tuesday, April 1, 2008
TABLE OF CONTENTS
UNFINISHED BUSINESS OF WEDNESDAY, MARCH 19, 2008
S. 201 Relating to state employee whistleblower protection......................... 1044
Government Operations Committee Report............................ 1044
Sen. White amendment.......................................................... 1044
H. 563 Uniform commercial code............................................................... 1047
JRH 44 Vt. Information technology leaders’ health information plan.............. 1048
Joint Resolutions for Action
JRH 57 U.S. military veterans and traumatic brain injury............................... 1048
JRH 58 Authorizing 2008 boys’ state program to use the state house............ 1048
H. 880 Vermont pension investment committee........................................... 1048
Government Operations Committee Report............................ 1048
Favorable with Recommendation of Amendment
S. 350 Relating to energy independence and economic prosperity............... 1048
Natural Resources and Energy Committee Report.................. 1048
Finance Committee Report.................................................... 1069
Appropriations Committee Report......................................... 1070
Sen. Lyons and Sen. MacDonald amendment......................... 1070
Favorable with Proposal of Amendment
H. 403 Postretirement cost of living adjustments for state employees............ 1072
Government Operations Committee Report............................ 1072
Appropriations Committee Report......................................... 1078
Committee Bill for Notice
S. 371 Creation of agency of education & elimination of board of ed........... 1078
By the Committee on Education............................................. 1078
Appropriations Committee Report......................................... 1078
ORDERED TO LIE
S. 70 Empowering municipalities to regulate pesticides.............................. 1079
S. 102 School dist. excess spending........................................................... 1079
S. 118 Fiscal review of high spending school districts.................................. 1079
S. 211 Soliciting or architect proposals by a school district.......................... 1079
S. 348 Education/workforce training for children between ages 16 &18...... 1079
S. 369 Recognition of tribes & bands of native Americans by the Vermont ......... commission on native American affairs 1079
JRS 24 Congressional “fast track” review of trade agreements..................... 1079
UNFINISHED BUSINESS OF WEDNESDAY, MARCH 19, 2008
An act relating to state employee whistleblower protection.
Reported favorably by Senator White for the Committee on Government Operations.
(Committee vote: 4-1-0)
AMENDMENT TO S. 201 TO BE OFFERED BY SENATOR WHITE ON BEHALF OF THE COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS
Senator White, on behalf of the Committee on Government Operations, moves to amend the bill by striking out all after the enacting clause and inserting in lieu thereof the following:
Sec. 1. 3 V.S.A. chapter 27, subchapter 4A is added to read:
Subchapter 4A. Whistleblower Protection
§ 971. INTENT OF SUBCHAPTER
A state employee, as a trustee and servant of the people, shall be free to report, in good faith and with candor, waste, fraud, abuse of authority, violations of law, or a threat to the health of employees, the public, or persons under the care of the state without fear of reprisal, intimidation, or retaliation.
§ 972. DEFINITIONS
As used in this subchapter:
(1) “Department head” means a secretary of an agency, commissioner of a department, director of an office, or any other appointing authority in charge of an agency of state government.
(2) “Illegal order” means a directive to violate, or to assist in violating, a federal, state, or local law.
(3) “Public body” means:
(A) a department head or employee specifically designated or assigned to receive a complaint that constitutes protected activity under this chapter;
(B) a board or commission of state government;
(C) the Vermont state auditor;
(D) a state or federal agency that the activities of a state agency;
(E) a law enforcement officer as defined in subdivision 2358(c)(1) of Title 20;
(F) a federal or state court, grand jury, petit jury, law enforcement agency, or prosecutorial office;
(G) the general assembly or the United States Congress; or
(H) an officer or employee of an entity listed in this subdivision (3) when acting within the scope of his or her duties.
(4) “Retaliatory action” includes any adverse performance or disciplinary action, including discharge, suspension, reprimand, demotion, denial of promotion, or involuntary transfer or reassignment that is given in retaliation for the state employee’s involvement in a protected activity, as set forth in section 973 of this title.
(5) “State employee” means an individual employed on a permanent or limited status basis by the state of Vermont.
§ 973. PROTECTED ACTIVITY
(a) A state agency, department, appointing authority, official, or employee shall not engage in retaliatory action against a state employee because the state employee refuses to comply with an illegal order or engages in any of the following:
(1) Providing to a public body a good faith report or good faith testimony that alleges an entity of state government, a state employee or official, or a person providing services to the state under contract has engaged in a violation of law or in waste, fraud, abuse of authority, or a threat to the health of employees, the public, or persons under the care of the state.
(2) Assisting or participating in a proceeding to enforce the provisions of this subchapter.
(b) No state agency, department, appointing authority, official, or employee shall attempt to restrict or interfere with, in any manner, a state employee’s ability to engage in any of the protected activity described in subsection (a) of this section.
(c) No state agency, department, appointing authority, or manager shall require any state employee to discuss or disclose his or her testimony, or intended testimony, prior to an employee’s appearance to testify before the general assembly if he or she is not testifying on behalf of an entity of state government.
(d) No employee may divulge information that is confidential under state or federal law. An act by which an employee divulges such information shall not be considered protected activity under this section.
(e) In order to establish a claim of retaliation based upon the refusal to follow an illegal order, the employee shall assert at the time of the refusal his or her good faith and reasonable belief that the order is illegal.
§ 974. COMMUNICATION WITH GENERAL ASSEMBLY
(a) No entity of state government may prohibit a state employee from engaging in discussion with a member of the general assembly or from testifying before a legislative committee; provided, however, that an employee may not divulge confidential information, and an employee shall be clear that he or she is not speaking on behalf of an entity of state government.
(b) No state employee shall be subject to discipline, discharge, discrimination, or other adverse employment action as a result of the employee providing information to a legislator or legislative committee; provided, however, that the employee does not divulge confidential information, and that the employee is clear that he or she is not speaking on behalf of any entity of state government. The protections set forth in this subchapter shall not apply to statements that constitute hate speech or threats of violence against a person.
(c) In the event that an appearance before the general assembly will cause an employee to miss work, he or she shall request to be absent from work and shall provide as much notice as is reasonably possible. The protections set forth in this section are subject to the efficient operation of state government, which shall prevail in any instance of conflict; permission to be absent shall not be withheld unreasonably.
§ 975. ENFORCEMENT AND PREEMPTION
(a) Nothing in this subchapter shall be deemed to diminish the rights, privileges, or remedies of a state employee under other federal or state law or under any collective bargaining agreement or employment contract, except the limitation on multiple actions as set forth in this section.
(b) A state employee who raises a claim of retaliation for protected activity under a grievance procedure or similar process available to the employee may not bring such a claim in superior court. “Grievance” shall include a violation of this subchapter and shall be subject to final determination by the board.
(c) A state employee who raises a claim under this subchapter in superior court may not bring a claim of retaliation for protected activity under a grievance procedure or similar process available to the employee.
§ 976. REMEDIES
A state employee who brings a claim in superior court may be awarded the following remedies:
(1) reinstatement of the employee to the same position, seniority, and work location held prior to the retaliatory action;
(2) back pay, lost wages, benefits, and other remuneration;
(3) in the event of a showing of a willful, intentional, and egregious violation of this subchapter, an amount up to the amount of back pay in addition to the actual back pay;
(4) other compensatory damages;
(5) interest on back pay;
(6) appropriate injunctive relief; and
(7) reasonable costs and attorney’s fees.
§ 977. POSTING
Every state agency and department shall distribute a copy of this law by August 1, 2008, and shall post and display notices of state employee protection under this subchapter in a prominent and accessible location in the workplace.
§ 978. LIMITATIONS OF ACTIONS
An action alleging a violation of this subchapter brought under a grievance procedure or similar process shall be brought within the period allowed by that process or procedure. An action brought in superior court shall be brought within 180 days of the date of the alleged retaliatory action.
Sec. 2. EFFECTIVE DATE
This act shall take effect upon passage.
An act relating to uniform commercial code.
Joint resolution approving the Vermont information technology leaders’ (VITGL) health information technology plan as required by 22 V.S.A. §903(g).
Joint Resolutions for Action
Joint resolution relating to U.S. military veterans and traumatic brain injury.
(For text of Resolution, see Senate Journal of March 28, 2008, page 480)
Joint resolution authorizing the 2008 green mountain boys’ state program to use the state house.
(For text of Resolution, see Senate Journal of March 28, 2008, page 482)
An act relating to the Vermont pension investment committee.
Reported favorably by Senator Flanagan for the Committee on Government Operations.
(Committee vote: 4-1-0)
(No House amendments)
Favorable with Recommendation of Amendment
An act relating to energy independence and economic prosperity.
Reported favorably with recommendation of amendment by Senator Lyons for the Committee on Natural Resources and Energy.
