 of chapter 7 of Title 32, to be used only for costs related to providing medical services.

(e)  The department shall establish and maintain policies for the delivery of health care in accordance with the above standards in this section.

Fourth:  By adding a new Sec. 33l to read as follows:

Sec. 33l.  32 V.S.A. § 1671(a)(6) is amended to read:

(6)  For Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, for the recording or filing, or both, of any document that is to become a matter of public record in the town clerk's office, or for any certified copy of such document, a fee of $7.00 $8.00 per page shall be charged;

(Committee Vote: 4-0-3)

(For House amendments, see House Journal for February 16, 2007, page 207.)

AMENDMENT TO PROPOSAL OF AMENDMENT OF THE COMMITTEE ON FINANCE TO H. 294 TO BE OFFERED BY SENATOR MULLIN

Senator Mullin moves to amend the proposal of amendment of the Committee on Finance by striking out the sixth proposal of amendment in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

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

Sec. 30a. 3 V.S.A. § 2822(i) is amended to read:

(i)  The secretary shall not process an application for which the applicable fee has not been paid unless the secretary specifies that the fee may be paid at a different time or unless the person applying for the permit is exempt from the permit fee requirements pursuant to section 710 of Title 32.  In addition, the persons who are exempt under section 710 of Title 32 are also exempt from the application fees for stormwater operating permits specified in subdivisions (j)(2)(A)(iii)(I) and (II) of this section if they otherwise meet the requirements of section 710.  Municipalities shall be exempt from the payment of fees under this section except for those fees prescribed in subdivisions (j)(1), (2), (7), (8), (14), and (15) of this section for which a municipality may recover its costs by charging a user fee to those who use the permitted services, except that a municipality shall also be exempt from those fees for orphan stormwater systems prescribed in subdivision (j)(2)(A)(iii) of this section when the municipality agrees to become an applicant or co-applicant for an orphan stormwater system under section 1246c of title 10.  Applicants operating under SIC codes 2411, 2421, 2426, and 2429 shall be exempt from administrative processing fees pursuant to subdivision  (j)(2) of this section and application review fees pursuant to subdivision  (j)(2)(A)(iii)(IV) of this section.

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)

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

(Committee vote: 4-0-3)

(For House amendments, see House Journal for March 22, 2007, page 385.)


AMENDMENT TO PROPOSAL OF AMENDMENT OF THE COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE TO H. 522 TO BE OFFERED BY SENATORS KITCHEL, SEARS, MAZZA AND ILLUZZI

Senators Kitchel, Sears, Mazza and Illuzzi move to amend the proposal of amendment of the Committee on Agriculture by striking out Secs. 8 and 9 in their entirety.

PROPOSAL OF AMENDMENT TO H. 522 TO BE OFFERED BY SENATOR CONDOS

Senator Condos moves to amend the proposal of amendment of the Committee on Agriculture as follows:

First:  In Sec. 16, (a), after the words “and health care;” by adding the words representatives of the farm labor community;

Second:  In Sec. 16, (a), after the words “shall report with recommendations” by adding the words specific to issues of farm labor

AMENDMENT TO PROPOSAL OF AMENDMENT OF THE COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE TO H. 522 TO BE OFFERED BY SENATOR GIARD

Senator Giard moves to amend the proposal of amendment of the Committee on Agriculture by striking out Sec. 17 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 17 to read as follows:

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, in consultation with the Vermont electric utility companies and other renewable attribute companies, shall study establishing a farm energy purchase 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 program of state government electrical usage similar to a voluntary statewide program modeled after Central Vermont Public Service’s “Cow Power” program.  The agency shall report to the house and senate committees on agriculture on or before November 1, 2007 with its findings and any legislative proposals.


H. 531

An act relating to ensuring success in health care reform.

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 striking out all after the enacting clause and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

* * * Increasing Access to Affordable Health Care Coverage * * *

Sec. 1.  OUTREACH AND ENROLLMENT PRINCIPLES

In order to achieve the general assembly’s goal that 96 percent of Vermonters have health insurance by 2010, as expressed in subdivision 902(a)(3)(D) of Title 2, an aggressive and innovative outreach and enrollment plan based on the following principles will be necessary and should be applied in all outreach and enrollment efforts conducted for Catamount Health and state health care benefit programs, including premium assistance programs.  

(1)  Outreach for all health care programs, including Catamount Health and state health care benefit programs, should be coordinated throughout state government and be a priority for all agencies that administer such programs.

(2)  Outreach activities should proactively identify potentially eligible Vermonters, and use web‑based tools, an inquiry tracking system establishing a case file for potential applicants at the first point of contact, and professional staff, community volunteers, and organizations to assist with individualized screening, counseling, and application assistance. 

Sec. 2.  ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE PROGRAMS

(a)  The agency of human services shall make available to health care professionals, at the point of health care service or treatment, the necessary information, forms, access to eligibility or enrollment computer systems, and billing procedures to facilitate enrollment for individuals eligible for Medicaid, the Vermont health access plan, Dr. Dynasaur, any Global Commitment for Health waiver program, any state‑funded pharmacy program, Catamount Health, Catamount Health Assistance, or the employer‑sponsored‑insurance assistance program. 

(b)  No later than October 2007, the agency shall provide a single, uniform, simplified form to enable individuals to assess their potential eligibility for Medicaid, the Vermont health access plan, Dr. Dynasaur, any state‑funded pharmacy program, Catamount Health Assistance, or the employer‑sponsored‑insurance assistance programs.  Within a reasonable time frame, the agency shall develop web‑based application tools to ensure that any individual eligible for these programs has the opportunity to apply easily.  The agency shall determine if the individual is eligible and in which program the individual should be enrolled.  The agency shall refer applications for Catamount Health as appropriate. 

(c)  After submission of the application, the agency shall determine if the applicant meets full eligibility requirements.  Beginning January 1, 2008, if the individual is found eligible for the Vermont health access plan, the agency shall, subject to approval from the center for Medicare and Medicaid services, provide payment for any services received by the individual beginning with the date the application was received by the agency. 

Sec. 3.  33 V.S.A. § 1984 is amended to read:

§ 1984.  INDIVIDUAL CONTRIBUTIONS

(a)  The agency shall provide assistance to individuals eligible under this subchapter to purchase Catamount Health.  The For the lowest cost plan, the amount of the assistance shall be the difference between the premium for the lowest cost Catamount Health plan and the individual’s contribution as defined in this section subdivision (c)(1) of this section.  For plans other than the lowest cost plan, the assistance shall be the difference between the premium for the lowest cost plan and the individual’s contribution as set out in subdivision (c)(1) of this section.  

(b)  Subject to amendment in the fiscal year 2008 budget, the agency of administration or designee shall establish individual and family contribution amounts for Catamount Health under this subchapter for the first year as established in this section and shall index the contributions in future years to the overall growth in spending per enrollee in Catamount Health as established in section 4080f of Title 8.  The agency shall establish family contributions by income bracket based on the individual contribution amounts and the average family size.  In fiscal year 2008, for the lowest‑cost Catamount Health plan offered by all carriers, the individual’s contribution shall be as established in subsection (c) of this section.  The agency shall determine the percentages that the amounts in subsection (c) are of the lowest‑cost plan and set the individual’s contribution for any other plan at the percentage for that income level.  In future years, after adjusting the individual premiums in subsection (c) of this section, the same methodology shall be used to determine the individual premiums for any other plans.

(c)(1)  An For the lowest cost plan, an individual’s contribution shall be:

(1)(A)  Income less than or equal to 200 percent of FPL:  $60.00 per month.

(2)(B)  Income greater than 200 percent and less than or equal to 225 percent of FPL: $90.00 per month.

(3)(C)  Income greater than 225 percent and less than or equal to 250 percent of FPL:  $110.00 per month.

(4)(D)  Income greater than 250 percent and less than or equal to 275 percent of FPL:  $125.00 per month.

(5)(E)  Income greater than 275 percent and less than or equal to 300 percent of FPL:  $135.00 per month.

(6)(F)  Income greater than 300 percent of FPL:  the actual cost of Catamount Health.

(2)  For plans other than the lowest cost plan, an individual’s contribution shall be the sum of:

(A)  the applicable contribution as set out in subdivision (1) of this subsection; and

(B)  the difference between the premium for the lowest cost plan and the premium for the plan in which the individual is enrolled.  

* * * Blueprint * * *

Sec. 4.  DIRECTOR OF THE BLUEPRINT

In fiscal year 2008, there is established in the agency of administration one (1) new exempt position, to be titled the director of the blueprint for health, who shall report directly to the secretary or designee.  

Sec. 5.  18 V.S.A. § 702 is amended to read:

§ 702.  BLUEPRINT FOR HEALTH; STRATEGIC PLAN

(a)  As used in this section, “health insurer” shall have the same meaning as in section 9402 of this title.

(b)  In coordination with the secretary of administration under section 2222a of Title 3 the commissioner of health shall be responsible for The director of the blueprint, in collaboration with the commissioner of health, shall oversee the development and implementation of the blueprint for health, including the five‑year strategic plan.  Whenever private health insurers are concerned, the director shall collaborate with the commissioner of banking, insurance, securities, and health care administration.

(b)(c)(1)  The commissioner secretary shall establish an executive committee to advise the commissioner director of the blueprint on creating and implementing a strategic plan for the development of the statewide system of chronic care and prevention as described under this section.  The executive committee shall consist of no fewer than 10 individuals, including the commissioner of health, a representative from the department of banking, insurance, securities, and health care administration; the office of Vermont health access; the Vermont medical society; the Vermont program for quality in health care a statewide quality assurance organization; the Vermont association of hospitals and health systems; two representatives of private health insurers; consumer; a representative of the complementary and alternative medicine profession; and a primary care professional serving low income or uninsured Vermonters; and a representative of the state employees’ health plan, who shall be designated by the director of human resources and who may be an employee of the third party administrator contracting to provide services to the state employees’ health plan.  In addition, the director of the commission on health care reform shall be a nonvoting member of the executive committee.

(2)  The executive committee shall engage a broad range of health care professionals who provide services as defined under section 4080f of Title 18, health insurance plans, professional organizations, community and nonprofit groups, consumers, businesses, school districts, and state and local government in developing and implementing a five‑year strategic plan.

(c)(1)(d)  The blueprint shall be developed and implemented to further the following principles:

(1)  the primary care provider should serve a central role in the coordination of care and shall be compensated appropriately for this effort;

(2)  use of information technology will be maximized;

(3)  local service providers should be used and supported, whenever possible;

(4)  transition plans should be developed by all involved parties to ensure a smooth and timely transition from the current model to the blueprint model of health care delivery and payment;

(5)  implementation of the blueprint in communities across the state should be accompanied by payment to providers sufficient to support care management activities consistent with the blueprint, recognizing that interim or temporary payment measures may be necessary during early and transitional phases of implementation; and

(6)  interventions designed to prevent chronic disease and improve outcomes for persons with chronic disease should be maximized, should target specific chronic disease risk factors, and should address changes in individual behavior, the physical and social environment, and health care policies and systems. 

