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Senate Calendar

tuesday, april 15, 2008

99th DAY OF BIENNIAL SESSION

TABLE OF CONTENTS

                                                                                                                Page No.

ACTION CALENDAR

CALLED UP

S. 278     Relating to financing campaigns (VETOED)..................................... 1318

                              Pending Question:  Shall the bill pass, notwithstanding the refusal of the Governor to approve the bill?

CONSIDERATION POSPONED UNTIL WEDNESDAY, APRIL 16, 2008

Resolution for Action

SR 26     People’s Republic of China’s human rights violations in Tibet........... 1318

UNFINISHED BUSINESS OF THURSDAY, APRIL 10, 2008

House Proposal of Amendment

S. 45       Relating to right to attend town meeting........................................... 1318

                        Sen. White amendment.......................................................... 1319

UNFINISHED BUSINESS OF FRIDAY, APRIL 11, 2008

Committee Bill for Second Reading

S. 369     Recognition of tribes & bands of native Americans by the Vermont .........                   commission on native American affairs      1319

                        By the Committee on Ec. Dev., Housing & Gen. Affairs......... 1319

                        Sen. Illuzzi amendment........................................................... 1319

NEW BUSINESS

Third Reading

H. 636    Relating to embezzlement by a public official.................................... 1325

H. 862    Amendments to the charter of the village of Waterbury.................... 1325

H. 883    Amendments to Vermont’s public retirement systems....................... 1325

Second Reading

Favorable

H. 764    Relating to expanded eligibility for Vermont veterans’ medal............ 1325

                        Government Operations Committee report............................. 1325


Favorable with Proposal of Amendment

H. 641    Relating to nursing mothers in the workplace.................................... 1325

                        Ec. Dev., Housing & General Affairs Committee Report......... 1325

H. 884    Prekindergarten education programs through school districts............ 1327

                        Education Committee Report................................................. 1327

NOTICE CALENDAR

Favorable

H. 331    Financing the purchase of a mobile home......................................... 1328

                        Ec. Dev., Housing & General Affairs Committee Report......... 1328

H. 664    Relating to unemployment insurance................................................ 1328

                        Ec. Dev., Housing & General Affairs Committee Report......... 1328

Favorable with Proposal of Amendment

H. 332    Relating to sale and closure of mobile home parks........................... 1328

                        Ec. Dev., Housing & General Affairs Committee Report......... 1328

H. 635    Relating to reports of child abuse of neglect..................................... 1356

                        Health and Welfare Committee Report................................... 1356

                        Appropriations Committee Report......................................... 1379

H. 709    Relating to campgrounds................................................................. 1379

                        Ec. Dev., Housing & General Affairs Committee Report......... 1379

H. 776    Computation of the basic needs budget & livable wage.................... 1380

                        Ec. Dev., Housing & General Affairs Committee Report......... 1380

Constitutional Amendments

(Third Day on Notice Calendar)

Prop. 1   General assembly, organizational session......................................... 1381

                        Government Operations Committee Report............................ 1381

(Second Day on Notice Calendar)

Prop. 5   Elections; voter’s oath; self-administration....................................... 1383

                        Government Operations Committee Report............................ 1383

ORDERED TO LIE

S. 70       Empowering municipalities to regulate pesticides.............................. 1384


S. 102     School dist. excess spending........................................................... 1385

S. 108     Electing U.S. Representative & U.S. Senator by instant runoff......... 1385

S. 118     Fiscal review of high spending school districts.................................. 1385

S. 211     Soliciting or architect proposals by a school district.......................... 1385

S. 348     Education/workforce training for children between ages 16 &18...... 1385

JRS 24   Congressional “fast track” review of trade agreements..................... 1385



 

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ACTION CALENDAR

CALLED UP

S. 278

An act relating to financing campaigns.

PENDING QUESTION:  Shall the bill pass, notwithstanding the refusal of the Governor to approve the bill?

CONSIDERATION POSTPONED UNTIL WEDNESDAY, APRIL 16, 2008

Resolution for Action

S.R. 26

Senate resolution relating to expressing strong opposition to, and urging effective and immediate congressional action to stop, the government of the People’s Republic of China’s human rights violations in the geographic area known as Tibet.

(For text of Resolution, see Senate Journal of April 9, 2008, page 583)

UNFINISHED BUSINESS OF THURSDAY, APRIL 10, 2008

House Proposal of Amendment

S. 45

An act relating to the right to attend town meeting.

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.  21 V.S.A. § 472b is added to read:

§ 472b.  TOWN MEETING LEAVE; EMPLOYEES; STUDENTS

(a)  Subject to the essential operation of a business or entity of state or local government, which shall prevail in any instance of conflict, an employee shall have the right to take unpaid leave from employment under this section or subsection 472(b) of this title for the purpose of attending his or her annual town meeting, provided the employee notifies the employer at least seven days prior to the date of the town meeting.  An employer shall not discharge or in any other manner retaliate against an employee for exercising the right provided by this section.

(b)  A student of voting age shall have the right to attend his or her annual town meeting, and the school shall not penalize or report the student as a truant for exercising the right provided by this section.

PROPOSAL OF AMENDMENT TO HOUSE PROPOSAL OF AMENDMENT TO S. 45 TO BE OFFERED BY SENATOR WHITE

Senator White moves that the Senate concur in the House proposal of amendment with the following amendment:

In Sec. 1. 21 V.S.A. §472b by adding two new subsections, to be subsections (c) and (d), to read as follows:

     (c)  The requirement of subsection (b) shall not apply to a student who is in state custody in a secure facility.

     (d)  The requirement of subsection (b) shall not create an obligation for any parent, guardian or custodian to take any affirmative action to enable the student to attend an annual town meeting.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS OF FRIDAY, APRIL 11, 2008

Committee Bill for Second Reading

S. 369

An act relating to recognition of tribes and bands of native Americans by the Vermont commission on native American affairs.

By the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs (Sen. Illuzzi for the Committee).

AMENDMENT TO S. 369 TO BE OFFERED BY SENATOR ILLUZZI, ON BEHALF OF THE COMMITTEE ON ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, HOUSING AND GENERAL AFFAIRS

Senator Illuzzi, on behalf of the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs moves to amend the bill by striking out all after the enacting clause and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Sec. 1.  1 V.S.A. § 852(b) is amended to read:

(b)  The commission shall comprise seven members appointed by the governor for two-year staggered three-year terms from a list of candidates compiled by the division for historic preservation.  All members of the commission shall be Vermont citizens residentsThe governor shall appoint a chair from among the members of the commission.  The division shall compile a list of candidates' recommendations from the following  The commission shall be organized in accordance with the following provisions:

(1)  Recommendations from the Missisquoi Abenaki and other Abenaki and other Native American regional tribal councils and communities in Vermont.  Applicants The commission shall comprise a broad representation of Native American tribes and bands.

(2)  The commission shall comprise the following members:

(A)  Beginning August 3, 2008 one member each from the Koasek Traditional Band of the Sovereign Abenaki Nation (led by Chief Brian Chenevert and Chief Nancy Millette), the Sovereign Abenaki Nation of Missisquoi St. Francis/Sokoki Band (led by Chief April St. Francis), and the Nulhegan Band of the Abenaki Nation (led by Chief Luke Willard), appointed by the governor from a list of three candidates put forth by each band.

(B)  Four members who do not belong to the three groups recognized in subdivision (A) of this subsection appointed from a list of applicants who apply in response to solicitations, publications, and website notification by the division of historical preservation.  Beginning August 3, 2008 two such members shall be appointed for two-year terms and two such members shall be appointed for one-year terms; upon the expiration of which, subsequent appointments shall be for three years in accordance with this subsection.

(3)  The governor shall appoint a chair from among the members of the commission.

(4)  No member shall serve more than two consecutive terms.

(5)  All members of the commission shall be Vermont residents.

(6)  The commission shall not comprise more than one member from any Native American tribe or band.

Sec. 2.  1 V.S.A. § 852(f) is added to read:

(f)  The commission shall have the authority to:

(1)  On behalf of the state of Vermont, formally recognize tribes and bands of Native Americans.

(2)  Establish rules for applications, subject to the criteria set forth in section 854 of this chapter, for state recognition of unrecognized tribes and bands of Native Americans for the sole purposes specified in subsection (c) of this section.

Sec. 3.  1 V.S.A. § 853 is amended to read:

§ 853.  recognition of abenaki people

(a)  The state of Vermont recognizes the Abenaki people nation and recognizes all Native American people who reside in Vermont as a minority population.

(b)  The state of Vermont recognizes the Koasek Traditional Band of the Sovereign Abenaki Nation (led by Chief Brian Chenevert and Chief Nancy Millette), the Sovereign Abenaki Nation of Missisquoi St. Francis/Sokoki Band (led by Chief April St. Francis), and the Nulhegan Band of the Abenaki Nation (led by Chief Luke Willard) as original Native American tribes who reside in Vermont.

(c)  Recognition of the Native American or Abenaki people as provided in subsection (a) of this section, recognition of bands of the Abenaki Nation as provided in subsection (b) of this section, or recognition of tribes or bands of the Abenaki Nation by the Vermont commission on Native American affairs in accordance with section 854 of this title, shall be for the sole purposes specified in subsection 852(c) of this title and shall not be interpreted to provide any Native American or Abenaki person with any other special rights or privileges that the state does not confer on or grant to other state residents.

(c)(d)  Recognition of additional bands and tribes of Abenaki people may be obtained by act of the general assembly or by the procedure for recognition set forth in section 854 of this chapter.

(e)  This chapter shall not be construed to recognize, create, extend, or form the basis of any right or claim to land or real estate in Vermont for the Abenaki people or any Abenaki individual and shall be construed to confer only those rights specifically described in this chapter.

Sec. 4.  CONDITIONAL RECOGNITION

(a)  The recognition of each band identified in subsection 853(b) of Title 1 is conditioned on each band submitting, no later than March 1, 2010, information to the commission as required by subsection 854(f) of Title 1.

(b)  Within six months of receiving an application pursuant to subsection (a) the commission shall review the application materials submitted pursuant to subsection (a) of this section and, if necessary, request supplemental or clarifying information from each band.

(c)  An applicant shall receive a minimum of two months to supplement, clarify, or amend its application in response to any request for additional information or clarification made by the commission pursuant to

subsection (b).

(d)  Within eight months of receiving an application for recognition pursuant to subsection (a) or two months of receiving supplemental or clarifying information pursuant to subsection (b), if such is requested, the commission shall hear oral argument and decide whether state recognition of each of the bands identified in subsection 853(b) of Title 1 shall be revoked.

(e)  From the effective date of this act until the commission acts pursuant to the provisions of this section, the bands identified in subsection 853(b) of

Title 1 shall be state‑recognized for the purposes of the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990, public law 101-644 (104 stat 4663-64), as amended.

(f)  The division for historic preservation of the department of housing and general affairs shall provide administrative support to the Vermont commission on Native American affairs in carrying out the requirements of Sec. 4 of this act.

(g)  The commission shall be entitled to receive per diem compensation and actual and necessary expenses in accordance with section 1010 of Title 32 for work performed under Sec. 4 of this act.

Sec. 5.  1 V.S.A. § 854 is added to read:

§ 854.  CRITERIA AND PROCEDURE FOR RECOGNITION OF TRIBES AND BANDS

(a)  Definitions.  For the purposes of this section:

(1)  “Applicant” means an interested party seeking formal state recognition of a tribe or band.

(2)  “Commission” means the Vermont commission on Native American affairs.

(3)  “Nation,” “tribe,” or “band” means an assembly of Native American/Indian people who are related to each other by blood and kinship, and who trace their ancestry to a kinship group and which has historically maintained influence and authority over its members.

(4)  “Recognized” means acknowledged as an Abenaki tribe or band by the Vermont general assembly.

(5)  “State” means the state of Vermont.

(b)  Process for state recognition of Abenaki tribes or bands in the state of Vermont.  The commission shall establish rules pursuant to chapter 25 of

Title 3 for applicants who seek recognition as a tribe or band.  Applications shall be reviewed by the commission.  Recognition shall be granted if a two-thirds majority of the commission members eligible to vote determine that an applicant meets the criteria set forth in this section.  A commission member who is also a member of an applicant group shall be disqualified from hearing and deciding the application for recognition.

(c)  Commission proceedings.  Once a complete application is received by the commission, it shall provide public notice that the application has been received and shall hold at least one public hearing on the application.  All proceedings of the commission on an application shall be public and materials not exempt pursuant to 1 V.S.A § 317 submitted for the commission’s consideration shall be made part of the application record.

(d)  The division for historic preservation of the department of housing and community affairs shall provide administrative support to the Vermont commission on Native American affairs in carrying out the requirements of this section 854.

(e)  The commission shall be entitled to receive per diem compensation and actual and necessary expenses in accordance with section 1010 of Title 32 for work performed under this section.

(f)  Groups ineligible for recognition.  Any group or entity, or successors in interests thereof, that has previously applied for and has been denied or refused recognition under this chapter unless the group or entity has new evidence in support of the application that was not reasonably available at the time of the prior application, shall be ineligible to apply for state recognition under this chapter.

(g)  Commission assistance to applicants.  A group or entity seeking recognition as a tribe or band under this chapter shall request technical assistance from the commission.  The commission shall explain the administrative process for applying for recognition.  The assistance provided by the commission shall be limited to technical assistance and an explanation of the process.

(h)  Criteria for recognition as a tribe or band.

(1)  An application for state recognition shall include a signed statement from the applicant’s leaders affirming that the information provided is true and accurate.  Any individual seeking recognition on behalf of a tribe or band shall be a citizen of Vermont.  The application must demonstrate the following to the satisfaction of the commission:

(A)  That the applicant’s members are related to each other by blood and kinship or trace their ancestry to a kinship group;

(B)  That the applicant group has maintained a connection with Abenaki tribes or bands that have historically inhabited Vermont; and

(C)  That the applicant group has historically maintained influence and authority over its members.

(2)  The applicant may provide the following information, along with any other information the applicant deems relevant to meeting the recognition criteria, for consideration by the commission:

(A)  Written history that documents a connection with its geographic area and the historical Abenaki homeland.

(B)  Letters, statements, oral stories, and documents from band, city, county, state, or federal authorities and other reliable sources that document a history of a connection with applicant’s geographic areas.

(C)  Documentation of genealogy demonstrating relationships among the kinship groups to which the applicant belongs.

(D)  Documented traditions, customs, oral stories, and histories that demonstrate the group’s Abenaki cultural heritage.

(E)  Other compelling documentation acceptable to the commission that shows the heritage and kinship relationships of the applicant.

(F)  Documentation of the structure, membership criteria, and methods through which the applicant conducts its affairs.

(3)  The commission shall consider all of the information submitted by the applicant and determine whether the applicant meets the criteria for state recognition.  The commission may consult with an historian or anthropologist, genealogist, or other experts in reviewing and determining applications for recognition.

(4)  Incorporation as a for-profit or nonprofit organization does not in and of itself satisfy the recognition criteria set forth in this act.

