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Journal of the House

________________

THURSDAY, MAY 3, 2007

Rep. Willem Jewett of Ripton in Chair.

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

Devotional Exercises

Devotional exercises were conducted by Representative Floyd Nease of Johnson.

Message from the Senate No. 65

     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 bills originating in the House of the following titles:

H. 294.  An act relating to executive fees.

H. 531.  An act relating to ensuring success in health care reform.

H. 534.  An act relating to prekindergarten education.

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

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

S. 137.  An act relating to reducing the amount of phosphorus allowed in household cleansing products used in dishwashers.

And has concurred therein.

Message from the Senate No. 66

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

Madam Speaker:

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

J.R.S. 35.  Joint resolution urging Congress to adopt the Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act of 2007

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

The Senate has considered the report of the Committee of Conference upon the disagreeing votes of the two Houses upon House bill of the following title:

H. 360.  An act relating to employment protection and training period for Vermont National Guard members.

And has accepted and adopted the same on its part.

The Senate has considered House proposal of amendment to Senate bill entitled:

S. 93.  An act relating to miscellaneous changes to education law.

And has refused to concur therein and asks for a Committee of Conference upon the disagreeing votes of the two Houses;

The President announced the appointment as members of such Committee on the part of the Senate:

          Senator Collins

          Senator Doyle

          Senator Giard

The Senate has considered House proposals of amendment to Senate proposals of amendment to House bills of the following titles and has refused to concur therein and asks for Committees of Conference upon the disagreeing votes of the two Houses to which the President announced the appointment as members of such Committees on the part of the Senate:

H. 148.  An act relating to the child abuse registry.

          Senator Sears

          Senator Nitka

          Senator Mullin

H. 154.  An act relating to stormwater management.

          Senator Lyons

          Senator Snelling

          Senator Hartwell

Pursuant to the request of the House for Committees of Conference on the disagreeing votes of the two Houses on the following House bills the President announced the appointment as members of such Committees on the part of the Senate:

H. 78.  An act relating to reconsideration and rescission of votes in local elections.

          Senator Ayer

          Senator Coppenrath

          Senator White

H. 229.  An act relating to corrections and clarifications to the Health Care Affordability Act of 2006 and related legislation.

          Senator Racine

          Senator Mullin

          Senator Lyons

H. 274.  An act relating to adult foster care.

          Senator Racine

          Senator Ayer

          Senator White

Bill Committed

S. 143

Senate bill, entitled

An act relating to authorizing the use of racing fuel containing the additive MTBE or other gasoline ethers;

Appearing on the Calendar for action, was taken up and pending third reading of the bill, on motion of Rep. Masland of Thetford, the bill was committed to the committee on Transportation.

Third Reading; Bill Passed; Rules Suspended;

Bill Messaged to Senate Forthwith

H. 546

House bill, entitled

An act relating to compensation and retirement benefits for certain state employees and emergency management;

Was taken up, read the third time and passed.

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

 

Recess

At ten o’clock and twenty minutes in the forenoon, the Speaker declared a recess until the fall of the gavel.

Afternoon

At one o’clock and forty-five minutes in the afternoon, the Speaker called the House to order.

Senate Proposal of Amendment Concurred in

With a Further Amendment Thereto

H. 523

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

     An act relating to moving families out of poverty;

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

* * * Reach First * * *

Sec. 1.  33 V.S.A. Part 2, chapter 10 is added to read:

Chapter 10.  Reach First

Subchapter 1.  Eligibility and Assistance

§ 1001.  Definitions

As used in this chapter:

(1)  “Able‑to‑work” means to be free of any physical, emotional, or mental condition that would prevent the individual from engaging in any combination of the work activities for at least 35 hours per week.

(2)  “Able‑to‑work‑part‑time” means having a physical, emotional, or mental condition that would allow the individual to engage in any combination

of the work activities for at least 10 hours per week but would prevent the individual from engaging in such activities for 35 or more hours per week.

(3)  “Adult” means an individual who:

(A)  is 18 years of age or older, and not a dependent child; or

(B)  is under 18 years of age and:

(i)  is pregnant; or

(ii)  is a parent who is the caretaker for a dependent child.

(4)  “Assessment” means the information‑gathering process, carried out by the department’s established protocol, that identifies an individual’s skills, aptitudes, interests, life and work experience, and barriers, and the determination of how these factors relate to the individual’s current or potential participation in the labor force and his or her family responsibilities.  Where appropriate, this process includes the use of tests, other standardized measurement tools, and referrals to relevant professionals for evaluation or diagnosis.  The department shall use the information gathered as part of this process in developing the individual’s family development plan, as well as, where applicable, assessing the appropriateness and feasibility of the individual’s education, training, and employment goals and determining the individual’s ability to work.  The department shall include a process to determine the development and well‑being of the children in the family.

(5)  “Barrier” means any physical, emotional, or mental condition, any lack of an educational, vocational, or other skill or ability, and any lack of transportation, child care, housing, medical assistance or other services or resources, domestic violence circumstances, caretaker responsibilities, or other conditions or circumstances that prevent an individual from engaging in employment or other work activity.

(6)  “Caretaker” means an individual age 18 or older who is fulfilling a parental role in caring for a dependent child by providing physical care, guidance, and decision‑making related to the child’s health, school, medical care, and discipline.

(7)  “Case management” means the services provided by or through the department to participating families, including assessment, information, referrals, and assistance in the preparation and implementation of a family development plan under section 1007 of this title.

(8)  “Commissioner” means the commissioner of the department for children and families, or his or her designee.

(9)  “Department” means the department for children and families.

(10)  “Dependent child” means a child who is a resident of this state and:

(A)  is under the age of 18 years; or

(B)  is 18 years of age or older who is a full‑time student in a secondary school, or attending an equivalent level of vocational or technical training, and is reasonably expected to complete the educational program before reaching the age of 19 or is not expected to complete the educational program before reaching age 19 solely due to a documented disability.

(11)  “Eligible family” means a family that is determined to be financially eligible for the programs authorized by this chapter, in accordance with rules adopted by the commissioner.

(12)  “Family” means:

(A)  one or more dependent children living with one or both parents or a relative or caretaker of such children; or

(B)  a  pregnant individual.

(13)  “Living with a relative or caretaker” means living with a caretaker or relative in a residence maintained by the caretaker or one or more relatives at his or her or their home.

(14)  “Parent” means a biological parent, stepparent, adoptive parent, or pregnant individual.

(15)  “Participant” or “participating adult” means an adult member of a participating family.

(16)  “Participating family” means an eligible family that participates in the Reach First program.

(17)  “Reach Ahead” means the program established under chapter 12 of this title.

(18)  “Reach First payment” means a short‑term cash benefit as determined in section 1004 of this title.

(19)  “Reach First services” means the service component of the Reach First program consisting of assessment, orientation, case management services, support services, and referrals provided to eligible families to assist them in becoming self‑sufficient.

(20)  “Reach Up” means the program established under chapter 11 of this title.

(21)  “Relative” means a person related to a dependent child, as defined by the department by rule.

(22)  “Resources” means any income and property available from whatever source.

(23)  “Secretary” means the secretary of the agency of human services, or his or her designee.

(24)  “Temporary Assistance to Needy Families” or “TANF” means the block grant provided to this state and established in accordance with Part A of Title IV of the federal Social Security Act, as amended, and the regulations adopted pursuant thereto by the U. S. Secretary of Health and Human Services.

(25)  “Unable‑to‑work” means not able‑to‑work and not

able‑to‑work‑part‑time.

(26)  “Work activities” means the following activities limited to the extent and degree that they are allowed and countable in accordance with

Part A of Title IV of the Social Security Act:

(A)  unsubsidized employment;

(B)  subsidized private sector employment;

(C)  subsidized public sector employment;

(D)  work experience (including work associated with the refurbishing of publicly assisted housing) if sufficient private sector employment is not available;

(E)  on‑the‑job training;

(F)  job search and job readiness assistance;

(G)  community service programs;

(H)  vocational educational training (not to exceed 12 months with respect to any individual);

(I)  job skills training directly related to employment;

(J)  education directly related to employment, in the case of a recipient who has not received a high school diploma or a certificate of high school equivalency;

(K)  satisfactory attendance at secondary school or in a course of study leading to a certificate of general equivalence, in the case of a recipient who has not completed secondary school or received such a certificate;

(L)  the provision, consistent with the department’s rules applicable to self‑employment, of child care services to an individual who is participating in a community service program;

(M)  attendance at a financial literacy class; and

(N)  any other work activity recognized in accordance with Part A of Title IV of the Social Security Act as amended.

(27)  “Work‑ready” means the participant possesses the education or skills demanded by the local job market or is capable of participating in one or more work activities at the level required by the participant’s work requirement, and is not subject to any barrier.

§ 1002.  Purpose

(a)  The purpose of the Reach First program is:

(1)  To stabilize families in crisis, assess the family’s strengths and needs, and orient families to the programs, services, assistance, and participant responsibilities available to improve self‑sufficiency, attain economic independence, and ensure the well‑being of children.

(2)  To refer families without recent work histories, recognizing individual and unique characteristics, to an appropriate program available to assist the family in obtaining the opportunities and skills necessary for self‑sufficiency and economic independence.

(3)  To assist families with recent work histories by providing short‑term financial support and support services to stabilize the family while the family transitions back to employment. 

(4)  To support parental responsibility and positive parental role models, both custodial and noncustodial.

(5)  To improve the well‑being of children by providing short‑term supports to their families and referrals to appropriate programs and services.

(6)  To conserve state public financial resources by operating the system of human services in a manner that is efficient and avoids federal fiscal sanctions.

(7)  To conform to the federal TANF law.

(b)  The critical elements of developing a short‑term stabilization, assessment, and orientation program that assists families to maintain or attain self‑sufficiency are:

(1)  cooperative and realistic goal‑setting, coupled with individualized case management that addresses each individual’s situation and barriers to

self‑sufficiency;

(2)  a short‑term monetary payment and support services of a limited duration to provide for immediate, short‑term needs of the family until the family attains employment quickly, or transitions to an appropriate program to assist the family in order to ensure the family’s well‑being and success to reaching self‑sufficiency; and

(3)  clear and comprehensive information on available options and appropriate services communicated to families in a simple fashion and easy transition to programs, such as Reach Ahead, Reach Up, the postsecondary education program, and any other solely state‑funded or separate state‑funded programs.

§ 1003.  Eligibility

(a)  A family shall be eligible for the Reach First program if the family’s income and resources do not exceed the limits established for the Reach Up program, and the family resides in Vermont.  All eligible applicants for programs under this chapter or chapter 11 or 12 of this title shall be eligible for an orientation, initial assessments, the Reach First payment, and, if appropriate for the family, in‑depth assessment, a family development plan, and services through Reach First.

(b)  Reach First payments and services shall be available only once every 12 months for a family, except as provided for by rule.  Families who have received Reach First within the past 12 months shall be provided financial assistance and services through Reach Up, the postsecondary education program, or other program appropriate for the family.  Families applying for or participating in other programs may also receive Reach First assessments, payments, or services as provided for by rule.

(c)  The commissioner may use the eligibility rules for Reach Up instead of adopting new eligibility rules for this program.

(d)  An adult who accepts employment after reporting as directed under section 1007 of this title may receive Reach First or Reach Up, provided that the family remains financially eligible for the program in accordance with department rules.

§ 1004.  Reach First Payment

(a)  An eligible family shall receive a short‑term cash payment, which shall not exceed 120 days of Reach Up financial assistance for the relevant family size with the same income.  The family may receive the payment in installments or a lump sum, if needed to avert a crisis as determined in the initial assessment or the family development plan, during the period in which the family seeks immediate employment or participates in assessment and creating a family development plan.  The commissioner may establish by rule exceptions to the limit on the amount of the payment, as long as the exceptions are budget‑neutral to the program.

(b)  The department shall offer every eligible family the option of electronic or direct payment of the family’s housing or other expenses to the person providing the lodging, utilities, or other service as provided for by rule.

(c)  For the purposes of calculating the payment, child support shall be treated as income, except that the first $50.00 amount of child support shall be disregarded from income.

§ 1005.  Required services to participating families

(a)  The commissioner shall provide to all eligible families an orientation and an initial, up‑front assessment to determine which programs, referrals, or services are appropriate.  The orientation shall provide the family with information about services and referrals available to the family, and the programs established under chapters 11 and 12 of this title, including program requirements, participant responsibilities, and incentives for participation and obtaining employment.

(b)  If needed by the family to improve the family’s prospects for job placement and job retention, the commissioner shall provide participating families in‑depth assessments of the full range of services needed by each family, intensive case management or case consultation services, referral to any agencies or programs that provide the services needed by participating families, and transition to other programs establishes under chapters 11 and 12 of this title.  Services or referrals for services shall include:

(1)  Appropriate child care, available at times that will enable employment or participation in services indicated by the participating family’s family development plan.  As used in this subdivision, “appropriate child care” shall not include:

(A)  Child care that the department classifies as legally exempt child care, and that a parent or caretaker determines to be unacceptable; and

(B)  Child care that the department classifies as either a registered family child care home or a licensed child care facility, and that a parent or caretaker determines to be unacceptable when such determination is confirmed by the department.

(2)  Transportation which will enable employment or participation in services indicated by the participating family’s family development plan.

(3)  Career counseling, education, and training, and job search assistance consistent with the purposes of this chapter.

(4)  Vocational rehabilitation.

(5)  Medical and dental assistance.

(6)  Homelessness prevention and housing assistance.

(7)  Family planning education and counseling.

(8)  Assistance with obtaining documentation of an apparent or claimed physical, emotional, or mental condition that reasonably can be presumed to limit or eliminate the individual’s capacity to engage in employment or other work activity.

(9)  Transfer to a state‑funded program under subchapter 3 of this chapter, the Reach Up program, or the Reach Ahead program.

(10)  Any other services identified in the family development plan and determined by the commissioner to be necessary and appropriate to achieve the purposes of this chapter or chapter 11 of this title.

§ 1006.  Case management; family development plans; coordinated services

(a)  If a family needs or requests in‑depth assessment and ongoing services, the commissioner shall provide all Reach First services to these participating families through a case management model.  The case manager, with the full involvement of the family, shall recommend, and the commissioner shall establish and modify as necessary a family development plan for each participating family in need of ongoing services, with a right of appeal as provided by section 1132 of this title.  A case manager shall be assigned to each participating family as soon as the family is determined to be eligible for this program and in need of services.

(b)  The family development plan shall include:

(1)  each parent or caretaker’s employment goal;

(2)  an assessment of each parent or caretaker’s strengths and barriers. The initial assessment shall include a literacy evaluation followed by a referral to an appropriate resource or program;

(3)  an identification of the services, supports, and accommodations needed to overcome any barriers, to enable the family to achieve

self‑sufficiency, and to fulfill each parent or caretaker’s personal and family responsibilities;

(4)  an assignment of responsibilities, family development plan requirements, and activities among the case manager and family members, together with a time schedule for such responsibilities, requirements, and activities.

(c)  The initial family development plan shall be completed within 30 days of the first meeting with the case manager.  The case manager shall establish a schedule for periodic review of the family development plan.

(d)  The commissioner shall adopt rules, consistent with research on best practices, establishing maximum caseloads for case managers.

§ 1007.  REQUIRED PARTICIPATION

(a)  Each participating adult in a family receiving Reach First services shall participate in necessary assessments and developing a family development plan, if applicable, unless good cause exists for such noncompliance as defined by the commissioner by rule.  The commissioner may use the same rules applicable to good cause as established in the Reach Up program.

(b)(1)  If an adult does not comply with the following requirements without good cause, the department shall initiate the conciliation process to determine the reason that the adult has not complied with the requirements and shall modify the requirements, if necessary, or provide the adult with a second opportunity to comply:

(A)  The single parent or caretaker in a family who has no barriers to obtaining and maintaining a job and a recent and stable work history, including receiving wages for his or her most recent job that, when annualized, equal or exceed 150 percent of the federal poverty level applicable to the family, shall report to the department of labor for an immediate job search within two working days of having filed an application.

(B)  The able‑to‑work adult in a two‑parent family (when the other parent is able‑to‑work‑part‑time or unable‑to‑work) who has no barriers to obtaining and maintaining a job and a recent and stable work history, including receiving wages for his or her most recent job that, when annualized, equal or exceed 150 percent of the federal poverty level applicable to the family, shall report to the department labor for an immediate job search within two working days of having filed an application.

(C)  The adult in a two‑parent family (when both parents are able‑to‑work) who is not the primary caretaker of the children shall report to the department of labor for an immediate job search within two working days of having filed an application.

(2)  The Reach First payment may be withheld during the conciliation process and until the adult complies.

(3)  If the adult does not report without good cause to the department of labor after the second opportunity, the adult shall be denied Reach First and Reach Up. 

(c)(1)  If an adult does not comply with the following requirements without good cause, the department shall initiate the conciliation process to determine the reason that the adult has not complied with the requirements and shall modify the requirements, if necessary:

(A)  Each participating adult shall participate in the development of his or her family development plan.

(B)  Each participating adult who is not referred to the department of labor pursuant to this subsection shall report as directed by the department for assessment and evaluation activities.

(C)  Each participating adult shall begin to comply with his or her family development plan requirements as soon as possible, and no later than 10 days following identification of initial requirements at the initial family development plan meeting.  Each participating adult shall continue to comply with such family development plan requirements until such time as the family is ineligible or transferred to Reach Up or Reach Ahead.  If a family is transferred to another program, the rules of that program apply.

(2)  If conciliation is unsuccessful, the department may apply the Reach Up sanctions and transfer the family to the Reach Up program for further case management and other services.

Subchapter 2.  Administrative Provisions

§ 1011.  Transition to other programs

(a)  The department shall transfer the family to Reach Up, a separate state program, or a solely state‑funded program established under chapter 11 if, after four months of receiving support in Reach First or sooner at the department’s discretion, a family is assessed to need ongoing financial assistance and the family is financially eligible for Reach Up, a separate state program, or a solely state‑funded program established under chapter 11 of this title, unless the family chooses not to participate.

(b)  If a family finds unsubsidized employment meeting or exceeding the work requirements for Reach Up for the family’s size and composition, but is financially eligible for Reach Up, the department shall transfer the family to Reach Up, unless the family chooses not to participate.  A family transferring from Reach First to Reach Up shall be treated as a recipient for the purposes of income calculation.

(c)  If a family finds unsubsidized employment meeting or exceeding the work requirements for Reach Up for the family’s size and composition, is not financially eligible for Reach Up, and is eligible for the Reach Ahead program, the department shall transfer the family to Reach Ahead, unless the family chooses not to participate.  A family transferring from Reach First to Reach Ahead shall be treated as a recipient for the purposes of income calculation.

(d)  A family transferring to another program under subsections (a) through (c) of this section shall not be required to complete a new application.  Verification of income or other documentation may be required as provided for by rule.

(e)  Transitional medical assistance of up to 36 months shall be provided to families with a working adult who leaves Reach First and is not eligible for Reach Up as provided for in the Vermont Medicaid rule M302.21 in effect on May 1, 2007.

§ 1012.  Notice and Appeal

A participant may appeal decisions in accordance with section 3091 of Title 3.  The commissioner shall provide notice to each participant of the standards and procedures applicable to such appeals.  All federal and agency of human services rules regarding conciliation, notice, hearing, and appeal shall be followed in connection with such appeals.

* * * Reach Up * * *

Sec. 2.  33 V.S.A. § 1101 is amended to read:

§ 1101.  DEFINITIONS

As used in this chapter:

(1)  “Able‑to‑work” means to be free of any physical, emotional, or mental condition that would prevent the individual from engaging in any combination of the work activities, identified in subdivisions 1101(27)(A) through (E) of this title, for at least 35 hours per week.

(2)  “Able‑to‑work‑part‑time” means having a physical, emotional, or mental condition that would allow the individual to engage in any combination of the work activities, identified in subdivisions 1101(27)(A) through (E) of this title, for at least 10 hours per week but would prevent the individual from engaging in such activities for 35 or more hours per week.

(3)  “Adult” means an individual who:

(A)  is 18 years of age or older, and not a dependent child; or

(B)  is under 18 years of age and:

(i)  is pregnant; or

(ii)  is a parent who is the caretaker for a dependent child.

(4)  “Assessment” means the information‑gathering process, carried out by the department’s established protocol, that identifies an individual’s skills, aptitudes, interests, life and work experience, and barriers, and the determination of how these factors relate to the individual’s current or potential participation in the labor force and his or her family responsibilities.  Where appropriate, this process includes the use of tests, other standardized measurement tools, and referrals to relevant professionals for evaluation or diagnosis.  The department shall use the information gathered as part of this process in developing the individual’s family development plan, as well as, where applicable, assessing the appropriateness and feasibility of the individual’s education, training, and employment goals and determining the individual’s ability to work.  The department shall include a process to determine the development and well‑being of the children in the family.

(5)  “Barrier” means any physical, emotional, or mental condition, any lack of an educational, vocational, or other skill or ability, and any lack of transportation, child care, housing, medical assistance or other services or resources, domestic violence circumstances, caretaker responsibilities, or other conditions or circumstances that prevent an individual from engaging in employment or other work activity.

(6)  “Caretaker” means an individual age 18 or older who is fulfilling a parental role in caring for a dependent child by providing physical care, guidance, and decision‑making related to the child’s health, school, medical care, and discipline.

(7)  “Case management” means the services provided by or through the department to participating families, including assessment, information, referrals, and assistance in the preparation and implementation of a family development plan under section 1107 of this title.

(8)  “Commissioner” means the commissioner of the department for children and families, or his or her designee.

(9)  “Department” means the department for children and families.

(10)  “Dependent child” means a child who: is a resident of this state;: and

(A)  is under the age of 18 years; or

(B)  is 18 years of age or older who is a full‑time student in a secondary school, or attending an equivalent level of vocational or technical training, and is reasonably expected to complete the educational program before reaching the age of 19 or is not expected to complete the educational program before reaching age 19 solely due to a documented disability.

(11)  “Eligible family” means a family that is determined to be financially eligible for the programs authorized by this chapter, in accordance with rules adopted by the commissioner.

(12)  “Family” means:

(A)  one or more dependent children living with one or both parents or a relative or caretaker of such children; or

(B)  a pregnant individual.

(13)  “Financial assistance” means cash, payments, vendor electronic or direct payments for a family’s housing or other expenses, and other forms of benefits designed to meet a family’s ongoing basic needs that are available through the Reach Up program.  A family’s ongoing basic needs include food, clothing, shelter, utilities, household goods, personal care items, and general incidental expenses.

(14)  “Job‑ready” means possessing the education or skills demanded by the local job market, and not being subject to any barrier.

(15)(14)  “Living with a relative or caretaker” means living with a caretaker or relative in a residence maintained by the caretaker or one or more relatives as his or her or their home.

(16)(15)  “Parent” means a biological parent, stepparent, adoptive parent, or pregnant individual.

(17)(16)  “Participant” or “participating adult” means an adult member of a participating family.

(18)(17)  “Participating family” means an eligible family that participates in the Reach Up program.

(18)  “Reach Ahead” means the program established in chapter 12 of this title.

(19)  “Reach First” means the program established in chapter 10 of this title.

(19)(20)  “Reach Up program” means the program administered by the department that assists and enables eligible families to become self‑sufficient by providing financial assistance and Reach Up services.

(20)(21)  “Reach Up services” means the service component of the Reach Up program consisting of case management services, support services, and referrals provided to eligible families to assist them in becoming self‑sufficient.

(21)(22)  “Relative” means a person related to a dependent child, as defined by the department by rule.

(22)(23)  “Resources” means any income and property available from whatever source.

(23)(24)  “Secretary” means the secretary of the agency of human services, or his or her designee.

(24)(25)  “Subsidized job” means a job with an employer for which at least 25 percent of the wages are provided by diversion of TANF funds employment for which the employer receives a subsidy from TANF funds or other public funds to offset some or all of the wages and costs of employing a participant.

(25)(26)  Temporary Assistance to Needy Families” or “TANF” means the block grant provided to this state and established in accordance with Part A of Title IV of the federal Social Security Act, as amended, and the regulations promulgated pursuant thereto by the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services.

(26)(27)  “Unable‑to‑work” means not able‑to‑work and not able‑to‑work‑part‑time able‑to‑work‑part‑time.

(27)(28)  “Work activities” means the following activities limited to the extent and degree that they are allowed and countable in accordance with Part A of Title IV of the Social Security Act:

(A)  unsubsidized employment;

(B)  subsidized private sector employment;

(C)  subsidized public sector employment;

(D)  work experience (including work associated with the refurbishing of publicly assisted housing) if sufficient private sector employment is not available;

(E)  on‑the‑job training;

(F)  job search and job readiness assistance;

(G)  community service programs;

(H)  vocational educational training (not to exceed 12 months with respect to any individual);

(I)  job skills training directly related to employment;

(J)  education directly related to employment, in the case of a recipient who has not received a high school diploma or a certificate of high school equivalency;

(K)  satisfactory attendance at secondary school or in a course of study leading to a certificate of general equivalence, in the case of a recipient who has not completed secondary school or received such a certificate;

(L)  the provision, consistent with the department’s rules applicable to self‑employment, of child care services to an individual who is participating in a community service program;

(M)  attendance at a financial literacy class; and

(N)  any other work activity recognized in accordance with Part A of Title IV of the Social Security Act as amended.

