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Senate Calendar

thursday, may 10, 2007

128th DAY OF BIENNIAL SESSION

TABLE OF CONTENTS

                                                                                                                Page No.

ACTION CALENDAR

Joint Resolutions for Action

JRS 37   Designating May 24 as Aviation Maintenance Technician Day.......... 1694

JRH 35  Designating May 8 as Children’s Mental Health Day........................ 1694

JRH 36  Recognizing Vt. firefighters & EMS personnel provide service......... 1694

NOTICE CALENDAR

Favorable with Proposal of Amendment

H. 433    Next generation initiative of workforce development........................ 1694

                        Ec. Dev., Housing & General Affairs Committee Report......... 1694

                        Sen. Miller substitute amendment........................................... 1704

                        Appropriations Committee Report......................................... 1713

                        Sen. Miller, Illuzzi, Carris, Condos and Racine amendment..... 1716

                        Sen. Illuzzi amendment........................................................... 1720

                        Sen. McCormack amendment................................................ 1720

Report of Committee of Conference

H. 531    Relating to the ensuring success in health care reform....................... 1721

H. 534    Relating to prekindergarten education.............................................. 1724

ORDERED TO LIE

S. 70       Empowering municipalities to regulate application of pesticides......... 1732


S. 102     Decreasing percentage to determine school dist. excess spending..... 1732

S. 118     Fiscal review of high spending districts & special education.............. 1732

JRS 24   Federal “fast track” process for congressional review of international ......       trade agreements          1732

NOTICE OF BILLS PENDING RECEIPT FROM THE HOUSE

House Proposals of Amendment

S. 164     Relating to campaign finance (pending receipt from House).............. 1733

Report of Committee of Conference

S. 115     Increasing transparency of prescription drug pricing & info............... 1733

               (on House Notice Calendar, page 1925)

Concurrent Resolutions for Action

(For text of Resolutions, see Calendar Addendum for May 10, 2007)

SCR 23     Congratulating Morgan Lilly and Ethan Verberg.............................. 232

SCR 24     Recognizing  former commissioner George Chaffee......................... 233


HCR 142  Thanking utility crews, municipal. empl., community org., &..................                               volunteers who assisted Rutland Cty. in storm-recovery effort................................................... 234

HCR 143  Honoring girl scouting in Vermont on the 95th anniversary .............. 236

HCR 144  Memory of John Dostal of Bennington............................................ 238

HCR 145  Southern Vermont College on its 80th anniversary.......................... 240

HCR 146  Congratulating Destination Imagination teams from Randolph.......... 241

HCR 147  Congratulating Nathaniel Alexander Soares ................................... 242

HCR 148  Memory of Gary Rosen................................................................. 244

HCR 149  Honoring John and Joyce Miner .................................................... 245

HCR 150  Honoring retiring town manager Jerome Mann Remillard ................ 246

HCR 151  Congratulating Hannah McMeekin and Garrett Bauman ................. 247

HCR 152  Lamoille UHS Lady Lancers Division II girls’ basketball team......... 249

HCR 153  Congratulating American Cancer Society on the Hope Lodge......... 250

HCR 154  Honoring Brattleboro Fire Chief David J. Emery............................. 251

HCR 155  Congratulating Dorothy McGuire on her 100th birthday................... 252

HCR 156  Honoring Jane Altobell as the Shaftsbury School nurse................... 254

HCR 157  Honoring Richford assistant town clerk Joyce Wetherby................. 255

HCR 158  Honoring Roger Gendron .............................................................. 256

HCR 159  Congratulating Gordon DeLong Pittsford town clerk-treasurer........ 257

HCR 160  Memory of William H. Leach......................................................... 258

HCR 161  Honoring Margaret Larivee ........................................................... 260

HCR 162  Catamount Elementary School in Bennington.................................. 261



 

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ACTION CALENDAR

Joint Resolutions for Action

J.R.S. 37

Joint resolution recognizing Charles Edward Taylor's significant contributions to the advancement of aviation mechanics and designating May 24 as Aviation Maintenance Technician Day.

(For text of Resolution, see Senate Journal for May 9, 2007, page 1247)

J.R.H. 35

Joint resolution designating May 8 as Children’s Mental Health Day at the State House.

(For text of Resolution, see Senate Journal for May 9, 2007, page 1248)

J.R.H. 36

Joint resolution recognizing that all Vermont firefighters and emergency medical service (EMS) personnel provide a professional level of service to their communities.

(For text of Resolution, see Senate Journal for May 9, 2007, page 1249)

NOTICE CALENDAR

Favorable with Proposal of Amendment

H. 433

An act relating to the next generation initiative of workforce development through workforce development programs and internships.

Reported favorably with recommendation of proposal of amendment by Senator Illuzzi for the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs.

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

     First:  By striking out Sec. 4 and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

* * * Consolidation of Grant Programs* * *

Sec. 4.  10 V.S.A. § 543 is added to read:

§ 543.  WORKFORCE EDUCATION AND TRAINING FUND; GRANT PROGRAMS

(a)  Creation.  There is created a workforce education and training fund in the department of labor to be managed in accordance with subchapter 5 of chapter 7 of Title 32.

(b)  Purposes.  The fund shall be used exclusively for two purposes: (1)  training to improve the skills of Vermont workers including those who are unemployed, underemployed or in transition, and (2)  student internships to provide work-based learning opportunities with Vermont employers for students from public and private high schools, regional technical centers, the community high school of Vermont and colleges.

(c)  Administrative Support.  Administrative support for the grant award process shall be provided by the departments of labor and economic development.  Technical, administrative, financial and other support shall be provided whenever appropriate and reasonable from the workforce development council and all other public entities involved in economic development, workforce development and training, and education.

(d)  Eligible Activities.  Awards from the fund shall be made to entities that collaborate with employers and businesses, including private, public, and nonprofit entities, institutions of higher education, technical centers, and workforce development programs.  Funding shall be for training programs and student internship programs that offer education, training, apprenticeship, mentoring, or work-based learning activities, or any combination; that use innovative intensive student-oriented competency based or collaborative approaches to workforce development; and that link workforce education and economic development strategies.  Training programs or projects that demonstrate actual increased income and economic opportunity for employees and employers may be funded for more than one year. Student internships that involve the same employer may be funded multiple times provided that new students participate.

(e)  Standards Against Which Training Program Applications Will Be Evaluated.  The workforce development council, in consultation with the commissioners of labor and economic development, shall develop criteria consistent with subsection (d) of this section for awards made under this section, and the commissioners of labor and economic development shall develop process for making awards.  The process shall include the following:

(1)  applications shall be sent to and reviewed by the local workforce investment board and within seven business days forwarded to the commissioner, unless this time requirement is waived by the applicant; and

(2)  if the review by the local workforce investment board as required by subdivision (1) of this subsection is not completed within seven business days, the applicant may directly file the application with the commissioner without further review by the local workforce investment board.  

(f)  Awards. Based on guidelines set by the council, the commissioner of labor shall make awards to:

(1)  (Training Programs) public, private, and nonprofit entities for existing or new and innovative training programs.  There shall be a preference for programs that include training for new or otherwise vacant positions, but awards may be made to applicants seeking to retrain incumbent workers.  Awards under this subdivision shall be made to programs or projects that:  

     (A)  offer innovative programs of intensive, student-centric, competency-based education, training, apprenticeship, or mentoring, or any combination of these; 

(B)  address the needs of workers who are unemployed, underemployed, or are at risk of becoming unemployed due to changing workplace demands, to increase productivity, and to provide skills to incumbent workers;

(C)  lead to jobs paying at least 200 percent of the current minimum wage or  at least 150 percent if benefits are included; this requirement may be waived when warranted by regional or occupational wages or economic reality;

     (D)  require a measurable investment from involved employers;

     (E)  do not duplicate, supplant, or replace other programs funded with public money; and

     (F)  articulate clear goals and demonstrate readily accountable, reportable, and measurable results;

                   (G)  demonstrate how the trainee will become employed at the end of the training period; if the applicant cannot guarantee that the trainee will be employed by an identified employer at the end of the training period, the grant application shall demonstrate employer involvement and how the training program is likely to lead to employment in fields in which there is demand.

(2) (Internship Program) public and private entities for internship programs that match Vermont employers with students from public and private secondary schools, regional technical centers, the community high school of Vermont, and Vermont colleges. For the purposes of this section, “internship” means a learning experience working with an employer where the intern may, but does not necessarily, receive academic credit, financial remuneration, a stipend, or any combination of these. Awards under this subdivision may be used to fund the cost of administering an internship program and, based on need, to provide students with a stipend during the internship.  Awards may be made only to programs or projects that:

(A)  do not replace or supplant existing positions;

(B)  create real workplace expectations and consequences;

(C)  provide a process that measures progress toward mastery of skills, attitude, behavior, and sense of responsibility required for success in that workplace; 

(D)  are designed to motivate and educate secondary and postsecondary students through work-based learning opportunities with Vermont employers that are likely to lead to real employment;

(E)  provide mechanisms that promote employer involvement with secondary and postsecondary students, curriculum, and the delivery of education at the involved schools;

(F)  involve Vermont employers or resident Vermont workers; and

(G)  offer students a continuum of learning, experience, and relationships with employers that will make it financially possible and attractive for graduates to continue to work and live in Vermont.