(e)(1)  The strategic plan shall include:

(A)  a description of the Vermont blueprint for health model, which includes general, standard elements established in section 1903a of Title 33, patient self‑management, community initiatives, and health system and information technology reform, to be used uniformly statewide by private insurers, third party administrators, and public programs;

(B)  a description of prevention programs and how these programs are integrated into communities, with chronic care management, and the blueprint for health model;

(C)  a plan to develop and implement reimbursement systems aligned with the goal of managing the care for individuals with or at risk for conditions in order to improve outcomes and the quality of care;

(D)  the involvement of public and private groups, health care professionals, insurers, third party administrators, associations, and firms to facilitate and assure the sustainability of a new system of care;

(E)  the involvement of community and consumer groups to facilitate and assure the sustainability of health services supporting healthy behaviors and good patient self‑management for the prevention and management of chronic conditions;

(F)  alignment of any information technology needs with other health care information technology initiatives;

(G)  the use and development of outcome measures and reporting requirements, aligned with existing outcome measures within the agency of human services, to assess and evaluate the system of chronic care;

(H)  target timelines for inclusion of specific chronic conditions to be included in the chronic care infrastructure and for statewide implementation of the blueprint for health;

(I)  identification of resource needs for implementation and sustaining the blueprint for health and strategies to meet the needs; and

(J)  a strategy for ensuring statewide participation no later than January 1, 2009 2011 by health insurers, third‑party administrators, health care professionals, hospitals and other professionals, and consumers in the chronic care management plan, including common outcome measures, best practices and protocols, data reporting requirements, payment methodologies, and other standards.  In addition, the strategy should ensure that all communities statewide will have implemented at least one component of the blueprint by January 1, 2009. 

(2)  The strategic plan shall be reviewed biennially and amended as necessary to reflect changes in priorities.  Amendments to the plan shall be reported to the general assembly included in the report established under subsection (d)(i) of this section.

(f)  The director of the blueprint shall facilitate timely progress in adoption and implementation of clinical quality and performance measures as indicated by the following benchmarks:

(1)  by July 1, 2007, clinical quality and performance measures are adopted for each of the chronic conditions included in the Medicaid Chronic Care Management Program.  These conditions include, but are not limited to, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, congestive heart failure, diabetes, and coronary artery disease.

(2)  at least one set of clinical quality and performance measures will be added each year and a uniform set of clinical quality and performance measures for all chronic conditions to be addressed by the blueprint will be available for use by health insurers and health care providers by January 1, 2010. 

(3)  in accordance with a schedule established by the blueprint executive committee, all clinical quality and performance measures are reviewed for consistency with those used by the Medicare program and updated, if appropriate. 

(g)  The director of the blueprint shall facilitate timely progress in coordination of chronic care management as indicated by the following benchmarks:

(1)  by October 1, 2007, risk stratification strategies are used to identify individuals with or at risk for chronic disease and to assist in the determination of the severity of the chronic disease or risk thereof, as well as the appropriate type and level of care management services needed to manage those chronic conditions.

(2)  by January 1, 2009, guidelines for promoting greater commonality, consistency, and coordination across health insurers in care management programs and systems are developed in consultation with employers, consumers, health insurers, and health care providers.  

(3)  beginning July 1, 2009, and each year thereafter, health insurers, in collaboration with health care providers, report to the secretary on evaluation of their disease management programs and the progress made toward aligning their care management program initiatives with the blueprint guidelines. 

(h)(1)  No later than January 1, 2009, the director shall, in consultation with employers, consumers, health insurers, and health care providers, complete a comprehensive analysis of sustainable payment mechanisms.  No later than January 1, 2009, the director shall report to the health care reform commission and other stakeholders, his or her recommendations for sustainable payment mechanisms and related changes needed to support achievement of blueprint goals for health care improvement, including the essential elements of high quality chronic care, such as care coordination, effective use of health care information by physicians and other health care providers and patients, and patient self‑management education and skill development. 

(2)  By January 1, 2009, and each year thereafter, health insurers will participate in a coordinated effort to determine satisfaction levels of physicians and other health care providers participating in the blueprint care management initiatives, and will report on these satisfaction levels to the director and in the report established under subsection (i) of this section.

(d)(1)(i)  The commissioner of health director shall report annually, no later than January 1, on the status of implementation of the Vermont blueprint for health for the prior calendar year, and shall provide the report to the house committee on health care, the senate committee on health and welfare, the health access oversight committee, and the commission on health care reform.  The report shall include the number of participating insurers, health care professionals and patients; the progress for achieving statewide participation in the chronic care management plan, including the measures established under subsection (c)(e) of this section; the expenditures and savings for the period; the results of health care professional and patient satisfaction surveys; the progress toward creation and implementation of privacy and security protocols; information on the progress made toward the requirements in subsections (g) and (h) of this section; and other information as requested by the committees.  The surveys shall be developed in collaboration with the executive committee established under subsection (b)(c) of this section.

(2)  If statewide participation in the blueprint for health is not achieved by January 1, 2009, the commissioner shall evaluate the blueprint for health and recommend to the general assembly changes necessary to create alternative measures to ensure statewide participation by health insurers, third party administrators, and health care professionals.

(j)  It is the intent of the general assembly that health insurers shall participate in the blueprint for health no later than January 1, 2009 and shall engage health care providers in the transition to full participation in the blueprint. 

Sec. 6.  Blueprint for Health: Plan for Regulatory Enforcement

(a)  Findings:

(1)  The blueprint for health is based on a voluntary collaborative approach which has to date achieved significant progress toward its goals. 

(2)  If, based on the  director’s annual report required by subsection 702(i) of Title 18, it appears that a voluntary approach is unlikely to meet the goal set forth in subsection 702(j) of Title 18, a regulatory approach will become necessary. 

(b)  The commissioner of banking, insurance, securities, and health care administration is directed to prepare an implementation plan, including recommendations for enhanced authority, outlining the steps necessary to ensure that health insurers will successfully implement the blueprint by January 1, 2009.  The implementation plan need not address Medicaid, the Vermont health access plan, Dr. Dynasaur, any Global Commitment for Health waiver program, any state‑funded pharmacy program, Catamount Health Assistance, or the employer‑sponsored‑insurance assistance program.  This plan should be delivered to the senate committee on health and welfare, the house committee on health care, and the commission on health care reform by January 1, 2008.

* * * Integrating Care Coordination and
Payment Reform into the Blueprint * * *

Sec. 7.  INTEGRATED EARLY IMPLEMENTATION OF BLUEPRINT PROGRAMS

(a)(1)  Findings.

(A)  A core goal of the blueprint for health is to create a greater degree of cohesiveness in the delivery of care to people with chronic conditions.

(B)  Given the complexity of the health care delivery system, it is necessary to test, within a small number of early implementation communities, how to integrate the various key components of the chronic care model.

(C)  Health insurers currently assume the costs (both in claims costs and administrative expenses for existing disease management programs) for care coordination and for provider payment.

(2)  Purpose and intent.  It is the intent of the general assembly that all health insurers, including those who offer the state employees’ health plan or who administer chronic care management for state health benefits programs, shall voluntarily participate in early implementation projects.

(b)  The director shall establish early implementation projects necessary to demonstrate and evaluate best practices in the integration and delivery of chronic care as part of the blueprint for health.  Projects shall include those listed in subsections (e), (f), and (g) of this section.  The director shall develop the projects using the medical home project as the baseline and shall consider the options for community‑based care coordination described in subsection (f) and the options for payment reform described in subsection (g) of this section as options for the final design of the early implementation projects.  The director shall, in designing these early implementation projects, integrate the other components of the blueprint such as patient self‑management, the use of decision support tools such as the chronic care information system, and the development of community resources. 

(c)  Early implementation projects shall meet the following criteria:

(1)  Communities.  The implementation should occur concurrently within one or more of the existing blueprint communities and, if the director approves, in the Vermont rural health alliance.   

(2)  Timetable.  The program design, integration and implementation plan, and selection of the initial community for the early implementation projects should be completed by October 1, 2007.  Implementation in the initial community should be commenced by January 1, 2008.  Implementation into at least one additional community should begin by July 1, 2008. 

(3)  Evaluation.  The implementation plan should include ongoing structured feedback from the major stakeholders to help inform the implementation while it is occurring, and, as part of the annual report required by 18 V.S.A. § 702(i), a more formal evaluation after one year of operation.  During implementation, the director shall consult with the commissioner of banking, insurance, securities, and health care administration to determine whether statewide implementation of the early implementation projects would have an impact on health insurance premium rates, and the extent to which implementation costs would be offset by reduced administration costs or savings in medical claims.  

(d)  For fiscal year 2008, the department of health shall provide a grant to the Vermont rural health alliance for the early implementation projects described in this section upon the approval by the commissioner and upon receipt by the alliance of $185,000.00 of federal grant or other matching funds. 

(e)  Medical home project chronic care management systems integration.

(1)  The director, with assistance from the commissioner of health, the director of the office of Vermont health access, the commissioner of human resources, and the commissioner of banking, insurance, securities, and health care administration, shall establish a medical home project for use with Medicaid beneficiaries, Catamount Health, and the state employees’ health plan.  The director shall also encourage other health insurers to participate in the project and adopt and pay similar care management fees.

(2)  The project shall facilitate provision of accessible, continuous, and coordinated family‑centered care to high‑need populations.  The project shall ensure that:

(A)  Medicaid, Catamount Health carriers, and the state employees’ health plan pay care management fees to primary care providers providing care management under the project and in compliance with subsection (e) of this section;

(B)  incentive payments for demonstrated compliance with established clinical protocols are paid to primary care providers participating in practices that provide services as a medical home.

(3)  The director, with assistance from the commissioner of health, the director of the office of Vermont health access, the commissioner of human resources, and the commissioner of banking, insurance, securities, and health care administration, shall develop a care management fee schedule and shall determine the amount of care management and incentive payments. 

(4)  A primary care provider participating in the project shall:

(A)  Provide ongoing support, oversight, and guidance to implement a plan of care that provides an integrated, coherent, cross‑discipline plan for ongoing medical care developed in partnership with patients and including all other physicians furnishing care to the patient.  

(B)  Use evidence‑based medicine and clinical decision support tools to guide decision‑making at the point of care based on patient‑specific factors.

(C)  Use health information technology, which may include remote monitoring and patient registries, to monitor and track the health status of patients and to provide patients with enhanced and convenient access to health care services.

(D)  Encourage patients to engage in the management of their own health through education and community support systems, including the blueprint healthier living workshops or similar evidence‑based, self‑management tools. 

(5)  The director shall include an evaluation of this project for the previous calendar year, with recommendations for expansion of the project, in the annual report required by 18 V.S.A. § 702(i). 

(6)  To the extent that it is not inconsistent with provisions herein, this section shall be construed in accordance with the terms and conditions of the Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006, Pub. L. No. 109‑432, § 204, 120 Stat 2922, 2987–89 (2006) (Medicare Medical Home Demonstration Project). 

