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Journal of the House

________________

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 18, 2007

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

Devotional Exercises

Devotional exercises were conducted by Speaker Gaye Symington of Jericho.

Message from the Senate No. 51

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

Madam Speaker:

I am directed to inform the House that the Senate has considered House proposals of amendment to Senate bill of the following title:

S. 124.  An act relating to planning and evaluating operations for inpatient psychiatric hospital services.

And has concurred therein.

The Senate has considered House proposal of amendment to Senate joint resolution of the following title:

J.R.S. 22.  Joint resolution urging Congress to enact S. 340 or H.R. 371, the “Agricultural Job Opportunities, Benefits, and Security Act of 2007” (the AgJOBS Act of 2007)”.

And has concurred therein.

The Senate has considered a joint resolution originating in the House of the following title:

J.R.H. 23.  Joint resolution relating to the implementation of the National Veterinary Medical Service Act.

And has adopted the same in concurrence.

Message from Governor

A message was received from His Excellency, the Governor, by Ms. Kiersten Bourgeois, Secretary of Civil and Military Affairs, as follows:

Madam Speaker:

I am directed by the Governor to inform the House that on the seventeenth day of April, 2007, he approved and signed bills originating in the House of the following titles:

H. 81      An act relating to approval of amendments to the charter of                                       the city of Burlington

H. 169    An act relating to approval of amendments to the charter of                                       the town of Williston.

Bill Referred to Committee on Ways and Means

S. 7

     Senate bill, entitled

     An act relating to the compassionate use of marijuana for medical purposes;

     Appearing on the Calendar, affecting the revenue of the state, under the rule, was referred to the committee on Ways and Means.

Joint Resolution Referred to Committee

J.R.H. 24

Rep. Deen of Westminster offered a joint resolution, entitled

Joint resolution urging the members of Vermont’s U.S. Congressional Delegation to assure that future trade agreements not accord foreign investors greater rights than United States investors;

Whereas, existing United States law provides a high level of investment protection, consistent with or greater than that provided by international law, and

Whereas, a principal trade negotiating objective of the Trade Act of 2002 requires the U.S. Trade Representative to ensure that, “foreign investors are not accorded greater substantive rights with respect to investment protections than United States investors in the United States,” and

Whereas, a principal trade negotiating objective of the Trade Act of 2002 further requires the U.S. Trade Representative to “seek provisions in trade agreements . . . to ensure that they do not weaken or reduce the protections afforded in domestic environmental and labor laws as an encouragement for trade,” and

Whereas, a principal trade negotiating objective of the Trade Act of 2002 further requires the U.S. Trade Representative to “seek . . . to establish standards for expropriation and compensation for expropriation, consistent with United States legal principles and practice,” and

Whereas, a principal trade negotiating objective of the Trade Act of 2002 further requires the U.S. Trade Representative to seek to improve mechanisms to resolve investment disputes between investors and governments, including the establishment of “an appellate body or similar mechanism to provide coherence to the interpretations of investment provisions in trade agreements,” and

Whereas, the investor-state dispute resolution model was developed in earlier international trade agreements as a means to protect U.S. investment from the questionable neutrality of courts and threat of arbitrary nationalization in developing countries, and

Whereas, foreign investors are now using this investor-state dispute resolution model to bring challenges before international tribunals to reasonable state regulations in the United States on subject areas traditionally within the scope of legitimate state control, alleging such regulations amount to a compensable expropriation under NAFTA, and

Whereas, these tribunal decisions seem to demonstrate at least three contexts in which there appears to be noncompliance with the above‑mentioned provisions of the Trade Act of 2002:

1.  The scope of economic interests protected as “investments” under international investment treaties are significantly broader than the specific interests in property protected under U.S. takings law, and include the commitment of capital, the expectation of gain or profit, and the assumption of risk;

2.  U.S. Supreme Court takings jurisprudence considers property rights “as a whole,” yet investment tribunal decisions have recognized conceptual severance, in which each component of a property right – physical, functional, and temporal – is considered individually, and each may be expropriated; and

3.  U.S. Supreme Court takings jurisprudence requires a “significant” economic impact before finding that a regulatory taking has occurred, yet investment tribunals have noted that even partial or temporary deprivations of rights could constitute an expropriation, and

Whereas, these contexts represent areas in which, due to noncompliance with applicable provisions of the Trade Act of 2002, foreign investors may be enjoying greater substantive rights with respect to investment protections than U.S. investors in the United States, and

Whereas, these greater substantive rights constitute a threat to state sovereignty by calling into question whether state environmental or labor protections, or those on subjects such as gambling, will be challenged by foreign investors as an expropriation requiring compensation, and

Whereas, it is uncertain how arbitration tribunals would decide such expropriation challenges, because prior tribunal decisions do not have the same precedential value as U.S. court decisions, and

Whereas, pending agreements such as that with Panama, which is a home for subsidiaries of thousands of U.S. corporations, continue to allow investor-state suits and thereby continue to expand dramatically the universe of subsidiaries that may be able to avail themselves of remedies that do not exist for companies without subsidiaries in partner countries, and

Whereas, with the so-called “fast track” authority for Congressional approval of trade agreements scheduled to expire on June 30, 2007, it is crucial for Congress to assert the oversight necessary to assure that foreign investors are given no greater rights than U.S. investors, or that investor-state provisions are not included in future trade agreements, now therefore be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

That the General Assembly urges the three members of Vermont’s U.S. Congressional Delegation to consider requesting that the Government Accountability Office:

(1)  investigate the extent to which the U.S. Trade Representative has structured new trade agreements to require compliance with the above‑mentioned provisions of the trade‑negotiating objectives in the Trade Act of 2002, and

(2)  develop recommendations to Congress regarding measures that would mandate implementation of those policies and others specified in this resolution, together with recommendations for measures to enhance Congressional oversight on these issues, and be it further

Resolved:  that Vermont’s Congressional Delegation be urged to:

(1)  revise trade objectives, including those implicit in recommendations made in this resolution, so as to become mandatory for the negotiators;

(2)  terminate the ability of subsidiaries of domestic corporations to bring investor suits against the United States;

(3)  limit the definition of “investment” entitled to protection;

(4)  limit the ability of investor suits to address domestic Constitutional law issues;

(5)  exclude from vulnerability to investor suits measures relating to land use, homeland security, public morals, water policy, electricity regulation, and others recommended for exclusion by the states, cities, and towns;

(6)  establish meaningful conflict‑of‑interest standards for the selection of international arbitrators;

(7)  limit provisions on “expropriation” to direct expropriation defined in a manner that approximates U.S. takings law;

(8)  establish a process for the diplomatic review of investor claims that protects rational public measures by state and local governments; and

(9)  require judicial review of tribunal awards in a manner that explicitly allows United States courts to set aside awards that are contrary to U.S. public policy and that of the various states, and be it further

Resolved:  That the secretary of state be directed to send copies of this resolution to United States Senators Bernard Sanders and Patrick Leahy, United States Representative Peter Welch, the members of the NCSL standing committees of jurisdiction over matters of trade, environmental protection, and the judiciary, and the office of the United States Trade Representative.