The Committee recommends that the bill be amended by striking out all after the enacting clause and inserting in lieu thereof the following:
* * * State Agency Energy Plan * * *
Sec. 1. 3 V.S.A. § 2291(c) is amended to read:
(c) The secretary of administration with the cooperation of the commissioners of public service and of buildings and general services shall develop and oversee the implementation of a state agency energy plan for state government. The plan shall be adopted by June 30, 2005, modified as necessary, and readopted by the secretary on or before January 15 of each fifth year subsequent to 2005. The plan shall accomplish the following objectives and requirements:
(1) To conserve resources, save energy, and reduce pollution. The plan shall devise strategies to identify to the greatest extent feasible, all opportunities for conservation of resources through environmentally and economically sound infrastructure development, purchasing, and fleet management, and investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency available to the state which are cost effective on a life cycle cost basis.
(2) To consider state policies and operations that affect energy use.
(3) To devise a strategy to implement or acquire all prudent opportunities and investments in as prompt and efficient a manner as possible.
(4) To include appropriate provisions for monitoring resource and energy use and evaluating the impact of measures undertaken.
(5) To identify education, management, and other relevant policy changes that are a part of the implementation strategy.
(6) To devise a strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The plan shall include steps to encourage more efficient trip planning, to reduce the average fuel consumption of the state fleet, and to encourage alternatives to solo-commuting state employees for commuting and job-related travel.
(7) To develop a comprehensive program for the cost-effective installation of solar energy equipment on state buildings, pursuant to which the department of public service, working in conjunction with the department of buildings and general services, shall ensure that solar energy equipment is installed no later than October 1, 2010 on all state buildings, state parking facilities, and state-owned swimming pools that are heated with fossil fuels or electricity, where feasible.
(A) For purposes of this subdivision, it is feasible to install solar energy equipment if adequate space on or adjacent to a building is available, if the solar energy equipment is cost-effective, and if funding is available from the state or another source.
(B) Any solar energy equipment installed pursuant to this subdivision shall meet applicable standards and requirements imposed by state and local permitting authorities.
(C) The department of buildings and general services shall establish a schedule designating when solar energy equipment will be installed on each building and facility, with priority given to buildings and facilities where installation is most feasible.
(D) Solar energy equipment shall be installed, where feasible, as part of the construction of all state buildings and state parking facilities for which construction commences on or after October 1, 2010.
(E) The department of buildings and general services, in consultation with the department of public service, may adopt policies and procedures for the purposes of this subdivision.
(F) For purposes of this subdivision, the following terms have the following meanings:
(i) “Cost-effective” means that the present value of the savings generated over the life of the solar energy system, including consideration of the value of the energy produced during peak and off-peak demand periods and the value of a reliable energy supply not subject to price volatility, exceeds the present value cost of the solar energy equipment by not less than 10 percent. The present value cost of the solar energy equipment does not include the cost of unrelated building components. The department, in making the present value assessment, shall obtain interest rates, discount rates, and consumer price index figures from the state treasurer, and shall take into consideration air emission reduction benefits and the value of stable energy costs.
(ii) “Solar energy equipment” means equipment the primary purpose of which is to provide for the collection, conversion, storage, or control of solar energy for the purpose of heat production, electricity production, or simultaneous heat and electricity production, or for the purpose of limiting the extent to which the building is heated by the sun. Equipment used for limiting solar gain shall include shades and curtains, certain window film, and turf roofs.
* * * Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets * * *
Sec. 2. 6 V.S.A. § 1(c),(d), and (e) are added to read:
(c) The secretary shall provide data and funding recommendations to the Vermont resource trust with regard to:
(1) Funding and implementing the natural resources conservation service (NRCS) grassland reserve program in order to increase carbon sequestration.
(2) Providing cost-share assistance for farmers to purchase manure injection equipment to retrofit existing manure spreaders or purchase new equipment.
(3) Providing cost-share assistance for farms to develop and implement nutrient management plans for smaller dairy farms and continuing to provide annual assistance so that existing plans on medium-sized farms continue to be implemented.
(4) Providing cost-share assistance under the farm agronomic practices program so that farms implement cover crops and other soil erosion and land cover practices.
(5) Other ways to create incentives for carbon sequestration on farm and forest land, Vermont’s “green bank.”
(d) The secretary shall continue the agency’s methane capture program and shall collaborate with the Vermont resource trust with regard to the availability of additional funds for these purposes. The goal of the methane digester portion of the program shall be to digest and use 15 percent of the state’s dairy cattle manure by 2012, and 50 percent by 2028. The goal of a second aspect of this emissions reduction program shall be to increase the percentage of manure composted on poultry and on appropriate livestock farms to 25 percent by 2012, and 50 percent by 2028.
(e) The secretary shall develop recommendations for measures to reduce the loss and fragmentation of primary agricultural soils located in rural areas. The state’s goal is to reduce the rate at which agricultural lands are converted to development by 25 percent by 2012 and to reduce that rate by 50 percent by 2020.
* * * Air Quality * * *
Sec. 3. 10 V.S.A. § 552 is amended to read:
§ 552. DEFINITIONS
As used in this chapter:
* * *
(11) “Greenhouse gas” means any chemical or physical substance that is emitted into the air and that the secretary may reasonably anticipate to cause or contribute to climate change, including, but not limited to, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and sulfur hexafluoride.
Sec. 4. 10 V.S.A. § 580 is added to read:
§ 580. GREENHOUSE GAS INVENTORIES; REGISTRY
(a) Inventory and forecasting. The secretary shall work, in conjunction with other states or a regional consortium, to establish a periodic, consistent, and complete inventory of greenhouse gas emissions and sinks, and an accompanying forecast of future greenhouse gas emissions in at least five- and ten-year increments, out to the year 2030. The initial version of this inventory shall be published by no later than July 1, 2009, and updates shall be published triennially thereafter. The forecast shall reflect projected growth, as well as the implementation of scheduled policy initiatives. The inventory shall reflect all natural- and human-caused emissions generated within the state, as well as emissions associated with energy imported and consumed in the state. The secretary shall consult with the Vermont resource trust with regard to the trust providing funding to assist in implementation of this section.
(b) Emissions reporting. By no later than January 15, 2009, the secretary shall develop rules to require, in phases, the reporting and verification of statewide greenhouse gas emissions and to monitor and eventually enforce compliance with this program. The requirements shall include provisions for owner reporting according to an accessible and easy-to-understand format that will yield information with regard to all greenhouse gas emissions in a type and format that a regional registry can accommodate. In addition, the rules shall:
(1) Require the monitoring and annual public reporting of greenhouse gas emissions from all significant sources beginning with the sources or categories of sources that contribute the most to statewide emissions. Reporting should be required on an organization-wide basis within the state, as well as on a significant-emitter-by-significant-emitter basis. At any time before an entity is subject to reporting requirements under the rules, the entity shall be allowed to report emissions associated with its own activities and with any programs it may implement in order to reduce its emissions.
(2) Account for greenhouse gas emissions from all electricity consumed in the state, including transmission and distribution line losses from electricity generated within the state or imported from outside the state.
(3) Ensure rigorous and consistent accounting of emissions, and provide reporting tools and formats to ensure collection of necessary data. Emission reports shall be verified through self-certification and shall be subject to spot checks by the department of environmental conservation; however, in order to qualify for future registry purposes, reports should undergo third party verification. Reporting of emissions from greenhouse gas reduction projects shall qualify for reporting when they are identified as such and adhere to equally rigorous quantification standards.
(4) Ensure that major greenhouse gas emission sources maintain comprehensive records of all reported greenhouse gas emissions.
(c) Registry. The secretary shall work, in conjunction with other states or a regional consortium, to establish a regional or national greenhouse gas registry that allows for the greatest possible flexibility in order to accommodate the range of greenhouse gas mitigation approaches that are likely to evolve.
(1) The registry shall be designed to apply to the entire state and to as large a geographic area beyond state boundaries as is possible.
(2) It shall accommodate as broad an array of sectors, sources, facilities and approaches as is possible, and shall allow sources to start as far back in time as is permitted by good data, affirmed by third-party verification.
(3) It shall accommodate registration of project-based reductions or “offsets” that are equally rigorously quantified.
(4) It shall incorporate safeguards adequate to ensure that reductions are not double-counted by multiple registry participants, and to ensure appropriate transparency.
(5) The state and its political subdivisions shall be able to participate in the registry for purposes of registering reductions associated with their programs, direct activities, or efforts, including the registration of emission reductions associated with the stationary and mobile sources they own, lease, or operate. Similarly, the state and its political subdivisions should be allowed
to participate in emission trading if and when such a program is developed and authorized.
(d) Rules. The secretary may adopt rules to implement the provisions of this section and shall review existing and proposed international, federal, and state greenhouse gas emission reporting programs and make reasonable efforts to promote consistency among the programs established pursuant to this section and other programs, and to streamline reporting requirements on greenhouse gas emission sources. Nothing in this section shall limit a state agency from adopting any rule within its authority.