(28)(29)  “Work‑ready” means the earlier of:

(A)  not subject to a barrier and capable of participating in a single work activity or any combination of work activities determined by the commissioner by rule as acceptable to meet the work requirements of section 1113 of this title; or

(B)(i)  having received 12 cumulative months of financial assistance; or

(ii)  having received at least 13 but no more than 18 cumulative months of financial assistance and having been granted an extension of the 12‑month work readiness rule in accordance with subsection 1113(b) of this title the participant possesses the education or skills demanded by the local job market or is capable of participating in one or more work activities at the level required by the participant’s work requirement, and is not subject to any barrier.

Sec. 3.  33 V.S.A. § 1102 is amended to read:

§ 1102.  PURPOSE OF AID

(a)  The purpose of the Reach Up program is:

(1)  to assist families, recognizing individual and unique characteristics, to obtain the opportunities and skills necessary for self‑sufficiency.

(2)  to encourage economic independence by removing barriers and disincentives to work and providing positive incentives to work.

(3)  to support parental nurturing.

(4)  to support parental responsibility and positive parental role models, both custodial and noncustodial.

(5)  to measure the success of the system by what is best for children.

(6)  to protect improve the well‑being of children by providing for their immediate basic needs, including food, housing and clothing.

(7)  to respect the dignity of individuals and families receiving assistance by providing employment, education, and other services through social service delivery systems available to all Vermont citizens residents and by encouraging the private sector to integrate families receiving assistance into the mainstream of the employment market.

(8)  to recognize the challenges facing many families receiving assistance by minimizing structural financial disincentives to increased earnings and the abrupt termination of assistance before parents are fully integrated into the employment market.

(9)  to conserve state public financial resources by operating the system of aid in a manner that is efficient and avoids federal fiscal sanctions.

(10)  to conform to the federal TANF law.

* * *

Sec. 4.  33 V.S.A. § 1103 is amended to read:

§ 1103.  AID; ELIGIBILITY AND BENEFIT LEVELS

(a)  Aid Financial assistance shall be given for the benefit of a dependent child to the relative or caretaker with whom the child is living unless otherwise provided.  The amount of aid financial assistance to which an eligible person is entitled shall be determined with due regard to the income, resources and maintenance available to that person and, as far as funds are available, shall provide that person a reasonable subsistence compatible with decency and health.  The commissioner may fix by regulation maximum amounts of aid financial assistance, and act to insure that the expenditures for the programs shall not exceed appropriations for them consistent with section 101 of this title.  In no case may the department expend state funds in excess of the appropriations for the programs under this chapter.

(b)  Aid Financial assistance may include the maintenance of one or both parents, if in need and in the dependent child’s home, or a relative or caretaker with whom a dependent child is living, if the relative or caretaker is without sufficient means of support.

(c)  The commissioner shall adopt rules for the determination of eligibility for the Reach Up program and benefit levels for all participating families that include the following provisions:

(1)  No less than the first $150.00 $200.00 per month of earnings from an unsubsidized job and 25 percent of the remaining unsubsidized earnings shall be disregarded in determining the amount of the family’s financial assistance grant.  The family shall receive the difference between countable income and the Reach Up payment standard in a partial financial assistance grant.

(2)  No less than the first $90.00 per month of earnings from a subsidized job shall be disregarded in determining the amount of the family’s financial assistance grant.  The family shall receive the difference between countable income and the Reach Up payment standard in a partial financial assistance grant.  Earnings from subsidized jobs shall qualify for federal and state earned income credit if the family is otherwise eligible for such credit.

(3)  Incentive payments shall be provided to participating families for completing parenting education programs or related volunteer work required under a family development plan  Each family development plan shall provide for an incentive payment to be paid to the participating family for completing a required activity or task.

* * *

(5)  The value of assets accumulated from the earnings of adults and children in participating families and from any federal or Vermont earned income tax credit shall be excluded for purposes of determining continuing eligibility for the Reach Up program.  The asset limitation shall be increased from $1,000.00 to $2,000.00 for participating families for the purposes of determining continuing eligibility for the Reach Up program.

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(h)  The department shall offer every eligible family the option of electronic or direct payment of financial assistance for the family’s housing or other expenses to the person providing the lodging, utilities, or other service as provided for by rule.

Sec. 5.  33 V.S.A. § 1105(b) is amended to read:

§ 1105.  CHILD SUPPORT PAYMENTS

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(b)  Notwithstanding any other provision of law, if aid financial assistance to a participating family is terminated due to receipt of child support, minus the first $50.00 per month in such payments, that in combination with other countable income is in excess of the financial assistance cash payment standard, and the family again becomes eligible for aid financial assistance within the following 12 calendar months solely because the family no longer receives excess child support, aid financial assistance shall be paid as of the date of the family’s reapplication.

Sec. 6.  33 V.S.A. § 1106 is amended to read:

§ 1106.  REQUIRED SERVICES TO PARTICIPATING FAMILIES

The commissioner shall provide participating families case management services, initial assessment of the full range of services needed by each family, periodic reassessment of service needs and the family development plan, and referral to any agencies or programs that provide the services needed by participating families to improve the family’s prospects for job placement and job retention, including the following:

(1)  Appropriate child care, available at times that will enable employment or participation in services indicated by the participating family’s family development plan.  As used in this subdivision, “appropriate child care” shall not include:

(A)  Child care that the department of social and rehabilitation services’ child care services division classifies as legally exempt child care, and that a parent or caretaker determines to be unacceptable; and

(B)  Child care that the department of social and rehabilitation services’ child care services division classifies as either a registered family child care home or a licensed child care center facility, and that a parent or caretaker determines to be unacceptable when such determination is confirmed by the child care services division department.

* * *

(9)  Services for teen parents through the teen parent education program established in cooperation with the department of education.

(9)(10)  Any other services identified in the family development plan and determined by the commissioner to be necessary and appropriate to achieve the purposes of this chapter.

Sec. 7.  33 V.S.A. § 1107 is amended to read:

§ 1107.  CASE MANAGEMENT; FAMILY DEVELOPMENT PLANS; COORDINATED SERVICES

(a)  The commissioner shall provide all Reach Up services to participating families through a case management model informed by knowledge of the family’s home, community, employment, and available resources.  Services may be delivered in the district office, the family’s home, or community in a way that facilitates progress toward accomplishment of the family development plan.  Case management may be provided to other eligible families.  The case manager, with the full involvement of the family, shall recommend, and the commissioner shall establish and modify as necessary a family development plan established under the Reach First or Reach Up program for each participating family, with a right of appeal as provided by section 1132 of this title.  A case manager shall be assigned to each participating family as soon as the family begins to receive financial assistance.  If administratively feasible and appropriate, the case manager shall be the same case manager the family was assigned in the Reach First program.  The applicant for or recipient of aid financial assistance, under this chapter, shall have the burden of demonstrating the existence of his or her condition.

(b)  The family development plan shall include:

(1)  each parent or caretaker’s employment goal;

(2)  an assessment of each parent or caretaker’s strengths and barriers. The initial assessment shall include a literacy evaluation followed by referral to an appropriate resource or program;

(3)  an identification of the services, supports and accommodations needed to overcome any barriers, to enable the family to achieve self‑sufficiency, and to fulfill each parent or caretaker’s personal and family responsibilities;

(4)  an assignment of responsibilities, family development plan requirements, and activities among the case manager and family members, together with a time schedule for such responsibilities, requirements, and activities.

(c)(b)  The initial family development plan shall be completed within 30 days of the first meeting with the case manager.  The case manager shall establish a schedule for periodic review of the family development plan that includes personal contact with the participant at least once per month.  In addition, the case manager shall review, and modify if necessary, the plan in the following circumstances:

(1)  There is a lack of satisfactory progress in achieving the goals of the plan;

(2)  The parent or caretaker has lost unsubsidized or subsidized employment;

(3)  A family member has failed to comply with a family development plan requirement or a work requirement;

(4)  Services required by the plan are unavailable;

(5)  At least 30 days prior to when the parent or caretaker would become work‑ready or would otherwise be deemed work‑ready on the basis of 12‑cumulative‑month receipt of financial assistance;

(6)  A deferment or modification of the work requirements imposed by section 1113 of this title has been requested or is due for review;

(7)  Within 30 days of when the parent or caretaker has started an unsubsidized or subsidized job; or

(8)  Changes to the plan are needed to protect the well‑being of the children.

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Sec. 8.  33 V.S.A. § 1108 is amended to read:

§ 1108.  OBLIGATION TO ASSIST ELIGIBLE FAMILIES WITH DEPENDENT CHILDREN

Except as specifically authorized herein, the commissioner shall not adopt any rule that would result in the termination of aid financial assistance to a participating family, including a dependent child, on the basis of an adult family member’s having received TANF‑funded aid financial assistance, as an adult, for 60 or more months in his or her lifetime.  This provision shall not prevent the commissioner from adopting rules that impose limitations on how many months that families, including a parent who has received an associate or bachelor’s degree while receiving support from the postsecondary education program authorized by section 1121 of this chapter, may receive aid financial assistance authorized by this chapter in the five‑year period immediately following the receipt of such associate or bachelor’s degree.

Sec. 9.  33 V.S.A. § 1112 is amended to read:

§ 1112.  FAMILY DEVELOPMENT PLAN REQUIREMENTS

(a)  Each participating adult in a family applying for or receiving financial assistance shall comply with each Reach Up family development plan requirement provided for in the family development plan, unless good cause exists for such noncompliance as defined by the commissioner by rule.

(b)  The family’s receipt of the full financial assistance amount allowable and avoidance of fiscal sanctions are contingent on compliance with the following family development plan requirements: the participating adult assisting in the development of his or her family development plan and engaging in the family development plan activities for the number of hours per week that the activities are scheduled and available, unless good cause exists for not doing so as defined by the commissioner by rule.

(1)  The single parent or caretaker in a family who has no barriers to obtaining and maintaining a job and a recent and stable work history, including receiving wages for his or her most recent job that, when annualized, equal or exceed 150 percent of the federal poverty level applicable to the family, shall report to the department of labor for immediate job search within two working days of having filed an application for financial assistance.

(2)  The able‑to‑work adult in a two‑parent family (when the other parent is able‑to‑work‑part‑time or unable‑to‑work) who has no barriers to obtaining and maintaining a job and a recent and stable work history, including receiving wages for his or her most recent job that, when annualized, equal or exceed 150 percent of the federal poverty level applicable to the family, shall report to the department labor for immediate job search within two working days of having filed an application for financial assistance.

(3)  The adult in a two‑parent family (when both parents are able‑to‑work) who is not the primary caretaker of the children shall report to the department of labor for immediate job search within two working days of having filed an application for financial assistance.

(4)  Any adult who is referred to the department of labor pursuant to this subdivision and who without good cause fails to report shall be denied financial assistance for his or her family.

(5)  An adult who accepts employment after reporting as directed under this subdivision may receive Reach Up services, provided that the family is eligible for such services in accordance with department rules.

(6)  Each participating adult shall participate in the development of his or her family development plan.

(7)  Each participating adult who is not referred to the department of labor pursuant to subdivisions (1), (2) or (3) of this subsection shall report as directed by the department for assessment and evaluation activities.

(8)  Each participating adult shall begin to comply with his or her family development plan requirements as soon as possible, and no later than 10 days following identification of initial requirements at the initial family development plan meeting.  Each participating adult shall continue to comply with such family development plan requirements until such time as the adult is complying with the work requirement provided for under section 1113 of this title, or the family is determined to be ineligible for or is no longer receiving financial assistance.

(9)  Participants shall engage in their family development plan activities for the number of hours per week that the activities are scheduled and available, unless good cause exists for not doing so as defined by the commissioner by rule.

Sec. 10.  33 V.S.A. § 1113 is amended to read:

§ 1113.  WORK REQUIREMENTS

(a)  Each participating adult in a family receiving a financial assistance grant shall fulfill a work requirement in accordance with this section.  Subject to the provisions of this chapter, and provided that all services required by this chapter are offered when appropriate and are available when needed to support fulfillment of the work requirement, an adult having a work requirement shall obtain employment or participate in one or more work activities, and shall work in accordance with the requirements of this section, in order to maintain continued eligibility for financial assistance and to avoid fiscal sanctions.

(b)(1)  The work requirement shall become effective as soon as the participating adult is job or work‑ready, or upon the family’s receipt of 12 cumulative months of financial assistance, whichever is sooner, unless at the end of the 12‑cumulative‑month period the participant’s case manager concludes that the participant is unable to meet the hours of the applicable unmodified work requirement, as established in subsection (c) of this section. In such cases, the case manager shall prepare a written request on behalf of the participant for an extension of up to six months.  The request shall identify the particular reasons why the participant is unable to meet the work requirement and the remedial actions and services to be provided to the recipient to enable fulfillment of the requirement.  The request shall be submitted to the district director and the family services director commissioner for approval.  The request shall be approved unless the participant is able to meet the work requirement or a modified work requirement established in accordance with section 1114 of this title.

(2)  A participant may meet the work requirement through a combination of work activities until the participant has received 24 months of financial assistance.  After that time, the participant shall meet the work requirement through employment.

 (c)  The hours of the work requirement shall be as follows:

(1)  In two‑parent families in which both parents are able‑to‑work:

(A)  The parent who is not the primary caretaker of a dependent child, referred to in this subsection as the “principal‑earner parent,” shall work no less than full‑time in unsubsidized employment or in one or more work activities and accept unsubsidized employment with scheduled hours up to 45 hours per week;

(B)  As used in this subdivision, “full‑time” means 40 hours per week. A position requiring no fewer than 35 hours per week that the employer defines as full‑time shall be deemed full‑time employment.

(C)  The requirements of this subdivision may be satisfied if both parents secure employment or work activities with combined hours equal to or exceeding 40 hours per week, if such shared fulfillment of the work requirement commences within 30 days of application for financial assistance or within 30 days of the onset of the unemployment of the principal‑earner parent.  Parents who have successfully established a shared work requirement shall have 30 days to re‑establish the arrangement in the event one of the parents becomes unemployed.

(2)  The primary caretaker of a dependent child in a two‑parent family in which both parents are able‑to‑work shall have no work requirement, provided that the principal‑earner parent complies with the work requirement and is not sanctioned in accordance with section 1115 of this title. In the event that the principal‑earner parent in a two‑parent family is sanctioned for failing to meet the work requirement, the primary caretaker shall be deemed work‑ready and subject to subdivision (1) of this subsection.  Within 30 days of the effective date of the principal‑earner parent’s sanction the primary caretaker shall report to the family’s case manager, complete an assessment, modify the family’s family development plan, and comply with the requirements of subdivision (1) of this subsection.

(3)  All other able‑to‑work participants and able‑to‑work‑part‑time participants who are not subject to the work requirement established by subdivision (1) of this subsection, or exempted from the work requirement in accordance with subdivision (2) of this subsection, shall comply with the following requirements:

(A)  If the family includes two parents, and one parent is able‑to‑work and the other parent is able‑to‑work‑part‑time or unable‑to‑work, the able‑to‑work parent shall work in unsubsidized employment or participate in one or more work activities for no fewer than 30 hours per week, and shall accept unsubsidized employment with scheduled hours up to 35 hours per week; and

(B)  If the family includes two parents and both parents are able‑to‑work‑part‑time:

(i)  If one participating parent has been determined able‑to‑work‑part‑time at least 30 hours per week, that parent shall work in unsubsidized employment or participate in one or more work activities for no fewer than 30 hours per week and shall accept unsubsidized employment with scheduled hours up to 34 hours per week, provided that the scheduled hours do not exceed the number of hours the parent has been determined able‑to‑work‑part‑time;

(ii)  If neither participating parent has been determined able‑to‑work‑part‑time at least 30 hours per week but the parents, in combination, have been determined able‑to‑work‑part‑time 30 hours per week, both parents shall work in unsubsidized employment or participate in one or more work activities for which the sum of the hours is at least 30 hours per week and shall accept unsubsidized employment with scheduled hours up to 34 hours per week, provided that the scheduled hours do not exceed the number of hours the parents, in combination, have been determined able‑to‑work‑part‑time; or

(iii)  If the participating parents, in combination, have been determined able‑to‑work‑part‑time fewer than 30 hours per week, the parents shall work in unsubsidized employment or participate in one or more work activities for the number of hours that the two parents, in combination, have been determined able‑to‑work‑part‑time.

(C)  If the family includes two parents and one parent is able‑to‑work‑part‑time and the other parent is unable‑to‑work:

(i)  If one participating parent has been determined able‑to‑work‑part‑time at least 30 hours per week, that parent shall work in unsubsidized employment or participate in one or more work activities for no fewer than 30 hours per week and shall accept unsubsidized employment with scheduled hours up to 34 hours per week, provided that the scheduled hours do not exceed the number of hours that the parent has been determined able‑to‑work‑part‑time; or

(ii)  If one participating parent has been determined able‑to‑work‑part‑time fewer than 30 hours per week, that parent shall work in unsubsidized work or participate in one or more work activities for the number of hours that the parent has been determined able‑to‑work‑part‑time.

(D)  If the family includes only one adult (parent, relative, or caretaker) who is able‑to‑work and no child is under the age of six years, the participant shall work in unsubsidized employment or participate in one or more work activities for no fewer than 30 hours per week, and shall accept unsubsidized employment with scheduled hours up to 35 hours per week.

(E)  If the family includes only one adult (parent, relative, or caretaker) who is able‑to‑work‑part‑time and no child is under the age of six years:

(i)  If the participant has been determined able‑to‑work‑part‑time at least 30 hours per week, the participant shall work in unsubsidized employment or participate in one or more work activities for no fewer than 30 hours per week and shall accept unsubsidized employment with scheduled hours up to 34 hours per week, provided that the scheduled hours do not exceed the number of hours that the participant has been determined able‑to‑work‑part‑time; or

(ii)  If the participant has been determined able‑to‑work‑part‑time fewer than 30 hours per week, the participant shall work in unsubsidized work or participate in one or more work activities fewer than 30 hours per week for the number of hours that the participant has been determined able‑to‑work‑part‑time.

(F)  If the family includes only one adult (parent, relative, or caretaker) who is able‑to‑work and a child under the age of six years, the participant shall work in unsubsidized employment or participate in one or more work activities for no fewer than 20 hours per week and shall accept unsubsidized employment with scheduled hours up to 24 hours per week.

(G)  If the family includes only one adult (parent, relative, or caretaker) who is able‑to‑work‑part‑time and a child under the age of six years:

(i)  If the participant has been determined able‑to‑work‑part‑time at least 20 hours per week, the participant shall work in unsubsidized employment or participate in one or more work activities for no fewer than 20 hours per week, and shall accept unsubsidized employment with scheduled hours up to 24 hours per week, provided that the scheduled hours do not exceed the number of hours that the participant has been determined able‑to‑work‑part‑time; or

(ii)  If the participant has been determined able‑to‑work‑part‑time fewer than 20 hours per week, the participant shall work in unsubsidized work or participate in one or more work activities fewer than 20 hours per week for the number of hours that the participant has been determined able‑to‑work‑part‑time.

(4)  Except as provided in section 1133 of this title, in computing the cumulative 12‑month period of financial assistance for determining the effective date of a participating adult’s work requirement under subsection (b) of this section, the calculation shall not extend to times prior to the effective date of this section.

(5)(4)  A pregnant individual who is employed shall continue such employment unless there has been a medical determination that the individual is unable‑to‑work, or the individual is exempt from the work requirement based on other criteria established by the commissioner by rule.  A pregnant individual shall not be required to begin new employment.

* * *

(e)  The commissioner may require a participant to participate in job search, coordinated by the commissioner, for the number of hours per week that corresponds to the participant’s work requirement hours under subsection (c) of this section, or a lesser amount that in combination with the participant’s unsubsidized paid employment equals the participant’s work requirement hours under subsection (c) of this section, and during the following periods:

(1)  For a two‑week period immediately following the family’s application for benefits, or reapplication for benefits following a period of non‑receipt lasting at least 30 days, or during the period a decision on application or reapplication is pending, whichever period ends later, and as long as consistent with subdivisions 1112(b)(1), (2), or (3) of this title;

(2)  For a period of two weeks at any time when the participant is deemed to be job‑ready by the commissioner;

(3)  For the first two weeks of the 13th calendar month for which financial assistance is received; and

(4)  For a period of two weeks following the loss of paid employment.

(f)  If a participant is job‑ready and no unsubsidized job is available, or if the participant is work‑ready but not job‑ready, the participant shall accept a subsidized job, community work experience, job search, other work activities, or any combination of these activities, as deemed appropriate by the commissioner that equals the number of hours of the participant’s work requirement per week, or a lesser amount that, in combination with the parent’s unsubsidized paid employment, equals the number of hours of the participant’s work requirement.

(g)(f)  Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, a participant’s hours of unpaid work activities that are not primarily education, job search, job readiness activities, or training shall not exceed the levels established by the Fair Labor Standards Act.  Adjustments required to conform with the Fair Labor Standards Act shall be made pursuant to calculation standards established by the commissioner by rule.

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Sec. 11.  33 V.S.A. § 1114 is amended to read:

§ 1114.  DEFERMENTS AND, MODIFICATIONS, AND REFERRAL

(a)  The commissioner shall establish by rule criteria, standards, and procedures for granting deferments from or modifications to the work requirements established in section 1113 of this title, in accordance with the provisions of this section and for referring individuals with disabilities to the office of vocational rehabilitation.

* * *

(b)  The work requirements shall be either modified or deferred for:

* * *

(3)  A participant who is able‑to‑work‑part‑time or is unable‑to‑work.  Such participants shall be referred for assessment and vocational and other services in accordance with the provisions of his or her family development plan.  Participants with disabilities that do not meet the standards used to determine disability under Title XVI of the Social Security Act shall participate in appropriate rehabilitation, education, or training programs.

(4)(3)  A primary caretaker parent in a two‑parent family in which one parent is able‑to‑work‑part‑time or unable‑to‑work, a single parent, or a caretaker who is caring for a child who has not attained 24 months of age for no more than 24 months of the parent’s or caretaker’s lifetime receipt of financial assistance.  To qualify for such deferment, a parent or caretaker of a child older than the age of six months but younger than 24 months shall cooperate in the development of and participate in a family development plan.

(5)(4)  An individual who has exhausted the 24 months of deferment provided for in subdivision (4)(3) of this subsection and who is caring for a child who is not yet 13 weeks of age or a primary caretaker parent in a family with two parents who are able‑to‑work if the primary caretaker is caring for a child under 13 weeks of age and is otherwise subject to a work requirement because the other parent in the family is being sanctioned in accordance with section 1116 of this title.

(6)(5)  A participant who is needed in the home on a full or part‑time basis in order to care for an ill or disabled parent, spouse, or child.  In granting deferments, the department shall give deference to the participant’s preference as to the number of hours the participant is able to leave home to participate in work activities.

 (7)(6)  A participant who is under 20 years of age, who is a single head of household or married, and who maintains satisfactory attendance at secondary school or the equivalent during the month, or participates in education directly related to employment for an average of 20 or more hours per week during the month.

(8)(7)  A participant who has attained 20 years of age and who is engaged in at least 25 hours per week of classes and related learning activities for the purpose of attaining a high school diploma or general educational development (GED) certificate; provided that the participant is making satisfactory progress toward the attainment of such diploma or certificate; and provided further that a deferment or modification granted for this purpose does not exceed six months.

(9)(8)  A participant who is enrolled in, attending, and making satisfactory progress toward the completion of a full‑time vocational training program that has a normal duration of no more than two years and who is within 12 months of expected completion of such program.  Such deferment or modification shall continue until he or she has completed the program, he or she is no longer attending the program, or the 12‑month expected completion period has ended, whichever occurs first.

(10)(9)  A participant for whom, due to the effects of domestic violence, fulfillment of the work requirement can be reasonably anticipated to result in serious physical or emotional harm to the participant that significantly impairs his or her capacity either to fulfill the work requirement or to care for his or her child adequately, or can be reasonably anticipated to result in serious physical or emotional harm to the child.

(11)(10)  Any other participant designated by the commissioner in accordance with criteria established by rule.

(c)  A participant who is able‑to‑work‑part‑time or is unable‑to‑work shall be referred for assessment of the individual’s skills and strengths, accommodations and support services, and vocational and other services in accordance with the provisions of his or her family development plan.  The work requirement hours shall reflect the individual’s ability to work. Participants with disabilities that do not meet the standards used to determine disability under Title XVI of the Social Security Act shall participate in rehabilitation, education, or training programs as appropriate.  A participant who qualifies for a deferment or modification and who is able‑to‑work‑part‑time shall have his or her work requirement hours modified or deferred.  In granting deferments, the department shall give deference to the participant’s estimation of the number of hours the participant is able‑to‑work.

