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Senate Calendar

tuesday, april 8, 2008

92nd DAY OF BIENNIAL SESSION

TABLE OF CONTENTS

                                                                                                                Page No.

ACTION CALENDAR

UNFINISHED BUSINESS OF FRIDAY, APRIL 4, 2008

Second Reading

Favorable with Proposal of Amendment

H. 859    Substance abuse treatment, voc. training, transitional housing for .............                   offenders to reduce recidivism, increase public safety & costs....................................................... 1238

               Judiciary Committee Report............................................................ 1238

               Appropriations Committee Report.................................................. 1253

               Sen. Sears amendment.................................................................... 1255

NEW BUSINESS

Third Reading

S. 350     Relating to energy independence and economic prosperity............... 1255

                        Sen. Nitka (and others) amendment....................................... 1255

S. 371     Creation of agency of education & elimination of board of ed........... 1256

House Proposal of Amendment

S. 280     An act relating to prosthetic parity................................................... 1256

NOTICE CALENDAR

Favorable with Proposal of Amendment

H. 616    Relating to farm-fresh milk.............................................................. 1257

                        Agriculture Committee Report................................................ 1257

ORDERED TO LIE

S. 70       Empowering municipalities to regulate pesticides.............................. 1258


S. 102     School dist. excess spending........................................................... 1258

S. 118     Fiscal review of high spending school districts.................................. 1258

S. 211     Soliciting or architect proposals by a school district.......................... 1258

S. 348     Education/workforce training for children between ages 16 &18...... 1258

S. 369     Recognition of tribes & bands of native Americans by the Vermont .........                   commission on native American affairs      1258

JRS 24   Congressional “fast track” review of trade agreements..................... 1258




 

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ACTION CALENDAR

UNFINISHED BUSINESS OF FRIDAY, APRIL 4, 2008

Second Reading

Favorable with Proposal of Amendment

H. 859

An act relating to increasing substance abuse treatment, vocational training, and transitional housing for offenders in order to reduce recidivism, increase public safety, and reduce corrections costs.

Reported favorably with recommendation of proposal of amendment by Senator Sears, upon commitment, for the Committee on Judiciary.

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.  FINDINGS AND INTENT

(a)  The general assembly finds that:

(1)  Vermont’s incarcerated population is growing at an unsustainable rate.

(2)  Property and drug offenders are the fastest growing segment of the prison population.  Between 2000 and 2006, over half the increase in the felony prison population was due to property and substance abuse offenses.

(3)  Seventy-seven percent of those sentenced for a property or drug felony have a substance abuse disorder.  Two-thirds of them report having received mental health treatment in the past.  Fifty-five percent report being frequently unemployed prior to incarceration.

(4)  Of those incarcerated for a property or drug felony, only 13 percent are receiving treatment.

(b)  The general assembly further finds that:

(1)  Each month approximately 70 inmates meet the criteria for reentering the community under the supervision of the commissioner of corrections on conditional reentry status.  However, almost half are not released because of insufficient housing options.

(2)  Studies show that the length of sentences served by offenders does not affect their recidivism rates.  Therefore, current law authorizes the commissioner of corrections to release certain offenders on reintegration furlough 90 days prior to the minimum sentence date.  However, on average, eligible inmates serve only 53 days in reintegration furlough status.  If all those who are eligible serve the full 90 days of reintegration status, the result could be a savings of up to 90 corrections beds.

(c)  Therefore, in order to reduce recidivism, increase public safety, and reduce the cost to the state of incarcerating offenders, it is the intent of the general assembly to increase substance abuse treatment services, vocational training, and transitional housing available to offenders; and establish processes for reducing incarceration time when appropriate.

(d)  It is further the intent of the general assembly that the provisions of this act are a long-range plan to guide expenditures from additional corrections savings in future years.

(e)  The general assembly recognizes and values the dedication and experience of the classified state employees of the department of corrections, whose skill and expertise will continue to be needed as the department continues to pursue its goals and mission.

(f)  [RESERVED; STATE EMPLOYEES]        

Sec. 2.  28 V.S.A. § 1(b) is amended to read:

(b)  The department shall formulate its programs and policies recognizing that almost all criminal offenders ultimately return to the community, and that the traditional institutional prisons fail to reform or rehabilitate, operating instead to increase the risk of continued criminal acts following release.  The department shall develop and implement a comprehensive program which will provide necessary closed custodial confinement of frequent, dangerous offenders, but which also will establish as its primary objective the disciplined preparation of offenders for their responsible roles in the open community.  The department shall ensure that the comprehensive program required by this subsection includes a process by which each offender sentenced to any term of imprisonment other than for life without parole, within 30 days after receiving his or her sentence, shall begin to develop and implement a plan preparing for return to the community.  The department shall assess each offender for substance abuse treatment needs using an assessment tool designed to assess the suitability of a broad range of treatment services and shall use the results of this assessment in preparing the reentry plan.  The department may assess an offender sentenced to a minimum term of more than five years later than 30 days after the offender receives the sentence but shall assess the offender at least within a year of the offender’s receiving the sentence.