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

Third Reading; Bill Passed

H. 290

House bill, entitled

     An act relating to underground utility damage prevention system;

Was taken up, read the third time and passed.

Third Reading; Bill Passed in Concurrence

With Proposal of Amendment; Rules Suspended and

Bill Ordered Messaged to the Senate Forthwith

S. 77

Senate bill, entitled

An act relating to transferring title to a motor vehicle to a surviving spouse;

Was taken up, read the third time and passed in concurrence with proposal of amendment.

     On motion of Rep. Adams of Hartland, the rules were suspended and the bill was ordered messaged to the Senate forthwith.

Action on Bill Postponed

S. 78

Senate bill, entitled

An act relating to having the cost of picking up and hauling milk paid by the purchaser;

Was taken up and pending the reading of the report of the committee on Agriculture, on motion of Rep. Lawrence of Lyndon, action on the bill was postponed until the next legislative day.

Bill Amended; Third Reading Ordered

H. 540

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

An act relating to public transit;

Reported the same without recommendation.

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

Pending the question, Shall the bill be read the third time? Reps. Donaghy of  Poultney, Clarkson of Woodstock, Grad of Moretown, Flory of Pittsford, Gervais of Enosburg, Jewett of Ripton, Lippert of Hinesburg, Marek of Newfane, Pellett of Chester, Chen of  Mendon,  Acinapura of Brandon, Bostic of St. Johnsbury, Heath of Westford, Hunt of Essex, Hutchinson of Randolph, Johnson of South Hero, Keenan of St. Albans City, Larson of Burlington, Miller of Shaftsbury, Potter of Clarendon and Pugh of South Burlington moved to amend the bill by adding a new Sec. 13 to read as follows:

Sec. 13.  PRIMARY SEAT BELT ENFORCEMENT

(a) Repeal.  23 V.S.A. § 1259(e) (secondary enforcement of safety belt law) is repealed.

(b) Acceptance of federal funds.  The state is authorized to accept the anticipated $3,700,000.00 of federal funds and any additional funding available from the federal government attributable to the passage of this act.

(c)  Effective date. This section shall take effect from passage.

Pending the question, Shall the House amend the bill as recommended by Reps. Donaghy of Poultney, et al? Rep. Donaghy of Poultney 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 Reps. Donaghy of Poultney, et al?  was decided in the affirmative.  Yeas, 99.  Nays, 44.

Those who voted in the affirmative are:


Acinapura of Brandon

Adams of Hartland

Ancel of Calais

Anderson of Montpelier

Andrews of Rutland City

Audette of S. Burlington

Barnard of Richmond

Bissonnette of Winooski

Bostic of St. Johnsbury

Botzow of Pownal

Branagan of Georgia

Bray of New Haven

Browning of Arlington

Canfield of Fair Haven

Chen of Mendon

Cheney of Norwich

Clark of Vergennes

Clarkson of Woodstock

Clerkin of Hartford

Consejo of Sheldon

Copeland-Hanzas of Bradford

Courcelle of Rutland City

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

Evans of Essex

Fisher of Lincoln

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

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

Koch of Barre Town

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

McDonald of Berlin

McFaun of Barre Town

Milkey of Brattleboro

Miller of Shaftsbury

Minter of Waterbury

Mitchell of Barnard

Mook of Bennington

Moran of Wardsboro

Mrowicki of Putney

Myers of Essex

Nease of Johnson

Nuovo of Middlebury

Ojibway of Hartford

Orr of Charlotte

Oxholm of Vergennes

Partridge of Windham

Pearson of Burlington

Pellett of Chester

Peltz of Woodbury

Peterson of Williston

Potter of Clarendon

Pugh of S. Burlington

Randall of Troy

Sharpe of Bristol

Smith of Morristown

Spengler of Colchester

Sweaney of Windsor

Trombley of Grand Isle

Turner of Milton

Weston of Burlington

Wright of Burlington


Those who voted in the negative are:


Ainsworth of Royalton

Allard of St. Albans Town

Atkins of Winooski

Baker of West Rutland

Brennan of Colchester

Clark of St. Johnsbury

Condon of Colchester

Corcoran of Bennington

Errecart of Shelburne

Fallar of Tinmouth

Fitzgerald of St. Albans City

Helm of Castleton

Howrigan of Fairfield

Hudson of Lyndon

Johnson of Canaan

Kilmartin of Newport City

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

Monti of Barre City

Morley of Barton

Morrissey of Bennington

Obuchowski of Rockingham

O'Donnell of Vernon

Otterman of Topsham

Peaslee of Guildhall

Perry of Richford

Pillsbury of Brattleboro

Rodgers of Glover

Scheuermann of Stowe

Shaw of Derby

Stevens of Shoreham

Sunderland of Rutland Town

Valliere of Barre City

Westman of Cambridge

Wheeler of Derby

Winters of Williamstown

Zenie of Colchester


 

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


Aswad of Burlington

Davis of Washington

Grad of Moretown

Hube of Londonderry

Shand of Weathersfield

Zuckerman of Burlington


 

     Rep. Clark of Vergennes explained his vote as follows:

“Madam Speaker:

     I am supportive of this amendment because I don’t want the legislatures in New Jersey, New York and Illinois to lead the Vermont legislature in controlling and restricting human behavior.”

     Rep. Marek of Newfane explained his vote as follows:

“Madam Speaker:

     We treat many matters in this House as though they were matters of life and death.  This one truly was.  Approval of this amendment means that Vermonters will live who otherwise would have died.”

     Rep. Minter of Waterbury explained her vote as follows:

“Madam Speaker:

     I vote in favor of this amendment in memory of my three classmates from the class of 1979 who died, tragically and unbelted when ejected from their vehicle just three nights before my high school graduation.”

Rep. Rodgers of Glover explained his vote as follows:

“Madam Speaker:

     One more step toward a police state has been taken with the passage of this amendment.”

