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Journal of the House

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WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2007

At three o'clock in the afternoon the Speaker called the House to order.

Devotional Exercises

Devotional exercises were conducted by Reverend Robert Butler of Macedonia Baptist Church, Plainfield.

Oath Administered to Sergeant At Arms

The Speaker directed the Doorkeeper to conduct Francis K. Brooks to the bar of the House where he took the subscribed oath, administered by the Clerk, as required by the Constitution and laws of the State. 

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 or placed on the Calendar as follows:

H. 413

By Reps. Brooks of Montpelier, Davis of Washington and Pearson of Burlington,

An act relating to state government privatization contracts;

To the committee on Government Operations.

H. 414

By Reps. Brooks of Montpelier, McCullough of Williston, Miller of Shaftsbury and Pearson of Burlington,

An act relating to the enforcement of unilateral rules relating to collective bargaining;

To the committee on General, Housing and Military Affairs.

H. 415

By Reps. Pearson of Burlington and Kilmartin of Newport City,

An act relating to extension of filing deadlines for homestead declarations and property tax adjustment claims;

To the committee on Ways and Means.

H. 416

By Reps. Haas of Rochester and Frank of Underhill

An act relating to the personal needs allowance for low income individuals in nursing homes, residential care homes, and assisted living residences;

To the committee on Human Services.

H. 417

By Reps. Fisher of Lincoln and Sharpe of Bristol,

An act relating to the Vermont Freedom Health Plan;

To the committee on Health Care.

H. 418

     By Reps. Sunderland of Rutland Town, Allard of St. Albans Town, Branagan of Georgia, Consejo of Sheldon, Howrigan of Fairfield and LaVoie of Swanton,

An act relating to mandatory minimum sentences for sexual offenses against a child and residence restrictions for certain sex offenders;

To the committee on Judiciary.

H. 419

     By Reps. Donovan of Burlington, Aswad of Burlington, Atkins of Winooski, Barnard of Richmond, Brooks of Montpelier, Edwards of Brattleboro, Jerman of Essex, Milkey of Brattleboro, Nuovo of Middlebury, Pearson of Burlington and Pillsbury of Brattleboro,

An act relating to establishing a statewide rental housing program to improve the quality, safety, and habitability of rental housing in Vermont;

To the committee on General, Housing and Military Affairs.

H. 420

     By Reps. Donovan of Burlington and Marcotte of Coventry,

An act relating to lifetime revocation of a hunting license of a person convicted of manslaughter by the careless and reckless use of a firearm;

To the committee on Fish, Wildlife and Water Resources.

H. 421

     By Reps. Donovan of Burlington, Edwards of Brattleboro, Hunt of Essex, Jerman of Essex, McDonald of Berlin, Miller of Shaftsbury, Nuovo of Middlebury, Pearson of Burlington and Pellett of Chester,

An act relating to safe patient handling;

To the committee on Human Services.

H. 422

     By Reps. Brooks of Montpelier, French of Randolph, Larson of Burlington and Lenes of Shelburne,

An act relating to confidentiality of medical information and parental and family leave;

To the committee on General, Housing and Military Affairs.

H. 423

     By Rep. Atkins of Winooski,

An act relating to the inclusion of state’s attorneys in Group D of the Vermont Employees’ Retirement System;

To the committee on Government Operations.

H. 424

     By Rep. Hunt of Essex,

An act relating to separation of villages from towns;

To the committee on Government Operations.

H. 425

     By Reps. Mrowicki of Putney, Deen of Westminster and Obuchowski of Rockingham,

An act relating to disabled elderly veterans’ property tax exemption;

To the committee on General, Housing and Military Affairs.

H. 426

     By Reps. Botzow of Pownal, Jerman of Essex, Johnson of South Hero, Kitzmiller of Montpelier, Livingston of Manchester and Marcotte of Coventry,

An act relating to inventors’ assistance;

To the committee on Commerce.

 

H. 427

     By Rep. Errecart of Shelburne,

An act relating to legislative compensation;

To the committee on Government Operations.

