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Journal of the House

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THURSDAY, APRIL 5, 2007

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

Devotional Exercises

Devotional exercises were conducted by Mr. Stephen Reynes, of Christ Episcopal Church and a member of the House from 1983-1988.

House Bills Introduced

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

H. 538

     By Reps. Moran of Wardsboro, Acinapura of Brandon, Ainsworth of Royalton, Baker of West Rutland, Bostic of St. Johnsbury, Clark of St. Johnsbury, Consejo of Sheldon, Howrigan of Fairfield, Hube of Londonderry, Larrabee of Danville, Manwaring of Wilmington, Mrowicki of Putney, O’Donnell of Vernon, Scheuermann of Stowe, Stevens of Shoreham, Trombley of Grand Isle, Valliere of Barre City, Wright of Burlington and Zenie of Colchester,

An act relating to purchase price or replacement value common level of appraisal;

To the committee on Ways and Means.

H. 539

By Reps. Moran of Wardsboro, Acinapura of Brandon, Ainsworth of Royalton, Baker of West Rutland, Bostic of St. Johnsbury, Clark of St. Johnsbury, Condon of Colchester, Consejo of Sheldon, Howrigan of Fairfield, Hube of Londonderry, Larrabee of Danville, Manwaring of Wilmington, Mrowicki of Putney, O’Donnell of Vernon, Scheuermann of Stowe, Stevens of Shoreham, Trombley of Grand Isle, Valliere of Barre City, Wright of Burlington and Zenie of Colchester,

An act relating to a public education study committee;

To the committee on Education.

 

Committee Bill Introduced

H. 540

Rep. Westman of Cambridge, for the committee on Transportation, introduced a bill, entitled

An act relating to public transit;

Which was read the first time and, under the rule, placed on the Calendar for notice tomorrow.

Senate Bill Referred

S. 196

Senate bill, entitled

An act relating to failure to insure for workers’ compensation coverage by employers and contractors;

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

Joint Resolution Referred to Committee

J.R.H. 20

Rep. Obuchowski of Rockingham offered a joint resolution, entitled

Joint resolution strongly urging the federal government to take immediate steps to lower retail gasoline prices;

Whereas, Vermont is a rural state with minimal public transportation, and thousands of individuals must drive their cars to work daily, many for extended distances, and

Whereas, the state of Vermont’s economy is heavily reliant on automotive tourism and other recreation‑related activities, including snowmobiling, which according to a 2002 Johnson College study, generates annually revenue of $500,000,000.00 in the state, and

Whereas, farmers are dependent on gasoline to operate tractors, combines, trucks, and other absolutely essential equipment, without which they could not perform their daily chores and sustain their livelihood, and

Whereas, the federal Energy Information Administration announced on March 26, 2007 that the nationwide average retail price of regular unleaded gasoline stood at 261.0 cents per gallon, and the comparable New England figure was even higher at 261.2 cents per gallon, and

Whereas, the U.S. average price represented a 0.033-cent increase over the prior week, and

Whereas, the average nationwide price is now 0.112 cents higher than at this time in 2005, and

Whereas, in the Northeast, where ethanol is in short supply, the price of gasoline is again starting to rise, and

Whereas, higher retail gasoline prices cause a financial hardship for a large percentage of Vermonters, and

Whereas, U.S. Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman has stated that the strategic petroleum reserve will not be opened except for an emergency that interrupts the supply, and the U.S. Energy Department does not consider the current situation to be an emergency, and

Whereas, notwithstanding the secretary’s comments, the steadily rising retail price of gasoline constitutes an economic emergency of the first order, demanding a decisive and immediate response on the same magnitude Americans would expect if OPEC were to impose another embargo on all oil shipments to the United States as it did in the 1970s, and

Whereas, while the nation’s motorists are paying exorbitant prices for gasoline at the pump, compensation for oil company executives continues to rise, and

Whereas, ExxonMobil is now among the most profitable publicly traded companies in the United States, and

Whereas, the combination of high prices and corporate profitability could indicate that the oil companies are engaging in price gouging, and

Whereas, a year ago U.S. Representative and now Senator Bernard Sanders and U.S. Representative Peter DeFazio of Oregon wrote a joint letter to President George W. Bush requesting that the President “convene an emergency summit of congressional leaders, oil industry executives and consumer advocates to address the soaring price of gasoline,” now therefore be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

That the General Assembly strongly urges the executive and legislative branches of the federal government to take prudent but immediate steps, both on the economic domestic front and on the international diplomatic stage, that are deemed most effective, including the convening of an emergency energy price summit as Senator Sanders has requested, the initiation of a federal investigation of oil price gouging, the regulation of the petroleum futures’ market, the selling of the crude oil set to be placed or already stored in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, imposing temporary price controls on retail gasoline sales, and engaging in diplomatic bargaining with the nations and, in particular, OPEC, that set the price for crude oil at the wellhead, and be it further

Resolved:  That the General Assembly urges the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources to investigate whether the major oil companies are engaging in any price gouging activity in the sale of gasoline on the wholesale or retail level, and be it further

Resolved:  That the secretary of state be directed to send a copy of this resolution to the President of the United States, to U.S. Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman, to U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, to U.S. Representatives John Boehner, John Dingell, and Joe Barton, to U.S. Senators Trent Lott, Harry Reid, Jeff Bingaman, and Pete Domenici, and 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 Transportation.

Rules Suspended; Bill Committed

H. 540

Pending entrance of the bill on the Calendar for notice, on motion of Rep. Adams of Hartland,  the rules were suspended and House bill, entitled

An act relating to public transit;

Was taken up for immediate consideration.

Pending second reading of the bill, on motion of Rep. Adams of Hartland, the bill was committed to the committee on Ways and Means.

Consideration Resumed;

Bill Amended and Third Reading Ordered

H. 520

Consideration resumed on House bill, entitled

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

Thereupon, the recurring question, Shall the bill be amended as recommended by the committee on Ways and Means in the Second, Third and Fourth instances? was agreed to.