* * * Pollution Abatement Facilities * * *
Sec. 5. 10 V.S.A. § 1278(a) is amended to read:
(a) Findings. The general assembly finds that the state shall protect Vermont’s lakes, rivers, and streams from pollution by implementing programs to prevent sewage spills to Vermont waters and by requiring emergency planning to limit the damage from spills which do occur. In addition, the general assembly finds it to be cost-effective and generally beneficial to the environment to continue state efforts to ensure energy efficiency in the operation of treatment facilities.
* * * Solid Waste Planning * * *
Sec. 6. 10 V.S.A. § 6604(a) and (c) are amended to read:
(a) No later than April 30, 1988 the secretary shall publish and adopt, after notice and public hearing pursuant to chapter 25 of Title 3, a solid waste management plan which sets forth a comprehensive state-wide strategy for the management of waste, including whey. No later than July 1, 1991, the secretary shall publish and adopt, after notice and public hearing pursuant to chapter 25 of Title 3, a hazardous waste management plan, which sets forth a comprehensive statewide strategy for the management of hazardous waste.
(1)(A) The plans shall be based upon the following priorities, in descending order:
(A)(i) the greatest feasible
reduction in the amount of waste generated; (B)(ii) reuse and recycling of
waste to reduce to the greatest extent feasible the volume remaining for
processing and disposal; (C)(iii) waste processing to
reduce the volume or toxicity of the waste stream necessary for disposal; (D)(iv) land disposal of the
(B) Processing and disposal alternatives shall be preferred which do not foreclose the future ability of the state to reduce, reuse and recycle waste. In determining feasibility, the secretary shall evaluate alternatives in terms of their expected life-cycle costs.
(2) The plans shall be revised at least once every five years and shall include:
(A) methods to reduce and remove material from the waste stream, including commercially generated and other organic wastes, used clothing, and construction and demolition debris, and to separate, collect, and recycle, treat or dispose of specific waste materials that create environmental, health, safety, or management problems, including, but not limited to, tires, batteries, obsolete electronic equipment, and unregulated hazardous wastes. These portions of the plans shall include strategies to assure recycling in the state, and to prevent the incineration or other disposal of marketable recyclables. They shall consider both the current solid waste stream and its projected changes, and shall be based on:
(i) an analysis of the volume and nature of wastes generated in the state, the sources of those wastes, and the current fate or disposition of those wastes;
(ii) an assessment of the feasibility and cost of recycling each type of waste, including an assessment of the feasibility of providing the option of single source recycling;
(iii) a survey of existing and potential markets for each type of waste that can be recycled;
(B) a proposal for the development of facilities and programs necessary at the state, regional or local level to achieve the priorities identified in subdivision (a)(1) of this section. Particular consideration shall be given to the need for additional regional or local composting facilities, the need to expand the collection of commercially generated organic wastes, and the cost effectiveness of developing single stream waste management infrastructure adequate to serve the entire population, which may include material recovery centers. These portions of the plan shall be based, in part, on an assessment of the status, capacity, and life expectancy of existing treatment and disposal facilities, and they shall include siting criteria for waste management facilities, and shall establish requirements for full public involvement.
(3) A goal of the plans shall be to reach a per-capita diversion rate of 35 percent by 2012 and 50 percent by 2028. The effectiveness of the plans shall be assessed no less frequently than every three years, with regard to progress in meeting these goals, and they shall be revised to be more aggressive if trends indicate the goals may not be met, with consideration given to instituting additional waste diversion measures, including the establishment of a
source-separated organics waste program and disallowing the landfilling of organic wastes.
(c) The secretary shall hold public hearings, perform studies as required, conduct ongoing analyses, develop and promote prototype residential and commercial waste prevention programs, develop sector-specific waste minimization strategies in conjunction with affected parties and local communities, develop a statewide communications portal that will promote and keep citizens aware of effective waste reduction and minimization initiatives, and make recommendations to the general assembly with respect to the development of accessible, cost-effective and sustainable policies, strategies and educational and media campaigns that will promote cultural and behavioral changes across the state, leading to a reduction of the waste stream. In this process, the secretary shall consult with manufacturers of commercial products and of packaging used with commercial products, retail sales enterprises, health and environmental advocates, waste management specialists, the general public, and state agencies. The goal of the process is to ensure that packaging used and products sold in the state are not an undue burden to the state’s ability to manage its waste. The secretary shall work with solid waste management districts to determine if cost‑effective engineering support could be provided to businesses wishing to reduce packaging and shipping material costs and shall seek voluntary changes on the part of the industrial and commercial sector in both their practices and the products they sell, so as to serve the purposes of this section. In this process, the secretary shall encourage manufacturers to assure that end-of-life management solutions for their products are reasonable and consistent with the goal of reducing the environmental impact of waste. The secretary may obtain voluntary compliance schedules from the appropriate industry or commercial enterprise, and shall entertain recommendations for alternative approaches. The secretary shall report at the beginning of each biennium to the general assembly, with any recommendations or options for legislative consideration.
* * *
* * * Transportation * * *
Sec. 7. 19 V.S.A. § 10b is amended to read:
§ 10b. STATEMENT OF POLICY; GENERAL
(a) The agency shall be the responsible agency of the state for the development of transportation policy. It shall develop a mission statement to reflect state transportation policy encompassing all modes of transportation, developing and adhering to performance standards which address the need for transportation projects that will improve the state’s economic infrastructure, as well as the use of resources in efficient, coordinated, cost effective, and environmentally sound ways. The overall scoping of agency projects shall include a cost-benefit analysis weighing conservation factors, efficiency opportunities, and congestion mitigation strategies. Transportation development shall be managed and executed toward specific performance standards to reduce vehicular miles traveled and toward increasing public transportation ridership. The agency shall coordinate education efforts with those of the Vermont resource trust established under 30 V.S.A. § 236 and those of local and regional planning entities to address conservation and efficiency opportunities and practices in local and regional transportation, and to support employer or local or regional government-led conservation, efficiency, rideshare, and bicycle programs and other innovative transportation advances, especially employer-based incentives.
(b) In developing the state’s annual transportation program, the agency shall, consistent with the planning goals listed in 24 V.S.A. § 4302 as amended by No. 200 of the Acts of the 1987 Adj. Sess. (1988) and with appropriate consideration to local, regional, and state agency plans:
(1) Develop or incorporate designs that provide safe and efficient transportation and promote economic opportunities for Vermonters and the best use of the state’s environmental and historic resources.
(2) Manage available funding to:
(A) give priority to preserving the functionality of the existing transportation infrastructure; and
(B) adhere to credible project delivery schedules.
* * *
Sec. 8. 19 V.S.A. § 10e is amended to read:
§ 10e. STATEMENT OF POLICY; RAILROADS
(a) The general assembly recognizes that rail service, both passenger and freight, is an integral part of the state’s transportation network. Accordingly, it is hereby declared to be the policy of the state of Vermont:
to To provide opportunities for rail passenger
services by cooperating with the federal government, other states, and
providers of those services, with priority to be given to the services likely
to complement Vermont’s economic development efforts and meet the needs of the
traveling public ;. It is a goal of the state to increase passenger
rail use within the state by 100 percent by 2018 and by 200 percent by 2028.
to To preserve and modernize for continued freight
railroad service those railroad lines, both within the state of Vermont and
extending into adjoining states, which directly affect the economy of the state
or provide connections to other railroad lines which directly affect the
economy of the state ;. It is a goal of the state to increase the use
of rail freight within the state by 50 percent by 2018 and by 100 percent by
in In those cases where continuation of freight
railroad service is not economically feasible under present conditions, to
preserve established railroad rights-of-way for future reactivation of railroad
service, trail corridors, and other public purposes not inconsistent with
future reactivation of railroad service ; and.
to To seek federal aid for rail projects that
implement this section’s policy goals.
(5) To maintain and improve intercity bus and rail and freight and commuter rail services, and the necessary intermodal connections, and to increase the efficiency of equipment and the extent to which equipment selection and operation can limit or avoid the emission of greenhouse gases.
(6) To plan to accommodate increased ridership with city‑to‑city and commuter rail service.
(b) To complement the regular maintenance efforts of the lessee/operators of state-owned railroads, taking into account each line’s long-term importance to the state’s transportation network, economic development, the resources available to the lessee/operator and relevant provisions of leases and other agreements, the agency may develop programs to assist in major rehabilitation or replacement of obsolete bridges, structures, rails, and other fixtures.
Sec. 9. 19 V.S.A. § 10f is amended to read:
§ 10f. STATEMENT OF POLICY; PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION
(a) It shall be the state’s policy to make maximum use of available federal funds for the support of public transportation. State operating support funds shall be included in agency operating budgets to the extent that funds are available. It shall be the state’s policy to support the maintenance of existing public transportation services and the creation of new service that is accessible and affordable to those who use these services.