(7)  For purposes of this subsection:

(A)  “Coordinated care management” is a system that includes at least the following components:

(i)  population identification processes;

(ii)  evidence‑based practice guidelines;

(iii)  collaborative practice models to include physician and support‑service providers;

(iv)  patient self‑management education, which may include primary prevention, behavior modification programs, and compliance surveillance;

(v)  process and outcome measurement, evaluation, and management; and

(vi)  routine reporting and sharing of information among the patient, primary care provider, ancillary providers, and health insurers.

(B)  “Health insurer” shall have the same meaning as in section 9402 of this title.

(C)  “High‑need population” means individuals with chronic illnesses that require regular medical monitoring, advising, or treatment areas.

(D)  “Medical home” means a primary care provider practice that is responsible for:

(i)  targeting patients for participation in the project; and

(ii)  providing safe and secure technology to promote patient access to personal health information;

(iii)  developing a health assessment tool for the individuals targeted; and

(iv)  providing training programs for personnel involved in the coordination of care.

(E)  “Primary care provider” means a health care provider who:

(i)  is board certified, if applicable;

(ii)  provides first contact and continuous care for individuals under his or her care; and

(iii)  has staff and resources sufficient to manage the comprehensive and coordinated health care of each such individual.

(f)  Community‑based care coordination.

(1)  The director shall encourage the development of community‑based care coordination teams, which will provide local support to primary care providers in a community, particularly those serving as medical homes to patients with chronic conditions.  Such teams will collaborate with the medical home practices to:

(A)  Devise care plans through assessment of current treatments, services, and resources that directly address patients’ needs.

(B)  Ensure patient compliance with the care plan and monitor appropriate emergency room use, hospitalizations, length of stay, and discharge planning.

(C)  Strive to enhance the relationship between the patient and his or her medical home, and to educate patients on how to become more proactive in meeting their own health care needs.

(D)  Utilize community‑based resources, where feasible, to support the formation of care plans, to ensure compliance with such care plans, and to enhance patient education.

(2)  The director, supported by the commissioner of health, the director of the office of Vermont health access, and the commissioner of banking, insurance, securities, and health care administration, and in collaboration with health insurers, as defined in section 9402 of Title 18, shall examine methods of funding, including the use of funds from existing disease management programs, to support community based care coordination teams.

(g)  Chronic care payment reform.  In addition to the care management fee and incentive payments to be made pursuant to the medical home project required by subsection (e) of this section, the director should consider other payment reforms in the early implementation of blueprint programs, such as: 

(1)  A bundled payment provided on a monthly basis that includes 90 percent of the cost associated with providing all evidence‑based preventive services for the applicable chronic disease state, as developed in the blueprint.  Additional payments of up to 10 percent could be provided in cases where all of the recommended evidence‑based preventive services are provided.

(2)  Separate fee‑for‑service payments for office visits (Payments for care management services that fall outside the office visit should not result in a reduction in payments for office visits.).

(3)  Other projects designed to set payment based on the quality of the outcome, which may include projects such as shared savings for reductions in hospitalizations associated with physician‑coordinated care management in the office setting.

* * * Support for Primary Care Providers * * *

Sec. 8.  PRIMARY CARE PROVIDERS; NURSE AUTHORITY STUDY; AHEC APPROPRIATION

(a)  Findings:

(1)  Primary care providers are essential to the success of the blueprint.

(2)  Loan repayment is an essential component of recruiting and retaining a strong primary care provider workforce. 

(b)  No later than September 1, 2007, the commissioner of health, the director of the office of professional regulation, and the board of nursing shall establish a work group to study and make recommendations on the advisability of eliminating the requirement for an advance practice nurse to work in a collaborative practice with a licensed physician, with the goal of evaluating whether advance practice nurses might serve a greater role as primary care providers who provide essential chronic care management.  The work group shall include a representative of the Vermont Nurse practitioner association and a representative of the medical practice board.  The work group shall make its recommendations in a report delivered to the house committee on health care, the senate committee on health and welfare, and the commission on health care reform no later than January 15, 2008. 

Sec. 9.  18 V.S.A. § 9409a is added to read: 

§ 9409a.  Health care insurance reimbursement survey

In order to understand the impact of reimbursement on access to health care, the cost shift, the workforce shortages and recruitment and retention of health care professionals, the commissioner shall annually survey health insurers to determine the reimbursement paid for the ten most common billing codes for primary care health services.  Each insurer shall report the average reimbursement paid for a specific service.  The survey shall be managed by the department of banking, insurance, securities, and health care administration, and any public reports shall be sufficiently aggregated so that they would not enable readers to determine the amount of reimbursement paid for specific services to any particular provider or facility.  No provider‑specific or facility‑specific reimbursement information shall be included in the public survey reports, or be available through public records requests.  When published, survey data will be at least 90 days old.  Only the department will have access to the underlying survey responses.  The department shall provide a copy of the survey results to the house committee on health care and the senate committee on health and welfare.

Sec. 10.  3 V.S.A. § 631 is amended to read:

§ 631.  GROUP INSURANCE FOR STATE EMPLOYEES; SALARY DEDUCTIONS FOR INSURANCE, SAVINGS PLANS, AND CREDIT UNIONS

(a)(1)  The secretary of administration may contract on behalf of the state with any insurance company or nonprofit association doing business in this state to secure the benefits of franchise or group insurance.  Beginning July 1, 1978, the terms of coverage under the policy shall be determined under section 904 of this title, but it may include:

(A)  life, disability, health, and accident insurance and benefits for any class or classes of state employees; and

(B)  hospital, surgical, and medical benefits for any class or classes of state employees or for those employees and any class or classes of their dependents.

* * *

(c)(1)  At least every five years, the secretary of administration shall advertise for bids on the insurance contracts and shall award the contract to the person whose bid or quotation is in the best interest of the state.  The secretary of administration may reject any bids or quotations and may request additional bids.  Upon publication of the request for proposals, health care professional and trade associations may register with the secretary of administration to be provided a list of bidders.  Such associations may then submit information about the business practices of the bidders for the secretary of administration to consider in the course of evaluating bids and request meetings with the secretary to discuss the information. 

(2)  Annually, the secretary of administration shall submit a report to the house committee on health care and the senate committee on health and welfare that includes:

(A)  an assessment of the status of alignment between chronic care management programs provided to state employees through the health coverage benefit and the Vermont blueprint for health strategic plan developed under section 702 of Title 18;

(B)  the results of provider satisfaction assessments, developed in consultation with health care professional and trade associations, the blueprint director, and the commissioner of health, which assessments shall be designed to evaluate whether the contractor for administrative services for health benefits has created and maintained adequate provider networks and has entered into participating provider agreements designed to effectively and efficiently compensate providers for delivering services in a manner consistent with the blueprint for health principles.

(C)  if the secretary determines that provider satisfaction levels are creating a barrier to successful implementation of the blueprint for health for the state employees health plan, an action plan to improve provider satisfaction relative to the blueprint implementation and institute changes to the chronic care management program.  Prior to the secretary’s determination, health care professional and trade associations may request the opportunity to meet with the secretary to review and discuss the results of the provider satisfaction assessments.

(3)  At least annually, the secretary shall hold discussions with established health care professional and trade associations in regard to provider regulation, provider reimbursement, or quality of health care. 

* * *

* * * Health Information Technology * * *

Sec. 11.  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 other primary care practices serving low and moderate 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. 12.  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 has 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 and moderate 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 and moderate income Vermonters in other communities. 

(c)  VITL 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 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 (d) 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 the department of health.  Information concerning this program in the report 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.

* * * Other Provisions * * *

Sec. 13.  33 V.S.A. § 1986(d) is amended to read:

(d)  All monies received by or generated to the fund shall be used only as allowed by appropriation of the general assembly for the administration and delivery of the Catamount Health assistance program under this subchapter, employer‑sponsored insurance premium assistance under section 1974 of this title, immunizations under section 1130 of Title 18, development and implementation of the blueprint for health under section 702 of title 18, and the nongroup health insurance market assistance under section 4062d of Title 8, and for transfers to the state health care resources fund established in section 1901d of this title as approved by the general assembly.

Sec. 14.  33 V.S.A. § 1974(c)(3) is amended to read:

(3)  The premium assistance program under this subsection shall provide a subsidy of premiums or cost-sharing amounts based on the household income of the eligible individual, with greater amounts of financial assistance provided to eligible individuals with lower household income and lesser amounts of assistance provided to eligible individuals with higher household income.  Until an approved employer-sponsored plan is required to meet the standard in subdivision (4)(B)(ii) of this subsection, the subsidy shall include premium assistance and assistance to cover all cost-sharing amounts for chronic care health services covered by the Vermont health access plan that are related to evidence-based guidelines for ongoing prevention and clinical management of the chronic condition specified in the blueprint for health in section 702 of Title 18.  

Sec. 15.  8 V.S.A. § 4080f(f)(1) is amended to read:

(f)(1)  Except as provided for in subdivision (2) of this subsection, the carrier shall pay health care professionals the least of contracted rates for such professionals, billed charges, or, using the Medicare payment methodologies, at a level ten percent greater than for levels paid under the Medicare program in 2006.  Payments based on Medicare payment methodologies under this subsection shall be indexed to the Medicare economic index developed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Sec. 16.  REPEAL

18 V.S.A. § 9417 (health information technology) is repealed.

Sec. 17.  EFFECTIVE DATE

     Secs. 4 and 15 of this act shall take effect upon passage.  All other sections shall take effect July 1, 2007. 

(Committee Vote: 6-0-0)

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

The Committee recommends that the Senate propose to the House that the bill be amended as recommended by the Committee on Health and Welfare with the following amendments thereto:  By striking out Secs. 11 and 12 and renumbering the subsequent sections accordingly

(Committee Vote: 4-0-3)

(For House amendments, see House Journal for April 4, 2007, page 565.)

H. 534

An act relating to prekindergarten education.

Reported favorably with recommendation of proposal of amendment by Senator Collins for the Committee on Education.

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

First:  In Sec. 2, § 11(a)(31), after the words not eligible for by inserting the words or enrolled in

Second:  By striking out Sec. 3 in its entirety and inserting a new Sec. 3 to read:

Sec. 3.  16 V.S.A. § 829 is added to read:

§ 829.  PREKINDERGARTEN EDUCATION; RULES

The board of education, in consultation with the secretary of human services, shall adopt rules under chapter 25 of Title 3:

(1)  To ensure that, before a school district begins a prekindergarten education program or expands a prekindergarten education program by adding three-year-old children to a program established to serve four-year-old children and intends to enroll students who are included in its average daily membership, the district engage the community in a collaborative process that includes an assessment of the need for the program in the community and an inventory of the existing service providers.

(2)  To ensure that, if a school district begins a prekindergarten education program or expands a prekindergarten education program by adding three-year-old children to a program established to serve four-year-old children and intends to include any of the students in its average daily membership, the district shall use existing qualified service providers to the extent that existing qualified service providers have the capacity to meet the district’s needs effectively and efficiently.

(3)  To require that the school district provides opportunities for effective parental participation in the prekindergarten education program. 