Sec. 3.  28 V.S.A. § 102(b) is amended to read:

(b)  The commissioner is charged with the following powers:

* * *

(5)  To order the assignment and transfer of persons committed to the custody of the commissioner to correctional facilities, including out-of-state facilities.

* * *

Sec. 4.  28 V.S.A. § 202 is amended to read:

§ 202.  POWERS AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE COMMISSIONER REGARDING PROBATION

The commissioner shall be charged with the following powers and responsibilities regarding the administration of probation:

(1)  To maintain general supervision of persons placed on probation, and to prescribe rules and regulations, consistent with any orders of the court, governing the conduct of such persons;

(2)  To supervise the administration of probation services and establish policies and standards and make rules and regulations regarding probation investigation, supervision, case work and case loads, record keeping, and the qualification of probation officers.  The commissioner may use electronic monitoring equipment such as global position monitoring, automated voice recognition telephone equipment, and transdermal alcohol monitoring equipment to enable more effective or efficient supervision of individuals placed on probation.  Transdermal alcohol monitoring equipment shall be used for such purposes as preventing persons whose licenses have been suspended for DUI from operating motor vehicles on Vermont highways.  

Sec. 5.  28 V.S.A. § 205 is amended to read:

§ 205.  PROBATION

(a)(1)  After passing sentence, a court may suspend all or part of the sentence and place the person so sentenced in the care and custody of the commissioner upon such conditions and for such time as it may prescribe in accordance with law or until further order of court.

(2)  The term of probation for misdemeanors shall be for a specific term not to exceed two years unless the court, in its sole discretion, specifically finds that the interests of justice require a longer or an indefinite period of probation.

(3)(A)  The term of probation for nonviolent felonies shall not exceed the statutory maximum term of imprisonment for the offense unless the court, in its sole discretion, specifically finds that the interests of justice require a longer or an indefinite period of probation.

(B)  As used in this subdivision, "nonviolent felonies" means an offense which is not:

(i)  a listed crime as defined in subdivision 5301(7) of Title 13; or

(ii)  an offense involving sexual exploitation of children in violation of chapter 6 of Title 13.

(4)  Nothing in this subsection shall prevent the court from terminating the period of probation and discharging a person pursuant to section 251 of this title.

(5)  The probation officer of a person on probation for a specific term shall review the person's case file during probation and, not less than 45 days prior to the expiration of the probation term, may file a petition with the court requesting the court to extend the period of probation for a specific term not to exceed one year in order to provide the person the opportunity to complete programming consistent with special conditions of probation.  A hearing on the petition for an extension of probation under this subsection shall comply with the procedures set forth in Rule 32.1 of the Vermont Rules of Criminal Procedure.

(b)  The victim of a listed crime as defined in 13 V.S.A. § 5301(7) for which the offender has been placed on probation shall have the right to request, and receive from the department of corrections information regarding the offender's general compliance with the specific conditions of probation. Nothing in this section shall require the department of corrections to disclose any confidential information revealed by the offender in connection with participation in a treatment program.

(c)(1)  Unless the court in its discretion finds that the interests of justice require additional standard and special conditions of probation, when the court orders a specific term of probation for a qualifying offense, the only conditions of probation shall be that the probationer:

(A)  register with the department of corrections’ probation and parole office in his or her district;

(B)  notify the probation officer of his or her current address each month; and

(C)  not have probable cause found for a criminal offense during the term of probation.

(2)  As used in this subsection, “qualifying offense” means:

(A)  Unlawful mischief under 13 V.S.A. § 3701.

(B)  Retail theft under 13 V.S.A. §§ 2575 and 2577.

(C)  Operating after suspension or revocation of license under 23 V.S.A. § 674(a).

(D)  Bad checks under 13 V.S.A. § 2022.

(E)  Theft of services under 13 V.S.A. § 2582.

(F)  Disorderly conduct under 13 V.S.A. § 1026, unless the original charge was a listed offense as defined in 13 V.S.A. § 5301(7).

(G)  Theft of rented property under 13 V.S.A. § 2591.

(H)  Operation without consent of owner under 23 V.S.A. § 1094(a).

(I)  Petit larceny under 13 V.S.A. § 2502.

(J)  Negligent operation of a motor vehicle under 23 V.S.A.

§ 1091(a).

(K)  False reports to law enforcement under 13 V.S.A. § 1754.

(L)  Setting fires under 13 V.S.A. § 508.

(M)  A first offense of a minor’s misrepresenting age, procuring, possessing, or consuming liquors under 7 V.S.A. § 657.

(N)  Simple assault by mutual consent under 13 V.S.A. § 1023(b).

(O)  Unlawful trespass under 13 V.S.A. § 3705(a).

(P)  A first offense of possession under 18 V.S.A. § 4230(a)(1).

Sec. 6.  28 V.S.A. § 252(b) is amended and (d) is added to read:

(b)  When imposing a sentence of probation, the court may, as a condition of probation, require that the offender:

* * *

(16)  Satisfy any other conditions reasonably related to his or her rehabilitation.  The court shall not impose a condition prohibiting the offender from engaging in any legal behavior unless the condition is reasonably related to the offender’s rehabilitation.