(i)  Material misrepresentation.  The recognition of any tribe or band may be revoked or an application for recognition rejected if the commission finds that an application submitted under this section contains any material misrepresentation.

(j)  Rulemaking authority.  The commission may adopt rules to implement the provisions of this chapter.

Sec. 6.  SUNSET

Sec. 4 of this act (conditional recognition) shall be repealed on January 15, 2012.

Sec. 7.  EFFECTIVE DATE

This act shall take effect upon passage.

NEW BUSINESS

Third Reading

H. 636

An act relating to embezzlement by a public official.

H. 862

An act relating to approval of amendments to the charter of the village of Waterbury.

H. 883

An act relating to miscellaneous amendments to Vermont’s public retirement systems.

Second Reading

Favorable

H. 764

An act relating to expanded eligibility for Vermont veterans’ medal.

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

(Committee vote: 5-0-0)

(No House amendments)

Favorable with Proposal of Amendment

H. 641

An act relating to nursing mothers in the workplace.

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

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.  21 V.S.A. § 302 is amended to read:

§ 302.  Definitions

For the purposes of this subchapter:

"Employer" as used in this subchapter shall mean and include an individual, a partnership, an association, a corporation, a legal representative, trustee, receiver, trustee in bankruptcy, and any common carrier by rail, motor, water, air or express company doing business in or operating within the state.  means any individual, organization, or governmental body including any partnership, association, trustee, estate, corporation, joint stock company, insurance company, or legal representative, whether domestic or foreign, or the receiver, trustee in bankruptcy, trustee or successor thereof, and any common carrier by mail, motor, water, air or express company doing business in or operating within this state, and any agent of such employer, which has one or more individuals performing services for it within this state.

"Employee" shall mean and include every person who may be permitted, required or directed by any employer, as defined in this section in consideration of direct or indirect gain or profit, to engage in any employment.  means every person who may be permitted, required or directed by any employer, in consideration of direct or indirect gain or profit, to perform services.

Sec. 2.  21 V.S.A. § 305 is added to read:

§ 305.  NURSING MOTHERS IN THE WORKPLACE

(a)  For an employee who is a nursing mother, the employer shall for three years after the birth of a child:

(1)  provide reasonable time, either compensated or uncompensated, throughout the day to express breast milk for her nursing child.  The decision to provide compensated time shall be in the sole discretion of the employer, unless modified by a collective bargaining agreement; and

(2)  make a reasonable accommodation to provide appropriate private space that is not a bathroom stall.

(b)  An employer may be exempted from the provisions of subsection (a) of this section if providing time or an appropriate private space for expressing breast milk would substantially disrupt the employer’s operations.

(c)  An employer shall not retaliate or discriminate against an employee who exercises the right provided under this section. 

(d)  In lieu of an enforcement action through the Vermont Judicial Bureau, the attorney general or a state’s attorney may enforce the provisions of this subchapter by bringing a civil action for temporary or permanent injunctive relief, economic damages, including prospective lost wages for a period not to exceed one year, investigative and court costs.  The attorney general or a state’s attorney may conduct an investigation of an alleged violation and enter into a settlement agreement with the employer.  Such investigation shall not be a prerequisite to bringing a court action.

Sec. 3.  21 V.S.A. § 303 is amended to read:

§ 303. PENALTY; JUDICIAL BUREAU

Any employer who violates the provisions of this subchapter shall be fined assessed a civil penalty of not more than $100.00 for each and every violation.

Sec. 4.  4 V.S.A. § 1102 is amended to read:

§ 1102. JUDICIAL BUREAU; JURISDICTION

* * *

(b) The judicial bureau shall have jurisdiction of the following matters:

* * *

(14)  Violations of 21 V.S.A. chapter 5, subchapter 1, relating to conditions for employment.

(Committee Vote: 5-0-0)

(For House amendments, see House Journal for March 12, 2008, page 518.)

H. 884

An act relating to ensuring quality in prekindergarten education programs offered by or through school districts.

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

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

First:  In Sec. 2, subsection (a) by striking out the words “any prekindergarten education program offered by a school district” and inserting in lieu thereof the words any prekindergarten education program operated by a school district or by a private provider on behalf of a school district

Second:  By adding a new section to be Sec. 3 to read:

Sec. 3.  Sec. 15 of No. 62 of the Acts of 2007 is amended to read:

Sec. 15.  EFFECTIVE DATES

This act shall take effect on July 1, 2007, except that the rules required by Sec. 3 of this act shall apply beginning in the 2008–2009 academic year.  A prekindergarten education program operated by a school district or by a private provider on behalf of a school district that was operating on or before
October 1, 2008 shall have one year from the effective date of the rules required by Sec. 3 of this act to achieve full compliance with provisions in the rules related to conducting child development assessments and governing the manner in which school districts and private providers establish and negotiate contract payments.

(Committee Vote:  5-0-0)

(No House amendments.)

NOTICE CALENDAR

Favorable

H. 331

An act relating to financing the purchase of a mobile home.

Reported favorably by Senator Illuzzi for the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs.

(Committee vote: 5-0-0)

H. 664

An act relating to unemployment insurance.

Reported favorably by Senator Illuzzi for the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs.

(Committee vote: 5-0-0)

Favorable with Proposal of Amendment

H. 332

An act relating to sale and closure of mobile home parks.

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

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

Sec. 1.  10 V.S.A. §6201 is amended to read:

(5)  “Leaseholder” means a resident lawfully occupying a mobile home owned by the park owner or the owner of a mobile home sited on a mobile home lot regardless of whether they have actual possession of a written lease. 

(6) "Mobile home park resident" or “resident” means an individual, individuals, or family who occupies a mobile home on a permanent or temporary basis in a mobile home park as that term is defined in subdivision (2) of this section.

(7) "Mobile home park owner" or “park owner” means the owners, operators, officers, or managing agents of a mobile home park as well as any person acting through any corporate or other device who has the practical authority to establish rules, policies, or other requirements for the operation of the mobile home park. The term shall not include a stockholder for a corporation owning stock in a mobile home park unless such stockholder has a controlling interest in the corporation and has the practical authority to establish rules, policies or other requirements for the operation of the mobile home park.

Sec. 2.  10 V.S.A. § 6204(c) is amended to read:

(c) To the extent that they are consistent with this chapter, the provisions of chapter 137 of Title 9 (residential rental agreements) and the provisions of subchapter 3 of chapter 169 of Title 12 (eviction) shall apply to the occupancy and rental of a mobile home but not and the provisions of subchapter 3 of chapter 169 of Title 12 (eviction) shall apply to the rental of a mobile home lot.

Sec. 3.  10 V.S.A. § 6205(c) is amended to read:

(c) A resident of leaseholder may bring an action against a the park owner for a violation of sections 6236-6243 of this title. The action shall be filed in district court for the district in which the alleged violation occurred. If the resident's leaseholder’s claim against the park owner exceeds the jurisdictional limit of the district court, an action may be brought in superior court in the county in which the alleged violation occurred. No action may be commenced by the resident leaseholder unless the resident leaseholder has first notified the park owner of the violation by certified mail at least 30 days prior to bringing the action. During the pendency of an action brought by a resident leaseholder, the resident leaseholder shall pay rent in an amount designated in the lease, or as provided by law, which rental amount shall be deposited in an escrow account as directed by the court.

Sec. 4. 10 V.S.A. § 6231 is amended to read:

§ 6231.  Rules

* * *

(b)  The department of housing and community affairs may adopt rules to carry out the provisions of sections 6236-6243 of this title into effect.  The department shall seek advice and comment from the advisory commission prior to adopting rules.

(c)  A mobile home park that has been closed pursuant to subdivision 6237(a)(5) section 6237a of this title and reduced to no more than two occupied leased lots, shall be required, if the number of occupied leased lots subsequently is increased to more than two, to obtain all state land use and environmental permits required for a mobile home park that has been established or expanded after May 31, 1970.

Sec. 5.  10 V.S.A. § 6236(a),(b), (c), (d), and (e) are amended to read:

(a) All terms governing the use and occupancy of a mobile home lot shall be contained in a written lease. Mobile home park owners shall promulgate reasonable and fair lease terms governing the use and occupancy of a mobile home lot and shall furnish an initial copy of the lease to all  leaseholders. Any lease term which prohibits or in any other manner obstructs the ability of any leaseholder to act in accordance with the provisions of this chapter shall be unenforceable. Any lease term which is not uniformly applied to all leaseholders of the same or a similar category shall be unenforceable, except that a park owner may establish a different lot rent rate for a mobile home park constructed after June 1, 1995, or for new lots in an expanded mobile home park constructed after June 1, 1995. Mobile home park owners shall not restrict access by representatives of the department to the leaseholders of the park.

(b) A lease term requiring the removal from a mobile home park of a mobile home which is detrimental to the other residents of the park for either health, safety or aesthetic reasons shall not be considered unreasonable or unfair.

(c)  Prospective leaseholders shall be furnished with a copy of the proposed lease prior to any agreement to use or occupy a mobile home lot, and upon acceptance of the lease terms the lease shall be signed by the lessor and lessee. Any provision in a lease governing rental and utility charges shall be effective for a minimum of one year, except in the case of a new leaseholder in a mobile home park in which there is a uniform rent schedule which affects all lots in that park simultaneously.  The initial lease for a new leaseholder may include the anticipated increase in the rent and utility charge at the time it occurs for the other lots.  A mobile home park owner shall provide leaseholders with a minimum of 60 days notice prior to any rent increase.  Rent increase notices shall not be given within six months prior to the issuance of a closure notice or any time during which the closure notice is in effect.  All increases in rent received by the mobile home park owner during the six months prior to the issuance of a closure notice shall be returned to the affected leaseholders within seven days of issuance of the closure notice, except when the commissioner determines the increase is needed to help remedy an emergency situation affecting the resident’s health, safety, or welfare.  This subsection shall not apply to proprietary leases in mobile home parks owned by limited equity housing cooperatives established under chapter 14 of Title 11.  The rental and utility charge may be increased during a year if the operating expenses of the park increase 20 percent or more during that year as the result of legislative action taken during that year and the increase could not have been anticipated.  The rental and utility charge may be increased during a year only to the extent necessary to cover the increase in operating expenses of the park.

(d)  No person shall sell, lease, or sublease a mobile home resident may sublet the resident's mobile home without the express permission or sublease or assign a lease for a lot in a mobile home park without first obtaining the written approval of the park owner, which shall not be unreasonably withheld.  A violation of this subsection shall be grounds for eviction.

(e)  All mobile home lot leases shall contain the following:

* * *

(5)  The requirement of to obtain permission, if any, from the park owner for subletting prior to leasing or selling a mobile home or assigning or subleasing a lease for a mobile home lot to another person.

(6)  The notice required from a leaseholder in order to terminate the lease or occupancy arrangement.

(f)  A copy of all new lease terms shall be furnished to all leaseholders at least 30 days prior to the effective date of any amendment, addition, or deletion of the existing lease terms.  Upon request the park owner shall provide any leaseholder with a copy of the current lease for their lot.

* * *

Sec. 6.  10 V.S.A. § 6237(a) is amended to read:

(a)  A leaseholder may be evicted only for nonpayment of rent or for a substantial violation of the lease terms of the mobile home park, or if there is a change in use of the park land or parts thereof or a termination of the mobile home park, and only in accordance with the following procedure:

(1)  A  leaseholder shall not be evicted by force or any other self-help measure.

(2)  Prior to the commencement of any eviction proceeding, the park owner must notify the leaseholder by certified or registered mail, except as provided in subdivision (3) of this subsection;

(A)  of the grounds for an eviction proceeding;

(B)  that an eviction proceeding may be commenced if the leaseholder does not pay the overdue rent within 20 days from the date of the mailing of the notice.

(3)  A substantial violation of the lease terms, of the mobile home park, or an additional nonpayment of rent occurring within six months of the giving of the notice referred to in subdivision (2) of this subsection may result in immediate eviction proceedings.

(4)  A substantial violation of the lease terms, other than an uncured nonpayment of rent, will be insufficient to support a judgment of eviction unless the proceeding is commenced within 60 days of the last alleged violation.

(5)  A mobile home park owner shall give to each affected leaseholder and to the commissioner of the department of housing and community affairs notice by certified mail at least 18 months prior to any voluntary change in use of all or part of the park land or termination of the mobile home park that would result in the removal of any or all of the mobile home units.  Upon request, the commissioner of housing and community affairs may waive the notice requirement if the change in use is necessary to assure the health, safety or welfare of the park residents.  No eviction proceedings may be commenced during the 18-month notice period, except for nonpayment of rent.

(b)  A leaseholder shall not be evicted when there is proof that the lease terms he or she is accused of violating are not enforced with respect to the other leaseholders or  others on the park premises.

(c)  A sale or change in the form of ownership of the mobile home park shall not be grounds for eviction.

(d)  This section shall apply only to evictions undertaken by the park owner. Evictions of a mobile home resident by a mobile home owner who is not the park owner shall be governed by 9 V.S.A. § 4467.

Sec. 7. 10 V.S.A. § 6237a is added to read:

§ 6237a.  MOBILE HOME PARK CLOSURES

(a)  At least 18 months prior to the closure of a mobile home park or any mobile home lot that will result in the eviction of a resident or leaseholder or removal of a mobile home, a mobile home park owner shall give notice of the closure to each affected resident and leaseholder and to the commissioner by certified mail.  Upon request, the commissioner may waive some or all of the 18-month notice period if the closure is necessary to assure the health, safety, or welfare of park residents.  No evictions may be commenced during the 18‑month closure period except for nonpayment of rent or a substantial violation of the lease terms.

(b)  Prior to issuing a closure notice pursuant to subsection (a), a mobile home park owner shall first provide all mobile home owners with a notice of intent to sell in accordance with section 6242. However, if the mobile home park owner sends each resident and leaseholder a notice of closure without first providing mobile home owners with a notice of sale under section 6242, then the mobile home park owner must retain ownership of the land for five years after the date the closure notice was issued.   If required, notice of the five-year restriction shall be recorded by the park owner in the land records of the municipality in which the park is located.  The park owner may apply to the commissioner for relief from the notice and holding period requirements of this section if the commissioner determines that strict compliance is likely to cause undue hardship to the mobile home park owner or the leaseholders, or both. Said relief shall not be unreasonably withheld.

(c)  When a mobile home park owner gives notice of intent to sell pursuant to section 6242 of this title, any previous notice of closure and any evictions commenced pursuant to the closure notice are void.

(d)  A mobile home park owner who gives notice of intent to sell pursuant to section 6242 of this title shall not give notice of closure until after:

(1)  At least 45 days after giving notice of intent to sell; and

(2)  If applicable, the commissioner has received notice from the mobile home owners and the park owner that negotiations have ended following the 90‑day negotiation period provided in subdivision 6242(c)(1) of this title.

(e)  A mobile home park owner who closes a mobile home park and within five years of the issuance of the closure notice sells the land on which the park was located without complying with subsection b of this section shall be liable to the state in the aggregate amount of $10,000.00 or 50 percent of the gain realized by the park owner from the sale, whichever is greater, unless the commissioner has granted relief from strict compliance pursuant to subsection (b) of this section

(f)  A mobile home park owner may bring an action for possession upon the expiration of the 18-month closure notice.  The only defense to an action for possession in the case of a park closure is improper notice.

