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Journal of the House

________________

FRIDAY, MAY 11, 2007

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

Devotional Exercises

Devotional exercises were conducted by retired carpenter and poet, Gordon Tallman of Hyde Park, VT.

Pages Honored

In appreciation of their many services to the members of the General Assembly, the Speaker recognized the following named Pages who are completing their service today and presented them with commemorative pins:

                                         Kelsey Burhans of Castleton

                                         Jasper Craven of Barnet

                                         Gia Giambrone of Bradford

                                         Rosetta Lane of Brattleboro

                                         Aaron Locke of Hartland

                                         Caitlin Morse of Milton

                                         Ryan Pembroke of Pownal

                                         Esther Peterson of Berlin

                                         Anna Jo Smith of Vergennes

                                         Alysia Vance of Danville

Bill Referred to Committee on Appropriations

S. 108

Senate bill, entitled

An act relating to the election of U. S. Representative and U. S. Senator by the instant runoff voting method;

Appearing on the Calendar, carrying an appropriation, under rule 35a, was referred to the committee on Appropriations.

 

 

 

 

Rules Suspended; Senate Proposal of Amendment Concurred in with a Further Amendment Thereto; Rules Suspended

and  Bill Messaged to Senate Forthwith

H. 433

    

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

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

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:  By striking out Sec. 4 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 4 to read as follows:

* * * Consolidation of Grant Programs * * *

Sec. 4.  10 V.S.A. § 543 is added to read:

§ 543.  WORKFORCE EDUCATION AND TRAINING FUND; GRANT PROGRAMS

(a)  Creation.  There is created a workforce education and training fund in the department of labor to be managed in accordance with subchapter 5 of chapter 7 of Title 32.

(b)  Purposes.  The fund shall be used exclusively for the following two purposes:

(1) training to improve the skills of Vermont workers, including those who are unemployed, underemployed, or in transition; and

(2) internships to provide work‑based learning opportunities with Vermont employers for students from Vermont colleges, public and private high schools, regional technical centers, and the Community High School of Vermont.

(c)  Administrative Support.  Administrative support for the grant award process shall be provided by the departments of labor and of economic development.  Technical, administrative, financial, and other support shall be provided whenever appropriate and reasonable by the workforce development council and all other public entities involved in economic development, workforce development and training, and education.

(d)  Eligible Activities.  Awards from the fund shall be made to employers and entities that offer programs that require collaboration between employees and businesses, including private, public, and nonprofit entities, institutions of higher education, technical centers, and workforce development programs.  Funding shall be for training programs and student internship programs that offer education, training, apprenticeship, mentoring, or work‑based learning activities, or any combination; that employ innovative intensive student‑oriented competency‑based or collaborative approaches to workforce development; and that link workforce education and economic development strategies.  Training programs or projects that demonstrate actual increased income and economic opportunity for employees and employers may be funded for more than one year.  Student internships that involve the same employer may be funded multiple times, provided that new students participate.

(e)  Award Criteria and Process.  The workforce development council, in consultation with the commissioners of labor and of economic development, shall develop criteria consistent with subsection (d) of this section for making awards under this section.  The commissioners of labor and of economic development shall develop process for making awards that includes both the following:

(1)  applications shall be submitted to and reviewed by the local workforce investment board.  Within seven business days, the board shall forward them to the commissioner of labor, unless this time requirement is waived by the applicant; and

(2)  if review by the local workforce investment board as required by subdivision (1) of this subsection is not completed within seven business days, the applicant may file the application directly with the commissioner of labor without further review by the local workforce investment board.  

(f)  Awards.  Based on guidelines set by the council, the commissioner of labor shall make awards to the following:

(1)  Training Programs.  Public, private, and nonprofit entities for existing or new innovative training programs.  There shall be a preference for programs that include training for newly created or vacant positions.  Awards may be made to programs that retrain incumbent workers.  Awards under this subdivision shall be made to programs or projects that do all the following:  

(A)  offer innovative programs of intensive, student‑centric, competency‑based education, training, apprenticeship, mentoring, or any combination of these;

(B)  address the needs of workers who are unemployed, underemployed, or are at risk of becoming unemployed due to changing workplace demands by increasing productivity and developing new skills for incumbent workers;

(C)  lead to jobs paying at least 200 percent of the current minimum wage or at least 150 percent if benefits are included; this requirement may be waived when warranted based on regional or occupational wages or economic reality;

(D)  require a measurable investment from involved employers;

(E)  do not duplicate, supplant, or replace other programs funded with public money;

(F)  articulate clear goals and demonstrate readily accountable, reportable, and measurable results; and

(G)  demonstrate an integrated connection between training and employment.  If employment is not guaranteed at the successful completion of the training, the applicant must demonstrate employer involvement and that the training is likely to lead to employment in fields in which there is demand for jobs.