(d)  The commissioner shall review the record of each probationer serving a specified term during the month prior to the midpoint of that probationer’s specified term and may file a motion requesting the sentencing court to dismiss the probationer from probation or deduct a portion of the specified term from the period of probation if the offender has successfully completed a program or has attained a goal or goals specified by the conditions of probation.  The commissioner may include in the motion a request that the court deduct a portion of the specified term for each condition completed or goal attained. Any motion under this section shall be made at the sole discretion of the commissioner pursuant to a rule adopted by the commissioner under 3 V.S.A. chapter 25.

Sec. 7.  28 V.S.A. § 256 is added to read:

§ 256.  CASELOAD CAPACITY; HIGH RISK OFFENDERS

(a)  Probation officers designated to work exclusively with offenders 21 years of age and younger shall have caseloads of no more than 25 youths.

(b)  The department shall review the severity of offenses and assess the risk to reoffend of all offenders older than 21 years of age under its jurisdiction in the community and assign one of the following levels of supervision to each offender: 

(1)  Risk management supervision, which shall mean supervision at a level of intensity that includes case planning and measures to reduce risk of reoffense.

(2)  Response supervision, which shall mean monitoring of the offender’s compliance with conditions of probation or parole, including staff responding to violation behavior.

(3)  Administrative supervision, which shall mean monitoring of the offender’s address and compliance with the law. 

(c)  An offender may be reassigned to a lower supervision level after a reassessment of the offender’s risk.

(d)  The department shall establish the following probation officer caseload ranges for offender profiles:

(1)  All listed offenders requiring risk management shall be supervised at no more than 45 offenders per probation officer.

(2)  All nonlisted offenders requiring risk management shall be supervised at no more than 60 offenders per probation officer.

(3)  All offenders requiring response supervision shall be supervised at no more than 150 offenders per probation officer.

(4)  All offenders requiring administrative supervision may be supervised on caseloads consistent with the capacity of automated status reporting systems as established by the department.

(5)  When there is a mixed profile caseload in which a single probation officer supervises offenders with different supervision levels and at least

one-third of the offenders require a more intensive supervision demand than the other offenders, the caseload shall be supervised at the lowest level of offender-to-staff ratio. 

(e)  If the caseloads established in subsection (d) of this section are exceeded for longer than 120 days, the commissioner shall be authorized to designate community correctional officers to partially augment staffing caseloads.  If such designation does not remedy the excess caseloads:

(1)  The commissioner shall report to the joint corrections oversight committee the causes for the excess and proposals for addressing them.

(2)  The department shall have the authority, if the commissioner believes that the excess will not be eliminated within 60 days, to hire persons from the states position vacancy pool as limited service employees for an initial period of up to one year.  The initial period may be extended for up to two more years if the department deems it necessary.

(f)  Each time a position is established under subdivision (e)(2) of this section, the commissioner shall report it at the next meeting of the joint corrections oversight committee.  The costs for each position shall be presented in the department’s budget adjustment proposal and, if the positions are necessary for an ongoing period, in the department’s annual budget request.

Sec. 8.  28 V.S.A. § 403(1) is amended to read:

(1)  To supervise and control persons placed on parole, subject to the rules and orders of the parole board as to the conditions of parole.  The commissioner may use electronic monitoring equipment such as global position monitoring, automated voice recognition telephone equipment, and transdermal alcohol monitoring equipment to enable more effective or efficient supervision of individuals placed on parole.  Transdermal alcohol monitoring equipment shall be used for such purposes as preventing persons whose licenses have been suspended for DUI from operating motor vehicles on Vermont highways;

Sec. 9.  28 V.S.A. § 723(c) is added to read:

(c)  Prior to release under this section, the department shall screen and, if appropriate, assess each felony drug and property offender for substance abuse treatment needs using an assessment tool designed to assess the suitability of a broad range of treatment services, and it shall use the results of this assessment in preparing a reentry plan.  The department shall attempt to identify all necessary services in the reentry plan and work with the offender to make connections to necessary services prior to release so that the offender can begin receiving services immediately upon release. 

Sec. 10.  28 V.S.A. § 808(a)(8) is amended to read:

(8)  To prepare for reentry into the community.

* * *

(E)  An offender incarcerated for driving while under the influence of alcohol under 13 V.S.A. § 1210(d) or (e) may be furloughed to the community up to 180 days prior to completion of the minimum sentence at the commissioner’s discretion and in accordance with rules adopted pursuant to subdivision (C) of this subdivision (8), provided that an offender sentenced to a minimum term of fewer than 270 days shall not be eligible for furlough under this subdivision until the offender has served at least 90 days of his or her minimum term of incarceration and provided that the commissioner uses electronic equipment to monitor continually the offender’s location and blood alcohol level.