 (c)(d)  Absent an apparent condition or claimed physical, emotional or mental condition, participants are presumed to be able‑to‑work.  A participant shall have the burden of demonstrating the existence of the circumstances or condition asserted as the basis for a deferral or modification of the work requirement.

(d)  A participant who qualifies for a deferment or modification under subsection (b) of this section and who is able‑to‑work‑part‑time shall have his or her work requirement hours modified instead of deferred.

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Sec. 12.  33 V.S.A. § 1116(f)(2) is amended to read:

(2)  The commissioner shall provide the housing costs by vendor electronic or direct payment directly to the vendor person to whom housing costs are owed.  Any balance of financial assistance remaining after the vendor electronic or direct payment has been deducted shall be paid in two payments, the first to be paid within the first half of the calendar month and the second to be paid within the second half of the calendar month.

Sec. 13.  33 V.S.A. § 1116(h) is amended to read:

(h)  To receive payments during the fiscal sanction period, an adult who is the subject of the sanction shall meet no less than once each month to report his or her circumstances to the case manager or to participate in assessments as directed by the case manager.  In addition, this meeting shall be for initial assessment and development of the family development plan when such tasks have not been completed; reassessment or review and revision of the family development plan, if appropriate; and to encourage the participant to fulfill the work requirement.  Meetings required under this section may take place in the district office, a community location, or in the participant’s home.  Facilitation of meeting the participant’s family development plan goals shall be a primary consideration in determining the location of the meeting.  The commissioner may waive any meeting when extraordinary circumstances prevent a participant from attending.  The commissioner shall adopt rules to implement this subsection.

Sec. 14.  33 V.S.A. § 1121 is amended to read:

§ 1121.  AUTHORIZATION TO SEGREGATE STATE FUNDS AND CREATE SEPARATE STATE AND SOLELY STATE-FUNDED PROGRAMS

(a)  Consistent with the purposes of this chapter, the commissioner shall structure payment of appropriated TANF funds and, state “maintenance of effort” funds, and general funds to create separate state and segregated fund solely state‑funded programs to aid families eligible for the financial assistance.  For purposes of this chapter:

(1)  “Separate state program” means a program in which state funds are used to fund the program, and these funds are counted toward the state’s maintenance‑of‑effort requirement under TANF.

(2)  “Solely state‑funded program” means a program in which state funds are used to fund the program and are not counted toward the state’s maintenance‑of‑effort requirement in order to maintain flexibility.

(b)  The commissioner shall establish by rule standards, requirements, and criteria for the administration of any program established pursuant to this section that requires rules different from the financial assistance program.

(c)  Programs and payment structures created pursuant to this section shall accomplish one or more of the following purposes:

(1)  To provide work supports and assistance to working families while preserving their ability to receive financial assistance beyond the federal TANF 60‑month lifetime limit.

(2)  To foster parental nurturing of children in their own homes.

(3)  To stabilize families in crisis.

(4)  To preserve financial assistance options beyond the federal TANF 60‑month lifetime limit for families addressing multiple issues relating to

self‑sufficiency.

(5)  To preserve eligibility for financial assistance for certain parents who are under 18 and legal aliens whom federal law makes ineligible for

TANF‑funded assistance.

(6)  To provide for the transition of families in the welfare restructuring project to the Reach Up program.

(7)(6)  To ensure that the state complies with the federal TANF program requirements and is able to avoid federal fiscal sanctions.

(d)(1)  The following separate state solely state‑funded programs shall be established, in accordance with rules adopted by the commissioner:

(1)(A)  The separate state postsecondary education program established under section 1122 of this title.

(2)  A program for families in which the adult (parent or caretaker) or adults (parents) are not involved in work activities at a TANF‑countable level, limited to the number of families necessary to meet federal TANF participation rate requirements.

(3)(B)  A program for families with a single parent, a caretaker, or two parents with one parent who is able‑to‑work‑part‑time or unable‑to‑work that have a primary caretaker of a child under 24 months of age who chooses pursuant to subdivision 1114(b)(4) subsection 1114(b) of this title to defer the work requirement and to remain at home caring for the child, provided that the deferment is limited to any 24 months over the primary caretaker’s lifetime, and the elimination of such work requirement is not a state option under TANF.

(C)  A program for the following vulnerable families:

(i)  a minor parent who is not meeting the TANF requirements;

(ii)  families who have received TANF‑funded assistance for over 60 months and do not qualify for the hardship exemption as provided for by rule;

(2)  Solely state‑funded programs may be established, in accordance with rules adopted by the commissioner, for the following individuals:

(A)  families in which the parents or caretakers are ineligible immigrants, who are considered work eligible under federal law, but are unable to meet the number of hours in work activities required for the family to be counted as meeting the work requirement under federal law;

(B)  adults who have been in sanction for more than three months;

(C)  families in which the parents have disabilities;

(D)  families in which one or more child has a disability and in which a family member is considered a work‑eligible individual;

(E)  families in which the parents or caretakers have an application pending for Supplemental Security Income; and

(F)  two‑parent households who are unable to meet the number of hours in work activities required for the family to be counted as meeting the work requirement under federal law, unless the federal law allows the state to exclude these families from the work participation rate or provides for an achievable work participation rate as determined by the commissioner.

(e)  The Reach Up Ahead program shall include a segregated funds be a separate state program structured to pay appropriated state maintenance of effort funds to families in which the parent or caretaker is engaged in unsubsidized employment for the number of hours that meets the applicable TANF participation rate requirement and provided there are sufficient general funds to fund the separate state programs established in subdivisions (d)(1) through (3) of this section.  If there are insufficient general funds to pay these families, then they shall be paid from TANF funds.  For self‑employment to be considered unsubsidized employment under this subdivision, average net weekly earnings shall equal or exceed the minimum wage multiplied by the applicable number of TANF‑countable hours.

(f)  The commissioner may establish other separate state and solely state‑funded programs necessary to meet the goals established in this chapter.

(g)  In furtherance of the policy goals of this section and in order to establish an excess of maintenance‑of‑effort state funds, the commissioner shall maximize maintenance‑of‑effort state funds in the reports to the U.S. Administration for Children and Families.

Sec. 15.  33 V.S.A. § 1122 is amended to read:

§ 1122.  POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION PROGRAM

(a)  The commissioner shall establish by rule a separate state solely state‑funded program to provide living expense stipends financial assistance equivalent to the Reach Up financial assistance amount the family would receive if it were participating in the Reach Up program and support services to enable parents in eligible families to pursue undergraduate postsecondary degrees in fields directly related to employment.

(b)  The program authorized by this section shall be administered by the commissioner or by a contractor designated by the commissioner, and shall be supported with funds other than federal TANF block grant funds provided under Title IV‑A of the Social Security Act.

(c)  The Financial eligibility for the program and the amount of the program’s living expense stipend financial assistance shall be determined using Reach Up financial assistance rules with the following modifications:.  The commissioner may use Reach Up rules for the postsecondary education program with the exception of rules inconsistent with this section or related to the work requirements.  

(1)  The amount of the living expense stipend shall be determined at the time of the financial eligibility determination for admission into the program, and annually thereafter within 90 days before the beginning of the participant’s academic year.

(2)  The maximum living expense stipend for a family with three or fewer members shall be the amount that is equal to the ratably reduced sum of the Reach Up basic needs allowance for a household of three, plus the maximum monthly housing allowance for the county in which they reside.

(3)  The maximum living expense stipend allowed for a family with more than three members shall be the amount that is equal to the ratably reduced sum of the Reach Up basic needs allowance for a household of four, plus the maximum housing allowance for the county in which they reside.

(d)  To be financially eligible to participate in the postsecondary education program, the family must meet the following applicable income test:

(1)  In two‑parent families, the family’s gross income minus the participating parent’s earnings shall not exceed 150 percent of the federal poverty level for a family of four or fewer members as established by the commissioner by rule, or 150 percent of the federal poverty level for a family of five, provided the family included five or more members as established by the commissioner by rule the appropriate family size.

(2)  In single‑parent families, the gross income of the family shall not exceed 150 percent of the federal poverty level for a family of three, provided the family includes three or fewer members as established by the commissioner by rule, or 150 percent of the federal poverty level for a family of four, provided the family includes four or more members as established by the commissioner by rule.

(3)  All program participants shall demonstrate financial eligibility at the time of application, for the calendar year preceding application, and within the 90‑day period prior to the beginning of each academic year of the institution in which the participant is enrolled.

(4)  Verification of all income amounts required by this subsection shall be provided in accordance with Reach Up program rules.

(e)  All financially eligible families who apply to participate in the postsecondary education program will be considered for admission provided that they meet all of the following criteria:

(1)  No more than one parent per family may participate at the same time.

(2)  If the participating parent is in a two‑parent family, the nonparticipating parent shall, if able‑to‑work, be working full‑time; if able‑to‑work‑part‑time, shall be working at least the number of hours per week that he or she has been determined able‑to‑work‑part‑time; or, if unable‑to‑work, may be unemployed.

(3)(A)  The participating parent has not already received a postsecondary undergraduate degree;

(B)  The participating parent has already received a postsecondary undergraduate degree and the occupations for which it prepared the participating parent are obsolete;

(C)  The participating parent, due to a disability, is no longer able to perform the occupations for which the degree prepared him or her; or

(D)  The preparation for occupations that the participating parent received through the postsecondary undergraduate degree is outdated and not marketable in the current labor market.

(4)  The participating parent shall be a matriculating student in a two‑year or four‑year degree program as provided for in the postsecondary education plan.

(5)  The participating parent has been determined to be eligible for financial assistance from the Vermont student assistance corporation, and can demonstrate that he or she has the ability to cover tuition costs.

(6)  The participating parent agrees to limit employment to no more than 20 hours per week when school is in session.

(7)  Participating families who are eligible for Reach Up financial assistance shall agree to accept the program living expense stipend in lieu of a Reach Up financial assistance grant.

(8)  For a period of five years beginning with the date of a parent’s receipt of a postsecondary education degree due to successful completion of this program, the parent and the parent’s family, if financially eligible, shall receive no more than 12 cumulative months of Reach Up financial assistance, and the participating parent shall comply with the following conditions:

(i)  The parent shall engage in job search at a TANF‑countable level for the first four weeks of the family’s receipt of a financial assistance grant;

(ii)  Unless employed full time, the parent shall engage in approved work activities at a TANF‑countable level during all months following the initial job search that the family receives financial assistance; and

(iii)  Parents who have not been sanctioned since receiving their postsecondary education degree, have not left an unsubsidized degree‑related job without good cause since receiving their postsecondary education degree, and have followed through, satisfactorily, on all referrals to degree‑related jobs since receiving their postsecondary education degree shall only have to accept unsubsidized jobs related to their degree during the first three months following receipt of their degree. Parents who have been sanctioned since receiving their postsecondary education degree, have left an unsubsidized degree‑related job without good cause since receiving their postsecondary education degree, have not followed through, satisfactorily, on all referrals to degree‑related jobs since receiving their postsecondary education degree, or have not, after receipt of three cumulative months of financial assistance, obtained a job in a field related to their postsecondary degree, shall accept any unsubsidized job that is offered.

(B)  The limitation on receiving no more than 12 cumulative months of Reach Up cash assistance established under subdivision (A) of this subdivision (8) shall not apply if:

(i)  the parent who received the postsecondary education degree has not been offered a full‑time, unsubsidized job;

(ii) all parents in the family have become so severely disabled that they are precluded from being employed;

(iii)  in the case of a single‑parent family, a child in the family has become so severely disabled that the parent is precluded from being employed; or

(iv)  a catastrophic family event precludes the parent’s employment, as determined by the commissioner.

(9)(6)  The participating parent establishes and follows a postsecondary education plan that has been approved by the commissioner or his or her designee.  Each postsecondary education plan shall include the following:

(A)  the occupation that the parent proposes to pursue;

(B)  a schedule that assures the participating parent will complete the coursework necessary for a two‑year degree within three years and for a four‑year degree within five years.  The commissioner shall establish by rule criteria for exceptions to such time limits.  Such criteria shall be based on circumstances beyond the parent’s control;

(C)  a schedule reflecting that, when an applicant has at least 15 credit hours of course credits that can be applied to the degree being pursued, four months for every 15 credit hours of coursework that can be applied to the degree has been deducted from the three‑year time period allowed for a two‑year degree or the five‑year time period allowed for a four‑year degree; and

(D)  a schedule reflecting that, when a parent who has already obtained a two‑year degree through participation in the program authorized by this section is pursuing a four‑year degree, the time period that was used to obtain the two‑year degree has been subtracted from the five‑year time period allowed for a four‑year degree.

(10)(7)  The family and the participating adult maintain financial eligibility for the program and uninterrupted residency in Vermont for the duration of participation in the postsecondary education program.

(11)(8)  The participating parent maintains good academic standing at the college.

(f)  Participation in the program authorized by this section may be denied to parents meeting the eligibility criteria if program funds are insufficient to allow all eligible applicants to participate. When funds are insufficient to allow all eligible applicants to participate, priority shall be given to those individuals with no postsecondary education who:

(1)  have demonstrated the ability to be successful in college, have already accumulated credits that can be applied to a college degree, and qualify for financial assistance;

(2)  have no postsecondary education and qualify for financial assistance;

(3)  have demonstrated the ability to be successful in college, have already accumulated credits that can be applied to a college degree, and qualify for services but not financial assistance;

(4)  have no postsecondary education and qualify for services but not financial assistance.

(g)  Continued participation in the postsecondary education program is contingent on the participating parent:

(1)  maintaining compliance with all program criteria in subsections (d) and (e) of this section; and

(2)  remaining a member in good standing of the college and making progress toward a degree.

(h)  For the purposes of this section:

(1)  “Full‑time” means 40 hours per week or a position requiring no fewer than 35 hours of work per week that the employer defines as

full‑time.

(2)  “Parent” means either a biological parent, stepparent, or adoptive parent who has custody of and resides with a dependent minor child.

Sec. 16.  33 V.S.A. § 1133 is amended to read:

§ 1133.  TRANSITION FROM WELFARE RESTRUCTURING PROJECT TO REACH UP PROGRAM OTHER PROGRAMS

(a)  The commissioner shall restructure the system of Aid to Needy Families with Children in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.  The restructuring shall be carried out on a statewide basis.  The restructured program shall be reconstituted as the Reach Up program.

(b)  The commissioner shall ensure that representatives of participating families, representatives of community agencies, and representatives of the department staff play an active role in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of the restructuring required by this chapter.

(c)  The commissioner shall develop a plan and adopt rules to phase current members of the existing ANFC caseload into the new Reach Up program.

(d)  Notwithstanding any other provision of law, able‑bodied single parents and able‑bodied parents in two‑parent families in which one parent is incapacitated who are receiving Aid to Needy Families with Children (“ANFC”) and have their families’ eligibility for and amount of ANFC benefits determined in accordance with welfare restructuring project rules that include a work requirement, in accordance with Sec. 10(a) of Act No. 106 of 1994 shall be deemed work‑ready as follows:

(1)  Parents in families who have received 28 or more cumulative months of ANFC benefits before November 1, 2000, shall be deemed work‑ready as of January 1, 2001.

(2)  Parents in families who have received their 28th cumulative month of ANFC benefits during the period beginning November 1, 2000, and ending on April 30, 2001, shall be deemed work‑ready as of the first day of the 30th cumulative month of having received ANFC benefits.

(3)  Two months prior to being deemed work‑ready in accordance with subdivisions (1) and (2) of this subsection, parents shall work with their case manager, if necessary, to prepare or include in their family development plan their participation in TANF‑countable work activities, as specified by rule, that are sufficient to meet their weekly hours of work requirement.

(4)  During the period from November 1, 2000, through June 30, 2001, the parents subject to this subsection shall also be subject to the exemption policies defined in Sec. 11 and the sanction policies defined in Sec. 12 of Act No. 106 of 1994.

(e)  Notwithstanding any other provision of law, able‑to‑work and able‑to‑work‑part‑time parents and caretakers in families in which one or both of the ANFC children’s parents are absent and able‑to‑work and able‑to‑work‑part‑time parents in two‑parent families in which one parent is unable‑to‑work shall be deemed job‑ or work‑ready as follows:

(1)  Parents and caretakers in families who, subsequent to June 30, 1994, have received at least 22 cumulative months of ANFC benefits by July 1, 2001, shall be deemed job‑ or work‑ready no later than September 1, 2001.

(2)  Parents and caretakers in families who, subsequent to June 30, 1994, have received at least 16 cumulative months of ANFC benefits by September 1, 2001, shall be deemed job‑ or work‑ready no later than November 1, 2001.

(3)  Parents and caretakers in families who, subsequent to June 30, 1994, have received at least 10 cumulative months of ANFC benefits by November 1, 2001, shall be deemed job‑ or work‑ready no later than January 1, 2002.

(4)  Parents and caretakers in families who, subsequent to June 30, 1994, have received at least 10 cumulative months of ANFC benefits by January 1, 2002, shall be deemed job‑ or work‑ready no later than March 1, 2002.

(5)  Parents and caretakers in families who, subsequent to June 30, 1994, have received at least 10 cumulative months of ANFC benefits by March 1, 2002, shall be deemed job‑ or work‑ready no later than May 1, 2002.

(f)  Notwithstanding any other provision of law and effective May 1, 2001, able‑bodied parents who are not the primary caretaker in two‑parent families that have received ANFC benefits for at least 10 cumulative months shall be deemed job‑ or work‑ready as of July 1, 2001.

(g)  All parents and caretakers deemed job‑ or work‑ready, as provided in subsections (e) and (f) of this section:

(1)  Shall work with their case manager during the two months prior to being deemed job‑ or work‑ready to complete their assessment and prepare a family development plan that requires their participation in TANF‑countable work activities, as specified by rule, that are sufficient to meet the parent’s or caretaker’s work requirement as specified in section 1113 of this title; and

(2)  Shall be subject to the deferments and modifications provisions of section 1114 of this title, and the work incentive and sanctions provisions of section 1116 of this title.

(a)  The department shall transfer the family to Reach Up, a separate state program, or a solely state‑funded program established under chapter 11 if, after four months of receiving support in Reach First or sooner at the department’s discretion, a family is assessed as needing ongoing financial assistance and the family is financially eligible for Reach Up, a separate state program, or a solely state‑funded program established under chapter 11 of this title, unless the family chooses not to participate.

(b)  If a family finds unsubsidized employment meeting or exceeding the work requirements for Reach Up for the family’s size and composition, but is financially eligible for Reach Up, the department shall transfer the family to Reach Up, unless the family chooses not to participate.  A family transferring from Reach First to Reach Up shall be treated as a recipient for the purposes of income calculation.

(c)  If a family finds unsubsidized employment meeting or exceeding the work requirements for Reach Up for the family’s size and composition, is not financially eligible for Reach Up, and is eligible for the Reach Ahead program, the department shall transfer the family to Reach Ahead, unless the family chooses not to participate.  A family transferring from Reach Up to Reach Ahead shall be treated as a recipient for the purposes of income calculation.

(d)  A family transferring to another program under subsections (a) through (c) of this section shall not be required to complete a new application. Verification of income or other required documentation may be required as provided for by rule.

Sec. 17.  33 V.S.A. § 1134 is amended to read:

§ 1134.  PROGRAM EVALUATION

(a)  On or before January 31 of each year, the commissioner shall design and implement procedures to evaluate, measure and report to the governor and the general assembly the department’s progress in implementing the Reach First, Reach Up program, and Reach Ahead and achieving the goals of the program programs provided for in section sections 1002, 1102, and 1202 of this title.  The report shall include:

(1)  The types of barriers facing Reach Up families seeking economic self‑sufficiency, the number of families with each type of barrier, and the frequency of occurrence of each type of barrier, and how support services and incentives assist in overcoming barriers.

(2)  Documentation of participant outcomes, including specific information relating to the number of persons employed, by occupation, industry and wage; the types of subsidized and unsubsidized jobs secured by participants; any available information about outcomes for children who have participated in the Reach Up program programs, including objective indicators of improved conditions; and the number of participating families involved in training programs; and whether the support services and incentives assist in keeping families employed.

(3)  A description of the case management system and the training of case managers.

(4)(3)  Data about the food stamp participation of households who have left Reach Up the programs during the last fiscal year, including the number of households, adults and children participating in the food stamp program three months after termination of their Reach Up benefits leaving the applicable program, broken down by reason for Reach Up termination or leaving, and the department’s plan to identify and assist eligible households to apply for food stamps.

(5)(4)  Data about the enrollment of individuals who have left Reach Up the programs during the last fiscal year in a health care assistance program, including the number of adults and children enrolled in a health care assistance program three months after termination of their Reach Up benefits leaving the applicable program, broken down by reason for Reach Up termination or leaving, and the department’s plan to identify and assist eligible households to apply for health care assistance.

(6)(5)  A summary of all interim and final reports submitted by independent evaluation contractors to the agency or the department relating to the Reach Up program programs.

(6)  A description of the work participation rates, including the method of calculating the caseload reduction credit, for the most recent federal fiscal year.

(7) A description of the current basic needs budget and housing allowance, the current maximum grant amounts, and the basic needs budget and housing allowance adjusted to reflect an annual cost‑of‑living increase.

(8)  A summary of the analysis done under subsection (b) of this section. 

(b)  On or before January 15, 2001, the commissioner of education, with the assistance of the commissioner, the commissioner of disabilities, aging, and independent living, and the commissioner of labor shall report to the senate and house committees on health and welfare and education the progress they have achieved in developing and implementing the comparable and reciprocally recognized literacy assessment protocols as described in subsection 1107(e) of this title.  On or before January 15, 2010 for the analysis of Reach First and on or before January 15, 2012 for the analysis of all programs, the department shall analyze the effectiveness of the programs and shall consider the following indicators:

(1)  For Reach First, the types of crises presented by applicants; the type and duration of case management necessary to respond to a crisis; and the impact of the services on the family, including the actual and perceived outcomes and material indicators of stability.

(2)  For Reach Up, the type and duration of case management provided; and the impact of the services on the family; the family’s achievement of the goals in the family development plan; the types of employment engaged in by families; the duration of employment; and actual and perceived outcomes and material indicators of stability and well‑being.

(3)  For Reach Ahead, the types of employment engaged in by families; the duration of employment; the type and duration of services necessary to maintain employment; the duration of time the family received food assistance and services in the program; and the impact of the services on the family, including the actual and perceived well‑being of the family and material indicators of well‑being.

(4)  Whether the programs are effectively integrated and transitions between programs are simple, and the number of families who choose not to participate, and why.

(c)  [Repealed.]

(d)  On or before January 15, 2005, January 15, 2006, and January 15, 2007, the commissioner shall report to the house and senate committees on health and welfare and appropriations on families’ receipt of aid authorized by this chapter.  Such reports shall include:

(1)  For the report due on or before January 15, 2005, from among all families receiving TANF‑funded aid during the period from July 1, 2001, through September 30, 2004, the number of families that received such aid for no more than six cumulative months, more than six but no more than 12 cumulative months, more than 12 but no more than 18 cumulative months, more than 18 but no more than 24 cumulative months, more than 24 but no more than 30 cumulative months, and more than 30 cumulative months.

(2)  For the report due on or before January 15, 2006, from among all families receiving TANF‑funded aid during the period from July 1, 2001, through September 30, 2005, the number of families that received such aid for no more than six cumulative months, more than six but no more than 12 cumulative months, more than 12 but no more than 18 cumulative months, more than 18 but no more than 24 cumulative months, more than 24 but no more than 30 cumulative months, more than 30 but no more than 36 cumulative months, more than 36 but no more than 42 cumulative months, and more than 42 cumulative months.

(3)  For the report due on or before January 15, 2007, from among all families receiving TANF‑funded aid during the period from July 1, 2001, through September 30, 2006, the number of families that received such aid for no more than six cumulative months, more than six but no more than 12 cumulative months, more than 12 but no more than 18 cumulative months, more than 18 but no more than 24 cumulative months, more than 24 but no more than 30 cumulative months, more than 30 but no more than 36 cumulative months, more than 36 but no more than 42 cumulative months, more than 42 but no more than 48 cumulative months, more than 48 but no more than 54 cumulative months, and more than 54 cumulative months.

(4)  For each report, an estimate, for federal fiscal years 2008, 2009, and 2010, of the average proportion of the monthly TANF‑funded caseload that will include an adult family member who has received TANF‑funded aid, as an adult, 60 or more months in his or her lifetime.

(5)  When such proportion exceeds 20 percent, an assessment, based on an assumption of level funding in future years, of whether general funds will be sufficient in federal fiscal years 2008, 2009, and 2010, to support aid authorized by this chapter to fund aid for those families in excess of 20 percent while, at the same time, providing aid and services, supported solely by general funds, to other families as authorized by this act.

(6)  When such assessment is that general funds will be insufficient to fund aid for all such families, the modifications in policy, appropriated general funds, or combination thereof that the commissioner recommends to support families receiving aid under this chapter in their achievement of self‑sufficiency and to protect the children in these families.

