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Journal of the House

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FRIDAY, JANUARY 26, 2007

At nine o'clock and thirty minutes in the forenoon the Speaker called the House to order.

Devotional Exercises

Devotional exercises were conducted by Reverend Harold Harrison of the Vermont Conference United Church of Christ, Springfield.

Memorial Service

The Speaker placed before the House the following name of a member of past sessions of the Vermont General Assembly who had passed away recently:

John P. Hoffman of Waterbury              Sessions of 1977 and 1979

Thereupon, the members of the House rose for a moment of prayer in memory of the deceased member.  The Clerk was thereupon directed to send a copy of the House Journal to the bereaved family.

Message from the Senate No. 12

     A message was received from the Senate by Mr. Marshall, its Assistant Secretary, as follows:

Madam Speaker:

I am directed to inform the House that the Senate has considered House proposal of amendment to joint resolution of the following title:

J.R.S. 8.  Joint resolution urging Congress to appropriate as quickly as possible federal funds for payments of agricultural disaster relief to Vermont’s financially pressed farmers.

And has concurred therein

Message from the Senate No. 13

     A message was received from the Senate by Mr. Marshall, its Assistant Secretary, as follows:

Madam Speaker:

     I am directed to inform the House that the Senate has on its part adopted a joint resolution of the following title:

J.R.S. 10.  Joint resolution relating to weekend adjournment.

In the adoption of which the concurrence of the House is requested.

Judicial Nominating Board Elected

     The Speaker nominated the following named members to the Judicial Nominating Board:

          Rep. Marek of Newfane

          Rep. Pellet of Chester

          Rep. Clark of Vergennes

     Rep. Partridge of Windham moved the election of the nominees of the Speaker.  Which was agreed to.

House Bills Introduced

House bills of the following titles were severally introduced.  Pending first reading of the bills, on motion of Rep. Adams of Hartland, the rules were suspended and the bills were read the first time by number and referred as follows:

                                                           H. 126

     By Reps. Koch of Barre Town, Canfield of Fair Haven, Chen of Mendon, Donahue of Northfield, Errecart of Shelburne, Fallar of Tinmouth, Fisher of Lincoln, Frank of Underhill, Haas of Rochester, Kupersmith of S. Burlington, McFaun of Barre Town, Pillsbury of Brattleboro, Randall of Troy, Sweaney of Windsor and Turner of Milton,

An act relating to distracted driving;

To the committee on Judiciary

                                                           H. 127

     By Reps. Klein of East Montpelier, Cheney of Norwich, Clarkson of Woodstock, Deen of Westminster, Edwards of Brattleboro, Jewett of Ripton, Maier of Middlebury, Masland of Thetford, McCullough of Williston, Pellett of Chester, Peltz of Woodbury, Spengler of Colchester, Trombley of Grand Isle, Weston of Burlington and Zuckerman of Burlington,

An act relating to revising the retail electric providers’ portfolio standards so that at least 25 percent of the state’s total electrical energy load as of 2012 and 40 percent of the state’s total electrical load as of 2018 will be met by renewable energy resources;

To the committee on Natural Resources and Energy.

H. 128

     By Rep. Copeland-Hanzas of Bradford,

     An act relating to approval of an amendment to the charter of the town of Bradford;

     To the committee on Government Operations.

H. 129

By Reps. Donahue of Northfield, Grad of Moretown and Koch of Barre Town,

An act relating to absentee ballot confidentiality;

To the committee on Government Operations.

H. 130

By Rep. winters of Williamstown,

An act relating to purchase and use tax exemption for transfer to a controlled business entity;

To the committee on Ways and Means.

H. 131

By Rep. Randall of Troy,

An act relating to approval of an amendment to the charter of the village of North Troy;

To the committee on Government Operations.

H. 132

By Reps. Rodgers of Glover and Morley of Barton,

An act relating to composting toilets;

To the committee on Fish, Wildlife and Water Resources.

H. 133

     By Reps. Randall of Troy, Courcelle of Rutland City, Deen of Westminster, Hosford of Waitsfield, Jewett of Ripton, McCullough of Williston, Pearson of Burlington and Stevens of Shoreham,

An act relating to directing state agencies and institutions to procure Vermont agricultural products;

To the committee on  Agriculture.