(F)  Prior to release under this subdivision (8), the department shall screen, and if appropriate, assess each felony drug and property offender for substance abuse treatment needs using an assessment tool designed to assess the suitability of a broad range of treatment services, and it shall use the results of this assessment in preparing a reentry plan.  The department shall attempt to identify all necessary services in the reentry plan and work with the offender to make connections to necessary services prior to release so that the offender can begin receiving services immediately upon release. 

Sec. 11.  28 V.S.A. § 808(b) is amended to read:

(b)  An inmate granted a furlough pursuant to this section may be accompanied by an employee of the department, in the discretion of the commissioner, during the period of the inmate's furlough.  The department may use electronic monitoring equipment such as global position monitoring, automated voice recognition telephone equipment and transdermal alcohol monitoring equipment to enable more effective or efficient supervision of individuals placed on furlough.

Sec. 12.  33 V.S.A. § 708 is amended to read:

§ 708.  TREATMENT AND SERVICES

* * *

(d)  A person judged by a law enforcement officer to be incapacitated, and who has not been charged with a crime, may be lodged in protective custody in a lockup or community correctional center secure facility not operated by the department of corrections for up to 24 hours or until judged by the person in charge of the facility to be no longer incapacitated, if and only if:

(1)  The person refuses to be transported to an appropriate facility for treatment, or if once there, refuses treatment or leaves the facility before he or she is considered by the responsible staff of that facility to be no longer incapacitated; or

(2)  No approved substance abuse treatment program with detoxification capabilities and no staff physician or other medical professional at the nearest licensed general hospital can be found who will accept the person for treatment.

(e)  No person shall be lodged in a lockup or community correctional center secure facility not operated by the department of corrections under subsection (d) of this section without first being evaluated by a substance abuse crisis team, a designated substance abuse counselor, a clinical staff person of an approved substance abuse treatment program with detoxification capabilities or a professional medical staff person at a licensed general hospital emergency room and found to be indeed incapacitated.

(f)  No lockup or community correctional center secure facility not operated by the department of corrections shall refuse to admit an incapacitated person in protective custody whose admission is requested by a law enforcement officer, in compliance with the conditions of this section.

(g)  Notwithstanding subsection (d) of this section, a person under 18 years of age who is judged by a law enforcement officer to be incapacitated and who has not been charged with a crime shall not be held at a lockup or community correctional center. If needed treatment is not readily available the person shall be released to his or her parent or guardian.  If the person has no parent or guardian in the area, arrangements shall be made to house him or her according to the provisions of chapter 55 of this title.  The official in charge of an adult jail or lockup shall notify the director of the office of drug and alcohol abuse of any person under the age of 18 brought to an adult jail or lockup pursuant to this chapter.

(h)  If an incapacitated person in protective custody is lodged in a lockup or community correctional center secure facility not operated by the department of corrections, his or her family or next of kin shall be notified as promptly as possible.  If the person is an adult and requests that there be no notification, his or her request shall be respected.

(i)  A taking into protective custody under this section is not an arrest.

(j)  Law enforcement officers or persons responsible for supervision in a lockup or community correctional center secure facility not operated by the department of corrections or members of a substance abuse crisis team or designated substance abuse counselors who act under the authority of this section are acting in the course of their official duty and are not criminally or civilly liable therefor, unless for gross negligence or willful or wanton injury.

Sec. 13.  33 V.S.A. § 708a is added to read:

§ 708a.  INCARCERATION FOR INEBRIATION PROHIBITED

No person who has not been charged with a crime shall be incarcerated in a facility operated by the department of corrections on account of the person’s inebriation.

Sec. 14.  TRANSITION UNITS

(a)  The general assembly intends in this act to provide the opportunity for a successful transition to offenders who are eligible for release into the community.

(b)  The department of corrections shall establish a transition unit within the Northwest State Correctional Facility which enables inmates to work in the community while residing in the facility.  The unit shall be modeled on the transition unit at the Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility.

(c)  The department shall make every effort to incorporate a transition unit into any facility where renovations are necessary to implement the provisions of this act.

(d)  The department shall report to the corrections oversight committee on or before September 30, 2008, on the implementation of this section, including a plan for establishing transition units at all state correctional facilities.   

Sec. 15.  BUDGETARY SAVINGS ALLOCATIONS IN FISCAL YEARS 2009 AND 2010

(a)  Findings.  Department of corrections expenditures on correctional services including out-of-state beds grew from $93,255,650.00 in fiscal year 2004 to $120,533,309.00 in fiscal year 2008.  The amount of funding proposed for fiscal year 2009 is $123,589,833.00.  This rate of increase has been and remains unsustainable.

(b)  Action.  In order to reduce the unsustainable increases in the expenditures of the department of corrections, the following action shall be taken by the executive branch:

(1)  In fiscal year 2009, the Dale Correctional Facility in Waterbury shall be closed.

(2)  In fiscal year 2009, the mission of the Southeast State Correctional Facility in Windsor shall change to be a therapeutic community in a work camp model, consistent with any further directive set forth in the 2007 Capital Construction Act, S.365.

(3)  In fiscal year 2009, sections of the Northwest State Correctional Facility in Swanton shall be closed and the facility otherwise configured to house and program women consistent with any further directive set forth in the 2007 Capital Construction Act, S.365.