(2)  Internship Program.  Public and private entities for internship programs that match Vermont employers with students from public and private secondary schools, regional technical centers, the Community High School of Vermont, and colleges.  For the purposes of this section, “internship” means a learning experience working with an employer where the intern may, but does not necessarily receive academic credit, financial remuneration, a stipend, or any combination of these.  Awards under this subdivision may be used to fund the cost of administering an internship program and to provide students with a stipend during the internship, based on need.  Awards may be made only to programs or projects that do all the following:

(A)  do not replace or supplant existing positions;

(B)  create real workplace expectations and consequences;

(C)  provide a process that measures progress toward mastery of skills, attitude, behavior, and sense of responsibility required for success in that workplace;

(D)  are designed to motivate and educate secondary and postsecondary students through work‑based learning opportunities with Vermont employers that are likely to lead to real employment;

(E)  include mechanisms that promote employer involvement with secondary and postsecondary students and curriculum and the delivery of education at the participating schools;

(F)  involve Vermont employers or interns who are Vermont residents; and

(G)  offer students a continuum of learning, experience, and relationships with employers that will make it financially possible and attractive for graduates to continue to work and live in Vermont.

(g)  Accountability.  The commissioner of labor in consultation with the commissioner of economic development and the workforce development council shall do all the following: 

(1)  develop evaluation standards that measure the effectiveness of the programs and projects funded by this section, which shall include an objective process that documents the state’s return on investment; and

(2)  on or before December 1 of each year, submit a report to the governor, the speaker of the house, the president pro tempore of the senate, the chair of the house committee on commerce, and the chair of the senate committee on economic development, housing and general affairs that includes all the following information for the prior fiscal year:

(A)  the number of applications received, grants awarded, jobs created, including wages for each, jobs filled, including wages for each, internships created, and interns served; the information shall be categorically posted every quarter on the department of labor’s website;

(B)  funds needed for the next fiscal year; and

(C)  the extent to which the program has improved coordination, cooperation, and effective expenditure of resources by workforce education and training entities and increased employers’ participation in and provision of workforce training opportunities and internships by employers, educational institutions, and other private entities.

Second:  By adding a new section to be numbered Sec. 5a to read as follows:

Sec. 5a.  16 V.S.A. § 1565(b)(1)(C) is amended to read:

(C)  Adult service coordinators’ salary assistance shall not exceed be 50 percent of actual salaries and benefits.  Payment under this subsection does not preclude a district from using other state and federal grants to supplement the actual salaries and benefits of adult service coordinators.

Third:  By striking out Sec. 6 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 6 to read as follows:

* * * Workforce Development Leadership * * *

Sec. 6.  Workforce Development Leader; LeadersHIP COMMITTEE; CREATED

The commissioner of labor shall be the leader for developing workforce development strategy and accountability.  The commissioner shall work with a subcommittee of the workforce development council composed of eight members to include four business members and a higher education member of the council appointed by the governor, the secretary of human services, and the commissioners of education and of economic development.  Membership shall be coincident with the members’ terms on the workforce development council.  The workforce development council shall provide administrative support to the leadership committee.  The commissioner of labor shall be the chair of the committee.  The duties of the leader include all the following:

(1)  developing a limited number of overarching goals and challenging measurable criteria for the workforce development system that supports the creation of good jobs to build and retain a strong, appropriate, and sustainable economic environment in Vermont;

(2)  reviewing reports submitted by each entity that receives funding.  The reports shall be submitted on a schedule determined by the committee and shall include all the following information:

(A)  a description of the mission and programs relating to preparing individuals for employment and meeting the needs of employers for skilled workers;

(B)  the measurable accomplishments that have contributed to achieving the overarching goals;

(C)  identification of any innovations made to improve delivery of services;

(D)  future plans that will contribute to the achievement of the goals;

(E)  the successes of programs to establish working partnerships and collaborations with other organizations that reduce duplication or enhance the delivery of services, or both; and

(F)  any other information that the committee may deem necessary and relevant.

