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Journal of the House

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THURSDAY, MARCH 15, 2007

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

Devotional Exercises

Devotional exercises were conducted by Professor Philip Baruth of the University of Vermont, Burlington.

Message from the Senate No. 33

     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 passed Senate bills of the following titles:

S. 128.  An act relating to eliminating certain sunsets on forensic examinations at designated hospitals.

S. 167.  An act relating to voter registration.

In the passage 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. 23.  Joint resolution relating to weekend adjournment.

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

House Bills Introduced

House bills of the following titles were severally introduced, read the first time and referred or placed on the Calendar as follows:

H. 518

By the committee on Ways and Means,

An act relating to technical tax amendments;

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

 

 

 H. 519

By Rep. Martin of Springfield (by request),

An act relating to funding campaigns for federal and statewide offices;

To the committee on Government Operations.

H. 520

By the committee on Natural Resources and Energy,

An act relating to the conservation of energy and increasing the generation of electricity within the state by use of renewable resources;

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

Joint Resolution Referred to Committee

J.R.S. 22

The Speaker placed before the House a joint resolution, entitled

Joint resolution urging Congress to enact S. 340 the “Agricultural Job Opportunities, Benefits, and Security Act of 2007 (the AgJOBS Act of 2007);

Whereas, agricultural operations in Vermont require many labor intensive roles that Vermonters are no longer willing to perform, and    

Whereas, in search of individuals to accept these jobs, Vermont’s agricultural managers have turned to foreign workers to perform these tasks, and

Whereas, the federal H-2A program allows foreigners to enter the United States for seasonal employment in the agricultural sector, and

Whereas, for many years, apple orchard owners, especially in Grand Isle County, have availed themselves of the H-2A program with great success, and

Whereas, there are now approximately 2,000 foreign workers employed on dairy farms across the state with a large concentration in Addison County, and

Whereas, unlike the apple picking season that lasts for a limited period of time in the late summer and early fall, dairy farming continues 365 days a year, and

Whereas, the seasonal limitation placed on H-2A workers means that a large percentage of the foreign employees on dairy farms, although excellent workers and essential to their employers’ business operations, is working in the United States illegally, and

Whereas, in order to enable these dairy farm employees and similarly situated persons in other states to remain on the job, a number of United States senators, including Senator Leahy of Vermont, have introduced S.340, the AgJOBS Act of 2007, and

Whereas, the provisions of the AgJOBS Act provide that foreign workers, who satisfy further work requirements, have not committed serious criminal offenses; apply within the time limits provided; and are otherwise admissible under the provisions of federal immigration law may be granted blue card status, and

Whereas, foreign workers granted blue card status would be considered “lawfully admitted for permanent residence” except for the receipt of certain federal benefits, and they would be afforded procedural rights and protections with respect to their employment, and

Whereas, the act contains provisions for a foreign worker who has been granted blue card status to gain permanent residence status subject to the completion of additional work requirements, the payment of any federal income taxes owed, and the absence of any major criminal activity, and

Whereas, the act also makes provisions for the residence of spouses and minor children, and

Whereas, the burden of producing documentation to qualify for an upgraded residency status would rest with the foreign worker, and

Whereas, the act also makes important revisions to the H-2A temporary worker program that provide employment preferences for American citizens and green card holders while affording procedural rights and minimum working conditions for the covered foreign workers, and

Whereas, S.340 represents a fair balancing of the interests of the agricultural community, American workers, foreign workers, and the federal government’s legitimate need to protect the integrity of our nation’s borders, now therefore be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

That the General Assembly urges Congress to enact S.340, the “Agricultural Job Opportunities, Benefits, and Security Act of 2007,” (the AgJOBS Act of 2007), and be it further

Resolved:  That the Secretary of State be directed to send a copy of this resolution to the members of the Vermont Congressional delegation.

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

 

Third Reading; Bills Passed

House bills of the following titles were severally taken up, read the third time and passed:

H. 51

House bill, entitled

An act relating to approval of amendments to the charter of the village of Newbury;

H. 97

House bill, entitled

An act relating to the ability of the unified towns and gores of Essex county to incur indebtedness.

Action on Bill Postponed

H. 169

House bill, entitled

An act relating to approval of amendments to the charter of the town of Williston;

Was taken up and pending third reading of the bill, on motion of Rep. Manwaring of Wilmington, action on the bill was postponed until the next legislative day.

Bill Read Second Time; Third Reading Ordered

H. 510

Rep. Devereux of Mount Holly spoke for the committee on Government Operations.

House bill entitled

An act relating to Vermont Life magazine;

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

Favorable Report; Third Reading Ordered

H. 81

Rep. Clark of St. Johnsbury, for the committee on Government Operations, to which had been referred House bill, entitled

An act relating to approval of amendments to the charter of the city of Burlington;

Reported in favor of its passage.  The bill, having appeared on the Calendar one day for notice, was taken up, read the second time and third reading ordered.

Adjournment

At one o’clock and forty minutes in the afternoon, on motion of Rep. Komline of Dorset, the House adjourned until tomorrow at nine o’clock and thirty minutes in the forenoon.

 

 



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us