H. 134

By Rep. Deen of Westminster,

An act relating to unsolicited e-mail advertising;

To the committee on Commerce.

H. 135

By Reps. Rodgers of Glover and Myers of Essex,

An act relating to increasing the age for mandatory participation in the corrections system education program;

To the committee on Institutions.

H. 136

By Rep. Deen of Westminster,

An act relating to the sale of mercury-added products;

To the committee on Fish, Wildlife and Water Resources.

H. 137

     By Reps. Fisher of Lincoln, Donahue of Northfield, Fallar of Tinmouth, O’Donnell of Vernon, Koch of Barre Town, Nease of Johnson, Pugh of S. Burlington,

An act relating to the restoration of a department of mental health and a commissioner of mental health;

To the committee on Government Operations.

H. 138

     By Reps. Jerman of Essex, Clarkson of Woodstock, Deen of Westminster, Donovan of Burlington, Frank of Underhill, French of Randolph, Haas of Rochester, Jewett of Ripton, Johnson of South Hero, Krawczyk of Bennington, Malcolm of Pawlet, Mook of Bennington, Potter of Clarendon, Stevens of Shoreham and Trombley of Grand Isle,

An act relating to providing medical services to members of the military exposed to hazardous materials during military service;

To the committee on General, Housing and Military Affairs.

H. 139

By Rep. Branagan of Georgia

An act relating to permitting selectboards to spend gifts and grants;

To the committee on Government Operations.

H. 140

     By Reps. Sharpe of Bristol, Donaghy of Poultney, Howard of Rutland City, Masland of Thetford, Nuovo of Middlebury, Perry of Richford and Winters of Williamstown,

An act relating to sharing fines with municipalities and sheriffs’ departments;

To the committee on Judiciary.

H. 141

By Reps. Masland of Thetford and Flory of Pittsford,

An act relating to responsibilities order; best interests of the child;

To the committee on Judiciary.

H. 142

By Reps. Masland of Thetford, Botzow of Pownal, McCullough of Williston and Shand of Weathersfield,

An act relating to assaults on emergency medical personnel;

To the committee on Judiciary.

H. 143

     By Reps. Sharpe of Bristol, Deen of Westminster, Edwards of Brattleboro, French of Randolph, Hosford of Waitsfield and Masland of Thetford,

An act relating to the idling of motor vehicles;

To the committee on Natural Resources and Energy.

H. 144

By Reps. Randall of Troy, McCullough of Williston and Pearson of Burlington,

An act relating to free veterans’ hunting and fishing licenses;

To the committee on Fish, Wildlife and Water Resources.

H. 145

     By Reps. Wright of Burlington, Branagan of Georgia, Canfield of Fair Haven, Errecart of Shelburne, Flory of Pittsford, Komline of Dorset, Larrabee of Danville, LaVoie of Swanton, McAllister of Highgate, Sunderland of Rutland Town and Turner of Milton,

An act relating to a citizens’ initiative process;

To the committee on Government Operations.

H. 146

By Rep. Shand of Weathersfield,

An act relating to reclaiming and resurfacing town highway 7 in Weathersfield and Springfield;

To the committee on Transportation.

H. 147

     By Reps. Trombley of Grand Isle, Lorber of Burlington, Weston of Burlington, Canfield of Fair Haven, Cheney of Norwich, Condon of Colchester, Consejo of Sheldon, Edwards of Brattleboro, Godin of Milton, Howrigan of Fairfield, Johnson of South Hero, Larson of Burlington, Mitchell of Barnard, Nuovo of Middlebury and Spengler of Colchester ,

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

To the committee on Fish, Wildlife and Water Resources.

H. 148

By Reps. Grad of Moretown, Gervais of Enosburg and Pellett of Chester,

An act relating to the child abuse registry;

To the committee on Human Services.

H. 149

By Rep. Wright of Burlington,

An act relating to liquor identification and tobacco licenses;

To the committee on General, Housing and Military Affairs.

H. 150

By Reps. Krawczyk of Bennington and Morrissey of Bennington,

An act relating to disabled veterans’ property tax exemption;

To the committee on Government Operations.