(b) The agency of transportation shall develop and periodically update a plan for investment in public transportation services and infrastructure as part of an integrated transportation system consistent with the goals established in 24 V.S.A. § 5083, and regional transportation development plan proposals and regional plans as required by 24 V.S.A. § 5089.
(1) The plan shall include components that shall coordinate rideshare, public transit, park and ride, interstate, and bicycle and pedestrian planning and investment at the state, regional, and local levels, and create or expand regional connections within the state, in order to maximize interregional ridesharing and access to public transit.
(2) The agency shall develop and make available to the traveling public a statewide geographic information system (GIS) database that coordinates all transportation options, facilities, and programs, and that provides web-based access to all modes of transportation and all inter-connection opportunities.
Sec. 10. 19 V.S.A. § 2310 is amended to read:
§ 2310. PAVEMENT OF HIGHWAY SHOULDERS
(a) Notwithstanding the provisions of section 10c of this title, it is the policy of the state to provide paved shoulders on major state highways with the intent to develop an integrated bicycle route system and to make it easier and safer for pedestrian traffic. This shall not apply to the interstate highway and certain other limited access highways.
construction, or reconstruction, including upgrading and resurfacing projects
on these highways, shall
include paved shoulders unless the agency
deems certain sections to be cost prohibitive maintain or improve
existing access and road surface conditions for bicycles and pedestrians along
the shoulders of these highways.
* * * Municipal Ordinances * * *
Sec. 11. 24 V.S.A. § 2291a is added to read:
§ 2291a. CLOTHESLINES
Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, no municipality, by ordinance, resolution, or other enactment, shall prohibit or have the effect of prohibiting the installation of clotheslines. This section shall not apply to patio railings in condominiums, cooperatives, or apartments.
* * * Zoning * * *
Sec. 12. 24 V.S.A. § 4413(g) is added to read:
(g) Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, a bylaw adopted under this chapter shall not prohibit or have the effect of prohibiting the installation of clotheslines.
Sec. 13. 24 V.S.A. § 4414 is amended to read:
§ 4414. ZONING; PERMISSIBLE TYPES OF REGULATIONS
Any of the following types of regulations may be adopted by a municipality in its bylaws in conformance with the plan and for the purposes established in section 4302 of this title.
* * *
(14) Green building incentives. A municipality may encourage the use of low‑embodied energy in construction materials, planned neighborhood developments that allow for reduced use of fuel for transportation, and increased use of renewable technology by providing for reduced permit review or increased density, or both, for:
(A) homes that meet standards established in the Vermont builds greener program–leadership in energy and environmental design (LEED) for homes, or similar programs;
(B) commercial or industrial buildings that meet significantly advanced construction standards for efficiency, as described in LEED, or other applicable advanced construction efficiency standards that address issues such as building size, use of renewable energy sources, compact development patterns, proximity to services, minimizing energy in transporting materials, use of local resources, use of embodied energy, and the use of comprehensive analytical tools that will result in structures and usage patterns that require less energy.
* * * Covenants * * *
Sec. 14. 27 V.S.A. § 544 is added to read:
§ 544. CLOTHESLINES
(a) No deed restrictions, covenants, or similar binding agreements running with the land shall prohibit or have the effect of prohibiting clotheslines from being installed on buildings erected on the lots or parcels covered by the deed restrictions, covenants, or binding agreements. A property owner may not be denied permission to install clotheslines by any entity granted the power or right in any deed restriction, covenant, or similar binding agreement to approve, forbid, control, or direct alteration of property with respect to residential dwellings not exceeding three stories in height.
(b) In any litigation arising under the provisions of this section, the prevailing party shall be entitled to costs and reasonable attorney’s fees.
(c) The legislative intent in enacting this section is to protect the public health, safety, and welfare by encouraging the development and use of renewable resources in order to conserve and protect the value of land, buildings, and resources by preventing the adoption of measures which will have the ultimate effect, however unintended, of driving the costs of owning and operating commercial or residential property beyond the capacity of private owners to maintain. This section shall not apply to patio railings in condominiums, cooperatives, or apartments.
* * * Combined Heat and Power * * *
Sec. 15. 30 V.S.A. § 202(i) is added to read:
(i) It shall be a goal of the electrical energy plan to assure, by 2028, that at least 60 MW of power are generated within the state by combined heat and power (CHP) facilities powered by renewable fuels. In order to meet this goal, the plan shall include incentives for development and strategies to identify locations in the state that would be suitable for CHP. The plan shall include strategies to assure the consideration of CHP potential during any process related to the expansion of natural gas services in the state.
* * * Public Service Board * * *
Sec. 16. 30 V.S.A. § 209(b) is amended to read:
(b) The provisions of section 218 of this title notwithstanding, the public service board shall, under sections 803-804 of Title 3, adopt rules applicable to companies subject to this chapter which:
* * *
Regulate or prescribe the grounds upon which the companies may disconnect or
refuse to reconnect service to customers;
(3) Regulate and prescribe reasonable procedures used by companies in disconnecting or reconnecting services and billing customers in regard thereto; and
(4) Encourage the in-state deployment of farm biogas energy systems by authorizing contributions in aid of construction for electric service extensions to farms, as necessary to ensure the economic viability of farm biogas systems that utilize on-farm manure as the primary input, with the costs of those line extensions included in rates. The rules shall include standards regarding the length of line extensions that may be eligible for assistance, and may relate the length of an eligible line extension to the size of a particular facility.
Sec. 17. 30 V.S.A. § 218(e) is added to read:
(e) The board shall allow a company to recover a premium on the allowed return on equity for the company’s investment in new renewable energy generation or new combined heat and power projects located in Vermont.
* * * Least-Cost Planning * * *
Sec. 18. 30 V.S.A. § 218c(a) is amended to read:
(a)(1) A “least cost integrated plan” for a regulated electric or gas utility is a plan for meeting the public’s need for energy services, after safety concerns are addressed, at the lowest present value life cycle cost, including environmental and economic costs, through a strategy combining investments and expenditures on energy supply, transmission and distribution capacity, transmission and distribution efficiency, and comprehensive energy efficiency programs. Economic costs shall be determined with due regard to the information developed under the provisions of 10 V.S.A. § 580, establishing a greenhouse gas registry, to the state’s progress in meeting its greenhouse gas reduction goals, and to the value of the financial risks associated with greenhouse gas emissions from various power sources.
* * *
* * * Cap and Trade Program * * *
Sec. 19. 30 V.S.A. § 255 is amended to read:
§ 255. REGIONAL COORDINATION TO REDUCE GREENHOUSE
(a) Legislative findings. The general assembly finds:
(1) There is a growing scientific consensus that the increased anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases are enhancing the natural greenhouse effect, resulting in changes in the earth’s climate.
(2) Climate change poses serious potential risks to human health and terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems globally, regionally, and in Vermont.
(3) A carbon constraint on fossil fuel-fired electricity generation and on other forms of fossil fuel consumption and the development of a CO2 allowance trading mechanism will create a strong incentive for the creation and deployment of more efficient fuel-burning technologies, renewable resources, and end-use efficiency resources and will lead to lower dependence on imported fossil fuels.
(4) Absent federal action, a number of states are taking actions to work regionally to reduce power sector carbon emissions.
(5) Vermont has joined with at least six other states to design the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), and, in 2005, Vermont’s governor signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signaling Vermont’s intention to develop rules and programs to participate in RGGI.
(6) It is crucial to manage Vermont’s implementation of RGGI and its consumption of fossil fuels for transportation, residential and commercial heating, and industrial processes, so as to maximize the state’s contribution to lowering carbon emissions while:
(A) minimizing impacts on electric system reliability and unnecessary costs to Vermont power consumers;
(B) assuring transportation needs are able to be met at affordable prices;
(C) assuring the availability of adequate space heat and processing heat for residential, commercial, and industrial purposes.
accelerated deployment of low-cost thermal and electrical energy
and the strategic use of low- and zero-carbon
generation, the selective use of switching fuel sources, and the design and
use of systems that limit vehicular miles travelled and increase vehicular
efficiency, are the best means to achieve these goals.
(8) It is crucial that funds made available from operation of a regional carbon credits cap and trade system be devoted to the benefit of Vermont power consumers through investments in a strategic portfolio of energy efficiency and low-carbon generation resources.
(b) Cap and trade program creation.
(1) The agency of natural resources and the public service board shall, through appropriate rules and orders, establish a carbon cap and trade program that will limit and then reduce the total carbon emissions released:
(A) by major electric generating stations that provide electric power to Vermont utilities and end-use customers;
(B) for transportation purposes;
(C) for space and process heating purposes.
(2) Vermont rules and orders establishing a carbon cap and trade program shall be designed initially so as to permit the holders of carbon credits to trade them in a regional market proposed to be established through the RGGI. The program shall be expanded to address the carbon sources not covered by RGGI, in coordination with efforts in other states, shall rely upon auctions to determine allocations of permits for substantial sources of carbon, shall be designed to strengthen linkages between greenhouse gas reduction policies and other established programs such as RGGI, and shall pursue recognizing more nonelectric sector initiatives as RGGI offsets. Consideration shall be given to allowing the trading of credits among RGGI-certified state greenhouse gas cap and trade programs.