(4)  To establish a process by which a parent or guardian residing in the district or a provider, or both, may request a school district to enter into a contract with a provider located in or outside the district. 

(5)  To identify the services and other items for which state funds may be expended when prekindergarten children are counted for purposes of average daily membership, such as tuition reduction, quality improvements, or professional development for school staff or private providers.

(6)  To ensure transparency and accountability by requiring private providers under contract with a school district to report costs for prekindergarten programs to the school district and by requiring school districts to report these costs to the commissioner of education.

(7)  To require school districts to include identifiable costs for prekindergarten programs and essential early education services in their annual budgets and reports to the community.

(8)  To provide an appeal process for:

(A)  A parent, guardian, or provider to challenge an action of the school district when the appellant believes that the district is in violation of state statute or rules regarding prekindergarten education.

(B)  A school district to challenge an action of a state agency, department, or board if the district believes the state entity has acted in violation of state statute or rules regarding prekindergarten education. 

(9)  To establish the minimum quality standards necessary for a district to include prekindergarten children within its average daily membership.  At a minimum, the standards shall include the following requirements:

(A)  A provider must have received:

(i)  National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) accreditation; or

(ii)  At least four stars in the department for children and families STARS system with at least two points in each of the five arenas; or

(iii)  Three stars in the STARS system if the provider has developed a plan, approved by the commissioner for children and families and the commissioner of education, to achieve four or more stars within three years with at least two points in each of the five arenas, and the provider has met intermediate milestones; and

(B)  A licensed center shall employ or contract for the services of at least one teacher who is licensed and endorsed in early childhood education or in early childhood special education under chapter 51 of this title; and

(C)  A registered home shall receive regular, active supervision and training from a teacher who is licensed and endorsed in early childhood education or in early childhood special education under chapter 51 of this title.

(10)  To establish a process for documenting the progress of children enrolled in prekindergarten programs and to require public and private providers to use the process to collect and report child progress data to the commissioner of education on an annual basis.

Third:  In Sec. 6, § 4001, subdivision (1)(C), by striking out the following:  Although there is no limit on the total number of children who may be enrolled in prekindergarten education or who receive essential early education services, the total number of prekindergarten children that a district may include within its average daily membership shall be limited as follows:” and inserting in lieu thereof the following:  “Although the total number of prekindergarten children that a district may include within its average daily membership shall be limited as set forth in subdivisions (i) and (ii) below, there is no limit on the total number of children who may be enrolled in prekindergarten education or who receive essential early education services.  Each school district shall have sole discretion regarding the manner in which it limits total enrollment.

Fourth:  In Sec, 7, § 4010, subdivision (c)(3), by striking out the numeral “1.25” and inserting in lieu thereof the numeral 1.13

Fifth:  In Sec. 10, subdivision (3), after the words The statewide cost by inserting the following:  , including the cost to the education fund,

Sixth:  In Sec. 10, by adding three new subdivisions to be subdivisions (7) through (9) to read:

(7)  The measurable positive and negative effects that the prekindergarten programs covered by this act have had on the early development and learning experiences of young children in Vermont, including the programs’ effectiveness in addressing the extreme behavioral needs of young children.

(8)  The effect that the limits on the number of prekindergarten children that may be included within a district’s ADM established in Sec. 6 of this act have had on the ability to serve the needs of young children.

(9)  The advisability of eliminating or amending the ADM limits established in Sec. 6 of this act, including:

(A) An analysis of whether the elimination of the limits would effectively be a requirement that all districts provide prekindergarten education programs.

(B)  An analysis of the effect that elimination or amendment of the limits would be likely to have on the education fund.  

Seventh:  By striking out Sec. 11 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 11 to read:

Sec. 11.  TRANSITIONAL PROVISIONS

Any district that offered prekindergarten education during the 2006–2007 academic year shall not be affected by the provisions of 16 V.S.A. § 4001(1)(C) in Sec. 6 of this act that limit the total number of prekindergarten children who may be counted within the district’s average daily membership; rather, the district may instead choose to include within its average daily membership the total number of prekindergarten children enrolled in its program, provided that the number does not exceed the highest number of prekindergarten children enrolled in any one of the following three academic years: 2004-2005, 2005-2006, or 2006-2007.  If, at any time, the district elects to determine its average daily membership of prekindergarten children based on the limitations in 16 V.S.A. § 4001(1)(C), the decision shall be final, and the district shall at all times be bound by that subdivision. 

Eighth:  By striking out Sec. 12 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 12 to read:

Sec. 12.  CONSTRUCTION

Nothing in this act shall be construed to require a school district to provide a prekindergarten education program.

(Committee Vote: 4-1-0)

Reported without recommendation by Senator Bartlett for the Committee on Appropriations.

(Committee vote: 4-0-3)

(No House amendments.)

PROPOSAL OF AMENDMENT TO H. 534 TO BE OFFERED BY SENATORS COPPENRATH AND ILLUZZI

Senators Coppenrath and Illuzzi moves that the Senate propose to the House to amend the bill as follows:

First:  In Sec. 3, by adding a new subdivision to be numbered subdivision (11) to read as follows:

(11)  To establish a process by which state funds received by a district as a result of including eligible prekindergarten children within its average daily membership be made available to private providers, deemed eligible pursuant to the rules adopted under subdivision (9) of this section, in the form of “scholarships to empower parents.”

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

Sec. 4.  16 V.S.A. § 4001(15) and (16) are added to read:

(15)  “Prekindergarten child” means a three‑ or four‑year‑old child who is enrolled in a prekindergarten program offered by or through a public school pursuant to rules adopted under section 829 of this title or who is receiving essential early education services offered pursuant to section 2956 of this title.   Prekindergarten child also means a five‑year‑old child who otherwise meets the terms of this definition if that child is not yet eligible for or enrolled in kindergarten. 

(16)  “Eligible prekindergarten child” means a prekindergarten child who lives in a household that is at or below 185 percent of the poverty level, who has a learning disability, or for whom English is a second language.  Eligible prekindergarten children may be counted within a school district’s average daily membership pursuant to subdivision (1)(C) of this section.

Third:  In Sec. 6, subdivision (1), by striking out subdivision (C) in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new subdivision (C) to read as follows:

(C)  The full‑time equivalent enrollment for each eligible prekindergarten child as follows:  If an eligible prekindergarten child is enrolled in 10 or more hours of prekindergarten education per week or receives 10 or more hours of essential early education services per week, the child shall be counted as one full‑time equivalent pupil.  If a child is enrolled in six or more but fewer than 10 hours of prekindergarten education per week or if a child receives fewer than 10 hours of essential early education services per week, the child shall be counted as a percentage of one full‑time equivalent pupil, calculated as one multiplied by the number of hours per week divided by ten.  A child enrolled in prekindergarten education for fewer than six hours per week shall not be included in the district’s average daily membership.  Although there is no limit on the total number of children who may be enrolled in prekindergarten education or who receive essential early education services, the total number of prekindergarten children that a district may include within its average daily membership shall be limited to those defined as eligible prekindergarten children pursuant to subdivision 4001(16) of this title, including all children receiving essential early education services. 

Fourth:  By striking out Sec. 7 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 7 to read as follows:

Sec. 7.  16 V.S.A. § 4010 is amended to read:

§ 4010.  DETERMINATION OF WEIGHTED MEMBERSHIP

(a)  On or before the first day of December during each school year, the commissioner shall determine the average daily membership of each school district for the current school year.  The determination shall list separately:

(1)  resident Resident eligible prekindergarten children;

(2)  Resident pupils being provided elementary or kindergarten education; and

(2)  resident (3)  Resident pupils being provided secondary education.

* * *

(c)  The commissioner shall determine the weighted long‑term membership for each school district using the long‑term membership from subsection (b) of this section and the following weights for each class:

Grade Level Weight

(1)  Eligible prekindergarten 0.46

(2)  Elementary or kindergarten 1.0

(3)  Secondary 1.25 1.13

* * *

Fifth:  By striking out Sec. 10 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 10 to read as follows:

Sec. 10.  REPORT TO GENERAL ASSEMBLY

On or before January 1, 2010, the commissioners of education and for children and families shall file a written report with the house and senate committees on education regarding:

(1)  The per‑district enrollment of all children who are in prekindergarten education programs and who are receiving essential early education services, and the per-district enrollment of eligible prekindergarten children who are in prekindergarten education programs and who are receiving essential early education services.

(2)  The statewide cost of providing prekindergarten programs by or through school districts and any changes to that cost since the effective date of this act.

(3)  The annual public expenditures spent in support of prekindergarten care and education, with distinct figures provided for expenditures made from the general fund and those made from the education fund, from the effective date of this act forward. 

(4)  The information and data required through rulemaking in 16 V.S.A. § 829(5) through (7).

(5)  The effectiveness of prekindergarten programs in reaching quality program standards set forth in department of education rule.

House Proposals of Amendment

S. 6

An act relating to preventing conviction of innocent persons.

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.  13 V.S.A. chapter 182 is added to read:

CHAPTER 182.  INNOCENCE PROTECTION

Subchapter 1.  Postconviction DNA Testing

§ 5561.  PETITION FOR POSTCONVICTION DNA TESTING

(a)  A person convicted of a qualifying crime may at any time file a petition requesting forensic DNA testing of any evidence which may contain biological evidence that was obtained during the investigation or prosecution of the crime.  The petition shall:

(1)  specifically identify the crime for which the petitioner asserts that he or she is innocent and the evidence which the petitioner seeks to have subjected to DNA testing;

(2)  contain the petitioner’s certification, under oath, that the petitioner did not commit the crime for which he or she was convicted;

(3)  contain the petitioner’s certification, under oath, that the petition is true and accurate; and

(4)  allege facts showing that DNA testing may be material to the petitioner’s claim of innocence.

(b)  As used in this section:

(1)  “Biological evidence” means:

(A)  a sexual assault forensic examination kit; or

(B)  semen, blood, saliva, hair, skin tissue, or other identified biological material.

(2)   “Person convicted of a qualifying crime” means a person convicted of:

(A)  one of the following crimes as defined in this title:

(1) arson causing death, § 501;

(2)  assault and robbery with a dangerous weapon, § 608(b);

(3)  assault and robbery causing bodily injury, § 608(c);

(4)  aggravated assault, § 1024;

(5)  murder, § 2301;

(6)  manslaughter, § 2304;

(7)  aggravated murder, § 2311;

(8)  kidnapping, § 2405;

(9)  unlawful restraint, §§ 2406 and 2407;

(10)  maiming, § 2701;

(11)  sexual assault, § 3252;

(12)  aggravated sexual assault, § 3253;

(13)  burglary into an occupied dwelling, § 1201(c); or

(14)  lewd and lascivious conduct with a child; § 2602.

(B)  any felony not listed in subdivision (b)(1) of this section, if the petition is filed within 30 months after the conviction becomes final, the person presents specific facts demonstrating that DNA evidence will provide substantial evidence of the person’s innocence, and the court finds that the interests of justice would be served by permitting the petition.   