H. 428

     By Reps. Hutchinson of Randolph and French of Randolph,

An act relating to the local match for a bridge project in Randolph;

To the committee on Transportation.

H. 429

     By Reps. Errecart of Shelburne and Dostis of Waterbury,

An act relating to underground and aboveground storage tanks;

To the committee on Natural Resources and Energy.

H. 430

     By Rep. Howard of Rutland City,

An act relating to tax credit for hiring released prisoners;

To the committee on Ways and Means.

H. 431

     By Reps. Hutchinson of Randolph and French of Randolph,

An act relating to the authority of the Orange county assistant judges to borrow funds to purchase land;

To the committee on Government Operations.

H. 432

     By Rep. Larson of Burlington,

An act establishing Juneteenth National Freedom Day;

To the committee on General, Housing and Military Affairs.

H. 433

     By the committee on Commerce,

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

     Under the rule, placed on the Calendar for notice tomorrow.

Senate Bill Referred

S. 91

Senate bill, entitled

An act relating to the Department of Banking, Insurance, Securities, and Health Care Administration;

Was taken up, read the first time and referred to the committee on Commerce.

House Resolution Referred to Committee

H.R. 12

Reps. Errecart of Shelburne, Ainsworth of Royalton, Baker of West Rutland, Canfield of Fair Haven, Clark of St. Johnsbury, Clark of Vergennes, Devereux of Mount Holly, Donahue of Northfield, Flory of Pittsford, Helm of Castleton, Hube of Londonderry, Hudson of Lyndon, Johnson of Canaan, Koch of Barre Town, Krawczyk of Bennington, Larocque of Barnet, Larrabee of Danville, LaVoie of Swanton, Lawrence of Lyndon, Livingston of Manchester, Marcotte of Coventry, McAllister of Highgate, Myers of Essex, Shaw of Derby, Sunderland of Rutland Town, Turner of Milton, Winters of Williamstown and Wright of Burlington offered a joint resolution, entitled

House resolution urging local school districts and supervisory unions to allocate 65 percent or more of their budgets to direct classroom expenditures;

Whereas, Vermont’s public education system is the cornerstone of our future economy, and

Whereas, the cost of public education in Vermont now exceeds $1.2 billion, and per-pupil spending exceeds $12,000.00 for the current fiscal year, and

Whereas, although there are basic administrative costs associated with public education, costs have grown faster than the rate of inflation and have contributed significantly to the rapid increases in education costs, and

Whereas, a recently established organization, First Class Education for Vermont (FCEVT), has proposed a 65-percent solution meaning that a minimum of a local school district’s or supervisory union’s budget would be allocated to direct classroom instruction, including teacher salaries and benefits, classroom aide salaries and benefits, instructional materials including textbooks and classroom equipment, including computers, and funding for art, music, and athletic equipment, and

Whereas, the 65-percent figure is premised on the Vermont department of education’s direct instruction column of Table 5 of the summary of statistical reports of secondary schools, and

Whereas, according to the department, the current statewide average for the allocation of local school districts’ and supervisory unions’ budgets to direct classroom instruction has shown a steady decline from 65 percent to approximately 61 percent in recent years, and

Whereas, critics of the 65-percent solution have raised a false alarm that specified expenditures that are not categorized as direct classroom costs would suffer under this proposal when in reality more than $400 million statewide would be allocated for these important services, and

Whereas, despite reports to the contrary, the 65-percent solution has strong bipartisan support and strong support from parents on a national basis, and

Whereas, even in school districts already close to the 65-percent direct classroom expenditure level, this proposal can help school board members by providing a valuable benchmark they can use to scrutinize proposals for additional staff, and

Whereas, the 65-percent solution is not a state mandate but a sensible policy proposal that school board members and voters should examine before voting on school budgets, now therefore be it

Resolved by the House of Representatives:

That this legislative body urges local school districts and supervisory unions to allocate at least 65 percent of their budgets to direct classroom expenditures,  and be it further

Resolved:  That the clerk of the house be directed to send a copy of this resolution to the state board of education, the Vermont School Boards Association, the Vermont Principals’ Association, the Vermont Superintendents’ Association, the Vermont NEA, the chairs of all Vermont school boards, and First Class Education for Vermont.