(e)(c)  Beginning on or before January 15, 2008, and annually thereafter, the commissioner shall report to the house committees on human services and appropriations and senate committees on health and welfare and appropriations on families’ long‑term receipt of aid financial assistance authorized by this chapter.  Such reports shall include:

(1)  the number of families receiving aid financial assistance in the most recent federal fiscal year that included an adult family member who has received TANF‑funded aid financial assistance, as an adult, 60 or more months in his or her lifetime;

(2)  the average proportion of the monthly TANF‑funded caseload during the same fiscal year that such families represent;

(3)  when such proportion exceeds 20 percent, the sufficiency of general funds appropriated to support aid financial assistance authorized by this chapter to fund aid financial assistance for those families in excess of 20 percent while, at the same time, providing aid financial assistance and services, supported solely by general funds, to other families as authorized by this chapter; and

(4)  when appropriated general funds are insufficient to fund aid financial assistance for all such families, the modifications in policy, appropriated general funds, or combination thereof that the commissioner recommends to support families receiving aid financial assistance under this chapter in their achievement of self‑sufficiency and to protect the children in these families.

* * * Reach Ahead * * *

Sec. 18.  33 V.S.A. chapter 12 is added to read:

Chapter 12.  Reach Ahead

Subchapter 1.  Eligibility and Assistance

§ 1201.  DEFINITIONS

As used in this chapter:

(1)  “Adult” means an individual who:

(A)  is 18 years of age or older, and not a dependent child; or

(B)  is under 18 years of age and:

(i)  is pregnant; or

(ii)  is a parent who is the caretaker for a dependent child.

(2)  “Barrier” means any physical, emotional, or mental condition, any lack of an educational, vocational, or other skill or ability, and any lack of transportation, child care, housing, medical assistance or other services or resources, domestic violence circumstances, caretaker responsibilities, or other conditions or circumstances that prevent an individual from engaging in employment or other work activity.

(3)  “Caretaker” means an individual age 18 or older who is fulfilling a parental role in caring for a dependent child by providing physical care, guidance, and decision‑making related to the child’s health, school, medical care, and discipline.

(4)  “Commissioner” means the commissioner of the department for children and families, or his or her designee.

(5)  “Department” means the department for children and families.

(6)  “Dependent child” means a child who is a resident of this state and:

(A)  is under the age of 18 years; or

(B)  is 18 years of age or older who is a full‑time student in a secondary school, or attending an equivalent level of vocational or technical training, and is reasonably expected to complete the educational program before reaching the age of 19 or is not expected to complete the educational program before reaching age 19 solely due to a documented disability.

(7)  “Eligible family” means a family that meets the requirements in section 1203 of this chapter.

(8)  “Family” means:

(A)  one or more dependent children living with one or both parents or a relative or caretaker of such children; or

(B)  a pregnant individual.

(9)  “Food assistance” means a monthly benefit to supplement the family’s food stamp benefit as determined under section 1204 of this chapter.

(10)  “Living with a relative or caretaker” means living with a caretaker or relative in a residence maintained by the caretaker or one or more relatives at his or her or their home.

(11)  “Parent” means a biological parent, stepparent, adoptive parent, or pregnant individual.

(12)  “Participant” or “participating adult” means an adult member of a participating family.

(13)  “Participating family” means an eligible family that participates in the Reach Ahead program.

(14)  “Reach Ahead services” means the service component of the Reach Ahead program consisting of case management services, support services, and referrals provided to eligible families to assist them in maintaining

self‑sufficiency.

(15)  “Reach First” means the program established under chapter 10 of this title.

(16)  “Reach Up” means the program established under chapter 11 of this title.

(17)  “Relative” means a person related to a dependent child, as defined by the department by rule.

(18)  “Temporary Assistance to Needy Families” or “TANF” means the block grant provided to this state and established in accordance with Part A of Title IV of the federal Social Security Act, as amended, and the regulations promulgated pursuant thereto by the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services.

§ 1202.  Purpose

(a)  The purpose of the Reach Ahead program is:

(1)  To assist families who have become recently employed to maintain employment by providing work supports and incentives to maximize the opportunity of the family to remain employed and not return to Reach Up.

(2)  To provide families with information and referrals to workforce development options in order to ensure financial stability for the family.  

(3)  To support parental responsibility and positive parental role models, both custodial and noncustodial.

(4)  To improve the well‑being of children by providing time‑limited work supports and food assistance to their families.

(5)  To conserve state and public financial resources by operating the system of aid in a manner that is efficient and avoids federal fiscal sanctions.

(6)  To conform to the federal TANF law.

(b)  The critical elements of developing a work support program that assists families to maintain self‑sufficiency are:

(1)  if necessary, individualized case management that addresses each individual’s situation and barriers to self‑sufficiency and assists that family in maintaining employment;

(2)  food assistance and support services of a limited duration to provide work support for the family;

(3)  easy transition to other programs, such as Reach Up or Reach First, if needed to ensure the families well‑being and success to reaching

self‑sufficiency.

§ 1203.  Eligibility

A family shall be eligible for Reach Ahead if the family resides in Vermont and:

(1)  has left Reach Up or the postsecondary education program within the prior six months for unsubsidized employment that meets the work requirements for the Reach Up program for the family’s size and composition and meets the financial eligibility guidelines for the Vermont Health Access Program;

(2)  is receiving food stamps and has unsubsidized employment that meets the work requirements for Reach Up for the family’s size and composition; or

(3)  is an individual under 21, has a child, is ineligible for food stamps solely because the individual resides with the individual’s parent, and has unsubsidized employment that meets the work requirements for Reach Up for the family’s size and composition.

§ 1204.  Food Assistance

(a)  An eligible family shall receive monthly food assistance equal to $100.00 to be applied to the family’s electronic benefit transfer (EBT) food account for the first six months after the family has become eligible for Reach Ahead.  For the seventh though 12th months, the family shall receive a monthly food assistance of $50.00.

(b)  Food assistance may be used only to purchase eligible food items as defined in the food stamp federal rules and shall be disregarded as income for the purposes of determining food stamp eligibility and the amount of the food stamp benefits.

(c)  An eligible family shall not be required to assign child support to the department, and all child support received by the family shall be disregarded as income.

§ 1205.  Required services to participating families

The commissioner shall provide participating families Reach Ahead services, case management services if necessary, and referral to any agencies or programs, including workforce development, that provide the services needed by participating families to improve the family’s prospects for employment retention.  Reach Ahead services shall be provided for 12 months.

§ 1206.  Case management; family development plans; coordinated services

The commissioner may provide Reach Ahead services to participating families through a case management model.  If a family needs case management, the commissioner may develop a family development plan as provided for in chapters 10 and 11 of this title.  If a case manager is assigned to the participating family who has been transferred from Reach First or Reach Up, if practicable, the case manager shall be the same case manager the family was assigned previously.

Subchapter 2.  Administrative Provisions

§ 1211.  Recertification

A family’s income and hours of employment and other countable work activities shall be verified every six months to determine continuing eligibility for the program.  To the extent possible for families receiving food stamps, income verification may be done at the same time as the food stamps recertification.

§ 1212.  Transition to other programs

If a family loses unsubsidized employment meeting or exceeding the work requirements for Reach Up for the family’s size and composition and is financially eligible for Reach Up, the family shall be transferred to Reach First or Reach Up without an additional application process, unless the family chooses not to participate.  Verification of income or other documentation may be required as provided for by rule. 

§ 1213.  Notice and Appeal

A participant may appeal decisions in accordance with section 3091 of Title 3.  The commissioner shall provide notice to each participant of the standards and procedures applicable to such appeals.  All federal and agency of human services rules regarding conciliation, notice, hearing, and appeal shall be followed in connection with such appeals.

* * * Financial Assistance Amounts * * *

Sec. 19.  STUDY ON CHILD SUPPORT AND ASSISTANCE LEVELS TO CERTAIN FAMILIES

(a)  The department for children and families, economic services division and the office of child support shall analyze whether the state should implement the option for  increasing the amount of child support disregarded for families receiving Reach First and Reach Up allowed under the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005.  The analysis shall identify the cost to the state of implementing the option, the amount of additional income that would be provided to families, and the effect the additional income to the family would have on the amount or eligibility for any other public assistance or benefits received by the family.

(b)  The division and office shall report to the house committees on human services and appropriations, and the senate committees on health and welfare and appropriations no later than November 30, 2007.

* * * Asset Building * * *

Sec. 20.  ASSET BUILDING; STUDY

The agency of human services shall study how to unify the asset limitations across public assistance programs, including Reach Up, separate state and solely state‑funded programs under chapter 11 of Title 33, general assistance, emergency assistance, Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income, low income heating assistance program (LIHEAP), food stamps, and any subsidized housing programs with asset limitations, with the purpose of encouraging low income individuals and families to have a modest savings for emergencies, postsecondary education, the purchase of a home, starting a business, or retirement.  The agency shall report on any waivers of federal law available and necessary to allow individuals to build assets without becoming ineligible for public assistance programs.  The report shall be presented to the house committees on appropriations and human services and the senate committees on appropriations and health and welfare no later than December 15, 2007.    

* * * Child Care * * *

Sec. 21.  LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS; CHILD CARE

The general assembly finds that:

(1)  Today’s young children are tomorrow’s Vermont.  Recent science on early child development shows that there is much we can do today to ensure that all Vermont children grow into solid members of our communities tomorrow.  We now know that early experiences build the architecture of a child’s developing brain, and the quality of those experiences establishes either a sturdy or fragile foundation for all development that follows.  Nurturing, responsive, individualized interactions with caring adults are essential to establishing a sturdy foundation.  Child development is community development as well as economic development, as healthy, capable children are the building blocks of a solid and productive society.

(2)  Vermont’s child care industry plays a significant role in Vermont’s economy.

(A)  The total economic impact of the child care industry in Vermont is approximately $426 million annually.  Every dollar spent on child care in Vermont stays in the Vermont economy.

(B)  It is estimated that the child care industry employs approximately 5,000 people in Vermont and contributes to the creation or support of 2,232 indirect jobs.

(3)  Economic conditions in the United States require that both parents in many families work outside the home.  Nationally, 61 percent of married couples with children under six years of age had both parents in the workforce in 2000.  In 2002, 80 percent of Vermont women with children under the age of six were employed outside the home.

(4)  National studies consistently show a high return on public investment in early childhood development.  For example, every $1.00 spent on quality early childhood services saves in later education, criminal justice, welfare, foster care, and other social services costs.  Estimates of savings range from $2.00 to over $7.00 for each $1.00 spent on quality early childhood services.

(5)  National experts recommend that families spend no more than 10 percent of household income on child care in order to ensure that other basic needs are met.

(6)  For a Vermont family of four with two working parents and two preschool‑age children (ages three and four and one‑half), with a median household income of $62,331.00 the cost of child care, using a registered family child care home, equals $13,000.00 and represents 21 percent of the family’s household budget.

(7)  For a single parent earning $13,500.00 a year, with two preschool age children (ages three and four and one‑half), the same cost of child care ($13,000.00) would represent 96 percent of the household budget if there were no state subsidy.  Child care costs after being reduced by the maximum available child care subsidy would still leave a co‑pay of $3,984.00, which equals 29.5 percent of this single parent’s budget.  Among working families who pay for child care, more than 27 percent of low and middle income families spend more than one‑fifth of their earnings on child care.

(8)  Vermont’s child care subsidy program, administered by the department for children and families, provides financial assistance to low and middle income families for purchasing child care.  The financial assistance is in the form of a subsidy paid to approved child care programs on behalf of eligible families.

(9)  Income eligibility guidelines for the child care subsidy program are based on the 1999 federal poverty guidelines and state median income.  This means that families, who are not currently eligible for the program, would be eligible for financial assistance if the eligibility guidelines were based on current federal poverty and state median income standards.

(10)  According to the department for children and families, there is a significant gap between the current state child care subsidy rates and the prevailing market rates for care for all types of care and all age groups.

(A)  A family earning $28,000.00 with a four‑year‑old child in full‑time child care has a shortfall of $130.00–$200.00 each month, even with a subsidy.

(B)  The monthly maximum income levels for a family to be eligible for subsidy assistance are $2,586.00 for a family of three, $3,115.00 for a family of four, $3,645.00 for a family of five, and $4,176.00 for a family of six or more.  These income levels have not increased since 1999.

(C)  If the eligibility guidelines for the subsidy program were set using current federal poverty guidelines and state median income, the monthly maximum income levels for a family to be eligible for subsidy assistance would be $3,850.00 for a family of three, $4,529.00 for a family of four, $5,208.00 for a family of five, and $5,989.00 for a family of six or more.

(D)  The average weekly state child care subsidy rates are $21.40 a week less than the average statewide weekly market rates for registered family home child care and are $20.77 a week less than the statewide average weekly market rates for care at licensed child care centers.  This discrepancy results in co‑payments for families that are receiving the full subsidy benefit, including families eligible for Reach Up.  These co‑payments are cost prohibitive for many families.

(E)  The federal Child Care Bureau has established a standard for states to consider when setting their child care subsidy rates at the 75th percentile of market rates.  The purpose of the standard is to ensure eligible families access to most of the care in a community without prohibitive co‑payments.  The discrepancy between the state’s current weekly subsidy rates compared to the statewide average market rates at the 75th percentile is even greater.  The average weekly state subsidy rates are $32.66 a week less than the statewide average weekly market rate at the 75th percentile for registered family home child care and $31.07 a week less than the statewide average weekly market rate at the 75th percentile for licensed child care centers.  While there have been small incremental increases in funding for the child care subsidy program to increase rates by one‑two percent a year for the past four years, it has not been sufficient to establish the state subsidy rates at a level that ensures access to care for eligible families.

(11)  Recent increases in the federal temporary aid to needy families (TANF) work requirements without concomitant federal resources are putting additional pressures on the state’s child care subsidy program.

(12)  As a result:

(A)  working families who need help paying for child care are not eligible for assistance or get far less than they would be eligible for if the income guidelines were updated.  As a result, the ability of some parents to enter the workforce or to select quality, state‑regulated care for their children is undermined;

(B)  child care providers are more and more reluctant to accept children on subsidy because the subsidy rates lag so far behind market rates; and

(C)  families who have to make up the difference between what the state pays and what providers charge often fall behind in co‑pays.  This results in providers having to absorb losses until they can no longer afford to do so, at which point children end up with disruptions in care while parents struggle to find lower cost care or are forced to stop working.

Sec. 22.  CHILD CARE REPORT

(a)  No later than November 1, 2007, the department for children and families shall report to the house committees on human services and on appropriations and the senate committees on health and welfare and on appropriations with an estimate of the funding needed to bring income eligibility guidelines to current levels; an estimate of the funding needed to bring Vermont into compliance with federal guidelines, suggesting that subsidies should be at least 75 percent of the market rate; an assessment of the positive and negative outcomes from modifying the current statewide subsidy rate to differential rates based on the market rate for the area; and an analysis of possible inflation factors with a recommendation on which factors to use once target funding levels have been met.

(b)  No later than November 1, 2007, the legislative council and joint fiscal office shall provide a summary of innovative ideas from other states for funding investments in quality child care and of any available cost‑benefit analyses of such investments.

Sec. 23.  33 V.S.A. § 3512(b) is amended to read:

(b)  The subsidy authorized by this section shall be on a sliding scale basis. The scale shall be established by the commissioner, by rule, and shall bear a reasonable relationship to income and family size.  The lower limit of the fee scale shall include families whose gross income is up to and including 100 percent of the federal poverty guidelines.  The upper income limit of the fee scale shall be neither less than 80 82.5 percent nor more than 100 percent of the state median income, adjusted for the size of the family.  The scale shall be structured so that it encourages employment.

* * * Technical Provisions * * *

Sec. 24.  RULES

The department for children and families are authorized to adopt rules necessary to implement the provisions of this act.

Sec. 25.  IMPLEMENTATION PLAN

(a)  The department for children and families shall develop a three‑year implementation plan with the goal of establishing Reach First on April 1, 2008, establishing Reach Ahead for families who leave Reach Up as provided for in 33 V.S.A. § 1203(3) on April 1, 2009, and establishing Reach Ahead for all other families as provided for in 33 V.S.A. § 1203 no later than July 1, 2009.

(b)  The plan shall include the estimated amount of appropriations necessary to fund the programs established under this act; an assessment of the information technology requirements and modifications necessary to implement the provisions of this act, including the costs; the operational issues and a time frame for the necessary information technology and other solutions; and target dates for adopting rules or rule modifications necessary to implement the changes in this act.  The plan shall make recommendations where applicable for additional resources and describe the consequences of not providing additional funding to enable the successful implementation of the provisions of this act.

(c)  The plan shall be submitted to the house committees on appropriations and human services, the senate committees on appropriations and health and welfare, and the joint fiscal committee no later than September 15, 2007.  

Sec. 26.  EFFECTIVE DATES; IMPLEMENTATION

(a)  This act shall take effect upon passage for the purposes of adopting rules and rule modifications.

(b)  The amendments to 33 V.S.A. chapter 11 contained in Secs. 2‑13 (Reach Up), 14 (solely state‑funded programs), and 16 (Reach Up Transitions) of this act shall take effect immediately when the rule changes necessary to implement the sections become final, but no later than April 1, 2008.  Until the time that the rule modifications are final, the Reach Up program shall operate under current law.  Any provisions in these sections relating to Reach Ahead shall take effect on April 1, 2009.

(c)(1)  The modifications to the postsecondary education program in Sec. 15 of this act, shall take effect when the rules become final, but no later than April 1, 2008Beginning with the postsecondary education participants for the fall 2007 semester, the department may provide participants with financial assistance in lieu of a stipend, using the rules applicable to calculating financial assistance in the Reach Up program. 

(2)  Participants receiving stipends under the postsecondary education program shall be notified of program changes, including the modified calculation of the financial assistance amount.  The calculation change shall be implemented for that participant after adequate notice and on the anniversary of the date the participant commenced the program.

(3)  Participants receiving a stipend on April 1, 2007 who are continuing in the postsecondary education program shall have the financial assistance amount calculated in the same manner as Reach Up financial assistance, unless there is a reduction in benefits based solely on changing from a stipend to a monthly assistance amount.  Current participants whose financial assistance would be reduced solely due to the change from a stipend to a monthly assistance amount shall be held harmless and shall receive financial assistance at the previous level.  

(d)  Reach First established in Sec. 1 of this act shall be implemented no later than April 1, 2008.  Reach Ahead established in Sec. 18 shall be implemented for families who leave Reach Up as provided for in 33 V.S.A. § 1203(3) no later than April 1, 2009.  Reach Ahead shall be implemented for all other families as provided for in 33 V.S.A. § 1203 no later than July 1, 2009.

(e)  Secs. 19 (child support study), 20 (assets study), 21 and 22 (child care report), 23 (child care technical change), 24 (rules), 25 (implementation plan), and 26 (effective dates) shall take effect upon passage.

     Rep. Haas of Rochester moved that the House concur with the Senate proposal of amendment with a further amendment thereto, as follows:

First:  In Sec. 1, 33 V.S.A. § 1011(e), by inserting at the end of the sentence the phrase “provided that federal financial participation is available for such transitional medical assistance

Second:  In Sec. 11(b), 33 V.S.A. § 1114, by striking subdivision (b)(5) and inserting in lieu thereof a new subdivision (b)(5) to read:

(6)(5)  A participant who is needed in the home on a full or part‑time basis in order to care for an ill or disabled parent, spouse, or child.  In granting deferments, the department shall fully consider the participant’s preference as to the number of hours the participant is able to leave home to participate in work activities.

Third:  In Sec. 11, 33 V.S.A. § 1114, by striking subsection (c) and inserting in lieu thereof a new subsection (c) to read:

(c)  A participant who is able‑to‑work‑part‑time or is unable‑to‑work shall be referred for assessment of the individual’s skills and strengths, accommodations and support services, and vocational and other services in accordance with the provisions of his or her family development plan.  The work requirement hours shall reflect the individual’s ability to work. Participants with disabilities that do not meet the standards used to determine disability under Title XVI of the Social Security Act shall participate in rehabilitation, education, or training programs as appropriate.  A participant who qualifies for a deferment or modification and who is able‑to‑work‑part‑time shall have his or her work requirement hours modified or deferred.  In granting deferments, the department shall fully consider the participant’s estimation of the number of hours the participant is able‑to‑work.

Fourth:  In Sec. 15, 33 V.S.A. § 1122(e), by striking (6) and inserting a new subdivision (6) to read:

(6)  The participating parent agrees to limit employment to no more than 20 hours per week when school is in session.  The department may establish exceptions by rule to allow the participating parent to work more than 20 hours per week.

Fifth:  In Sec. 25, by striking (a) and inserting a new (a) to read:

(a)  The department for children and families shall develop a three‑year implementation plan with the goal of establishing Reach First on April 1, 2008, establishing Reach Ahead for families who leave Reach Up on October 1, 2008, as provided for in 33 V.S.A. § 1203(1) and establishing Reach Ahead for all other families as provided for in 33 V.S.A. § 1203 no later than April 1, 2009.

Sixth:  In Sec. 26, by striking (b) and inserting a new (b) to read:

(b)  The amendments to 33 V.S.A. chapter 11 contained in Secs. 2‑13 (Reach Up), 14 (solely state‑funded programs), and 16 (Reach Up transitions) of this act shall take effect immediately when the rule changes necessary to implement the sections become final, but no later than April 1, 2008.  Until the time that the rule modifications are final, the Reach Up program shall operate under current law.  Any provisions in these sections relating to Reach Ahead shall take effect on October 1, 2008.

Seventh:  In Sec. 26, by striking (d) and inserting a new (d) to read:

(d)  Reach First established in Sec. 1 of this act shall be implemented no later than April 1, 2008.  Reach Ahead established in Sec. 18 shall be implemented for families who leave Reach Up as provided for in 33 V.S.A. § 1203(1) no later than October 1, 2008.  Subject to appropriation, Reach Ahead shall be implemented for all other families as provided for in 33 V.S.A. § 1203 no later than April 1, 2009.

     Which was agreed to.

     Action on Bill Postponed

S. 78

     The Senate proposed to the House to amend the House proposal of amendment on Senate bill, entitled

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

     By striking out Sec. 5 and by adding new Secs. 5, 6, and 7 to read as follows:

Sec. 5.  FINDINGS

The general assembly finds:

(1)  6 V.S.A. § 2676 dictates that the ownership of milk passes from the farmer to the buyer when the milk is transferred from a farm tank to a tank truck.

(2)  Historically the conventional dairy farmer has sold the milk from the farm wholesale, purchased necessary supplies retail, and paid shipping charges on everything.

(3)  The 2005 average price for class III milk used to make cheese was $11.88, the exact same price paid in 1980.

(4)  The impact of this legislation will likely transfer an estimated cost of $14,466,000.00 from dairy producers to processors and retailers, allowing the dairy producer to keep an additional $0.60 per hundredweight of milk production.

Sec. 6.  VERMONT MILK COMMISSION ESTABLISHMENT OF A

MINIMUM PRODUCER PRICE

The Vermont milk commission shall establish by emergency rule pursuant to its authority under chapter 161 of Title 6 a minimum producer price that ensures the cost of picking up the milk and hauling the milk from the farm to the purchaser will be paid by the purchaser.  Hauling and stop charges of milk loaded at the farm shall not be charged back to the selling dairy farmer.  No additional charges shall be made, no costs may be shifted from other benefits the farmer receives to contravene the purpose of this act.  Nor shall any funds be transferred away from the farmer in paid producer differentials or any premiums the farmer would receive, but for this act.

Sec. 7.  EFFECTIVE DATE; RULE; EMERGENCY RULE

(a)  This act shall take effect on passage.

(b)  The milk commission shall commence the rulemaking process necessary to implement the provisions of Sec. 3 of this act within 60 days of the effective date. The rule required shall take effect only if, by rule or legislation, New York and Pennsylvania have enacted substantially comparable provisions for their dairy farmers.

(c)  The milk commission shall adopt within 60 days of the effective date of this act an emergency rule to implement the provisions of Sec. 6 of this act. The emergency rule shall take effect when, by rule, legislation, or other agreement, two other states in Northeast Marketing Area, Federal Order 1, have accomplished the purpose of this act or on January 1, 2009, whichever comes first.

(d)  The milk commission shall report the progress being made on implementing this act to the house and senate committees on agriculture on or before November 1, 2007.

and that upon passage, the title shall read: “AN ACT RELATING TO THE VERMONT MILK COMMISSION ESTABLISHING AN OVER ORDER PREMIUM AND A MINIMUM PRODUCER PRICE”

Was taken up and pending the question, Shall the House concur in the Senate proposal of amendment to the House proposal of amendment? on motion of Rep. Lawrence of Lyndon, action on the bill was postponed until the next legislative day.

Rules Suspended; Proposal of Amendment Agreed to;

Third Reading Ordered

S. 194

On motion of Rep. Adams of Hartland, the rules were suspended and Senate bill, entitled

An act relating to firefighters and cancer caused by employment;

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

Rep. Trombley of Grand Isle, for the committee on General, Housing and Military Affairs, to which had been referred the bill, reported in favor of its passage in concurrence with proposal of amendment as follows:

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

Sec. 1.  LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS

The general assembly finds the following:

(1)  In the course of fighting fires, firefighters are frequently exposed to many different products of combustion, diesel smoke, hydrocarbons, cyanides, plastics, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), benzene, chloroform, soot, styrene, and formaldehyde, all of which are known carcinogens.  Firefighters may also be exposed to heavy metals, carcinogenic chemicals, volatile gases, minerals, and other substances with acute toxic effects.