(c)(1)  The petition shall be filed in the superior court of the county where the conviction was imposed, and shall not be heard by a judge who presided over the trial, sentencing, or any motion hearing related to evidence to be admitted at the trial. 

(2)(A)  Unless subdivision (B) of this subdivision (2) applies, the petitioner shall provide copies of the petition to the attorney general and to the state’s attorney in the district where the conviction was obtained. 

(B)  If the petitioner is not represented by counsel, the court shall provide copies of the petition to the attorney general and to the state’s attorney in the district where the conviction was obtained.

(3)  Within 30 days after it receives the petition, the state shall agree to perform the requested DNA testing in a timely manner or file a response to the petition.  The petitioner may file a reply to the state’s response only within ten days after the response is filed. 

(4)  The court shall schedule a hearing on the petition within 90 days after the state’s response is filed unless the state notifies the court that it has agreed to provide the testing in a timely manner or the court dismisses the petition pursuant to subsection (c) of this section. 

(5)  Time limits under this subsection may be extended for good cause shown or by consent of the parties.

(c)  The court shall dismiss the petition without a hearing if it determines that:

(1)  the petition, response, reply if any, files, and records conclusively establish that the petitioner is entitled to no relief; or

(2)  the petition was not made to demonstrate innocence or the appropriateness of a lesser sentence and will unreasonably delay the execution of sentence or administration of justice.     

§ 5562.  ASSIGNMENT OF COUNSEL

The court may appoint counsel if the petitioner is unable financially to employ counsel and may order that all necessary costs and expenses incident to the matter, including but not limited to court costs, stenographic services, printing, and reasonable compensation for legal services, be paid by the state from the appropriation to the defender general.  On appeal, the supreme court may make a similar order.

§ 5563.  VICTIM NOTIFICATION

If the address of a victim of the crime which the petitioner claims to be innocent of in the petition is known, the state’s attorney or attorney general shall give written notice of a petition under this section to the victim as soon as the petition is received.  If the victim’s current address is not known, the state’s attorney or the attorney general shall consult with the department of corrections victim services division to verify the victim’s last known address.  The notice shall be by any reasonable means to the victim's last known address and shall indicate whether the petitioner is represented by public or private counsel.  Upon the victim's request, the state’s attorney or attorney general shall give the victim notice of the time and place of any hearing on the petition and shall inform the victim of the disposition of the petition and the outcome of any hearing.  If DNA testing is ordered, the state’s attorney or the attorney general shall inform the victim whether the test results require further court hearings, the time and place of any hearings, and the outcome of the hearings.

§ 5564.  DISCOVERY

(a)  Upon motion by the petitioner or the state, and after providing the nonmovant with reasonable opportunity to respond to the motion, the court may permit reasonable discovery and the right to depose witnesses.  The court in its discretion may delay ruling on any discovery motions until after it has determined whether to dismiss the petition pursuant to subsection 5561(c) of this section.  

(b)  A discovery order issued pursuant to this section may include the following:

(1)  The court may order the state to locate and provide the petitioner with any documents, notes, logs, or reports relating to items of physical evidence collected in connection with the case or to help the petitioner locate items of biological evidence that the state contends have been lost or destroyed.  The court may further order the state to take reasonable measures to locate biological evidence that may be in its custody or to help the petitioner locate evidence that may be in the custody of a public or private hospital, public or private laboratory, or other facility.

(2)  If evidence has previously been subjected to DNA testing, the court may order production of laboratory reports prepared in connection with the testing and may order production of the underlying data and the laboratory notes.

(3)  If any DNA or other biological evidence testing was previously conducted by either the prosecution or the defense without knowledge of the other party, the court may order that the previous testing be disclosed.

(4)  If the court orders DNA testing under this subchapter, the court shall order the production of any laboratory reports prepared in connection with the testing and may order production of the underlying data, bench notes, or other laboratory notes.

§ 5565.  PRESERVATION OF BIOLOGICAL EVIDENCE; POLICIES

The department of public safety shall disseminate policies regarding the collection and preservation of biological evidence to all state and local law enforcement agencies on or before July 1, 2007.  Law enforcement agencies shall adopt the policies distributed pursuant to this section, or adopt similar policies on a department-by-department basis.

§ 5566.  ORDER; NECESSARY FINDINGS; CONFIDENTIALITY

(a)  The court shall grant the petition and order DNA testing if it makes all of the following findings:

(1)  A reasonable probability exists that the petitioner would not have been convicted of the crime which the petitioner claims to be innocent of in the petition if the results of the requested DNA testing had been available at the time of the original prosecution.

(2)  One or more of the items of evidence that the petitioner seeks to have tested is still in existence.

(3)  The evidence to be tested was obtained in connection with the offense that is the basis of the challenged conviction and:

(A)  was not previously subjected to DNA testing; or

(B)  although previously subjected to DNA testing, can be subjected to additional DNA testing that provides a reasonable likelihood of significantly more probative results.

(4)(A)(i)  The chain of custody of the evidence to be tested establishes that the evidence has not been tampered with, replaced, or altered in any material respect; or

(ii)  If the chain of custody does not establish the integrity of the evidence, the testing itself has the potential to establish the integrity of the evidence.

(B)  For purposes of this subchapter, evidence that has been in the custody of a law enforcement agency, a governmental body, or a public or private hospital shall be presumed to satisfy the chain-of-custody requirement of this subdivision.

(b)  The court may designate in its order:

(1)  the type of DNA analysis to be used;

(2)  the testing procedures to be followed;

(3)  the preservation of some portion of the sample for replicating the testing;

(4)  additional DNA testing, if the results of the initial testing are inconclusive or otherwise merit additional scientific analysis.

(c)  DNA profile information from biological samples taken from any person pursuant to a petition under this subchapter shall be confidential and shall be exempt from any law requiring disclosure of information to the public.

§ 5567.  APPEALS

An order entered on the petition may be appealed to the Vermont supreme court pursuant to the Rules of Appellate Procedure.

§ 5568.  CHOICE OF LABORATORY; PAYMENT

(a)  If the court orders DNA testing under this subchapter, the testing shall be conducted at a facility mutually agreed upon by the petitioner and the state and approved by the court.  If the parties are unable to agree, the court shall designate the testing facility and provide the parties with a reasonable opportunity to be heard on the issue.

(b)  The court shall impose reasonable conditions on the testing to protect the parties’ interests in the integrity of the evidence and the testing process.

(c)(1)  The state shall bear the costs of testing performed at the state crime laboratory.

(2)  Except as provided in subdivision (3) of this subsection, the court may require the petitioner or the state or both to pay for testing performed at a private laboratory.

(3)  If the state crime laboratory does not have the ability or resources to conduct the type of DNA testing to be performed, the state shall bear the costs of testing at a private laboratory which does have such capabilities or resources.

§ 5569.  PROCEDURE AFTER TEST RESULTS OBTAINED

(a)  The results of any postconviction DNA testing conducted pursuant to this subchapter shall be disclosed to the state’s attorney, the attorney general, the petitioner, and the court.

(b)  If the results of forensic DNA testing ordered under this subchapter support the facts alleged in the petition, the court shall schedule a hearing as soon as practicable after the results are received to determine the appropriate relief to be granted.  The petitioner and the state shall be permitted to submit motions and be heard at the hearing.

(c)  At or subsequent to the hearing, the court may issue an order including but not limited to the following:

(1)  setting aside or vacating the petitioner’s judgment of conviction;

(2)  granting the petitioner a new trial;

(3)  granting the petitioner a new sentencing hearing;

(4)  discharging the petitioner from custody;

(5)  specifying the disposition of any evidence that remains after the completion of the testing;

(6)  granting the petitioner additional discovery on matters related to DNA test results or the conviction or sentence under attack, including documents pertaining to the original criminal investigation and the identities of other suspects; or

(7)  providing such other relief as the court deems appropriate.

(d)  If the person’s conviction is reversed or vacated or the person is pardoned as a result of DNA evidence:

(1)  The court shall order the removal and destruction of the person’s name and any information about that conviction from the sex offender registry established under section 5402 of this title, the child abuse registry established under section 4916 of Title 33, the vulnerable adult registry established under section 6911 of Title 33, and any other registry on which the person’s name appears solely because of his or her conviction of the offense for which the person’s actual innocence has been established.  If the person has more than one entry on a registry, only the entry related to the offense for which the person’s actual innocence has been established shall be removed and destroyed.

(2)  The court shall order the Vermont crime information center to remove and destroy any criminal records it has related to the person’s commission of the offense for which his or her actual innocence has been established.  If the center has records related to the person’s commission of other offenses, only the records related to the offense for which the person’s actual innocence has been established shall be removed and destroyed.

(3)  It shall not be a violation of Vermont law for the person to respond when asked, that he or she has never previously been convicted of a crime, and that his or her innocence of the crime charged has been established.  This subdivision shall not apply if the person has been convicted of a crime other than the one for which the person’s conviction was reversed or the person was pardoned as a result of DNA evidence.   

(e)  An order issued under this section may be appealed to the Vermont supreme court pursuant to the Rules of Appellate Procedure. 

§ 5570.  SUCCESSIVE PETITIONS

(a)  The court shall not be required to entertain a second or successive petition for similar relief on behalf of the same petitioner unless it appears the petition will be assisted by the availability of more advanced DNA technology.

(b)  The court may entertain a second or successive petition if it determines that doing so would serve the interests of justice.

Subchapter 2.  Compensation for Wrongful Convictions

§ 5572.  RIGHT OF ACTION; PROCEDURE

(a)  A person convicted and imprisoned for a crime of which the person was exonerated pursuant to subchapter 1 of this chapter shall have a cause of action for damages against the state.

(b)  An action brought under this subchapter shall be filed in Washington County superior court.  Notice of the action shall be served upon the attorney general.

(c)  The Vermont Rules of Civil Procedure shall apply to actions brought under this subchapter, and the plaintiff shall have a right to trial by jury.  The Vermont Rules of Appellate Procedure shall apply to appeals from orders and judgments issued under this subchapter.

(d)  The attorney general may consider, adjust, determine, and settle any claim for damages brought against the state of Vermont under this subchapter.

§ 5573.  COMPLAINT

(a)  A complaint filed under this subchapter shall be supported by facts and shall allege that:

(1)  the complainant has been convicted of a crime, been sentenced to a term of imprisonment, and served all or any part of the sentence; and

(2)  the complainant’s actual innocence has been established by DNA evidence which resulted in the person’s conviction being reversed or vacated or the granting of a pardon. 

(b)  The court may dismiss the complaint, upon its own motion or upon motion of the state, if it determines that the complaint does not state a claim for which relief may be granted.

§ 5574.  BURDEN OF PROOF; JUDGMENT; DAMAGES 

(a)  A claimant shall be entitled to judgment in an action under this subchapter if the claimant establishes each of the following by a preponderance of the evidence:

(1)  The complainant was convicted of a crime, was sentenced to a term of imprisonment, and served all or any part of the sentence.

(2)(A)  The complainant’s conviction was reversed or vacated; or

(B)  The complainant was pardoned for the crime for which he or she was sentenced.