Sec. 8.  10 V.S.A. § 6238(a) and (b)(4) are amended to read: 

(a)  A prospective resident leaseholder or other person may not be charged an entrance fee for the privilege of leasing or occupying a mobile home lot. A reasonable charge for the fair value of services performed in placing a mobile home on a lot shall not be considered an entrance fee.

(4)  A mobile home park owner who has collected a site improvement fee may not terminate the park or change the use of any site which has paid the fee without offering to sell the park to the leaseholders mobile home owners in accordance with the provisions of section 6242 of this title.

Sec. 9.  10 V.S.A. § 6239 is amended to read: 

§ 6239. GOODS AND SERVICES

A mobile home resident leaseholder shall not be restricted in his or her choice of vendors from whom he or she may purchase goods and services. This section shall not be construed to prohibit a mobile home park owner or operator from contracting with any or all mobile home residents leaseholders for the sale, supply or distribution of goods and services, but such contract shall not be required as a condition of entrance to the mobile home park.

Sec. 10.  10 V.S.A. § 6240.  SALE OF HOMES LOCATED IN PARKS

(a)  Prior to selling a mobile home located in a mobile home park, the mobile home owner shall notify the park owner by certified or registered mail of the name and mailing address of the prospective purchaser.  The seller may be held liable by the purchaser or prospective purchaser for failure to comply with this section.

(b)  A purchaser or prospective purchaser of a mobile home located in a park shall not be refused entrance if except for the inability of the purchaser or  his the purchaser’s household to meet the terms of the proposed lease or to qualify under lease terms a valid admission policy of the park.  Upon approval for entrance into the mobile home park, the purchaser or prospective purchaser shall be offered a written lease pursuant to section 6236 of this title.  If the purchaser or prospective purchaser does not notify the park owner in writing of any objections to the lease terms prior to occupancy of the mobile home park, they shall be deemed to have accepted the lease regardless of whether they signed and returned a copy of the lease to the park owner.  The seller’s failure to provide the notice required in subsection (a) of this section shall not be grounds to deny the purchaser or prospective purchaser’s application.

(c)  A park owner shall not charge or collect any commission on the sale of a mobile home located in a park unless he the park owner contracts to sell the home.

Sec. 11.  10 V.S.A. § 6241(a) and (b) are amended to read:

(a)  A park owner may enter a mobile home lot in the park with the tenant's resident’s consent, which shall not be unreasonably withheld.

(b)  A park owner may also enter a mobile home lot in the park between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. on no less than 12 hours' notice for any of the following purposes:

* * *

(4)  To exhibit show the lot to prospective or actual purchasers, mortgagees, tenants residents, workers or contractors.

Sec. 12.  10 V.S.A. § 6242 is amended to read:

§ 6242. LEASEHOLDER'S MOBILE HOME OWNERS’ RIGHT TO NOTIFICATION PRIOR TO PARK SALE

(a)  A park owner shall give to each leaseholder mobile home owner and to the commissioner of the department of housing and community affairs notice by certified mail of his or her intention to sell the mobile home park. For the purpose of this section, a leaseholder is the holder of a lease for a lot or a leasehold on which a mobile home owned by the leaseholder is sited. Nothing herein shall be construed to restrict the price at which the park owner offers the park for sale. The notice shall state all the following:

(1)  that That the park owner intends to sell the park;.

(2)  the The price, terms and conditions under which the park owner offers the park for sale;.

(3)  a A list of the affected leaseholders mobile home owners and the number of leaseholds held by each;.

(4)  the The status of compliance with applicable statutes, regulations and permits, to the park owner's best knowledge, and the reasons for any noncompliance; and.

(5)  that That for 45 days following the notice the park owner shall not make a final unconditional acceptance of an offer to purchase the park and that if within the 45 days the park owner receives notice pursuant to subsection (c) of this section that a majority of the leaseholders mobile home owners intend to consider purchase of the park, the park owner shall not make a final unconditional acceptance of an offer to purchase the park for an additional 90 days, starting from the 46th day following notice, except one from a group representing a majority of the leaseholders mobile home owners or from a nonprofit corporation approved by a majority of the leaseholders mobile home owners.

(b)  The leaseholders mobile home owners shall have 45 days following notice under subsection (a) of this section in which to determine whether they intend to consider purchase of the park through a group representing a majority of the leaseholders mobile home owners or a nonprofit corporation approved by a majority of the leaseholders mobile home owners. A majority of the leaseholders mobile home owners shall be determined by one vote per leasehold and no leaseholder mobile home owner shall have more than three votes or 30 percent of the aggregate park vote, whichever is less. During this 45-day period, the park owner shall not accept a final unconditional offer to purchase the park. A park owner shall not restrict representatives of the department from access to the park residents.

(c)  If the park owner receives no notice from the leaseholders mobile home owners during the 45-day period or if the leaseholders mobile home owners notify the park owner that they do not intend to consider purchase of the park, the park owner has no further restrictions regarding sale of the park pursuant to this section. If during the 45-day period, the park owner receives notice in writing that a majority of the leaseholders mobile home owners intend to consider purchase of the park then the park owner shall do all the following:

(1)  shall not Not accept a final unconditional offer to purchase from a party other than leaseholders for 90 days following the 45-day period, a total of 135 days following the notice from the leaseholders;.

(2)  shall negotiate Negotiate in good faith with the group representing a majority of the mobile home owners or a nonprofit corporation approved by a majority of the  mobile home owners concerning purchase of the park;.

(3)  shall consider Consider any offer to purchase from a group representing a majority of the leaseholders mobile home owners or from a nonprofit corporation approved by a majority of the leaseholders mobile home owners.

(d)  A park owner who sells a mobile home park without complying with this section shall be liable to the residents mobile home owners in the aggregate amount of $10,000.00 or 50 percent of the gain realized by the park owner from the sale, whichever is greater. A sale, an offer to sell, or an attempt to sell a mobile home park without complying with this section shall also be subject to the remedies of section 6205 of this title, including actual and punitive damages.

(e)  The provisions of this section do not apply when the sale, transfer or conveyance of the mobile home park is any one or more of the following:

(1)  through Through a foreclosure sale;.

(2)  to To a member of the park owner's family or to a trust for the sole benefit of members of the park owner's family;

(3)  among Among the partners who own the mobile home park;.

(4)  incidental Incidental to financing the park;.

(5)  between Between joint tenants or tenants in common;.

(6)  pursuant Pursuant to eminent domain.

(7)  Pursuant to a municipal tax sale.

(f)  No additional notice pursuant to subsection (a) of this section shall be required if the sale is in compliance with either of the following:

(1)  The park owner completes a sale of the park within one year from the expiration of the 45-day period following the date of the notice, and the sale price is either of the following:

(A)  No less than the price for which the park was offered for sale in the notice given pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, or

(B)  Substantially higher than the final written offer from a group representing a majority of the mobile home owners or a nonprofit corporation approved by a majority of the mobile home owners.

(2)  The park owner has entered into a binding purchase and sale agreement with a group representing a majority of the mobile home owners or a nonprofit corporation approved by a majority of the mobile home owners with a closing date later than one year from the date of the notice.

(g)  A majority of the leaseholders group representing a majority of the mobile home owners or a nonprofit corporation approved by a majority of the mobile home owners shall negotiate in good faith with the park owner for purchase of the park.

Sec. 13.  10 V.S.A. § 6244 is amended to read:

§ 6244. SECURITY DEPOSITS

(a)  A security deposit is any advance, deposit or prepaid rent which is refundable to a mobile home resident leaseholder at the termination or expiration of the occupancy. A security deposit is to secure the resident's leaseholder’s obligation to pay rent and to maintain a rented mobile home or mobile home lot.

(b)  The mobile home park owner may retain all or a portion of the security deposit for any of the following reasons:

(1)  Nonpayment of rent.

(2)  Damage to property of the park owner, unless the damage is the result of normal wear and tear or the result of actions or events beyond the control of the resident leaseholder.

(3)  Nonpayment of utility or other charges which the resident leaseholder was required to pay directly to the park owner or to a utility.

(4)  Expenses for removal of articles abandoned by the resident leaseholder, including personal property, the mobile home, rubbish and motor vehicles from the mobile home lot.

(c)  A mobile home park owner shall return to the resident leaseholder  the security deposit with a written statement itemizing any deductions within 14 days from the date on which the resident leaseholder:

* * *

(3)  has been removed from the park pursuant to a writ of possession.

(d)  The mobile home park owner shall comply with this section by hand-delivering or mailing the statement and any payment required to the last known address of the resident leaseholder .

(e)  If a park owner fails to return the security deposit with a statement within 14 days, the mobile home park owner forfeits the right to withhold any portion of the security deposit. If the failure is wilful, the mobile home park owner shall be liable for double the amount wrongfully withheld, plus reasonable attorney fees and costs.

(f)  Upon termination of the mobile home park owner's interest in the park, the security deposit shall be transferred to the new owner. The new owner shall give the resident leaseholder actual notice of the new owner's name and address with a statement that the security deposit has been transferred to the new owner.

(g)  A town or municipality may adopt an ordinance governing security deposits on mobile homes or mobile home lots. The ordinance shall be supplemental to and not inconsistent with the minimum protections of the provisions of this section. The ordinance may not limit how a security deposit is held. The ordinance may authorize the payment of interest on a security deposit. The ordinance may provide that a housing board of review constituted pursuant to 24 V.S.A. § 5005 may hear and decide disputes related to security deposits upon request for a hearing by a mobile home park owner or resident leaseholder. The board's actions shall be reviewable under 24 V.S.A. § 5006.

Sec. 14.  10 V.S.A. § 6245 is amended to read:

§ 6245. ILLEGAL EVICTIONS

(a)  No park owner may wilfully cause, directly or indirectly, the interruption or termination of any utility service to a mobile home, except for temporary interruptions for necessary repairs.

(b)  No park owner may directly or indirectly deny a leaseholder access to and possession of the leaseholder’s rented or leased premises, except through proper judicial process.

(c)  No park owner may directly or indirectly deny a resident leaseholder access to and possession of the resident's leaseholder’s property, except through proper judicial process.

Sec. 15.  10 V.S.A. § 6246(a) is amended to read:

(a)  Any resident leaseholder who sustains damage or injury as a result of an illegal eviction, as defined in section 6245 of this title, may bring an action for injunctive relief, damages, costs and reasonable attorney fees.

Sec. 16.  10 V.S.A. § 6247(a) is amended to read:

(a)  A mobile home park owner may not retaliate by establishing any of the following:

(1)  Establishing or changing terms of a rental agreement or by.

(2)  bringing Bringing or threatening to bring an action against a resident or leaseholder who has done any of the following:

(1) has complained (A)  Complained in writing to a governmental agency charged with responsibility for enforcement of a building, housing or health regulation of a violation applicable to the premises materially affecting health and safety;.

(2) has complained (B)  Complained in writing to the park owner of a violation of this chapter; or.

(3) has organized (C)  Organized or become a member of a resident’s association or similar organization.

Sec. 17. 10 V.S.A. §6252(a) is amended to read:

(a)  If the percentage of a proposed lot rent increase is more than one percentage point above the U.S. Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers, Housing Component, published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in the periodical "Monthly Labor Review and Handbook of Labor Statistics" as established annually by the department, and if, within 15 business days after receipt by the commissioner of the notice required pursuant to subsection 6251(a) of this title, a majority of the affected leaseholders of the occupied leased lots files with the commissioner and the park owner a written petition that includes the name of the person who will act as the representative of the leaseholders and a statement that they dispute the proposed lot rent increase, the commissioner shall send a list of qualified professional mediators compiled by the department in cooperation with park owners and leaseholders to the park owner and to the leaseholders' representative. Within five business days of receipt of the list, the park owner and the leaseholders' representative shall agree on a mediator from the list provided by the commissioner and notify the commissioner of the name, address and telephone number of the mediator selected, accompanied by the mediator's agreement to conduct the mediation. If the commissioner has not been notified of a mediator as required by this subsection, the commissioner shall appoint a mediator from the department's list. The mediator may not have any interest, direct or indirect, in the mobile home park at issue and shall disclose to the park owner, the leaseholders and the commissioner, any experience as a mobile home park owner, resident or leaseholder, or any other circumstance that may create a real or perceived conflict of interest. The department shall pay the reasonable fees for professional mediation services based on a schedule established by rule of the department.

Sec. 18. 10 V.S.A. §6253(a) is amended to read:

(a)  If the parties are unable to resolve the disputed proposed lot rent increase pursuant to the process provided in section 6252 of this title, an action for abatement of some or all of the proposed lot rent increase based on a claim that the increase is clearly excessive may be initiated by a majority of the affected mobile home park leaseholders by filing a complaint in the superior court in the county in which the mobile home park is located within 30 days after the effective date of the proposed lot rent increase.

Sec. 19. 10 V.S.A. §6254 is amended to read:

§ 6254. REGISTRATION OF MOBILE HOME PARKS; REPORT

(a)  No later than September 1 and every three years thereafter on September 1, each year each mobile home park owner shall register with the department on a form provided by the department. The form shall include the following information:

* * *

(9)  The services provided to the mobile home park residents leaseholders for payment of lot rent.

(10)  Additional charges for services paid by residents leaseholders in addition to lot rent.

* * *

(c)  The department may charge a mobile home park owner an annual fee of no more than $9.00 for each occupied leased lot in the park on September 1 of each year. The mobile home park owner may charge this fee to the affected mobile home park residents leaseholders. The fee shall be submitted to the department with the registration form required in subsection (a) of this section. If a mobile home park owner charges the fee under this subsection to the mobile home park residents, the fee shall not be deemed to be a lot rent increase and shall not be included in any calculation of a lot rent increase pursuant to section 6251 of this title. A mobile home park owner shall not be charged the fee under this subsection for any mobile home park in which all the mobile homes are owned by the mobile home park owner. The commissioner may enforce filing of the registration form and payment of the fee under subsection 6205(a) of this title. A special fund shall be created for these fees, to be used by the department of housing and community affairs for its expenses in administering the laws regarding mobile home parks, and to pay any fees required in the mediation process pursuant to section 6252 of this title and for legal representation for leaseholders pursuant to section 6253 of this title. This special fund shall be managed in accordance with subchapter 5 of chapter 7 of Title 32.

Sec. 20. 10 V.S.A. §6262(c) is amended to read:

(c)  No rental agreement shall contain any provision by which the resident leaseholder waives the protections of the implied warranty of habitability. Any such waiver shall be deemed contrary to public policy and shall be unenforceable and void.

Sec. 21. 10 V.S.A. §6263 is amended to read:

§ 6263. HABITABILITY; TENANT LEASEHOLDER REMEDIES

(a)  If the mobile home park owner fails to comply with the obligation of habitability, the park owner shall be deemed to have notice of the noncompliance if the park owner receives actual notice of the noncompliance from the resident leaseholder, a governmental entity or a qualified independent inspector. If the park owner has received notice from any of those sources and fails to make repairs within a reasonable time and the noncompliance materially affects health and safety, the resident leaseholder may pursue any of the following remedies:

* * *

(b)  The remedies under this section are not available to a resident leaseholder if the noncompliance was caused by the negligent or deliberate act or omission of the resident leaseholder or of a person on the premises with the resident's leaseholder’s consent.