(3)  reviewing information pursuant to subdivision (2) of this section that is voluntary provided by education and training organizations that are not required to report this information but want recognition for their contributions; 

(4)  issuing an annual report to the governor and the general assembly on or before December 1, which shall include a systematic evaluation of the accomplishments of the system and the participating agencies and institutions and all the following:

(A)  a compilation of the systemwide accomplishments made toward achieving the overarching goals, specific notable accomplishments, innovations, collaborations, grants received, or new funding sources developed by participating agencies, institutions, and other education and training organizations;

(B)  an evaluation of each provider’s contributions toward achieving the overarching goals;

(C)  identification of areas needing improvement, including time frames, expected annual participation, and contributions, and the overarching goals; and

(D)  recommendations for the allocating of next generation funds and other public resources.

(5)  developing an integrated workforce strategy that incorporates economic development, workforce development, and education to provide all Vermonters with the best education and training available in order to create a strong, appropriate, and sustainable economic environment that supports a healthy state economy; and

(6)  developing strategies for both the following:

(A)  coordination of public and private workforce programs to assure that information is easily accessible to students, employees, and employers, and that all information and necessary counseling is available through one contact; and

(B)  more effective communications between the business community and educational institutions, both public and private.

     Fourth:  By adding a new section to be numbered Sec. 6a to read as follows:

* * * Sustainable Funding * * *

Sec. 6a.  WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT SUSTAINABLE FUNDING COMMITTEE; CREATION; DURATION

(a)  The workforce development sustainable funding committee is created consisting of eight members to include three business members from the workforce development council appointed by the council executive committee, one business representative appointed by the senate president pro tempore, one business representative appointed by the speaker of the house, and three business members who represent business organizations appointed by the governor.  The committee shall make a recommendation regarding new sustainable long‑term funding sources to support the future funding needed to support adequately ongoing workforce development efforts.  The governor, speaker, and president pro tempore jointly shall select the chair from the members of the committee.

(b)  The committee shall perform a comprehensive review of workforce development funding strategies that have been used successfully in other states and countries and determine which, if any, are suitable and workable for Vermont.

(c)  The committee shall report its findings and recommendations to the senate committee on economic development, housing and general affairs, the house committee on commerce, and the governor on or before December 1, 2007.

(d)  The joint fiscal office and legislative council shall provide administrative support to the committee.  The committee may request administrative support from the department of taxes, the department of finance and management, or the workforce development council and other agencies as required.

Fifth:  By adding a new section to be numbered Sec. 6b to read as follows:

Sec. 6b.  WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT; REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION; EMPLOYER CASH INCENTIVES; STUDY 

(a)  The commissioners of labor and of economic development, in consultation with the executive directors of the regional development corporations shall study the advantages of creating a program that offers cash incentives to encourage workforce development.  The study shall examine all the following issues:

(1)  benefits and likely outcomes of cash incentives;

(2)  how these incentives would be delivered, to whom, and when;

(3)  long‑term funding sources if cash incentives are determined to be beneficial;

(4)  criteria for offering cash incentives;

(5)  methods for assuring accountability;

(6)  any other issue determined to be relevant to this proposal; and

(7)  sustainable funding sources.    

(b)  The commissioners shall issue a written report of recommendations to the house committee on commerce and the senate committee on economic development, housing and general affairs on or before December 1, 2007.     

     Sixth:  By adding five  new sections to be numbered Sec. 6c, Sec. 6d, Sec. 6e, Sec. 6f, and Sec. 6g  to read as follows:

Sec 6c.  CAREER READINESS CERTIFICATE; PILOT PROJECTS

(a)  The commissioner of labor may create up to two pilot career readiness certificate programs and use up to $6,000.00 of the funds appropriated to the department from workforce education and training fund.  The pilot programs shall be with a regional technical center or comprehensive high school providing technical education as defined in 16 V.S.A. § 1522 or any workforce training program.  In developing the pilot projects, the commissioner shall consult with the department of education, the workforce development council to identify a nationally validated a work readiness assessment program that identifies levels of proficiency in specific academic, technical, and work‑ethic skills at the beginning of the training program and at the conclusion of the program.  The commissioner may accept in‑kind contributions or grants, or both, from private and public sources to assist with the implementation of the pilot projects. 