(c)  Goal; fiscal year 2009.  It is the goal of the general assembly to achieve in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2009 approximately $600,000.00 in savings in the department of corrections budget, which will be reinvested in substance abuse screening, assessment, treatment, and reentry support, the goal of which is to reduce recidivism for the target group indentified in Sec. 1(a) of this act.

(d)  Goal; fiscal year 2010.  It is the goal of the general assembly to achieve in fiscal year 2010 approximately $3,044,949 in savings in the department of corrections budget, some of which will be reinvested in a variety of effective programs to further reduce recidivism for the target group indentified in

Sec. 1(a) of this act. 

Sec. 16b.  ANTICIPATED BUDGETARY SAVINGS ALLOCATIONS IN FISCAL YEAR 2009 

(a)  In the last quarter of fiscal year 2009, from within the amounts appropriated to the department of corrections from the general fund, the department shall reinvest $600,000.00 as follows:

(1)  the amount of $150,000.00 shall be used to fund substance abuse programs and vocational training in a state work camp facility;

(2)  the amount of $450,000.00 shall be transferred to the secretary of human services and used to fund the following activities:

(A)  $200,000.00 shall be used to expand the capacity of community alcohol and substance abuse prevention and treatment providers to provide services, including services to public inebriates; and

(B)  $250,000.00 shall be used to expand the availability of public inebriate beds outside the department of corrections.

(b)  The joint fiscal office shall track and report to the joint fiscal committee in January and July of 2009 savings in the corrections budget resulting from the provisions of this act.

Sec. 17.  ANTICIPATED BUDGETARY SAVINGS ALLOCATIONS IN FISCAL YEAR 2010

In fiscal  year 2010, from within the amounts appropriated to the department of corrections from the general fund, the department shall reinvest a portion of the savings identified by either the commissioner of corrections or the corrections oversight committee as follows:

(1)  $150,000.00 to increase the capacity of the department of corrections’ intensive substance abuse program (ISAP), which provides services on an intensive out-patient basis;

(2)  $150,000.00 to expand the ISAP program to include a community based residential substance abuse treatment component for those who have been furloughed to the community pursuant to 28 V.S.A. § 808(a)(7);

(3)  $150,000.00 to enter into contracts with several community-based substance abuse treatment providers in different geographic regions of the state and to provide the substance abuse treatment services to persons on conditional reentry status pursuant to subchapter 1A of chapter 11 of Title 28;

(4)  $650,000.00 to provide vocational training and residential substance abuse programs in one or more state-owned and -operated work camps;

(5)  $1,200,000.00 to provide grants to community providers to increase by 60 the number of beds available for at least 120 offenders who will be staying in the transitional housing for three to six months before reentering the community on furlough pursuant to 28 V.S.A. § 808 or conditional reentry, pursuant to subchapter 1A of chapter 11 of Title 28, provided that the new transitional housing shall include a range from lightly supervised with no treatment programs to heavily supervised with wrap-around treatment programs and provided that $200,000.00 of the amount shall be used to provide life skills services programming; and

(6)  $211,000.00 to purchase electronic monitoring equipment, including automated voice recognition telephone equipment, global position monitoring system bracelets, and transdermal alcohol monitoring equipment; the commissioner shall use the equipment to augment supervision of offenders on probation, parole, or furlough and to enhance the capacity of field staff to monitor and control offenders who would otherwise be incarcerated;  

(7)  $110,000.00 for recovery centers; and

(8)(A)  $200,000.00 shall be transferred to the secretary of human services to expand the capacity of community alcohol and substance abuse prevention and treatment providers to provide services, including services to public inebriates.

(B)   $200,000.00 shall be transferred to the secretary of human services to fund the establishment of a pilot program at a location approved by the court administrator to:

(i)  conduct a voluntary and confidential screening and assessment, when screening indicates that an assessment is appropriate, for substance abuse and mental health treatment needs at the time of arraignment of individuals charged with felony property, drug, or fraud offenses;

(ii)  conduct a mandatory screening and assessment, when screening indicates that an assessment is appropriate, for substance abuse and mental health treatment needs following adjudication and prior to sentencing of individuals found guilty of felony property, drug, or fraud offenses;

(iii)  provide the results of any screening and assessment conducted under this section to the judge following adjudication and prior to sentencing so that the judge can use the information to determine the level of treatment to be provided while the individual is in the custody of the commissioner of corrections; and

(iv)  enable the commissioner to gather data regarding the prevalence of co-occurring substance abuse and mental health disorders.

Sec. 18.  STATEWIDE DRUG COURT STUDY

The court administrator, the defender general, the executive director of the department of state’s attorneys and sheriffs, the deputy commissioner of the department of health in charge of the alcohol and drug abuse, and the commissioner of mental health shall report to the house and senate committees on judiciary by December 15, 2008, on the advisability and feasibility of expanding the drug court program to every county in the state.  The report shall address:

(1)  the financial costs of expanding the drug court program statewide;

(2)  the workforce impact which a statewide expansion of the program would have and whether new staff would be required;

(3)  whether current state facilities have the capacity to support statewide expansion and whether and where any new facilities would be required; and

(4)  any other matter deemed relevant to the issue of statewide drug court expansion.    