(3)  DNA evidence establishes that the complainant did not commit the crime for which he or she was sentenced.

(4)  The complainant did not fabricate evidence or commit or suborn perjury during any proceedings related to the crime with which he or she was charged.

(b)(1) Except as provided in subdivision (2) of this subsection, a claimant awarded judgment in an action under this subchapter shall be entitled to damages for each year the claimant was incarcerated in an amount to be determined by the trier of fact and adjusted proportionally for partial years served.  The damage award may also include:

(A)  Economic damages, including lost wages and costs incurred by the claimant for his or her criminal defense and for efforts to prove his or her innocence.

(B)  Up to ten years of physical and mental health care through the state employees’ health care system, offset by any amount provided through the claimant’s employers during that time period.

(C)  Compensation for any reasonable reintegrative services and mental and physical health care costs incurred by the claimant for the time period between his or her release from mistaken incarceration and the date of the award.

(D)  Reasonable attorney’s fees and costs for the action brought under this subchapter.  

(2)  A claimant entitled to judgment under this section whose conviction resulted from a plea agreement shall only be eligible for the remedies provided by subdivisions (1)(B), (C), and (D) of this subsection. 

(c)  Damages awarded under this section:

(1)  shall not be subject to any state taxes, except for the portion of the judgment awarded as attorney’s fees; and

(2)  shall not be offset by any services awarded to the claimant pursuant to this section or by any expenses incurred by the state or any political subdivision of the state, including expenses incurred to secure or maintain the claimant’s custody or to feed, clothe, or provide medical services for the claimant.

(d)  The claimant’s acceptance of a damages award, compromise, or settlement as a result of a claim under this subchapter shall be in writing and, except when procured by fraud, shall be final and conclusive on the claimant, and constitute a complete release by the claimant of any claim against the state and a complete bar to any action by the claimant against the state with respect to the same subject matter. 

(e)  A claimant shall be entitled to compensation under this subchapter only if he or she would not otherwise have been incarcerated for another sentence.  

§ 5575.  PAYMENT

(a)  Any award made or compromise or settlement against the state of Vermont agreed upon by the attorney general in response to an action brought under this subchapter shall be paid by the state treasurer out of the treasury, and the emergency board shall reimburse the state treasurer therefore from time to time.

(b)  If the state elects to self‑insure for liability as defined in section 5601 of Title 12, any award, compromise, or settlement against the state of Vermont agreed to by the attorney general shall be paid by the treasurer from the liability self-insurance fund.

(c)  To the extent that an award, settlement, or compromise is covered by a policy of liability insurance, payment will be governed by the terms of the policy.

§ 5576.  LIMITATIONS

(a)  Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, an action for wrongful conviction under this subchapter shall be commenced within three years after the person’s actual innocence is established by the person’s conviction being reversed or vacated or by the granting of a pardon.

(b)(1)  If the state challenges the establishment of the actual innocence of a person entitled to bring an action under this subchapter, the limitations period shall not commence until the challenge is finally resolved.

(2)  If a person entitled to bring an action under this subchapter is not provided the notice required by section 5586 of this title, the person shall have an additional year within which to bring the action.     

§ 5577.  NOTICE OF RIGHT OF ACTION

(a)  A copy of this subchapter shall be provided to a person by a court:

(1)  issuing judicial relief establishing the person’s actual innocence through vacating or reversing the person’s conviction; or

(2)  receiving notice of a pardon.

(b)  A person receiving a copy of this subchapter pursuant to subsection (a) of this section shall be required to acknowledge its receipt in writing on a form established by the court administrator.  The acknowledgement shall be entered on the docket by the court and shall be admissible in an action filed under this subchapter.

Sec. 2.  PRESERVATION OF EVIDENCE STUDY COMMITTEE

(a)  A committee is established for the purpose of studying issues related to the preservation of evidence in criminal cases.

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

(1)  one member appointed by the executive director of the department of state’s attorneys and sheriffs, who shall be the chair of the committee;

(2)  one district court clerk appointed by the court administrator;

(3)  the attorney general or designee;

(4)  one member appointed by the Vermont chiefs of police association;

(5)  the captain of the bureau of criminal investigations or designee;

(6)  one member appointed by the Vermont criminal justice training council;

(7)  the commissioner of public safety or designee;

(8)  the executive director of the Vermont crime laboratory or designee;

(9)  the defender general or designee;

(10)  an investigator appointed by the defender general; and

(11)  a staff public defender appointed by the defender general;

(12)  one member appointed by the Vermont sheriffs’ association;

(13)  one member appointed by the Vermont center for crime victims services.

(c)  The committee shall consider the following:

(1)  Current statewide policies regarding the preservation of evidence in criminal cases, and whether a statewide policy should be adopted;

(2)  Current policies in local jurisdictions regarding the preservation of evidence in criminal cases, and whether these policies are consistent with one another and with relevant statewide policies;

(3)  Best practices regarding the preservation of evidence in criminal cases;

(4)  The appropriate duration for preservation of evidence, with specific consideration of whether evidence should be preserved while a convicted person is incarcerated or while the person is under other forms of state supervision;

(5)  Whether and how advances in DNA testing technology should effect policies concerning preservation of evidence;

(6)  Whether current facilities provide enough space to preserve the evidence that needs to be preserved; and   

(7)  Whether there should be one central, statewide repository for evidence collected in criminal cases.

(d)  The committee shall have the assistance and cooperation of all state and local agencies and departments.  The committee shall consult with the Innocence Project.  The department of public safety shall provide professional and administrative support for the committee. 

(e)  The committee shall report its findings and recommendations, including proposals for legislative action, to the senate and house committees on judiciary no later than December 15, 2007 whereupon the committee shall cease to exist.

Sec. 3.  EYEWITNESS IDENTIFICATION AND CUSTODIAL INTERROGATION RECORDING STUDY COMMITTEE

(a)  A committee is established for the purpose of studying issues related to best practices regarding eyewitness identification procedures and audio and audio-visual recording of custodial interrogations.  The committee shall:

(1)  study and analyze federal and state models and develop best practices regarding:

(A)  audio and audio-visual recording of any custodial interrogations related to the investigation or prosecution of felonies; and

(B)  eyewitness identification procedures for conducting photo lineups and live lineups.

(2)  Study current statewide policies regarding eyewitness identification procedures for conducting photo lineups and live lineups and audio and

audio-visual recording of custodial interrogations, and whether statewide policies on these issues should be adopted; and

(3)  Study current policies in local jurisdictions regarding eyewitness identification procedures for conducting photo lineups and live lineups and audio and audio-visual recording of custodial interrogations, and whether these policies are consistent with one another and with relevant statewide policies.

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

(1)  one member appointed by the executive director of the department of state’s attorneys and sheriffs, who shall be the chair of the committee;

(2)  the attorney general or designee;

(3)  one member appointed by the Vermont chiefs of police association;

(4)  the captain of the bureau of criminal investigations or designee;

(5)  one member appointed by the Vermont criminal justice training council;

(6)  the commissioner of public safety or designee;

(7)  the defender general or designee;

(8)  an investigator appointed by the defender general;

(9)  a staff public defender appointed by the defender general;

(10)  one member appointed by the Vermont sheriffs’ association;

(11)  one member appointed by the Vermont center for crime victims services; and

(12)  one member appointed by the Vermont bar association.

(d)  The committee shall have the assistance and cooperation of all state and local agencies and departments.  The committee shall consult with the Innocence Project.  The department of public safety shall provide professional and administrative support for the committee. 

(e)  The committee shall report its findings and recommendations, including proposals for legislative action, to the senate and house committees on judiciary no later than December 15, 2007, whereupon the committee shall cease to exist.


S. 93

An act relating to miscellaneous changes to education law.

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

First:  By striking Secs. 3 and 3a in their entirety and inserting in lieu thereof the following: 

Sec. 3.  [Deleted.]

Sec. 3a.  [Deleted.]

Second:  By adding a new section to be Sec. 6a to read:

Sec. 6a.  16 V.S.A. § 823(a) is amended to read:

§ 823.  ELEMENTARY TUITION

(a)  Tuition for elementary pupils shall be paid by the district in which the pupil is a resident.  The district shall pay the full tuition charged its students attending a public elementary school.  However, if If a payment made to a public elementary school is three percent more or less than the calculated net cost per elementary pupil in the receiving school district for the year of attendance, the district shall be reimbursed, credited, or refunded pursuant to section 836 of this title, unless otherwise agreed to by.  Notwithstanding the provisions of this subsection or of subsection 825(b) of this title, the boards of both the receiving and sending districts may enter into tuition agreements with terms differing from the provisions of those subsections, provided that the receiving district must offer identical terms to all sending districts, and further provided that the statutory provisions apply to any sending district that declines the offered terms.

Third:  By striking Sec. 8 in its entirety and inserting a new Sec. 8 to read:

Sec. 8.  [Deleted.]

Fourth:  By striking Sec. 10 in its entirety and inserting a new Sec. 10 to read:

Sec. 10.  16 V.S.A. § 4028(c) is amended to read: 

(c)  Any district which has adopted a school budget that includes excess spending, as defined in 32 V.S.A. § 5401(12), shall, upon timely notice, be authorized to use a portion of its excess spending penalty in obtaining an education operations consultant, as follows:  The district may employ a consultant for recommendations on how to reduce its future education spending, and the department of education shall pay the consulting costs from the property tax revenue to be generated by the excess spending increase to the district’s spending adjustment as estimated by the commissioner, up to a maximum of $5,000.00.  “Timely notice” for this purpose means written notice from the district to the commissioner within 60 days after the budget is adopted.  The consultant may not be an employee of the district or of the department of education.  A copy of the consultant’s final recommendations shall be submitted to the commissioner, and each affected town shall include in its next town report an executive summary of the consultant’s final recommendations and notice of where a complete copy is available.  No district is authorized to obtain consulting funds under this section more often than once every five years.

(c)(1)  Any district that has adopted a school budget which includes high spending, as defined in 32 V.S.A. § 5401(12), shall, upon timely notice, be authorized to use a portion of its high spending penalty to reduce future education spending as follows:

(A)  By entering into a contract with an education operations or budget consultant.

(B)  By entering into a contract with an energy or facilities management consultant.

(C)  By engaging in discussions with other school districts about reorganization or consolidation for better service delivery at a lower cost. 

(2)  To the extent approved by the commissioner, the department shall pay the district from the property tax revenue to be generated by the high spending increase to the district’s spending adjustment as estimated by the commissioner, up to a maximum of $5,000.00.  For the purposes of this subsection, “timely notice” means written notice from the district to the commissioner by September 30 of the budget year.  If the district enters into a contract with a consultant pursuant to this subsection, the consultant shall not be an employee of the district or of the department of education.  A copy of the consultant’s final recommendations or a copy of the district’s recommendations regarding reorganization, as appropriate, shall be submitted to the commissioner, and each affected town shall include in its next town report an executive summary of the consultant’s or district’s final recommendations and notice of where a complete copy is available.  No district is authorized to obtain funds under this section more than once in every five years.