Which was read and, in the Speaker’s discretion, treated as a bill and referred to the committee on Education.

House Resolution Referred to Committee

     H.R. 13

Reps. Weston of Burlington, Barnard of Richmond, Bissonnette of Winooski, Bray of New Haven, Brooks of Montpelier, Cheney of Norwich, Clarkson of Woodstock, Condon of Colchester, Consejo of Sheldon, Deen of Westminster, Donovan of Burlington, Dostis of Waterbury, Edwards of Brattleboro, Errecart of Shelburne, Fisher of Lincoln, French of Randolph, Haas of Rochester, Heath of Westford, Komline of Dorset, Larrabee of Danville, Larson of Burlington, Leriche of Hardwick, Lippert of Hinesburg, Lorber of Burlington, Malcolm of Pawlet, Marek of Newfane, Milkey of Brattleboro, Miller of Shaftsbury, Minter of Waterbury, Mitchell of Barnard, Morrissey of Bennington, Mrowicki of Putney, Myers of Essex, Nuovo of Middlebury, Ojibway of Hartford, Orr of Charlotte, Pearson of Burlington, Pellett of Chester, Potter of Clarendon, Shand of Weathersfield, Spengler of Colchester, Trombley of Grand Isle, Zenie of Colchester and Zuckerman of Burlington offered a joint resolution, entitled

House resolution relating to the lack of compensated women on Vermont corporate boards;

Whereas, corporations play a fundamental role in the commercial life of Vermont, and

Whereas, boards of directors are the governing mechanism for many, and nearly all large, corporations, and

Whereas, in order for corporate boards to reflect the diverse social and economic perspectives in Vermont, it is important that they have equitable representation of women, and

Whereas, it is only in recent years that a greater percentage of Vermont’s corporate board membership has been comprised of women although, at 33 percent, the percentage still does not reflect the actual presence of women in the state’s population, and

Whereas, those women members who are fortunate enough to sit on a Vermont-based corporate board work as vigorously and conscientiously as their male counterparts, and

Whereas, nevertheless, according to Vermont Business Magazine’s 2006–2007 Book of Lists, women serving on Vermont corporate boards were more likely to serve on boards that do not compensate their members, and

Whereas, in percentage terms, women constituted 37 percent of the unpaid board membership while they equaled only 24 percent of the paid board members accounted for in the survey, now therefore be it

Resolved by the House of Representatives:

That this legislative body urges all Vermont corporations to recruit more women to serve on their boards of directors and especially those corporations whose boards compensate their members, and be it further

Resolved:  That the clerk of the house be directed to send a copy of this resolution to the Vermont Chamber of Commerce, to Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility, and to the Vermont Business Roundtable.

Which was read and, in the Speaker’s discretion, treated as a bill and referred to the committee on General, Housing and Military Affairs.

Remarks Journalized

On motion of Rep. O’Donnell of Vernon, the following remarks by Rep. Scheuermann of Stowe were ordered printed in the Journal:

“Madam Speaker:

I have known Kermit Spaulding all my life — as my parents' friend, a basketball referee (while a good referee, I think he called a technical foul or two on me), a sports fan and supporter, and a committed public servant to the Town of Stowe and State of Vermont. As a member of the Stowe Select Board, the Board of Civil Authority, a member of this body and the Sergeant at Arms, Kermit has always served the people of Vermont exceptionally well.

In recent years, through my adulthood, I have been fortunate to be able to call Kermit, and his wife Hazel, my friends, and I thank them for that.

On behalf of my fellow Stoweites, I say thank you Kermit for everything you have done for Stowe and for the State of Vermont.

Have a wonderful retirement.”