Sec. 19.  PUBLIC INEBRIATES TASK FORCE

(a)  A public inebriates task force is established.  The task force shall consist of the following members:

(1)  Two members employed by the office of alcohol and drug abuse appointed by the commissioner of the department of health.

(2)  Two substance abuse treatment providers appointed by the substance abuse treatment providers association.

(3)  One member appointed by the department of public safety.

(4)  One member appointed by the Vermont police association.

(5)  One member appointed by the Vermont League of Cities and Towns.

(6)  Two members appointed by the Vermont medical society who shall be hospital emergency room personnel.

(7)  Two members appointed by the Vermont recovery network.

(8)  Two employees of the department of corrections appointed by the commissioner of the department of corrections.

(b)  The task force shall report to the senate and house committees on judiciary, institutions, and appropriations no later than January 1, 2009 with a plan to ensure that public inebriates are given appropriate care rather than incarcerated.  The plan shall ensure the regional availability of supportive voluntary and secured accommodations for public inebriates by January 1, 2010, and shall include a timetable for providing reimbursement of expenses to programs that house and maintain public inebriates.

Sec. 20.  ACCOUNTABILITY; REPORTS

(a)  On or before January 15, 2010, the commissioner of corrections shall report to the senate committee on judiciary, the house committee on institutions and corrections, and the house committee on judiciary on:

(1)  the prevalence of co-occurring mental health and substance abuse disorders among those committed to the custody of the commissioner of corrections;

(2)  the success of and problems encountered in:

(A)  expanding the ISAP program pursuant to Sec. 6(c)(1) of this act:

(B)  implementing the pilot program authorized and funded in Sec. 6(c)(3) of this act, as well as recommendations for continuing the program or expanding the program or both; and

(C)  developing reentry plans which identify services needed upon release and in working with community providers to ensure that each offender receives those services immediately upon release;

(3)  the progress made since passage of this act in establishing a comprehensive system of community substance abuse treatment services which is coordinated with corrections services;

(4)  the first 50 people who received administrative probation under subsection 2059(c) of Title 28, including tracking each such person for two years after the sentence is imposed and reporting whether the person committed further offenses and the nature of those offenses; and

(5)  a proposal to increase the furlough days for nonlisted offenders from the existing average of 53 to a target of 75. 

(b)  The department of corrections shall upon passage of this act manage  existing furlough procedures to create the same amount of financial savings that the department would have realized had this act made it mandatory to furlough offenders 90 days prior to completion of the offenders’ minimum sentence.

(c)  On or before January 15, 2011, the commissioner of corrections shall report to the senate committee on judiciary, the house committee on institutions and corrections, and the house committee on judiciary on the successes of and problems encountered in working to meet the following goals with the funds provided and through the programs established in this act:

(1)  increase by at least 30 the number of offenders with sentences of one or more years placed in the department of corrections’ intensive substance abuse program (ISAP) pursuant to 28 V.S.A. § 808(a)(7);

(2)  move at least 10 offenders who are in the intensive phase of receiving ISAP services under 28 V.S.A. § 808(a)(7) and who are unsuccessful and would otherwise be reincarcerated to a community-based residential substance abuse treatment program which may be a component of ISAP;

(3)  incarcerate no more than 20 percent of offenders who are receiving substance abuse treatment services under 28 V.S.A. § 808(a)(7); 

(4)  reduce by 10 percent the number of reincarcerations of those on conditional reentry with a high need for substance abuse treatment;

(5)  increase the number of inmates released on furlough, pursuant to 28  V.S.A. § 808, by 25 individuals per month; and

(6)  increase the average number of days released on reintegration furlough pursuant to 28 V.S.A. § 808(a)(8) prior to the minimum sentence to as close to 90 days as possible. 

(d)  Until the corrections oversight committee informs the commissioner that it no longer requires the information, the commissioner of corrections shall include in monthly reports to the committee:

(1)  the number of inmates eligible for furlough under 28 V.S.A.

§ 808 and considered appropriate for release by the commissioner but who have not been released because the commissioner is unable to find appropriate housing, employment, treatment, or other services;

(2)  which treatment or other services would have been necessary and in which geographic region the services would have been needed, to enable release; and

(3)  the number of days of incarceration that could have been avoided if the community resources had been available and these offenders had been released.

(e)  On or before January 15, 2011, the court administrator's office, in consultation with the office of alcohol and drug abuse programs in the Vermont department of health, the department of corrections, the defender general, and the executive director of the department of state’s attorneys and sheriffs shall report to the senate and house committees on judiciary on the costs, cost savings, and effectiveness of the pilot project established pursuant to Sec. 17(a)(8)(B) of this act and shall make a recommendation as to the continuation of the pilot project and its expansion to other counties.

(f)  The joint fiscal office and office of finance and management shall jointly document the impact of the policies and provisions of this act on corrections costs and shall report their findings to the general assembly on or before January 15, 2010, and in January of each year for five years thereafter.