(b)  On or before December 15, 2008, the commissioner shall report to the governor, the house committees on commerce and on education, and the senate committees on economic development, housing and general affairs and on education the effectiveness of the pilot projects, together with recommendations for further development of the career readiness certificate program.  On or before January 15, 2008, the commissioner may provide a status report or preliminary results of these pilot programs. 

* * * Job Start Program* * *

Sec. 6d.  FINDINGS AND PURPOSE

(a)  The general assembly finds:

(1)  Beginning in 2002 the Job Start board began a process of evaluation and consultation with stakeholders to chart a course of sustainability and relevancy for the Job Start program.

(2)  As part of this process, in January 2005, the Vermont economic development authority (VEDA) and Central Vermont Community Action Council jointly funded a report, Job Start Analysis and Recommendations, by consultant Sleeping Lion Associates.  The report found:  “Statewide access to flexible character-based lending is both desirable and needed for microenterprises.”  One of the recommendations for making Job Start viable and sustainable was that clear ownership and accountability for the entire program needed to rest in a single entity committed to providing credit and financial services to low income people.

(3)  After the report was presented to a meeting of stakeholders in June of 2005, the Community Capital of Vermont and Opportunities Credit Union expressed interest in administering Job Start. These two entities responded to a request for information sent out in October 2005, and, in January 2006, presented their proposals to the job start board.

(4)  In July 2006, the board approved a motion to ask Community Capital of Vermont in consultation with Opportunities Credit Union, the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) and the job start staff to develop a plan to restructure job start.

(5)  In September 2006, the board approved Community Capital’s proposal.

(b)  In response to the findings, the purpose of this section and sections 6e, 6f, and 6g is to ratify the recommendations of the Job Start Board to restructure the Job Start Program by moving the program from VEDA to OEO.  OEO shall contract with a nonprofit as the program administrator provided the nonprofit meets the criteria of 3 V.S.A. §3721(b) and has the recommendation of the Job Start Advisory Board and VEDA.

Sec. 6e.  3 V.S.A. chapter 57A is added to read:

CHAPTER 57A.  JOB START

§ 3721.  JOB START PROGRAM

(a)  There is created a job start program to provide assistance in the development of business plans and to administer a microenterprise loan program for low income applicants.

(b)(1)  The office of economic opportunity shall contract with a Vermont nonprofit organization to administer the job start program and manage the microenterprise loan program of the job start revolving loan fund.  The office of economic opportunity shall provide grants to the job start program administrator to manage the job start revolving loan fund.  The job start program administrator shall have all the following qualifications:

(A)  Be registered as a nonprofit with the secretary of state.

(B)  Be certified by the secretary of state as being in good standing. 

(C)  Be certified by the U.S. Department of the Treasury as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI).

(D)  Have experience managing municipal loan funds.

(E)  Have both the resources and a business plan sufficient to implement the job start revolving loan fund program statewide.

(F)  Be supported by the community action agency network as demonstrated by the Vermont community action directors’ association.

(2)  The job start program administrator shall administer the program in accordance with organizational policies and procedures approved by the office of economic opportunity.  These policies shall include specific provisions for the job start revolving loan fund program, including eligibility criteria based on an applicant’s income, interest rates for loans, and a loan maximum of $25,000.00 to any applicant.

(3)  The board of directors of the job start administrator shall include two members who are former borrowers from the job start revolving loan fund.  In order to ease the transition of the job start revolving loan fund program from the Vermont office of economic opportunity, the board of directors of the job start administrator shall also include one former job start advisory board member for one term.

(4)  The job start program administrator shall issue an annual report to the office of economic opportunity on loan fund activity and shall rate performance against the goals and standards as determined by the office of economic opportunity.  The report shall also be provided to the house committees on commerce and on appropriations and the senate committees on economic development, housing and general affairs and on appropriations.

(c)  Notwithstanding the foregoing, the office of economic opportunity may delegate to the job start program administrator the authority to review, approve, and make loans and to disburse funds on those loans up to the limits prescribed by the job start program administrator.  For purposes of this section, “loan” means a loan, or a financing lease, provided that such lease transfers the ownership of the leased property to the lessee following the payment of all required lease payments as specified in the lease agreement.