(g)  Accountability.  The commissioners of labor and economic development and the workforce development council shall:

(1)  develop evaluation standards to measure the effectiveness of the programs and projects funded by this section, which shall include an objective process that documents the state return on investment; and

(2)  on or before December 1 of each year, submit a report to the governor, the speaker of the house, the president pro-tempore of the senate, the chair of the house committee on commerce, and the chair of the senate committee on economic development, housing and general affairs with the following information for the prior fiscal year:

     (A)  the number of applications received, grants awarded, jobs created, including wages for each, jobs filled, including wages for each, internships created, and interns served; the information shall be categorically posted every quarter on the department of labor’s website;

(B)  funds needed for the next fiscal year; and

(C)  the extent to which the program has improved coordination, cooperation, and effective expenditure of resources by workforce education and training entities and increased employers participation in and provision of workforce training opportunities and internships by employers, educational institutions, and other private entities; and

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

***WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT LEADERSHIP***

(a)  The commissioner of labor shall be the leader for workforce development strategy and accountability. The commissioner will work with a subcommittee of the workforce development council and will be composed of eight members to include four business members and a higher education member of the council appointed by the governor, the secretary of human services, the commissioners of education, and economic development.  Membership shall be coincident with their terms on the workforce development council.  The workforce development council shall provide administrative support to the leadership committee.  The commissioner of labor shall be the chair of the committee.  The duties of the leader include:

(1)  developing a limited number of challenging measurable criteria for the workforce development system that supports the creation of good jobs in order to assure   a strong, appropriate, and sustainable economic environment in Vermont;

(2)  receiving reports, on a schedule defined by the committee, from each state agency and public institution of higher education that provides education or training that prepares individuals for employment.  Each agency or institution shall report the following information:

(A)  a description of the mission and programs as they relate to preparing individuals for employment and meeting the needs of employers for skilled workers;

(B)  the measurable accomplishments that have contributed to the achievement of the overarching goals;

(C)  identification of any innovations made in the delivery of services;

(D)  the future plans that will contribute to the achievement of the goals;

(E)  the extent to which the program has established working partnerships and collaborations with other organizations that reduce duplication or enhance the delivery of services, or both; and

(F)  any other information that the committee may deem necessary and relevant;

(3)  accepting information required under subdivision (2) of this subsection, on a voluntary basis, from other education and training organizations that would like recognition for their contributions; 

(4)  based on this information, issue an annual report to the governor and the general assembly on or before December 1. The report shall systematically evaluate the accomplishments of the system and the agencies and institutions.  The information shall include:

(A)  system-wide accomplishments toward achieving each of the overarching goals;

(B)  recognition of any notable accomplishments, innovations, collaborations, grants received, or new funding sources developed by participating agencies, institutions, or other education and training organizations;

(C)  evaluation of the contribution of each provider in effecting the goals;

(D)  identification of any areas for improvement, including time frames, expected annual participation and contributions;

(E)  adjustments to the goals; and

(F)  recommendations for the allocation of next generation funds and other public resources;

(5)  developing an integrated workforce strategy that incorporates economic development, workforce development, and education to provide all Vermonters with the best education and training available in order to create a strong, appropriate, and sustainable economic environment that supports a healthy state economy; and

(6)  developing strategies to:

(A)  coordinate public and private workforce programs in order to assure that information is easily accessible to students, employees, and employers and that all information and necessary counseling is available through one contact; and

(B)  stimulate more effective communication between the business community and schools and colleges, both public and private.

     Third:  By adding a new section to be numbered Sec. 4a to read as follows:

* * * Sustainable Funding* * *

Sec. 4a.  WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT SUSTAINABLE FUNDING COMMITTEE; CREATION; DURATION

(a)  The workforce development sustainable funding committee is created consisting of three business members from the workforce development council appointed by the council executive committee, one business representative appointed by the senate president pro tempore, one business representative appointed by the speaker of the house, and three business members appointed by the governor representing business organizations.  The committee shall make a recommendation regarding new sustainable long term funding sources to support the future funding needs to adequately support ongoing workforce development efforts.  The governor, speaker, and president pro-tem jointly shall select the chair from the members of the committee.

(b)  The committee shall make a comprehensive review of workforce development funding strategies used successfully in other states and countries and determine which if any are suitable and workable for Vermont.

(c)  The committee shall report its findings and recommendations to the senate committee on economic development, housing and general affairs, the house committee on commerce, and the governor on or before December 1, 2007.

(d)  The joint fiscal office and legislative council shall provide administrative support to the committee.  The committee may request administrative support from the tax department, finance department, or the workforce development council and other agencies as required.

     Fourth:  By striking out Sec. 7 and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Sec. 7.  APPROPRIATIONS

(a)  WETF.  The amount of $2,700,000.00 is appropriated to the Vermont workforce education and training fund, which is administered by the department of labor, for workforce development to supplement funds appropriated in the fiscal year 2008 omnibus appropriations act. 

(b)  VSAC Promise Scholarships. The amount of $4,000,000.00 is appropriated to the Vermont student assistance corporation for the purpose of awarding need-based scholarships for Vermont residents.  None of the funds appropriated herein shall be used for administrative overhead.

(c)  Career And Alternative Workforce Education.  The amount of $750,000.00 is appropriated to the department of labor for the purpose of awarding grants to support out-of-school youth, youth at risk, and youth at risk of remaining unemployed with outcomes that lead to employment or continued education, as follows: 

(1) (Vocational Career Exploration Programs).  The amount of $200,000.00 is appropriated to regional technical centers and comprehensive high schools for summer career exploration programs for students entering grades 7 through 9.

(2)  (Alternative Workforce Education Programs).  The amount of $550,000.00 is appropriated to regional technical centers, comprehensive high schools, the community high school of Vermont, and non-profit organizations, designated by the workforce development council, for alternative and intensive vocational/academic programs for students entering grades 11 and 12 in order to earn necessary credits toward graduation.

(d)  VTP.  The amount of $1,300,000.00 is appropriated to the Vermont training program, which is administered by the department of economic development, to supplement funds appropriated in the fiscal year 2008 omnibus appropriations act.

(e)  Dual Enrollment Programs.  The amount of $800,000 is appropriated for dual enrollment programs as follows:

     (1)  (VSC) the amount of $500,000 is appropriated to the Vermont state colleges ; and

     (2)  (VSAC) the amount of $300,000 is appropriated to the Vermont student assistance corporation.

(f)  Technical Education Equipment. The amount of $200,000.00 is appropriated to the department of education, for the purchase of technical education equipment for technical education centers and comprehensive high schools to be distributed equally to each center and high school with no local matching funds required.

(g)  Non-degree VSAC Promise Scholarships.  The amount of $1,000,000.00 is appropriated to the Vermont student assistance corporation for the purpose of providing non-degree grants to Vermonters to improve job skills and increase overall employability by enrolling in a post-secondary education or training program, including adult-technical education that is not part of a degree or accredited certificate program to supplement other funds made available for this purpose from the omnibus appropriations act for fiscal year 2008 using the model was used in fiscal 2007.  A portion of this appropriation shall be used for grants for indirect educational expenses to students enrolled in training programs. The grants shall not exceed $3,000 per student.  None of the funds appropriated herein shall be used for administrative overhead.     

(h)  Adult Technical Education Programs.  The amount of $1,000,000.00 is appropriated to the department of labor, working with the workforce development council, for the purpose of awarding grants to regional technical centers and comprehensive high schools to provide adult technical education, as that term is defined in 16 V.S.A. §1522, to unemployed and underemployed Vermont adults.

(i)  Accountability.  On or before March 15, 2008, the entities receiving appropriations under this section shall report to the house committees on commerce and education and the senate committee on economic development, housing and general affairs, regarding the distribution of funds, the number and categories of students served, the categorical number and amount of scholarships distributed, the geographic distribution of the funds and the number and types of jobs created.  

     Fifth: By adding a new section to be numbered Sec. 5a to read as follows:

Sec. 5a.  16 V.S.A. § 1565(b)(1)(C) is  amended to read:

(C)  Adult service coordinators' salary assistance shall not exceed be 50 percent of actual salaries and benefits.  Payment under this subsection does not preclude a district from using other state and federal grants to supplement the actual salaries and benefits of adult service coordinators.

     Sixth:  By adding a new section to be numbered Sec. 6a to read as follows:

Sec. 6a.  WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT; REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION; EMPLOYER CASH INCENTIVES; S.145 STUDY

The commissioners of labor and economic development, in consultation with the executive directors of the regional development corporations, shall study whether a program should be created to enable employers to offer cash incentives to employees to encourage workforce development. The study shall examine:

(1)  benefits and likely outcomes of cash incentives;

(2)  how these incentives would be delivered, to whom, and when;

(3)  long term funding sources if cash incentives are determined to be beneficial;

(4)  criteria for offering cash incentives;

(5)  methods for assuring accountability;

(6)  any other issue determined to be relevant to this proposal; and

(7) sustainable funding sources.

(b)  The commissioners shall issue a written report of recommendations to the house committee on commerce and the senate committee on economic development, housing and general affairs on or before December 1, 2007.     

     Seventh:  By adding a new section to be numbered Sec. 6b to read as follows:

Sec 6b.   CAREER READINESS CERTIFICATE; S.185 PILOT PROJECTS

(a)  The commissioner of labor may create up to two pilot career readiness certificate programs and use up to $6,000 of the funds appropriated to the department from workforce education and training fund.  The pilot programs shall be with a regional technical center or comprehensive high school providing technical education as defined in 16 V. S. A. Section 1522 or any workforce training program funded by this act.  In developing the pilot projects, the commissioner shall consult with the grant recipients to select 100 workforce training participants who will be given a nationally validated work readiness assessment that identifies levels of proficiency in specific academic, technical and work-ethic skills.  The work readiness assessment shall be administered at the beginning of the training program and at the conclusion of the program.  Those participants who demonstrate a level of proficiency determined by the commissioner to be appropriate for the applicable employment sector will be awarded a Career Readiness Certificate.  Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, the commissioner is authorized to receive in-kind contributions and grants from private and public sources to assist with the implementation of these pilot projects.

(b)  On or before December 15, 2008, the commissioner shall report to the governor, the house commerce and education committees, and to the senate economic development, general affairs and housing and education committees the effectiveness of the pilot projects, together with any  recommendations.  The report shall include recommendations related to further development of the Career Readiness Certificate program.  On or before January 15, 2008, the commissioner may provide a status report or preliminary results of these pilot programs. 

(Committee Vote: 5-0-0)

(For House amendments, see House Journal for March 23, 2007, page 405.)


SUBSTITUTE RECOMMENDATION OF AMENDMENT FOR THE PROPOSAL OF AMENDMENT OF THE COMMITTEE ON ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, HOUSING AND GENERAL AFFAIRS TO H. 433, TO BE OFFERED BY SENATOR MILLER, ON BEHALF OF THE COMMITTEE ON ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, HOUSING AND GENERAL AFFAIRS

Senator Miller, on behalf of the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs, moves to substitute a recommendation of amendment for the proposal of amendment of the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs, as follows:

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

* * * Consolidation of Grant Programs * * *

Sec. 4.  10 V.S.A. § 543 is added to read:

§ 543.  WORKFORCE EDUCATION AND TRAINING FUND; GRANT PROGRAMS

(a)  Creation.  There is created a workforce education and training fund in the department of labor to be managed in accordance with subchapter 5 of chapter 7 of Title 32.

(b)  Purposes.  The fund shall be used exclusively for the following two purposes:

(1) Training to improve the skills of Vermont workers, including those who are unemployed, underemployed, or in transition.

(2) Internships to provide work‑based learning opportunities with Vermont employers for students from Vermont colleges, public and private high schools, regional technical centers, and the Community High School of Vermont.

(c)  Administrative Support.  Administrative support for the grant award process shall be provided by the departments of labor and of economic development.  Technical, administrative, financial, and other support shall be provided whenever appropriate and reasonable by the workforce development council and all other public entities involved in economic development, workforce development and training, and education.