H. 151

     By Reps. Weston of Burlington, Trombley of Grand Isle, Lorber of Burlington, Godin of Milton, Canfield of Fair Haven, Cheney of Norwich, Consejo of Sheldon, Edwards of Brattleboro, Johnson of South Hero and Masland of Thetford,

An act relating to limiting the application of granular fertilizers to nonagricultural turf;

To the committee on Fish, Wildlife and Water Resources.

H. 152

By Reps. Pillsbury of Brattleboro, Edwards of Brattleboro and Milkey of Brattleboro,

An act relating to nuisance suits involving photographic surveillance;

To the committee on Judiciary.

H. 153

By Reps. Ainsworth of Royalton, Bray of New Haven, Larrabee of Danville, Malcolm of Pawlet and Stevens of Shoreham,

An act relating to elimination of the rule prohibiting small businesses from buying health insurance unless 75 percent of employees enroll;

To the committee on Health Care.

H. 154

     By Reps. Kupersmith of S. Burlington, Pugh of S. Burlington, Audette of S. Burlington, Head of S. Burlington, Deen of Westminster and McCullough of Williston,

An act relating to stormwater management;

To the committee on Fish, Wildlife and Water Resources.

H. 155

     By Reps. Edwards of Brattleboro, Milkey of Brattleboro, O’Donnell of Vernon, Pillsbury of Brattleboro and Rodgers of Glover,

An act relating to the creation of planned unit development distributed power systems;

To the committee on Natural Resources and Energy.

H. 156

     By Reps. Edwards of Brattleboro, Milkey of Brattleboro and Pillsbury of Brattleboro,

An act relating to approval of an amendment to the charter of the town of Brattleboro,

To the committee on Government Operations.

H. 157

     By Reps. Livingston of Manchester, Baker of West Rutland, Bissonnette of Winooski, Brooks of Montpelier, Consejo of Sheldon, Corcoran of Bennington, Fitzgerald of    St. Albans City, Helm of Castleton, Hube of Londonderry, Kitzmiller of Montpelier, Komline of Dorset, Larocque of Barnet, Marek of Newfane, McAllister of Highgate, Morley of Barton, Morrissey of Bennington, O'Donnell of Vernon, Scheuermann of Stowe, Shand of Weathersfield, Sunderland of Rutland Town, Valliere of Barre City and Wright of Burlington,

An act relating to home-fermented beverage competitions;

To the committee on General, Housing and Military Affairs.

House Resolution Placed on Calendar

H.R. 8

The committee on House Rules offered a House resolution, entitled

House resolution relating to House Rules;

     Resolved by the House of Representatives:

     That House Rule 70 be amended to read as follows:

     Explanations of votes will be allowed only after the roll call is complete and immediately before the result thereof is announced.  Explanations shall be submitted immediately to the Clerk in writing.  It is generally recognized that vote explanations should be rare and brief.  Only those explanations of fifty words or less will be printed in the House Journal.

Which was read and, in the Speaker’s discretion, placed on the Calendar for action tomorrow under Rule 52.

Joint Resolution Adopted in Concurrence

J.R.S. 10

Joint resolution, entitled

Joint resolution relating to weekend adjournment;

By Senator Shumlin,

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

That when the two Houses adjourn on Friday, January 26, 2007, it be to meet again no later than Tuesday, January 30, 2007.

Was taken up read and adopted in concurrence.

Joint Energy Oversight Committee Announced

     The Speaker announced the following named members to the Judicial Nominating Board;

          Rep. Dostis of Waterbury

          Rep. Errecart of Shelburne

          Rep. Klein of East Montpelier

          Rep. Morley of Barton

Bill Committed

H. 88

House bill, entitled

An act relating to education property tax rate adjustments;

Appearing on the Calendar for action, was taken up and pending the reading of the report of the committee on Ways and Means, on motion of Rep. Peterson of Williston, the bill was committed to the committee on Appropriations.

Third Reading; Bills Passed

The following bills were severally taken up, read the third time and passed.

H. 19

House bill, entitled

An act relating to approval of amendment to the charter of the city of St. Albans;

H. 23

House bill, entitled

     An act relating to approval of amendments to the charter of the town of Stowe.