(2)  Scientific studies performed both nationally and internationally have recognized that firefighters have significantly greater incidents of certain cancers than the general population.

(3)  Gathering and establishing evidence of work-related causation for such cancers is difficult and costly and requires significant expert testimony.

(4)  Approximately 28 states and the provinces of Canada have adopted legislation creating a presumption that certain cancers suffered by eligible firefighters are caused by exposure during their employment as firefighters.  Vermont adopts this rebuttable presumption to protect the safety and well-being of its firefighters.

(5)  The Vermont league of cities and towns (VCLT) in its March 23, 2007 report hypothesized that this act would result in a significant increase in workers’ compensation premium for firefighters.  A subsequent economic analysis questioned the VLCT’s projected premium rate increase because it failed to take into consideration the five conditions precedent before a firefighter may take advantage of the rebuttable presumption.  Further, the medical data used was outdated; was for only one year, rather than the average of several years; and used cost figures for all members regardless of age or types of cancer rather then the median cost of treating adult males with the limited number of cancers identified in this act.

(6)  The VLCT analysis relied on birth-to-death probability statistics from the National Cancer Institute and did not acknowledge that men 70 years of age or older in the general population are three times more likely than men between the ages of 60 and 69 to contract cancer.  This is significant because Vermont firefighters over the age of 65 cannot take advantage of the rebuttable presumption created by this act.

(7)  The increased cancer risks for firefighters should motivate the VLCT and its member municipalities to develop and improve safe firefighting practices, including the purchase and use of improved protective equipment, which will reduce the frequency and extent of firefighters’ exposure to carcinogenic materials, thereby reducing the incidents of cancer for Vermont’s firefighters.

(8)  Any firefighter seeking to avail himself or herself of the rebuttable presumption created by this act will necessarily be required to live a healthier lifestyle, thereby reducing the overall cost of health care in Vermont, regardless of whether these costs are paid by a private health insurer, the VLCT health insurance trust, or workers’ compensation insurance carriers.

Sec. 2.  21 V.S.A. § 601(11)(E), (F), and (G) are added to read:

(E)  In the case of a firefighter, as defined in 20 V.S.A. § 3151(3) and (4), who suffers death or disability from a cancer listed in subdivision (iv) of this subdivision (11 E), the firefighter shall be presumed to have suffered the cancer as a result of exposure to conditions in the line of duty, unless it is shown by a preponderance of the evidence that the cancer was caused by non‑service‑connected risk factors or non‑service‑connected exposure, provided:

(i)  The firefighter completed an initial and any subsequent cancer screening evaluations as recommended by the American Cancer Society based on the age and sex of the firefighter prior to becoming a firefighter or within two years of the effective date of this act, and the evaluation indicated no evidence of cancer.

(ii)  The firefighter was engaged in firefighting duties or other hazardous activities over a period of at least five years in Vermont prior to the diagnosis.

(iii)  The presumption shall not apply to any firefighter who has used tobacco products at any time within ten years of the date of diagnosis.

(iv)  The disabling cancer shall be limited to leukemia, lymphoma, or multiple myeloma, and cancers originating in the bladder, brain, colon, gastrointestinal tract, kidney, liver, pancreas, skin, or testicles.

(v)  The firefighter is under the age of 65.

(F)  A firefighter who is diagnosed with cancer within ten years of the last active date of employment as a firefighter shall be eligible for benefits under this subdivision.  The date of injury shall be the date of the last injurious exposure as a firefighter. 

(G)  It is recommended that fire departments maintain incident report records for at least ten years.

Thereupon, the bill was read the second time and the recommendation of proposal of amendment agreed to and third reading ordered.

Rules Suspended; Senate Proposal of Amendment Concurred in

H. 99

On motion of Rep. Adams of Hartland, the rules were suspended and House bill, entitled

     An act relating to legislative interim study committee on public libraries;

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

     The Senate proposed to the House to the bill as follows:

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

Sec. 1.  LEGISLATIVE STAFF STUDY OF LIBRARIES IN OTHER STATES 

(a)  The joint fiscal office (JFO) and the legislative council (LC) shall identify other states that are comparable to Vermont in terms of population or population density.  Once identified, the JFO and LC, in consultation with the Vermont department of libraries and the Vermont library association, shall examine those states regarding:

(1)  The number of public libraries per capita. 

(2)  The funding mechanisms for libraries.

(3)  The governance structures of libraries. 

(4)  The services provided to libraries from the state library.

(b)  After acquiring information regarding libraries in states of comparable population, the JFO and LC shall:

(1)  Determine the number of public libraries operating in Vermont.

(2)  Examine the demand for the services provided by  public libraries , including circulation of materials, use of electronic resources, prevalence of literacy programs, and interlibrary loan transactions,.

(3)  Examine the current and potential involvement of public libraries in providing adult education.

(4)  Explore the current and potential role of public libraries in connection with workforce training and development.

(5)  Compare the level of state funding provided to public libraries in Vermont to state funding provided to public libraries in states of similar population.

(6)  Identify the additional funding that will be required to meet the growing demand for services from public libraries in Vermont and maintain the quality of their operations.

(7)  Identify those libraries in the state at which existing toilet facilities are not accessible and determine the total cost of making necessary accessibility improvements to them.

(8)  Identify the number of incorporated libraries in the state that do not have the ability to install toilet facilities; explore the implications of providing them with exemptions to existing law to enable installation; and make recommendations to facilitate a solution.

(c)  The JFO and LC shall submit a report detailing the results of their study to the general assembly by January 15, 2008.

     Which proposal of amendment was considered and concurred in.

Rules Suspended; Senate Proposal of Amendment Not Concurred in;

Committee of Conference Requested and Appointed

H. 294

On motion of Rep. Adams of Hartland, the rules were suspended and House bill, entitled

An act relating to executive branch fees;

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

The Senate proposed to the House to amend the bill as follows:

* * * Department of Health * * *

      First:  By adding two new sections to be numbered Secs. 11a and 11b to read as follows:

Sec. 11a.  18 V.S.A. § 1752(c) is amended to read:

(c)  The commissioner shall certify risk assessors, designers, laboratories, inspectors, lead-safe renovation contractors, lead contractors, supervisors, abatement workers, and other persons engaged in lead-based paint activities when such persons have successfully completed an accredited training program and met such other requirements as the secretary may, by rule, impose.

Sec. 11b.  18 V.S.A. § 1753 is amended to read:

§ 1753.  ACCREDITATION AND LICENSE FEES

(a)  The commissioner shall assess fees for accrediting training programs and for certifications, licenses, and license renewals issued in accordance with this chapter.  Fees shall not be imposed on any state or local government or nonprofit training program and may be waived for the purpose of training state employees.

(b)  Each accredited training program and licensee shall be subject to the following fees:

Training courses                          $400.00 $480.00 per year

Lead contractors                                     $500.00 $600.00 per year

Lead workers                                         $ 50.00 $60.00 per year

Supervisors                                             $100.00 $120.00 per year

Inspectors                                               $150.00 $180.00 per year

Risk assessors                                         $150.00 $180.00 per year

Designers                                                $150.00 $180.00 per year

Laboratories                                           $500.00 $600.00 per year

Lead-safe renovation contractors $50.00 per year

(c)  Each lead abatement permitted project shall be subject to the following fees:

(1)  Lead abatement permit fee                $50.00

(2)  Lead abatement permit revision         $25.00

(d)  Fees imposed by this section shall be deposited into the lead paint abatement accreditation and licensing special fund.  Monies in the fund may be used by the commissioner only to support departmental accreditation, certification, and licensing activities related to this chapter.  The fund shall be subject to the provisions of subchapter 5 of chapter 7 of Title 32.

* * * Department of Labor * * *

      Second:  By adding a new section to be numbered Sec. 22a to read as follows:

Sec. 22a.  33 V.S.A. § 504(a)(2) is amended to read:

(2)  Federally funded vocational rehabilitation and independent living services for persons with disabilities in accordance with the Rehabilitation Act.  The division of vocational rehabilitation may contract with clients at up to $51.00 per year per employee, or may charge up to $70.00 per hour, for services rendered by the employee assistance program.  The division shall charge $160.00 for each injured worker screening defined in the department of labor rules.  Fees shall be retained by the division.

* * *BISHCA* * *

      Third:  By striking out Sec. 23 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 23 to read as follows:

Sec. 23.  9 V.S.A. § 5302 is amended to read:

§ 5302.  NOTICE FILING

(a)  With respect to a federal covered security, as defined in 15 U.S.C. § 77r(b)(2), that is not otherwise exempt under sections 5201 through 5203 of this chapter, a rule adopted or an order issued under this chapter may require the filing of any or all of the following records:

(1)  before the initial offer of a federal covered security in this state, all records that are part of a federal registration statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission under 15 U.S.C. § 77a et seq. and a consent to service of process complying with section 5611 of this chapter signed by the issuer and the payment of a registration fee as set forth in subsection (d)(e) of this section;

(2)  after the initial offer of the federal covered security in this state, all records that are part of an amendment to a federal registration statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission under 15 U.S.C. § 77a et seq.; and

(3)  to the extent necessary or appropriate to compute fees, a report of the value of the federal covered securities sold or offered to persons present in this state in such form and at such time as the commissioner may prescribe if the state‑specific sales data are not included and available in records filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

(b)  A notice filing under subsection (a) of this section is effective for one year from the date the notice filing is accepted as complete by the office of the commissioner.  On or before expiration, the issuer may renew a notice filing by filing a copy of those records filed by the issuer with the Securities and Exchange Commission that are required by rule or order under this chapter to be filed and by paying an annual renewal fee as set forth in subsection (d)(e) of this section.  A previously filed consent to service of process complying with section 5611 of this chapter may be incorporated by reference in a renewal.  A renewed notice filing becomes effective upon the expiration of the filing being renewed.

(c)  With respect to a security that is a federal covered security under 15 U.S.C. § 77r(b)(4)(D), a rule under this chapter may require a notice filing by or on behalf of an issuer to include a copy of Form D, including the Appendix, as promulgated by the Securities and Exchange Commission, and a consent to service of process complying with section 5611 of this chapter signed by the issuer not later than 15 days after the first sale of the federal covered security in this state and the payment of a fee as set forth in subsection (d)(e) of this section.

(d)  Subject to the provisions of 15 U.S.C. § 77r(c)(2) and any rules adopted thereunder, with respect to any security that is a federal covered security under 15 U.S.C. § 77r(b)(3) or (4)(A)–(C) and that is not otherwise exempt under sections 5201–5203 of this chapter, a rule adopted or order issued under this chapter may require any or all of the following with respect to such federal covered securities, at such time as the commissioner may deem appropriate:

(1)  the filing of documents as deemed appropriate by the commissioner;

(2)  the filing of a consent to service of process complying with section 5611 of this chapter; and

(3)  the payment of fees as set forth in subsection (e) of this section, including but not limited to fees for renewal of a notice filing, as appropriate.  The notice filing shall be effective for one year from the date the notice filing is accepted as complete by the office of the commissioner.   

(e)  At the time of the filing of the information prescribed in subsections (a), (b), or (c), or (d) of this section, the issuer shall pay to the commissioner a fee of $1.00 for each $1,000.00 of the aggregate amount of the offering of the securities to be sold in this state for which the issuer is seeking to perfect a notice filing under this section, but in no case shall such fee be less than $400.00 nor more than $1,250.00.  If the notice filing is withdrawn or otherwise terminated, the commissioner shall retain the fee paid.  Open‑end investment companies subject to 15 U.S.C. § 80a‑1 et seq. shall pay an initial notice filing fee and annual renewal fee for each portfolio or class of investment company securities for which a notice filing is submitted. 

(e)(f)  Nothing in this section shall be construed to require the notice filing or payment of notice filing fees with respect to variable annuities or variable life insurance products.

(f)(g)  Except with respect to a federal covered security under 15 U.S.C.

§ 77r(b)(1), if the commissioner finds that there is a failure to comply with a notice or fee requirement of this section, the commissioner may issue a stop order suspending the offer and sale of a federal covered security in this state.  If the deficiency is corrected, the stop order is void as of the time of its issuance and no penalty may be imposed by the commissioner.

      Fourth:  In Sec. 26 by striking out all after the first sentence and inserting in lieu thereof: “The tuition shall be $175.00.” and by adding a new Sec. 26a to read as follows:

Sec. 26a.  10 V.S.A. §4132(e) is amended to read:

(e) The commissioner, subject to the direction and approval of the secretary, shall adopt and publish regulations in the name of the agency for reasonable fees or charges for the use of the lands, roads, buildings, and other property, and the use of a tuition for the Green Mountain Conservation Camps, notwithstanding 32 V.S.A. § 603. Fees collected for the use of fish and wildlife lands and properties shall be deposited in the fish and wildlife fund.

* * * DEC * * *

      Fifth:  By striking out Secs. 30a and 30b in their entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new section to be numbered Sec. 30a to read as follows:

Sec. 30a. 3 V.S.A. § 2822(i) is amended to read:

(i)  The secretary shall not process an application for which the applicable fee has not been paid unless the secretary specifies that the fee may be paid at a different time or unless the person applying for the permit is exempt from the permit fee requirements pursuant to section 710 of Title 32.  In addition, the persons who are exempt under section 710 of Title 32 are also exempt from the application fees for stormwater operating permits specified in subdivisions (j)(2)(A)(iii)(I) and (II) of this section if they otherwise meet the requirements of section 710.  Municipalities shall be exempt from the payment of fees under this section except for those fees prescribed in subdivisions (j)(1), (2), (7), (8), (14), and (15) of this section for which a municipality may recover its costs by charging a user fee to those who use the permitted services, except that a municipality shall also be exempt from those fees for orphan stormwater systems prescribed in subdivision (j)(2)(A)(iii) of this section when the municipality agrees to become an applicant or co-applicant for an orphan stormwater system under section 1246c of title 10.  Applicants operating under SIC codes 2411, 2421, 2426, and 2429 shall be exempt from administrative processing fees pursuant to subdivision  (j)(2) of this section and application review fees pursuant to subdivision  (j)(2)(A)(iii)(IV) of this section.

* * * Vermont Criminal Information Center * * *

      Sixth:  By adding a new section to be numbered Sec. 33a to read as follows:

Sec. 33a.  20 V.S.A. § 2063 is amended to read:

§ 2063.  CRIMINAL HISTORY RECORD FEES; CRIMINAL HISTORY   RECORD CHECK FUND

* * *

(b)  Requests made by criminal justice agencies for criminal justice purposes or other purposes authorized by state or federal law shall be exempt from all record check fees.  The following types of requests shall be exempt from the Vermont criminal record check fee:

* * *

(4)  Requests made by the Vermont state housing authority and other public housing authorities pursuant to 24 V.S.A § 4010(c).

* * *

* * * Agency of Transportation * * *

      Seventh:  By adding two new sections to be numbered Secs. 33b and 33d to read as follows:

Sec. 33b.  23 V.S.A. § 3502(b) is amended to read:

(b)  An all-terrain vehicle registration shall become void two years from the first day of the month following the month of issue  The provisions of section 305 of this title shall apply to a registration, except the registration of a vehicle registered under subsection 3504(b) of this title shall become void on the last day of February next following the date of issue.  The provisions of section 305 of this title shall apply to a registration.

Sec. 33c.  23 V.S.A. § 3504(a) is amended to read:

§ 3504.  REGISTRATION FEES AND PLATES

(a)  The registration fee for all-terrain vehicles other than as provided for in subsection (b) of this section is $35.00 $25.00.  Duplicate registration certificates may be obtained upon payment of $5.00 to the department.

* * * Department of Corrections * * *

      Eighth:  By adding a new section to be numbered Sec. 33d to read as follows:

Sec. 33d.  28 V.S.A. § 102(c) is amended to read:

(c)  The commissioner is charged with the following responsibilities:

* * *

(21)  The commissioner is authorized to contract for payment processing services for receiving deposits to inmate financial accounts.  The department, directly or through a processing agent, may assess a fee for deposits to each account so long as the fee does not exceed the costs incurred.

* * * Town Clerk Fees * * *

      Ninth:  By adding a new section to be numbered Sec. 33e to read as follows:

Sec. 33e.  32 V.S.A. § 1712(5) is amended to read:

(5)  $9.50 for each certified copy of birth, death, civil union, or marriage certificate Fees for vital records shall be equivalent to those received by the commissioner of health or the commissioner of buildings and general services pursuant to subsection 1715(a) of this title.

* * * Judiciary * * *

Tenth:  By adding three new sections to be numbered Secs. 33f, 33g and 33h to read as follows:

Sec. 33f.  4 V.S.A. § 1105(b) is amended to read:

(b)  A person who is charged with a violation shall have 20 days from the date the complaint is issued to admit or deny the allegations or to state that he or she does not contest the allegations in the complaint.  The judicial bureau shall assess against a defendant a fee of $10.00 for failure to answer a complaint within the time allowed.  The fee shall be assessed in the default judgment and deposited in the court technology special fund established pursuant to section 27 of this title.

Sec. 33g.  4 V.S.A. § 1109(b) is added to read:

(b)  A judicial bureau judgment shall provide notice that a $15.00 fee shall be assessed for failure to pay within 30 days.  If the defendant fails to pay the amount due within 30 days, the fee shall be added to the judgment amount and deposited in the court technology special fund established pursuant to section 27 of this title.

Sec. 33h.  DEBT COLLECTION BY JUDICIARY

The court administrator is authorized to send a notice to defendants who have failed to pay judicial bureau and district court judgments issued prior to September 25, 2006 to inform them of the judiciary’s intent to collect the debt through any authorized means, and that the debt will be subject to procedures for tax setoffs under 32 V.S.A. § 5941.  Concurrent with providing the notice to the debtor, the judiciary shall assess a $10.00 collection fee which shall be added to the judgment amount and deposited in the court technology special fund established pursuant to section 27 of this title.  If the defendant satisfies the judgment within 20 days, the fee shall be waived.  The court administrator may charge the cost of preparing and sending the notice against revenues collected in this effort.  This authorization shall expire on June 30, 2009.

Eleventh:  By adding a new Sec. 33i to read as follows:

Sec. 33i.  SPECIAL COMMEMORATIVE LICENSE PLATES

(a)  Legislative intent.  The general assembly intends this section to allow the design, purchase, sale, and display of specialty motor vehicle license plates commemorating an organization or special interest.

(b)  Authority.  Organizations are authorized to design, produce, purchase, distribute, and sell commemorative motor vehicle plates as described in subsection (a) of this section.  Plates shall not be produced, sold, distributed, or displayed unless approved by the commissioner of the department of motor vehicles.  An organization applying for a special plate under this subsection shall present the commissioner with a name and emblem that is not obscene, offensive, or confusing to the general public and does not promote, advertise, or endorse a product, brand, or service provided for sale, or promote any specific religious belief or political party.  The organization's name and emblem must not infringe or violate trademarks, trade names, service marks, copyrights, or other proprietary or property rights, and the organization must have the right to use the name and emblem.  An organization may have only one design, regardless of the number of individual organizational units within the state.   Requests which are received during the course of the calendar year will be approved for distribution in the following calendar year.

(c)  Fee.  Pursuant to 32 V.S.A. § 603, the commissioner may set and charge a fee to each organization applying for a specialty plate under subsection (b) of this section.  

(d)  Use.  Residents of the state of Vermont may display one approved commemorative plate on the front of any registered motor vehicle.  The commemorative plates shall not replace regular registration plates, nor are they required to be displayed on a motor vehicle.  The commemorative plate may be displayed on a motor vehicle registered as a pleasure car or a motor truck registered for less than 26,001 pounds, excluding vehicles registered under the International Registration Plan by covering the front registration plate with the commemorative plate for the period January 1 of the year issued through December 31 of the following year.  The regular front registration plate shall not be removed.  The rear registration plate shall be in place and clearly visible at all times. 

(e)  Price.  The retail price shall be established by the issuing organization.

TwelfthBy adding a new Sec. 33j to read as follows:

Sec. 33j.  28 V.S.A. § 801 is amended to read:

§ 801.  MEDICAL CARE OF INMATES

* * *

(d)  The department is authorized to deduct a fee of up to $5.00 from inmate accounts for each request for sick call by an inmate.  This fee shall not be imposed for scheduled medical interventions or follow-ups.  The department shall establish a sliding scale for indigent inmates based on the balance in their accounts.  The fee shall be deposited in a special fund administered pursuant to subchapter 5 of chapter 7 of Title 32, to be used only for costs related to providing medical services.

(e)  Before enacting a fee system pursuant to subsection (d) of this section, the department shall, in consultation with the department of health, review alternative strategies for distinguishing between inmates inappropriately using the department’s healthcare system and those with legitimate healthcare needs.

(f)  The department shall establish and maintain policies for the delivery of health care in accordance with the above standards in this section.

Thirteenth:  By adding a new Sec. 33k to read as follows:

Sec. 33k.  32 V.S.A. § 1671(a)(6) is amended to read:

(6)  For Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, for the recording or filing, or both, of any document that is to become a matter of public record in the town clerk's office, or for any certified copy of such document, a fee of $7.00 $8.00 per page shall be charged;

      Fourteenth:  By striking out Sec. 34 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 34 to read as follows:

Sec. 34.  EFFECTIVE DATES

(a)  This section and Secs. 1, 9, 22a, 23, 24, 25, and 33e shall take effect on passage.

(b)  Secs. 26, 27, 28, and 29 shall take effect on January 1, 2008.

Pending the question, Will the House concur in the Senate proposal of amendment? Rep. Branagan of Georgia moved that the House refuse to concur and ask for a Committee of Conference, which was agreed to, and the Speaker appointed as members of the Committee of Conference on the part of the House:

Rep. Branagan of Georgia

Rep. Condon of Colchester

Rep. Aswad of Burlington

Rules Suspended; Senate Proposal of Amendment Not Concurred in;

Committee of Conference Requested and Appointed

H. 449

On motion of Rep. Adams of Hartland, the rules were suspended and House bill, entitled

An act relating to foster care services and supports;

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

The Senate proposed to the House to amend the bill as follows:

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

Sec. 1.  33 V.S.A. § 4901 is amended to read:

§ 4901.  STATEMENT OF PURPOSES

The department may cooperate with the appropriate federal agency for the purpose of establishing, extending, and strengthening services which supplement or substitute for parental care and supervision including:

(1)  Preventing, remedying, or assisting in the solution of problems which may result in neglect, abuse, exploitation, or delinquency of children.

(2)  Protecting and caring for homeless, dependent or neglected children.

(3)  Protecting and promoting the welfare of children of working parents.

(4) Otherwise protecting and promoting the welfare of children, including the strengthening of their homes where possible or, where needed, providing adequate care away from their homes in child-care facilities.

(5)  Assisting youth in a successful transition to an independent adulthood, including the avoidance of homelessness, incarceration, and substance abuse.

Sec. 2.  33 V.S.A. § 4904 is added to read:

§ 4904.  FOSTER CARE; TRANSITIONAL YOUTH SERVICES

(a)  For purposes of this section, “youth” means a person between 18 and 22 years of age who either:

(1)  attained his or her 18th birthday while in the custody of the commissioner for children and families; or

(2)  while he or she was between 10 and 18 years of age, spent at least five of those years in the custody of the commissioner for children and families.

(b)(1)  The department shall provide foster care services as described in subsection (c) of this section to:

(A) any youth who elects to continue receiving such services after attaining the age of 18.

(B)  any individual under the age of 22 who leaves state custody after the age of 16 and at or before the age of 18 or any youth provided he or she voluntarily requests additional support services.

(2)  The department shall require a youth receiving services under this section to be employed or to attend an educational or vocational program, and, if the youth is working, require that he or she contribute to the cost of services based on a sliding scale, unless the youth meets the criteria for an exception to the employment and educational or vocational program requirements of this section based on a disability or other good cause.  The department shall establish rules for the requirements and exceptions under this subdivision.

(c)  The commissioner shall establish by rule a program to provide a range of age-appropriate services for youth to ensure a successful transition to adulthood, including foster care and other services provided under this chapter to children as appropriate, housing assistance, transportation, case management services, assistance with obtaining and retaining health insurance or employment, and other services.

(d)  The commissioner shall establish a method for measuring, evaluating, and reporting the outcomes of transitional services provided under this section to the house committee on human services and the senate committee on health and welfare annually on January 15.

Sec. 3.  EFFECTIVE DATE

This act shall take effect upon passage.