(d)  Eligible Activities.  Awards from the fund shall be made to employers and entities that offer programs that require collaboration between employees and businesses, including private, public, and nonprofit entities, institutions of higher education, technical centers, and workforce development programs.  Funding shall be for training programs and student internship programs that offer education, training, apprenticeship, mentoring, or work‑based learning activities, or any combination; that employ innovative intensive student‑oriented competency‑based or collaborative approaches to workforce development; and that link workforce education and economic development strategies.  Training programs or projects that demonstrate actual increased income and economic opportunity for employees and employers may be funded for more than one year.  Student internships that involve the same employer may be funded multiple times, provided that new students participate.

(e)  Award Criteria and Process.  The workforce development council, in consultation with the commissioners of labor and of economic development, shall develop criteria consistent with subsection (d) of this section for making awards under this section.  The commissioners of labor and of economic development shall develop process for making awards that includes both the following:

(1)  Applications shall be submitted to and reviewed by the local workforce investment board.  Within seven business days, the board shall forward them to the commissioner of labor, unless this time requirement is waived by the applicant.

(2)  If review by the local workforce investment board as required by subdivision (1) of this subsection is not completed within seven business days, the applicant may file the application directly with the commissioner of labor without further review by the local workforce investment board.  

(f)  Awards.  Based on guidelines set by the council, the commissioner of labor shall make awards to the following:

(1)  Training Programs.  Public, private, and nonprofit entities for existing or new innovative training programs.  There shall be a preference for programs that include training for newly created or vacant positions.  Awards may be made to programs that retrain incumbent workers.  Awards under this subdivision shall be made to programs or projects that do all the following:  

(A)  Offer innovative programs of intensive, student‑centric, competency‑based education, training, apprenticeship, mentoring, or any combination of these. 

(B)  Address the needs of workers who are unemployed, underemployed, or are at risk of becoming unemployed due to changing workplace demands by increasing productivity and developing new skills for incumbent workers.

(C)  Lead to jobs paying at least 200 percent of the current minimum wage or at least 150 percent if benefits are included; this requirement may be waived when warranted based on regional or occupational wages or economic reality.

(D)  Require a measurable investment from involved employers.

(E)  Do not duplicate, supplant, or replace other programs funded with public money.

(F)  Articulate clear goals and demonstrate readily accountable, reportable, and measurable results.

(G)  Demonstrate an integrated connection between training and employment.  If employment is not guaranteed at the successful completion of the training, the applicant must demonstrate employer involvement and that the training is likely to lead to employment in fields in which there is demand for jobs.

(2)  Internship Program.  Public and private entities for internship programs that match Vermont employers with students from public and private secondary schools, regional technical centers, the Community High School of Vermont, and colleges.  For the purposes of this section, “internship” means a learning experience working with an employer where the intern may, but does not necessarily receive academic credit, financial remuneration, a stipend, or any combination of these.  Awards under this subdivision may be used to fund the cost of administering an internship program and to provide students with a stipend during the internship, based on need.  Awards may be made only to programs or projects that do all the following:

(A)  Do not replace or supplant existing positions.

(B)  Create real workplace expectations and consequences.

(C)  Provide a process that measures progress toward mastery of skills, attitude, behavior, and sense of responsibility required for success in that workplace. 

(D)  Are designed to motivate and educate secondary and postsecondary students through work‑based learning opportunities with Vermont employers that are likely to lead to real employment.

(E)  Include mechanisms that promote employer involvement with secondary and postsecondary students and curriculum and the delivery of education at the participating schools.

(F)  Involve Vermont employers or interns who are Vermont residents.

(G)  Offer students a continuum of learning, experience, and relationships with employers that will make it financially possible and attractive for graduates to continue to work and live in Vermont.

(g)  Accountability.  The commissioner of labor in consultation with the commissioner of economic development and the workforce development council shall do all the following: 

(1)  Develop evaluation standards that measure the effectiveness of the programs and projects funded by this section.  The standards shall include an objective process that documents the state’s return on investment.

(2)  On or before December 1 of each year, submit a report to the governor, the speaker of the house, the president pro tempore of the senate, the chair of the house committee on commerce, and the chair of the senate committee on economic development, housing and general affairs that includes all the following information for the prior fiscal year:

(A)  The number of applications received, grants awarded, jobs created, including wages for each, jobs filled, including wages for each, internships created, and interns served; the information shall be categorically posted every quarter on the department of labor’s website.

(B)  Funds needed for the next fiscal year.

(C)  The extent to which the program has improved coordination, cooperation, and effective expenditure of resources by workforce education and training entities and increased employers’ participation in and provision of workforce training opportunities and internships by employers, educational institutions, and other private entities.

Second:  By adding a new section to be numbered Sec. 5a to read as follows:

Sec. 5a.  16 V.S.A. § 1565(b)(1)(C) is amended to read:

(C)  Adult service coordinators’ salary assistance shall not exceed be 50 percent of actual salaries and benefits.  Payment under this subsection does not preclude a district from using other state and federal grants to supplement the actual salaries and benefits of adult service coordinators.

Third:  By striking out Sec. 6 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 6 to read as follows:

* * * Workforce Development Leadership * * *

Sec. 6.  Workforce Development Leader; LeadersHIP COMMITTEE; CREATED

The commissioner of labor shall be the leader for developing workforce development strategy and accountability.  The commissioner shall work with a subcommittee of the workforce development council composed of eight members to include four business members and a higher education member of the council appointed by the governor, the secretary of human services, and the commissioners of education and of economic development.  Membership shall be coincident with the members’ terms on the workforce development council.  The workforce development council shall provide administrative support to the leadership committee.  The commissioner of labor shall be the chair of the committee.  The duties of the leader include all the following:

(1)  Developing a limited number of overarching goals and challenging measurable criteria for the workforce development system that supports the creation of good jobs to build and retain a strong, appropriate, and sustainable economic environment in Vermont.

(2)  Reviewing reports submitted by each entity that receives funding.  The reports shall be submitted on a schedule determined by the committee and shall include all the following information:

(A)  A description of the mission and programs relating to preparing individuals for employment and meeting the needs of employers for skilled workers.

(B)  The measurable accomplishments that have contributed to achieving the overarching goals.

(C)  Identification of any innovations made to improve delivery of services.

(D)  Future plans that will contribute to the achievement of the goals.

(E)  The successes of programs to establish working partnerships and collaborations with other organizations that reduce duplication or enhance the delivery of services, or both.

(F)  Any other information that the committee may deem necessary and relevant.

(3)  Reviewing information pursuant to subdivision (2) of this section that is voluntary provided by education and training organizations that are not required to report this information but want recognition for their contributions. 

(4)  Issuing an annual report to the governor and the general assembly on or before December 1.  The report shall include a systematic evaluation of the accomplishments of the system and the participating agencies and institutions and all the following:

(A)  A compilation of the systemwide accomplishments made toward achieving the overarching goals, specific notable accomplishments, innovations, collaborations, grants received, or new funding sources developed by participating agencies, institutions, and other education and training organizations.

(B)  An evaluation of each provider’s contributions toward achieving the overarching goals.

(C)  Identification of areas needing improvement, including time frames, expected annual participation, and contributions, and the overarching goals.

(D)  Recommendations for the allocating of next generation funds and other public resources.

(5)  Developing an integrated workforce strategy that incorporates economic development, workforce development, and education to provide all Vermonters with the best education and training available in order to create a strong, appropriate, and sustainable economic environment that supports a healthy state economy.

(6)  Developing strategies for both the following:

(A)  Coordination of public and private workforce programs to assure that information is easily accessible to students, employees, and employers, and that all information and necessary counseling is available through one contact.

(B)  More effective communications between the business community and educational institutions, both public and private.

     Fourth:  By adding a new section to be numbered Sec. 6a to read as follows:

* * * Sustainable Funding * * *

Sec. 6a.  WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT SUSTAINABLE FUNDING COMMITTEE; CREATION; DURATION

(a)  The workforce development sustainable funding committee is created consisting of eight members to include three business members from the workforce development council appointed by the council executive committee, one business representative appointed by the senate president pro tempore, one business representative appointed by the speaker of the house, and three business members who represent business organizations appointed by the governor.  The committee shall make a recommendation regarding new sustainable long‑term funding sources to support the future funding needed to support adequately ongoing workforce development efforts.  The governor, speaker, and president pro tempore jointly shall select the chair from the members of the committee.

(b)  The committee shall perform a comprehensive review of workforce development funding strategies that have been used successfully in other states and countries and determine which, if any, are suitable and workable for Vermont.

(c)  The committee shall report its findings and recommendations to the senate committee on economic development, housing and general affairs, the house committee on commerce, and the governor on or before December 1, 2007.

(d)  The joint fiscal office and legislative council shall provide administrative support to the committee.  The committee may request administrative support from the department of taxes, the department of finance and management, or the workforce development council and other agencies as required.

Fifth:  By adding a new section to be numbered Sec. 6b to read as follows:

Sec. 6b.  WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT; REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION; EMPLOYER CASH INCENTIVES; STUDY 

(a)  The commissioners of labor and of economic development, in consultation with the executive directors of the regional development corporations shall study the advantages of creating a program that offers cash incentives to encourage workforce development.  The study shall examine all the following issues:

(1)   Benefits and likely outcomes of cash incentives.

(2)  How these incentives would be delivered, to whom, and when.

(3)  Long‑term funding sources if cash incentives are determined to be beneficial.

(4)  Criteria for offering cash incentives.

(5)  Methods for assuring accountability.

(6)  Any other issue determined to be relevant to this proposal.

(7)  Sustainable funding sources.    

(b)  The commissioners shall issue a written report of recommendations to the house committee on commerce and the senate committee on economic development, housing and general affairs on or before December 1, 2007.     

     Sixth:  By adding a new section to be numbered Sec. 6c to read as follows:

Sec 6c.  CAREER READINESS CERTIFICATE; PILOT PROJECTS

(a)  The commissioner of labor may create up to two pilot career readiness certificate programs and use up to $6,000.00 of the funds appropriated to the department from workforce education and training fund.  The pilot programs shall be with a regional technical center or comprehensive high school providing technical education as defined in 16 V.S.A. § 1522 or any workforce training program.  In developing the pilot projects, the commissioner shall consult with the department of education, the workforce development council to identify a nationally validated a work readiness assessment program that identifies levels of proficiency in specific academic, technical, and work‑ethic skills at the beginning of the training program and at the conclusion of the program.  The commissioner may accept in‑kind contributions or grants, or both, from private and public sources to assist with the implementation of the pilot projects. 