§ 3722.  REGIONAL MICROBUSINESS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS OPERATION

The office of economic opportunity shall provide grants to each community action agency for the microbusiness development program at each community action agency.  In the event that a community action agency is unable, as determined by the office of economic opportunity, or unwilling to perform the required services, the office of economic opportunity may provide grants to another qualified regional entity.

§ 3723.  JOB START REVOLVING LOAN FUND

(a)(1)  A job start revolving loan fund, the fund, is created as a special fund subject to the provisions of subchapter 5 of chapter 7 of Title 32.  The fund shall be administered by the office of economic opportunity for the purposes of the Vermont job start program, in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.

(2)  The fund shall be composed of any state or federal funds appropriated for the program, repayments of principal and interest of program loans, private monies related to the administration and operation of the job start program, grants received for the benefit of the program, funds arising from loans made to the fund by banks or other private sources not to exceed $500,000.00 in the aggregate, and any interest earned by deposits.  Notwithstanding subdivision 32 V.S.A. § 588(4)(A), monies may be disbursed from the fund for program purposes without an annual appropriation.

(b)  The liabilities or obligations of the office of economic opportunity with regard to its activities under the job start program shall not extend beyond the funds which are deposited in the job start revolving loan fund and shall not constitute a debt or pledge of the faith and credit of the state or any subdivision of the state.

Sec. 6f.  TRANSFER OF POWERS AND DUTIES AND ASSETS AND LIABILITIES

Repeal of  subchapter 7 of chapter 12 of Title 10 pursuant to which the job start program is administered by the Vermont economic development authority will be recodified to transfer the program to the Vermont office of economic opportunity in order to continue job start.  The powers and duties of the authority shall continue and shall be vested in the office of economic opportunity to the extent that they are not inconsistent with the provisions of this act.  The authority shall continue to operate the job start revolving loan fund program to the extent that it is not inconsistent with the provisions of this act until the office of economic opportunity has contracted for a job start program administrator.  The office of economic opportunity shall succeed to all the authority’s rights, assets, and liabilities relating to the job start program.  Funds in the job start revolving loan fund on June 30, 2007, shall be deposited into the revolving loan fund administered by the office of economic opportunity under 3 V.S.A. § 3723.

Sec. 6g.  OFFICE OF ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY GRANT FOR MICROENTERPRISE LENDING

After the effective date of this act, the office of economic opportunity may issue a one-time grant of no more than $40,000.00 from the job start revolving loan fund to a community development financial institution for the proposes of making microenterprise loans based on the same criteria and performance standards as the job start program.

Seventh:  By striking out Sec. 7 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 7 to read as follows:

Sec. 7.  APPROPRIATIONS

(a)  Workforce Development $5,400,000 as follows:

     (1)  WETF. The total sum of $2,200,000 is appropriated to the Vermont workforce education and training fund, which is administered by the department of labor, for workforce development. Of this appropriation, $900,000 is from the fiscal year 2007 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund, and $1,300,000 is from the fiscal year 2008 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund. This appropriation is supplemental to funds appropriated in the fiscal year 2008 appropriations act. Up to 7% of the funds may be used for administration of the program.

(2)  Vermont employment training fund.  The sum of $1,200,000 is appropriated to the agency of commerce and community development.  Of this appropriation, $550,000 is from the fiscal 2007 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund and $650,000 is from the fiscal year 2008 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund. This appropriation is for the Vermont employment training fund for the issuance of grants pursuant to 10 V.S.A. § 531 and is supplemental to funds appropriated in the fiscal year 2008 appropriations act.

     (3)  Career And Alternative Workforce Education.  The amount of $900,000 is appropriated to the department of labor. Of this appropriation, $450,000 is from the fiscal year 2007 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund, and $450,000 is from the fiscal year 2008 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund. This appropriation shall be to support out-of-school youth, youth at risk, and youth at risk of remaining unemployed with outcomes that lead to employment or continued education as follows:

          (A) Forty-five percent (45%) shall be for grants to regional technical centers, comprehensive high schools, and other programs for career exploration programs for students entering grades 7 through 12.

          (B) Fifty-five percent (55%) shall be for grants to regional technical centers, comprehensive high schools, the community high school of Vermont, and non-profit organizations, designated by the workforce development council, for alternative and intensive vocational/academic programs for secondary students in order to earn necessary credits toward graduation.