Pending the question, Will the House concur in the Senate proposal of amendment? Rep. French of Randolph moved that the House refuse to concur and ask for a Committee of Conference, which was agreed to, and the Speaker appointed as members of the Committee of Conference on the part of the House:

Rep. Pugh of South Burlington

Rep. French of Randolph

Rep. McAllister of Highgate

Rules Suspended; Senate Proposal of Amendment Not Concurred in;

Committee of Conference Requested and Appointed

H. 534

On motion of Rep. Komline of Dorset, the rules were suspended and House bill, entitled

An act relating to prekindergarten education;

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

The Senate proposed to the House to amend the bill as follows:

First:  In Sec. 2, § 11(a)(31), after the words not eligible for by inserting the words or enrolled in

Second:  By striking out Sec. 3 in its entirety and inserting a new Sec. 3 to read:

Sec. 3.  16 V.S.A. § 829 is added to read:

§ 829.  PREKINDERGARTEN EDUCATION; RULES

The board of education, in consultation with the secretary of human services, shall adopt rules under chapter 25 of Title 3:

(1)  To ensure that, before a school district begins a prekindergarten education program or expands a prekindergarten education program by adding three-year-old children to a program established to serve four-year-old children and intends to enroll students who are included in its average daily membership, the district engage the community in a collaborative process that includes an assessment of the need for the program in the community and an inventory of the existing service providers.

(2)  To ensure that, if a school district begins a prekindergarten education program or expands a prekindergarten education program by adding three-year-old children to a program established to serve four-year-old children and intends to include any of the students in its average daily membership, the district shall use existing qualified service providers to the extent that existing qualified service providers have the capacity to meet the district’s needs effectively and efficiently.

(3)  To require that the school district provides opportunities for effective parental participation in the prekindergarten education program. 

(4)  To establish a process by which a parent or guardian residing in the district or a provider, or both, may request a school district to enter into a contract with a provider located in or outside the district. 

(5)  To identify the services and other items for which state funds may be expended when prekindergarten children are counted for purposes of average daily membership, such as tuition reduction, quality improvements, or professional development for school staff or private providers.

(6)  To ensure transparency and accountability by requiring private providers under contract with a school district to report costs for prekindergarten programs to the school district and by requiring school districts to report these costs to the commissioner of education.

(7)  To require school districts to include identifiable costs for prekindergarten programs and essential early education services in their annual budgets and reports to the community.

(8)  To provide an appeal process for:

(A)  A parent, guardian, or provider to challenge an action of the school district when the appellant believes that the district is in violation of state statute or rules regarding prekindergarten education.

(B)  A school district to challenge an action of a state agency, department, or board if the district believes the state entity has acted in violation of state statute or rules regarding prekindergarten education. 

(9)  To establish the minimum quality standards necessary for a district to include prekindergarten children within its average daily membership.  At a minimum, the standards shall include the following requirements:

(A)  A provider must have received:

(i)  National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) accreditation; or

(ii)  At least four stars in the department for children and families STARS system with at least two points in each of the five arenas; or

(iii)  Three stars in the STARS system if the provider has developed a plan, approved by the commissioner for children and families and the commissioner of education, to achieve four or more stars within three years with at least two points in each of the five arenas, and the provider has met intermediate milestones; and

(B)  A licensed center shall employ or contract for the services of at least one teacher who is licensed and endorsed in early childhood education or in early childhood special education under chapter 51 of this title; and

(C)  A registered home shall receive regular, active supervision and training from a teacher who is licensed and endorsed in early childhood education or in early childhood special education under chapter 51 of this title.

(10)  To establish a process for documenting the progress of children enrolled in prekindergarten programs and to require public and private providers to use the process to collect and report child progress data to the commissioner of education on an annual basis.

Third:  In Sec. 6, § 4001, subdivision (1)(C), by striking out the following:  Although there is no limit on the total number of children who may be enrolled in prekindergarten education or who receive essential early education services, the total number of prekindergarten children that a district may include within its average daily membership shall be limited as follows:” and inserting in lieu thereof the following:  “Although the total number of prekindergarten children that a district may include within its average daily membership shall be limited as set forth in subdivisions (i) and (ii) below, there is no limit on the total number of children who may be enrolled in prekindergarten education or who receive essential early education services.  Each school district shall have sole discretion regarding the manner in which it limits total enrollment.

Fourth:  In Sec, 7, § 4010, subdivision (c)(3), by striking out the numeral “1.25” and inserting in lieu thereof the numeral 1.13

Fifth:  In Sec. 10, subdivision (3), after the words The statewide cost by inserting the following:  , including the cost to the education fund,

Sixth:  In Sec. 10, by adding three new subdivisions to be subdivisions (7) through (9) to read:

(7)  The measurable positive and negative effects that the prekindergarten programs covered by this act have had on the early development and learning experiences of young children in Vermont, including the programs’ effectiveness in addressing the extreme behavioral needs of young children.

(8)  The effect that the limits on the number of prekindergarten children that may be included within a district’s ADM established in Sec. 6 of this act have had on the ability to serve the needs of young children.

(9)  The advisability of eliminating or amending the ADM limits established in Sec. 6 of this act, including:

(A) An analysis of whether the elimination of the limits would effectively be a requirement that all districts provide prekindergarten education programs.

(B)  An analysis of the effect that elimination or amendment of the limits would be likely to have on the education fund.  

Seventh:  By striking out Sec. 11 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 11 to read:

Sec. 11.  TRANSITIONAL PROVISIONS

Any district that offered prekindergarten education during the 2006–2007 academic year shall not be affected by the provisions of 16 V.S.A. § 4001(1)(C) in Sec. 6 of this act that limit the total number of prekindergarten children who may be counted within the district’s average daily membership; rather, the district may instead choose to include within its average daily membership the total number of prekindergarten children enrolled in its program, provided that the number does not exceed the highest number of prekindergarten children enrolled in any one of the following three academic years: 2004-2005, 2005-2006, or 2006-2007.  If, at any time, the district elects to determine its average daily membership of prekindergarten children based on the limitations in 16 V.S.A. § 4001(1)(C), the decision shall be final, and the district shall at all times be bound by that subdivision. 

Eighth:  By striking out Sec. 12 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 12 to read:

Sec. 12.  CONSTRUCTION

Nothing in this act shall be construed to require a school district to provide a prekindergarten education program.

Pending the question, Will the House concur in the Senate proposal of amendment? Rep. Kilmartin of Newport City moved that the House refuse to concur and ask for a Committee of Conference, which was agreed to, and the Speaker appointed as members of the Committee of Conference on the part of the House:

Rep. Kilmartin of Newport City

Rep. Barnard of Richmond

Rep. Donovan of Burlington

 

Rules Suspended; Bill Read Third Time and Passed in Concurrence

With Proposal of Amendment

S. 194

Senate bill, entitled

An act relating to firefighters and cancer caused by employment;

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

Thereupon, the bill was read the third time and pending the question, Shall the House pass the bill in concurrence with proposal of amendment? Rep. Moran of Wardsboro 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 pass the bill in concurrence with proposal of amendment? was decided in the affirmative.  Yeas, 133.  Nays, 6

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

Baker of West Rutland

Barnard of Richmond

Bissonnette of Winooski

Bostic of St. Johnsbury

Botzow of Pownal

Branagan of Georgia

Bray of New Haven

Canfield of Fair Haven

Chen of Mendon

Cheney of Norwich

Clark of St. Johnsbury

Clark of Vergennes

Clarkson of Woodstock

Clerkin of Hartford

Condon of Colchester

Consejo of Sheldon

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

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

Howrigan of Fairfield

Hube of Londonderry

Hudson of Lyndon

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

Larocque of Barnet

Larrabee of Danville

Larson of Burlington

LaVoie of Swanton

Lawrence of Lyndon

Lenes of Shelburne

Lippert of Hinesburg

Livingston of Manchester

Lorber of Burlington

Maier of Middlebury

Malcolm of Pawlet

Marcotte of Coventry

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

Morley of Barton

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

Pearson of Burlington

Peaslee of Guildhall

Peltz of Woodbury

Perry of Richford

Pillsbury of Brattleboro

Potter of Clarendon

Pugh of S. Burlington

Randall of Troy

Rodgers of Glover

Scheuermann of Stowe

Sharpe of Bristol

Shaw of Derby

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

Wright of Burlington

Zenie of Colchester

Zuckerman of Burlington


Those who voted in the negative are:


Browning of Arlington

Fallar of Tinmouth

Manwaring of Wilmington

Peterson of Williston

Shand of Weathersfield

Winters of Williamstown


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


Allard of St. Albans Town

Brennan of Colchester

Copeland-Hanzas of Bradford

Grad of Moretown

Howard of Rutland City

Kilmartin of Newport City

Leriche of Hardwick

Partridge of Windham

Pellett of Chester

Smith of Morristown


 

     Rep. Oxholm of Vergennes explained her vote as follows:

“Madam Speaker:

     I have had the privilege of observing closely the commitment and competence of Vermont’s firefighters – as Mayor of Vergennes and as wife and mother of firefighters.

     With this legislation we were able to recognize in a meaningful way all that the men and women of the fire service do for us every day – including putting their lives in jeopardy to serve their respective communities.

     I proudly supported this bill.”

Rules Suspended; Bills Messaged to Senate Forthwith

On motion of Rep. Adams of Hartland, the rules were suspended and the following bills were ordered messaged to the Senate forthwith:

H. 523

     House bill, entitled

     An act relating to moving families out of poverty;

H. 294

House bill, entitled

An act relating to executive branch fees;

H. 449

House bill, entitled

An act relating to foster care services and supports;

H. 534

House bill, entitled

An act relating to prekindergarten education;

S. 194

Senate bill, entitled

An act relating to firefighters and cancer caused by employment;

Rules Suspended; Report of Committee of Conference Adopted

S. 37

On motion of Rep. Adams of Hartland, the rules were suspended and Senate bill, entitled

An act relating to mosquito control;

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

The Speaker placed before the House the following Committee of Conference report:

To the Senate and House of Representatives:

The Committee of Conference to which were referred the disagreeing votes of the two Houses upon the bill respectfully reports that it has met and considered the same and recommended that the Senate accede to the House’s proposal of amendment and that the bill be further amended in Sec. 2a by striking both instances of the phrase “and the department of health

John Malcolm

Christopher Bray

Kristy Spengler

Committee on the part of the House

Harold Giard

Hull Maynard

Robert Starr

Committee on the part of the Senate

Which was considered and adopted on the part of the House.

Committee of Conference Appointed

S. 93

     Pursuant to the request of the Senate for a Committee of Conference on the disagreeing votes of the two Houses on Senate bill, entitled

     An act relating to miscellaneous changes to education law;

     The Speaker appointed as members of the Committee of Conference on the part of the House:

   Rep. Ancel of Calais

   Rep. Donovan of Burlington

               Rep. Clark of Vergennes

Committee of Conference Appointed

H. 148

     Pursuant to the request of the Senate for a Committee of Conference on the disagreeing votes of the two Houses on House bill, entitled

     An act relating to the child abuse registry;

     The Speaker appointed as members of the Committee of Conference on the part of the House:

   Rep. Lippert of Hinesburg

   Rep. Flory of Pittsford

               Rep. Andrews of Rutland City

Committee of Conference Appointed

H. 154

     Pursuant to the request of the Senate for a Committee of Conference on the disagreeing votes of the two Houses on House bill, entitled

     An act relating to stormwater management;

     The Speaker appointed as members of the Committee of Conference on the part of the House:

 

   Rep. Deen of Westminster

   Rep. Shaw of Derby

               Rep. Martin of Springfield

Committee of Conference Appointed

S. 39

     Pursuant to the request of the Senate for a Committee of Conference on the disagreeing votes of the two Houses on Senate bill, entitled

     An act relating to health insurance plan reimbursement for covered services provided by naturopathic physicians;

     The Speaker appointed as members of the Committee of Conference on the part of the House:

   Rep. Milkey of Brattleboro

   Rep. O’Donnell of Vernon

               Rep. Ojibway of Hartford

Recess

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

At four o’clock and ten minutes in the afternoon, the Speaker called the House to order.

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 first day of May, 2007, he approved and signed BILLS originating in the House of the following titles:

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

H. 516    An act relating to the creation of one fund within each of the                                      three Vermont retirement systems and to compliance with                                                  federal requirements.

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 second day of May, 2007, he approved and signed a bill originating in the House of the following title:

H. 372    An act relating to the rendering of nursing and medical                                                           services by professional corporations.

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 third day of May, 2007, he approved and signed a bill originating in the House of the following title:

H. 137    An act relating to the restoration of a department of mental                                       health and a commissioner of mental health.

Proposal of Amendment Agreed to; Consideration Interrupted by Recess

S. 115

Rep. Copeland-Hanzas of Bradford, for the committee on Health Care, to which had been referred Senate bill, entitled

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

Reported in favor of its passage in concurrence with proposal of amendment as follows:

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

Sec. 1.  33 V.S.A. § 1998 is amended to read:

§ 1998.  PHARMACY BEST PRACTICES AND COST CONTROL
              PROGRAM ESTABLISHED

(a)  The director of the office of Vermont health access shall establish and maintain a pharmacy best practices and cost control program designed to reduce the cost of providing prescription drugs, while maintaining high quality in prescription drug therapies.  The program shall include:

(1)  A Use of an evidence‑based preferred list of covered prescription drugs that identifies preferred choices within therapeutic classes for particular diseases and conditions, including generic alternatives and over‑the‑counter drugs.

(A)  The director and the commissioner of banking, insurance, securities, and health care administration shall implement the preferred drug list as a uniform, statewide preferred drug list by encouraging all health benefit plans in this state to participate in the program.

(B)  The commissioner of human resources shall use the preferred drug list in the state employees health benefit plan only if participation in the program will provide economic and health benefits to the state employees health benefit plan and to beneficiaries of the plan, and only if agreed to through the bargaining process between the state of Vermont and the authorized representatives of the employees of the state of Vermont.  The provisions of this subdivision do not authorize the actuarial pooling of the state employees health benefit plan with any other health benefit plan, unless otherwise agreed to through the bargaining process between the state of Vermont and the authorized representatives of the employees of the state of Vermont.  No later than November 1, 2004, the commissioner of human resources shall report to the health access oversight committee and the senate and house committees on health and welfare on whether use of the preferred drug list in the state employees health benefit plan would, in his or her opinion, provide economic and health benefits to the state employees health benefit plan and to beneficiaries of the plan.

(C)  The director shall encourage all health benefit plans to implement the preferred drug list as a uniform, statewide preferred drug list by inviting the representatives of each health benefit plan providing prescription drug coverage to residents of this state to participate as observers or nonvoting members in the director’s drug utilization review board, and by inviting such plans to use the preferred drug list in connection with the plans’ prescription drug coverage.

(2)  Utilization review procedures, including a prior authorization review process.

(3)  Any strategy designed to negotiate with pharmaceutical manufacturers to lower the cost of prescription drugs for program participants, including a supplemental rebate program.

(4)  With input from physicians, pharmacists, private insurers, hospitals, pharmacy benefit managers, and the drug utilization review board, an evidence‑based research education program designed to provide information and education on the therapeutic and cost‑effective utilization of prescription drugs to physicians, pharmacists, and other health care professionals authorized to prescribe and dispense prescription drugs.  To the extent possible, the program shall inform prescribers about drug marketing that is intended to circumvent competition from generic alternatives.  Details of the program, including the scope of the program and funding recommendations, shall be contained in a report submitted to the health access oversight committee and the senate and house committees on health and welfare no later than January 1, 2005.

(5)(4)  Alternative pricing mechanisms, including consideration of using maximum allowable cost pricing for generic and other prescription drugs.

(6)(5)  Alternative coverage terms, including consideration of providing coverage of over‑the‑counter drugs where cost‑effective in comparison to prescription drugs, and authorizing coverage of dosages capable of permitting the consumer to split each pill if cost‑effective and medically appropriate for the consumer.

(7)(6)  A simple, uniform prescription form, designed to implement the preferred drug list, and to enable prescribers and consumers to request an exception to the preferred drug list choice with a minimum of cost and time to prescribers, pharmacists and consumers.

(7)  A joint pharmaceuticals purchasing consortium as provided for in subdivision (c)(1) of this section.

(8)  Any other cost containment activity adopted, by rule, by the director that is designed to reduce the cost of providing prescription drugs while maintaining high quality in prescription drug therapies.

* * *

(c)(1)  The director may implement the pharmacy best practices and cost control program for any other health benefit plan within or outside this state that agrees to participate in the program.  For entities in Vermont, the director shall directly or by contract implement the program through a joint pharmaceuticals purchasing consortium.  The joint pharmaceuticals purchasing consortium shall be offered on a voluntary basis no later than January 1, 2008, with mandatory participation by state or publicly funded, administered, or subsidized purchasers to the extent practicable and consistent with the purposes of this chapter, by January 1, 2010.  If necessary, the office of Vermont health access shall seek authorization from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid to include purchases funded by Medicaid.  “State or publicly funded purchasers” shall include the department of corrections, the division of mental health, Medicaid, the Vermont Health Access Program (VHAP), Dr. Dynasaur, Vermont Rx, VPharm, Healthy Vermonters, workers’ compensation, and any other state or publicly funded purchaser of prescription drugs.

* * *

(f)(1)  The drug utilization review board shall make recommendations to the director for the adoption of the preferred drug list.  The board’s recommendations shall be based upon evidence‑based considerations of clinical efficacy, adverse side effects, safety, appropriate clinical trials, and cost‑effectiveness.  “Evidence‑based” shall have the same meaning as in section 4622 of Title 18.

* * *

(6)  The director shall encourage participation in the joint purchasing consortium by inviting representatives of the programs and entities specified in subdivision (c)(1) of this section to participate as observers or nonvoting members in the drug utilization review board, and by inviting the representatives to use the preferred drug list in connection with the plans’ prescription drug coverage.

Sec. 2.  33 V.S.A. § 1998(g) is added to read:

(g)  The office shall seek assistance from entities conducting independent research into the effectiveness of prescription drugs to provide technical and clinical support in the development and the administration of the preferred drug list and the evidence‑based education program established in subchapter 2 of Title 18.

* * * Pharmaceutical Marketer Disclosures * * *

Sec. 3.  33 V.S.A. § 2005(a)(3) is amended to read:

(3)  The office of the attorney general shall keep confidential all trade secret information, as defined by subdivision 317(b)(9) of Title 1, except that the office may disclose the information to the department of health and the office of Vermont health access for the purpose of informing and prioritizing the activities of the evidence‑based education program in subchapter 2 of chapter 91 of Title 18.  The department of health and the office of Vermont health access shall keep the information confidential.  The disclosure form shall permit the company to identify any information that it claims is a trade secret as defined in subdivision 317(c)(9) of Title 1.  In the event that the attorney general receives a request for any information designated as a trade secret, the attorney general shall promptly notify the company of such request.  Within 30 days after such notification, the company shall respond to the requester and the attorney general by either consenting to the release of the requested information or by certifying in writing the reasons for its claim that the information is a trade secret.  Any requester aggrieved by the company’s response may apply to the superior court of Washington County for a declaration that the company’s claim of trade secret is invalid.  The attorney general shall not be made a party to the superior court proceeding.  Prior to and during the pendency of the superior court proceeding, the attorney general shall keep confidential the information that has been claimed as trade secret information, except that the attorney general may provide the requested information to the court under seal.

Sec. 4.  33 V.S.A. § 2005(a)(4) is amended and (d) is added to read:

(4)  The following shall be exempt from disclosure:

* * *

(D)  scholarship or other support for medical students, residents, and fellows to attend a significant educational, scientific, or policy‑making conference of a national, regional, or specialty medical or other professional association if the recipient of the scholarship or other support is selected by the association; and

(E)  unrestricted grants for continuing medical education programs; and

(F)  prescription drug rebates and discounts.

* * *

(d)  Disclosures of unrestricted grants for continuing medical education programs shall be limited to the value, nature, and purpose of the grant and the name of the grantee.  It shall not include disclosure of the individual participants in such a program.

Sec. 5. 33  V.S.A. § 2005a(d) is amended to read:

(d)  As used in this section:

* * *

(2)  “Pharmaceutical manufacturing company” is defined by subdivision 2005(c)(5) 4632(c)(5) of this title.

(3)  “Pharmaceutical marketer” is defined by subdivision 2005(c)(4) 4632(c)(4) of this title.

* * * Price Disclosure and Certification * * *

Sec. 6.  33 V.S.A. § 2010 is added to read:

§ 2010.  ACTUAL PRICE DISCLOSURE AND CERTIFICATION

(a)  A manufacturer of prescription drugs dispensed in this state under a health program directed or administered by the state shall, on a quarterly basis, report by National Drug Code the following pharmaceutical pricing criteria to the director of the office of Vermont health access for each of its drugs:

(1)  the prices required to be provided to the Medicaid program under federal law, including prices defined in 42 U.S.C. § 1396r-8; and

(2)  the price that each wholesaler in this state pays the manufacturer to purchase the drug.

(b)  When reporting the prices as provided for in subsection (a) of this section, the manufacturer shall include a summary of its methodology in determining the price.  The office may accept the standards of the National Drug Rebate agreement entered into by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Section 1927 of the Social Security Act for reporting pricing methodology.

(c)  The pricing information required under this section is for drugs defined under the Medicaid drug rebate program and must be submitted to the director following its submission to the federal government in accordance with 42 U.S.C. § 1396r‑8(b)(3).

(d)  When a manufacturer of prescription drugs dispensed in this state reports the information required under subsection (a) of this section, the president, chief executive officer, or a designated employee of the manufacturer shall certify to the office, on a form provided by the director of the office of Vermont health access, that the reported prices are the same as those reported to the federal government as required by 42 U.S.C. § 1396r‑8(b)(3) for the applicable rebate period.  A designated employee shall be an employee who reports directly to the chief executive officer or president and who has been delegated to make the certification under this section.

(e)  Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, information submitted to the office under this section is confidential and is not a public record as defined in subsection 317(b) of Title 1.  Disclosure may be made by the office to an entity providing services to the office under this section; however, that disclosure does not change the confidential status of the information.  The information may be used by the entity only for the purpose specified by the office in its contract with the entity.  Data compiled in aggregate form by the office for the purposes of reporting required by this section are public records as defined in subsection 317(b) of Title 1, provided they do not reveal trade information protected by state or federal law.

(f)  The attorney general shall enforce the provisions of this section under the Vermont consumer fraud act in chapter 63 of Title 9.  The attorney general has the same authority to make rules, conduct civil investigations, and bring civil actions with respect to acts and practices governed by this section as is provided under the Vermont consumer fraud act.

* * * Healthy Vermonters * * *

Sec. 7.  33 V.S.A. § 2003 is amended to read:

§ 2003.  PHARMACY DISCOUNT PLANS

(a)  The director of the office of Vermont health access shall implement pharmacy discount plans, to be known as the “Healthy Vermonters” program and the “Healthy Vermonters Plus” program, for Vermonters without adequate coverage for prescription drugs.  The provisions of section 1992 of this title subchapter 8 of this chapter shall apply to the director’s authority to administer the pharmacy discount plans established by this section.

(b)  The Healthy Vermonters program shall offer beneficiaries an initial discounted cost for covered drugs.  Upon approval by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services of a Section 1115 Medicaid waiver program, and upon subsequent legislative approval, the Healthy Vermonters program and the Healthy Vermonters Plus program shall offer beneficiaries a secondary discounted cost, which shall reflect a state payment toward the cost of each dispensed drug as well as any rebate amount negotiated by the commissioner.

* * *

(c)  As used in this section:

(1)  “Beneficiary” means any individual enrolled in either the Healthy Vermonters program or the Healthy Vermonters Plus program.

(2)  “Healthy Vermonters beneficiary” means any individual Vermont resident without adequate coverage:

(A)  who is at least 65 years of age, or is disabled and is eligible for Medicare or Social Security disability benefits, with household income equal to or less than 400 percent of the federal poverty level, as calculated under the rules of the Vermont health access plan, as amended; or

(B)  whose household income is equal to or less than 300 350 percent of the federal poverty level, as calculated under the rules of the Vermont Health access plan, as amended.

(3)  “Healthy Vermonters Plus beneficiary” means any individual Vermont resident without adequate coverage:

(A)  whose household income is greater than 300 percent and equal to or less than 350 percent of the federal poverty level, as calculated under the rules of the Vermont health access plan, as amended; or

(B)  whose family incurs unreimbursed expenses for prescription drugs, including insurance premiums, that equal five percent or more of household income or whose total unreimbursed medical expenses, including insurance premiums, equal 15 percent or more of household income.

* * *

* * * PBM Regulation * * *

Sec. 8.  18 V.S.A. chapter 221, subchapter 9 is added to read:

Subchapter 9.  Pharmacy Benefit Managers

§ 9471.  DEFINITIONS

As used in this subchapter:

(1)  “Beneficiary” means an individual enrolled in a health plan in which coverage of prescription drugs is administered by a pharmacy benefit manager and includes his or her dependent or other person provided health coverage through that health plan.

(2)  “Health insurer” is defined by subdivision 9402(9) of this title and shall include:

(A)  a health insurance company, a nonprofit hospital and medical service corporation, and health maintenance organizations;

(B)  an employer, labor union, or other group of persons organized in Vermont that provides a health plan to beneficiaries who are employed or reside in Vermont;

(C)  the state of Vermont and any agent or instrumentality of the state that offers, administers, or provides financial support to state government; and

(D)  Medicaid, the Vermont health access plan, Vermont Rx, and any other public health care assistance program.