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

     By striking Secs. 1 through 12 and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

* * * Public Transit Program * * *

Sec. 1.  PUBLIC TRANSIT PROGRAM

(a)  In the agency of transportation’s fiscal year 2008 state transportation program, authorized spending in the public transit program is amended to read:

       FY08                             As Proposed    As Amended             Change

          Personal services                948,669           948,669                      0

          Operating expenses               77,517             77,517                      0

          Grants                           16,225,259      19,732,065        3,506,806

          Other                                             0                      0                      0

          Total                              17,251,445      20,758,251        3,506,806

       Sources of funds                                                                               

          State                                5,899,044        6,569,405           670,361

          Town Fund                                    0                      0                      0

          Federal                          11,352,401      14,157,846        2,805,445

          Federal toll credits                         0             31,000             31,000

          Total                              17,251,445      20,758,251        3,506,806

(b)  These changes are made:

(1)  To add $130,361 in transportation funds, $31,000 in federal toll credits and $645,445 in federal funds for capital assistance – equipment replacement; and

(2)  To add an additional $2,160,000 in federal funds and $540,000 in matching transportation funds for capital assistance – equipment replacement.  This additional spending authority is contingent upon additional federal funds being made available to the state pursuant to Sec. 2005 of Public Law 109-59 (109th Congress)(“Sec. 2005 funds”).  Whenever such Sec. 2005 funds are made available to the state, the agency shall utilize such funds on eligible, approved transportation projects and re-allocate the federal funds and matching state funds associated with such projects to the public transit – equipment replacement program.

(c) The contingent spending authority defined in subsection (b)(2) of this section shall continue forward to subsequent fiscal years until all Sec. 2005 funds to which the state is entitled have been made available to the state and until all Sec. 2005 funds have been utilized so as to generate federal funds and matching state funds which are eligible for use in the public transit – equipment replacement program.

(d) Notwithstanding subsections (a) and (b) of this section, the agency may utilize the identified federal toll credits to satisfy the state matching requirement for use of federal funds on any approved project in the transportation program provided budgetary measures are taken to apply the transportation funds so replaced to the uses as provided herein.

Sec. 2.  APPROPRIATIONS – PUBLIC TRANSIT PROGRAM

(a)  The following amounts are appropriated for the fiscal year 2008 public transit program of the state transportation program:

          Personal services                948,669                       

          Operating expenses               77,517                       

          Grants                           19,732,065                       

            Total                           20,758,251

       Sources of funds                                                                               

          State                                6,569,405                       

          Federal                          14,157,846

          Toll credits                           31,000

            Total                           20,758,251                       

(b) Of the above appropriation, $2,160,000 in federal funds, and $540,00 in transportation funds are contingent upon the conditions specified in Sec. 1(b)(2) of this Act.

* * * Appropriation of Federal Funds * * *

Sec. 3. APPROPRIATION OF FEDERAL FUNDS

(a) Contingent upon federal funds being made available to the state pursuant to Sec. 2005 of Public Law 109-59 (109th Congress)(“Sec. 2005 funds”):

(1) $1,000,000 of such Sec. 2005 funds are appropriated to public safety – criminal justice services and authorized for use by the Governor’s Highway Safety Program, and

(2) $2,700,000 of such Sec. 2005 funds are appropriated to the agency of transportation – program development and authorized for use as directed in Sec.1(b)(2) of this Act.

(b) The appropriations authority defined in subsection (a) of this section shall continue forward to subsequent fiscal years until all Sec. 2005 funds to which the state is entitled have been made available to the state.

* * * Public and Critical Care Transportation Study Committee * * *

Sec. 4.  PUBLIC AND CRITICAL CARE TRANSPORTATION STUDY

             COMMITTEE

(a)  A critical care transportation legislative study committee is established, consisting of the secretary of transportation or designee; the agency of transportation’s public transit administrator or designee; the secretary of human services or the director of housing and transportation; the commissioner of disabilities, aging and independent living or designee; the director of the office of Vermont health access or designee; the chair of the house committee on transportation or designee; the chair of the house committee on appropriations or designee; the chair of the house human services committee or designee; the chair of the senate committee on transportation or designee; the chair of the senate committee on appropriations or designee; the chair of the senate health and welfare committee or designee; a representative of the Vermont area agencies on aging; a representative of the Vermont center for independent living; a representative of the Vermont association of adult day care services; a representative of the Vermont public transportation association to represent rural public transportation providers; a representative of the Vermont public transportation association to represent urban public transportation providers; a representative of the Vermont kidney foundation; and a representative of the American Cancer Society.  For the purposes of this section, critical care transportation is defined as transportation to and from dialysis and cancer treatment medical services for Vermonters not eligible for Medicaid transportation services.  The committee shall be co‑chaired by the secretary of human services, or the housing and transportation director, and the agency of transportation’s public transit administrator.  The committee is authorized to hold up to six meetings, at which point it is terminated.  Legislative members of the committee shall be entitled to per diem compensation and expense reimbursement as provided in 2 V.S.A. § 406(a).

(b)  The sum of $200,000.00 is appropriated from the general fund to the department of disabilities, aging, and independent living, on a one‑time basis, to provide supplemental funding to the elderly and disabled transportation program, exclusively for critical care transportation.  This appropriation is intended to supplement elderly and disabled transportation program funds for critical care transportation appropriated for fiscal year 2008, and agencies receiving such funding shall, at a minimum, maintain in fiscal year 2008 the funding amounts initially programmed by the regional elderly and disabled advisory committees in fiscal year 2007 for critical care transportation.

(c)  The commissioner of the department of disabilities, aging and independent living shall disburse the funds appropriated in subsection (b) of this section to agencies that have grant agreements with the agency of transportation for the provision of elderly and disabled transportation services after considering recommendations for disbursal from the critical care legislative study committee.  The committee shall make specific recommendations on the disbursal of these supplemental funds that, to the greatest extent practicable and within funding limitations of this appropriation, support Vermonters’ needs for critical care transportation services.

(d)  The committee shall review the current service delivery system for critical care transportation, and develop recommendations for program administration approaches that will insure critical care transportation program stability, and eliminate annual regional fluctuations of need, and make policy recommendations toward the establishment of prudent and predictable funding that is tied to clear policy objectives determined to be reasonable, sustainable, and affordable.  The committee shall consider such issues as program coordination among not‑for‑profit agencies and funding sources, sustainability of funding, ease of administration, compatibility with other programs, need for service, and other issues it deems relevant to determine its recommendations.

(e)  The agency of human services, agency of transportation, legislative council, and joint fiscal office shall provide administrative and staff support for the committee.

(f)  The committee shall deliver its report, including any recommendations for proposed legislation, to the house and senate committees on appropriations and transportation, to the house human services committee, and the senate health and welfare committee by December 1, 2007.  

* * * Emissions Labeling for New Vehicles * * *

Sec. 5.  10 V.S.A. § 579 is added to read:

§ 579.  VEHICLE EMISSIONS LABELING PROGRAM FOR NEW

            MOTOR  VEHICLES

(a)  Not later than September 1, 2009, the commissioner of environmental conservation, in consultation with the commissioner of motor vehicles, shall establish a vehicle emissions labeling program for new motor vehicles sold or leased in the state with a model year of 2010 or later.