     (4)  Adult Technical Education Programs.  The amount of $900,000 is appropriated to the department of labor, working with the workforce development council. Of this appropriation, $450,000 is from the fiscal year 2007 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund, and $450,000 is from the fiscal year 2008 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund. This appropriation is for the purpose of awarding grants to regional technical centers and comprehensive high schools to provide adult technical education, as that term is defined in 16 V.S.A. §1522, to unemployed and underemployed Vermont adults.

          (5) UVM Technology Transfer Program. The amount of $200,000 is appropriated to the University of Vermont from the fiscal year 2008 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund. This appropriation is for patent development and commercialization of technology created at the university for the purpose of creating employment opportunities for Vermont residents.

     (b)  Loan Repayment $500,000 as follows;

          (1)  The total sum of $500,000 is appropriated to the agency of human services global commitment for the department of health to use for healthcare loan repayment. Of this appropriation, $50,000 is from the fiscal year 2007 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund, and $450,000 is from the fiscal year 2008 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund. The department shall use these funds for a grant to the area health education centers (AHEC) for repayment of commercial or governmental loans for postsecondary health care-related education or training owed by persons living and working in Vermont in the health care field.

(c)  Scholarships and Grants $6,100,000 as follows;

          (1)  Non-degree VSAC Grants. The amount of $1,000,000 is appropriated to the Vermont student assistance corporation. Of this appropriation, $300,000 is from the fiscal year 2007 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund, and $700,000 is from the fiscal year 2008 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund. This appropriations shall be for the purpose of providing non-degree grants to Vermonters to improve job skills and increase overall employability by enrolling in a post-secondary education or training program, including adult-technical education that is not part of a degree or accredited certificate program using the model was used in fiscal 2007. A portion of this appropriation shall be used for grants for indirect educational expenses to students enrolled in training programs. The grants shall not exceed $3,000 per student.  None of this appropriation shall be used for administrative overhead. These funds shall supplement other funds made available for this purpose from the omnibus appropriations act for fiscal year 2008.

          (2) The total sum of $4,700,000 is appropriated for scholarships. Of this appropriation, $2,200,000 is from the fiscal year 2007 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund, and $2,500,000 is from the fiscal year 2008 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund. These funds shall be equally distributed to the university of Vermont, the Vermont state colleges and the Vermont student assistance corporation. The Vermont student assistance corporation shall reserve these funds for student attending institutions other than the university of Vermont or the Vermont state colleges. This appropriation shall be for the purpose of awarding need-based scholarships for Vermont residents. None of this appropriation shall be used for administrative overhead.

          (3) Dual Enrollment Programs.  The total sum of $400,000 is appropriated to the Vermont state colleges for dual enrollment programs. Of the total amount appropriated in this subsection, $100,000 is from the fiscal 2007 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund, and $300,000 is from the fiscal 2008 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund. The state colleges shall develop a voucher program that will allow Vermont students to attend programs at post secondary institutions other than the state college system when programs at the other institution are better academically or geographically suited to student need.

               (d)  Accountability.  On or before March 15, 2008, the entities receiving appropriations under this section shall report to the house committees on commerce, education, and appropriations and the senate committees on economic development, housing and general affairs, education, and appropriations regarding the distribution of funds, the number and categories of students served, the categorical number and amount of scholarships and grants distributed, the geographic distribution of the funds and the number and types of jobs created.

     (e) The appropriations in this section that are funded through the fiscal year 2007 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund shall be effective on passage.

Eighth:  By striking out Sec. 8 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 8 to read as follows:

Sec. 8.  REPEAL

The following are repealed.

(1)  Sec. 157a(d) of No. 62 of the Acts of 1999, as amended by Sec. 14 of No. 212 of the Acts of the 2005 Adj. Sess. (2006) (workforce education and training fund).

(2)  Subchapter 7 of chapter 12 of Title 10 (job start program).

     Thereupon Rep. Kupersmith of Burlington moved that the House concur with the Senate proposal of amendment with a further amendment thereto, as follows:

First:  In Sec. 4, in (f)(1) by striking subdivision (E) and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

(E)  Do not duplicate, supplant, or replace other available programs funded with public money.