Sexual Harassment Panel Appointed;

Policy and Procedure Adopted

     Sexual harassment Panel was appointed.  Policy and procedure was adopted by the House Rules committee pursuant to House rule 90.

Vermont House of Representatives 2007

Sexual Harassment Policy

It is the policy of the Vermont House of Representatives to provide a professional working environment free from discrimination.  Therefore, without qualification, the harassment of anyone on the basis of sex is prohibited.

Scope of Policy

This policy covers the conduct of members of the House of Representatives and employees.  The policy extends to the staff of the Legislature and members of the public, including lobbyists and members of the press, who allege sexual harassment.

Sexual harassment violates a person's basic civil rights, undermines the integrity of the workplace or work environment and may adversely affect workers and citizens, whether or not they are the direct subjects of the harassment.  Sexual harassment may be verbal, physical, auditory or visual, subtle or overt.  Sexual harassment is behavior which is not only unwelcome, but may also be personally offensive.  Such behavior demonstrates a lack of respect for the rights of others, lowers moral, interferes with work effectiveness and violates a person's sense of well-being.  Men or women may be victims of sexual harassment which may occur between equals as well as when one person has authority, or the appearance of authority, over another.

Sexual harassment, a form of sex discrimination, is prohibited by both state and federal law, therefore it is the duty of each House member and the Clerk of the House to provide a workplace free from harassment.  This duty involves informing all employees and House members of this policy and that they are not required to endure sexual harassment, that such harassment is illegal and prohibited, that the sexual harassment policy will be enforced by speedy and impartial investigation of all complaints.

 

Definition of Sexual Harassment

"Sexual harassment" is a form of sex discrimination and means unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when it occurs under one or more of the following circumstances:

1.  submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of employment;

2. submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions of such individual, whether or not the harasser is the employer;

3.  such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's or employee's work performance or of creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment.

Examples of sexual harassment include, but are not limited to, the following when the acts or behavior come within one of the above definitions:

- either explicitly or implicitly conditioning any term of employment (e.g. continued employment, wages, evaluation, advancement, assigned duties or shifts) on the provision of sexual favors;

- touching or grabbing a sexual part of a person's body;

-  touching or grabbing any part of a person's body after that person has indicated that such physical contact is unwelcome;

-  continuing to ask a person to socialize on or off-duty when that person has indicated a lack of interest;

-  displaying or transmitting sexually suggestive pictures, objects, cartoons, posters or other visual matter if it is known or should be known that the behavior is unwelcome;

-  continuing to write sexually suggestive notes or letters if it is known or should be known that the person does not welcome such behavior;

-  referring to or calling a person a sexualized name if it is known or should be known that the person does not welcome such behavior;

-  regularly telling sexual jokes or using sexually vulgar or explicit language in the presence of a person if it is known or should be known that the person does not welcome such behavior;

-  retaliation of any kind for having filed or supported a complaint of sexual harassment (e.g. ostracizing the person, pressuring the person to drop or not support the complaint, adversely altering that person's duties or work environment);

-  derogatory or provocative remarks about or relating to a person's sex or sexual orientation;

-  harassing acts or behavior directed against a person on the basis of the person's sex or sexual orientation;

-  off-duty conduct which falls within the above definitions and affects the work environment.

Confidentiality

All investigations and efforts to resolve complaints under this procedure shall be conducted with as much confidentiality as possible without compromising the thoroughness of the investigation.  The complaint procedure is designed to encourage the reporting of all incidents of sexual harassment by assuring confidentiality to the extent possible to protect the reputation of victims and anyone wrongfully accused and by prohibiting retaliation against anyone who files a complaint.  Confidentiality cannot be assured if a person  uses another  forum to report or defend against a sexual harassment complaint.  Notice will be given to anyone who is the subject of an investigation of a sexual harassment complaint.

Filing a Complaint

Anyone who believes that they have been sexually harassed by a member or an employee of the House has a number of avenues of resolution.  Such a person is encouraged to informally address the problem by confronting the individual or having another person intervene to stop the offending behavior.  This policy provides for a procedure if other options are ineffective or the person chooses not to attempt informal resolution.