Pending the question, Shall the bill be read the third time? Rep. Errecart of Shelburne moved to amend the bill as follows:

     First: In Sec. 4, 21 V.S.A. § 268, commencing on page 9, line 9, by striking subdivisions (d)(1) and (2) and by inserting in lieu thereof the following:

(1)  The design of commercial buildings shall be certified by the primary designer as compliant with CBES in accordance with this subsection except as compliance is excused by a variance or exemption issued under subdivision (c)(5) of this sectionA This certification may be issued by a builder, a licensed professional engineer, or a licensed architect, or other licensed professional when required by lawIf certification is not issued by a licensed professional engineer or a licensed architect, it shall be issued by the builder.  Any certification shall be accompanied by an affidavit and shall certify that the designer acted in accordance with the designer’s professional duty of care in designing the building, and that the commercial construction meets building was designed in substantial compliance with the requirements of the CBES.  The department of public service will develop and make available to the public a certificate that lists key features requirements of the CBES, sets forth certifying language in accordance with this subdivision (d)(1), and requires disclosure of persons relied upon by the primary designer who have contracted to indemnify the primary designer for damages arising out of that reliance.  Any person certifying under this subdivision shall use this certificate or one substantially like it to certify compliance with CBES satisfy these certification obligations.  Certification shall be issued by completing and signing a certificate and permanently affixing it to the outside of the heating or cooling equipment, to the electrical service panel located inside the building, or in a visible location in the vicinity of one of these three areas.  The certificate shall certify that the building has been constructed in compliance with the requirements of the CBES.  The person certifying under this subsection shall provide a copy of each certificate to the department of public service and shall assure that a certificate is recorded and indexed in the town land records.  A builder may contract with a licensed professional engineer or a licensed architect to issue certification and to indemnify the builder from any liability to the owner of the commercial construction caused by noncompliance with the CBES.  In certifying under this subsection, the certifying person may reasonably rely on one or more supporting affidavits received from other persons that contributed to the design affirming that the portions of the design produced by them were properly certifiable under this subsection.  The certifying person may contract for indemnification from those on which the person relies pursuant to this subdivision (1) against damages arising out of that reliance.  This indemnification shall not limit any rights of action of an aggrieved party.

 (2)  The construction of a commercial building shall be certified as compliant with CBES in accordance with this subsection, except as compliance is excused by a variance or exemption issued under subdivision (c)(5) of this section.  This certification shall be issued by the general contractor, construction manager, or other party having primary responsibility for coordinating the construction of the subject building, or in the absence of such a person, by the owner of the building.  Any certification shall be accompanied by an affidavit and shall certify that the subject commercial building was constructed in accordance with the ordinary standard of care applicable to the participating construction trades, and that the subject commercial building was constructed substantially in accordance with the construction documents including the plans and specifications certified under subdivision (1) of this subsection for that building.  The department of public service will develop and make available to the public a certificate that sets forth certifying language in accordance with this subdivision, and that requires disclosure of persons who have been relied upon by the person with primary responsibility for coordinating the construction of the building and who have contracted to indemnify that person for damages arising out of that reliance.  The person certifying under this subdivision shall use that certificate or one substantially like it to satisfy these certification obligations.  Certification shall be issued by completing and signing a certificate and permanently affixing it to the outside of the heating or cooling equipment, to the electrical service panel located inside the building, or in a visible location in the vicinity of one of these three areas.  In certifying under this subdivision, the certifying person may reasonably rely on one or more supporting affidavits received from subcontractors or others engaged in the construction of the subject commercial building affirming that the portions of the building constructed by them were properly certifiable under this subdivision.  The certifying person may contract for indemnification from those on which the person relies pursuant to this subdivision (2) against damages arising out of that reliance. This indemnification shall not limit any rights of action of an aggrieved party.

    Second: in Sec. 4, 21 V.S.A. § 268(e), on page 12, by striking line 17 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

(e) Action  Private right of action for damages against a certifier.

And in the first complete sentence in that subsection, after the words “may bring a civil action” by inserting the words “in superior court

     Third:  In Sec. 4, 21 V.S.A. § 268(f), on page 14, line 3, by striking all through the period and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

(f)  Violation of section State or local enforcement.

     Fourth: in Sec. 14, subsection (b), in the first sentence, after the words: “shall submit a report to” by adding the following:  “the house and senate committees on institutions,” 

     Which was agreed to.

Pending the question, Shall the bill be read the third time? Rep. Johnson of Canaan moved to amend the bill as follows:

     In Sec. 8, 30 V.S.A. § 246, by adding a new subsection (e) to read:

(e)  This section shall not apply to applications for meteorological stations that are proposed to be located above 2,500 feet in elevation.

     Thereupon, Rep. Johnson of Canaan asked and was granted leave of the House to withdraw his amendment.

Pending the question, Shall the bill be read the third time? Rep. Rodgers of Glover moved to amend the bill as follows:

     By striking Secs. 15, 16 and 17 in their entirety.

Pending the question, Shall the House amend the bill as recommended by Rep. Rodgers of Glover? Rep. Rodgers of Glover demanded the Yeas and Nays, which demand was sustained by the Constitutional number.  The Clerk proceeded to call the roll and the question, Shall the House amend the bill as recommended by Rep. Rodgers of Glover?  was decided in the negative.  Yeas, 24.  Nays, 122.

Those who voted in the affirmative are:


Atkins of Winooski

Baker of West Rutland

Howrigan of Fairfield

Hube of Londonderry

Hudson of Lyndon

Johnson of Canaan

Kilmartin of Newport City

Koch of Barre Town

Larocque of Barnet

Larrabee of Danville

Livingston of Manchester

Marcotte of Coventry

McAllister of Highgate

McDonald of Berlin

Morley of Barton

Morrissey of Bennington

Peaslee of Guildhall

Pillsbury of Brattleboro

Randall of Troy

Rodgers of Glover

Shaw of Derby

Turner of Milton

Valliere of Barre City

Wheeler of Derby


Those who voted in the negative are:


Acinapura of Brandon

Adams of Hartland

Ainsworth of Royalton

Allard of St. Albans Town

Ancel of Calais

Anderson of Montpelier

Andrews of Rutland City

Aswad of Burlington

Audette of S. Burlington

Barnard of Richmond

Bissonnette of Winooski

Bostic of St. Johnsbury

Botzow of Pownal

Branagan of Georgia

Bray of New Haven

Brennan of Colchester

Browning of Arlington

Canfield of Fair Haven

Chen of Mendon

Cheney of Norwich

Clark of Vergennes

Clarkson of Woodstock

Clerkin of Hartford

Condon of Colchester

Consejo of Sheldon

Copeland-Hanzas of Bradford

Corcoran of Bennington

Courcelle of Rutland City

Davis of Washington

Deen of Westminster

Devereux of Mount Holly

Donaghy of Poultney

Donahue of Northfield

Donovan of Burlington

Dostis of Waterbury

Edwards of Brattleboro

Emmons of Springfield

Errecart of Shelburne

Evans of Essex

Fallar of Tinmouth

Fisher of Lincoln

Fitzgerald of St. Albans City

Flory of Pittsford

Frank of Underhill

French of Randolph

Gervais of Enosburg

Gilbert of Fairfax

Godin of Milton

Haas of Rochester

Head of S. Burlington

Heath of Westford

Helm of Castleton

Hosford of Waitsfield

Howard of Rutland City

Hunt of Essex

Hutchinson of Randolph

Jerman of Essex

Jewett of Ripton

Johnson of South Hero

Keenan of St. Albans City

Keogh of Burlington

Kitzmiller of Montpelier

Klein of East Montpelier

Komline of Dorset

Krawczyk of Bennington

Kupersmith of S. Burlington

Larson of Burlington

LaVoie of Swanton

Lenes of Shelburne

Leriche of Hardwick

Lippert of Hinesburg

Lorber of Burlington

Maier of Middlebury

Malcolm of Pawlet

Manwaring of Wilmington

Marek of Newfane

Martin, C. of Springfield

Martin of Wolcott

Masland of Thetford

McCormack of Rutland City

McCullough of Williston

McFaun of Barre Town

Milkey of Brattleboro

Miller of Shaftsbury

Minter of Waterbury

Mitchell of Barnard

Monti of Barre City

Mook of Bennington

Moran of Wardsboro

Mrowicki of Putney

Myers of Essex

Nease of Johnson

Nuovo of Middlebury

Obuchowski of Rockingham

O'Donnell of Vernon

Ojibway of Hartford

Orr of Charlotte

Otterman of Topsham

Oxholm of Vergennes

Partridge of Windham

Pearson of Burlington

Pellett of Chester

Peltz of Woodbury

Perry of Richford

Peterson of Williston

Potter of Clarendon

Pugh of S. Burlington

Scheuermann of Stowe

Shand of Weathersfield

Sharpe of Bristol

Smith of Morristown

Spengler of Colchester

Stevens of Shoreham

Sunderland of Rutland Town

Sweaney of Windsor

Trombley of Grand Isle

Westman of Cambridge

Weston of Burlington

Winters of Williamstown

Wright of Burlington

Zenie of Colchester

Zuckerman of Burlington


Those members absent with leave of the House and not voting are:


Clark of St. Johnsbury

Grad of Moretown

Lawrence of Lyndon


 

     Rep. Howrigan of Fairfax explained his vote as follows:

“Madam Speaker:

     I voted yes because special favors for utilities for generating should follow also for housing.  Vermonters have annual raises, frost heaves and property tax raises.  Property tax payers – need special favors.”

Pending the question, Shall the bill be read the third time? Rep. Krawczyk of Bennington demanded the Yeas and Nays, which demand was sustained by the Constitutional number.  The Clerk proceeded to call the roll and the question, Shall the bill be read the third time?  was decided in the affirmative.  Yeas, 138.  Nays, 8.

Those who voted in the affirmative are:


Acinapura of Brandon

Adams of Hartland

Ainsworth of Royalton

Allard of St. Albans Town

Ancel of Calais

Anderson of Montpelier

Andrews of Rutland City

Aswad of Burlington

Atkins of Winooski

Audette of S. Burlington

Baker of West Rutland

Barnard of Richmond

Bissonnette of Winooski

Bostic of St. Johnsbury

Botzow of Pownal

Branagan of Georgia

Bray of New Haven

Brennan of Colchester

Browning of Arlington

Canfield of Fair Haven

Chen of Mendon

Cheney of Norwich

Clark of Vergennes

Clarkson of Woodstock

Clerkin of Hartford

Condon of Colchester

Consejo of Sheldon

Copeland-Hanzas of Bradford

Corcoran of Bennington

Courcelle of Rutland City

Davis of Washington

Deen of Westminster

Devereux of Mount Holly

Donaghy of Poultney

Donahue of Northfield

Donovan of Burlington

Dostis of Waterbury

Edwards of Brattleboro

Emmons of Springfield

Errecart of Shelburne

Evans of Essex

Fallar of Tinmouth

Fisher of Lincoln

Fitzgerald of St. Albans City

Flory of Pittsford

Frank of Underhill

French of Randolph

Gervais of Enosburg

Gilbert of Fairfax

Godin of Milton

Haas of Rochester

Head of S. Burlington

Heath of Westford

Helm of Castleton

Hosford of Waitsfield

Howard of Rutland City

Howrigan of Fairfield

Hunt of Essex

Hutchinson of Randolph

Jerman of Essex

Jewett of Ripton

Johnson of South Hero

Johnson of Canaan

Keenan of St. Albans City

Keogh of Burlington

Kitzmiller of Montpelier

Klein of East Montpelier

Koch of Barre Town

Komline of Dorset

Krawczyk of Bennington

Kupersmith of S. Burlington

Larrabee of Danville

Larson of Burlington

LaVoie of Swanton

Lenes of Shelburne

Leriche of Hardwick

Lippert of Hinesburg

Livingston of Manchester

Lorber of Burlington

Maier of Middlebury

Malcolm of Pawlet

Manwaring of Wilmington

Marek of Newfane

Martin, C. of Springfield

Martin of Wolcott

Masland of Thetford

McAllister of Highgate

McCormack of Rutland City

McCullough of Williston

McDonald of Berlin

McFaun of Barre Town

Milkey of Brattleboro

Miller of Shaftsbury

Minter of Waterbury

Mitchell of Barnard

Monti of Barre City

Mook of Bennington

Moran of Wardsboro

Morrissey of Bennington

Mrowicki of Putney

Myers of Essex

Nease of Johnson

Nuovo of Middlebury

Obuchowski of Rockingham

O'Donnell of Vernon

Ojibway of Hartford

Orr of Charlotte

Otterman of Topsham

Oxholm of Vergennes

Partridge of Windham

Pearson of Burlington

Pellett of Chester

Peltz of Woodbury

Perry of Richford

Peterson of Williston

Pillsbury of Brattleboro

Potter of Clarendon

Pugh of S. Burlington

Randall of Troy

Rodgers of Glover

Scheuermann of Stowe

Shand of Weathersfield

Sharpe of Bristol

Smith of Morristown

Spengler of Colchester

Stevens of Shoreham

Sunderland of Rutland Town

Sweaney of Windsor

Trombley of Grand Isle

Turner of Milton

Valliere of Barre City

Westman of Cambridge

Weston of Burlington

Wheeler of Derby

Winters of Williamstown

Wright of Burlington

Zenie of Colchester

Zuckerman of Burlington


Those who voted in the negative are:


Hube of Londonderry

Hudson of Lyndon

Kilmartin of Newport City

Larocque of Barnet

Marcotte of Coventry

Morley of Barton

Peaslee of Guildhall

Shaw of Derby


Those members absent with leave of the House and not voting are:


Clark of St. Johnsbury

Grad of Moretown

Lawrence of Lyndon


 

Bill Amended, Read Third Time and Passed

H. 78

House bill, entitled

An act relating to reconsideration and recession of votes in local elections;

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

     By adding a new Sec. 2 as follows:

Sec. 2.  EFFECTIVE DATE

This act shall take effect on July 1, 2007. However, Sec. 1, 17 V.S.A. § 2661(e) shall apply to a vote for reconsideration or rescission for which a petition has been filed on or after July 1, 2008.