(b)  Vehicle emissions labels under this program shall include the vehicle’s emissions score, comparing the vehicle’s emissions with the emissions from all vehicle models of the same model year for which a label is required, presented in both a continuous bar format and a single qualitative score or in an alternative graphical representation that the commissioner of environmental conservation determines will more effectively convey the information to consumers.  The label shall also include the average vehicle emissions score for vehicles within the same vehicle class as the vehicle to which the label is affixed and any other relevant information, as determined by the commissioner of environmental conservation.  The commissioner of environmental conservation is encouraged to consult with the counterparts in California and Connecticut who have advanced a comparable program in those states, and is additionally encouraged to develop a model whereby the automobile manufacturers install the labels.

(c)  The vehicle emissions label shall be affixed to the vehicle in a clearly visible location, as determined by the commissioner of environmental conservation and the commissioner of motor vehicles.

(d)  No new motor vehicle with a model year of 2010, or later, shall be sold or leased in the state without a vehicle emissions label that meets the requirements of this section affixed to it.

* * * Town Highway Emergency Fund * * *

Sec. 6.  TOWN HIGHWAY EMERGENCY FUND

Funding of the town highway emergency fund for fiscal year 2008 is amended to read:

       FY08                             As Proposed    As Amended             Change

          Personal Services                           0                      0                      0

          Operating Expenses                       0                      0                      0

          Grants                             1,185,893           377,000          -808,893

          Total                                1,185,893           377,000          -808,893

       Sources of funds

          State                                1,185,893           377,000          -808,893

          Town Fund                                    0                      0                      0

          Federal                                          0                      0                      0

          Local                                             0                      0                      0

          Total                                1,185,893           377,000          -808,893

And by renumbering the remaining Section to be numerically correct.

     Which was agreed to.

     Pending the question, Shall the bill be read the third time? Reps. Zuckerman of Burlington, Pearson of Burlington, Aswad of Burlington, Botzow of Pownal, Edwards of Brattleboro, Donovan of Burlington, Mitchell of Barnard, Nuovo of Middlebury, Pillsbury of Brattleboro, Sharpe of Bristol and Zenie of Colchester moved to amend the bill as follows:

     By adding new Secs. 8 and 9 to read as follows:

* * * Purchase and Use Tax Reduction for Fuel Efficient Vehicles * **

Sec. 8.  32 V.S.A. § 8903(a) and (b) are amended to read:

(a)(1)  There is hereby imposed upon the purchase in Vermont of a motor vehicle by a resident a tax at the time of such purchase, payable as hereinafter provided.  The

(A)  Except as provided in subdivision (B) of this subsection, the amount of the tax shall be six percent of the taxable cost of a:

pleasure car as defined in 23 V.S.A. § 4;

motorcycle as defined in 23 V.S.A. § 4;

motor home as defined in subdivision 8902(11) of this title; or

vehicle weighing up to 10,099 pounds, registered pursuant to 23 V.S.A. § 367, other than a farm truck.

(B)  For any above‑defined motor vehicle of a model year 2009 or later which has a fuel economy rating of 30 miles per gallon or more in city driving, the amount of the tax shall be five percent of the vehicle’s taxable cost.

* * *

(b)(1) There (A)  Except as provided in subdivision (B) of this subdivision (1), there is hereby imposed upon the use within this state a tax of six percent of the taxable cost of a:

pleasure car as defined in 23 V.S.A. § 4;

motorcycle as defined in 23 V.S.A. § 4;

motor home as defined in subdivision 8902(11) of this title; or

vehicle weighing up to 10,099 pounds, registered pursuant to 23 V.S.A. § 367, other than a farm truck..

(B)  For any above‑defined motor vehicle of a model year 2009 or later which has a fuel economy rating of 30 gallons or more in city driving, the amount of the tax on its use in this state shall be five percent of the vehicle’s taxable cost.

 * * * Purchase and Use Tax; Surcharge for Low Mileage Vehicles * * *

Sec. 9.  32 V.S.A. § 8903(h) is added to read:

(h)  There is imposed a surcharge of $150.00 on the purchase or use, subject to subsection (a) or (b) of this section, of new vehicles of model year 2009 or later manufactured after September 1, 2008, as follows:

(1)  Vehicles registered at the pleasure car rate with a fuel economy rating of less than 20 miles per gallon in combined city and highway driving.

          (2)  Trucks weighing more than 6000 pounds and up to 10,099 with a fuel economy rating of less than 17 miles per gallon in combined city and highway driving.

     Thereupon, Rep. Marcotte of Coventry asked that the question be divided and that Sec. 8 be voted on first.  Rep. Deen of Westminster moved to postpone consideration of Sec. 8 until after consideration of Sec. 9, which was agreed to.

Pending the question, Shall the House amend the bill as recommended by Reps. Zuckerman of Burlington, et al, in the second half of the amendment? Rep. Marcotte of Coventry 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 Reps. Zuckerman of Burlington, et al, in the second half of the amendment?  was decided in the negative.  Yeas, 60.  Nays, 79.

Those who voted in the affirmative are:


Ancel of Calais

Anderson of Montpelier

Atkins of Winooski

Audette of S. Burlington

Barnard of Richmond

Botzow of Pownal

Browning of Arlington

Chen of Mendon

Cheney of Norwich

Clarkson of Woodstock

Copeland-Hanzas of Bradford

Corcoran of Bennington

Deen of Westminster

Donovan of Burlington

Edwards of Brattleboro

Emmons of Springfield

Evans of Essex

Fisher of Lincoln

Frank of Underhill

French of Randolph

Gilbert of Fairfax

Godin of Milton

Haas of Rochester

Head of S. Burlington

Heath of Westford

Hosford of Waitsfield

Hutchinson of Randolph

Jerman of Essex

Johnson of South Hero

Keogh of Burlington

Kitzmiller of Montpelier

Larson of Burlington

Lippert of Hinesburg

Lorber of Burlington

Maier of Middlebury

Malcolm of Pawlet

Marek of Newfane

Martin, C. of Springfield

Masland of Thetford

McCullough of Williston

Milkey of Brattleboro

Minter of Waterbury

Mitchell of Barnard

Monti of Barre City

Mrowicki of Putney

Nease of Johnson

Nuovo of Middlebury

Ojibway of Hartford

Orr of Charlotte

Pearson of Burlington

Pillsbury of Brattleboro

Potter of Clarendon

Randall of Troy

Sharpe of Bristol

Spengler of Colchester

Stevens of Shoreham

Sweaney of Windsor

Westman of Cambridge

Weston of Burlington

Zenie of Colchester


 

Those who voted in the negative are:


Acinapura of Brandon

Adams of Hartland

Ainsworth of Royalton

Allard of St. Albans Town

Andrews of Rutland City

Baker of West Rutland

Bissonnette of Winooski

Bostic of St. Johnsbury

Branagan of Georgia

Bray of New Haven

Brennan of Colchester

Canfield of Fair Haven

Clark of St. Johnsbury

Clark of Vergennes

Clerkin of Hartford

Condon of Colchester

Consejo of Sheldon

Courcelle of Rutland City

Devereux of Mount Holly

Donaghy of Poultney

Donahue of Northfield

Dostis of Waterbury

Errecart of Shelburne

Fallar of Tinmouth

Fitzgerald of St. Albans City

Flory of Pittsford

Gervais of Enosburg

Helm of Castleton

Howard of Rutland City

Howrigan of Fairfield

Hudson of Lyndon

Jewett of Ripton

Johnson of Canaan

Kilmartin of Newport City

Klein of East Montpelier

Koch of Barre Town

Komline of Dorset

Krawczyk of Bennington

Kupersmith of S. Burlington

Larocque of Barnet

Larrabee of Danville

LaVoie of Swanton

Lawrence of Lyndon

Leriche of Hardwick

Livingston of Manchester

Manwaring of Wilmington

Marcotte of Coventry

Martin of Wolcott

McAllister of Highgate

McCormack of Rutland City

McDonald of Berlin

McFaun of Barre Town

Miller of Shaftsbury

Mook of Bennington

Moran of Wardsboro

Morley of Barton

Morrissey of Bennington

Myers of Essex

Obuchowski of Rockingham

O'Donnell of Vernon

Otterman of Topsham

Oxholm of Vergennes

Partridge of Windham

Peaslee of Guildhall

Pellett of Chester

Peltz of Woodbury

Perry of Richford

Peterson of Williston

Pugh of S. Burlington

Rodgers of Glover

Scheuermann of Stowe

Shaw of Derby

Sunderland of Rutland Town

Trombley of Grand Isle

Turner of Milton

Valliere of Barre City

Wheeler of Derby

Winters of Williamstown

Wright of Burlington


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


Aswad of Burlington

Davis of Washington

Grad of Moretown

Hube of Londonderry

Hunt of Essex

Keenan of St. Albans City

Lenes of Shelburne

Shand of Weathersfield

Smith of Morristown

Zuckerman of Burlington


 

     Rep. Klein of East Montpelier explained his vote as follows:

“Madam Speaker:

     A little here, a little there, nickel and dime.  We have a huge problem and we need the political leadership and the where-with-all to really do what is necessary to solve the problem.  This doesn’t come close and that’s why I voted no.”

     Rep. Spengler of Colchester explained her vote as follows:

“Madam Speaker:

     The time has come to take global warming seriously.  We must be bold and enact legislation that will lead the charge to a new economy and culture.   This is a small step.  Our children depend on us.”

     Thereupon, Rep. Pearson of Burlington asked and was granted leave of the House to withdraw Sec. 8 of his amendment and third reading of the bill was ordered.

Senate Proposal of Amendment Not Concurred in;

Committee of Conference Requested

H. 334

     The Senate proposed to the House to amend House bill, entitled

     An act relating to restitution;

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

Sec. 1.  12 V.S.A. § 2901 is amended to read:

§ 2901.  CREATION OF JUDGMENT LIEN

A final judgment issued in a civil action or a restitution order entered under section 7043 of Title 13 shall constitute a lien on any real property of a judgment debtor if recorded as provided in this chapter.

Sec. 2.  13  V.S.A. § 5312 is amended to read:

§ 5312. VICTIM'S INTEREST IN SPEEDY PROSECUTION

(a) The prosecutor's office, if practicable, shall make every effort to inform a victim of a listed crime of any pending motion that may substantially delay the prosecution any deposition, change of plea, trial, sentencing hearing, or restitution hearing. The prosecutor shall inform the court of how the victim was notified and the victim's position on the motion, if any.  In the event the victim was not notified, the prosecutor shall inform the court why notification did not take place.

* * *

Sec. 3.  13  V.S.A. § 5362 is amended to read:

§ 5362.  RESTITUTION UNIT

* * *

(c)  The restitution unit shall have the authority to:

* * *

(4)  Investigate and verify the amount of insurance or other payments paid to or for the benefit of a victim, and adjust reduce the amount collected or to be collected from the offender or disbursed to the victim from the crime victims' restitution special fund accordingly.  The restitution unit shall submit to the court a proposed revised restitution order stipulated to by the victim and the unit, with copies provided to the victim and the offender.  No hearing shall be required and the court shall amend the judgment order to reflect the amount stipulated to by the victim and the restitution unit.

* * *

(6)  Report offenders’ payment histories to credit reporting agencies, provided that the unit shall not report information regarding offenders who are incarcerated.

Sec. 4.  13 V.S.A. § 5363 is amended to read:

§ 5363.  CRIME VICTIMS' RESTITUTION SPECIAL FUND

* * *

(b)(1)  There shall be deposited into the fund:

* * *

(3)  If a victim who is entitled to receive an advance payment of restitution from the crime victims’ restitution special fund cannot be located, the restitution unit shall report the amount to the treasurer within the time limits provided by subsection 1247(d) of Title 27, and the treasurer shall report it as unclaimed property.  Notwithstanding any other provision of law, in no event shall the advance payments from the restitution special fund to which the victim is entitled be subject to ultimate deposit in the general or education fund. 

* * *

(d)(1) The restitution unit is authorized to advance up to $10,000.00 to a victim or to a deceased victim's heir or legal representative if the victim:

* * *

(4)  If funds are available in the restitution special fund, the general assembly may through the appropriations process authorize the restitution unit to advance up to $10,000.00 from the special fund to a natural person for payment of restitution ordered prior to July 1, 2004. The restitution unit shall have the discretion to determine which restitution orders will receive payment from this appropriation, and in making its determination the unit shall consider the amount of the restitution order and the number of years it has been outstanding.

* * *

Sec. 5.  13 V.S.A. § 5365 is added to read:

§ 5365.  ACCESS TO FINANCIAL RECORDS

(a)  As used in this section:

(1)  "Depositor" means an owner of an account in a financial institution and includes "share account holders" of credit unions.

(2)  "Financial institution" means a savings and loan association, a trust company, a savings bank, an industrial bank, a banking organization, a commercial bank, or a credit union organized under the laws of this state or authorized to do business in this state.

(4)  "Offender" means a person who owes restitution.

(5)  "Restitution unit" means the state of Vermont restitution unit.

(6)  "Restitution" means an unsatisfied obligation to pay restitution that was ordered in connection with a criminal case and about which, prior to the issuance of the order, the offender had notice and an opportunity to contest the amount owed.