(b)  On or before December 15, 2008, the commissioner shall report to the governor, the house committees on commerce and on education, and the senate committees on economic development, housing and general affairs and on education the effectiveness of the pilot projects, together with recommendations for further development of the career readiness certificate program.  On or before January 15, 2008, the commissioner may provide a status report or preliminary results of these pilot programs. 

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

Sec. 7.  APPROPRIATIONS

(a)  WETF.  The amount of $2,700,000.00 is appropriated to the Vermont workforce education and training fund, which is administered by the department of labor, for workforce development to supplement funds appropriated in the fiscal year 2008 omnibus appropriations act.  Up to seven percent of the funds may be used to cover the cost of administration. 

(b)  VSAC Scholarships.  The amount of $4,000,000.00 is appropriated to the Vermont student assistance corporation for the purpose of awarding need‑based scholarships for Vermont residents.  None of the funds appropriated herein shall be used for administrative overhead.

(c)  Career and Alternative Workforce Education.  The amount of $1,000,000.00 is appropriated to the department of labor for the purpose of awarding grants to support out‑of‑school youth, youth at risk, and youth at risk of remaining unemployed with outcomes that lead to employment or continued education, as follows: 

(1)  Career Exploration Programs.  The amount of $450,000.00 is appropriated to regional technical centers, comprehensive high schools, and other programs for career exploration programs for students entering grades 7 through 12.

(2)  Alternative Workforce Education Programs.  The amount of $550,000.00 is appropriated to regional technical centers, comprehensive high schools, the Community High School of Vermont, and nonprofit organizations, designated by the workforce development council, for alternative and intensive vocational or academic programs for secondary students in order to earn necessary credits toward graduation.

(d)  VTP.  The amount of $1,300,000.00 is appropriated to the Vermont training program, which is administered by the department of economic development, to supplement funds appropriated in the fiscal year 2008 omnibus appropriations act.

(e)  Dual Enrollment Programs.  The amount of $800,000.00 is appropriated for dual enrollment programs as follows:

(1)  The amount of $500,000.00 to the Vermont state colleges.

(2)  The amount of $300,000.00 to the Vermont student assistance corporation.

(f)  UVM Technology Transfer Program.  The amount of $200,000.00 is appropriated to the University of Vermont for patent development and commercialization of technology created at the university for the purpose of creating jobs in Vermont.

(g)  Nondegree VSAC Grants.  The amount of $1,000,000.00 is appropriated to the Vermont student assistance corporation for the purpose of providing nondegree grants to Vermonters to improve job skills and increase overall employability by enrolling in a post‑secondary education or training program, including adult technical education that is not part of a degree or accredited certificate program to supplement other funds made available for this purpose from the omnibus appropriations act for fiscal year 2008, using the model that was used in fiscal 2007.  A portion of this appropriation shall be used for grants for indirect educational expenses to students enrolled in training programs.  The grants shall not exceed $3,000.00 per student.  None of the funds appropriated herein shall be used for administrative overhead.    

(h)  Adult Technical Education Programs.  The amount of $1,000,000.00 is appropriated to the department of labor, working with the workforce development council, for the purpose of awarding grants to regional technical centers and comprehensive high schools to provide adult technical education, as that term is defined in 16 V.S.A. § 1522, to unemployed and underemployed Vermont adults.

(i)  Accountability.  On or before March 15, 2008, the entities receiving appropriations under this section shall report to the house committees on commerce and on education and the senate committee on economic development, housing and general affairs regarding the distribution of funds, the number and categories of students served, the categorical number and amount of scholarships distributed, the geographic distribution of the funds, and the number and types of jobs created.  

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

The Committee recommends that the Senate propose to the House to amend the bill as recommended by the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs, as substituted, with the following amendment thereto:

By striking out the Seventh proposal of amendment in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new Seventh proposal of amendment to read as follows:

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

Sec. 7.  APPROPRIATIONS

(a)  Workforce Development $5,400,000 as follows:

     (1)  WETF. The total sum of $2,200,000 is appropriated to the Vermont workforce education and training fund, which is administered by the department of labor, for workforce development. Of this appropriation, $900,000 is from the fiscal year 2007 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund, and $1,300,000 is from the fiscal year 2008 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund. This appropriation is supplemental to funds appropriated in the fiscal year 2008 appropriations act. Up to 7% of the funds may be used for administration of the program.

(2)  Vermont employment training fund.  The sum of $1,200,000 is appropriated to the agency of commerce and community development.  Of this appropriation, $550,000 is from the fiscal 2007 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund and $650,000 is from the fiscal year 2008 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund. This appropriation is for the Vermont employment training fund for the issuance of grants pursuant to 10 V.S.A. § 531 and is supplemental to funds appropriated in the fiscal year 2008 appropriations act.

     (3)  Career And Alternative Workforce Education.  The amount of $900,000 is appropriated to the department of labor. Of this appropriation, $450,000 is from the fiscal year 2007 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund, and $450,000 is from the fiscal year 2008 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund. This appropriation shall be to support out-of-school youth, youth at risk, and youth at risk of remaining unemployed with outcomes that lead to employment or continued education as follows:

          (A) Forty-five percent (45%) shall be for grants to regional technical centers, comprehensive high schools, and other programs for career exploration programs for students entering grades 7 through 12.

          (B) Fifty-five percent (55%) shall be for grants to regional technical centers, comprehensive high schools, the community high school of Vermont, and non-profit organizations, designated by the workforce development council, for alternative and intensive vocational/academic programs for secondary students in order to earn necessary credits toward graduation.

     (4)  Adult Technical Education Programs.  The amount of $900,000 is appropriated to the department of labor, working with the workforce development council. Of this appropriation, $450,000 is from the fiscal year 2007 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund, and $450,000 is from the fiscal year 2008 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund. This appropriation is for the purpose of awarding grants to regional technical centers and comprehensive high schools to provide adult technical education, as that term is defined in 16 V.S.A. §1522, to unemployed and underemployed Vermont adults.

          (5) UVM Technology Transfer Program. The amount of $200,000 is appropriated to the University of Vermont from the fiscal year 2008 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund. This appropriation is for patent development and commercialization of technology created at the university for the purpose of creating employment opportunities for Vermont residents.

     (b)  Loan Repayment $500,000 as follows;

          (1)  The total sum of $500,000 is appropriated to the agency of human services global commitment for the department of health to use for healthcare loan repayment. Of this appropriation, $50,000 is from the fiscal year 2007 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund, and $450,000 is from the fiscal year 2008 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund. The department shall use these funds for a grant to the area health education centers (AHEC) for repayment of commercial or governmental loans for postsecondary health care-related education or training owed by persons living and working in Vermont in the health care field.

(c)  Scholarships and Grants $6,100,000 as follows;

          (1)  Non-degree VSAC Grants. The amount of $1,000,000 is appropriated to the Vermont student assistance corporation. Of this appropriation, $300,000 is from the fiscal year 2007 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund, and $700,000 is from the fiscal year 2008 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund. This appropriations shall be for the purpose of providing non-degree grants to Vermonters to improve job skills and increase overall employability by enrolling in a post-secondary education or training program, including adult-technical education that is not part of a degree or accredited certificate program using the model was used in fiscal 2007. A portion of this appropriation shall be used for grants for indirect educational expenses to students enrolled in training programs. The grants shall not exceed $3,000 per student.  None of this appropriation shall be used for administrative overhead. These funds shall supplement other funds made available for this purpose from the omnibus appropriations act for fiscal year 2008.

          (2) The total sum of $4,700,000 is appropriated for scholarships. Of this appropriation, $2,200,000 is from the fiscal year 2007 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund, and $2,500,000 is from the fiscal year 2008 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund. These funds shall be equally distributed to the university of Vermont, the Vermont state colleges and the Vermont student assistance corporation. The Vermont student assistance corporation shall reserve these funds for student attending institutions other than the university of Vermont or the Vermont state colleges. This appropriation shall be for the purpose of awarding need-based scholarships for Vermont residents. None of this appropriation shall be used for administrative overhead.

          (3) Dual Enrollment Programs.  The total sum of $400,000 is appropriated to the Vermont state colleges for dual enrollment programs. Of the total amount appropriated in this subsection, $100,000 is from the fiscal 2007 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund, and $300,000 is from the fiscal 2008 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund. The state colleges shall develop a voucher program that will allow Vermont students to attend programs at post secondary institutions other than the state college system when programs at the other institution are better academically or geographically suited to student need.

               (d)  Accountability.  On or before March 15, 2008, the entities receiving appropriations under this section shall report to the house committees on commerce, education, and appropriations and the senate committees on economic development, housing and general affairs, education, and appropriations regarding the distribution of funds, the number and categories of students served, the categorical number and amount of scholarships and grants distributed, the geographic distribution of the funds and the number and types of jobs created.

     (e) The appropriations in this section that are funded through the fiscal year 2007 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund shall be effective on passage.

(Committee Vote: 5-2-0)

PROPOSAL OF AMENDMENT TO H. 433 TO BE OFFERED BY SENATORS MILLER, ILLUZZI, CARRIS, CONDOS, AND RACINE

Senators Miller, Illuzzi, Carris, Condos, and Racine move that the Senate propose to the House to amend the bill as follows:

First:  By adding four new sections to be numbered Sec. 6d, Sec. 6e, Sec. 6f, and Sec. 6g to read as follows:

* * * Job Start Program* * *

Sec. 6d.  FINDINGS AND PURPOSE

(a)  The general assembly finds:

(1)  Beginning in 2002 the Job Start board began a process of evaluation and consultation with stakeholders to chart a course of sustainability and relevancy for the Job Start program.

(2)  As part of this process, in January 2005, the Vermont economic development authority (VEDA) and Central Vermont Community Action Council jointly funded a report, Job Start Analysis and Recommendations, by consultant Sleeping Lion Associates.  The report found:  “Statewide access to flexible character-based lending is both desirable and needed for microenterprises.”  One of the recommendations for making Job Start viable and sustainable was that clear ownership and accountability for the entire program needed to rest in a single entity committed to providing credit and financial services to low income people.

(3)  After the report was presented to a meeting of stakeholders in June of 2005, the Community Capital of Vermont and Opportunities Credit Union expressed interest in administering Job Start. These two entities responded to a request for information sent out in October 2005, and, in January 2006, presented their proposals to the job start board.

(4)  In July 2006, the board approved a motion to ask Community Capital of Vermont in consultation with Opportunities Credit Union, the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) and the job start staff to develop a plan to restructure job start.

(5)  In September 2006, the board approved Community Capital’s proposal.

(b)  In response to the findings, the purpose of this section and sections 6e, 6f, and 6g is to ratify the recommendations of the Job Start Board to restructure the Job Start Program by moving the program from VEDA to OEO.  OEO shall contract with a nonprofit as the program administrator provided the nonprofit meets the criteria of 3 V.S.A. §3721(b) and has the recommendation of the Job Start Advisory Board and VEDA.