Which was agreed to. 

     Pending third reading of the bill, Rep. Martin of Wolcott moved to amend the bill as follows:

In Sec. 1, 17 V.S.A. § 2661(b), in the second sentence, after “be” and before “five” by inserting not less than and in subdivision (1), by striking “not less than up to 20 percent of the registered voters” and inserting in lieu thereof a percentage of registered voters that is not less than five percent nor greater than 20 percent

     Which was agreed to.

     Thereupon, the bill was read the third time.

Pending the question, Shall the bill pass? Rep. LaVoie of Swanton demanded the Yeas and Nays, which demand was sustained by the Constitutional number.  The Clerk proceeded to call the roll and the question, Shall the bill pass? was decided in the affirmative.  Yeas, 104.  Nays, 40.

Those who voted in the affirmative are:


Acinapura of Brandon

Adams of Hartland

Ainsworth of Royalton

Ancel of Calais

Anderson of Montpelier

Andrews of Rutland City

Aswad of Burlington

Atkins of Winooski

Audette of S. Burlington

Barnard of Richmond

Bissonnette of Winooski

Bostic of St. Johnsbury

Branagan of Georgia

Bray of New Haven

Brennan of Colchester

Browning of Arlington

Canfield of Fair Haven

Chen of Mendon

Cheney of Norwich

Clark of St. Johnsbury

Clark of Vergennes

Clarkson of Woodstock

Clerkin of Hartford

Copeland-Hanzas of Bradford

Courcelle of Rutland City

Davis of Washington

Deen of Westminster

Devereux of Mount Holly

Donovan of Burlington

Dostis of Waterbury

Edwards of Brattleboro

Emmons of Springfield

Evans of Essex

Fisher of Lincoln

Fitzgerald of St. Albans City

Frank of Underhill

French of Randolph

Gervais of Enosburg

Gilbert of Fairfax

Godin of Milton

Haas of Rochester

Head of S. Burlington

Heath of Westford

Helm of Castleton

Hosford of Waitsfield

Howard of Rutland City

Hudson of Lyndon

Hunt of Essex

Hutchinson of Randolph

Jerman of Essex

Jewett of Ripton

Johnson of South Hero

Keenan of St. Albans City

Keogh of Burlington

Kilmartin of Newport City

Kitzmiller of Montpelier

Klein of East Montpelier

Koch of Barre Town

Kupersmith of S. Burlington

Larocque of Barnet

Larson of Burlington

LaVoie of Swanton

Lenes of Shelburne

Leriche of Hardwick

Lippert of Hinesburg

Livingston of Manchester

Lorber of Burlington

Maier of Middlebury

Malcolm of Pawlet

Manwaring of Wilmington

Marcotte of Coventry

Marek of Newfane

Martin, C. of Springfield

Martin of Wolcott

Masland of Thetford

McCormack of Rutland City

McCullough of Williston

McDonald of Berlin

McFaun of Barre Town

Milkey of Brattleboro

Minter of Waterbury

Mitchell of Barnard

Monti of Barre City

Moran of Wardsboro

Morley of Barton

Mrowicki of Putney

Nease of Johnson

Orr of Charlotte

Oxholm of Vergennes

Partridge of Windham

Pearson of Burlington

Pellett of Chester

Peltz of Woodbury

Peterson of Williston

Potter of Clarendon

Randall of Troy

Rodgers of Glover

Shand of Weathersfield

Shaw of Derby

Smith of Morristown

Sweaney of Windsor

Trombley of Grand Isle

Valliere of Barre City

Weston of Burlington

Wright of Burlington

Zuckerman of Burlington


Those who voted in the negative are:


Allard of St. Albans Town

Baker of West Rutland

Botzow of Pownal

Condon of Colchester

Corcoran of Bennington

Donaghy of Poultney

Donahue of Northfield

Errecart of Shelburne

Fallar of Tinmouth

Flory of Pittsford

Howrigan of Fairfield

Hube of Londonderry

Johnson of Canaan

Komline of Dorset

Krawczyk of Bennington

Larrabee of Danville

McAllister of Highgate

Miller of Shaftsbury

Mook of Bennington

Morrissey of Bennington

Myers of Essex

Nuovo of Middlebury

Obuchowski of Rockingham

O'Donnell of Vernon

Ojibway of Hartford

Otterman of Topsham

Peaslee of Guildhall

Perry of Richford

Pillsbury of Brattleboro

Pugh of S. Burlington

Scheuermann of Stowe

Sharpe of Bristol

Spengler of Colchester

Stevens of Shoreham

Sunderland of Rutland Town

Turner of Milton

Westman of Cambridge

Wheeler of Derby

Winters of Williamstown

Zenie of Colchester


Those members absent with leave of the House and not voting are:


Consejo of Sheldon

Grad of Moretown

Lawrence of Lyndon


 

     Rep. Donahue of Northfield explained her vote as follows:

“Madam Speaker:

     The thought of a law permitting a minority to overturn a majority vote is quite extraordinary, and I would never vote for legislation to create such a system.  But this is a long-standing tradition in Vermont, and reversing it takes away a right that many believe is essential to their voice in local government.”

     Rep. Minter of Waterbury explained her vote as follows:

“Madam Speaker:

     I support H. 78 because it seeks to enhance our democratic process by protecting the right to appeal a decision while ensuring that a significant minority cannot overturn the vote of a majority of voters.”

     Rep. Nuovo of Middlebury explained her vote as follows:

“Madam Speaker:

     I believe that obtaining 5% for a petition is sufficient and that the possibility of requiring 20% of the names for a petition is impossible and disenfranchises our citizens.”