(b)  Upon receipt of a duly authorized written request from the restitution unit to identify depository accounts held by an offender, a financial institution shall search its depositor records in order to identify accounts in which the offender has an ownership or beneficial interest.

(c)  A financial institution shall notify the restitution unit of all accounts identified in response to a request filed under subsection (b) of this section.  The notification shall contain the following information, if available to the financial institution through its search procedure, for each account identified:

(1)  The full name, date of birth, and address that the offender provided for himself or herself to the financial institution.

(2)  The offender’s Social Security number.

(3)  The offender’s account number.

(4)  The amount of deposits contained in the offender’s account.

(5)  Whether the offender is the sole owner of the account.

(d)  The financial institution shall not provide notice in any form to a depositor identified by the restitution unit pursuant to this section.  Failure to provide notice to a depositor shall not constitute a violation of the financial institution's duty of good faith to its customers.

(e)  A financial institution may charge the restitution unit a fee for services provided under this section, provided that the fee shall not exceed the actual costs incurred by the financial institution.

(f)  The information provided to each other by the financial institution and the restitution unit pursuant to this section shall be confidential and shall be used only for the purpose of collecting unpaid restitution.

Sec. 6.  13 V.S.A. § 7043 is amended to read:

§ 7043.  RESTITUTION

(a)(1)  Restitution shall be considered in every case in which a victim of a crime, as defined in subdivision 5301(4) of this title, has suffered a material loss.

(2)  For purposes of this section, "material loss" means uninsured property loss, uninsured out-of-pocket monetary loss, uninsured lost wages, and uninsured medical expenses.

(b)(1)  When ordered, restitution may include:

(1) (A) return of property wrongfully taken from the victim;

(2) (B) cash, credit card, or installment payments paid to the restitution unit; or

(3) (C) payments in kind, if acceptable to the victim.

(2)  In the event of a victim’s crime-related death, the court may, at the request of the restitution unit, direct the unit to pay up to $10,000 from the restitution fund to the victim’s estate to cover future uninsured material losses caused by the death.  

(c)  In awarding restitution, the court shall make findings with respect to:

(1)  The total amount of the material loss incurred by the victim. If sufficient documentation of the material loss is not available at the time of sentencing, the court shall set a hearing on the issue, and notice thereof shall be provided to the offender.

(2)  The offender's current ability to pay restitution, based on all financial information available to the court, including information provided by the offender.

(d)(1)  An order of restitution shall establish the amount of the material loss incurred by the victim, which shall be the restitution judgment order. In the event the offender is unable to pay the restitution judgment order at the time of sentencing, the court shall establish a restitution payment schedule for the offender based upon the offender's current and reasonably foreseeable ability to pay, subject to modification under subsection (k) of this section.  Notwithstanding chapter 113 of Title 12 or any other provision of law, interest shall not accrue on a restitution judgment.

(2)(A)  Every order of restitution shall:

(i)  include the offender's name, address and social security number;

(ii)  include the name, address, and telephone number of the offender's employer; and

(iii)  require the offender, until his or her restitution obligation is satisfied, to notify the restitution unit within 30 days if the offender's address or employment changes, including providing the name, address, and telephone number of each new employer.

(B)  [Repealed.]

(e)(1)  If not paid at the time of sentencing, restitution may be ordered as a condition of probation, supervised community sentence, furlough, preapproved furlough, or parole if the convicted person is sentenced to preapproved furlough, probation, or supervised community sentence, or is sentenced to imprisonment and later placed on parole.  A person shall not be placed on probation solely for purposes of paying restitution.  An offender may not be charged with a violation of probation, furlough, or parole for nonpayment of a restitution obligation incurred after July 1, 2004.

(2)  The department of corrections shall work collaboratively with the restitution unit to assist with the collection of restitution.  The department shall provide the restitution unit with information about the location and employment status of the offender.

(f)(1)  When restitution is requested but not ordered, the court shall set forth on the record its reasons for not ordering restitution.

(2)(A)  If restitution was not requested at the time of sentencing, or if expenses arose after the entry of a restitution order, the state may file a motion with the sentencing court to reopen the restitution case in order to consider a request for restitution payable from the restitution fund.  Restitution ordered under this subdivision shall not be payable by the offender. 

(B)  A motion under this subdivision shall be filed within one year after the imposition of sentence or the entry of the restitution order.

(g)  Restitution ordered under this section shall not preclude a person from pursuing an independent civil action for all claims not covered by the restitution order.

(h)(1)  The court shall transmit a copy of a restitution order to the restitution unit, which shall make payment to the victim in accordance with section 5363 of this title.

(2)  To the extent that the victims compensation board has made payment to or on behalf of the victim in accordance with chapter 167 of this title, restitution, if imposed, shall be paid to the restitution unit, which shall make payment to the victims compensation fund.

(i)  The restitution unit may bring an action to enforce a restitution order against an offender in the superior or small claims court of the county where the offender resides or in the county where the order was issued. In an action under this subsection, a restitution order issued by the district court shall be enforceable in superior or small claims court in the same manner as a civil judgment.  Superior and small claims court filing fees shall be waived for an action under this subsection, and for an action to renew a restitution judgment.

(j)  All restitution payments shall be made to the restitution unit, with the exception of restitution relating to a conviction for welfare fraud ordered under this section and recouped by the economic services division.  The economic services division shall provide the restitution unit with a monthly report of all restitution collected through recoupment.  This subsection shall have no effect upon the collection or recoupment of restitution ordered under Title 33.

(k)  The sentencing court may modify the payment schedule of a restitution order if, upon motion by the restitution unit or the offender, the court finds that modification is warranted by a substantial change in circumstances.

(l)  If the offender fails to pay restitution as ordered by the court, the restitution unit may file an action to enforce the restitution order in superior or small claims court.  After an enforcement action is filed, any further proceedings related to the action shall be heard in the court where it was filed.  The court shall set the matter for hearing and shall provide notice to the restitution unit, the victim, and the offender.  If the court determines the offender has failed to comply with the restitution order, the court may take any action the court deems necessary to ensure the offender will make the required restitution payment, including:

(1)  amending the payment schedule of the restitution order;

(2)  ordering, in compliance with the procedures required in Rule 4.1 of the Vermont Rules of Civil Procedure, the disclosure, attachment, and sale of assets and accounts owned by the offender;

(3)  ordering the offender's wages withheld pursuant to subsection n (o) of this section; or

(4)  ordering the suspension of any recreational licenses owned by the offender.

(m)(1)  Any monies owed by the state to an offender who is under a restitution order, including lottery winnings and tax refunds, shall be used to discharge the restitution order to the full extent of the unpaid total financial losses, regardless of the payment schedule established by the courts.

(2)  When an offender is entitled to a tax refund, any restitution owed by the offender shall be withheld from the refund pursuant to subchapter 12 of chapter 151 of Title 32.