Sec. 22.  10 V.S.A. §6264 is amended to read:

§ 6264. MINOR DEFECTS; REPAIR AND DEDUCT

(a)  If the park owner fails to repair a minor defect or noncompliance with this chapter or noncompliance with a material provision of the rental agreement within 30 days of receipt of written notice, the resident leaseholder may repair the defect or noncompliance and deduct from the rent the actual and reasonable cost, not to exceed one-half of one month's lot rent. No major work on water, sewer, or electrical systems may be performed under this section. The resident leaseholder shall provide the owner with written notice of the cost of the repair or service when the cost is deducted from the rent. The resident leaseholder shall be responsible for any damage caused by the repair or attempts to repair.

(b)  The remedies under this section are not available to a resident leaseholder if the noncompliance was caused by the negligent or deliberate act or omission of the resident leaseholder or a person on the premises with the resident's  leaseholder’s consent.

Sec. 23.  10 V.S.A. § 6265 is amended to read:

§ 6265.  CONDEMNATION AND RELOCATION OF RESIDENTS

(a)  The owner of a lot or rented mobile home which that is condemned by a governmental agency due to the wilful failure or refusal of the owner to comply with any obligations imposed by law shall provide for reasonable relocation costs of affected leaseholders and residents, except when the owner can demonstrate that he or she has no financial capacity to comply.  The affected leaseholders and residents shall have the right to recover the reasonable costs of relocation, including court costs and reasonable attorney fees.  The agency of natural resources shall grant to the owner in a timely fashion all permits necessary to correct violations under this subchapter.

(b)  The commissioner may require a mobile home park owner who commences a closure of a mobile home park pursuant to section 6237a of this title within one year of receiving notice of a violation from a state or municipal enforcement official concerning health, safety, or environmental laws or of section 6262 of this title to pay reasonable relocation costs not to exceed $3,500 to each affected leaseholder.  The Commissioner may require the payment of relocation costs under this subsection except when the park owner can demonstrate that he or she has no financial capacity to comply.

(Committee Vote: 5-0-0)

(For House amendments, see House Journal for March 21, 2007, page 378.)

H. 436

An act relating to miscellaneous amendments to local election and municipal government laws.

Reported favorably with recommendation of proposal of amendment by Senator Illuzzi 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. § 2473a(e) is amended to read:

(e)  The receipt and expenditure of moneys from the revolving fund shall be under the supervision of the business manager and at the direction of the publisher, subject to the provisions of this section.  Vermont Life magazine shall maintain accurate and complete records of all receipts and expenditures by and from the fund, and shall make an annual report on the condition of the fund to the secretary of the agency, who shall in turn provide the report to the secretary of administration.  The fund shall be audited annually by the auditor of accounts.

Sec. 2.  7 V.S.A. § 805 is amended to read:

§ 805.  -AUDIT OF OPERATIONS

On or before February 28 of each year, each state college and university licensed under this chapter shall submit a financial report on its operations under this chapter to audit by the state auditor of accounts. Such audit shall examine the financial condition and operation of such licensees for the preceding calendar year and shall be submitted to the liquor control board by April 1 of each year.

Sec. 3.  16 V.S.A. § 2177(b) is amended to read:

(b)  The books and accounts financial statements of the corporation shall be audited annually as of June 30 under the supervision of the auditor of accounts who shall publish the audit report in detail by an independent public accounting firm according to the requirements of the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO).  The auditor of accounts or his or her designee shall be the state’s nonvoting representative on an audit committee established by the board

Sec. 4.  16 V.S.A. § 2281 is amended to read:

§ 2281.  ANNUAL AUDIT; REPORTS; CONTROL OF FUNDS

(a)  The books and accounts of the University of Vermont and State Agricultural College shall be audited annually as of June 30, under the supervision of the auditor of accounts.  The report of such audit shall be published in detail by the auditor of accounts by an independent accounting firm registered in the state of Vermont.  The auditor of accounts or his or her designee shall be the state’s nonvoting representative on an audit committee established by the board

* * *

(f)  Control of funds appropriated and of the work carried on under the terms of section 2321 of this title shall be vested in the board of trustees of the University of Vermont and State Agricultural College.  The University of Vermont and State Agricultural College shall provide an accounting service which shall account for the expenditure of funds by divisions and shall make an annual financial report to the governor of the state.  All funds appropriated to the agricultural college shall be kept in a separate account and shall be audited annually by the auditor of accounts an independent accounting firm registered in the state of Vermont.

Sec. 5.  16 V.S.A. § 2835 is amended to read:

§ 2835.  CONTROLS, AUDITS, AND REPORTS

Control of funds appropriated and all procedures incident to the carrying out of the purposes of this chapter shall be vested in the board.  The books of account of the corporation shall be audited annually under the direction of the auditor of accounts by an independent public accounting firm registered in the state of Vermont and a the resulting audit report filed with the secretary of administration not later than November 1 each year.  The auditor of accounts or his or her designee shall be the state’s nonvoting representative on an audit committee established by the board.  Biennially, the board shall report to the legislature on its activities during the preceding biennium.

Sec. 6.  17 V.S.A. § 2353(a) is amended to read:

(a)  The name of any person shall be printed upon the primary ballot as a candidate for nomination by any major political party for any office indicated, if petitions containing the requisite number of signatures made by legal voters, in substantially the following form, are filed with the proper official, together with the person's written consent to having his or her name printed on the ballot:

STATE OF VERMONT

County of  .......................... )

ss.

City (town) of  .................... )

I join in a petition to place on the primary ballot of the .............................................................. party the name of  ........................................................., whose residence is in the (city), (town) of  ............................................... in the county of ............................................., for the office of  ………………............................. to be voted for on Tuesday, the  .................................. day of September, 20  ..................; and I certify that I am at the present time a registered voter and am qualified to vote for a candidate for this office.

Sec. 7.  17 V.S.A. § 2402 is amended to read:

§ 2402.  REQUISITES OF STATEMENT

(a)  A statement of nomination shall contain:

* * *

(4)  In the case of nomination for president or vice president of the United States, the name and state of residence of each candidate for such office, together with the name, town of residence, and correct mailing address of each nominee for the office of elector.  The statement of nomination shall include certification by the town clerk of each town where the signers appear to be voters that the persons whose names appear as signers of the statement are registered voters in the town and of the total number of valid signers from the town.  Only the number of signers certified by each town clerk shall count toward the required number of signatures.  The statement shall also be accompanied by a consent form from each nominee for elector.  The consent form shall be similar to the consent form prescribed in section 2361 of this title.

(b)  To constitute a valid nomination, a statement shall contain signatures of voters qualified to vote in an election for the office in question, equal in number to at least:

(1)  For presidential and vice presidential offices, 1,000;

(2)  For state and congressional offices, 250 500;

* * *

(c)  A statement shall state that each signer is qualified to vote in an election for the office in question and that the voter's residence is as set forth next to the voter's name.  Every statement of nomination shall include the certificate of the town clerk where the signers appear to be voters, certifying whether the persons whose names appear as signers of the statement are registered voters in the town.  Only those names certified by the town clerk to be those of registered voters of the town shall count toward the required number of signatures.

(d)  A statement of nomination and a completed and signed consent form shall be filed not later than the time for filing the statements prescribed in section 2386 of this title sooner than the first Monday in June and not later than the third day after the primary election.  No public official receiving nominations shall accept a petition unless a completed and signed consent form is filed at the same time.

(e)  The secretary of state shall prescribe and furnish forms for a statement of nomination.

Sec. 8.  17 V.S.A. § 2456 is amended to read:

§ 2456.  DISQUALIFICATIONS

Notwithstanding the preceding sections of this subchapter, no person shall serve as an election official in any election in which his or her name appears on a ballot of the Australian ballot system as a candidate for any office unless he or she is the only candidate for that office, or unless the office for which he or she is a candidate is that of moderator, justice of the peace, town clerk,

clerk-treasurer, treasurer, ward clerk, or inspector of elections.  When an Australian ballot is not used, a person shall not serve as an election official during the election to fill any office for which he or she is a nominee.  For the purpose of this section, "clerk-treasurer" means a person who is a candidate for the offices of town clerk and town treasurer at the same time.

Sec. 9.  17 V.S.A. § 2494 is amended to read:

§ 2494.  CONSTRUCTION WITH OTHER LAWS

Except as this subchapter affects the method of registering votes and ascertaining the result, the laws of this state pertaining to elections shall be applicable.  The laws pertaining to early or absentee voters shall in no way be affected by this subchapter, and votes cast by early or absentee voters shall be counted with votes registered on voting machines.  In towns using voting machines, the board of civil authority may vote to open polling places at 5:00 a.m., provided that at least three elections officials are present, two of whom are from different parties, solely for the purpose of checking voters who voted by early voter absentee ballot off the checklist and depositing the ballots into the ballot box or voting machine.  If all early voter absentee ballots have not been deposited into the voting machines before the closing of the polls at 7:00 p.m., the elections officials shall continue to deposit ballots using the same procedure as provided in subsection 2561(b) of this title, treating each ballot as a voter waiting to cast his or her ballot at the close of the polls.

Sec. 10.  17 V.S.A. § 2561(a) is amended to read:

(a)  At all elections using the Australian ballot system, the polls shall may open no earlier than 5:00 a.m. and shall open no later than 10:00 a.m. as set by the board of civil authority in each town unless the board of civil authority has elected to open the polls earlier than 6:00 a.m. as provided in section 2494 of this title.  The polls in all polling places shall close at 7:00 p.m.

Sec. 11.  17 V.S.A. § 2640(c) is amended to read:

(c)  In a town which starts its annual meeting on any day before the first Tuesday in March and which uses the Australian ballot system, Notwithstanding section 2508 of this title, public discussion of ballot issues and all other issues appearing in the warning, other than election of candidates, shall be permitted on that day at the annual meeting, regardless of the location of the polling place.

Sec. 12.  17 V.S.A. § 2664 is amended to read:

§ 2664.  BUDGET

A town shall vote such sums of money as it deems necessary for the interest of its inhabitants and for the prosecution and defense of the common rights.  It shall express in its vote the specific amounts, or the rate on a dollar of the grand list, to be appropriated for laying out and repairing highways and for other necessary town expenses.  If a town votes specific amounts in lieu of a rate on a dollar of the grand list, the selectmen selectboard shall, after the grand list book has been computed and lodged in the office of the town clerk, set the tax rate necessary to raise the specific amounts voted.  The selectboard may apply for grants and may accept and expend grants or gifts above those which are approved in the town budget.  The selectboard shall include, in its annual report, a description of all grants or gifts accepted during the year and associated expenditures.

Sec. 13.  17 V.S.A. § 2680 is amended to read:

§ 2680.  AUSTRALIAN BALLOT SYSTEM; GENERAL

* * *

(c)  Budgets.  A vote whether to use the Australian ballot system to establish the budget shall be in substantially the following form:

"Shall (name of municipality) adopt its budget article or articles by Australian ballot?"

If a budget voted on by Australian ballot is rejected, the legislative body shall prepare a revised budget.  The legislative body shall establish a date for the vote on the revised budget, and shall take appropriate steps to warn a public informational meeting on the budget and the vote.  The date of the public informational meeting shall be at least five days following the public notice. The date of the vote shall be at least seven days following the public notice. The vote on the revised budget shall be by Australian ballot and shall take place in the same locations that the first vote was taken.  The budget shall be established if a majority of all votes cast are in favor.  If the revised budget is rejected, the legislative body shall repeat the procedure in this subsection until a budget is adopted.  Once a municipality votes to establish its budget by the Australian ballot system, the vote on the budget shall be taken by Australian ballot until the municipality votes to discontinue use of the system.

* * *

(g)  Whenever a municipality has voted to adopt the Australian ballot system of voting on any public question or budget, except the budget revote as provided in subsection (c) of this section, the legislative body shall hold a public informational hearing on the question by posting warnings at least 10 days in advance of the hearing in at least two public places within the municipality and in the town clerk's office.  The hearing shall be held within the 10 days preceding the meeting at which the Australian ballot system is to be used.  The hearing under this subsection may be held in conjunction with the meeting held under subsection 2640(c), in which case the moderator shall preside.

Sec. 14.  19 V.S.A. § 13 is amended to read:

§ 13.  Central garage fund

* * *

(f)  Annually the auditor of accounts shall conduct an examination of the central garage revolving fund and report his or her findings in accordance with 32 V.S.A. § 163(5).

(g)  [Repealed.]

(h)  For purposes of this section, “equipment” means registered motor vehicles and highway maintenance equipment assigned to the central garage.

(i)(g)  Each year at the September meeting of the joint transportation oversight committee called pursuant to 19 V.S.A. § 12b(d), the agency shall present to the joint transportation oversight committee a report detailing:

* * *

Sec. 15.  20 V.S.A. § 3546 is amended to read:

§ 3546.  INVESTIGATION OF VICIOUS DOMESTIC PETS OR WOLF-HYBRIDS; ORDER

* * *

(d)  The procedures provided in this section shall only apply if the domestic pet or wolf-hybrid is not a rabies suspect.  If a member of the legislative body or a municipal official designated by the legislative body determines that the animal is a rabies suspect, the provisions of subchapter 5 of this chapter and the rules of the department of health shall apply.

(e)  The procedures provided in this section shall not apply if the voters of a municipality, at a special or annual meeting duly warned for the purpose, have authorized the legislative body of the municipality to regulate domestic pets or wolf-hybrids by ordinances that are inconsistent with this section, in which case those ordinances shall apply.

Sec. 16.  20 V.S.A. § 3549 is amended to read:

§ 3549.  DOMESTIC PETS OR WOLF-HYBRIDS, REGULATION BY TOWNS

The legislative body of a city or town by ordinance may regulate the keeping, leashing, muzzling, restraint, impoundment, and destruction of domestic pets or wolf-hybrids and their running at large.

Sec. 17.  22 V.S.A. § 281 is amended to read:

§ 281.  MEMBERS AND TRUSTEES EX OFFICIO

The secretary of state, auditor of accounts and the state librarian, by virtue of their offices, shall be members of the Vermont Historical Society and of the board of trustees thereof.

Sec. 18.  24 V.S.A. § 871 is amended to read:

§ 871.  ORGANIZATION OF SELECTMEN SELECTBOARD; APPOINTMENTS

Forthwith after their election and qualification, the selectmen selectboard shall organize and elect a chairman chair and, if so voted, a clerk from among their number, and file a certificate of such election for record in the office of the town clerk.  Such selectmen shall The selectboard shall thereupon appoint from among the legally qualified voters a tree warden and may thereupon appoint from among the legally qualified voters the following officers who shall serve until their successors are appointed and qualified, and shall certify such appointments to the town clerk who shall record the same:

(1)  Three fence viewers;

(2)  A poundkeeper, for each pound; voting residence in the town need not be a qualification for this office provided appointee gives his or her consent to the appointment;

(3)  One or more inspectors of lumber, shingles and wood; and

(4)  One or more weighers of coal; and

(5)  A tree warden.