Third Reading; Bills Passed

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

H. 91

House bill, entitled

     An act relating to the Rozo McLaughlin Farm-to-School Program;

H. 229

House bill, entitled

An act relating to corrections and clarifications to the Health Care Affordability Act of 2006 and related legislation;

Bill Amended; Third Reading Ordered; Rules Suspended;

Bill Read Third Time and Passed

H. 148

Rep. Jewett of Ripton, for the committee on Judiciary, to which had been referred House bill, entitled

An act relating to the child abuse registry;

Reported in favor of its passage when amended by striking all after the enacting clause and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Sec. 1.  33 V.S.A. chapter 49, subchapter 2 is amended to read:

Subchapter 2.  Reporting Abuse of Children

* * *

§ 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 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 day 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 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 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 child abuse and neglect 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.

§ 4913.  SUSPECTED CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT; REMEDIAL
  ACTION

(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, dentist, psychologist, pharmacist, any other health care provider, school superintendent, school teacher, school librarian, day child care worker, school principal, school guidance counselor, 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.

(c)  Any person enumerated in subsections 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.

(d)  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 the person making the report specifically requests allows disclosure or unless a judicial proceeding results therefrom or unless 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.

(e)(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)  Except as provided in subsection (g) 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)  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)  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) 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) of this section. 

§ 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 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 staff of the department of disabilities, aging, and independent living or of corrections or other appropriate agency staff other than staff of the department for children and families.  If the report is substantiated, services shall Services may be offered to the child and to his or her family or caretaker according to the requirements of section 4915 of this title. 

§ 4915.  INVESTIGATION; REMEDIAL ACTION

(a)  The commissioner of social and rehabilitation services shall cause an investigation to commence department shall begin an investigation within 72 hours after receipt of a report made pursuant to section 4914 of this title, provided that it has received sufficient information to proceed.

(b)  The investigation, to the extent that it is reasonable and practicable, 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, 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 longterm 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)  If the investigation produces evidence that the child has been abused or neglected For cases investigated by the department, the commissioner may, to the extent that it is reasonable, cause assistance to be provided to the child and the child’s family in accordance with a written plan of treatment.

(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 likely to result in criminal charges or requiring emergency medical care.

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

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

(a)(1)  The commissioner of social and rehabilitation services shall maintain a child abuse and neglect registry which shall contain written records of all investigations initiated under section 4915 of this title unless the commissioner or the commissioner’s designee determines after investigation that the reported facts are unsubstantiated, in which case, after notice to the person complained about, the records shall be destroyed unless the person complained about requests within one year that it not be destroyed 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 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.

(b)  If no court proceeding is brought pursuant to subsection 4913(d) of this title within one year of the date of the notice to the person complained about, the records relating to the unsubstantiated report shall be destroyed  A registry record means an entry in the child abuse and neglect 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 records registry and other department records related to abuse and neglect. 

(d)  Written Registry records maintained in the registry 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, or to a law enforcement agency other than the state’s attorney.  Any person who violates this subsection, except as provided in section 4919 of this title, shall be fined not more than $500.00.

(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.  If Absent good cause shown by the department, if a report has been substantiated, the commissioner or the commissioner’s designee may shall provide upon request the written record 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. 

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

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

(2)(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.

(g)  A person may, at any time, apply to the human services board for relief if he or she has reasonable cause to believe that contents of the registry are being misused.  All registry records relating to an individual child shall be destroyed when the child reaches the age of majority.  All registry records relating to a family or siblings within a family shall be destroyed when the youngest sibling reaches the age of majority.   All registry records shall be maintained according to the name of the child who has been abused or neglected, and the name of the person about whom the report was made.

(h)  A person may, at any time, apply to the human services board for an order expunging from the registry a record concerning him or her on the grounds that it is unsubstantiated or not otherwise expunged in accordance with this section.  The board shall hold a fair hearing under section 3091 of Title 3 on the application at which hearing the burden shall be on the commissioner to establish that the record shall not be expunged.

§ 4916a.  CHALLENGING PLACEMENT ON THE REGISTRY

(a)  If an investigation conducted in accordance with section 4915 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)  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.

(d)  The department shall hold an administrative review conference within 14 days of receipt of the request for review.  At least seven 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.  

(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 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.

§ 4916b.  HUMAN SERVICES BOARD HEARING

(a)  Within 30 days of the date on which the administrative reviewer mailed notice of placement of a report on the registry, the person who is the subject of the substantiation may apply in writing to the human services board for relief. The board shall hold a fair hearing pursuant to 3 V.S.A. § 3091.  When the department receives notice of the appeal, it shall make note in the registry record that the substantiation has been appealed to the board.

(b)(1)  The board shall hold a hearing within 60 days of the receipt of the request for a hearing and shall issue a decision within 30 days of the hearing.

(2)  Priority shall be given to appeals in which there are immediate employment consequences for the person appealing the decision.

(c)  A hearing may be stayed upon request of the petitioner if there is a related case pending in court.

(d)  If no review by the board is requested, the department’s decision in the case shall be final, and the person shall have no further right for review under this section.  The board may grant a waiver and permit such a review upon good cause shown.

§ 4916c.  PETITION FOR EXPUNGEMENT FROM THE REGISTRY

(a)  A person whose name 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.

§ 4916d.  AUTOMATIC EXPUNGEMENT OF REGISTRY RECORDS

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.

§ 4916e.  NOTICE TO MINORS

If the person alleged to have abused or neglected a child is a minor, any notice required pursuant to this subchapter shall be sent:

(1)  to the minor’s parents or guardian; or

(2)  if the child is in the custody of the commissioner, to the social worker assigned to the child by the department and the child’s counsel of record. 

* * *

§ 4919.  DISCLOSURE OF INFORMATION

(a)  The commissioner shall maintain a registry which shall contain the following information: the names of all the individuals found on the basis of a substantiated report to have abused, neglected or exploited a child; the date of the finding; and the nature of the finding.  In addition, the commissioner shall require that, aside from a person’s name, at least one other personal identifier is listed in the registry to prevent the possibility of misidentification.

(b)  The commissioner or the commissioner’s designee may disclose registry information 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, 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 information record to the employer;

(4)  To the commissioner of disabilities, aging, and independent living, or the commissioner’s designee, for purposes related to the licensing or registration of facilities regulated by the department of disabilities, aging, and independent living;

(5)  To the commissioner of health or of disabilities, aging, and independent living, or the commissioner’s designee, 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, 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.

(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 children or vulnerable adults, on either a paid or volunteer basis. 