Sec.21.  EFFECTIVE DATE

This act shall take effect on July 1, 2008, except for Secs. 12, 13, and 14, which shall take effect on July 1, 2010.

(Committee Vote: 5-0-0)

Reported favorably with recommendation of proposal of amendment by Senator Sears 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 Judiciary, with the following amendments thereto:

First:  In Sec. 1, (Findings) by adding a new subsection (f) to read as follows:

(f)  The general assembly intends the following results from the restructuring necessary to achieve the cost savings required for this act:

(1)  The incumbents in the five classified positions that will be eliminated at Northwest State Correctional Facility shall continue to be employed at that facility in classified positions that are vacant, unless the incumbents voluntarily seek employment in other state positions or leave state service.

(2)  The temporary and exempt superintendent positions at the Dale facility shall be eliminated.

(3)  An incumbent in a classified position that will be eliminated at the Dale facility who does not accept any existing vacant classified position and who exercises the contractual right to fill an existing temporary position at any department facility shall receive his or her classified position base salary and the benefits of the bargaining unit to which that temporary position would be assigned if permanent, with the exceptions of scheduling days of work, shift assignment, and post assignment. The rights established by this subdivision shall be available until January 1, 2011, or until an affected employee accepts an existing classified position, whichever occurs first.

(4)  Except as otherwise provided in this section, all existing state employee contract provisions and protections shall remain fully in force for any affected corrections employee covered by the contract.

Second:  In Sec. 17, (Budgetary Savings) by striking out subdivision (5) in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new subdivision (5) to read as follows:

(5)(A)  $1,200,000.00 to provide grants to community providers to increase by 60 the number of beds available for at least 120 offenders who will be staying in the transitional housing for three to six months before reentering the community on furlough pursuant to 28 V.S.A. § 808 or conditional reentry, pursuant to subchapter 1A of chapter 11 of Title 28, provided that the new transitional housing shall include a range from lightly supervised with no treatment programs to heavily supervised with wrap-around treatment programs, and that $200,000.00 of this amount shall be used to provide life skills programming. 

(B)  To the extent that the purposes identified in subdivision (A) of this subdivision (5) can be accomplished without using all of the funds appropriated in that subdivision, the department may use up to $200,000.00 of the appropriation to expand housing readiness, search, and retention services, housing assistance funding which may be granted to housing authorities and other community agencies in response to requests for proposals or memorandums of understanding entered into in accordance with department policy and directives; and

Third:  In Sec. 20, (Reports) subsection (a), by striking out subdivision (4) in its entirety and renumbering the remaining subdivisions to be numerically correct.

Fourth:  In Sec. 20, (Reports) by adding a new subsection (g) to read:

(g) The Vermont center for justice research shall study and evaluate the effectiveness of the system of administrative probation established by subsection 2059(c) of Title 28, including whether the people who receive such probation commit further offenses, and the nature of those offenses.  The center shall report its evaluation of administrative probation to the senate and house committees on judiciary on or before December 15, 2011.

(Committee Vote: 7-0-0)

(For House amendments, see House Journal for February 29, 2008, page 468.)

(For House amendments, see House Journal for March 13, 2008, page 514.)

PROPOSAL OF AMENDMENT TO H. 859 TO BE OFFERED BY SENATOR SEARS ON BEHALF OF THE COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY

Senator Sears, on behalf of the Committee on Judiciary, moves to amend the proposal of amendment of the Committee on Judiciary, in Sec. 20 (Reports), subsection (d), by adding a new subdivision (4) to read as follows:

(4)  a detailed description of the progress made on increasing the use of electronic monitoring as authorized by section 202, subdivision 403(1), and subsection 808(b) of Title 28. 

NEW BUSINESS

S. 350

An act relating to energy independence and economic prosperity.

AMENDMENT TO S. 350 TO BE OFFERED BY SENATORS NITKA, BARTLETT, CAMPBELL, COLLINS, CONDOS, COPPENRATH, DOYLE, GIARD, KITCHEL, KITTELL, MAZZA, AND MULLIN BEFORE THIRD READING

Senators Nitka, Bartlett, Campbell, Collins, Condos, Coppenrath, Doyle, Giard, Kitchel, Kittell, Mazza, and Mullin, move to amend the bill in Sec. 4, 10 V.S.A. § 580(b), in the second sentence, after the words “yield information with regard to all” by inserting the word: significant

S. 371

An act relating to the creation of an agency of education and the elimination of the state board of education.

House Proposal of Amendment

S. 280

An act relating to prosthetic parity.

The House proposes to the Senate to amend the bill by striking out all after the enacting clause and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Sec. 1. 8 V.S.A. § 4088f is added to read:

§ 4088f.  PROSTHETIC PARITY

(a)  As used in this section:

(1)  “Health insurance plan” means any health insurance policy or health benefit plan offered by a health insurer, as defined in 18 V.S.A. § 9402, as well as Medicaid, the Vermont health access plan, and any other public health care assistance program offered or administered by the state or by any subdivision or instrumentality of the state.  The term shall not include policies or plans providing coverage for specific disease or other limited benefit coverage.