* * *

Sec. 19.  24 V.S.A. § 2291(10) is amended to read:

§ 2291.  ENUMERATION OF POWERS

For the purpose of promoting the public health, safety, welfare, and convenience, a town, city, or incorporated village shall have the following powers:

* * *

(10)  To regulate the keeping of dogs, and to provide for their leashing, muzzling or, restraint, impoundment, and destruction.

* * *

Sec. 20.  24 V.S.A. § 4442(c) is amended to read:

(c)  Routine adoption.

(1)  A bylaw, bylaw amendment, or bylaw repeal shall be adopted by a majority of the members of the legislative body at a meeting that is held after the final public hearing, and shall be effective 21 days after adoption unless, by action of the legislative body, the bylaw, bylaw amendment, or bylaw repeal is warned for adoption by the municipality by Australian ballot at a special or regular meeting of the municipality.

(2)  However, a rural town with a population of fewer than 2,500 persons, by action of the legislative body or by vote of that town at a special or regular meeting duly warned on the issue, may elect to require that bylaws, bylaw amendments, or bylaw repeals shall be adopted by vote of the town by Australian ballot at a special or regular meeting duly warned on the issue.  That procedure shall then apply until rescinded by the voters at a regular or special meeting of the town.

Sec. 21.  29 V.S.A. § 160(e) is amended to read:

(e)  The commissioner of buildings and general services shall supervise the receipt and expenditure of moneys comprising the property management revolving fund, subject to the provisions of this section.  He or she shall maintain accurate and complete records of all such receipts and expenditures, and shall make an annual report on the condition of the fund to the secretary of administration.  All balances remaining at the end of a fiscal year shall be carried over to the following year, and the fund shall be audited by the auditor of accounts.

Sec. 22.  29 V.S.A. § 168(b)(8) is amended to read:

(8)  All balances remaining at the end of a fiscal year shall be carried over to the following year, and the auditor of accounts shall audit the fund.

Sec. 23.  32 V.S.A. § 163 is amended to read:

§ 163.  DUTIES OF THE AUDITOR OF ACCOUNTS

In addition to any other duties prescribed by law, the auditor of accounts shall:

(1)  Examine annually the financial statements of the funds of state government and at his or her discretion audit financial and other records Annually perform or contract for the audit of the basic financial statements of the state and, at his or her discretion, conduct governmental audits as defined by the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO), of every department, institution, and agency of the state including trustees or custodians of retirement and other trust funds held by the state or any officer or officers of the state, and also including every county officer who receives or disburses funds of the state or for the benefit of the state or any county.  He or she shall upon request of a town establish a uniform system of accounting and reporting.

(2)  In his or her discretion, conduct a continuing post audit of all disbursements made through the office of the commissioner of finance and management or the office of the state treasurer, including disbursements to a municipality, school supervisory union, school district, or county.

* * *

(4)  Upon request, assist the commissioner of finance and management in the preparation of the state budget.

(5)  From time to time, as examinations audits are completed, report his or her audit findings first to the speaker of the house of representatives and the president pro tempore of the senate, then to the governor, the secretary of administration, the commissioner of finance and management, and the head of the department, institution, or agency covered by the report.  The audit reports shall be public records and four 10 copies of each report shall be furnished to and kept in the state library for public use.

(6)(5)  Make special audits of any department, institution, and agency as the governor may from time to time require.

(7)(6)  Make a biennial report Report on or before February 15 of each year to the general assembly house and senate committees on appropriations in which he or she shall summarize his or her significant findings, and make such comments and recommendations as he or she finds necessary.

(8)(7)  Subject to the provisions of chapter 13 of Title 3, employ and set the compensation of such assistants, clerical or otherwise, as he or she deems necessary for the proper and efficient administration of his or her office.  However, he or she shall not expend or authorize expenditure of funds for his or her office in excess of the amount appropriated for his or her office in any fiscal year.

(9)  Approve and coordinate all requests by state departments, agencies, commissions and state-created authorities for accounting or auditing services by an independent accounting firm for any of the departments’, agencies’, commissions’ or state-created authorities’ funds, financial accounts, and records, or for any accounting or auditing services for which payment is to be made from any funds controlled or administered by any state department, agency, commission or state-created authority, prior to the negotiation of any contractual obligations with the independent firms.  All audit reports and reports of findings and recommendations issued by an independent accounting firm under this section shall be addressed to the auditor of accounts for distribution in accordance with subdivision 5 of this section.

(10)(8)  Require all state departments and agencies to file with the auditor of accounts all audit reports and reports of findings and recommendations received as a result of audits and examinations conducted by or for any federal agency.

(11)(9)  Perform, or contract with independent public accountants licensed in the state of Vermont to perform, financial and compliance audits as required by the Federal Single Audit Act of 1984, 31 U.S.C. § 7501 et seq. This subdivision shall not apply to the University of Vermont and the Vermont State Colleges.

(12)(A)  Biennially audit the economic advancement tax incentives program established under chapter 151, subchapter 11E of this title to determine compliance with that subchapter and all other applicable statutes and regulations.  The auditor’s report shall be made available to the general assembly during the fourth quarter of the second year of each biennium. The auditor shall include in this biennial audit verifications of any of the inspections done by the tax department of awardees of economic advancement tax incentives to determine the relationship between performance and credits claimed.

(B)(10)  Biennially audit the Vermont employment growth incentive program established under 32 V.S.A. § 5930b and other applicable statutes and regulations, and report the audit to the general assembly, the Vermont department of taxes, and the Vermont economic progress council by March 31 after the audit yearThe audit shall include a comparative examination of the economic advancement tax incentive program and the Vermont employment growth incentives program with respect to performance measurements, program expenditure controls, the adequacy and availability of program information, and recommendations for improved accountability and fiscal controls.  The auditor shall develop benchmarks, known as “best management practices” that in the judgment of the auditor need to be met so that the Vermont employment growth incentives program may be administered in the most fiscally sound and well-managed manner.  The auditor’s report shall be submitted during the first quarter of the second year of each biennium to the department of taxes and the economic incentive review board established by 32 V.S.A. § 5930a(a) (except that in the second year of the 2007-2008 biennium the auditor’s report shall be submitted to the Vermont economic progress council).  The department and the board (and in the 2007-2008 biennium, the council) shall review the auditor’s report and in the fourth quarter of each biennium report to the senate committee on economic development, housing and general affairs, the senate committee on finance, the house committee on commerce and the house committee on ways and means in response to the findings and recommendations of the auditor together with any recommendations for improvements or amendments.

Sec. 24.  32 V.S.A. § 167(a) is amended to read:

(a)  For the purpose of examination and audit authorized by law, all the records, accounts, books, papers, reports, and returns in all formats of all departments, institutions, and agencies of the state including the trustees or custodians of trust funds and all municipal, school supervisory union, school district, and county officers who receive or disburse funds for the benefit of the state, shall be made available to the auditor of accounts.  It shall be the duty of each officer of each department, institution, and agency of the state or municipality, school supervisory union, school district, or county to provide the records, accounts, books, papers, reports, returns, and such other explanatory information when required by the auditor of accounts.

Sec. 25.  32 V.S.A. § 431(a) is amended to read:

(a)  The treasurer, the auditor and the governor shall select the banks in which the funds of the state treasury shall be deposited.  Each agency or department of the state shall be required to obtain the approval of the treasurer to establish and maintain a bank account of a selected bank as well as develop procedures, approved by the treasurer, to reconcile a bank account.  The treasurer shall annually furnish the auditor, on a timely basis, a certified statement from each bank, with which he or she has an account, of the amount of such account.

Sec. 26.  32 V.S.A. § 432 is amended to read:

§ 432.  MANAGEMENT OF INVESTED STATE MONEY

In the management of funds and securities belonging to the state or held in the treasury, with approval of the governor and auditor of accounts, he or she may change the form of investment thereof by exchange of securities or by sale and reinvestment of the same, as may be required for the safety and permanent security of such funds, may collect accruing interest and reinvest the same and may collect, enforce payment of, and reinvest all maturing securities and obligations and, for such purposes, may make legal transfers of the title of the same.

Sec. 27.  32 V.S.A. § 901 is amended to read:

§ 901.  BORROWING MONEY

The treasurer shall not make a contract binding the state for money borrowed unless it is countersigned by the secretary of state and the auditor.

Sec. 28.  32 V.S.A. § 1001(d)(1) is amended to read:

(1)  Membership.  Committee membership shall consist of:

(A)  As ex officio members:

(i)  the state treasurer;

(ii)  the auditor of accounts;

(iii)  the secretary of administration; and

(iv)(iii)  the secretary of the Vermont municipal bond bank.

(B)  One individual not an official or employee of state government appointed by the governor for a two-year term.

(C)  The auditor of accounts who shall be a nonvoting ex officio member.

Sec. 29.  32 V.S.A. § 1671(a)(6) is amended to read:

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

Sec. 30.  32 V.S.A. § 4774(b) is amended to read:

(b)(1)  The treasurer or collector shall deposit to the general fund any tax overpayment by a taxpayer who has paid by mail or electronic fund transfer, provided that:

(1)(A)  the payment made was equal to the taxes due without regard to the discount under section 4773 of this title; and

(2)(B)  the overpayment amount is $2.00 $10.00 or less.

(2)  If the taxpayer requests refund of such an overpayment within one year of payment, the treasurer or collector shall refund it.

Sec. 31.  32 V.S.A. § 5137 is amended to read:

§ 5137.  RECORDING DELINQUENT PAYMENTS

A collector of taxes for a town or municipality within it shall receipt for every payment made to the collector on account of delinquent taxes.  Such receipt shall be written in triplicate in a bound book or other permanent record purchased at the expense of the municipality and shall indicate the date of the payment, the name of the person making the payment, the name of the person against whom was assessed the tax on which the payment is to be applied, the year in which such tax was assessed and if a partial payment on an annual tax bill, whether applied on poll, personal property or real estate taxes.  Such collector shall detach and deliver the original receipt forthwith to the person making the payment and one copy thereof within 30 days to the town clerk who shall keep such copy on file.  Such collector shall purchase at the expense of the municipality for which the collector is acting a sufficient number of such bound triplicate receipt books having the sets of originals and copies consecutively numbered.  Annually, on or before February 5, the collector shall deliver to the auditors of each municipality for which the collector is acting all such bound volumes in which entries pertaining to such municipality have been made during the year ending January 31 next preceding, and the auditors shall audit the books forthwith and after the completion of audit shall return such books to such collector.

Sec. 32.  REPEAL

(a)  10 V.S.A. § 1960(f) (annual audit of advisory committee books) shall be repealed.

(b)  32 V.S.A. § 163(10) (biennial audit of employment growth incentive program) shall be repealed on December 31, 2012.

Sec. 33.  EFFECTIVE DATE

Secs. 6 and 7 shall take effect upon passage.

     And that upon passage, the title of the bill shall read:

     AN ACT RELATING TO MISCELLANEOUS AMENDMENTS TO ELECTION AND GOVERNMENT LAWS.

(Committee Vote: 5-0-0)

(For House amendments, see House Journal for March 19, 2008, page 635; March 20, 2008, page 650.)

H. 635

An act relating to reports of child abuse or neglect.

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

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

Sec. 1.  33 V.S.A. § 4911 is amended to read:

§ 4911.  Purpose

The purpose of this subchapter is to:

(1)  protect Protect children whose health and welfare may be adversely affected through abuse or neglect;.

(2)  strengthen Strengthen the family and make the home safe for children whenever possible by enhancing the parental capacity for good child care;.

(3)  provide Provide a temporary or permanent nurturing and safe environment for children when necessary; and for these purposes require the reporting of suspected child abuse and neglect, an assessment or investigation of such reports and provision of services, when needed, to such child and family.

(4)  Establish a range of responses to child abuse and neglect that take into account different degrees of child abuse or neglect and which recognize that child offenders should be treated differently from adults.

(5)  Establish a tiered child protection registry that balances the need to protect children and the potential employment consequences of a registry record for persons who are substantiated for child abuse and neglect. 

Sec. 2.  33 V.S.A. § 4912 is amended to read:

§ 4912.  Definitions

As used in this subchapter:

(1)  “Child” means an individual under the age of majority.

(2)  An “abused or neglected child” means a child whose physical health, psychological growth and development or welfare is harmed or is at substantial risk of harm by the acts or omissions of his or her parent or other person responsible for the child’s welfare.  An “abused or neglected child” also means a child who is sexually abused or at substantial risk of sexual abuse by any person.

(3)  “Harm” can occur by:

(A)  Physical injury or emotional maltreatment;

(B)  Failure to supply the child with adequate food, clothing, shelter, or health care.  For the purposes of this subchapter, “adequate health care” includes any medical or nonmedical remedial health care permitted or authorized under state law.  Notwithstanding that a child might be found to be without proper parental care under chapter 55 of Title 33, a parent or other person responsible for a child’s care legitimately practicing his or her religious beliefs who thereby does not provide specified medical treatment for a child shall not be considered neglectful for that reason alone; or

(C)  Abandonment of the child.

(4)  “Risk of harm” means a significant danger that a child will suffer serious harm other than by accidental means, which harm would be likely to cause physical injury, neglect, emotional maltreatment or sexual abuse.

(5)  “A person responsible for a child’s welfare” includes the child’s parent; guardian; foster parent; any other adult residing in the child’s home who serves in a parental role; an employee of a public or private residential home, institution or agency; or other person responsible for the child’s welfare while in a residential, educational, or child care setting, including any staff person.

(6)  “Physical injury” means death, or permanent or temporary disfigurement or impairment of any bodily organ or function by other than accidental means.

(7)  “Emotional maltreatment” means a pattern of malicious behavior which results in impaired psychological growth and development.

(8)  “Sexual abuse” consists of any act or acts by any person involving sexual molestation or exploitation of a child including but not limited to incest, prostitution, rape, sodomy, or any lewd and lascivious conduct involving a child.  Sexual abuse also includes the aiding, abetting, counseling, hiring, or procuring of a child to perform or participate in any photograph, motion picture, exhibition, show, representation, or other presentation which, in whole or in part, depicts a sexual conduct, sexual excitement or sadomasochistic abuse involving a child.

(9)  “Multi‑disciplinary team” means a group of professionals, paraprofessionals and other appropriate individuals, empanelled by the commissioner of social and rehabilitation services under this chapter, for the purpose of assisting in the identification and investigation review of cases of child abuse and neglect, coordinating treatment services for abused and neglected children and their families and promoting child abuse prevention.

(10)  “Substantiated report” means that the commissioner or the commissioner’s designee has determined after investigation that a report is based upon accurate and reliable information that would lead a reasonable person to believe that the child has been abused or neglected.

(11)  [Repealed.]

(12)  “Member of the clergy” means a priest, rabbi, clergy member, ordained or licensed minister, leader of any church or religious body, accredited Christian Science practitioner, person performing official duties on behalf of a church or religious body that are recognized as the duties of a priest, rabbi, clergy, nun, brother, ordained or licensed minister, leader of any church or religious body, or accredited Christian Science practitioner. 