Second:  In Sec. 6, by striking the first paragraph and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

 The commissioner of labor shall be the leader of workforce development strategy and accountability. The commissioner of labor shall consult with and chair a subcommittee of the workforce development council consisting of the secretary of human services, the commissioner of economic development, the commissioner of education, four business members appointed by the governor, and a higher education member appointed by the governor.  Membership on the subcommittee shall be coincident with the members’ terms on the workforce development council.  The workforce development council shall provide administrative support.  The subcommittee shall assist the leader.  The duties of the leader include all the following:

Third:  In Sec. 6a, by striking subsections (a), (b), and (c) and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

(a)  The workforce development sustainable funding committee is created consisting of eight members to include three business members from the workforce development council appointed by the council executive committee, one business representative appointed by the senate president pro tempore, one business representative appointed by the speaker of the house, and three business members who represent business organizations appointed by the governor.  The committee shall identify sources of sustainable long term funding to adequately support ongoing workforce development efforts.  The governor, speaker, and president pro tempore jointly shall select the chair from the members of the committee.

(b)  The committee shall perform a comprehensive review of workforce development funding strategies that have been used successfully in other states and countries and identify which, if any, are suitable and workable for Vermont.

(c)  The committee shall report its findings to the senate committee on economic development, housing and general affairs, the house committee on commerce, and the governor on or before December 1, 2007.

Fourth:  In Sec. 6c in subsection (a) in the third sentence by striking out the words “department of education, the workforce development”  and inserting in lieu thereof the words “department of education and the workforce development” and by deleting the “a” that appears after the words “validated work”  and before the word “readiness

     Which was agreed to.

     On motion of Rep. Sunderland of Rutland Town, the rules were suspended and the bill was ordered messaged to the Senate forthwith.

Message from the Senate No. 77

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

Madam Speaker:

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

S. 97.  An act relating to correctional facilities.

And has concurred therein with an amendment in the passage 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. 164.  An act relating to campaign finance.

And has concurred therein.

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

J.R.H. 34.  Joint resolution designating the month of June as Vermont birding month.

And has adopted the same in concurrence.

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

And has accepted and adopted the same on its part.

Report of Committee of Conference Adopted

H. 520

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 House bill, entitled

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

Respectfully reports that it has met and considered the same and recommends that the Senate recede from its proposals of amendment and that the bill be amended by striking it in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Sec. 1.  DESIGNATION OF ACT

This act shall be referred to as “the Vermont energy efficiency and affordability act.”

Sec. 2.  LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS

The general assembly finds that:

(1)  Global climate change, which is threatening our environment and perhaps ultimately our existence, has been caused in part by an energy policy that is largely dependent on the burning of fossil fuels.

(2)  In order to slow or stop climate change, it is essential that we reduce or eliminate our dependency on fossil fuels by significantly improving energy efficiency and shifting to nonpolluting benign forms of energy such as wind, sun, and water power.

(3)  In order for Vermont to meet the greenhouse gas reduction goals set by the conference of the New England governors and Eastern Canadian premiers’ climate change action plan, Vermont needs to provide effective weatherization services, new funding strategies, green building practices, and installation of renewable energy systems.

(4)  The “Vermont energy efficiency potential study for non‑regulated fuels” recently completed by the department of public service indicates that Vermont has cost‑effective potential energy savings of $486 million over the next ten years with 63 percent of those savings from building shell improvements. 

(5)  Although workforce development in the field of green building, renewable energy, and energy efficiency is an essential component of the battle to combat global climate change, there are few trained applicants to fill the new well‑paying jobs being created in this field.

(6)  The “Next Generation” report stated that Vermont must implement strategies to expand its skilled workforce and approach the future by integrating economic development, workforce development, and education policies.

* * * Renewable Energy Goal * * *

Sec. 3.  10 V.S.A. § 579 is added to read:

§ 579.  25 BY 25 STATE GOAL

(a)  It is a goal of the state, by the year 2025, to produce 25 percent of the energy consumed within the state through the use of renewable energy sources, particularly from Vermont’s farms and forests.

(b)  By no later than January 15, 2008, the commissioner of public service, in consultation with the secretary of agriculture, food and markets and the commissioner of forests, parks and recreation, shall present to the committees on agriculture and natural resources and energy of the general assembly a plan for attaining this goal.  Plan updates shall be presented no less frequently than every three years, thereafter, and a progress report shall be due annually on January 15.