* * *

Sec. 2.  33 V.S.A. § 6911 is amended to read:

§ 6911.  RECORDS OF ABUSE, NEGLECT, AND EXPLOITATION

* * *

(c)  The commissioner or the commissioner's designee may disclose registry information only to:

* * *

(3)  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.  "Employer," as used in this section, means a person or organization who employs or contracts with one or more individuals to care for children or vulnerable adults, on either a paid or volunteer basis.  The employer may submit a request concerning a current employee, volunteer, 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, or contractor.  If that individual has a record of a substantiated report, the commissioner shall provide the registry information to the employer;

* * *

(d)  An employer providing transportation services to children or vulnerable adults may disclose registry records obtained pursuant to subdivision (c)(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 chapter.  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.

(e)  A person may, at any time, apply to the human services board for relief if he or she has reasonable cause to believe that the contents of the registry or investigative records are being misused.

(e)(f)  A person may at any time apply to the department for expungement of his or her name from the registry.  The petitioner shall have the burden of showing why his or her name should be expunged from the registry.

(f)(g)  Any person who violates this section shall be fined not more than $500.00.

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

Sec. 3.  STUDY

The house committee on judiciary may convene while the general assembly is not in session for the purpose of considering issues related to allegations of abuse or neglect of a child, including a tiered approach to the investigation and substantiation of child abuse or neglect that is based upon the severity of the behavior and the risk to children and the community, and that establishes appropriate corresponding consequences and protections.

Sec. 4.  EFFECTIVE DATE

(a)  In Sec. 2, the following provisions shall take effect September 1, 2007:  33 V.S.A. §§ 4916(a), 4916a, and 4916b.

(b)  All other sections shall take effect upon passage.

Rep. McAllister of Highgate, for the committee on Human Services, recommended the bill ought to pass when amended as recommended by the committee on Judiciary and when further amended as follows:

First:  In Sec. 1, by striking 33 V.S.A. § 4914 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new § 4914 to read as follows:

§ 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 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 staff of the department of disabilities, aging, and independent living or of corrections or 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 of this title.

Second:  In Sec. 1, 33 V.S.A § 4915(b)., by striking the first sentence of subsection (b) through the colon and inserting in lieu thereof a new sentence to read as follows:

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:

Third:  In Sec. 1, 33 V.S.A.§ 4915, by striking subsection (c) in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new subsection (c) to read as follows:

(c)  If the investigation produces evidence that the child has been abused or neglected For cases investigated by the department, the commissioner may, to the extent that it is reasonable, cause assistance to be provided provide assistance to the child and the child’s family in accordance with a written plan of treatment.

Fourth:  By striking Sec. 3 and inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 3 to read as follows:

Sec. 3.  STUDY

The house committee on judiciary may convene while the general assembly is not in session for the purpose of considering:

(1)  Issues related to allegations of abuse or neglect of a child, including a tiered approach to the investigation and substantiation of child abuse or neglect that is based upon the severity of the behavior and the risk to children and the community and that establishes appropriate corresponding consequences and protections.

(2)  Issues related to the substantiation of minors, including the availability of psychological treatment for a minor suspected of committing an act of abuse, placement of a minor’s name on the child abuse registry once the commissioner determines the minor committed an act of abuse, and expungement of a minor’s registry records once the minor reaches the age of 18.  The house committee on judiciary shall consult with the house committee on human services while considering the issues in this subdivision.

The bill, having appeared on the Calendar one day for notice, was taken up, read the second time, report of the committees on Judiciary and Human Services agreed to and third reading ordered.

On motion of Rep. Adams of Hartland, the rules were suspended and the bill placed on all remaining stages of passage. 

Thereupon, the bill was read the third time and passed.

Recess

At twelve o’clock noon, the Speaker declared a recess until one o’clock in the afternoon.

Afternoon

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

Governor’s Veto Sustained

H. 302

House bill, entitled

An act relating to fiscal year 2007 Budget adjustments;

Was taken up and as required by Chapter II, Section 11 of the Vermont Constitution, the Clerk proceeded to call the roll and the question, Shall the House pass the bill, the failure of the governor to approve notwithstanding, was decided in the negative.  Yeas, 96.  Nays, 52.  A two-thirds vote of 99 needed.

Those who voted in the affirmative are:


Ancel of Calais

Andrews of Rutland City

Aswad of Burlington

Atkins of Winooski

Audette of S. Burlington

Barnard of Richmond

Bissonnette of Winooski

Botzow of Pownal

Bray of New Haven

Browning of Arlington

Chen of Mendon

Cheney of Norwich

Clarkson of Woodstock

Consejo of Sheldon

Copeland-Hanzas of Bradford

Corcoran of Bennington

Courcelle of Rutland City

Davis of Washington

Deen of Westminster

Donovan of Burlington

Dostis of Waterbury

Edwards of Brattleboro

Emmons of Springfield

Evans of Essex

Fallar of Tinmouth

Fisher of Lincoln

Fitzgerald of St. Albans City

Frank of Underhill

French of Randolph

Gervais of Enosburg

Gilbert of Fairfax

Godin of Milton

Grad of Moretown

Haas of Rochester

Head of S. Burlington

Heath of Westford

Hosford of Waitsfield

Howard of Rutland City

Howrigan of Fairfield

Hunt of Essex

Hutchinson of Randolph

Jerman of Essex

Jewett of Ripton

Johnson of South Hero

Keenan of St. Albans City

Keogh of Burlington

Kitzmiller of Montpelier

Klein of East Montpelier

Kupersmith of S. Burlington

Larson of Burlington

Lenes of Shelburne

Leriche of Hardwick

Lippert of Hinesburg

Lorber of Burlington

Maier of Middlebury

Malcolm of Pawlet

Manwaring of Wilmington

Marek of Newfane

Martin, C. of Springfield

Martin of Wolcott

Masland of Thetford

McCormack of Rutland City

McCullough of Williston

Milkey of Brattleboro

Miller of Shaftsbury

Minter of Waterbury

Mitchell of Barnard

Monti of Barre City

Mook of Bennington

Moran of Wardsboro

Mrowicki of Putney

Nease of Johnson

Nuovo of Middlebury

Obuchowski of Rockingham

Ojibway of Hartford

Orr of Charlotte

Partridge of Windham

Pearson of Burlington

Pellett of Chester

Peltz of Woodbury

Perry of Richford

Peterson of Williston

Potter of Clarendon

Pugh of S. Burlington

Randall of Troy

Rodgers of Glover

Shand of Weathersfield

Sharpe of Bristol

Smith of Morristown

Spengler of Colchester

Stevens of Shoreham

Sweaney of Windsor

Trombley of Grand Isle

Weston of Burlington

Zenie of Colchester

Zuckerman of Burlington


Those who voted in the negative are:


Acinapura of Brandon

Adams of Hartland

Ainsworth of Royalton

Allard of St. Albans Town

Anderson of Montpelier

Baker of West Rutland

Bostic of St. Johnsbury

Branagan of Georgia

Brennan of Colchester

Canfield of Fair Haven

Clark of St. Johnsbury

Clark of Vergennes

Clerkin of Hartford

Devereux of Mount Holly

Donaghy of Poultney

Donahue of Northfield

Errecart of Shelburne

Flory of Pittsford

Helm of Castleton

Hube of Londonderry

Hudson of Lyndon

Johnson of Canaan

Kilmartin of Newport City

Koch of Barre Town

Komline of Dorset

Krawczyk of Bennington

Larocque of Barnet

Larrabee of Danville

LaVoie of Swanton

Lawrence of Lyndon

Livingston of Manchester

Marcotte of Coventry

McAllister of Highgate

McDonald of Berlin

McFaun of Barre Town

Morley of Barton

Morrissey of Bennington

Myers of Essex

O'Donnell of Vernon

Otterman of Topsham

Oxholm of Vergennes

Peaslee of Guildhall

Pillsbury of Brattleboro

Scheuermann of Stowe

Shaw of Derby

Sunderland of Rutland Town

Turner of Milton

Valliere of Barre City

Westman of Cambridge

Wheeler of Derby

Winters of Williamstown

Wright of Burlington


 

 

Those members absent with leave of the House and not voting are:


Condon of Colchester


 

     Rep. Zuckerman of Burlington explained his vote as follows:

“Madam Speaker:

     Once again it is double-speak from the Administration.  Boisterous talk of supporting college scholarships on one hand while with the other hand proposes a budget to underfund the college scholarship 2 + 2 Program that provides scholarships for young people aspiring to have a future in Agriculture.

     Talk is cheap …. His real priorities are clear in the budget.”

Message from the Senate No. 45

     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. 115.  An act relating to increasing transparency of prescription drug pricing and information.

S. 121.  An act relating to autism spectrum disorders.

S. 190.  An act relating to establishing a brownfields advisory committee.

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

The Senate has considered bills originating in the House of the following titles:

H. 51.  An act relating to approval of amendments to the charter of the village of Newbury.

H. 97.  An act relating to the ability of the unified towns and gores of Essex county to incur indebtedness.

And has passed the same in concurrence.

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

J.R.S. 28.  Joint resolution relating to weekend adjournment.

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

 

Bill Read Second Time; Consideration Interrupted by Recess

H. 537

Rep. Heath of Westford spoke for the committee on Appropriations.

House bill entitled

An act relating to making appropriations for the support of government;

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

Recess

At four o’clock and fifty-five minutes in the afternoon, the Speaker declared a recess until the fall of the gavel.

Evening

At seven o’clock and thirty minutes in the evening, the Speaker called the House to order.

Consideration Resumed;

Bill Amended and Third Reading Ordered

H. 537

Consideration resumed on House bill entitled

An act relating to making appropriations for the support of government;

Pending the question, Shall the bill be read the third time? Rep. Heath of Westford moved to amend the bill as follows:

     First:  In Sec. 117(b), by striking out the words “Sec. 253b(4)” and inserting in lieu thereof the words Sec. 277(a)(4)

     Second:  In Sec. 119(d), by striking out the last two sentences in their entirety and inserting in lieu thereof the following:  The method by which these prevention funds shall be distributed shall be determined by mutual agreement of the department of health, AIDS service organizations, and CAG.  The department of health AIDS program shall be guided and advised by prioritizing prevention service needs in the disbursement of these funds.

     Third:  In Sec. 120, by inserting a new subsection (i), to read as follows:

     (i)  Of the global commitment funds appropriated to the Area Health Education Centers in this section and the funds appropriated in Sec. 7(c)(1) and 7(c)(2)(A) of H.433 of 2007 the total loan repayment program of $2,150,000 shall be allocated as follows:

          (1)  $950,000 to primary care physicians and health care professionals;

          (2)  $250,000 for dentists;

          (3)  $700,000 for nurses;

          (4)  $100,000 for nurse educators;

          (5)  $150,000 for new disciplines based on emerging health care needs and workforce shortages.

and by relettering the remaining subsections to be alphabetically correct

     Fourth:  By striking out the words “Sec. 145.” where it secondly appears and inserting in lieu thereof the words Sec. 146. 

     Fifth:  By striking out Sec. 147 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof [DELETED]

     Sixth:  In Sec. 156(b), by striking out the words “Sec. 143” and inserting in lieu thereof the words Sec. 157

     Seventh:  In Sec. 185, by striking out the words “subdivision 2(A)”and inserting in lieu thereof the words subdivision 2(B)

     Eighth:  At the end of Sec. 224, by adding a new subsection (a) to read as follows:

     (a)  Included in the above appropriation is a $72,000 increase over fiscal year 2007 for the regional development corporations.  These additional funds shall be distributed only to the regional development corporations that are fulfilling their contractual obligations in a timely and proper manner.

     Ninth:  In Sec. 266(a)(3)(E), by striking out the words “Sec. 248a(a)” and inserting in lieu thereof the words Sec. 269(a)

     Tenth:  In Sec. 274(a) in subdivision (17), by striking out the words “$75,000 for grants to teen centers” and inserting in lieu thereof the words $75,000 to the Vermont coalition of teen centers and in subdivision (18), by striking out the word “program” and inserting in lieu thereof the words facilities fund and after subdivision (27) by adding a new subdivision (28) to read as follows: 

          (28)  $10,000 to the department of fish and wildlife to provide scholarships for children wishing to attend one of the conservation camps administered by the department of fish and wildlife.

     Eleventh:  In Sec. 278(a)(2), by striking out the words “Sec. 253b(a)(3)” and inserting in lieu thereof the words Sec. 277

     Twelfth:  In Sec. 279(a) after the words “22  V.S.A. § 903” by inserting the following:  and the amount of $7,000,000 shall be transferred from the general fund to the next generation initiative fund

     Which was agreed to.

Pending the question, Shall the bill be read the third time? Reps. Pugh of South Burlington, Andrews of Rutland City, Donahue of Northfield, Fisher of Lincoln, Frank of Underhill, French of Randolph, Haas of Rochester, McAllister of Highgate, Morrissey of Bennington, Mrowicki of Putney and Orr of Charlotte moved to amend the bill as follows:

     By inserting new Secs. 111a and 112a to read:

Sec. 111a.   GLOBAL COMMITMENT; GRIEVANCE AND APPEAL
       RULES

(a)  Beginning January 1, 2008 and every six months thereafter, the agency of human services or designee shall report on the implementation of the grievance and appeal rules for Global Commitment for Health and for Choices for Care, including the number and types of grievances, internal appeals, and appeals to the human services board, and the number of internal appeals that were reversed by the independent decision-maker.