(13)  “Redacted investigation file” means the intake report, the investigation activities summary, and case determination report that are amended in accordance with confidentiality requirements set forth in subsection 4913(d) of this title.

(14)  “Child abuse and neglect protection registry” means a record of all investigations that have resulted in a substantiated report on or after January 1, 1992.

(15)  “Registry record” means an entry in the abuse and neglect child protection registry that consists of the name of an individual substantiated for child abuse or neglect, the date of the finding, the nature of the finding, and at least one other personal identifier, other than a name, listed in order to avoid the possibility of misidentification.

(16)  “Investigation” means a response to a report of child abuse or neglect that begins with the systematic gathering of information to determine whether the abuse or neglect has occurred and, if so, the appropriate response.  An investigation shall result in a formal determination as to whether the reported abuse or neglect has occurred.

(17)  “Assessment” means a response to a report of child abuse or neglect that focuses on the identification of the strengths and support needs of the child and the family, and any services they may require to improve or restore their well-being and to reduce the risk of future harm.  The child and family assessment does not result in a formal determination as to whether the reported abuse or neglect has occurred.

Sec. 3.  33 V.S.A. § 4913 is amended to read:

§ 4913.  REPORTING SUSPECTED CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT;

(a)  Any physician, surgeon, osteopath, chiropractor, or physician’s assistant licensed, certified, or registered under the provisions of Title 26, any resident physician, intern, or any hospital administrator in any hospital in this state, whether or not so registered, and any registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, medical examiner, emergency medical personnel as defined in 24 V.S.A. § 2651(6), dentist, psychologist, pharmacist, any other health care provider, child care worker, school superintendent, school teacher, school librarian, child care worker, school principal, school guidance counselor, and any other individual who is regularly employed by a school district, or who is contracted and paid by a school district to provide student services for more than 10 hours per week during the school year, mental health professional, social worker, probation officer, police officer, camp owner, camp administrator, camp counselor, or member of the clergy who has reasonable cause to believe that any child has been abused or neglected shall report or cause a report to be made in accordance with the provisions of section 4914 of this title within 24 hours.  As used in this subsection, “camp” includes any residential or nonresidential recreational program.

(b)  Any other concerned person not listed in subsection (a) of this section who has reasonable cause to believe that any child has been abused or neglected may report or cause a report to be made in accordance with the provisions of section 4914 of this title. The commissioner shall inform the person who made the report under subsection (a) of this section:

(1)  whether the report was accepted as a valid allegation of abuse or neglect;

(2)  whether an assessment was conducted and, if so, whether a need for services was found; and

(3)  whether an investigation was conducted and, if so, whether it resulted in a substantiation.

(c)  Any other concerned person not listed in subsection (a) of this section who has reasonable cause to believe that any child has been abused or neglected may report or cause a report to be made in accordance with the provisions of section 4914 of this title.

(c)(d)(1)  Any person enumerated in subsection (a) or (b) of this section, other than a person suspected of child abuse, who in good faith makes a report to the department of social and rehabilitation services shall be immune from any civil or criminal liability which might otherwise be incurred or imposed as a result of making a report. 

(2)  An employer or supervisor shall not discharge; demote; transfer; reduce pay, benefits, or work privileges; prepare a negative work performance evaluation; or take any other action detrimental to any employee because that employee filed a good faith report in accordance with the provisions of this subchapter.  Any person making a report under this subchapter shall have a civil cause of action for appropriate compensatory and punitive damages against any person who causes detrimental changes in the employment status of the reporting party by reason of his or her making a report.

(d)(e)  The name of and any identifying information about either the person making the report or any person mentioned in the report shall be confidential unless:

(1)  the person making the report specifically allows disclosure or unless;

(2)  a human services board proceeding or a judicial proceeding results therefrom or unless;

(3)  a court, after a hearing, finds probable cause to believe that the report was not made in good faith and orders the department to make the name of the reporter available; or

(4)  a review has been requested pursuant to section 4916a of this title, and the department has determined that identifying information can be provided without compromising the safety of the reporter or the persons mentioned in the report.

(e)(f)(1)  A person who violates subsection (a) of this section shall be fined not more than $500.00.

(2)  A person who violates subsection (a) of this section with the intent to conceal abuse or neglect of a child shall be imprisoned not more than six months or fined not more than $1,000.00, or both.

(3)  This section shall not be construed to prohibit a prosecution under any other provision of law.

(f)(g)  Except as provided in subsection (g)(h) of this section, a person may not refuse to make a report required by this section on the grounds that making the report would violate a privilege or disclose a confidential communication.

(g)(h)  A member of the clergy shall not be required to make a report under this section if the report would be based upon information received in a communication which is:

(1)  made to a member of the clergy acting in his or her capacity as spiritual advisor;

(2)  intended by the parties to be confidential at the time the communication is made;

(3)  intended by the communicant to be an act of contrition or a matter of conscience; and

(4)  required to be confidential by religious law, doctrine, or tenet.

(h)(i)  When a member of the clergy receives information about abuse or neglect of a child in a manner other than as described in subsection

(g)(h) of this section, he or she is required to report on the basis of that information even though he or she may have also received a report of abuse or neglect about the same person or incident in the manner described in subsection (g)(h) of this section. 

Sec. 4.  33 V.S.A. § 4914 is amended to read:

§ 4914.  NATURE AND CONTENT OF REPORT; TO WHOM MADE

A report shall be made orally or in writing to the commissioner for children and families or designee.  The commissioner or designee shall request the reporter to follow the oral report with a written report, unless the reporter is anonymous.  Reports shall contain the name and address or other contact information of the reporter as well as the names and addresses of the child and the parents or other persons responsible for the child’s care, if known; the age of the child; the nature and extent of the child’s injuries together with any evidence of previous abuse and neglect of the child or the child’s siblings; and any other information that the reporter believes might be helpful in establishing the cause of the injuries or reasons for the neglect as well as in protecting the child and assisting the family.  If a report of child abuse or neglect involves the acts or omissions of the commissioner for children and families or employees of that the department, then the report shall be directed to the secretary of the agency of human services who shall cause the report to be investigated by other appropriate agency staff other than staff of the department for children and families.  If the report is substantiated, services shall be offered to the child and to his or her family or caretaker according to the requirements of section 4915 4915b of this title.

Sec. 5.  33 V.S.A. § 4915 is amended to read:

§ 4915.  ASSESSMENT AND INVESTIGATION; REMEDIAL ACTION

(a)  Upon receipt of a report of abuse or neglect, the department shall promptly determine whether it constitutes an allegation of child abuse or neglect as defined in section 4912 of this title.  The department shall respond to reports of alleged neglect or abuse that occurred in Vermont and to out-of-state conduct when the child is a resident of or is present in Vermont. 

(b)  If the report is accepted as a valid allegation of abuse or neglect, the department shall determine whether to conduct an assessment as provided for in section 4915a of this title or to conduct an investigation as provided for in section 4915b of this title.  The department shall begin either an assessment or an investigation within 72 hours after the receipt of a report made pursuant to section 4914 of this title, provided that it has sufficient information to proceed.  The commissioner may waive the 72-hour requirement only when necessary to locate the child who is the subject of the allegation or to ensure the safety of the child or social worker.

(c)  The decision to conduct an assessment shall include consideration of the following factors:

(1)  the nature of the conduct and the extent of the child’s injury, if any;

(2)  the accused person’s prior history of child abuse or neglect, or lack thereof; and

(3)  the accused person’s willingness or lack thereof to accept responsibility for the conduct and cooperate in remediation. 

(d)  The department shall conduct an investigation when an accepted report involves allegations indicating substantial child endangerment.  For purposes of this section, “substantial child endangerment” includes conduct by an adult involving or resulting in sexual abuse, and conduct by a person responsible for a child’s welfare involving or resulting in abandonment, child fatality, malicious punishment, or abuse or neglect that causes serious physical injury.  The department may conduct an investigation of any report.

(e)  The department shall begin an immediate investigation if, at any time during an assessment, it appears that an investigation is appropriate.

(f)  The department may collaborate with child protection, law enforcement, and other departments and agencies in Vermont and other jurisdictions to evaluate risk to a child and to determine the service needs of the child and family.  The department may enter into reciprocal agreements with other jurisdictions to further the purposes of this subchapter.

 (b)  The investigation, to the extent that it is reasonable under the facts and circumstances presented by the particular allegation of child abuse, shall include all of the following:

(1)  A visit to the child’s place of residence or place of custody and to the location of the alleged abuse or neglect.

(2)  An interview with, or observance of the child reportedly having been abused or neglected.  If the investigator elects to interview the child, that interview may take place without the approval of the child’s parents, guardian, or custodian, provided that it takes place in the presence of a disinterested adult who may be, but shall not be limited to being, a teacher, a member of the clergy, child care provider regulated by the department, or a nurse.

(3)  Determination of the nature, extent, and cause of any abuse or neglect.

(4)  Determination of the identity of the person alleged to be responsible for such abuse or neglect.

(5)(A)  The identity, by name, of any other children living in the same home environment as the subject child.  The investigator shall consider the physical and emotional condition of those children and may interview them, in accordance with the provisions of subdivision (2) of this subsection, unless the subject child is the person who is alleged to be responsible for such abuse or neglect.

(B)  The identity, by name, of any other children who may be at risk if the abuse was alleged to have been committed by someone who is not a member of the subject child’s household.  The investigator shall consider the physical and emotional condition of those children and may interview them, in accordance with the provisions of subdivision (2) of this subsection, unless the subject child is the person who is alleged to be responsible for such abuse or neglect.

(6)  A determination of the immediate and long-term risk to each child if that child remains in the existing home or other environment.

(7)  Consideration of the environment and the relationship of any children therein to the person alleged to be responsible for the suspected abuse or neglect.

(8)  All other data deemed pertinent.

(c)  For cases investigated by the department, the commissioner may, to the extent that it is reasonable, provide assistance to the child and the child’s family.

(d)  The commissioner, designee, or any person required to report under section 4913 or any other person performing an investigation pursuant to section 4914 may take or cause to be taken, photographs of trauma visible on a child who is the subject of a report.  The commissioner or designee may seek consultation with a physician.  If it is indicated as appropriate by the physician, the commissioner or designee may cause the child who is subject of a report to undergo a radiological examination, without the consent of the child’s parent or guardian.

(e)  Services may be provided to the child’s immediate family whether or not the child remains in the home.

(f)  The department shall report to and request assistance from law enforcement in the following circumstances:

(1)  Investigations of child sexual abuse by an alleged perpetrator age 10 or older.

(2)  Investigations of serious physical abuse or neglect of a child likely to result in criminal charges or requiring emergency medical care.

(3)  Situations potentially dangerous to the child or department worker.

Sec. 6.  33 V.S.A. § 4915a is added to read:

§ 4915a.  Procedures for Assessment

(a)  An assessment, to the extent that is reasonable under the facts and circumstances presented by the particular valid allegation of child abuse or neglect, shall include the following:

(1)  An interview with the child’s parent, guardian, foster parent, or any other adult residing in the child’s home who serves in a parental role.  The interview shall focus on ensuring the immediate safety of the child and mitigating the future risk of harm to the child in the home environment.

(2)  An evaluation of the safety of the subject child and any other children living in the same home environment.  The evaluation may include an interview with or observation of the child or children.  Such interviews or observations shall occur with the permission of the child’s parent, guardian, or custodian.

(3)  In collaboration with the family, identification of family strengths, resources, and service needs, and the development of a plan of services that reduces the risk of harm and improves or restores family well-being. 

(b)  The assessment shall be completed within 45 days.  Upon written justification by the department, the assessment may be extended, not to exceed a total of 60 days.

(c)  Families have the option of declining the services offered as a result of the assessment.  If the family declines the services, the case shall be closed unless the department determines that sufficient cause exists to begin an investigation or to request the state’s attorney to file a petition pursuant to chapter 55 of this title.  In no instance shall a case be investigated solely because the family declines services.

(d)  When an assessment case is closed, there shall be no finding of abuse or neglect and no indication of the intervention shall be placed in the registry.  However, the department shall document the outcome of the assessment.

Sec. 7.  33 V.S.A. § 4915b is added to read:

§ 4915b.  Procedures for Investigation

(a)  An investigation, to the extent that it is reasonable under the facts and circumstances presented by the particular allegation of child abuse, shall include all of the following:

(1)  A visit to the child’s place of residence or place of custody and to the location of the alleged abuse or neglect.

(2)  An interview with or observation of the child reportedly having been abused or neglected.  If the investigator elects to interview the child, that interview may take place without the approval of the child’s parents, guardian, or custodian, provided that it takes place in the presence of a disinterested adult who may be, but shall not be limited to being, a teacher, a member of the clergy, a child care provider regulated by the department, or a nurse.

(3)  Determination of the nature, extent, and cause of any abuse or neglect.

(4)  Determination of the identity of the person alleged to be responsible for such abuse or neglect.

(5)(A)  The identity, by name, of any other children living in the same home environment as the subject child.  The investigator shall consider the physical and emotional condition of those children and may interview them, unless the child is the person who is alleged to be responsible for such abuse or neglect, in accordance with the provisions of subdivision (2) of this subsection.

(B)  The identity, by name, of any other children who may be at risk if the abuse was alleged to have been committed by someone who is not a member of the subject child’s household.  The investigator shall consider the physical and emotional condition of those children and may interview them, unless the child is the person who is alleged to be responsible for such abuse or neglect, in accordance with the provisions of subdivision (2) of this subsection.

(6)  A determination of the immediate and long‑term risk to each child if that child remains in the existing home or other environment.

(7)  Consideration of the environment and the relationship of any children therein to the person alleged to be responsible for the suspected abuse or neglect.

(8)  All other data deemed pertinent.

(b)  For cases investigated and substantiated by the department, the commissioner shall, to the extent that it is reasonable, provide assistance to the child and the child’s family.  For cases investigated but not substantiated by the department, the commissioner may, to the extent that it is reasonable, provide assistance to the child and the child’s family.  Nothing contained in this section or section 4915a of this title shall be deemed to create a private right of action.

(c)  The commissioner, designee, or any person required to report under section 4913 of this title or any other person performing an investigation may take or cause to be taken photographs of trauma visible on a child who is the subject of a report.  The commissioner or designee may seek consultation with a physician.  If it is indicated appropriate by the physician, the commissioner or designee may cause the child who is subject of a report to undergo a radiological examination without the consent of the child’s parent or guardian. 

(d)  Services may be provided to the child’s immediate family whether or not the child remains in the home.  

(e)  The department shall report to and request assistance from law enforcement in the following circumstances:

(1)  Investigations of child sexual abuse by an alleged perpetrator age 10 or older.

(2)  Investigations of serious physical abuse or neglect likely to result in criminal charges or requiring emergency medical care.

(3)  Situations potentially dangerous to the child or department worker.

(f)  The department shall not substantiate cases in which neglect is caused solely by the lack of financial resources of the parent or guardian.