Sec. 6e.  3 V.S.A. chapter 57A is added to read:

CHAPTER 57A.  JOB START

§ 3721.  JOB START PROGRAM

(a)  There is created a job start program to provide assistance in the development of business plans and to administer a microenterprise loan program for low income applicants.

(b)(1)  The office of economic opportunity shall contract with a Vermont nonprofit organization to administer the job start program and manage the microenterprise loan program of the job start revolving loan fund.  The office of economic opportunity shall provide grants to the job start program administrator to manage the job start revolving loan fund.  The job start program administrator shall have all the following qualifications:

(A)  Be registered as a nonprofit with the secretary of state.

(B)  Be certified by the secretary of state as being in good standing. 

(C)  Be certified by the U.S. Department of the Treasury as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI).

(D)  Have experience managing municipal loan funds.

(E)  Have both the resources and a business plan sufficient to implement the job start revolving loan fund program statewide.

(F)  Be supported by the community action agency network as demonstrated by the Vermont community action directors’ association.

(2)  The job start program administrator shall administer the program in accordance with organizational policies and procedures approved by the office of economic opportunity.  These policies shall include specific provisions for the job start revolving loan fund program, including eligibility criteria based on an applicant’s income, interest rates for loans, and a loan maximum of $25,000.00 to any applicant.

(3)  The board of directors of the job start administrator shall include two members who are former borrowers from the job start revolving loan fund.  In order to ease the transition of the job start revolving loan fund program from the Vermont office of economic opportunity, the board of directors of the job start administrator shall also include one former job start advisory board member for one term.

(4)  The job start program administrator shall issue an annual report to the office of economic opportunity on loan fund activity and shall rate performance against the goals and standards as determined by the office of economic opportunity.  The report shall also be provided to the house committees on commerce and on appropriations and the senate committees on economic development, housing and general affairs and on appropriations.

(c)  Notwithstanding the foregoing, the office of economic opportunity may delegate to the job start program administrator the authority to review, approve, and make loans and to disburse funds on those loans up to the limits prescribed by the job start program administrator.  For purposes of this section, “loan” means a loan, or a financing lease, provided that such lease transfers the ownership of the leased property to the lessee following the payment of all required lease payments as specified in the lease agreement.

§ 3722.  REGIONAL MICROBUSINESS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS OPERATION

The office of economic opportunity shall provide grants to each community action agency for the microbusiness development program at each community action agency.  In the event that a community action agency is unable, as determined by the office of economic opportunity, or unwilling to perform the required services, the office of economic opportunity may provide grants to another qualified regional entity.

§ 3723.  JOB START REVOLVING LOAN FUND

(a)(1)  A job start revolving loan fund, the fund, is created as a special fund subject to the provisions of subchapter 5 of chapter 7 of Title 32.  The fund shall be administered by the office of economic opportunity for the purposes of the Vermont job start program, in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.

(2)  The fund shall be composed of any state or federal funds appropriated for the program, repayments of principal and interest of program loans, private monies related to the administration and operation of the job start program, grants received for the benefit of the program, funds arising from loans made to the fund by banks or other private sources not to exceed $500,000.00 in the aggregate, and any interest earned by deposits.  Notwithstanding subdivision 32 V.S.A. § 588(4)(A), monies may be disbursed from the fund for program purposes without an annual appropriation.

(b)  The liabilities or obligations of the office of economic opportunity with regard to its activities under the job start program shall not extend beyond the funds which are deposited in the job start revolving loan fund and shall not constitute a debt or pledge of the faith and credit of the state or any subdivision of the state.

Sec. 6f.  TRANSFER OF POWERS AND DUTIES AND ASSETS AND LIABILITIES

Repeal of  subchapter 7 of chapter 12 of Title 10 pursuant to which the job start program is administered by the Vermont economic development authority will be recodified to transfer the program to the Vermont office of economic opportunity in order to continue job start.  The powers and duties of the authority shall continue and shall be vested in the office of economic opportunity to the extent that they are not inconsistent with the provisions of this act.  The authority shall continue to operate the job start revolving loan fund program to the extent that it is not inconsistent with the provisions of this act until the office of economic opportunity has contracted for a job start program administrator.  The office of economic opportunity shall succeed to all the authority’s rights, assets, and liabilities relating to the job start program.  Funds in the job start revolving loan fund on June 30, 2007, shall be deposited into the revolving loan fund administered by the office of economic opportunity under 3 V.S.A. § 3723.

Sec. 6g.  OFFICE OF ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY GRANT FOR MICROENTERPRISE LENDING

After the effective date of this act, the office of economic opportunity may issue a one-time grant of no more than $40,000.00 from the job start revolving loan fund to a community development financial institution for the proposes of making microenterprise loans based on the same criteria and performance standards as the job start program.

Second:  By striking out Sec. 8 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 8 to read as follows:

Sec. 8.  REPEAL

The following are repealed.

(1)  Sec. 157a(d) of No. 62 of the Acts of 1999, as amended by Sec. 14 of No. 212 of the Acts of the 2005 Adj. Sess. (2006) (workforce education and training fund).

(2)  Subchapter 7 of chapter 12 of Title 10 (job start program).

AMENDMENT TO PROPOSAL OF AMENDMENT OF THE COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS TO H. 433 TO BE OFFERED BY SENATOR ILLUZZI

Senator Illuzzi moves to amend the proposal of amendment of the Committee on Appropriations in Sec. 7(c) by striking out subdivision (2) in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new subdivision (2) to read as follows:

          (2)  VSAC Degree Scholarships.  The total sum of $4,700,000 is appropriated to Vermont Student Assistance Corporation for degree scholarships. Of this appropriation, $2,200,000 is from the fiscal year 2007 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund, and $2,500,000 is from the fiscal year 2008 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund.  This appropriation shall be for the purpose of awarding need-based scholarships for Vermont residents. None of this appropriation shall be used for administrative overhead.

PROPOSAL OF AMENDMENT TO H. 433 TO BE OFFERED BY SENATOR McCORMACK

Senator McCormack moves that the Senate propose to the House to amend the bill by adding three new sections to be numbered Sec. 1a, Sec. 1b and Sec. 1c to read as follows:

Sec. 1a 7 V.S.A. §68 is added to read:

§68.  VINOUS BEVERAGES STORAGE AND SHIPPING PERMIT

A person who provides climate controlled storage for vinous beverages owned by another person or persons for a fee may be granted a permit allowing the person to ship stored vinous beverages to the owners of the beverages.  A permitee shall ship the vinous beverages by common carrier in compliance with subsection (f) of section 66 of this title.  The permit shall be granted pursuant to rules adopted by the department.  A person granted a permit pursuant to this section shall not sell or resell any alcoholic beverages that are shipped.

Sec. 1b.  7  V.S.A. §64(b) is amended to read:

(b)  Except as provided in section 66 sections 66 and 68 of this title, all malt or vinous beverages, or both, imported or transported into this state shall be imported or transported by and through a wholesale dealer holding a wholesale dealer’s license issued by the liquor control board.  A person importing or transporting or causing to be imported or transported into this state any malt or vinous beverages, or both, shall be imprisoned not more than one year or fined not more than $1,000.00, or both.  Provided, however, a person may import or transport not more than six gallons of malt or vinous beverages, or both, into this state in his or her own private vehicle or in his or her actual possession at the time of importation without permit providing it is not for resale.

Sec. 1c.  7 V.S.A. §66(f) is amended to read:

(f) A common carrier shall not deliver vinous beverages until it has complied with the training provisions in subsections 239(a) and (b) of this title and been certified by the department of liquor control.  No employee of a certified common carrier may deliver vinous beverages until that employee completes the training provisions in subsection 239(c) of this title.  A common carrier shall deliver only vinous beverages that have been shipped by the holder of a license issued under this section or a permit issued under section 68 of this title.

Report of Committee of Conference

H. 531

An act relating to ensuring success in health care reform.

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. 531.  An act relating to ensuring success in health care reform.

Respectfully report that they have met and considered the same and recommend that the House accede to the Senate proposals of amendment, with the following additional amendments:

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

Sec. 11.  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 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, and development and implementation of the blueprint for health under section 702 of Title 18.

Second:  By striking out Sec. 13 and inserting a new Sec. 13 to read:

Sec. 13.  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 a health care professional the lowest of the health care professional’s contracted rate, the health care professional’s billed charges, or the rate derived from 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.

Third:  By striking out Sec. 15 and inserting a new Sec. 15 to read:

Sec. 15.  EFFECTIVE DATE

     Secs. 4 and 13 of this act shall take effect upon passage.  All other sections shall take effect July 1, 2007. 

Fourth:  By adding a new Sec. 16 to read:

Sec. 16.   MENTAL HEALTH AND OTHER NON-PHYSICIAN PROVIDER Reimbursement surveys

(a) In order to understand the impact of reimbursement on access to mental health care providers, the cost shift, the workforce shortages, and recruitment and retention of health care professionals, the commissioner of banking, insurance, securities, and health care administration shall administer a one-time survey of health insurers to determine the reimbursement paid for the ten most common billing codes for mental health services, along with differences in reimbursement based on the provider’s level of education or licensure.  Each insurer shall report the average reimbursement paid for a specific service for each applicable provider level of education or licensure. 

(b) In order to understand the impact of reimbursement on access to other non-physician health care providers, the cost shift, the workforce shortages, and recruitment and retention of health care professionals, the commissioner of banking, insurance, securities, and health care administration shall administer a one-time survey of health insurers to determine the reimbursement paid for the most common billing codes for non-physician health care provider services.   Each insurer shall report the average reimbursement paid for a specific service for each provider level of education or licensure, when applicable.  The department may limit the survey to a total of 20 billing codes except that it shall ensure that the survey includes reimbursement for at least two common billing codes for each major class of provider. 

(c) The surveys shall be managed by the department of banking, insurance, securities, and health care administration.  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.  Only the department will have access to the underlying survey responses.  Neither survey shall include hospital reimbursements.

(d) No later than December 15, 2008, the department shall provide the results of the surveys to the commission on health care reform, the house committees on health care and human services, and the senate committee on health and welfare.   In addition, the department shall also provide the results of the survey conducted pursuant to subsection (a) to the mental health oversight committee.

Fifth:  By adding a new Sec. 17 to read:

Sec. 17.   STUDY ON RETROACTIVE ELIGIBILITY FOR PHARMACY PROGRAMS

(a)  The commissioner for children and families shall analyze the costs and benefits of providing coverage from the date of application for those applying for any state-funded pharmacy program, provided all conditions of eligibility were met as of such date. 