(c) Allocation of tradable carbon credits.
(1) The secretary of natural resources, by rule, shall establish a set of annual carbon budgets for emissions associated with the electric power sector in Vermont consistent with the 2005 RGGI MOU, including any amendments to that MOU, and on a reciprocal basis with the other states participating in the RGGI process. Similarly, the secretary, by rule, shall establish a set of annual carbon budgets for emissions associated with transportation, space heating, and industrial processes.
order to provide the maximum long-term benefit to Vermont
consumers, particularly benefits that will result from accelerated and
sustained investments in energy efficiency and other low-cost, low-carbon power
system, transportation system, and other investments, the public service
board, by rule or order, shall establish a process to allocate 100 percent of
the Vermont statewide budget of tradable power sector carbon credits and the
proceeds from the sale of those credits through allocation to one or more
trustees acting on behalf of consumers in accordance with the following
principles. To the extent feasible, the allocation plan shall accomplish the
minimize windfall financial gains to power generators and other consumers of
fossil fuels as a result of the operation of the cap and trade program,
considering both the costs that power generators and other consumers
of fossil fuels may incur to participate in the program and any
revenue increases they are likely to receive as a result of changes in regional
(B) employ an administrative structure that will enable program managers to perform any combination of holding, banking, and selling carbon credits in regional, national, and international carbon credit markets in a financially responsible and market-sensitive fashion, and provide funds to defray the reasonable costs of the program trustee or trustees and Vermont’s pro-rata share of the costs of the RGGI regional organization and of any other regional cap and trade organization;
(C) optimize the revenues received from the management and sale of carbon credits for the benefit of Vermont electric customers, fossil fuel consumers, and the Vermont economy;
(D) minimize any incentives from operation of the cap and trade program for Vermont utilities or fossil fuel consumers to increase the overall carbon emissions associated with serving their customers;
upon existing regulatory and administrative structures and programs that lower
power, transportation, and heating costs, improve efficiency, and lower
the state’s carbon profile
of the state’s power supply while
minimizing adverse impacts on electric system reliability and unnecessary costs
to Vermont power consumers, assuring transportation needs are able to be met
at affordable prices, and assuring the availability of adequate space heat and
processing heat for residential, commercial, and industrial purposes;
(F) ensure that carbon credits allocated under the RGGI portion of this program and revenues associated with their sale remain power system assets managed for the benefit of electric consumers, particularly benefits that will result from accelerated and sustained investments in energy efficiency and other low-cost, low-carbon power system investments, and ensure that carbon credits allocated under the other portions of the program and the associated revenues remain assets managed for the benefit of transportation consumers and consumers of space heat and process heat;
practicable, support efforts recommended by the agency of natural resources or
the department of public service to stimulate or support investment in the
development of innovative
power sector carbon emissions abatement
technologies that have significant carbon reduction potential.
(d) Appointment of consumer trustees. The public service board, by rule, order, or competitive solicitation, may appoint one or more consumer trustees to receive, hold, bank, and sell tradable carbon credits created under this program. Trustees may include Vermont electric distribution utilities, the fiscal agent collecting and disbursing funds to support the statewide efficiency utility, or a financial institution or other entity with the expertise and financial resources to manage a portfolio of carbon credits for the long-term benefit of Vermont consumers.
(e) Reports. By January 15 of each year, commencing in 2007, the department of public service in consultation with the agency of natural resources and the public service board shall provide to the house and senate committees on natural resources and energy, the senate committee on finance, and the house committee on commerce a report detailing the implementation and operation of RGGI, the implementation and operation of the expanded cap and trade program, and the revenues collected and the expenditures made under this section, together with recommended principles to be followed in the allocation of funds.
(f) Program expansion. The agency of natural resources and the public service board shall endeavor to coordinate with surrounding states the timing of the program expansion under this section, or the establishment of a separate cap and trade program for greenhouse gas emissions that are not subject to RGGI.
Sec. 20. VERMONT RESOURCE TRUST
(a) The Vermont resource trust is established, to consist of nine members who shall not be members of the general assembly at the time of appointment. Members shall include the state treasurer together with one member appointed by the speaker of the house, one member appointed by the committee on committees, and two members appointed by the governor, one of whom shall be a board member of the Vermont climate collaborative. In addition, there shall be a chair and a vice chair appointed by joint action of the speaker of the house, the committee on committees, and the governor, and two additional public members appointed in this manner. Members shall be appointed who have skills and knowledge that will support the needs of the trust, which may include persons with knowledge of business, “green” business and technology, economics, public health, public utilities, ecological science, carbon trading, transportation and land use planning and development, forestry and ecology, waste management, and education.
(b) The powers of the trust are vested in its members, and a quorum shall consist of five members. No action of the trust shall be considered valid unless the action is supported by a majority vote of its members. The trust shall be entitled to staff assistance from the natural resources board and from the agency of natural resources, which shall coordinate any requested assistance from state agencies and departments. The trust shall invite public input, form task forces, work with stakeholder groups and state entities, work with local, state-based, and national interest groups, and take other appropriate steps to gather information and develop its recommendations.
(c) The primary mission of the trust shall be:
(1) to identify barriers to be overcome in reducing the greenhouse gas emissions of the state;
(2) to identify areas that merit priority consideration in this regard because of their ease of implementation and their potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions;
(3) to develop recommendations for ways to overcome those barriers;
(4) to identify resource needs and funding options; and
(5) to facilitate state and private entities in addressing these issues.
(d) In this process, the trust shall consider the recommendations of the governor’s commission on climate change and its plenary group, the recommendations of the Vermont council on rural development, and other approaches, and shall work with the Vermont climate collaborative and other interested persons and groups.
(e) The trust shall present an initial report to the general assembly by no later than January 5, 2009, and biennially thereafter. The report shall include any recommendations for whether the trust shall continue to exist subsequent to submitting its report, and proposed legislative language, if necessary.
* * * State Treasurer * * *
Sec. 21. 32 V.S.A. § 433(d) is added to read:
(d) In a manner consistent with the guidelines developed under this section, the treasurer may invest in projects that are eligible under the clean energy development fund established under 10 V.S.A. § 6523 and in other appropriate mechanisms in order to promote investment in innovative and profitable clean technology businesses and industries in the state. The treasurer shall give particular attention to investments that would: generate attractive returns both in the short term and long term; leverage significant and positive interest in the private sector venture capital markets; create jobs and economic growth in clean energy and technology industries in Vermont; and promote greater energy independence and environmental protection for the state.
* * * Appraised Value of Energy Measures * * *
Sec. 22. 32 V.S.A. § 3481 is amended to read:
§ 3481. DEFINITIONS
The following definitions shall apply in this Part and chapter 101 of this title, pertaining to the listing of property for taxation:
“Appraisal value” shall mean
(A) with respect to property enrolled in a use value appraisal program, the use value appraisal as defined in subdivision 3752(12) of this title, multiplied by the common level of appraisal, and with respect to all other property, the estimated fair market value. The estimated fair market value of a property is the price which the property will bring in the market when offered for sale and purchased by another, taking into consideration all the elements of the availability of the property, its use both potential and prospective, any functional deficiencies, and all other elements such as age and condition which combine to give property a market value. Those elements shall include a consideration of a decrease in value in nonrental residential property due to a housing subsidy covenant as defined in section 610 of Title 27, or the effect of any state or local law or regulation affecting the use of land, including but not limited to chapter 151 of Title 10 or any land capability plan established in furtherance or implementation thereof, rules adopted by the state board of health and any local or regional zoning ordinances or development plans. In determining estimated fair market value, the sale price of the property in question is one element to consider, but is not solely determinative.
(B) For residential rental property that is subject to a housing subsidy covenant or other legal restriction, imposed by a governmental,
quasi-governmental, or public purpose entity, on rents that may be charged, fair market value shall be determined by an income approach using the following elements:
(A)(i) market rents with
utility allowance adjustments for the geographic area in which the property is
located as determined by the federal office of Housing and Urban Development or
in the case of properties authorized under 42 U.S.C. § 1437, 12 U.S.C. § 1701q,
42 U.S.C. § 1485, 12 U.S.C. § 1715z-1, 42 U.S.C. § 1437f, and 24 CFR Part 882
Subpart D and E, the higher of contract rents (meaning the amount of federal
rental assistance plus any tenant contribution) and HUD market rents; (B)(ii) actual expenses
incurred with respect to the property which shall be provided by the property
owner in a format acceptable to the commissioner and certified by an
independent third party, such as a certified public accounting firm or public
or quasi-public funding agency; (C)(iii) a vacancy rate that is
50 percent of the market vacancy rate as determined by the United States Census
Bureau with local review by the Vermont housing finance agency; and (D)(iv) a capitalization rate
that is typical for the geographic area determined and published annually prior
to April 1 by the division of property valuation and review after consultation
with the Vermont housing finance agency.