(2)  “Prosthetic device” means an artificial limb device to replace, in whole or in part, an arm or a leg.

(b)  A health insurance plan shall provide coverage for prosthetic devices in all health plans at least equivalent to that provided by the federal Medicare program.  Coverage may be limited to the prosthetic device that is the most appropriate model that is medically necessary to meet the patient’s medical needs.  Any dispute between the insured and the carrier concerning coverage and the application of this section shall be subject to independent external review under section 4089f of this title.

(c)  A health insurance plan may require prior authorization for prosthetic devices in the same manner and to the same extent as prior authorization is required for any other covered benefit.

(d)  A health insurance plan shall provide coverage under this section for the medically necessary repair or replacement of a prosthetic device.

(e)  A health insurance plan shall not impose any annual or lifetime dollar maximum on coverage for prosthetics that is less than the annual or lifetime dollar maximum that applies generally to all terms and services covered under the plan.

(f)  The coverage required may not be subject to a deductible, co-payment, or coinsurance provision that is less favorable to a covered individual than the deductible, co-payment, or coinsurance provisions that apply generally to other non-primary care items and services under the health plan. 

Sec. 2.  EFFECTIVE DATE

This act shall take effect on October 1, 2008 and shall apply to all health benefit plans on and after October 1, 2008 on such date as a health insurer offers, issues, or renews the health benefit plan, but in no event later than October 1, 2009.

NOTICE CALENDAR

Favorable with Proposal of Amendment

H. 616

An act relating to farm-fresh milk.

Reported favorably with recommendation of proposal of amendment by Senator Kittell for the Committee on Agriculture.

The Committee recommends that the Senate propose to the House to amend the bill by adding two new sections, to be Secs. 2 and 3, to read as follows:

Sec. 2.  6 V.S.A. § 2672(26) and (27) are added to read:

(26)  “Vermont fresh milk” means milk consisting entirely of fresh milk produced in Vermont.

(27)  “Northeastern fresh milk” means milk consisting entirely of fresh milk produced in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, or Maine.

Sec. 3.  6 V.S.A. § 2680 is added to read:

§ 2680.  LABELING MILK AS FRESH

Milk shall not be labeled as “fresh milk,” “Vermont fresh milk,” or “northeastern fresh milk” unless the milk meets the definitions in section 2672 of this chapter.

and by renumbering the remaining section to be numerically correct

and that upon passage the title be amended to read:  “AN ACT RELATING TO FARM‑FRESH RAW MILK”

(Committee Vote: 5-0-0)

(For House amendments, see House Journal for March 18, 2008, page 606; March 19, 2008, page 630.)

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 QUESTION:  Second reading of the bill.

S. 118

An act relating to fiscal review of high spending districts and special education.

PENDING ACTION:  Second reading of the bill.

S. 211

An act relating to soliciting or architect proposals by a school district.

PENDING ACTION:  Second reading of the bill.

S. 348

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?

S. 369

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.

J.R.S. 24

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

PENDING ACTION:  Second reading of the resolution.

CONFIRMATIONS

The following appointments will be considered by the Senate, as a group, under suspension of the Rules, as moved by the President pro tempore, for confirmation together and without debate, by consent thereby given by the Senate.  However, upon request of any senator, any appointment may be singled out and acted upon separately by the Senate, with consideration given to the report of the Committee to which the appointment was referred, and with full debate; and further, all appointments for the positions of Secretaries of Agencies, Commissioners of Departments, Judges, Magistrates, and members of the Public Service Board shall be fully and separately acted upon.

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)

Gerald J. Myers of Winooski - Commissioner of the Department of Buildings and General Services - By Sen. Scott for the Committee on Institutions.  (1/23)

David Herlihy of Waitsfield - Commissioner of the Department of Human Resources - By Senator Doyle for the Committee on Government Operations.  (2/8)

Thomas R. Tremblay of Essex Junction - Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety - By Sen. Shumlin for the Committee on Transportation.  (3/25)

Richard G. Grassi of White River Junction - Member of the Parole Board - By Sen. Campbell for the Committee on Institutions.  (4/4)

Heather Shouldice of East Calais - Member of the Capitol Complex Commission - By Sen. Coppenrath for the Committee on Institutions.  (4/4)

Susan Hayward of Middlesex - Member of the Capitol Complex Commission - By Sen. Scott for the Committee on Institutions.  (4/4)

Dean George of Middlebury - Member of the Parole Board - By Sen. Mazza for the Committee on Institutions.  (4/4)

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).

134.  Transfer on Death Provisions for Motor Vehicles.  (Agency of Transportation, Department of Motor Vehicles).  (March 2008).

135.  Vermont’s Reach Up Program Annual Report.  (Agency of Human Services, Department of Children and Families).  (April 2008).

PUBLIC HEARINGS

Thursday, April 10, 2008 - Room 10 - 2:30-4:30 p.m. - Re:  S. 107 - Ancient roads-unidentified corridors - House Committee on Transportation and House Committee on Government Operations.



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