Fifth:  By striking Sec. 12 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 12 to read:

Sec. 12.  SCHOOL DISTRICTS; ANALYSIS AND RECOMMENDATIONS REGARDING HIGH SPENDING

(a)  The commissioner of education shall explore and analyze the reasons school districts exceed the excess spending threshold defined in 32 V.S.A. § 5401(12) and develop recommendations for exempting school districts from the consequences of exceeding the excess spending threshold in the following circumstances:

(1)  The district has high costs for special education services, the department has recommended ways to lower the costs, the district has followed the recommendations, and the district still exceeds the threshold; or

(2)  The district has high costs for special education services, the department has been unable to identify ways to lower the costs, and the district still exceeds the threshold; or

(3)  The district pays tuition for all or most of its students to attend one or more schools outside the district and the commissioner determines that it is not possible for the district to make alternative arrangements that would enable it to stay beneath the high spending threshold.

(b)  On or before January 15, 2008, the commissioner shall file a report with the house and senate committees on education and on appropriations regarding the recommendations required by this section.  The report shall include a detailed fiscal analysis of the recommendations and related draft legislation.  It shall also include an analysis of the effectiveness of 16 V.S.A. § 4028(c), which permits high spending districts to hire a budget consultant with money paid as a consequence of exceeding the threshold.

Sixth:  By striking Sec. 13 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof two new sections to be Secs. 13 and 13a to read:

Sec. 13.  16 V.S.A. § 2975 is added to read:

§ 2975.  UNUSUAL SPECIAL EDUCATION COSTS; FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE

The commissioner may use up to two percent of the funds appropriated for special education expenditures, as that term is defined in subsection 2967(b) of this title, to directly assist school districts with special education expenditures of an unusual or unexpected nature.  These funds shall not be used for exceptional circumstances that are funded under section 2963a of this title.  The commissioner’s decision regarding a district’s eligibility for and amount of assistance shall be final.

Sec. 13a.  REPEAL

Sec. 9(a) of No. 117 of the Acts of the 1999 Adj. Sess. (2000) (financial assistance for unusual special education costs), as amended by Sec. 18 of No. 107 of the Acts of the 2003 Adj. Sess. (2004), is repealed.

Seventh:  By striking Sec. 16 in its entirety and adding new six new sections to be Secs. 16‑21 to read:

Sec. 16.  16 V.S.A. § 4001(1) is amended to read: 

(1) “Average daily membership” of a school district, or if needed in order to calculate the appropriate homestead tax rate, of the municipality as defined in 32 V.S.A. § 5401(9), in any year means:

(A)  the full‑time equivalent enrollment of pupils, as defined by the state board by rule, who are legal residents of the district or municipality attending a school owned and operated by the district, attending a public school outside the district under an interdistrict agreement, or for whom the district pays tuition to one or more approved independent schools or public schools outside the district during the annual census period.  The census period consists of the first 40 days 11th day through the 31st day of the school year in which school is actually in session; and

(B)  the full‑time equivalent enrollment in the year between the end of before the last census period and the end of the current census period, of any state‑placed students as defined in subdivision 11(a)(28) of this title.  A school district which provides for the education of its students by paying tuition to an approved independent school or public school outside the district shall not count a state‑placed student for whom it is paying tuition for purposes of determining average daily membership.  A school district which is receiving the full amount, as defined by the state board by rule, of the student’s education costs under subsection 2950(a) of this title, shall not count the student for purposes of determining average daily membership.  A state‑placed student who is counted in average daily membership shall be counted as a student for the purposes of determining weighted student count.

Sec. 17.  16 V.S.A. § 4010(h) is added to read:

§ 4010.  DETERMINATION OF WEIGHTED MEMBERSHIP

* * *

(h)  On December 1 each year, the commissioner shall determine the equalized pupil count for the next fiscal year for district review.  The commissioner shall make any necessary corrections on or before December 15, on which date the count shall become final for that year.

Sec. 18.  STATEWIDE NETWORK FOR DISTANCE LEARNING

(a)  The department of education shall examine, analyze, and make recommendations concerning a process by which the state could develop a statewide, managed network offering shared, high‑quality distance‑learning opportunities to all Vermont schools through accredited, online course offerings from nationally recognized distance learning schools and through Vermont‑based distance learning courses.

(b)  The department shall present its analysis and recommendations in the form of a report to the general assembly on or before January 1, 2008.  The report shall:

(1)  Explain the impediments that have prevented the creation of this network and describe how the department would overcome these impediments.

(2)  Outline in detail a process by which the department would create a network of high‑quality distance‑learning opportunities for all Vermont schools, which would include:

(A)  A professional development program to improve the skills of Vermont educators in creating course offerings and overseeing the distance learning system.

(B)  A warehouse of content‑based, electronic resources for educators.

(C)  Shared infrastructure services such as e‑mail, content filtering, spam filtering, and security services.

(3)  Include a detailed fiscal analysis of the funding required for initial and ongoing implementation of the proposed network, including proposed sources of funding.

(4)  Include a detailed timeline for implementation.

Sec. 19.  PREGNANT AND PARENTING PUPILS ATTENDING TEEN PARENT EDUCATION PROGRAMS

(a)  Subject to the provisions of subsection (b) of this section, a school district of residence shall make the following payments for a publicly funded pregnant or parenting pupil attending a teen parent education program: 

(1)  The school district shall pay the teen parent education program 83 percent of the base education payment for the year of attendance prorated based on the pupil’s full‑time equivalent enrollment, as defined by state board rule, in academic courses at the teen parent education program.

(2)  If the district of residence does not maintain a school, the otherwise qualified pregnant or parenting pupil may enroll in any public school or approved independent school (the “enrolling school”) in which any other legal pupil in the district of residence may enroll at public expense.  In this situation, the district of residence shall reimburse the enrolling school for coordinating the pregnant or parenting pupil’s education plan at the teen parent education program and for planning and facilitating the pupil’s subsequent education plan and transition to the enrolling school, at a rate of 17 percent of the base education payment for the year in which the pupil attends the teen parent education program.

(b)(1)  The pregnant or parenting pupil must be enrolled in a school maintained by the school district of residence or, if the district does not maintain a school, enrolled at a public school or an approved independent school at the district’s expense. 

(2)  The teen parent education program must be recognized by the department for children and families.

(3)  As determined by the district of residence or by the enrolling school if the district does not maintain a school, the pupil must be taking academic courses at the teen parent education program that are the substantial equivalent of the courses required by the district of residence or enrolling school, as applicable, to obtain a high school diploma.  The sending district or enrolling school, as applicable, will collaborate with the teen parent education program regarding the pupil’s programs and progress.

(4)  In the event of a dispute, the pupil, the teen parent education program, the district of residence, or the enrolling school may request a ruling from the commissioner of education which shall be final.

(5)  On or before January 8, 2008, the commissioner of education shall report to the house and senate committees on education regarding information gathered from the teen parent education programs and recommendations for future legislation.  The report shall include an overview of the pupils served, current funding mechanisms, and a description of the academic resources offered by the programs.  The report shall also include data regarding the pupils’ educational success rates, including the number of pupils taking academic courses at the teen parent programs, the number of courses taken by the pupils, the number of pupils who remain in the program and the number who drop out, the number of pupils who return to the school in their district of residence or to the enrolling school, and the number of pupils who obtain a high school diploma or GED after receiving services at the teen parent education center.

Sec. 20.  Sec. 168a of No. 122 of the Acts of the 2003 Adj. Sess. (2004) is amended to read:

Sec. 168a.  SCHOOL DISTRICT CONSOLIDATION; TRANSITION AID; APPROPRIATION SUNSET

(a)  In its first year of operation After voter approval of the establishment of a union, unified union, or interstate school district, the commissioner of education shall pay to a joint contract, the board of the union, unified union, or interstate school district which began operation during or after school year 2003‑2004 a facilitation grant of five percent of the base education payment amount in 16 V.S.A. § 4001(13) based on October 1 enrollment for that year the combined enrollment of the participating districts on October 1 of the year in which the successful vote was taken or $150,000.00, whichever is less, from the education fund.  The funds grant shall be in addition to funds received under 16 V.S.A. § 4028 and for districts beginning operation during or after school year 2004‑2005 shall be paid in thirds in the same manner that other state education aid is paid under that section

(b)  This section shall sunset on June 30, 2008 2010.

Sec. 21.  EFFECTIVE DATES; SUNSET

(a)  Sec. 19 shall take effect on July 1, 2007 and shall remain in effect until July 1, 2008.

(b)  All other sections of this act shall take effect on July 1, 2007.

S. 137

An act relating to reducing the amount of phosphorus allowed in household cleansing products used in dishwashers.

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.  10 V.S.A. § 1382 is amended to read:

§ 1382.  PROHIBITIONS

(a)  No household cleansing products except those used in dishwashers, for cleansing medical and surgical equipment, food and beverage processing equipment, and dairy equipment may be distributed, sold, offered, or exposed for sale at retail, after April 1, 1978, or at wholesale, after January 1, 1978, or used in a commercial establishment in this state, after April 1, 1978, which shall contain a phosphorus compound in concentrations in excess of a trace quantity.

(b)  No household cleansing products used in dishwashers, for cleansing medical and surgical equipment and food and beverage processing equipment, may be distributed, sold, offered, or exposed for sale at retail, after April 1, 1978, or at wholesale, after January 1, 1978, or used in a commercial establishment in this state, after April 1, 1978, which shall contain a phosphorus compound in concentrations in excess of 8.7 percent by weight expressed as elemental phosphorus. 

(a)  No household cleansing products containing a phosphorus compound in concentrations in excess of a trace quantity may be distributed, sold, offered for sale at retail or wholesale, exposed for sale at retail or wholesale, or used in a commercial establishment in this state, except as set forth in subsections (b) and (c) of this section.

(b)  No household cleansing product used in a dishwasher in a commercial establishment, used to cleanse food and beverage processing equipment, including dishes, pots, pans and utensils, used to cleanse medical or surgical equipment, or used to cleanse dairy equipment may be distributed, sold, offered for sale at retail or wholesale, exposed for sale at retail or wholesale, or used in a commercial establishment if it contains a phosphorus compound in concentrations in excess of 8.7 percent by weight expressed as elemental phosphorus.

(c)  As of July 1, 2010, no household cleansing product used in a residential dishwasher may be distributed, sold, offered for sale at retail or wholesale, or exposed for sale at retail or wholesale if it contains a phosphorus compound in concentrations in excess of a trace quantity, except for product inventory purchased by retailers prior to July 1, 2010.

(c) (d)  The provisions of this section shall not be construed to limit the phosphorus content of household cleansing products used in agricultural production and for cleansing equipment used in processing of agricultural products.

(d) (e)  The provisions of this section shall not be construed to limit the phosphorus content of household cleaning products approved by the commissioner of health for use in lead hazard management projects.

House Proposals of Amendment to Senate Proposal of Amendment

H. 148

An act relating to child abuse registry.