(C) “Appraisal value” shall not include the value of renewable energy and energy efficiency components in or on a building. “Value of renewable energy and energy efficiency components” means the original cost of, and installation charges for, any or all of the following:
(i) Replacement of existing windows with energy efficient windows.
(ii) Replacement of energy inefficient hot water heaters with energy efficient heaters.
(iii) Replacement or addition of insulation and curtains or shades with high insulating characteristics.
(iv) Sealing of basements for purposes of energy efficiency.
(v) Addition of storm windows and storm doors.
(vi) Placement of solar photovoltaic systems and solar water and space heating systems and any related equipment.
(vii) Erection of wind turbines and related equipment;
(ix) Installation of geothermal space and water heating systems;
(x) Installation of hydropower equipment;
(xi) Installation of fuel cells that rely on renewable fuels;
(xii) Replacement of inefficient energy heating systems with efficient systems.
Sec. 23. APPLICABILITY OF APPRAISAL SECTION
Sec. 22, amending 32 V.S.A. § 3481 (exclusion of energy efficiency components from tax appraisal value), shall apply to energy efficiency components incorporated into or added to any building and completed on or after April 1, 2009.
* * * Weatherization Program * * *
Sec. 24. 33 V.S.A. § 2502(b) is amended to read:
(b) In addition, the director shall supplement, or supplant, any federal program with a state home weatherization assistance program providing:
* * *
(3) funding for the installation of solar domestic hot water systems on eligible homes.
* * * Methane Digesters * * *
Sec. 25. REGIONAL DAIRY METHANE DIGESTERS
(a) The secretary of agriculture, food and markets, in conjunction with the commissioner of public service, shall seek federal funding to evaluate the potential for manure management centers at potential sites for regional dairy bio-digesters. In particular, the initiative shall examine the technical and economic feasibility of collecting dairy waste, transporting it, digesting it to produce energy, and returning digested manure to participating farms.
(b) The secretary of natural resources shall review and make appropriate regulatory revisions or recommend appropriate statutory amendments to its regulatory programs that may be preventing the use of wastes, such as food processing wastes, whey, and brewers’ waste, in farm-based methane digester systems.
(Committee vote: 4-1-0)
Reported favorably with recommendation of amendment by Senator MacDonald for the Committee on Finance.
The Committee recommends that the bill be amended by as recommended by the Committee on Natural Resources and Energy, with the following amendments thereto:
First: By striking out Sec.16 [amending 30 V.S.A. § 209(d) relating to line extensions] in its entirety.
Second: By striking out Sec. 17 [adding 30 V.S.A. § 218(e) relating to returns on equity] in its entirety.
Third: In Sec. 20 subsection (a), in the first sentence, by striking out the word: “nine” and inserting the word eight and in the second sentence, by striking out the words “the state treasurer together with”
Fourth: By striking out Sec. 21 [adding 32 V.S.A. § 433(d) relating to the state treasurer] in its entirety.
Fifth: By striking out Sec. 22 [amending 32 V.S.A. § 3481 relating to appraised value] and Sec. 23 [applicability of previous section] in their entirety.
And by renumbering the remaining sections to be numerically correct.
(Committee vote: 7-0-0)
Reported without recommendation by Senator Bartlett for the Committee on Appropriations.
(Committee vote: 7-0-0)
AMENDMENT TO S. 350 TO BE OFFERED BY SENATORS LYONS AND MacDONALD, ON BEHALF OF THE COMMITTEE ON NATURAL RESOURCES AND ENERGY
Senator Lyons and MacDonald, on behalf of the Committee on Natural Resources and Energy move to amend the recommendation of amendment of the Committee on Natural Resources and Energy as follows:
First: By striking out Sec. 19 [amending 30 V.S.A. § 255 relating to RGGI] in its entirety, and by adding a new section to read:
Sec. 3a. 10 V.S.A. § 578 is amended to read:
§ 578. GREENHOUSE GAS REDUCTION GOALS
(a) General goal of greenhouse gas reduction. It is the goal of the state to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases from within the geographical boundaries of the state and those emissions outside the boundaries of the state that are caused by the use of energy in Vermont in order to make an appropriate contribution to achieving the regional goals of reducing emissions of greenhouse gases from the 1990 baseline by:
(1) 25 percent by January 1, 2012;
(2) 50 percent by January 1, 2028;
(3) if practicable using reasonable efforts, 75 percent by January 1, 2050.
change action plan. The secretary will coordinate with the governor's
commission on climate change established by executive order and will consult
with any interested members of Vermont's business, agricultural, labor, and
environmental communities in developing a climate change action plan. The
secretary shall notify each member of the general assembly of the development
of this plan and of the opportunity for public comment. This plan shall be
developed in a manner that implements state energy policy, as specified in 30
V.S.A. § 202a.
Not later than September 1, 2007, the secretary shall present
this plan to the committees of the general assembly having jurisdiction over
matters relating to the environment, agriculture, energy, transportation,
commerce, and public health.
(c) Implementation of climate change action plan. In order to facilitate the state's compliance with the goals established in this section, all state agencies shall consider, whenever practicable, any increase or decrease in greenhouse gas emissions in their decision-making procedures with respect to the purchase and use of equipment and goods; the siting, construction, and maintenance of buildings; the assignment of personnel; and the planning, design and operation of programs, services and infrastructure. In addition, on or before January 1, 2010, giving due regard to the recommendations of the Vermont resource trust, the governor’s commission on climate change and its plenary group, the Vermont council on rural development, and others, the secretaries of the agencies of natural resources and transportation, and the commissioner of public service each shall adopt rules, in accordance with 3 V.S.A. chapter 25, to make appropriate and proportionate progress within their respective areas of jurisdiction to meet the goals established by this section. These rules shall be designed to:
(1) minimize costs and maximize the total benefit to the state, encourage
innovation, stimulate investment in low greenhouse gas technologies and
encourage early action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions;
(2) ensure that compliance with the rules furthers rather than conflicts with federal and state ambient air quality standards and goals to reduce
toxic air contaminant emissions;
(3) weigh overall societal potential benefits, including reductions in other air pollutants, diversification of energy sources, and other benefits to the economy, environment and public health;
(4) ensure that activities undertaken to comply with the rules do not disproportionately impact low-income communities;
(5) minimize the administrative burden of implementing and
complying with the rules;
(6) consider the significance of the contribution of each source or category of sources to state-wide greenhouse gas emissions; and
(7) result in greenhouse gas emission reductions that are real, permanent, quantifiable, verifiable and enforceable.
(d) Cost determinations. To determine the cost effectiveness of these rules, the secretary or commissioner shall accord to greenhouse gas emissions a cost per ton of carbon dioxide as determined by the current Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative or federal allowance price, whichever is higher.
(e) Report on effectiveness of rules. The secretaries and the commissioner shall work cooperatively to monitor and enforce compliance with this section and the rules adopted pursuant to this section. Reports on the effectiveness of these rules shall be submitted to the legislative committees on natural resources and energy and on transportation on July 1, 2012, and triennially thereafter.
(f) Advocacy for cap and trade program for greenhouse gases. In order to increase the likelihood of the state meeting the goals established under this section, the secretary of natural resources and commissioner of public service shall advocate before appropriate regional or national entities and working groups in favor of the establishment of a regional or national cap and trade program for greenhouse gas emissions. This may take the form of an expansion of the existing regional greenhouse gas initiative (RGGI), or it may entail the creation of an entirely new and separate regional or national cap and trade initiative.
Second: In Sec. 20 [Vermont Resources Trust] subsection (a), after the words “state treasurer” by inserting the words or a designee
Third: In Sec. 20, in subsection (c), before the colon, by adding the following: to consider the recommendations of the governor’s commission on climate change and its plenary group and the recommendations of the Vermont council on rural development
Fourth: In Sec. 20, by striking out subsection (d) in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof the following:
(d) In this process, the trust shall work with the Vermont climate collaborative and other interested persons and groups.
Fifth: In Sec. 20, subsection (e), in the first sentence, by striking out the following: “, and biennially thereafter” and in the second sentence after the word “report” by striking out the word “shall” and inserting the word may
And by renumbering the sections of the bill to be numerically correct.
Favorable with Proposal of Amendment
An act relating to postretirement cost of living adjustments for state employees.
Reported favorably with recommendation of proposal of amendment by Senator White for the Committee on Government Operations.
The Committee recommends that the Senate propose to the House to amend the bill by striking out all after the enacting clause and inserting in lieu thereof the following:
Sec. 1. 3 V.S.A. § 455(a)(13) is amended to read:
(13) "Normal retirement date" shall mean:
* * *
(D) with respect to a group F member, the first day of the calendar month next following attainment of age 62, and following completion of five years of creditable service for those members hired on or after July 1, 2004, or completion of 30 years of creditable service, whichever is earlier; and with respect to a group F member first included in the membership of the system on or after July 1, 2008, the first day of the calendar month next following attainment of age 65 and following completion of five years of creditable service, or attainment of 87 points reflecting a combination of the age of the member and number of years of service, whichever is earlier.