(3)(A)  For all Vermont lottery games, the lottery commission shall, before issuing prize money of $500.00 or more to a winner, determine whether the winner has an outstanding restitution order.  If the winner owes restitution, the lottery commission shall withhold the entire amount of restitution owed and pay it to the restitution unit.  The remainder of the winnings, if any, shall be sent to the winner.  The winner shall be notified by the restitution unit of the offset prior to payment to the victim and given a period not to exceed 20 days to contest the accuracy of the information.

(B)  The restitution unit shall inform the lottery commission of persons with outstanding restitution orders upon request. Each person subject to such an order shall be identified by name, address, and Social Security number.

(C)  If a lottery winner has an outstanding restitution order and an outstanding child support order, the lottery winnings shall be offset first pursuant to section 792 of Title 15 by the amount of child support owed, and second pursuant to this subsection by the amount of restitution owed.  The remainder of the winnings, if any, shall be sent to the winner.

(4)  Unless otherwise provided, monies paid under this subsection shall be paid directly to the restitution unit.

(n)(1)  The sentencing court at the time of sentencing, or the superior or small claims court in a subsequent proceeding, may issue a wage withholding order directing All restitution orders made or modified on or after January 1, 2008 shall include an order for wage withholding unless the court in its discretion finds good cause not to order wage withholding or the parties have entered into an alternative arrangement by written agreement which is affirmatively stated in the order.  The wage withholding order shall direct current and subsequent employers of the offender to pay a portion of the offender's wages directly to the restitution unit until the offender's restitution obligation is satisfied.  The wages of the offender shall be exempt as follows:

(A)  to the extent provided under Section 303(b) of the Consumer Credit Protection Act (15 U.S.C. § 1673(b)); or

(B)  if the court finds the weekly expenses reasonably incurred by the debtor for his or her maintenance and that of dependents exceed the amounts exempted by subdivision (1)(A) of this subsection, such greater amount of earnings as the court shall order.

(2)  The court shall transmit all wage withholding orders issued under this section to the restitution unit, which shall forward the orders to the offender's employers.  Upon receipt of a wage withholding order from the restitution unit, an employer shall:

(A)  withhold from the wages paid to the offender the amount specified in the order for each wage period;

(B)  forward the withheld wages to the restitution unit within seven working days after wages are withheld, specifying the date the wages were withheld;

(C)  retain a record of all withheld wages;

(D)  cease withholding wages upon notice from the restitution unit; and

(E)  notify the restitution unit within 10 days of the date the offender's employment is terminated.

(3)  In addition to the amounts withheld pursuant to this section, the employer may retain not more than $5.00 per month from the offender's wages as compensation for administrative costs incurred.

(4)  Any employer who fails to withhold wages pursuant to a wage withholding order within 10 working days of receiving actual notice or upon the next payment of wages to the employee, whichever is later, shall be liable to the restitution unit in the amount of the wages required to be withheld.

(5)  An employer who makes an error in the amount of wages withheld shall not be held liable if the error was made in good faith.

(6)  For purposes of this subsection, "wages" means any compensation paid or payable for personal services, whether designated as wages, salary, commission, bonuses, or otherwise, and shall include periodic payments under pension or retirement programs and workers' compensation or insurance policies of any type.

(o)  An obligation to pay restitution is part of a criminal sentence and is:

(1)  nondischargeable in the United States Bankruptcy Court to the maximum extent provided under 11 U.S.C. §§ 523 and 1328; and

(2)  not subject to any statute of limitations.

(p)  A transfer of property made with the intent to avoid a restitution obligation shall be deemed a fraudulent conveyance for purposes of chapter 57 of Title 9, and the restitution unit shall be entitled to the remedies of creditors provided under section 2291 of Title 9.

Sec. 7.  23 V.S.A. § 1213c(j) is amended to read:

(j)  Order of forfeiture.  If the court orders the motor vehicle forfeited, it shall be delivered into the custody of the commissioner of buildings and general services, who shall dispose of the motor vehicle pursuant to section 1556 of Title 29.  The proceeds from the sale of the vehicle shall first be used to offset any costs of selling the vehicle, and then, after any liens on the vehicle have been paid in full, applied to any unpaid restitution owed by the defendant in connection with the charge that resulted in forfeiture.  Any balance remaining, after any liens on the vehicle have been paid in full, shall be deposited into the general fund.

Sec. 8.  27 V.S.A. § 1249 is amended to read:

§ 1249.  NOTICE AND PUBLICATION OF LISTS OF UNCLAIMED PROPERTY

(a)  The treasurer shall notify apparent owners of unclaimed property under this chapter in the manner and method set out in subsection (b) of this section. In deciding whether to use an additional method specified in subdivision (b)(2) of this section, and which of those methods to use, the treasurer shall employ the method he or she deems to be the most cost-effective method available within its appropriations, while also giving consideration to the effectiveness of the method.

(b)  The treasurer:

(1)  shall notify all apparent owners of unclaimed property in accordance with this section by means of posting on the treasurer's website on the internet;

(2)  may use any of the following to provide additional notice to the apparent owners:

(A)  publication in a newspaper of general circulation:

(i)  in the area of the state in which the last known address of a person to be named in the notice is located;

(ii)  in the area in which the holder has its principal place of business in the state; or

(iii)  in the area the treasurer deems to provide the best opportunity to reach the apparent owner;

(B)  individual contact by regular or electronic mail, or by telephone, if the treasurer has current contact information on file;

(C)  any other manner and method that the treasurer considers effective for providing notice and publication.

(c)  In the notice and publication under subsection (b) of this section, the treasurer shall provide the names of the apparent owners of the property and information regarding recovery of the unclaimed property.

(d)  The treasurer is not required to publish in the notice an item of less than $100.00 in value.

(e)  The treasurer may establish a program to assist other state agencies holding property not presumed to be abandoned to locate the owners of the property.  Under this program, the treasurer may publish the owners’ names on the treasurer’s website and in any other manner the treasurer deems appropriate without taking possession of the property.  Owners contacting the treasurer’s office under this program would be referred to the state agency possessing the property.  Agencies participating in the program will remain obligated to report and remit the property to the treasurer’s office after it is presumed abandoned.

Sec. 9.  REPEAL OF SUNSET FOR RESTITUTION UNIT AND CRIME VICTIMS’ RESTITUTION SPECIAL FUND

Sec. 16 of No. 57 of the Acts of 2003 (sunset for restitution unit and crime victims’ restitution special fund) is repealed.

Sec. 10.  13  V.S.A. § 6607 is added to read:

§ 6607.  DISCLOSURE OF CONFIDENTIAL RECORDS; NOTICE TO PROSECUTION

When a defendant seeks access to a victim’s school records, or to any other records of a victim which are by law confidential, the defendant shall provide written notice to the prosecutor that the records have been requested prior to the service of any subpoena requesting the records.