(3)  “Health plan” means a health benefit plan offered, administered, or issued by a health insurer doing business in Vermont.

(4)  “Pharmacy benefit management” means an arrangement for the procurement of prescription drugs at a negotiated rate for dispensation within this state to beneficiaries, the administration or management of prescription drug benefits provided by a health plan for the benefit of beneficiaries, or any of the following services provided with regard to the administration of pharmacy benefits:

(A)  mail service pharmacy;

(B)  claims processing, retail network management, and payment of claims to pharmacies for prescription drugs dispensed to beneficiaries;

(C)  clinical formulary development and management services;

(D)  rebate contracting and administration;

(E)  certain patient compliance, therapeutic intervention, and generic substitution programs; and

(F)  disease or chronic care management programs.

(5)  “Pharmacy benefit manager” means an entity that performs pharmacy benefit management.  The term includes a person or entity in a contractual or employment relationship with an entity performing pharmacy benefit management for a health plan.

§ 9472.  PHARMACY BENEFIT MANAGERS; REQUIRED PRACTICES

(a)  A pharmacy benefit manager that provides pharmacy benefit management for a health plan shall discharge its duties with reasonable care and diligence and be fair and truthful under the circumstances then prevailing that a pharmacy benefit manager acting in like capacity and familiar with such matters would use in the conduct of an enterprise of a like character and with like aims.  In the case of a health benefit plan offered by a health insurer as defined by subdivision 9471(2)(A) of this title, the health insurer shall remain responsible for administering the health benefit plan in accordance with the health insurance policy or subscriber contract or plan and in compliance with all applicable provisions of Title 8 and this title.

(b)  A pharmacy benefit manager shall provide notice to the health insurer that the terms contained in subsection (c) of this section may be included in the contract between the pharmacy benefit manager and the health insurer.

(c)  Unless the contract provides otherwise, a pharmacy benefit manager that provides pharmacy benefit management for a health plan shall:

(1)  Provide all financial and utilization information requested by a health insurer relating to the provision of benefits to beneficiaries through that health insurer’s health plan and all financial and utilization information relating to services to that health insurer.  A pharmacy benefit manager providing information under this subsection may designate that material as confidential.  Information designated as confidential by a pharmacy benefit manager and provided to a health insurer under this subsection may not be disclosed by the health insurer to any person without the consent of the pharmacy benefit manager, except that disclosure may be made by the health insurer:

(A)  in a court filing under the consumer fraud provisions of chapter 63 of Title 9, provided that the information shall be filed under seal and that prior to the information being unsealed, the court shall give notice and an opportunity to be heard to the pharmacy benefit manager on why the information should remain confidential;

(B)  when authorized by chapter 63 of Title 9;

(C)  when ordered by a court for good cause shown; or

(D)  when ordered by the commissioner as to a health insurer as defined in subdivision 9471(2)(A) of this title pursuant to the provisions of Title 8 and this title.

(2)  Notify a health insurer in writing of any proposed or ongoing activity, policy, or practice of the pharmacy benefit manager that presents, directly or indirectly, any conflict of interest with the requirements of this section.

(3)  With regard to the dispensation of a substitute prescription drug for a prescribed drug to a beneficiary in which the substitute drug costs more than the prescribed drug and the pharmacy benefit manager receives a benefit or payment directly or indirectly, disclose to the health insurer the cost of both drugs and the benefit or payment directly or indirectly accruing to the pharmacy benefit manager as a result of the substitution.

(4)  If the pharmacy benefit manager derives any payment or benefit for the dispensation of prescription drugs within the state based on volume of sales for certain prescription drugs or classes or brands of drugs within the state, pass that payment or benefit on in full to the health insurer.

(5)  Disclose to the health insurer all financial terms and arrangements for remuneration of any kind that apply between the pharmacy benefit manager and any prescription drug manufacturer that relate to benefits provided to beneficiaries under or services to the health insurer’s health plan, including formulary management and drug‑switch programs, educational support, claims processing, and pharmacy network fees charged from retail pharmacies and data sales fees.  A pharmacy benefit manager providing information under this subsection may designate that material as confidential.  Information designated as confidential by a pharmacy benefit manager and provided to a health insurer under this subsection may not be disclosed by the health insurer to any person without the consent of the pharmacy benefit manager, except that disclosure may be made by the health insurer:

(A)  in a court filing under the consumer fraud provisions of chapter 63 of Title 9, provided that the information shall be filed under seal and that prior to the information being unsealed, the court shall give notice and an opportunity to be heard to the pharmacy benefit manager on why the information should remain confidential;

(B)  when authorized by chapter 63 of Title 9;

(C)  when ordered by a court for good cause shown; or

(D)  when ordered by the commissioner as to a health insurer as defined in subdivision 9471(2)(A) of this title pursuant to the provisions of Title 8 and this title.

(d)  Compliance with the requirements of this section is required for pharmacy benefit managers entering into contracts with a health insurer in this state for pharmacy benefit management in this state.

§ 9473.  ENFORCEMENT

(a)  Except as provided in subsection (d) of this section, in addition to any remedy available to the commissioner under this title and any other remedy provided by law, a violation of this subchapter shall be considered a violation of the Vermont consumer fraud act in subchapter 1 of chapter 63 of Title 1.  Except as provided in subsection (d) of this section, all rights, authority, and remedies available to the attorney general and private parties to enforce the Vermont consumer fraud act shall be available to enforce the provisions of this subchapter.

(b)  In connection with any action for violation of the Vermont consumer fraud act, the commissioner’s determinations concerning the interpretation and administration of the provisions of this subchapter and any rules adopted hereunder shall carry a presumption of validity.  The attorney general and the commissioner shall consult with each other prior to the commencement of any investigation or enforcement action with respect to any pharmacy benefit manager.

(c)  The commissioner may investigate, examine, or otherwise enforce a violation of this subchapter by a pharmacy benefit manager under section 9412 of this title as if the pharmacy benefit manager were a health insurer. 

(d)  The commissioner shall have the exclusive authority to investigate, examine, and otherwise enforce the provisions of this subchapter relating to a pharmacy benefit manager in connection with the pharmacy benefit manager’s contractual relationship with, and any other activity with respect to, a health insurer defined by subdivision 9471(2)(A) of this title.

(e)  Notwithstanding the foregoing, the commissioner and the attorney general may bring a joint enforcement action against any person or entity for a violation of this subchapter.

Sec. 9.  18 V.S.A. § 9421 is added to read:

§ 9421.  PHARMACY BENEFIT MANAGEMENT; REGISTRATION; AUDIT

(a)  A pharmacy benefit manager shall not do business in this state without first registering with the commissioner on a form and in a manner prescribed by the commissioner.

(b)  In accordance with rules adopted by the commissioner, pharmacy benefit managers operating in the state of Vermont and proposing to contract for the provision of pharmacy benefit management shall notify health insurers when the pharmacy benefit manager provides a quotation that a quotation for an administrative‑services‑only contract with full pass through of negotiated prices, rebates, and other such financial benefits which would identify to the health insurer external sources of revenue and profit is generally available and whether the pharmacy benefits manager offers that type of arrangement.  Quotations for an administrative‑services‑only contract shall include a reasonable fee payable by the health insurer which represents a competitive pharmacy benefit profit.  This subsection shall not be interpreted to require a pharmacy benefits manager to offer an administrative‑services‑only contract.

(c)(1)  In order to enable periodic verification of pricing arrangements in administrative‑services‑only contracts, pharmacy benefit managers shall allow access, in accordance with rules adopted by the commissioner, by the health insurer who is a party to the administrative‑services‑only contract to financial and contractual information necessary to conduct a complete and independent audit designed to verify the following:

(A)  full pass through of negotiated drug prices and fees associated with all drugs dispensed to beneficiaries of the health plan in both retail and mail order settings or resulting from any of the pharmacy benefit management functions defined in the contract;

(B)  full pass through of all financial remuneration associated with all drugs dispensed to beneficiaries of the health plan in both retail and mail order settings or resulting from any of the pharmacy benefit management functions defined in the contract; and

(C)  any other verifications relating to the pricing arrangements and activities of the pharmacy benefit manager required by the contract if required by the commissioner.

(d)  The department’s reasonable expenses in administering the provisions of this section may be charged to pharmacy benefit managers in the manner provided for in section 18 of Title 8.  These expenses shall be allocated in proportion to the lives of Vermonters covered by each pharmacy benefit manager as reported annually to the commissioner in a manner and form prescribed by the commissioner.  The department shall not charge its expenses to the pharmacy benefit manager contracting with the office of Vermont health access if the office notifies the department of the conditions contained in its contract with a pharmacy benefit manager.

(e)  The commissioner may adopt such rules as are necessary or desirable in carrying out the purposes of this section.  The rules also shall ensure that proprietary information is kept confidential and not disclosed by a health insurer.

(f)  As used in this section:

(1)  “Health insurer” is defined in subdivision 9471(2) of this title.

(2)  “Health plan” is defined in subdivision 9471(3) of this title.

(3)  “Pharmacy benefit management” is defined in subdivision 9471(4) of this title.

(4)  “Pharmacy benefit manager” is defined in subdivision 9471(5) of this title.

Sec. 10.  APPLICATION

Secs. 8 and 9 of this act apply to contracts executed or renewed on or after September 1, 2007.  For purposes of this section, a contract executed pursuant to a memorandum of agreement executed prior to September 1, 2007 is deemed to have been executed prior to September 1, 2007 even if the contract was executed after that date.

Sec. 11.  8 V.S.A. § 4088d is added to read:

§ 4088d.  NOTICE OF PREFERRED DRUG LIST CHANGES

A health insurer, as defined in subdivisions 9471(2)(A), (C), and (D) of Title 18, shall provide beneficiaries sufficient notice of any changes to the prescription drugs covered on its preferred drug list.  For purposes of this section, “sufficient notice” means:

(1)  written notice to affected beneficiaries specifying the drugs that have been added or removed from the preferred drug list, which shall be provided to beneficiaries at least 30 days prior to the effective date of such changes; or

(2)  written notice to a beneficiary that a specific drug is no longer covered on the preferred drug list at the time the beneficiary seeks a refill of that drug.  In such circumstances, the beneficiary shall not be denied coverage for the first requested refill after the change to the preferred drug list has taken place.  Subsequent refills, however, shall be subject to the requirements of the revised preferred drug list.

Sec. 12.  18 V.S.A. chapter 91 is amended to read:

CHAPTER 91.  GENERIC DRUGS PRESCRIPTION DRUG
COST CONTAINMENT

Sec. 13.  18 V.S.A. chapter 91, sections 4601–4608 are designated as subchapter 1 which is added to read:

Subchapter 1.  Generic Drugs

Sec. 14.  18 V.S.A. chapter 91, subchapter 2 is added to read:

Subchapter 2.  Evidence‑Based Education Program

§ 4621.  Definitions

For the purposes of this subchapter:

(1)  “Department” means the department of health.

(2)  “Evidence‑based” means based on criteria and guidelines that reflect high‑quality, cost‑effective care.  The methodology used to determine such guidelines shall meet recognized standards for systematic evaluation of all available research and shall be free from conflicts of interest.  Consideration of the best available scientific evidence does not preclude consideration of experimental or investigational treatment or services under a clinical investigation approved by an institutional review board.

§ 4622.  Evidence‑based education Program

(a)(1)  The department, in collaboration with the attorney general, the University of Vermont area health education centers program, and the office of Vermont health access, shall establish an evidence‑based prescription drug education program for health care professionals designed to provide information and education on the therapeutic and cost‑effective utilization of prescription drugs to physicians, pharmacists, and other health care professionals authorized to prescribe and dispense prescription drugs.  The department may collaborate with other states in establishing this program.

(2)  The program shall notify prescribers about commonly used brand-name drugs for which the patent has expired within the last 12 months or will expire within the next 12 months.  The department and the office of Vermont health access shall collaborate in issuing the notices.

(3)  To the extent permitted by funding, the program may include the distribution to prescribers of samples of generic medicines used to treat chronic conditions common in Vermont.

(b)  The department shall request information and collaboration from physicians, pharmacists, private insurers, hospitals, pharmacy benefit managers, the drug utilization review board, medical schools, the attorney general, and any other programs providing an evidence‑based education to prescribers on prescription drugs in developing and maintaining the program.

(c)  The department may contract for technical and clinical support in the development and the administration of the program from entities conducting independent research into the effectiveness of prescription drugs.

(d)  The department and the attorney general shall collaborate in reviewing the marketing activities of pharmaceutical manufacturing companies in Vermont and determining appropriate funding sources for the program, including awards from suits brought by the attorney general against pharmaceutical manufacturers.

Sec. 15.  GENERIC DRUG SAMPLE PILOT PROJECT

(a)  As part of the evidence-based education program established in subchapter 2 of chapter 91 of Title 18, the department of health, in collaboration with the office of Vermont health access and the University of Vermont area health education centers program, shall establish a pilot project to distribute vouchers for a sample of generic drugs used to treat high cholesterol, including statins, and informational and educational materials to prescribers.  The department and office may expand the pilot program to include other classes of prescription drugs used to treat common chronic conditions for which there is a generic medicine available. 

(b)  The office of Vermont health access shall fund the vouchers from the fee established in section 1998b of Title 33 and shall provide payment to the pharmacy dispensing the prescription drugs in exchange for the voucher.  The office shall establish a payment rate, including a dispensing fee, using the rules and procedures for the Medicaid program.

Sec. 16.  Prescription Drug Pricing; Federally Qualified
   Health Centers

No later than January 1, 2008, the department of health shall create a plan to inform Vermonters of the availability of health services provided by federally qualified health centers (FQHC) and FQHC look‑alikes, including information about prescription drug pricing, focusing on state employees, individuals under the supervision of corrections, individuals receiving workers’ compensation benefits if applicable, and any other state or publicly funded purchaser of prescription drugs for whom the cost of prescription drugs is likely to be higher than prices under Section 340B of the Public Health Service Act.

* * * Prescription Drug Data Confidentiality * * *

Sec. 17.  18 V.S.A. chapter 91, subchapter 3 is added to read:

Subchapter 3.  Information Requirements

§ 4631.  Confidentiality of Prescription Information

(a)  The general assembly finds that it has become an increasingly common practice for information identifying physicians and other prescribers in prescription records to be used to target pharmaceutical marketing and gifts toward physicians who prescribe the most expensive drugs for their patients.  This practice raises drug costs for all Vermont residents and compromises the professional autonomy of physicians.  It is the intent of the general assembly to ensure the privacy of Vermonters and health care professionals by prohibiting the commercial use of prescription information.

(b)  As used in this section:

(1)  “Commercial purpose” shall include advertising, marketing, promotion, or any activity that is intended to be used or is used to influence sales or the market share of a pharmaceutical product, influence or evaluate the prescribing behavior of an individual health care professional, market prescription drugs to patients, or evaluate the effectiveness of a professional pharmaceutical detailing sales force.

(2)  “Electronic transmission intermediary” means an entity that provides the infrastructure that connects the computer systems or other electronic devices used by health care professionals, prescribers, pharmacies, health care facilities and pharmacy benefit managers, health insurers, third‑party administrators, and agents and contractors of those persons in order to facilitate the secure transmission of an individual’s prescription drug order, refill, authorization request, claim, payment, or other prescription drug information.

(3)  “Health care facility” shall have the same meaning as in section 9402 of this title.

(4)  “Health care professional” shall have the same meaning as in section 9402 of this title.

(5)  “Health insurer” shall have the same meaning as in section 9410 of this title.

(6)  “Pharmacy” means any individual or entity licensed or registered under chapter 36 of Title 26.

(7)  “Prescriber” means an individual allowed by law to prescribe and administer prescription drugs in the course of professional practice.

(8)  “Regulated records” means information or documentation from a prescription written by a prescriber doing business in Vermont or a prescription dispensed in Vermont.

(c)  A health insurer, a self‑insured employer, an electronic transmission intermediary, a pharmacy, or other similar entity shall not license, transfer, use, or sell regulated records which include prescription information containing patient‑identifiable or prescriber‑identifiable data for any commercial purpose.

(d)  This section shall not apply to:

(1)  the license, transfer, use, or sale of regulated records for the limited purposes of pharmacy reimbursement; prescription drug formulary compliance; patient care management; utilization review by a health care professional, the patient’s health insurer, or the agent of either; or health care research;

(2)  the dispensing of prescription medications to a patient or to the patient’s authorized representative;

(3)  the transmission of prescription information between an authorized prescriber and a licensed pharmacy, between licensed pharmacies, or that may occur in the event a pharmacy’s ownership is changed or transferred;

(4)  care management educational communications provided to a patient about the patient’s health condition, adherence to a prescribed course of therapy and other information relating to the drug being dispensed, treatment options, recall or patient safety notices, or clinical trials;

(5)  the collection, use, or disclosure of prescription information or other regulatory activity as authorized by chapter 84, chapter 84A, or section 9410 of this title, or as otherwise provided by law;

(6)  the collection and transmission of prescription information to a Vermont or federal law enforcement officer engaged in his or her official duties as otherwise provided by law;

(7)  the collection, use, transfer, or sale of patient and prescriber data for commercial purposes if the data do not identify a person, and there is no reasonable basis to believe that the data provided could be used to identify a person.

(e)  In addition to any other remedy provided by law, the attorney general may file an action in superior court for a violation of this section or of any rules adopted under this section by the attorney general.  The attorney general shall have the same authority to investigate and to obtain remedies as if the action were brought under the Vermont consumer fraud act, chapter 63 of Title 9.  Each violation of this section or of any rules adopted under this section by the attorney general constitutes a separate civil violation for which the attorney general may obtain relief. 

Sec. 18.  1 V.S.A. § 317(c)(38) is added to read:

(38)  records held by the agency of human services, which include prescription information containing patient-identifiable or prescriber‑identifiable data, that could be used to identify a patient or prescriber, except that the records shall be made available upon request for medical research purposes consistent with those expressed in sections 4621, 4631, 4632, 4633, and 9410 of Title 18 and chapters 84 and 84A of Title 18, or law enforcement activities.

Sec. 19.  18 V.S.A. § 9410(g) is amended to read:

(g)  Any person who knowingly fails to comply with the requirements of this section or rules adopted pursuant to this section shall be fined subject to an administrative penalty of not more than $1,000.00 per violation.  The commissioner may impose an administrative penalty of not more than $10,000.00 each for those violations the commissioner finds were willful. In addition, any person who knowingly fails to comply with the confidentiality requirements of this section or rules adopted pursuant to this section  and  uses, sells or transfers the data or information for commercial advantage, pecuniary gain, personal gain or malicious harm shall be  subject to an administrative penalty of not more than $50,000.00 per violation.  The powers vested in the commissioner by this subsection shall be in addition to any other powers to enforce any penalties, fines or forfeitures authorized by law.

Sec. 20.  33 V.S.A. § 1998b is added to read:

§ 1998b.  Manufacturer Fee

(a)  Annually, each pharmaceutical manufacturer of prescription drugs that are paid for by Medicaid, the Vermont Health Access Program, Dr. Dynasaur, VPharm or Vermont Rx shall pay a fee to the agency of human services.  The fee shall be 0.5 percent of the previous calendar year’s drug spending and shall be assessed based on manufacturer labeler codes as used in the Medicaid rebate program.

(b)  Fees collected under this section shall fund the implementation and operation of subdivision 2466a(c)(1) of Title 9 and the evidence‑based education program established in subchapter 2 of Title 18.

(c)  The secretary of human services or designee shall make rules for the implementation of this section.

* * * Consumer Protection; False Advertising * * *

Sec. 21.  9 V.S.A. § 2466a is added to read:

§ 2466a.  Consumer Protections; Prescription Drugs

(a)  A violation of section 4631 of Title 18 shall be considered a violation under this chapter.

(b)  As provided in section 9473 of Title 18, a violation of section 9472 shall be considered a violation under this chapter.

(c)(1)  It shall be a violation under this chapter for a manufacturer of prescription drugs to present or cause to be presented in the state a regulated advertisement if that advertisement does not comply with the requirements concerning drugs and devices and prescription drug advertising in federal law and regulations under 21 United States Code, Sections 331 and 352(n) and 21 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 202 and state rules.  A warning or untitled letter issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration shall be prima facie evidence of a violation of federal law and regulations.

(2)  For purposes of this section:

(A)  “Manufacturer of prescription drugs” means a person authorized by law to manufacture, bottle, or pack drugs or biological products, a licensee or affiliate of that person, or a labeler that receives drugs or biological products from a manufacturer or wholesaler and repackages them for later retail sale and has a labeler code from the federal Food and Drug Administration under 21 Code of Federal Regulations, 2027.20 (1999).

(B)  “Regulated advertisement” means:

(i)  the presentation to the general public of a commercial message regarding a prescription drug or biological product by a manufacturer of prescription drugs that is broadcast on television, cable, or radio from a station or cable company that is physically located in the state, broadcast over the internet from a location in the state, or printed in magazines or newspapers that are printed, distributed, or sold in the state; or

(ii)  a commercial message regarding a prescription drug or biological product by a manufacturer of prescription drugs or its representative that is conveyed:

(I)  to the office of a health care professional doing business in Vermont, including statements by representatives or employees of the manufacturer and materials mailed or delivered to the office; or

(II)  at a conference or other professional meeting occurring in Vermont.

(d)  No person shall sell, offer for sale, or distribute electronic prescribing software that advertises, uses instant messaging and pop‑up advertisements, or uses other means to influence or attempt to influence the prescribing decision of a health care professional through economic incentives or otherwise and which is triggered or in specific response to the input, selection, or act of a health care professional or agent in prescribing a specific prescription drug or directing a patient to a certain pharmacy.  This subsection shall not apply to information provided to the health care professional about pharmacy reimbursement, prescription drug formulary compliance, and patient care management.

* * * Insurance Marketing * * *

Sec. 22.  8 V.S.A. § 4804(a) is amended to read:

(a)  The commissioner may suspend, revoke, or refuse to continue or renew any license issued under this chapter if, after notice to the licensee and to the insurer represented, and opportunity for hearing, he or she finds as to the licensee any one or more of the following conditions:

* * *

(8)  The licensee has committed any unfair trade practice or fraud as defined in this title.  It shall be an unfair practice under this section for a licensee to:

(A)(i)  sell, solicit, or negotiate the purchase of health insurance in this state through an advertisement which makes use directly or indirectly of any method of marketing which fails to disclose in a conspicuous manner that a purpose of the method of marketing is solicitation of insurance, and that contact will be made by an insurance agent or insurance company. 

(ii)  Use an appointment that was made to discuss Medicare products or to solicit the sale of Medicare products to solicit sales of any other insurance products unless the consumer requests the solicitation, and the products to be discussed are clearly identified to the consumer in writing at least 48 hours in advance of the appointment. 

(iii)  Solicit the sale of Medicare products door-to-door prior to receiving an invitation from a consumer.

(B)  As used in this subdivision, the term “Medicare products” includes Medicare Part A, Medicare Part B, Medicare Part C, Medicare Part D, and Medicare supplement plans;

* * *

Sec. 23.  Recodification

The following sections of Title 33 as amended by this act are recodified as follows:

(1)  Section 2005 shall be section 4632 of Title 18.

(2)  Section 2005a shall be section 4633 of Title 18.

(3)  Section 2008 shall be section 4634 of Title 18.

(4)  Section 2006 shall be section 852 of Title 2.

Sec. 24.  Repeal

Section 2009 of Title 33 is repealed.

Rep. Sharpe of Bristol, for the committee on Ways and Means, recommended the bill ought to pass in concurrence when amended as recommended by the committee on Health Care.

Rep. Larson of Burlington, for the committee on Appropriations, recommended the bill ought to pass in concurrence when amended as recommended by the committee on Health Care, And when further amended as follows:

First:  In Sec. 19, 18 V.S.A. § 9410(g), in the third sentence, by inserting the word “confidentiality” between the words “or” and “rules

Second:  By striking Sec. 20 and inserting a new Sec. 20 to read:

Sec. 20.  33 V.S.A. § 2004 is added to read:

§ 2004.  MANUFACTURER FEE

(a)  Annually, each pharmaceutical manufacturer or labeler of prescription drugs that are paid for by the office of Vermont health access for individuals participating in Medicaid, the Vermont Health Access Program, Dr.  Dynasaur, VPharm, or Vermont Rx shall pay a fee to the agency of human services.  The fee shall be 0.5 percent of the previous calendar year’s prescription drug spending by the office and shall be assessed based on manufacturer labeler codes as used in the Medicaid rebate program. 

(b)  Fees collected under this section shall fund collection and analysis of information on pharmaceutical marketing activities under sections 4632 and 4633 of Title 18, analysis of prescription drug data needed by the attorney general’s office for enforcement activities, and the evidence‑based education program established in subchapter 2 of Title 18.  The fees shall be collected in the evidence‑based education and advertising fund established in section 2004a of this title.

(c)  The secretary of human services or designee shall make rules for the implementation of this section.