(b)  The commissioner shall consult with the medical care advisory committee in performing this analysis and shall report his or her findings to the health access oversight committee no later than November 15, 2007.  The report should include an explanation of why, if at all, there should be any disparate treatment in this regard between applicants for VHAP and applicants for pharmacy programs.

                                                                        Sen. Douglas A. Racine

                                                                        Sen. Edward S. Flanagan

                                                                 Committee on the part of the Senate

                                                                        Rep. Steven B. Maier

                                                                        Rep. Francis M. McFaun

                                                                        Rep. Lucy Leriche

                                                                 Committee on the part of the House


Report of Committee of Conference

H. 534

An act relating to prekindergarten education.

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. 534.  An act relating to prekindergarten education.

Respectfully report that they have met and considered the same and recommend that the Senate recede from its proposals of amendment and that the bill as approved by the House be amended by striking all after the enacting clause and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Sec. 1.  FINDINGS

The general assembly finds:

(1)  The first five years of a child’s life are crucial to a child’s development.

(2)  The family plays the most important role in the life of a young child.  Families have the primary responsibility and right to nurture and provide for the early childhood development and education of their children.

(3)  Approximately 70 percent of Vermont parents are employed in the workforce.  At least 70 percent of Vermont’s three‑ and four‑year‑old children are in “out of the home” child care for up to 50 hours per week, while their parents work to provide for the family’s needs.

(4)  The broader community has a vested interest in assuring that all children and families have access to the care and support needed for the growth and development of children.  Failure to meet the needs of young children results in significant societal costs in the future.

(5)  A child’s growth and development occur best in integrated environments.  Early nurture and development opportunities are best provided in locations that are convenient to families and minimize transitions for children.

(6)  The provision of early care and prekindergarten education through high‑quality private providers is one of the most crucial elements supporting the strength and stability of the system serving young children.

Sec. 2.  16 V.S.A. § 11(a)(31) is amended to read:

(31)  “Early childhood education,means a program which provides educational “early education,” or “prekindergarten education” means services for designed to provide developmentally appropriate early development and learning experiences based on Vermont’s early learning standards to children who are three to five four years of age and to five‑year‑old children who are not eligible for or enrolled in kindergarten.

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

§ 829.  PREKINDERGARTEN EDUCATION; RULES

The commissioner of education and the commissioner for children and families shall jointly develop and agree to rules and present them to the state board of education for adoption under chapter 25 of Title 3 as follows:

(1)  To ensure that, before a school district begins or expands a prekindergarten education program that 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 or expands a prekindergarten education program that 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 require school districts to report to the departments their annual expenditures made in support of prekindergarten care and education, with distinct figures provided for expenditures made from the general fund, from the education fund, and from all other sources, which shall be specified. 

(9)  To provide an appeal process for 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.

(10)  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.

(11)  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.

Sec. 4.  16 V.S.A. § 4001(15) is 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.

Sec. 5.  16 V.S.A. § 1073(c) is amended to read:

(c)  An individual who is not a legal pupil shall not may be enrolled in a public school, except for enrollment in a prekindergarten program offered by or through a public school pursuant to rules adopted under section 829 of this title or in a program of essential early education, without the consent of the superintendent offered pursuant to section 2956 of this title.

Sec. 6.  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 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 of the school year in which school is actually in session; and.

(B)  the The full‑time equivalent enrollment in the year between the end of 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.

(C)  The full‑time equivalent enrollment for each prekindergarten child as follows:  If a 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 as follows:

(i)  All children receiving essential early education services may be included.

(ii)  Of the children enrolled in prekindergarten education who are not receiving essential early education services, the greater of the following may be included:

(I)  ten children; or

(II)  the number resulting from:

(aa)  one plus the average annual percentage increase or decrease in the district’s first grade enrollment as counted in the census period of the previous five years; multiplied by

(bb)  the most immediately previous year’s first grade census count; or

(III)  the total number of four‑year‑olds in the district. 

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 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

Prekindergarten  0.46

Elementary or kindergarten 1.0

* * *

Sec. 8.  33 V.S.A. § 3502 is amended to read:

§ 3502.  CHILD CARE FACILITIES; SCHOOL AGE CARE IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS; 21ST CENTURY FUND

(a)  Unless exempted under subsection (b) of this section, a person shall not operate a child care facility without a license, or operate a family day care home without registration from the department.  All prekindergarten programs, regardless of whether they are located in a public school or a private facility, shall be licensed by the department.  This provision does not apply to essential early education services provided to individual children. 

(b)  The following persons are exempted from the provisions of subsection (a) of this section:

(1)  A person providing care for children of not more than two families other than that of the person providing the care.

(2)  A hospital or establishment holding a license issued by the department of health, or a person operating a program primarily for recreational or therapeutic purposes, unless the hospital, establishment or person provides services for the care, protection and supervision of children not incidental to its primary purpose in which case subsection (a) shall apply to those nonincidental additional services.

(3)  Child care facilities operated by religious organizations for the care and supervision of children during or in connection with religious services or church sponsored activities.

(4)  Nursery schools or other preschool establishments, attended by children of less than compulsory school age, which are subject to regulation by the department of education.  [Repealed.]

* * *

Sec. 9.  DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AND DEPARTMENT FOR CHILDREN AND FAMILIES; RESPECTIVE DUTIES REGARDING PREKINDERGARTEN AND KINDERGARTEN PROGRAMS

The respective jurisdiction and duties of the department of education and the department for children and families with respect to prekindergarten and kindergarten programs shall be as outlined in the memorandum of understanding executed by the department of education and the precursor to the department for children and families on May 28, 1999.

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 children who are in prekindergarten programs and who are receiving essential early education services.

(2)  The breakdown of districts choosing to limit the average daily membership of prekindergarten children by each of the three methods set forth in 16 V.S.A. § 4001(1)(C)(2).

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

(4)  The annual expenditures spent in support of prekindergarten care and education, with distinct figures provided for expenditures made from the general fund, from the education fund, and from all other sources, which sources shall be specified, from the effective date of this act forward. 

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

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

(7)  The effects that the prekindergarten programs covered by this act have had on the early development, learning experiences, and behaviors, including extreme or disruptive behaviors, of young children in Vermont. 

(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 and the advisability of eliminating or amending those limits.  

(9)  An analysis of whether and to what extent retention, elimination, or amendment of the ADM limits would affect the state’s ability to fund in an adequate manner the child care subsidy program administered by the department for children and families.  The child care subsidy program enables many at-risk children to receive both nurture and developmental services crucial to preparing these children to enter school.  The report shall also discuss any other actions that the commissioners believe would increase the state’s ability to fund the child care subsidy program adequately.

(10)  A proposal for consolidating the authority currently exercised by the department for children and families and the department of education to regulate and fund all early childhood programs.

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 and counted within its average daily membership 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.

Sec. 12.  PREKINDERGARTEN EDUCATION STUDY COMMITTEE

(a)  The prekindergarten education study committee created in Sec. 1 of No. 186 of the Acts of the 2005 Adj. Sess. (2006) shall continue its existence and composition until March 1, 2008 to: 

(1)  analyze additional financial data;

(2)  receive periodic reports from the commissioner of education and the commissioner for children and families regarding implementation of this act, particularly the rulemaking required in Sec. 2 of this act;

(3)  propose legislation to the general assembly as the committee deems necessary.

(b)  The committee shall meet no more than twice when the general assembly is not in session.  For attendance at a meeting when the general assembly is not in session, legislative members of the committee shall be entitled to per diem compensation and reimbursement of expenses as provided in 2 V.S.A. § 406(a).  

Sec. 13.  CONSTRUCTION

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

Sec. 14.  REPEAL

Subsection 2(a) of No. 186 of the Acts of the 2005 Adj. Sess. (2006) (moratorium on state board of education rules regarding early childhood or prekindergarten services) is repealed.

Sec. 15.  EFFECTIVE DATES

This act shall take effect on July 1, 2007, except that the rules required by Sec. 3 of this act shall apply beginning in the 2008–2009 academic year.

                                                                        Sen. Harold W. Giard

                                                                        Sen. James C. Condos

                                                                        Sen. William T. Doyle

                                                                 Committee on the part of the Senate

                                                                        Rep. Duncan F. Kilmartin

                                                                        Rep. Denise B. Barnard

                                                                        Rep. Johannah L. Donovan

                                                                 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.


NOTICE OF BILLS PENDING RECEIPT FROM THE HOUSE

House Proposals of Amendment

S. 164

An act relating to campaign finance.

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.  FINDINGS

The general assembly finds that:

(1)  Large campaign contributions reduce public confidence in the electoral process and increase the risk and the appearance that candidates and elected officials will not act in the best interests of all Vermont citizens.

(2)  Some candidates and elected officials, particularly when time is limited, respond and give access to contributors who make large contributions in preference to those who make small or no contributions.

(3)  In Vermont, contributions greater than the amounts specified in this act are considered by the general assembly, candidates, and elected officials to be large contributions.

(4)  In Vermont, contributions in the amounts permitted in this act adequately allow contributors to express their opinions, levels of support, and affiliations with respect to candidates, political committees, and political parties.

(5)  In Vermont, candidates can raise sufficient monies to fund effective campaigns from contributions no larger than the amounts specified in this act.

(6)  Limiting large contributions will encourage direct and small group contact between candidates and the electorate and will encourage the personal involvement of a larger number of citizens in campaigns, both of which are crucial to public confidence and the robust debate of issues.

(7)  In Vermont, campaign expenditures by persons who are not candidates have been increasing and public confidence is eroded when unidentified expenditures are made, particularly during the final days of a campaign.

(8)  Identification of persons who publish political advertisements and electioneering communications assists in enforcement of the campaign finance limitations established by this act.

(9)  Aggregate contributions limitations are necessary to limit the influence of a single source, political committee, or political party in an election.

(10)  There is an extensive record supporting the need for the regulation of campaign finance in Vermont that was compiled during the consideration of No. 64 of the Acts of 1997, and that was considered by the courts during the litigation of Landell v. Sorrell, 118 F.Supp. 459 (D.Vt. 2000), aff’d in part and vacated in part, 382 F.3d 91 (2d Cir. 2004), rev’d and remanded sub nom. Randall v. Sorrell, 126 S. Ct. 2479 (2006).

(11)  This act is necessary in order to implement more fully the provisions of Article 8 of Chapter I of the Constitution of the State of Vermont, which declares “That all elections ought to be free and without corruption, and that all voters, having a sufficient, evident, common interest with, and attachment to the community, have a right to elect officers, and be elected into office, agreeably to the regulations made in this constitution.”