Sec. 8.  33 V.S.A. § 4916 is amended to read:

§ 4916.  CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT PROTECTION REGISTRY; RECORDS OF ABUSE AND NEGLECT  

(a)(1)  The commissioner shall maintain a abuse and neglect child protection registry which shall contain a record of all investigations that have resulted in a substantiated report on or after January 1, 1992.  Except as provided in subdivision (2) of this subsection, prior to placement of a substantiated report on the registry, the commissioner shall comply with the procedures set forth in section 4916a of this title.

(2)  In cases involving sexual abuse or serious physical abuse of a child, the commissioner in his or her sole judgment may list a substantiated report on the registry pending any administrative review after:

(A)  Reviewing the investigation file.

(B)  Making written findings in consideration of:

(i)  the nature and seriousness of the alleged behavior; and

(ii)  the person’s continuing access to children.

(3)  A person alleged to have abused or neglected a child and whose name has been placed on the registry in accordance with subdivision (2) of this subsection shall be notified of the registry entry, provided with the commissioner’s findings, and advised of the right to seek an administrative review in accordance with section 4916a of this title.

(4)  If the name of a person has been placed on the registry in accordance with subdivision (2) of this subsection, it shall be removed from the registry if the substantiation is rejected after an administrative review.

(b)  A registry record means an entry in the abuse and neglect child protection registry that consists of the name of an individual substantiated for child abuse or neglect, the date of the finding, the nature of the finding, and at least one other personal identifier, other than a name, listed in order to avoid the possibility of misidentification.

(c)  The commissioner shall adopt rules to permit use of the registry records as authorized by this subchapter while preserving confidentiality of the registry and other department records related to abuse and neglect.

(d)  Registry records shall only be disclosed to the commissioner or person designated by the commissioner to receive such records, persons assigned by the commissioner to investigate reports, the person reported on, an employer as defined in subsection 4919(e) of this title, or a state’s attorney or the attorney general. In no event shall registry records be made available for employment purposes other than as set forth in section 309 or 4919 of this title, or for credit purposes. Any person who violates this subsection shall be fined not more than $500.00. 

For all substantiated reports of child abuse or neglect made on or after the date the final rules are adopted, the commissioner shall create a registry record that reflects a designated child protection level related to the risk of future harm to children.  This system of child protection levels shall be based upon an evaluation of the risk the person responsible for the abuse or neglect poses to the safety of children.  The risk evaluation shall include consideration of the following factors:

(A)  the nature of the conduct and the extent of the child’s injury, if any;

(B)  the person’s prior history of child abuse or neglect as either a victim or perpetrator; 

(C)  the person’s response to the investigation and willingness to engage in recommended services; and

(D)  the person’s age and developmental maturity.

(e)(1)  Verbal Notice. The commissioner or the commissioner’s designee shall promptly inform a parent or guardian of the child that a report has been made and substantiated. If a parent or guardian is under investigation for abuse or neglect, such information need only be provided to that parent or guardian in accordance with subsection 4916(d) of this title.

(2)  Written Records. Absent good cause shown by the department, if a report has been substantiated, the commissioner or the commissioner’s designee shall provide upon request the redacted investigation file to the child’s parent or guardian or, if there is a pending juvenile proceeding or if the child is in custody of the commissioner, to the child’s attorney.

The commissioner shall develop rules for the implementation of a system of child protection registry levels for substantiated cases.  The rules shall address:

(1)  the length of time a person’s name appears on the registry;

(2)  when and how names are expunged from the registry;

(3)  whether the person is a juvenile or an adult;

(4)  whether the person was charged with or convicted of a criminal offense arising out of the incident of abuse or neglect; and

(5)  whether a family court has made any findings against the person.

(f)(1)  The commissioner or the commissioner’s designee may inform the following persons that a report has been substantiated:

(A)  The person responsible for supervising the staff in the child’s residential, educational or child care setting.

(B)  Upon request, to the person who made the report under subsection 4913(a) of this title.

(C)  Any person authorized by law to receive such information.

(2)  A person receiving information under this subsection shall not disclose that information to persons who are not involved with the provision of treatment services under section 4915 of this title to the abused or neglected child.

Sec. 9.  33 V.S.A. § 4916a is amended to read:

§ 4916a.  CHALLENGING PLACEMENT ON THE REGISTRY

(a)  If an investigation conducted in accordance with section 4915 4915b of this title results in a determination that a report of child abuse or neglect should be substantiated, the department shall notify the person alleged to have abused or neglected a child of the following:

(1)  The nature of the substantiation decision, and that the department intends to enter the record of the substantiation into the registry.

(2)  Who has access to registry information and under what circumstances.

(3)  The implications of having one’s name placed on the registry as it applies to employment, licensure, and registration.

(4)  The right to request a review of the substantiation determination by an administrative reviewer, the time in which the request for review shall be made, and the consequences of not seeking a review.

(5)  The right to receive a copy of the commissioner’s written findings made in accordance with subdivision 4916(a)(2) of this title if applicable.

(b)  Under this section, notice by the department to a person alleged to have abused or neglected a child shall be by first class mail sent to the person’s last known address.

(c)(1)  A person alleged to have abused or neglected a child may seek an administrative review of the department's intention to place the person's name on the registry by notifying the department within 14 days of the date the department mailed notice of the right to review in accordance with subsections (a) and (b) of this section.  The commissioner may grant an extension past the 14-day period for good cause, not to exceed 28 days after the department has mailed notice of the right to review.

(2)  The administrative review may be stayed upon request of the person alleged to have committed abuse or neglect if there is a related case pending in court.  During the period the review is stayed, the person’s name shall be placed on the registry with an additional entry that the substantiation decision has been appealed.  Any authorized individual inquiring whether the person’s name is on the registry shall be informed that the name is on the registry and the substantiation decision has been appealed.  The court where the case is being adjudicated shall inform the registry review unit when the case is concluded.

(d)  The department shall hold an administrative review conference within 14 35 days of receipt of the request for review.  At least seven ten days prior to the administrative review conference, the department shall provide to the person requesting review a copy of the redacted investigation file, notice of time and place of the conference, and conference procedures, including information that may be submitted and mechanisms for providing testimony.  The department shall also provide to the person those redacted investigation files that relate to prior investigations that the department has relied upon to make its substantiation determination in the case in which a review has been requested.

(e)  At the administrative review conference, the person who requested the review shall be provided with the opportunity to present documentary evidence or other information that supports his or her position and provides information to the reviewer in making the most accurate decision regarding the allegation.  The department shall have the burden of proving that it has accurately and reliably concluded that a reasonable person would believe that the child has been abused or neglected by that person.  Upon the person’s request, the conference may be held by teleconference.

(f)  The department shall establish an administrative case review unit within the department and contract for the services of administrative reviewers.  An administrative reviewer shall be a neutral and independent arbiter who has no prior involvement in the original investigation of the allegation. 

(g)  Within seven days of the conference, the administrative reviewer shall:

(1)  reject the department’s substantiation determination;

(2)  accept the department’s substantiation; or

(3)  place the substantiation determination on hold and direct the department to further investigate the case based upon recommendations of the reviewer.

(h)  If the administrative reviewer accepts the department’s substantiation determination, a registry record shall be made immediately.  If the reviewer rejects the department’s substantiation determination, no registry record shall be made.

(i)  Within seven days of the decision to reject or accept or to place the substantiation on hold in accordance with subsection (g) of this section, the administrative reviewer shall provide notice to the person of his or her decision.  If the administrative reviewer accepts the department's substantiation, the notice shall advise the person of the right to appeal the administrative reviewer's decision to the human services board in accordance with section 4916b of this title.

(j)  Persons whose names were placed on the registry on or after January 1, 1992 but prior to July September 1, 2007 shall be entitled to an opportunity to seek an administrative review to challenge the substantiation pursuant to this section.

(k)  If no administrative review is requested, the department’s decision in the case shall be final, and the person shall have no further right of review under this section.  The commissioner may grant a waiver and permit such a review upon good cause shown.  Good cause may include an acquittal or dismissal of a criminal charge arising from the incident of abuse or neglect.

(l)  In exceptional circumstances, the commissioner, in his or her sole and nondelegable discretion, may reconsider any decision made by a reviewer.  A commissioner’s decision that creates a registry record may be appealed to the human services board in accordance with section 4916b of this title.

Sec. 10.  33 V.S.A. § 4916c is amended to read:

§ 4916c.  PETITION FOR EXPUNGEMENT FROM THE REGISTRY

(a)  A person whose name has been placed on the registry prior to July 1, 2009 and has been listed on the registry for at least seven three years may file a written request with the commissioner, seeking a review for the purpose of expunging an individual registry record.  A person whose name has been placed on the registry on or after July 1, 2009 and has been listed on the registry for at least seven years may file a written request with the commissioner, seeking a review for the purpose of expunging an individual registry record.  The commissioner shall grant a review upon request.

(b)  The person shall have the burden of proving that a reasonable person would believe that he or she no longer presents a risk to the safety or well‑being of children.  Factors to be considered by the commissioner shall include:

(1)  The nature of the substantiation that resulted in the person’s name being placed on the registry.

(2)  The number of substantiations, if more than one.

(3)  The amount of time that has elapsed since the substantiation.

(4)  The circumstances of the substantiation that would indicate whether a similar incident would be likely to occur.

(5)  Any activities that would reflect upon the person’s changed behavior or circumstances, such as therapy, employment, or education.

(6)  References that attest to the person’s good moral character.

(c)  At the review, the person who requested the review shall be provided with the opportunity to present any evidence or other information, including witnesses, that supports his or her request for expungement.  Upon the person’s request, the review may be held by teleconference.

(d)  A person may seek a review under this section no more than once every 36 months. 

(e)  Within 30 days of the date on which the commissioner mailed notice of the decision pursuant to this section, a person may appeal the decision to the human services board.  The person shall be prohibited from challenging his or her substantiation at such hearing, and the sole issue before the board shall be whether the commissioner abused his or her discretion in denial of the petition for expungement.  The hearing shall be on the record below, and determinations of credibility of witnesses made by the commissioner shall be given deference by the board.

(f)  The department shall take steps to provide reasonable notice to persons on the registry of their right to seek an expungement under this section.  Actual notice is not required.   Reasonable steps may include activities such as the production of an informative fact sheet about the expungement process, posting of such information on the department website, and other approaches typically taken by the department to inform the public about the department’s activities and policies.  The department shall send notice of the expungement process to any person listed on the registry for whom a registry check has been requested.

Sec. 11.  33 V.S.A. § 4916d is amended to read:

§ 4916d.  AUTOMATIC EXPUNGEMENT OF REGISTRY RECORDS

  OF MINORS

Registry entries concerning a person who was substantiated for behavior occurring before the person reached 10 years of age shall be expunged when the person reaches the age of 18, provided that the person has had no additional substantiated registry entries.  A registry record shall not be made of a person substantiated for behavior occurring before the person reached 11 years of age, except in extraordinary circumstances.  A person substantiated for behavior occurring after the person reached 11 but before 18 years of age and whose name has been listed on the registry for at least three years may file a written request with the commissioner, seeking a review for the purpose of expunging an individual registry record in accordance with section 4916c of this title.  

Sec. 12.  33 V.S.A. § 4917 is amended to read:

§ 4917.  Multi-disciplinary teams; empaneling

(a)  The commissioner of social and rehabilitation services, or his or her designee may empanel a multi-disciplinary team wherever in the state there may be a probable case of child abuse or neglect which warrants the coordinated use of several professional services.

(b)  The commissioner of social and rehabilitation services, or his or her designee, in conjunction with professionals and community agencies, shall appoint members to the multi-disciplinary teams which may include persons who are trained and engaged in work relating to child abuse or neglect such as medicine, mental health, social work, nursing, day child care, education, law or law enforcement.  Additional persons may be appointed when the services of those persons are appropriate to any particular case.

(c)  The empanelling of a multi-disciplinary team shall be authorized in writing and shall specifically list the members of the team.  This list may be amended from time to time as needed as determined by the commissioner or his or her designee.

Sec. 13.  33 V.S.A. § 4918 is amended to read:

§ 4918.  Multi-disciplinary teams; functions; guidelines

(a)  Multi-disciplinary teams shall assist local district offices of the department of social and rehabilitation services in identifying and treating child abuse and or neglect cases.  With respect to any case referred to it, the team shall may assist the district office by providing:

(1)  case diagnosis or identification,;

(2)  a comprehensive treatment plan,; and

(3)  coordination of services pursuant to the treatment plan.

(b)  Multi-disciplinary teams may also provide public informational and educational services to the community about identification, treatment and prevention of child abuse and neglect.  It shall also foster communication and cooperation among professionals and organizations in its community, and provide such recommendations or changes in service delivery as it deems necessary.

Sec. 14.  33 V.S.A. § 4919 is amended to read:

§ 4919.  DISCLOSURE OF INFORMATION REGISTRY RECORDS

(a)  The commissioner or the commissioner’s designee may disclose a registry information record only as set forth in section 4916 of this title or as follows:

(1)  To the state’s attorney or the attorney general;.

(2)  To the owner or operator of a facility regulated by the department for the purpose of informing the owner or operator that employment of a specific individual may result in loss of license or, registration, certification, or authorization as set forth in section 309 of this title;.

(3)  To an employer if such information is used to determine whether to hire or retain a specific individual providing care, custody, treatment, transportation, or supervision of children or vulnerable adults.  The employer may submit a request concerning a current employee, volunteer, grantee, or contractor or an individual to whom the employer has given a conditional offer of a contract, volunteer position, or employment.  The request shall be accompanied by a release signed by the current or prospective employee, volunteer, grantee, or contractor.  If that individual has a record of a substantiated report, the commissioner shall provide the registry record to the employer;.  The employer shall not disclose the information contained in the registry report.

(4)  To the commissioner commissioners of disabilities, aging, and independent living, and of mental health, or the commissioner’s designee their designees, for purposes related to the licensing or registration of facilities regulated by the department of disabilities, aging, and independent living; those departments.

(5)  To the commissioner commissioners of health or, of disabilities, aging, and independent living, and of mental health, or the commissioner’s designee their designees, for purposes related to oversight and monitoring of persons who are served by or compensated with funds provided by the departments of health and of disabilities, aging, and independent living, those departments, including persons to whom a conditional offer of employment has been made;.

(6)  Upon request or when relevant to other states’ adult protective services offices; and.

(7)  Upon request or when relevant to other states’ child protection agencies.

(8)  To the person substantiated for child abuse and neglect who is the subject of the record.

(b)  An employer providing transportation services to children or vulnerable adults may disclose registry records obtained pursuant to subdivision (a)(3) of this section to the agency of human services or its designee for the sole purpose of auditing the records to ensure compliance with this subchapter.  An employer shall provide such records at the request of the agency or its designee.  Only registry records regarding individuals who provide direct transportation services or otherwise have direct contact with children or vulnerable adults may be disclosed.

(c)  Volunteers shall be considered employees for purposes of this section.