Remarks Journalized

On motion of Rep. Pugh of South Burlington, the following remarks by Rep. Gervais of Enosburg were ordered printed in the Journal:

“Madam Speaker:

     After being sworn in in 1997 my seatmate was Rep. Kermit Spaulding.  As I sat down he said to me “Good luck Avis as my other two seat-mates have deceased!”

     Quickly looking in my desk before heading to the Fish and Wildlife committee room and seeing all the loose paperwork and wondering what that was, needless to say, I was quite discouraged.

     The next morning upon arrival I found all the paperwork in its proper binders and Kermit there to explain what they were, plus many campaign hints.  Thanks Kermit.”

Third Reading; Bill Passed

H. 357

House bill, entitled

An act relating to registration of lobbyists;

Was taken up, read the third time and passed.

Bill Amended, Read Third Time and Passed

H. 360

House bill, entitled

An act relating to employment protection and training period for Vermont National Guard members;

Was taken up and pending third reading of the bill, Rep. Howrigan of Fairfield moved to amend the bill as follows:

by striking all after the enacting clause and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

 Sec. 1.  21 V.S.A. § 491(a) is amended to read:

(a)  Any duly qualified member of the “reserve components of the armed forces,” of the ready reserve, or an organized unit of the national guard who leaves a position other than a temporary position in the employ of any employer, for state active duty or to receive military training with the armed forces of the United States and who notifies the employer of the date of departure and date of return for purposes of military training 30 days prior to the date of departure or as soon as practical after being called into state service by the governor shall be granted absence with leave with or without pay.  If the employee provides evidence of the satisfactory completion of the training immediately upon return and is still qualified to perform the duties for such position shall upon request be entitled to a 15 day leave of absence in any calendar year for the purpose of engaging in military drill, training, or other temporary duty under military authority.  The leave of absence shall be with or without pay as determined by the employer.  Upon completion of the military drill, training, or other temporary duty under military authority, the employee shall be reinstated in that position with the same status, pay, and seniority, including seniority that accrued during the period of absence.

Which was agreed to.  Thereupon, the bill was read the third time and passed.

Bill Read Second Time; Third Reading Ordered

H. 368

Rep. Atkins of Winooski spoke for the committee on Government Operations.

House bill entitled

An act relating to regulation of professions and occupations;

Having appeared on the Calendar one day for notice, was taken up, read the second time and third reading ordered.

Remarks Journalized

On motion of Rep. Pugh of South Burlington, the following remarks by Rep. Deen of Westminster were ordered printed in the Journal:

 “Madame Speaker:

     When you have been sitting next to someone for as long as I have been next to Rep. Brooks it’s hard to remember that this too shall pass. 

     I will miss his leadership

     I will miss his calm guidance

     I will miss his bravery

     I will miss his daddy’s advice

     That said, I would like to observe this is as clean as his desk has been in 15 years.”

Message from the Senate No. 28

     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 a bill originating in the House of the following title:

H. 302.  An act relating to fiscal year 2007 budget adjustments.

And has passed the same in concurrence with proposals of amendment in the adoption of which the concurrence of the House is requested.

The Senate has on its part adopted a joint resolution of the following title:

J.R.S. 19.  Joint resolution urging Congress to oppose any grandfathering of carbon emissions from new coal burning plants in future national regulation of carbon emissions.

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

Communication from Rep. Francis K. Brooks

“February 15, 2007

Hon. James Douglas

Governor of the State of Vermont

Office of the Governor

Montpelier, VT  05602

Dear Sir:

     This letter is to inform you that I hereby resign the office of state representative as of midnight, February 28, 2007.

                                                           Sincerely,

                                                           /s/Francis K. Brooks

                                                           Washington-5

cc:     Rep. Gaye Symington, Speaker of the House

          Sen. Peter Shumlin, President Pro Tem”

Adjournment

At four o’clock and ten minutes in the afternoon, on motion of Rep. Sunderland of Rutland Town, the House adjourned until tomorrow at three o’clock in the afternoon.

 

 

 



Published by:

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