Pending the question, Will the House concur in the Senate proposal of amendment? Rep. Marek of Newfane moved that the House refuse to concur and ask for a Committee of Conference, which was agreed to.

Senate Proposal of Amendment Concurred in

H. 516

     The Senate proposed to the House to amend House bill, entitled

     An act relating to the creation of one fund within each of the three Vermont retirement systems and to compliance with federal requirements.

First:  In Sec. 6, 3 V.S.A. § 465(b)(1), in the second sentence, after the word “In” and before the words “the event”, by adding the words the absence of a written designation of beneficiary or in

Second:  In Sec. 11, 3 V.S.A. § 473(b)(1), in the first sentence, by striking out the word “an” and inserting in lieu thereof the word and

Third:  In Sec. 28, 16 V.S.A. § 1940(b)(1), in the second sentence, after the word “In” and before the words the event, by adding the words the absence of a written designation of beneficiary or in

Fourth:  By striking out Sec. 30 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 30 to read:

Sec. 30.  16 V.S.A. § 1942 is amended to read:

§ 1942.  BOARD OF TRUSTEES; MEDICAL BOARD; ACTUARY; RATE OF CONTRIBUTION; SAFEKEEPING OF SECURITIES

* * *

(o)  The Vermont pension investment committee shall designate from time to time a depository for the securities and evidences of indebtedness held in the various funds fund of the system and may contract for the safe‑keeping of securities and evidences of indebtedness within and without the state of Vermont in such banks, trust companies, and safe‑deposit facilities as it shall from time to time determine, and the necessary and incidental expenses of such safe‑keeping and for service rendered, including advisory services in investment matters, shall be paid from the expense fund hereinafter provided.  Any agreement for the safe‑keeping of securities or evidences of indebtedness, except securities loaned pursuant to a securities lending agreement as authorized by subsection (q) of this section, shall provide for the access to such securities and evidences of indebtedness at any time by the custodian or any authorized agent of the state for audit or other purposes.

(p) The board may enter into insurance arrangements to provide health and medical benefits for retired members and their dependents.  The board may enter into insurance arrangements to provide dental coverage for retired members and their dependents, provided the state or the system has no legal obligation to pay any portion of the dental benefit premiums.

(q)  The Vermont pension investment committee may authorize the loan of its securities pursuant to securities lending agreements that provide for collateral consisting of cash or securities issued or guaranteed by the United States government or its agencies equal to 100 percent or more of the market value of the loaned securities.  Cash collateral may be invested by the lending institution in funds investments approved by the state treasurer.  Approval of funds investments shall be made in accordance with the standard of care established by the prudent investor rule under chapter 147 of Title 9.

(r)  The board shall review annually the amount of state contribution recommended by the actuary of the retirement system as necessary to achieve and preserve the financial integrity of the funds fund established pursuant to section 1944 of this title.  Based on this review, the board shall recommend the amount of state contribution that should be appropriated for the next fiscal year to achieve and preserve the financial integrity of the funds.  On or before November 1 of each year, the board shall submit this recommendation to the governor and the house and senate committees on government operations and appropriations.

Fifth:  In Sec. 33, 16 V.S.A. § 1944(b), by striking out subdivision (7) in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new subdivision (7) to read:

(7)  The contributions of a member, and such interest as may be allowed thereon, paid upon the member’s death or withdrawn by the member as provided in this chapter, shall be paid from the annuity savings fund, and any balance of the accumulated contributions of such a member shall be transferred to the pension accumulation fund.  Upon the retirement of a member, the member’s accumulated contributions shall be transferred from the annuity savings fund to the annuity reserve fund.

Sixth:  In Sec. 36, 24 V.S.A. § 5051(23), by striking out the words “section 473 of Title 3” and inserting in lieu thereof the words section 5064 of Title 24

Seventh:  In Sec. 42, 24 V.S.A. § 5059(a), in the last sentence, after the words “group B and C” by adding the words , group C,

Eighth:  In Sec. 47, 24 V.S.A. § 5064(e), by adding a new subdivision (5) to read as follows:

(5)  The board may, in its discretion, waive part or all of a penalty assessment for good cause shown.

Ninth:  By striking out Sec. 49 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 49 to read:

Sec. 49.  24 V.S.A. § 5070 is amended to read:

§ 5070.  DEFINED CONTRIBUTION RETIREMENT PLAN

(a)  The board may approve a defined contribution retirement plan for one or more groups of members.  The plan shall qualify as a defined contribution plan under the United States Internal Revenue Code, as amended.  Participation in a defined contribution plan offered under this section shall be in lieu of participation in any other plan established under this title.  The board shall ensure that objective educational material be prepared and presented to the employees in order to enable them to make an informed decision, under the assumption that each participant is an unsophisticated investor.

(b)  The proper authority or officer responsible for making up each employer payroll shall certify to the board the amounts deducted on each and every payroll for employees participating in the defined contribution plan, and each of those amounts shall be paid into the defined contribution fund and credited to the individual account of the member from whose compensation the deduction was made.

(1)  Employer reports and corresponding member contributions required by this subsection shall be provided by the due date established by the board.  An employer that provides reports or remits contributions, which are more than 30 days delinquent, may be assessed a delinquent reporting fee of one percent of the amount that should have been reported and remitted for each month, or prorated portion of a month, that the report or contributions are delinquent.

(2)  Employers shall provide accurate reports.  An employer who provides an inaccurate report shall be responsible for correcting any deficiencies and shall reimburse the system for any costs incurred by the system as a result of inaccuracy.

(3)  In the event that an employer willfully files an inaccurate report, in addition to any other penalties provided by law, the employer shall pay the system an administrative penalty of up to 50 percent of the amount that was not accurately reported.

(4)  The system may enforce the provisions of this subsection in Washington superior court.

(5)  The board may, in its discretion, waive part or all of a penalty assessment for good cause shown.

     Which proposal of amendment was considered and concurred in.

Rules Suspended; Bill Committed

H. 532

On motion of Rep. Emmons of Springfield, the rules were suspended and House bill, entitled

An act relating to obligations of the state and county regarding capital expenditures on county courthouses;

Appearing on the Calendar for notice, was taken up for immediate consideration. 

Pending the reading of the report of the committee on Institutions, on motion of Rep. Emmons of Springfield, the bill was committed to the committee on Government Operations.

Message from the Senate No. 52

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

Madam Speaker:

I am directed to inform the House that the Senate has considered bill originating in the House of the following title:

H. 400.  An act relating to recapture of health insurance benefits by Group C members of the Vermont State Retirement System

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

Adjournment

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

 

 

 



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
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Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us