A person may make a complaint to a member of the House Sexual Harassment Panel (SHP), who will thoroughly explain the complaint process and other options for resolution.  If the person decides to pursue a complaint, it shall be made in writing and filed with the SHP which will investigate and take steps to resolve the situation with as much confidentiality as possible.

If any party to the complaint is dissatisfied with the resolution proposed by the SHP, the dissatisfied party may request the House Rules Committee to review the actions of the SHP.

Although persons affected by sexual harassment by members of the House or its employees are encouraged to utilize this procedure, a complaint may also be made to court through a private attorney or to any of the following:

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), 1 Congress St., Boston, MA, 02114, tel (617) 565-3200

Human Rights Commission, 133 State St., Montpelier, VT  05602, tel. (802) 828-2480

Vermont Attorney General, Civil Rights Unit, 109 State St., Montpelier, VT   05602   tel. (802) 828-3171

Vermont Labor Relations Board, 13 Baldwin St., Montpelier, VT  05602   tel. (802) 828-2700

Training and Information

The House of Representatives is committed to providing a working environment free from sexual harassment.  To that end, it is crucial that the members and employees of the House are provided with training so that they will understand, comply with, and if required, administer this policy.  Also, this policy and other supporting documents shall be included in all orientation and informational materials.  The Speaker and the Clerk of the House will ensure that House members and employees are informed of this policy and the procedures for reporting sexual harassment.  The Speaker will ensure that training is made available to members and employees and that information is disseminated.  Members of the Sexual Harassment Panel may receive additional training so they can carry out their responsibilities.

PROCEDURE

Scope

This procedure is available to any person who claims to have been sexually harassed by a member, officer or employee of the House of Representatives in the course of legislative business and will apply to complaints of retaliation or failure to comply with a previous resolution of a sexual harassment complaint.

Formal Procedure

This procedure is initiated by contacting the SHP or an individual member of the panel.

The person shall receive information about how to file a complaint and other information about the process, including options for resolution.  Upon receipt of a written complaint, a confidential investigation shall be conducted by the panel or by a designated panel member.

The investigation must be initiated within 48 hours of receipt of the written complaint and concluded within two weeks.  The person making the complaint shall be kept informed of the progress of the investigation.  The subject of the complaint will be notified when it is appropriate.

At the conclusion of the investigation, the SHP will determine whether sexual harassment has occurred and, if so, will propose a recommendation for resolution.  The report will be in writing.

If the matter is not resolved by the SHP, it will be referred to the Rules Committee.  The Rules Committee will review the report and the recommendation for resolution by the SHP and make its own recommendation for an appropriate resolution.  The Rules Committee shall take the steps necessary to implement a proposed resolution which requires action by the House.

Confidentiality

All actions of the SHP are confidential.  Except as otherwise provided in the rules of the House, actions of the Rules Committee to review cases referred by the panel are also confidential.

Records of sexual harassment complaints filed with the SHP and written reports will be retained by the panel and accessed only with the consent of the panel.

Communications with members of the panel shall also be confidential even if a written complaint is not filed.

Sexual Harassment Panel

Rep. Nease of Johnson

Rep. Edwards of Brattleboro

Rep. Komline of Dorset

Rep. McCormack of Rutland City

Rep. Mrowicki of Putney

 

Message from the Senate No. 14

     A message was received from the Senate by Mr. Marshall, its Assistant Secretary, as follows:

Madam Speaker:

     I am directed to inform the House that the Senate has on its part adopted concurrent resolutions originating in the House of the following titles:

     H.C.R. 22.  House concurrent resolution honoring the medical career of Dr. Gilles Bouchard of Stanstead, Quebec.

     H.C.R. 23.  House concurrent resolution honoring the Republic of Vermont Celebration-Windsor Heritage Days as the 2007 official Vermont celebration of Vermont’s independence.

Adjournment

At ten o’clock  in the forenoon, on motion of Rep. Komline of Dorset, the House adjourned until Tuesday, January 30, 2007, at ten o’clock in the forenoon, pursuant to the provisions of J.R.S. 10.

 



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us