(b)  During the legislative session, the report shall be to the house committees on human services and on health and the senate committee on health and welfare.  During the interim, the report shall be to the health access oversight committee.

(c)  This section shall sunset on January 31, 2009.

Sec. 112a.  CHOICES FOR CARE; GRIEVANCE AND APPEAL RULES

The agency of human services and department of disabilities, aging, and independent living shall maintain the grievance and appeal rules in effect on January 1, 2007 for the Choices for Care waiver.  The agency and department shall not amend the grievance and appeal rules to conform to the rules applicable to Global Commitment for Health waiver programs, as the federal regulations applicable to Global Commitment do not apply to the Choices for Care waiver.

     Which was agreed to.

     Pending the question, Shall the bill be read the third time? Rep. Flory of Pittsford moved to amend the bill as follows:

First: by adding Sec. 286a to read as follows:

Sec. 286a.  13 V.S.A. § 7282 is amended to read:

§ 7282.  ASSESSMENT

(a)  In addition to any penalty or fine imposed by the court or judicial bureau for a criminal offense or any civil penalty imposed for a traffic violation, including any violation of a fish and wildlife statute or regulation, violation of a motor vehicle statute, or violation of any local ordinance relating to the operation of a motor vehicle, except violations relating to seat belts and child restraints and ordinances relating to parking violations, the clerk of the court or judicial bureau shall levy an additional fee of:

* * *

(9)  For any offense or violation committed after June 30, 2003, an amount equal to 15 percent of the fine imposed for the offense, rounded upward to the nearest whole dollar, which shall be deposited into the crime victims' restitution special fund established by section 5363 of this title.

* * *

Second: by adding Sec. 286b to read as follows:

Sec. 286b.  EFFECTIVE DATE

Sec. 286a of this act shall take effect on July 1, 2009.

     Which was agreed to.

     Pending the question, Shall the bill be read the third time? Rep. Branagan of Georgia moved to amend the bill as follows:

     In Sec. 268, on page 140, following line 15, by inserting a new subsection 32  V.S.A. §305a (e) to read:

     (e)  The maximum amount of general funds deemed available for general fund appropriation for the subsequent fiscal year shall be determined by the emergency board at the July emergency board meeting, and shall not exceed the amount established for the current fiscal year, increased by the sum of the: (1) three year average as measured by the median of the percent change in the state’s resident population for the immediately preceding three fiscal years ended June 30, and (2) the three year average as measured by the median of the percent change in the annual average of the monthly consumer price index (CPI-U) for the immediately preceding three fiscal years.  The percent change used for the immediately preceding fiscal year where published actual values are not available shall be a consensus projection of the percent change in the state’s resident population and in the CPI-U for that fiscal year between the secretary of administration and the joint fiscal office, as approved by the emergency board. Neither the general fund appropriation in the governor’s proposed budget for the subsequent fiscal year pursuant to section 306 of this title, nor total general fund appropriations for the subsequent fiscal year passed in a regular legislative session, shall exceed this limitation.  The maximum amount of general funds deemed available for general fund appropriation in fiscal year 2009 shall be determined by the emergency board at the July 2008 emergency board meeting, and shall be $1,163.26 million increased by the sum of the percent increases described above.  For the purposes of this subsection, the state population shall be as reported by the Bureau of the Census of the U. S. Department of Commerce, and the consumer price index (CPI-U) shall be as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor.

     Which was disagreed to and third reading of the bill was ordered.

Bill Amended; Third Reading Ordered

H. 531

Rep. Maier of Middlebury spoke for the committee on Health Care.

Rep. Larson of Burlington, for the committee on Appropriations, to which had been referred House bill, entitled

An act relating to ensuring success in health care reform;

Reported in favor of its passage when amended as follows:

First:  In Sec. 7, Integrated Early Implementation of Blueprint Programs; Appropriation, by striking “; Appropriation” in the title of the section

Second:  In Sec. 7, Integrated Early Implementation of Blueprint Programs; Appropriation, by striking subsection (d) and inserting in lieu thereof a new subsection (d) to read:

(d)  For fiscal year 2008, the department of  health shall provide a grant to the Vermont rural health alliance for the early implementation projects described in this section upon the approval by the commissioner and upon receipt of $185,000.00 by the alliance of federal grant or other matching funds. 

Third:  By adding a new Sec. 15 as follows:

Sec. 15.  33 V.S.A. § 1986(d) is amended to read:

(d)  All monies received by or generated to the fund shall be used only as allowed by appropriation of the general assembly for the administration and delivery of the Catamount Health assistance program under this subchapter, employer‑sponsored insurance premium assistance under section 1974 of this title, immunizations under section 1130 of Title 18, and the nongroup health insurance market assistance under section 4062d of Title 8, and for transfers to the state health care resources fund established in section 1901d of this title as approved by the general assembly.

The bill, having appeared on the Calendar one day for notice, was taken up, read the second time, report of the committee on Appropriations agreed to and third reading ordered.

Favorable Report; Third Reading Ordered

H. 528

Rep. Martin of Walcott, for the committee on Government Operations, to which had been referred House bill, entitled

An act relating to approval of amendment to the charter of the City of Montpelier;

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.

Remarks Journalized

On motion of Rep. Keogh of Burlington, the following remarks by Rep. Hube of Londonderry were ordered printed in the Journal:

“Madam Speaker:

     I rise on a point of personal privilege.  I would like to share with the body words that I shared with you earlier today.

     It has been a tough long and difficult week.  We have argued and fought to serve the people that sent us here.  Undoubtedly we will continue to fight and argue until we close this biennium.

     You and I do not often agree, but I know that we both have a love for this institution and all it represents.

     I know the outcome of this bodies’ earlier action on H. 302 was not the outcome that you had hoped for.

     I am aware of the power and authority vested in you which allows for great flexibility.  That flexibility extends to allowing you when to bring up for action those bills that are on the action calendar.

     You could have delayed action on H. 302 well in to the night.  I applaud you for your commitment to fairness to all Vermonters in taking up for action H. 302 when all Vermonters’ voices could be heard.

     You have reinforced my faith in this institution in the stewardship you provide.  I thank you Madame Speaker.”

 

Adjournment

At eight o’clock and fifty-five minutes in the evening, on motion of Rep. Adams of Hartland, the House adjourned until tomorrow at nine o’clock and fifteen minutes in the forenoon.



Published by:

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Montpelier, Vermont


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