Sec. 2.  17 V.S.A. § 2801 is amended to read:

§ 2801.  DEFINITIONS

As used in this chapter:

(1)  “Candidate” means an individual who has taken affirmative action to become a candidate for state, county, local, or legislative office in a primary, special, general, or local election.  An affirmative action shall include one or more of the following:

(A)  accepting contributions or making expenditures totalling $500.00 or more; or

(B)  filing the requisite petition for nomination under this title or being nominated by primary or caucus; or

(C)  announcing that he or she seeks an elected position as a state, county, or local officer or a position as representative or senator in the general assembly.

(2)  “Clearly identified,” with respect to a candidate, means that:

(A)  The name of the candidate appears;

(B)  A photograph or drawing of the candidate appears; or

(C)  The identity of the candidate is apparent by unambiguous reference.

(3)  “Contribution” means a payment, distribution, advance, deposit, loan, or gift of money or anything of value, paid or promised to be paid to a person for the purpose of influencing an election, advocating a position on a public question, or supporting or opposing one or more candidates in any election, but shall not include services provided without compensation by individuals volunteering their time on behalf of a candidate, political committee or political party.  For purposes of this chapter, “contribution” shall not include a personal loan from a lending institution any of the following:

(A)  a personal loan of money to a candidate from a lending institution made in the ordinary course of business;

(B)  services provided without compensation by individuals volunteering their time on behalf of a candidate, political committee, or political party;

(C)  unreimbursed travel expenses incurred within the state of Vermont and paid for by an individual who volunteers personal services to a candidate, if the cumulative amount of these expenses does not exceed $500.00 per election;

(D)  unreimbursed campaign‑related travel expenses incurred within the state of Vermont and paid for by the candidate or the candidate’s spouse or civil union partner;

(E)  the payment by a political party of the costs of preparation, display, or mailing or other distribution of a party candidate listing;

(F)  documents, in printed or electronic form, including party platforms, single copies of issue papers, information pertaining to the requirements of this title, lists of registered voters and voter identification information, created, obtained, or maintained by a political party for the general purpose of party building and provided to a candidate who is a member of that party or to another political party;

(G)  compensation paid by a political party to its employees whose job responsibilities are not for the specific and exclusive benefit of a single candidate in any election;

(H)  campaign training sessions provided to three or more candidates;

(I)  costs paid for by a political party in connection with a campaign event at which three or more candidates are present;

(J)  the use of offices, telephones, computers, and similar equipment when that use does not result in additional cost to the provider;

(K)  activity or communication designed to encourage individuals to register to vote or to vote if that activity or communication does not mention or depict a clearly identified candidate;

(L)  compensation paid by a political party to its employees or consultants for the purpose of providing assistance to another political party.

(3)(4)  “Expenditure” means a payment, disbursement, distribution, advance, deposit, loan, or gift of money or anything of value, paid or promised to be paid, for the purpose of influencing an election, advocating a position on a public question, or supporting or opposing one or more candidates.  For the purposes of this chapter, “expenditure” shall not include any of the following:

(A)  a personal loan of money to a candidate from a lending institution made in the ordinary course of business;

(B)  services provided without compensation by individuals volunteering their time on behalf of a candidate, political committee, or political party;

(C)  unreimbursed travel expenses incurred within the state of Vermont and paid for by an individual who volunteers personal services to a candidate, if the cumulative amount of these expenses does not exceed $500.00 per election;

(D)  unreimbursed campaign‑related travel expenses incurred within the state of Vermont and paid for by the candidate or the candidate’s spouse or civil union partner.

(5)  “Party candidate listing” means any communication by a political party that:

(A)  lists the names of at least three candidates for election to public office;

(B)  is distributed through public advertising such as broadcast stations, cable television, newspapers and similar media, or through direct mail, telephone, electronic mail, publicly accessible sites on the internet or personal delivery;

(C)  treats all candidates in the communication in a substantially similar manner; and

(D)  is limited to:

(i)  the identification of each candidate, with which pictures may be used;

(ii)  the offices sought;

(iii)  the offices currently held by the candidates;

(iv)  the party affiliation of the candidates and a brief statement about the party or the candidates’ positions, philosophy, goals, accomplishments, or biographies;

(v)  encouragement to vote for the candidates identified; and

(vi)  information about voting, such as voting hours and locations.

(4)(6)  “Political committee” or “political action committee” means any formal or informal committee of two or more individuals, or a corporation, labor organization, public interest group, or other entity, not including a political party, which receives contributions of more than $500.00 and makes expenditures of more than $500.00 in any one calendar year for the purpose of supporting or opposing one or more candidates, influencing an election, or advocating a position on a public question in any election or affecting the outcome of an election.

(5)(7)  “Political party” means a political party organized under chapter 45 of this title or and any committee established, financed, maintained, or controlled by the party, including any subsidiary, branch, or local unit thereof and including national or regional affiliates of the party and shall be considered a single, unified political party.  The national affiliate of the political party shall be considered a separate political party.

(6)(8)  “Single source” means an individual, partnership, corporation, association, labor organization, or any other organization or group of persons which is not a political committee or political party.

(7)(9)  “Election” means the procedure whereby the voters of this state or any of its political subdivisions select a person to be a candidate for public office or fill a public office, or to act on public questions including voting on constitutional amendments.  Each primary, general, special, run‑off, or local election shall constitute a separate election.

(8)(10)  “Public question” means an issue that is before the voters for a binding decision.

(9)(11)  “Two‑year general election cycle” means the 24‑month period that begins 38 days after a general election. Expenditures related to a previous campaign and contributions to retire a debt of a previous campaign shall be attributed to the earlier campaign cycle.

(10)(12)  “Full name” means an individual’s full first name, middle name or initial, if any, and full legal last name, making the identity of the person who made the contribution apparent by unambiguous reference.

(11)(13)  “Telephone bank” means more than 500 telephone calls of an identical or substantially similar nature that are made to the general public within any 30‑day period.

Sec. 3.  17 V.S.A. § 2801a is amended to read:

§ 2801a.  EXCEPTIONS

The definitions of “contribution,” “expenditure,” and “electioneering communication” shall not apply to:

(1)  any news story, commentary, or editorial distributed through the facilities of any broadcasting station, newspaper, magazine, or other periodical publication which has not been paid for, or such facilities are not owned or controlled, by any political party, committee, or candidate; and

(2)  any communication distributed through a public access television station if the communication complies with the laws and rules governing the station, and all candidates in the race have an equal opportunity to promote their candidacies through the station.

Sec. 4.  17 V.S.A. § 2805 is amended to read:

§ 2805.  LIMITATIONS OF CONTRIBUTIONS

(a)  A candidate for state representative or local office shall not accept contributions totaling more than $200.00 $250.00 from a single source, or political committee or political party in for any two‑year general election cycle.

(b)  A candidate for state senator or county office shall not accept contributions totaling more than $300.00 $500.00 from a single source, or political committee or political party in for any two‑year general election cycle.

(c)  A candidate for the office of governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, state treasurer, auditor of accounts, or attorney general shall not accept contributions totaling more than $400.00 $750.00 from a single source, or political committee or political party in for any two‑year general election cycleA political committee, other than a political committee of a candidate, or a political party shall not accept contributions totaling more than $2,000.00 from a single source, political committee or political party in any two‑year general election cycle.

(d)  A candidate for the office of governor shall not accept contributions totaling more than $1,000.00 from a single source or political committee in any election.

(b)(e)  A single source, political committee or political party shall not contribute more to a candidate, political committee or political party than the candidate, political committee or political party is permitted to accept under subsection (a) of this section than $20,000.00 to all candidates in any two‑year general election cycle.  A single source shall not contribute more than $20,000.00 to all political committees and political parties in any two‑year general election cycle.

(c)(f)  A candidate, political party or political committee shall not accept, from a political party contributions totaling more than the following amounts in any two‑year general election cycle, more than 25 percent of total contributions from contributors who are not residents of the state of Vermont or from political committees or parties not organized in the state of Vermont:

(1)  For the office of governor, $30,000.00;

(2)  For the office of lieutenant governor, $10,000.00;

(3)  For the office of secretary of state, state treasurer, auditor of accounts, or attorney general, $5,000.00;

(4)  For the office of state senator or county office, $2,000.00;

(5)  For the office of state representative or local office, $1,000.00.

(g)  A single source, political committee, or political party shall not contribute more to a candidate, political committee, or political party than the candidate, political committee, or political party is permitted to accept under subsections (a) through (d) and (f) of this section.

(d)(h)  A candidate shall not accept a monetary contribution in excess of $50.00 unless made by check, credit or debit card, or other electronic transfer.

(e)(i)  A candidate, political party, or political committee shall not knowingly accept a contribution which is not directly from the contributor, but was transferred to the contributor by another person for the purpose of transferring the same to the candidate, or otherwise circumventing the provisions of this chapter.  It shall be a violation of this chapter for a person to make a contribution with the explicit or implicit understanding that the contribution will be transferred in violation of this subsection.

(f)(j)  This section shall not be interpreted to limit the amount a candidate or his or her immediate family may contribute to his or her own campaign.  For purposes of this subsection, “immediate family” means individuals related to the candidate in the first, second or third degree of consanguinity a candidate’s spouse or civil union partner, parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, sister, brother, stepparent, stepgrandparent, stepchild, stepgrandchild, stepsister, stepbrother, mother‑in‑law, father‑in‑law, brother‑in‑law, sister‑in‑law, son‑in‑law, daughter‑in‑law, guardian, or former guardian.

(g)(k)  The limitations on contributions established by this section shall not apply to contributions made for the purpose of advocating a position on a public question, including a constitutional amendment.

(h)(l)  For purposes of this section, the term “candidate” includes the candidate’s political committee.

(m)  The contribution limitations contained in this section shall be adjusted for inflation by increasing them based on the Consumer Price Index.  Increases shall be rounded up to the nearest $10.00.  Increases shall be effective for the first two‑year general election cycle beginning after the general election held in 2008.  On or before July 1, 2009, the secretary of state shall calculate and publish the amount of each limitation that will apply to the election cycle in which July 1, 2009 falls.  On July 1 of each subsequent odd‑numbered year, the secretary shall publish the amount of each limitation for the election cycle in which that publication falls.

(n)  Contributions accepted by candidates shall be treated as follows:

(1)  A candidate who accepts a contribution prior to the date of the primary election may designate the contribution, or portion of the contribution, as either a primary or general election contribution.  Once designated, a general election contribution accepted prior to the primary election shall be accounted for separately.

(2)  A contribution accepted by a candidate after the date of the primary election shall be a general election contribution.  A candidate may designate a contribution, or portion of the contribution, accepted after the date of the primary election as a primary election contribution only for the purpose of retiring debt incurred for the primary election.