Sec. 2. 3 V.S.A. § 459(b)(5) is amended to read:
§ 459. NORMAL AND EARLY RETIREMENT
* * *
(b) Normal retirement allowance.
* * *
(5)(A) Until January 1, 1995, upon normal retirement, a group F member shall receive a normal retirement allowance which shall be equal to 1-1/4 percent of his average final compensation times years of creditable service. On and after January 1, 1995, upon normal retirement, a group F member shall receive a normal retirement allowance equal to 1-1/4 percent of the member's average final compensation times years of membership service prior to January 1, 1991 plus a pension which when added to an annuity shall be equal to 1-2/3 percent of the member's average final compensation times years of membership service on and after January 1, 1991. The maximum retirement allowance shall be 50 percent of average final compensation.
(B) A group F member first included in the membership of the system on or after July 1, 2008, upon normal retirement, shall receive a normal retirement allowance equal to 1-2/3 percent of the member's average final compensation times years of membership service. The maximum retirement allowance shall be 60 percent of average final compensation.
* * *
(d) Early retirement allowance.
* * *
(2)(A) Upon early retirement, a group F member, except facility
employees of the department of corrections
, and department of
corrections employees who provide direct security and treatment services to
offenders under supervision in the community and Woodside facility employees,
shall receive an early retirement allowance which shall be equal to the normal
retirement allowance reduced by one-half of one percent for each month the member
is under age 62 at the time of early retirement. Group F members who have 20
years of service as facility employees of the department of corrections, as
department of corrections employees who provide direct security and treatment
services to offenders under supervision in the community or as Woodside
facility employees or as Vermont state hospital employees who provide direct
patient care shall receive an early retirement allowance which shall be equal
to the normal retirement allowance at age 55 without reduction; provided the 20
years of service occurred in one or more of the following capacities as an
employee of the department of corrections, Woodside facility [or Vermont state
hospital]: facility employee, community service center employee or court and
reparative service unit employee.
(B) Upon early retirement, a group F member first included in the membership of the system on or after July 1, 2008, except facility employees of the department of corrections and department of corrections employees who provide direct security and treatment services to offenders under supervision in the community and Woodside facility employees, shall receive an early retirement allowance which shall be equal to the normal retirement allowance reduced by:
(i) one-eighth of one percent for each month the member is under age 65, provided the member has accrued 35 years of service at the time of early retirement;
(ii) one-quarter of one percent for each month the member is under age 65, provided the member has accrued 30 years of service but less than 35 years of service at the time of early retirement;
(iii) one-third of one percent for each month the member is under age 65 , provided the member has accrued 25 years of service but less than 30 years of service at the time of early retirement;
(iv) five-twelfths of one percent for each month the member is under age 65, provided the member has accrued 20 years of service but less than 25 years of service at the time of early retirement;
(v) five-ninths of one percent for each month the member is under age 65, provided the member has accrued less than 20 years of service at the time of early retirement .
* * *
Sec. 3. 3 V.S.A. § 470(b) is amended to read:
(b) For group F members, as of June 30 in each year, commencing January 1, 1991, a determination shall be made of the increase or decrease, to the nearest one-tenth of a percent of the Consumer Price Index for the preceding fiscal year. The retirement allowance of each beneficiary in receipt of an allowance for at least one year on the next following December 31st shall be increased or decreased, as the case may be, by an amount equal to one-half of the percentage increase or decrease. Commencing January 1, 2014, the retirement allowance of each beneficiary who was an active contributing member of the group F plan as of June 30 , 2008 and who retires on or after July 1, 2008 shall be increased or decreased, as the case may be, by an equal percentage of the Consumer Price Index for the preceding year. The increase or decrease shall commence on the January 1st immediately following such December 31st. The adjustment shall apply to group F members receiving an early retirement allowance only in the year following attainment of age 62, provided the member has received benefits for at least 12 months as of December 31 of the year preceding any January adjustment. The maximum adjustment of any retirement allowance resulting from any such determination shall be five percent and the minimum shall be one percent, and no retirement allowance shall be reduced below the amount payable to the beneficiary without regard to the provisions of this section.
Sec. 4. 3 V.S.A. § 473(b)(2) is amended to read:
(2) Contributions shall be made on and after the date of
establishment at the rate of five percent of compensation except at a rate of
6.18 percent of compensation for each group C member unless
member was a group C member on June 30, 1998 in which case contributions shall
be at the rate of six percent of compensation for each such group C
member who has elected not to have his or her compensation from the
state be subject to Social Security withholding or at the rate of five percent
of compensation if such the member elected to have compensation
from the state subject to Social Security withholding and at the rate of 3.25
five percent of compensation for each group F member and, commencing
July 1, 2019, at the rate of 4.75 percent of compensation for each group F
member. In determining the amount earnable by a member in a payroll
period, the retirement board may consider the annual or other periodic rate of
earnable compensation payable to such member on the first day of the payroll
period as continuing throughout such payroll period, and it may omit deduction
from compensation for any period less than a full payroll period if an employee
was not a member on the first day of the payroll period, and to facilitate the
making of deductions it may modify the deduction required of any member by such
an amount as, on an annual basis, shall not exceed one-tenth of one percent of
the annual earnable compensation upon the basis of which such deduction is to
be made. Each of the amounts shall be deducted until the member retires
or otherwise withdraws from service, and when deducted shall be paid into the
annuity savings fund, and shall be credited to the individual account of the
member from whose compensation the deduction was made.
Sec. 5. 3 V.S.A. § 473(c) is amended to read:
(c) Employer contributions, earnings, and payments.
* * *
(2) Beginning with the actuarial valuation as of June 30, 2006, the
contributions to be made to the fund by the state shall be determined on the
basis of the actuarial cost method known as "entry age normal." On
account of each member there shall be paid annually into the fund by the state
an amount equal to
a certain percentage percentages of the
annual earnable compensation of such member, to be known as the "normal
contribution," and an additional amount amounts equal
to a certain percentage of the member's annual earnable compensation, to be
known as the "basic accrued liability ." and
“additional accrued liability” contributions. The percentage rate rates
of such the contributions shall be fixed on the basis of the
liabilities of the retirement system as shown by actuarial valuation.
* * *
(4)(A) Until the unfunded accrued liability, excluding the
portion described in subdivision (B) of this subdivision (4), is
liquidated, the basic accrued liability contribution shall be the annual
payment required to liquidate the unfunded accrued liability over a period of
30 years from July 1, 1988, provided that the amount of each annual basic
accrued liability contribution after June 30, 1988 shall be five percent
greater than the preceding annual basic accrued liability contribution.
Any variation in the contribution of normal, basic,
accrued liability or additional unfunded accrued liability contributions
from those recommended by the actuary and any actuarial gains and losses shall
be added or subtracted to the unfunded accrued liability and amortized over the
remainder of the 30-year period.
(B) Until the additional unfunded accrued liability created as of July 1, 2008, by the implementation of a group F cost-of-living adjustment equal to the full increase or decrease, to the nearest one-tenth of a percent of the Consumer Price Index for the preceding fiscal year as provided in subsection 470(b) of this title, is liquidated, the additional accrued liability contribution, shall be the annual payment required to liquidate the additional unfunded accrued liability over a period of 30 years from July 1, 2008, provided that the amount of each annual additional accrued liability contribution made after June 30, 2009 shall be five percent greater than the preceding annual additional accrued liability contribution.
* * *
Sec. 6. 3 V.S.A. § 479(a) is amended and (g) is added to read:
(a) As provided under section 631 of this title, a member who is insured by the respective group insurance plans immediately preceding the member's effective date of retirement shall be entitled to continuation of group insurance as follows:
(1)(A) coverage in the group medical benefit plan provided by the state of Vermont for active state employees; or
(B) for a group F plan member first included in the membership of the system on or after July 1, 2008, coverage in the group medical benefit plan offered by the state of Vermont for active state employees and pursuant to the following, provided:
(i) a member who has completed five years and less than 10 years of creditable service at his or her retirement shall pay the full cost of the premium;
(ii) a member who has completed 10 years and less than 15 years of creditable service at his or her retirement shall pay 60 percent of the cost of the premium;
(iii) a member who has completed 15 years and less than 20 years of creditable service at his or her retirement shall pay 40 percent of the cost of the premium;
(iv) a member who has completed 20 years or more of creditable service at his or her retirement shall pay 20 percent of the cost of the premium; and
(2) members who have completed 20 years of creditable service at their
effective date of retirement shall be entitled to the continuation of life
insurance in the amount of
(g) A member of the group F plan who is first included in the membership of the system on or after July 1, 2008, who separates from service prior to being eligible for retirement benefits under this chapter, who have at least 20 years of creditable service, and who participated in the group medical benefit plan at the time of separation from service shall have a one-time option at the time retirement benefits commence to reinstate the same level of coverage, in the group medical benefit plan provided by the state of Vermont for active state employees, that existed at the date of separation from service. Premiums for the plan shall be prorated between the retired member and the retirement system pursuant to subsection 479(a) of this title.