The House proposes to the Senate to amend the Senate proposal of amendment as follows:

First:  In Sec. 1, 33 V.S.A. § 4916d, by striking section 4916d in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new section 4916d to read as follows:

§ 4916d.  AUTOMATIC EXPUNGEMENT OF REGISTRY RECORDS

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.

Second:  In Sec. 6, by adding a new subdivision (a)(5) to read as follows:

(5)  Issues related to the substantiation of minors, including the availability of psychological treatment for a minor suspected of committing an act of abuse, placement of a minor’s name on the child abuse registry once the commissioner determines the minor committed an act of abuse, and expungement of a minor’s registry records once the minor reaches the age of 18.  The house committee on judiciary shall consult with the house committee on human services while considering the issues in this subdivision.

Third:  By striking Secs. 7-11 in their entirety and renumbering the remaining section to be numerically correct.

H. 154

An act relating to stormwater management.

The House proposes to the Senate to amend the proposal of amendment by striking Sec. 7 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Sec. 7.  FINDINGS

The general assembly finds and declares that:

(1)  It is the settled policy of the state as set forth in 10 V.S.A. § 1250 to protect and enhance the existing quality, character, and usefulness of surface water and to seek over the long term to upgrade the quality of the surface waters of the state.

(2)  The adoption of any water management types within the classifications of state surface waters shall conform to the state water policy.

(3)  During the process preceding adoption of revised basin plans for the state, the secretary of natural resources shall maximize public participation and public input in a manner consistent with the department of conservation’s 2004 Vermont watershed initiative guidelines for watershed planning.

(4)  Basin plans or water management type designations and redesignations proposed by the agency of natural resources shall include sufficient information and documentation to ensure transparency regarding agency decision-making.

(5)  The agency of natural resources is expected to and should strive to update all 17 basin plans for the state by the 2010 deadline authorized by this act.

Sec. 8.  10 V.S.A. § 1251a(c) is added to read:

(c)  The secretary of natural resources shall propose for point source discharges to state waters an implementation process for the antidegradation policy of the water quality standards of the state and shall seek the concurrence of the water resources panel of the board prior to initiating rulemaking for adoption of an implementation process.

Sec. 9.  10 V.S.A. § 1253(d) is amended to read:

(d)  The board shall determine what degree of water quality and classification should be obtained and maintained for those waters not classified by it before 1981 following the procedures in sections 1254 and 1258 of this title.  Those waters shall be classified in the public interest.  The secretary shall revise all 17 basin plans by January 1, 2006 December 31, 2010, and update them every five years thereafter.  Prior to July 1, 2008, the secretary may adopt revised basin plans without including proposals for water management types in Class B waters to ensure that the strategies to improve and restore waters contained in the basin plans are available to the people of the state.  On or before January 1 15 of each year, the secretary shall report to the house committees on agriculture and natural resources and energy on fish, wildlife and water resources and to the senate committees on agriculture and on natural resources and energy regarding the progress made and difficulties encountered in revising basin plans.  By January 1, 1993, the secretary shall prepare an overall management plan to ensure that the water quality standards are met in all state waters.

Sec. 10.  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), 6 (clean and clear action plan audit), 7 (findings), 8 (antidegradation policy), and 9 (basin planning) of this act shall take effect upon passage.

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

Report of Committee of Conference

H. 360

An act relating to employment protection and training period for Vermont national guard members.

To the Senate and House of Representatives:

The Committee of Conference to which were referred the disagreeing votes of the two Houses upon House Bill entitled:

H. 360.  An act relating to employment protection and training period for Vermont national guard members.

Respectfully reports that they have met and considered the same and recommend that the House accede to the Senate proposal of amendment and that the bill be amended further in Sec. 1, 21 V.S.A. § 491(a), in the third sentence, by striking out the word “full-time” and inserting in lieu thereof the word permanent

                                                                        Sen. Jeanette White

                                                                        Sen. George R. Coppenrath

                                                                        Sen. William T. Doyle

                                                                 Committee on the part of the Senate

                                                                        Rep. Helen Head

                                                                        Rep. Richard J. Howrigan

                                                                        Rep. Leo M. Valliere

                                                                 Committee on the part of the House

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.

J.R.S. 24

Joint resolution relating to the federal “fast track” process for congressional review of international trade agreements.

PENDING ACTION:  Second reading of the resolution.

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)

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)

Rene L. Blanchard of Essex Junction - Member of the Transportation Board - By Sen. Mazza for the Committee on Transportation.  (4/27)

R. Keith Armstrong of Bennington - Member of the Fish and Wildlife Board - By Sen. Hartwell for the Committee on Natural Resources and Energy.  (4/27)

Lisa Nolan Birmingham of Stowe - Member of the Natural Resources Board Land Panel - By Sen. Snelling for the Committee on Natural Resources and Energy.  (4/27)

George R. Crombie of Warren - Secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources - By Sen. Lyons for the Committee on Natural Resources and Energy.  (4/27)

George R. Crombie of Warren - Secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources - By Lyons for the Committee on Natural Resources and Energy.  (4/27)

Dana Kittell of East Fairfield - Member of the Fish and Wildlife Board - By Sen. MacDonald for the Committee on Natural Resources and Energy.  (4/27)

Wayne Alan LaRoche of Franklin - Commissioner of the Department of Fish and Wildlife - By Sen. MacDonald for the Committee on Natural Resources and Energy.  (4/27)

Elizabeth McLain of West Berlin - Member of the Natural Resources Board Land Panel - By Sen. MacDonald for the Committee on Natural Resources and Energy.  (4/27)

Eva Morse of Calais - Member of the Current Use Advisory Board - By Sen. Lyons for the Committee on Natural Resources and Energy.  (4/27)

Joan Nagy of Cambridge - Member of the Natural Resources Board Water Panel - By Sen. Snelling for the Committee on Natural Resources and Energy.  (4/27)

Michael Popowski, III of Northfield - Member of the Fish and Wildlife Board - By Sen. McCormack for the Committee on Natural Resources and Energy.  (4/27)

Jeffrey N. Wennberg of Rutland - Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation - By Sen. Snelling for the Committee on Natural Resources and Energy.  (4/27)

Jonathan Wood of Jeffersonville - Commissioner of the Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation - By Sen. Hartwell for the Committee on Natural Resources and Energy.  (4/27)

Peter F. Young, Jr. of Northfield - Chair of the Natural Resources Board - By Sen. Lyons for the Committee on Natural Resources and Energy.  (4/27)

Peter F. Young, Jr. of Northfield - Chair of the Natural Resources Board - By Sen. Lyons for the Committee on Natural Resources and Energy.  (4/27)

R. Tasha Wallis of Stowe - Commissioner of the Department of Buildings and General Services - By Sen. Scott for the Committee on Transportation.  (4/30)

Peter C. Ozarowski of South Burlington - Member of the Parole Board - by Sen. Mazza for the Committee on Transportation.  (4/30)

James Ehlers of Colchester - Member of the Vermont Citizens Advisory Committee on Lake Champlain’s Future - By Sen. Hartwell for the Committee on Natural Resources and Energy.  (5/1)

Shari P. Young of East Montpelier - Member of the Children and Family Council for Prevention Programs - By Sen. Flanagan for the Committee on Health and Welfare.  (5/3)

Justine Homiak of Jeffersonville - Member of the Children and Family Council for Prevention Programs - By Sen. Flanagan for the Committee on Health and Welfare.  (5/3)

Stephen S. Rauh of East Montpelier - Member of the Public Oversight Commission - By Sen. Flanagan for the Committee on Health and Welfare.  (5/3)

Daniel P. Smith of Burlington - Member of the Children and Family Council for Prevention Programs - By Sen. Flanagan for the Committee on Health and Welfare.  (5/3)

Sharon Wilson of Duxbury - Member of the Human Services Board - By Sen. Flanagan for the Committee on Health and Welfare.  (5/3)

Sharon Wilson of Duxbury - Member of the Human Services Board - By Sen. Flanagan for the Committee on Health and Welfare.  (5/3)

Wendy Schroeder of South Burlington - Member of the Public Oversight Commission - By Sen. Kittell for the Committee on Health and Welfare.  (5/3)

Theodore Marcy, M.D. of Williston - Member of the Vermont Tobacco Evaluation & Review Board - By Sen. Kittell for the Committee on Health and Welfare.  (5/3)

Marcia Biondolillo of Barre - Member of the Public Oversight Commission - By Sen. Kittell for the Committee on Health and Welfare.  (5/3)

Mark Moody of Montpelier - Member of the Children and Family Council for Prevention Programs - By Sen. Kittell for the Committee on Health and Welfare.  (5/3)

Stephen R. Dale of Montpelier - Commissioner of the Department for Children and Families - By Sen. Racine for the Committee on Health and Welfare.  (5/3)

Cynthia LaWare of Williston - Secretary of the Agency of Human Services - By Sen. Racine for the Committee on Health and Welfare.  (5/3)

Stephen P. Coulman of Waltham - Member of the Children and Family Council for Prevention Programs - By Sen. Racine for the Committee on Health and Welfare.  (5/3)

Deb Haskins of East Calais - Member of the Children and Family Council for Prevention Programs - By Sen. Racine for the Committee on Health and Welfare.  (5/3)

Deb Haskins of East Calais - Member of the Children and Family Council for Prevention Programs - By Sen. Racine for Committee on Health and Welfare.  (5/3)

Gary Richardson of Perkinsville - Member of the Human Services Board - By Sen. Mullin for the Committee on Health and Welfare.  (5/3)

Kreig Pinkham of Northfield - Member of the Children and Family Council for Prevention Programs - By Sen. Mullin for the Committee on Health and Welfare.  (5/3)

Sue Y. Clark of Vergennes - Member of the Children and Family Council for Prevention Programs - By Sen. Mullin for the Committee on Health and Welfare.  (5/3)

John B. Webber of Rutland - Member of the Board of Medical Practice - By Sen. Mullin for the Committee on Health and Welfare.  (5/3)

William Brooks of New Haven - Member of the Human Services Board - By Sen. Mullin for the Committee on Health and Welfare.  (5/3)

Patrick Flood of East Calais - Commissioner of the Department of Aging and Independent Living - By Sen. Lyons for the Committee on Health and Welfare.  (5/3)

Jessie Suter of Winooski - Member of the Children and Family Council for Prevention Programs - By Sen. Lyons for the Committee on Health and Welfare.  (5/3)

Kenneth A. Schatz of Burlington - Member of the Children and Family Council for Prevention Programs - By Sen. Lyons for the Committee on Health and Welfare.  (5/3)

Paul Hudson of Springfield - Chair of the Human Services Board - By Sen. White for the Committee on Health and Welfare.  (5/3)

Lynn Marie Bundy of Waterford - Member of the Children and Family Council for Prevention Programs - By Sen. White for the Committee on Health and Welfare.  (5/3)

James L. Patterson of Barre - Member of the Children and Family Council for the Committee on Health and Welfare.  (5/3)

Sharon L . Nicol of Sutton - Member of the Board of Medical Practice - By Sen. White for the Committee on Health and Welfare.  (5/3)



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us