(d)  Disclosure of registry records or information or other records used or obtained in the course of providing services to prevent child abuse or neglect or to treat abused or neglected children and their families by one member of a multidisciplinary team to another member of that team shall not subject either member of the multidisciplinary team, individually, or the team as a whole, to any civil or criminal liability notwithstanding any other provision of law.

(e)  “Employer,” as used in this section, means a person or organization who employs or contracts with one or more individuals to care for or provide transportation services to children or vulnerable adults, on either a paid or volunteer basis. 

(f)  In no event shall registry records be made available for employment purposes other than as set forth in this subsection, or for credit purposes.  Any person who violates this subsection shall be fined not more than $500.00.

(g)  Nothing in this subsection shall limit the department’s right to use and disclose information from its records as provided in section 4921 of this chapter.

Sec. 15.  33 V.S.A. § 4920 is amended to read:

§ 4920.  Retaliatory action by employer prohibited

An employer or supervisor shall not discharge, demote, transfer, reduce pay, benefits or work privileges, prepare a negative work performance evaluation or take any other action detrimental to any employee because that employee filed a good faith report in accordance with the provisions of this subchapter. Any person making a report under this subchapter shall have a civil cause of action for appropriate compensatory and punitive damages against any person who causes detrimental changes in the employment status of the reporting party by reason of his or her making a report.

Sec. 16.  33 V.S.A. § 4921 is added to read:

§ 4921.  Department’s Records of abuse and neglect

(a)  The commissioner shall maintain all records of all investigations, assessments, reviews, and responses initiated under this subchapter.  The department may use and disclose information from such records in the usual course of its business, including to assess future risk to children, to provide appropriate services to the child or members of the child’s family, or for other legal purposes.

(b)  The commissioner shall promptly inform the parents, if known, or guardian of the child that a report has been accepted as a valid allegation pursuant to subsection 4915(b) of this title and the department’s response to the report.  The department shall inform the parent or guardian of his or her ability to request records pursuant to subsection (c) of this section.

(c)  Upon request, the redacted investigation file shall be disclosed to:

(1)  the child’s parents, foster parent, or guardian, absent good cause shown by the department, provided that the child’s parent, foster parent, or guardian is not the subject of the investigation; and

(2)  the person alleged to have abused or neglected the child, as provided for in subsection 4916a(d) of this title.

(d)  Upon request, department records created under this subchapter shall be disclosed to:

(1)  the court, parties to the juvenile proceeding, and the child’s guardian ad litem if there is a pending juvenile proceeding or if the child is in the custody of the commissioner;

(2)  the commissioner or person designated by the commissioner to receive such records; 

(3)  persons assigned by the commissioner to conduct investigations;

(4)  law enforcement officers engaged in a joint investigation with the department, an assistant attorney general, or a state’s attorney;

(5)  other state agencies conducting related inquiries or proceedings; and 

(6)  probate courts involved in guardianship proceedings.  The probate court shall provide a copy of the record to the respondent, the respondent’s attorney, the petitioner, the guardian upon appointment, and any other individual, including the proposed guardian, determined by the court to have a strong interest in the welfare of the respondent.

(e)(1)  Upon request, relevant department records created under this subchapter may be disclosed to:

(A)  service providers working with a person or child who is the subject of the report; and

(B)  other governmental entities for purposes of child protection.

(2)  Determinations of relevancy shall be made by the department.

Sec. 17.  33 V.S.A. § 4922 is added to read:

§ 4922.  RULEMAKING

(a)  The commissioner shall develop rules to implement this subchapter. These shall include:

 (1)  rules setting forth criteria for determining whether to conduct an assessment or an investigation;

(2)  rules setting out procedures for assessment and service delivery;

(3)  rules outlining procedures for investigations;

(4)  rules for conducting the administrative review conference;

(5)  rules regarding access to and maintenance of department records of investigations, assessments, reviews, and responses;

(6)  rules regarding the tiered registry as required by section 4916 of this title; and

(7)  rules setting forth criteria for determining what substantiated behavior constitutes extraordinary circumstances for the purpose of placing the name of a person under 11 years of age on the child protection registry.

(b)  The rules shall strike an appropriate balance between protecting children and respecting the rights of a parent or guardian, including a parent or guardian with disabilities, and shall recognize that persons with a disability can be successful parents.  The rules shall include the possible use of adaptive equipment and supports.

(c)  These rules shall be adopted no later than July 1, 2009.

Sec. 18.  33 V.S.A. § 4923 is added to read:

§ 4923.  REPORTING

The commissioner shall publish an annual report regarding reports of child abuse and neglect no later than June 30, for the previous year.  The report shall include:

(1)  The number of reports accepted as valid allegations of child abuse or neglect.

(2)  The number of reports that resulted in an investigative response; particularly:

(A)  the number of investigations which resulted in a substantiation;

(B)  the types of maltreatment substantiated;

(C)  the relationship of the perpetrator to the victim, by category; and

(D)  the gender and age group of the substantiated victims.

(3)  The number of reports that resulted in an assessment response; particularly:

(A)  the general types of maltreatment alleged in cases which received an assessment response; and

(B)  the number of assessments that resulted in the recommendation of services.

(4)  Trend information over a five-year period.  Beginning with the adoption of the assessment response and continuing over the next five years, the report shall explain the impact of the assessment response on statistical reporting.

Sec. 19.  EFFECTIVE DATES

(a)  Sec. 3 of this act shall take effect on January 1, 2009.

(b)  In Sec. 5 of this act, the amendments in 33 V.S.A. § 4915(b), (c), (d), and (e) shall take effect upon adoption of final rules by the department for children and families.

(c)  Sec. 6 of this act shall take effect upon adoption of final rules by the department for children and families.

(d)  Sec. 9 of this act shall take effect on September 1, 2008.

Sec. 20.  DEPARTMENT FOR CHILDREN AND FAMILIES–FAMILY SERVICES

The establishment of twelve (12) classified service positions-social worker-is authorized in fiscal year 2009.  These positions shall be supported with funds from the existing appropriation.

(Committee Vote: 6-0-0)

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

The Committee recommends that the proposal of amendment of the Committee on Health and Welfare be amended by striking out Sec. 20 in its entirety.

(Committee Vote: 5-0-2)

(For House amendments, see House Journal for March 21. 2008, page 656;  March 25, 2008, page 739.)

H. 709

An act relating to campgrounds.

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

The Committee recommends that the Senate propose to the House to amend the bill by adding a new Sec. 3 to read as follows:

Sec. 3.  Chapter 138. Campgrounds is added to Title 9, to read as follows:

Chapter 138. CAMPGROUNDS

§4470.  CAMPGROUNDS; REMOVAL

(a)  Definition.  A recreational campground or camping park is property where transient residence is offered or provided for seasonal or short-term vacation or recreational purposes on which may be located cabins, tents, or lean-tos or campsites designed for temporary set-up of portable or mobile camping, recreational, or travel dwelling units including tents, campers, and recreational vehicles such as motor homes, travel trailers, truck campers, and van campers.

(b)  An owner, operator, or agent of a recreational campground or camping park may remove or cause to be removed from a recreational campground or camping park any person who does any of the following:

(1)  refuses to pay registration or fees;

(2)  denies others the right to quiet enjoyment of the use of the recreational campground or camping park;

(3)  violates any municipal or state law; or

(4)  violates the published or posted rules of the recreational campground or camping park.

(c)  A person who refuses to immediately leave the property after he or she has been told to do so by the owner, operator, or agent shall be in violation of 13 V.S.A. §3705(a) and may be prosecuted for unlawful trespass.  If any conduct involves the use of a motor vehicle, the person may be prosecuted for any applicable violation of Title 23.  For the purposes of this section, the property on which a campground or camp park is located shall be considered open to the free flow and circulation of traffic.  The person may be removed from the premises by a law enforcement officer on request of the owner, operator, or agent.

(d)  The owner, operator, or agent shall employ reasonable means to protect any personal property left at a campground or camping park by a person who has left or has been removed.  A reasonable storage fee which is published or posted may be charged for any personal property left at the campground or camping park.  If the owner does not take possession of the personal property within six months of the date the property has been left at the campground, the owner, operator or agent may dispose of it in a commercial reasonable manner and then pay to the owner the sale proceeds less any storage and sales fees incurred.

(Committee Vote: 5-0-0)

(For House amendments, see House Journal for February 28, 2008, page 411.)

H. 776

An act relating to computation of the basic needs budget and the livable wage.

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

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

First:  In Sec. 1, in 2 V.S.A. § 505(b), by adding before the final period the following:

.  This calculation may serve as an additional indicator of wage and other economic conditions in the state and shall not be considered official state guidance on wages or other forms of compensation.

Second:  In Sec. 2, by striking out subsection (b) and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

(b)  The basic needs budget technical advisory council shall consist of eight members, who shall serve from July 1, 2008, until January 15, 2009, when the basic needs budget and livable wage report is issued.  Members of the council shall include:

(1)  One member appointed by the speaker of the house who shall be co‑chair and of a different political party from the legislative member appointed under subdivision (2) of this subsection.

(2)  One member appointed by the senate president pro tempore who shall be co-chair and of a different political party from the legislative member appointed under subdivision (1) of this subsection.

(3)  One member jointly appointed by the speaker of the house and the president pro tempore of the senate who may be from either chamber of the legislature.

(4)  Five additional members with expertise and experience with the data and methodology used to calculate the basic needs budgets and who shall include a representative of each of the following selected by the organization:

(A)  The Vermont sustainable jobs fund.

(B)  The Vermont small business development center.

(C)  The agency of human services planning division.

(D)  The department of labor, economic and labor market information division.

(E)  The Vermont society for human resources management.

Third:  In Sec. 2, by striking out subsection (d) in its entirety.

(Committee Vote: 5-0-0)

(For House amendments, see House Journal for March 18, 2008, page 597.)

Proposed Amendment To The Constitution

PROPOSAL 1

(Third day on Notice Calendar pursuant to Rule 77)

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

Subject:  General assembly; organizational session.

The Committee recommends that the proposal be amended by striking out the proposal in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

PROPOSAL 1

Sec. 1.  PURPOSE

This proposal would amend the Constitution of the State of Vermont to provide for an organizational session of the Vermont General Assembly on the first Wednesday in December following each general election for the exclusive purposes of organization, swearing in of members, and selection of officers.

Sec. 2.  Section 7 of Chapter II of the Vermont Constitution is amended to read:

§ 7.  [ORGANIZATIONAL AND BIENNIAL SESSIONS]

On the first Wednesday in December following each general election, the General Assembly shall meet for one day for an organizational session for the exclusive purposes of organizing, swearing in members, and selecting officers.

The General Assembly shall meet biennially, for the commencement of a biennial session, on the first Wednesday next after the first Monday of January, beginning in A.D. 1915.

Sec. 3.  Section 17 of Chapter II of the Vermont Constitution is amended to read:

§ 17.  [OATH OF SENATORS AND REPRESENTATIVES]

The Representatives having met on the day appointed by law for the commencement of a biennial session of the General Assembly, and chosen their Speaker, and the Senators having met, shall, before they proceed to business, take and subscribe the following oath, in addition to the oath prescribed in the foregoing section oaths:

You do solemnly swear (or affirm) that you did not at the time of your election to this body, and that you do not now, hold any office of profit or trust under the authority of Congress. So help you God.  (Or in case of an affirmation) Under the pains and penalties of perjury.  The words “office of profit or trust under the authority of Congress” shall be construed to mean any office created directly or indirectly by Congress, and for which emolument is provided from the Treasury of the United States, other than that of a member of the commissioned or enlisted personnel in the reserve components of the armed forces of the United States while not on extended active duty.

You do solemnly swear (or affirm) that as a member of this Assembly, you will not propose, or assent to, any bill, vote, or resolution, which shall appear to you injurious to the people, nor do or consent to any act or thing whatever, that shall have a tendency to lessen or abridge their rights and privileges, as declared by the Constitution of this State; but will, in all things, conduct yourself as a faithful, honest Representative and guardian of the people, according to the best of your judgment and ability.  So help you God. (Or in the case of an affirmation) Under the pains and penalties of perjury.

You do solemnly swear (or affirm) that you will be true and faithful to the State of Vermont, and that you will not, directly or indirectly, do any act or thing injurious to the Constitution or Government thereof.  So help you God. (Or in case of an affirmation) Under the pains and penalties of perjury.

Sec. 4.  Section 46 of Chapter II of the Vermont Constitution is amended to read:

§ 46.  [TERMS OF SENATORS AND REPRESENTATIVES]

The term of office of Senators and Representatives shall be two years, commencing on the first Wednesday next after the first Monday of January in December following their election.

Sec. 5.  REPEAL

Chapter II § 16 of the Vermont Constitution (oath for members of the House of Representatives) is repealed.

Sec. 6.  EFFECTIVE DATE; TRANSITION

This proposal of amendment shall take effect from the date of its approval by a majority vote of the voters of the state.  The term of office of senators and representatives elected in the general election in November 2010 shall terminate on the first Tuesday of December 2012, and the term of office of senators and representatives elected in the general election in November 2012 shall convene on the first Wednesday in December 2012.

(Committee vote:  5-0-0)

Proposed Amendment to the Constitution

PROPOSAL 5

(Second day on Notice Calendar pursuant to Rule 77)

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

Subject:  Elections; Voter’s oath; self-administration.

The Committee recommends that the proposal be amended by striking out the proposal in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

PROPOSAL 5

Sec. 1.  PURPOSE

This proposal would amend the Constitution of the State of Vermont to provide that a person who will attain the age of 18 by the date of the general election shall have the right to vote in the primary election.

Sec. 2.  Section 42 of Chapter II of the Vermont Constitution is amended to read:

§ 42.  [Voter’s qualifications and oath]

Every person of the full age of eighteen years who is a citizen of the United States, having resided in this State for the period established by the General Assembly and who is of a quiet and peaceable behavior, and will take the following oath or affirmation, shall be entitled to all the privileges of a voter of this state:

You solemnly swear (or affirm) that whenever you give your vote or suffrage, touching any matter that concerns the State of Vermont, you will do it so as in your conscience you shall judge will most conduce to the best good of the same, as established by the Constitution, without fear or favor of any person.

Every person who will attain the full age of eighteen years by the date of the general election who is a citizen of the United States, having resided in this State for the period established by the General Assembly and who is of a quiet and peaceable behavior, and will take the oath or affirmation set forth in this section, shall be entitled to vote in the primary election.

Sec. 3.  EFFECTIVE DATE

This proposal of amendment shall take effect from the date of its approval by a majority vote of the voters of the state.

(Committee vote: 5-0-0)

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. 108

An act relating to the election of U.S. Representative and U.S. Senator by the instant runoff voting method.

PENDING QUESTION:  Shall the bill pass, notwithstanding the refusal of the Governor to approve 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?

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.

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).

136.  Management of Stormwater Impaired Waters Annual Report. (Agency of Natural Resources, Department of Environmental Conservation).  (April 2008).

INFORMATION NOTICE

The following item was recently received by the Joint Fiscal Committee:

JFO #2323 –– $250,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to the Department of Education.  These grant funds will be used to provide fresh fruit and vegetable snacks to students at 25 schools.  [JFO received 04/09/08]



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