Sec. 7. 3 V.S.A. § 631(a)(9) is amended to read:
(9) The amount of life insurance for any retired employee shall be
reduced and limited to
$5,000.00 $10,000.00 on the date of his or
her retirement. The provisions of this section shall apply to all retirees who
complete 20 creditable years of service with the state before their retirement
and are insured for group life insurance on their retirement dates. The total
premiums for group life insurance provided under this section and section 632
of this title shall be paid by the state on behalf of employees retired in
accordance with the terms of subdivision (2) of this subsection, on behalf of
employees who are on sick leave without pay for a period not to exceed twelve
months and on behalf of any employee on disability retirement until proof of
total and permanent disability has been accepted by the insurance company.
(Committee Vote: 5-0-0)
Reported favorably by Senator Bartlett for the Committee on Appropriations.
(Committee vote: 7-0-0)
(No House amendments)
Committee Bill for Notice
An act relating to the creation of an agency of education and the elimination of the state board of education.
By the Committee on Education.
Reported favorably by Senator Bartlett for the Committee on Appropriations.
(Committee vote: 7-0-0)
ORDERED TO LIE
An act relating to empowering municipalities to regulate the application of pesticides within their borders.
PENDING ACTION: Second reading of the bill.
An act relating to decreasing the percentage to determine a school district’s excess spending.
PENDING QUESTION: Second reading of the bill.
An act relating to fiscal review of high spending districts and special education.
PENDING ACTION: Second reading of the bill.
An act relating to soliciting or architect proposals by a school district.
PENDING ACTION: Second reading of the bill.
An act relating to education or workforce training for children between the ages of 16 and 18 years of age.
PENDING QUESTION: Shall the recommendation of amendment of the Committee on Education be amended as recommended by the Committee on Appropriations?
An act relating to recognition of tribes and bands of native Americans by the Vermont commission on native American affairs.
PENDING ACTION: Second reading of the bill.
Joint resolution relating to the federal “fast track” process for congressional review of international trade agreements.
PENDING ACTION: Second reading of the resolution.
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.
Kevin Dorn of Essex Junction - Secretary of the Agency of Commerce & Community Development - By Sen. Illuzzi for the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs. (1/17)
Bruce Hyde of Granville - Commissioner of the Department of Tourism & Marketing - By Sen. Illuzzi for the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs. (1/17)
John Hall of St. Johnsbury - Commissioner of the Department of Housing & Community Development - By Sen. Illuzzi for the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs. (1/17)
Michael W. Quinn of Essex Junction - Commissioner of the Department of Economic Development - By Sen. Illuzzi for the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs. (1/17)
Patricia Moulton Powden of South Londonderry - Chair of the Vermont Employment Security Board and Commissioner of the Department of Labor - By Sen. Illuzzi for the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs. (1/17)
Patricia Moulton Powden of South Londonderry - Chair of the Vermont Employment Security Board & Commissioner of the Department of Labor - By Sen. Illuzzi for the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs. (1/17)
Brian Vachon of Middlesex - Member of the State Board of Education - By Sen. Doyle for the Committee on Education. (1/17)
Gerald J. Myers of Winooski - Commissioner of the Department of Buildings and General Services - By Sen. Scott for the Committee on Institutions. (1/23)
Thomas Scala of Brattleboro - Member of the Vermont Lottery Commission - By Sen. Condos for the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs. (1/23)
Virginia Barry of Barre - Member of the Vermont Lottery Commission - By Sen. Condos for the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs. (1/23)
David J. Kurzman of Beecher Falls - Member of the Vermont Economic Development Authority - By Sen. Maynard for the Committee on Finance. (1/23)
Heidi Pelletier of Montpelier – Member of the Vermont State Colleges Board of Trustees – By Senator Doyle for the Committee on Education. (1/23)
Jessica Bullock of Clarendon – Member of the State Board of Education – By Senator Nitka for the Committee on Education. (1/23)
David Herlihy of Waitsfield - Commissioner of the Department of Human Resources - By Senator Doyle for the Committee on Government Operations. (2/8)
Fayneese Miller of South Burlington - Member of the State Board of Education - By Senator Collins for the Committee on Education. (2/13)
Lisa Mitiguy Randall of Colchester - Chair of the Vermont Housing Finance Agency - By Senator Condos for the Committee on Finance. (2/13)
Nathaniel M. Hayward of South Hero - Member of the Vermont Economic Development Authority - By Senator Condos for the Committee on Finance. (2/13)
Peter J. Wright of Lake Elmore - Member of the Vermont State Colleges Board of Trustees - By Senator Starr for the Committee on Education. (2/13)
David R. Kimel of St. Albans - Member of the Vermont Municipal Bond Bank - By Senator McCormack for the Committee on Finance. (2/21)
James E. Potvin of Mount Holly - Member of the Vermont Educational & Health Buildings Financing Agency - By Senator Maynard for the Committee on Finance. (2/20)
John W. Valente of Rutland - Director of the Vermont Municipal Bond Bank - By Senator Carris for the Committee on Finance. (2/27)
Sandra Predom of Mount Holly - Member of the Vermont Educational & Health Buildings Financing Agency - By Senator Carris for the Committee on Finance. (2/27)
Edward T. Ogarzalek of Rutland - Member of the Vermont Educational & Health Buildings Financing Agency - By Senator Maynard for the Committee on Finance. (2/27)
John C. Stewart of Jericho Center - Member of the Community High School of Vermont Board - By Senator Giard for the Committee on Education. (2/29)
Susan Roush Bruce of St. Albans - Member of the Board of Libraries - By Senator Collins for the Committee on Education. (2/29)
Gordon Winters of Swanton - Member of the Vermont State Colleges Board of Trustees - By Senator Collins for the Committee on Education. (3/13)
Tess Savage of Bristol - Member of the State Board of Education - By Senator Giard for the Committee on Education. (3/13)
Jeffrey L. Davis of Williston - Member of the University of Vermont Board of Trustees - By Sen. Starr for the Committee on Education. (3/19)
Francis Heald of Rutland - Member of the Travel Information Council - By Sen. Mazza for the Committee on Transportation. (3/25)
Susan Davis of Shelburne - Member of the Travel Information Council - By Sen. Collins for the Committee on Transportation. (3/25)
Elizabeth G. Kennett of Rochester - Member of the Travel Information Council - By Sen. Scott for the Committee on Transportation. (3/25)
Joseph Sutton of East Middlebury - Member of the Travel Information Council - By Sen. Kitchel for the Committee on Transportation. (3/25)
Thomas R. Tremblay of Essex Junction - Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety - By Sen. Shumlin for the Committee on Transportation. (3/25)
Nancy Wood of Charlotte - Member of the Sustainable Jobs Fund Board of Directors - By Sen. Illuzzi for the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs. (3/26)
James Stewart of Pittsford - Member of the Sustainable Jobs Fund Board of Directors - By Sen. Illuzzi for the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs. (3/26)
Lenae Quillen-Blume of Quechee - Member of the Sustainable Jobs Fund Board of Directors - By Sen. Illuzzi for the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs. (3/26)
John Merrill of Stowe - Member of the Sustainable Jobs Fund Board of Directors - By Sen. Illuzzi for the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs. (3/26)
Edward Kiniry of Shelburne - Member of the Sustainable Jobs Fund Board of Directors - By Sen. Illuzzi for the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs. (3/26)
Carolyn Cooke of Colchester - Member of the Sustainable Jobs Fund Board of Directors - By Sen. Illuzzi for the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs. (3/26)
Dwight A. Davis of East Burke - Member of the Community High School of Vermont Board - By Sen. Starr for the Committee on Education. (4/2)
Albert Pearce Jr. of Richford - Member of the Community High School of Vermont Board - By Sen. Starr for the Committee on Education. (4/2)
REPORTS ON FILE
Pursuant to the provisions of 2 V.S.A. §20(c), one (1) copy of the following reports is on file in the office of the Secretary of the Senate:
133. Report on 2006 and 2007 Amendments to Title 2, Chapter 11, Lobbyist Registration. (Office of the Secretary of State) (March 2008).
The following item was recently received by the Joint Fiscal Committee with a with a request from the Administration for expedited approval:
JFO #2321 – $344,292 grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency to the Department of Public Safety, Emergency Management Division. This Hazard Mitigation Grant Program provides “pass through” funding for a hazard mitigation project in response to July 2007 flooding in Barre Town. The grant includes federal funding for associated administrative expenses for the Emergency Management Division ($7,731) and Barre Town ($9,716). [JFO received 03/27/08]
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