Third:  By inserting a Sec. 20a to read:

Sec. 20a.  33 V.S.A. § 2004a is added to read:

§ 2004a.  EVIDENCE‑BASED EDUCATION AND ADVERTISING FUND

(a)  The evidence‑based education and advertising fund is established in the treasury as a special fund to be a source of financing for activities relating to fund collection and analysis of information on pharmaceutical marketing activities under sections 4632 and 4633 of Title 18, analysis of prescription drug data needed by the attorney general’s office for enforcement activities,  and for the evidence‑based education program established in subchapter 2 of Title 18.  Monies deposited into the fund shall be used for the purposes described in this section.

(b)  Into the fund shall be deposited:

(1)  revenue from the manufacturer fee established under section 2004 of this title; and

(2)  the proceeds from grants, donations, contributions, taxes, and any other sources of revenue as may be provided by statute, rule, or act of the general assembly.

(c)  The fund shall be administered pursuant to subchapter 5 of chapter 7 of Title 32, except that interest earned on the fund and any remaining balance shall be retained in the fund.

Fourth:  By inserting a Sec. 24a to read:

Sec. 24a.  APPROPRIATIONS

(a)  The amount of $200,000.00 is appropriated from the evidence‑based education and advertising fund to the department of health for a grant to the area health education centers for the evidence‑based education program established under subchapter 2 of Title 18.

(b)  The amount of $300,000.00 is appropriated from the evidence‑based education and advertising fund to the office of Vermont health access for the evidence‑based education program’s generic drug sample pilot project as described in Sec. 15 of this act.

(c)  The amount of $50,000.00 is appropriated from the evidence‑based education and advertising fund to the office of attorney general fund for the collection and analysis of information on pharmaceutical marketing activities under sections 4632 and 4633 of Title 18 and analysis of prescription drug data needed by the attorney general’s office for enforcement activities.

The bill, having appeared on the Calendar one day for notice, was taken up, read the second time and the recommendation of proposal of amendment offered by the committee on Appropriations was agreed to.

Pending the question, Shall the House propose to the Senate to amend the bill as recommended by the committee on Health Care, as amended? Rep. Chen of Mendon moved to amend the recommendation of proposal of amendment as follows:

First:  By renumbering Sec. 1 to be Sec. 1a and inserting a new Sec. 1 to read:

Sec. 1.  LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS

The general assembly makes the following findings:

(1)  The state of Vermont has an interest in maximizing the

well-being of its residents and in containing health care costs.

(2)  There is a strong link between pharmaceutical marketing activities, health care spending, and the health of Vermonters.

(3)  The goals of marketing programs are often in conflict with the goals of the state.  Marketing programs are designed to increase sales, income, and profit.  Frequently, progress toward these goals comes at the expense of cost‑containment activities and possibly the health of individual patients.

(4)  The marketplace for ideas on medicine safety and effectiveness is frequently one-sided in that brand‑name companies invest in expensive pharmaceutical marketing campaigns to doctors.  The one‑sided nature of the marketing leads to doctors prescribing drugs based on incomplete and biased information, particularly for prescribers that lack the time to perform substantive research assessing whether the messages they are receiving from pharmaceutical representatives are full and accurate.

(5)  The federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires marketing and advertising to be fair and balanced; however, the FDA has limited legal ability to enforce this requirement.

(6)  Public health is ill served by the massive imbalance in information presented to doctors and other prescribers.

(7)  Newer drugs on the market do not necessarily provide additional benefits over older drugs, but do add costs and as yet unknown side‑effects.  One example of this is the drug Vioxx, which was removed from the market due to potentially lethal side‑effects that were not adequately disclosed initially.

(8)  Between 1975 and 2000, 50 percent of all drug withdrawals from the market and “black box warnings” were within the first two years of the release of the drug.  One-fifth of all drugs are subject to “black box warnings” or withdrawal from the market because of the serious public health concerns.  Marketing which results in prescribers using the newest drugs will also result in prescribing drugs that are more likely to be subject to these warnings and withdrawal.  

(9)  In 2005, Vermonters spent an estimated $524 million on prescription and over‑the‑counter drugs and nondurable medical supplies.  In 2000, spending was about $280 million.  The annual increase in spending during this period was 13.3 percent, which was the highest increase in any health care category.

(10)  Vermont has been a leader in prescription drug cost-containment and in providing transparency, to the extent allowable, in drug prices.  The state has enacted the pharmacy best practices and cost control program, mandatory generic substitution, and mail order purchasing in Medicaid, VPharm, and Vermont Rx and encouraged the department of human resources to have a preferred drug list in the state employees health benefit plans in efforts to control costs, while maintaining best practices in drug prescribing, in our publicly-financed prescription drug programs.  The Vermont Medicaid program has been a member of multi-state purchasing pools for several years and aggressively seeks supplemental rebates to lower drug costs in Medicaid program.

(11)  In addition, Vermont has sought to control drug prices in private and employer-sponsored insurance by encouraging voluntary participation in Medicaid’s preferred drug list, requiring mandatory generic substitution for all prescriptions in Vermont, providing consumers with pricing information about the drugs they are prescribed, and assisting consumers by providing information about purchasing drugs internationally through a safe, regulated program run through the state of Illinois.

(12)  Vermont has also sought transparency by requiring marketers of prescription drugs to disclose information about the amount of money spent on marketing activities in Vermont and also to require the disclosure of pricing information to doctors during marketing visits.

(13)  Physicians are unable to take the time to research the quickly changing pharmaceutical market and determine which drugs are the best treatments for particular conditions.  Because of this, physicians frequently rely on information provided by pharmaceutical representatives.

(14)  Nearly one‑third of the five-fold increase in U.S. spending on drugs over the last decade can be attributed to marketing induced shifts in doctors’ prescribing from existing, effective, and lower cost (often generic) therapies to new and more expensive treatments, which often have little or no increased therapeutic value.  According to the same study, the use of more expensive drugs contributed to 36 percent of the rise in retail prescription spending in 2000 and 24 percent in 2001.

(15)  According to testimony by Dr. Avorn, M.D., at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, detailing effects the cost of medications, because it is generally “confined to high-margin, high-profit drugs, for which the manufacturer has a substantial incentive to increase sales….Thus, the work of pharmaceutical sales representatives drives drug use toward the most expensive products…, and contributes to the strain on health care budgets for individuals as well as health care programs.”

(16)  According to the June 15, 2006 Marketing Disclosures:  Report of Vermont Attorney General William H. Sorrell, as part of their marketing efforts, pharmaceutical companies made direct payments of almost $2.2 million to prescribers in Vermont, including consulting fees and travel expenses in 2005.  Estimates of total costs of marketing to prescribers in Vermont are $10 million or more, excluding free samples and

direct-to-consumer advertising. 

(17)  In 2004, the pharmaceutical industry spent $27 billion marketing pharmaceuticals in the United States, and spent more than any other sector in the United States on its sales force and media advertising.  Over 85 percent of these marketing expenditures are directed at the small percentage of the population that practice medicine.  Pharmaceutical manufacturers spend twice as much on marketing as on research and development.

(18)  Coincident with the rise of physician identity data mining, the pharmaceutical industry increased its spending on direct marketing to doctors by over 275 percent and doubled its sales force to over 90,000 drug representatives.  It is estimated that there is a pharmaceutical sales representative for every five office-based physicians.

(19)  A significant portion of prescriber time is spent meeting with pharmaceutical representatives.  According to a survey recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine, family practitioners reported the highest frequency of meetings with representatives – an average of 16 times per month.  To the extent that this meeting time comes at the expense of time spent with patients, quality of care will be negatively affected.

(20)  Some doctors in Vermont are experiencing an undesired increase in the aggressiveness of pharmaceutical sales representatives and a few have reported that they felt coerced and harassed.  The Vermont Medical Society, an organization representing two-thirds of Vermont doctors, unanimously passed a resolution stating “the use of physician prescription information by sales representatives is an intrusion into the way physicians practice medicine.” 

(21)  Several studies suggest that drug samples clearly affect prescribing behavior in favor of the sample.  The presence of drug samples may influence physicians to dispense or prescribe drugs that differ from their preferred drug source according to a study by Chew et al. in the Journal of General Internal Medicine in 2000.

(22)  Prescriber-identifiable prescription data show details of physicians’ drug use patterns, both in terms of their gross number of prescriptions and their inclinations to prescribe particular drugs.

(23)  Prescriber identity data mining allows pharmaceutical companies to track the prescribing habits of nearly every physician in Vermont and link those habits to specific physicians and their identities.

(24)  Monitoring of prescribing practices also allows the sales representatives to assess the impact of various gifts and messages on a particular physician to help them select the most effective set of rewards.

(25)  Prescriber-identified data increase the effect of detailing programs.  They support the tailoring of presentations to individual prescriber styles, preferences, and attitudes.

(26)  Prescriber identified databases of prescribing habits encourage pharmaceutical companies to increase the quid pro quo nature of relations between pharmaceutical sales representatives and prescribers.  Pharmaceutical companies use prescriber identity data-mining to target increased attention and manipulative practices toward those doctors that they find would lead to increased prescriptions and profitability, including high prescribers, brand loyal prescribers, doctors that show themselves willing to prescribe new medicines, and doctors who are shown to be especially susceptible to sales messages.

(27)  Added and unwanted pressure occurs when doctors are informed by sales representatives that they are being monitored – through messages of appreciation for writing prescriptions, or messages of disappointment that they are not prescribing what was implicitly promised.  

(28)  As with the use of consumer telephone numbers for marketing, the trading of prescriber identities linked to prescription data can result in harassing sales behaviors by pharmaceutical sales representatives toward doctors.

(29)  Health care professionals in Vermont who write prescriptions for their patients have a reasonable expectation that the information in that prescription, including their own identity and that of the patient, will not be used for purposes other than the filling and processing of the payment for that prescription.  Prescribers and patients do not consent to the trade of that information to third parties, and no such trade should take place without their consent.

(30)  The physician data restriction program offered by the American Medical Association (AMA) is not an adequate remedy for Vermont doctors, because many physicians do not know about the program and other health care professionals who prescribe medications may not avail themselves of the AMA program.  In addition, approximately 23 percent of Vermont physicians belong to the AMA, which is one of the lowest rates in the nation.  Finally, data-mining companies could use other identifiers, including state licensing numbers, to track prescribing patterns.

(31)  This act is necessary to protect prescriber privacy by limiting marketing to prescribers who choose to receive that type of information, to save money for the state, consumers, and businesses by promoting the use of less expensive drugs, and to protect public health by requiring

evidence-based disclosures and promoting drugs with longer safety records.

Second: By striking Sec. 11 and inserting a new Sec. 11 to read:

Sec. 11.  8 V.S.A. § 4088d is added to read:

§ 4088d.  NOTICE OF PREFERRED DRUG LIST CHANGES

On a periodic basis, no less than once per calendar year, a health insurer as defined in subdivisions 9471(2)(A), (C), and (D) of Title 18 shall notify beneficiaries of changes in pharmaceutical coverage and provide access to the preferred drug list maintained by the insurer.

Third:  In Sec. 14, 18 V.S.A. § 4622(a)(1) by striking subdivision (1) and inserting a new subdivision (1) to read:

(a)(1)  The department, in collaboration with the attorney general, the University of Vermont area health education centers program, and the office of Vermont health access, shall establish an evidence‑based prescription drug education program for health care professionals designed to provide information and education on the therapeutic and cost‑effective utilization of prescription drugs to physicians, pharmacists, and other health care professionals authorized to prescribe and dispense prescription drugs.  To the extent practicable, the program shall use the evidence-based standards developed by the blueprint for health.  The department may collaborate with other states in establishing this program.

Fourth:  In Sec. 14, 18 V.S.A. § 4622(a)(3), by striking subdivision (3) and inserting a new subdivision (3) to read:

(3)  To the extent permitted by funding, the program may include the distribution to prescribers of vouchers for samples of generic medicines used for health conditions common in Vermont.

Fifth:  By striking Sec. 15(a) and inserting a new subsection (a) to read:

Sec. 15.  GENERIC DRUG VOUCHER PILOT PROJECT

(a)  As part of the evidence-based education program established in subchapter 2 of chapter 91 of Title 18, the department of health, in collaboration with the office of Vermont health access and the University of Vermont area health education centers program, shall establish a pilot project to distribute vouchers for a sample of generic drugs equivalent to frequently prescribed prescription drugs that are used to treat common health conditions. 

Sixth:  By inserting a Sec. 15a to read:

Sec. 15a.  GENERIC DRUG VOUCHER PILOT; REPORT

(a)  By January 15, 2009, the office of Vermont health access, the department of banking, insurance, securities, and health care administration, the area health education centers, and the joint fiscal office shall provide a report to the house committee on health care and the senate committee on health and welfare describing and evaluating the effects of the generic drug voucher pilot program.

(b) The report shall describe how the pilot project is implemented, including which health conditions were targeted, the generic drugs provided with the vouchers, and the geographic regions participating.  The report shall compare the distribution of prescribing among generic drugs provided through the vouchers and brand-name drugs before and after the first year of the generic drug sample pilot project and will review a year of prescribing data prior to the implementation of the pilot project to a year of prescribing data during the first year of the pilot project’s implementation. The data shall be adjusted to reflect how and where the pilot was implemented.

Seventh:  By striking Sec. 17 and inserting a new Sec. 17 to read:

Sec. 17.  18 V.S.A. chapter 91, subchapter 3 is added to read:

Subchapter 3.  Information Requirements

§ 4631.  Confidentiality of Prescription Information 

(a)  It is the intent of the general assembly to advance the state’s interest in protecting the public health of Vermonters, protecting the privacy of prescribers and prescribing information, and to ensure costs are contained in the private health care sector, as well as for state purchasers of prescription drugs, through the promotion of less costly drugs and ensuring prescribers receive unbiased information.

(b)  As used in this section:

(1)  “Electronic transmission intermediary” means an entity that provides the infrastructure that connects the computer systems or other electronic devices used by health care professionals, prescribers, pharmacies, health care facilities and pharmacy benefit managers, health insurers, third‑party administrators, and agents and contractors of those persons in order to facilitate the secure transmission of an individual’s prescription drug order, refill, authorization request, claim, payment, or other prescription drug information.

(2)  “Health care facility” shall have the same meaning as in section 9402 of this title.

(3)  “Health care professional” shall have the same meaning as in section 9402 of this title.

(4)  “Health insurer” shall have the same meaning as in section 9410 of this title.

(5)  “Marketing” shall include advertising, promotion, or any activity that is intended to be used or is used to influence sales or the market share of a prescription drug, influence or evaluate the prescribing behavior of an individual health care professional to promote a prescription drug, market prescription drugs to patients, or evaluate the effectiveness of a professional pharmaceutical detailing sales force.

(6)  “Pharmacy” means any individual or entity licensed or registered under chapter 36 of Title 26.

(7)  “Prescriber” means an individual allowed by law to prescribe and administer prescription drugs in the course of professional practice.

(8)  “Promotion” or “promote” means any activity or product the intention of which is to advertise or publicize a prescription drug, including a brochure, media advertisement or announcement, poster, free sample, detailing visit, or personal appearance.

(9)  “Regulated records” means information or documentation from a prescription written by a prescriber doing business in Vermont or a prescription dispensed in Vermont.

(c)(1)  The department of health and the office of professional regulation, in consultation with the appropriate licensing boards, shall establish a prescriber data-sharing program to allow a prescriber to give consent for his or her identifying information to be used for the purposes described under subsection (d) of this section.  The department and office shall solicit the prescriber’s consent on licensing applications or renewal forms and shall provide a prescriber a method for revoking his or her consent.  The department and office may establish rules for this program.

(2)  The department or office shall make available the list of prescribers who have consented to sharing their information.  Entities who wish to use the information as provided for in this section shall review the list at minimum every six months.

(d)  A health insurer, a self‑insured employer, an electronic transmission intermediary, a pharmacy, or other similar entity may use regulated records which include prescription information containing prescriber‑identifiable data for marketing or promoting a prescription drug only if:

(1)(A)  a prescriber has provided consent for the use of that data as provided in subsection (c) of this section; and

(B)  the entity using the regulated records complies with the disclosure requirements in subsection (f) of this section; or

(2)  the entity meets one of the exceptions provided in subsection (e) of this section.

(e)  This section shall not apply to:

(1)  the license, transfer, use, or sale of regulated records for the limited purposes of pharmacy reimbursement; prescription drug formulary compliance; patient care management; utilization review by a health care professional, the patient’s health insurer, or the agent of either; or health care research;

(2)  the dispensing of prescription medications to a patient or to the patient’s authorized representative;

(3)  the transmission of prescription information between an authorized prescriber and a licensed pharmacy, between licensed pharmacies, or that may occur in the event a pharmacy’s ownership is changed or transferred;

(4)  care management educational communications provided to a patient about the patient’s health condition, adherence to a prescribed course of therapy and other information relating to the drug being dispensed, treatment options, recall or patient safety notices, or clinical trials;

(5)  the collection, use, or disclosure of prescription information or other regulatory activity as authorized by chapter 84, chapter 84A, or section 9410 of this title, or as otherwise provided by law;

(6)  the collection and transmission of prescription information to a Vermont or federal law enforcement officer engaged in his or her official duties as otherwise provided by law; and

(7)  the collection, use, transfer, or sale of patient and prescriber data for marketing or promoting if the data do not identify a prescriber, and there is no reasonable basis to believe that the data provided could be used to identify a prescriber.

(f)  When a pharmaceutical marketer engages in any form of prescription drug marketing directly to a physician or other person authorized to prescribe prescription drugs as provided for under this section, the marketer shall disclose to the prescriber evidence-based information as provided for by rule describing the specific health benefits or risks of using other pharmaceutical drugs, including drugs available over the counter; which patients would gain from the health benefits or be susceptible to the risks described; the range of prescription drug treatment options; and the cost of the treatment options.  As necessary, the office of Vermont health access, in consultation with the department of health, the area centers on health education, the office of professional regulation, and the office of the attorney general, shall develop rules for compliance with this subsection, including the certification of materials which are evidence-based as defined in section 4621 of this title and which conditions have evidence-based treatment guidelines. The rules shall be consistent with the federal Food and Drug Administration’s regulations regarding false and misleading advertising.  To the extent practicable, the rules shall use the evidence-based standards developed by the blueprint for health.

(g)  In addition to any other remedy provided by law, the attorney general may file an action in superior court for a violation of this section or of any rules adopted under this section by the attorney general.  The attorney general shall have the same authority to investigate and to obtain remedies as if the action were brought under the Vermont consumer fraud act, chapter 63 of Title 9.  Each violation of this section or of any rules adopted under this section by the attorney general constitutes a separate civil violation for which the attorney general may obtain relief.

Eighth:  By inserting a Sec. 24b to read:

Sec. 24b.  Effective Dates

Sec. 17 of this act shall become effective no later than January 1, 2008, except that the department of health and the office of professional regulation may begin any necessary rulemaking, revision of forms, or other administrative actions necessary to implement the program, immediately upon passage.  The department and office may implement Sec. 17 for prescribers with licenses at the time of passage of this act when the prescriber next requests a renewal of the license.

Pending the question, Shall the House amend the recommendation of proposal of amendment offered by the committee on Health Care, as amended? as recommended by Rep. Chen of Mendon?

Recess

At five o’clock and thirty minutes in the afternoon, the Speaker declared a recess until eight o’clock and thirty minutes in the evening.

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

Consideration Resumed; Proposal of Amendment Agreed to

and Third Reading Ordered

S. 115

Consideration resumed on Senate bill, entitled

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

The recurring question, Shall the House amend the recommendation of proposal of amendment offered by the committee on Health Care, as amended? as recommended by Rep. Chen of Mendon? was agreed to on a Division vote.  Yeas, 79.  Nays, 22.

Pending the question, Shall the House propose to the Senate to amend the bill as recommended by the committee on Health Care, as amended? Rep. Adams of Hartland moved to commit the bill to the committee on Judiciary.

Pending the question, Shall the House commit the bill to the committee on Judiciary? Rep. Adams of Hartland 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 commit the bill to the committee on Judiciary? was decided in the negative.  Yeas, 29.  Nays, 89.

Those who voted in the affirmative are:


Acinapura of Brandon

Adams of Hartland

Bostic of St. Johnsbury

Branagan of Georgia

Canfield of Fair Haven

Clerkin of Hartford

Donaghy of Poultney

Donahue of Northfield

Errecart of Shelburne

Flory of Pittsford

Helm of Castleton

Hube of Londonderry

Johnson of Canaan

Krawczyk of Bennington

Larocque of Barnet

Larrabee of Danville

LaVoie of Swanton

Livingston of Manchester

McDonald of Berlin

McFaun of Barre Town

Morley of Barton

Morrissey of Bennington

O'Donnell of Vernon

Oxholm of Vergennes

Scheuermann of Stowe

Sunderland of Rutland Town

Turner of Milton

Valliere of Barre City

Wright of Burlington


Those who voted in the negative are:


Ancel of Calais

Anderson of Montpelier

Andrews of Rutland City

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

Condon of Colchester

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

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

Howrigan of Fairfield

Hunt of Essex

Hutchinson of Randolph

Jerman of Essex

Jewett of Ripton

Johnson of South Hero

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

Mook of Bennington

Moran of Wardsboro

Mrowicki of Putney

Nease of Johnson

Nuovo of Middlebury

Obuchowski of Rockingham

Ojibway of Hartford

Orr of Charlotte

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

Shand of Weathersfield

Sharpe of Bristol

Smith of Morristown

Spengler of Colchester

Stevens of Shoreham

Sweaney of Windsor

Westman of Cambridge

Weston of Burlington

Zenie of Colchester

Zuckerman of Burlington


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


Ainsworth of Royalton

Allard of St. Albans Town

Aswad of Burlington

Baker of West Rutland

Brennan of Colchester

Clark of St. Johnsbury

Clark of Vergennes

Clarkson of Woodstock

Devereux of Mount Holly

Fitzgerald of St. Albans City

Grad of Moretown

Howard of Rutland City

Hudson of Lyndon

Keenan of St. Albans City

Kilmartin of Newport City

Koch of Barre Town

Komline of Dorset

Lawrence of Lyndon

Marcotte of Coventry

McAllister of Highgate

Monti of Barre City

Myers of Essex

Otterman of Topsham

Partridge of Windham

Peaslee of Guildhall

Pillsbury of Brattleboro

Rodgers of Glover

Shaw of Derby

Trombley of Grand Isle

Wheeler of Derby

Winters of Williamstown


 

     Rep. Flory of Pittsford explained her vote as follows:

“Madam Speaker:

     We took time to debate, on this floor, the Iraq resolution.  We took time, on this floor, to debate the Impeachment resolution.  It was said we did this so that people could be informed and have their say.

     Yet this evening, we refused to send this bill to the committee that has jurisdiction over Constitutional matters and refused to allow time for review of a 17 page amendment to an even larger bill, that we received less than four hours ago, that will potentially place us in a court costing us millions of dollars.

     This is a travesty and we dishonor the oath we all took to protect our Constitution.”

     Thereupon, the recurring question, Shall the House propose to the Senate to amend the bill as recommended by the committee on Health Care, as amended? was agreed to and third reading ordered.

Message from the Senate No. 67

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

Madam Speaker:

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

H. 248.  An act relating to the establishment of the Vermont Telecommunications Authority to advance broadband and wireless communications infrastructure throughout the state.

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

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

J.R.S. 36.  Joint resolution relating to weekend adjournment.

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

The Senate has considered House proposals of amendment to Senate bills of the following titles:

S. 51.  An act relating to prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity.

S. 82.  An act relating to the use of Vermont addresses and representations of Vermont origin.

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

And has concurred therein.

The Senate has considered House proposal of amendment to Senate bill entitled:

S. 7.  An act relating to the compassionate use of marijuana for medical purposes.

And has refused to concur therein and asks for a Committee of Conference upon the disagreeing votes of the two Houses;

The President announced the appointment as members of such Committee on the part of the Senate:

          Senator Campbell

          Senator Mullin

          Senator Sears

Pursuant to the request of the House for Committees of Conference on the disagreeing votes of the two Houses on the following House bills the President announced the appointment as members of such Committees on the part of the Senate:

 

H. 294.  An act relating to executive fees.

          Senator Cummings

          Senator Carris

          Senator Maynard

H. 449.  An act relating to foster care services and supports.

          Senator Racine

          Senator Flanagan

          Senator Mullin

H. 534.  An act relating to prekindergarten registration.

          Senator Giard

          Senator Condos

          Senator Doyle

Committee of Conference Appointed

S. 7

     Pursuant to the request of the Senate for a Committee of Conference on the disagreeing votes of the two Houses on Senate bill, entitled

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

     The Speaker appointed as members of the Committee of Conference on the part of the House:

   Rep. Donahue of Northfield

   Rep. Jewett of Ripton

               Rep. Frank of Underhill

Bill Messaged to Senate Forthwith

S. 37

Senate bill, entitled

An act relating to mosquito control;

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

Adjournment

At nine o’clock and ten minutes in the evening, on motion of Rep. Adams of Hartland, the House adjourned until tomorrow at nine o’clock and thirty minutes in the forenoon.



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us