(3)  Contributions that were accepted prior to the primary election may be used for the general election if all debt incurred for the primary election has been retired.

(4)  Expenditures related to a previous two-year general election cycle and contributions to retire a debt of a previous two-year general election cycle shall be attributed to the earlier two-year general election cycle.

(5)  Independent candidates and minor party candidates, who do not have primary elections, may accept contributions prior to the primary election date in the same manner and subject to the same limits as major party candidates.

(o)  A candidate accepts a contribution when the contribution is deposited in the candidate’s campaign account.

Sec. 5.  17 V.S.A. § 2805b is added to read:

§ 2805b.  LIMITATIONS ON CONTRIBUTIONS; POLITICAL COMMITTEES; POLITICAL PARTIES

(a)  In any two-year general election cycle:

(1)  A political committee, other than a political committee of a candidate, shall not accept contributions totaling more than $2,000.00 from a single source, political committee, or political party.

(2)  A political party shall not accept contributions totaling more than $2,000.00 from a single source or political committee.

(3)  A political party shall not accept contributions totaling more than $30,000.00 from another political party.

(b)  The contribution limitations contained in this section shall be adjusted for inflation by increasing them based on the Consumer Price Index.  Increases shall be rounded up to the nearest $10.00.  Increases shall be effective for the first two‑year general election cycle beginning after the general election held in 2008.  On or before July 1, 2009, the secretary of state shall calculate and publish the amount of each limitation that will apply to the election cycle in which July 1, 2009 falls.  On July 1 of each subsequent odd‑numbered year, the secretary shall publish the amount of each limitation for the election cycle in which that publication falls.

(c)  In any two-year general election cycle:

(1)  A single source, political committee, or political party shall not contribute more than $2,000.00 to a political committee, other than a political committee of a candidate. 

(2)  A single source or political committee shall not contribute more than $2,000.00 to a political party. 

(3)  A political party shall not contribute more than $30,000.00 to another political party. 

(d)  The limitations on contributions established by this section shall not apply to contributions made for the purpose of advocating a position on a public question, including a constitutional amendment.

Sec. 6.  17 V.S.A. § 2809 is amended to read:

§ 2809.  ACCOUNTABILITY FOR RELATED COORDINATED EXPENDITURES

(a)  A related coordinated campaign expenditure made on a candidate’s behalf shall be considered a contribution to the candidate on whose behalf it was made.

(b)  A related coordinated campaign expenditure made on a candidate’s behalf shall be considered an expenditure by the candidate on whose behalf it was made.  However, if the expenditure did not exceed $50.00, the expenditure shall not be considered an expenditure by the candidate on whose behalf it was made.

(c)  For the purposes of this section, a “related coordinated campaign expenditure made on the candidate’s behalf” means any expenditure intended to promote the election of a specific candidate or group of candidates, or the defeat of an opposing candidate or group of candidates, if intentionally facilitated by, solicited by or approved by the candidate or the candidate’s political committee made by a single source, political committee, or political party in cooperation, consultation or concert with, or at the request or suggestion of, a candidate, a candidate’s political committee or an agent, unless otherwise exempt under subdivision 2801(3) or (4) or section 2801a of this title.

(d)  An expenditure made by a political party or by a political committee that recruits or endorses candidates, that primarily benefits six or fewer candidates who are associated with the political party or political committee making the expenditure, is presumed to be a related expenditure made on behalf of those candidates.  An expenditure made by a political party or by a political committee that recruits or endorses candidates, that substantially benefits more than six candidates and facilitates party or political committee functions, voter turnout, platform promotion or organizational capacity shall not be presumed to be a related expenditure made on a candidate’s behalf.  In addition, an expenditure shall not be considered a “related campaign expenditure made on the candidate’s behalf” if all of the following apply:

(1)  The expenditures were made in connection with a campaign event whose purpose was to provide a group of voters with the opportunity to meet the candidate personally.

(2)  The expenditures were made only for refreshments and related supplies that were consumed at that event.

(3)  The amount of the expenditures for the event was less than $100.00.

For the purposes of this section, a “coordinated campaign expenditure made on the candidate’s behalf” does not mean:

(1)  the cost of invitations and postage and of food and beverages voluntarily provided by an individual to provide an opportunity for a group of voters to meet a candidate, if the cumulative value of these activities by the individual on behalf of any candidate does not exceed $500.00 per election;

(2)  the sale of any food or beverage by a vendor at a charge less than the normal comparable charge, for use at a campaign event providing an opportunity for a group of voters to meet a candidate, if the charge to the candidate is at least equal to the cost of the food or beverages to the vendor and if the cumulative value of the food or beverages does not exceed $500.00 per election; or

(3)  amounts expended by an association or a membership organization in compiling and disseminating a nonpartisan voter guide that includes reports of votes on legislation by, or answers to written questions directed to, all or substantially all of the candidates seeking election to the general assembly or to statewide office, about the candidates’ positions on issues of concern to the association or organization, if both of the following apply:

(A)  the association or organization identifies itself as the sponsor of the communication, and accepts no funding from a candidate, political committee, or political party to defray the costs of the voter guide;

(B)  the voter guide does not contain a phrase such as “vote for,” “re‑elect,” “support,” “cast your ballot for,” “(name of candidate) for Senate,” “(name of candidate) in (year),” “vote against,” “defeat,” or “reject,” or other material that refers to a clearly identified candidate for office and that promotes or supports a candidate for that office, or attacks or opposes a candidate for that office.

* * *

Sec. 7.  17 V.S.A. § 2893(b) is amended to read:

(b)  In addition to any other reports required to be filed under this chapter, a person who makes expenditures for any one mass media activity totaling $500.00 or more within 30 days of a primary or general election shall, for each activity, file a mass media report with the secretary of state and send a copy copies, by a verifiable method of sending, of the mass media report and the complete mass media activity in the same format as distributed to the public to each candidate whose name or likeness is included in the activity within 24 hours of the expenditure or activity, whichever occurs first at the same time as the release of the information contained in the mass media activity to the public.  For the purposes of this section, a person shall be treated as having made an expenditure if the person has executed a contract to make the expenditure.  The report shall identify the person who made the expenditure with the name of the candidate involved in the activity and any other information relating to the expenditure that is required to be disclosed under the provisions of subsections 2803(a) and (b) of this title.

Sec. 8.  EVALUATION OF 2008 PRIMARY AND GENERAL ELECTIONS

The house and senate committees on government operations shall evaluate the 2008 primary and general elections to determine whether the major provisions of this act are accomplishing their intended purposes.

Sec. 9.  REPEAL

17 V.S.A. § 2805a (campaign expenditure limitations) is repealed.

Sec. 10.  EFFECTIVE DATE

This act shall take effect on July 17, 2007.

Report of Committee of Conference

S. 115

An act relating to increasing transparency of prescription drug pricing and information.

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. 115.  An act relating to increasing transparency of prescription drug pricing and information.

Respectfully report that they have met and considered the same and recommend that the Senate accede to the House proposal of amendment.

                                                                        Sen. Mark A. MacDonald

                                                                        Sen. Ann E. Cummings

                                                                        Sen. Edward S. Flanagan

                                                                 Committee on the part of the Senate

                                                                        Rep. Harry L. Chen

                                                                        Rep. Sarah Copeland-Hanzas

                                                                        Rep. Steven B. Maier

                                                                 Committee on the part of the House


Concurrent Resolutions

     The following concurrent resolutions have been introduced for approval by the Senate and House and will be adopted automatically unless a Senator or Representative requests floor consideration before the end of the session of the next legislative day.  Requests for floor consideration in either chamber should be communicated to the Secretary’s office and/or the House Clerk’s office, respectively.

S.C.R. 23.

Senate concurrent resolution congratulating Morgan Lilly and Ethan Verberg for their prize-winning performances at the Vermont State Skills U.S.A. Diesel Competition.

S.C.R. 24.

     Senate concurrent resolution recognizing the role of former commissioner of banking and insurance George Chaffee in helping to establish the captive insurance industry in Vermont.

H.C.R.  142

House concurrent resolution thanking the utility crews, municipal employees, community organizations, and volunteers who assisted Rutland County in its storm-recovery effort

H.C.R.  143

     House concurrent resolution honoring girl scouting in Vermont on the 95th anniversary of Girl Scouts U.S.A.

H.C.R.  144

House concurrent resolution in memory of John Dostal of Bennington

H.C.R.  145

House concurrent resolution congratulating Southern Vermont College on its 80th anniversary

H.C.R. 146

House concurrent resolution congratulating the Destination Imagination teams from Randolph

H.C.R.  147

House concurrent resolution congratulating Nathaniel Alexander Soares on being named the Vermont state winner of the 2007 AXA Achievement Scholarship

H.C.R.  148

House concurrent resolution in memory of Gary Rosen

H.C.R. 149

House concurrent resolution honoring John and Joyce Miner for their devoted service on behalf of Vermont’s veterans

H.C.R. 150

House concurrent resolution honoring retiring town manager Jerome Mann Remillard for his many years of public service in the town of Brattleboro

H.C.R. 151

House concurrent resolution congratulating Hannah McMeekin and Garrett Bauman on their commendable service as United States Senate pages

H.C.R.  152

House concurrent resolution congratulating the 2007 Lamoille Union High School Lady Lancers Division II championship girls’ basketball team

H.C.R. 153

House concurrent resolution congratulating the American Cancer Society on the construction of the outstanding new Hope Lodge in Burlington

H.C.R.  154

House concurrent resolution honoring Brattleboro Fire Chief David J. Emery

H.C.R.  155

House concurrent resolution congratulating Dorothy McGuire of Shaftsbury on her 100th birthday

H.C.R.  156

House concurrent resolution honoring Jane Altobell for her outstanding 35‑year career as the Shaftsbury School nurse

H.C.R. 157

House concurrent resolution honoring Richford assistant town clerk Joyce Wetherby

H.C.R.  158

House concurrent resolution honoring Roger Gendron for his public service on behalf of the citizens of Richford

H.C.R.  159

House concurrent resolution congratulating Gordon DeLong on the completion of his exemplary career as Pittsford town clerk-treasurer

H.C.R.  160

House concurrent resolution in memory of William H. Leach

H.C.R.  161

House concurrent resolution honoring Margaret Larivee for her dedicated public service on behalf of the town of Richford

H.C.R.  162

House concurrent resolution commemorating the proud history of the Catamount Elementary School in Bennington

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.

Kenneth Perine of Middlebury - Member of the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board - By Sen. Bartlett for the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs Committee.  (5/11)

Christine Hart of Brattleboro - Member of the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board - By Sen. Kittell for the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs Committee.  (5/11)



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The Vermont General Assembly
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Montpelier, Vermont


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