(c)  By no later than January 15, 2008, the department of public service shall present to the legislative committees on natural resources and energy an updated comprehensive energy plan which shall give due consideration to the public engagement process required under 30 V.S.A. § 254 and under Sec. 2 of No. 208 of the Acts of the 2005 Adj. Sess. (2006).  By that time, the department of public service shall incorporate plans adopted under this section into the state comprehensive energy plan adopted under 30 V.S.A. § 202b.

* * * Act 250 Definition of Farming * * *

Sec. 4.  10 V.S.A. § 6001(22) is amended to read:

(22)  “Farming” means:

(A)  the cultivation or other use of land for growing food, fiber, Christmas trees, maple sap, or horticultural and orchard crops; or

(B)  the raising, feeding, or management of livestock, poultry, fish, or bees; or

(C)  the operation of greenhouses; or

(D)  the production of maple syrup; or

(E)  the on‑site storage, preparation and sale of agricultural products principally produced on the farm; or

(F)  the on‑site storage, preparation, production, and sale of fuel or power from agricultural products or wastes principally produced on the farm; or

(G)  the raising, feeding, or management of four or more equines owned or boarded by the farmer, including training, showing, and providing instruction and lessons in riding, training, and the management of equines.

* * * Agriculture Development Funds * * *

Sec. 5.  6 V.S.A. § 4710(g)(3) is amended to read:

(3)  Assistance from the agricultural economic development special account shall be available for:

(A)  Business and technical assistance for research and planning to aid a farmer or a group of farmers in developing business enterprises that harvest biomass, convert biomass to energy, or produce biofuel;

(B)  Implementation Cost‑effective implementation assistance to leverage other sources of capital to assist a farmer or group of farmers in purchasing equipment, technology, or other assistance to produce agricultural energy, harvest biomass, or convert biomass into energy, or enable installation and usage of wind, solar, or other technology that relies on a resource that is being consumed at a harvest rate at or below its natural regeneration rate pursuant to 30 V.S.A. § 8002(2); and

* * *

* * * Commercial Building Energy Standards * * *

Sec. 6.  21 V.S.A. § 268 is amended to read:

§ 268.  COMMERCIAL BUILDING ENERGY STANDARDS

(a)  Definitions.  For purposes of this subchapter, “commercial buildings” means all buildings that are not residential buildings as defined in subdivision 266(a)(2) of this title or farm structures as defined in 24 V.S.A. § 4413.

(1)  The following commercial buildings, or portions of those buildings, separated from the remainder of the building by thermal envelope assemblies complying with this section shall be exempt from the building thermal envelope provisions of the standards:

(A)  Those that do not contain conditioned space.

(B)  Those with a peak design rate of energy usage less than an amount specified in the commercial building energy standards (CBES) adopted under subsection (b) of this section.

(2)  These standards shall not apply to equipment or portions of building energy systems that use energy primarily to provide for industrial, or manufacturing, or commercial processes.

(b)  Adoption of commercial building energy standards.  Commercial building construction with respect to which no state or any local building permit application or application for construction plan approval by the commissioner of public safety pursuant to 20 V.S.A. chapter 173 has been submitted on or after January 1, 2007 shall be designed and constructed in substantial compliance with the standards contained in the 2005 Vermont Guidelines for Energy Efficient Commercial Construction, as those standards may be amended by administrative rule adopted by the commissioner of public service.

(c)  Revision and interpretation of energy standards.  On or about January 1, 2009, and at least every three years thereafter, the commissioner of public service shall amend and update the CBES by means of administrative rules adopted in accordance with 3 V.S.A. chapter 25.  At least a year prior to final adoption of each required revision of the CBES, the department of public service shall convene an advisory committee to include one or more mortgage lenders,; builders,; building designers,; architects; civil, mechanical, and electrical engineers; utility representatives,; and other persons with experience and expertise, such as consumer advocates and energy conservation experts.  The advisory committee may provide the commissioner of public service with additional recommendations for revision of the CBES.

(1)  Any amendments to the CBES shall be:

(A)  Consistent with duly adopted state energy policy, as specified in 30 V.S.A. § 202a.

(B)  Evaluated relative to their technical applicability and reliability.

(2)  Each time the CBES are amended by the commissioner of public service, the amended CBES shall become effective upon a date specified in the adopted rule, a date that shall not be less than three months after the date of adoption.  Persons submitting an application for any state or local permit authorizing commercial construction, or an application for construction plan approval by the commissioner of public safety pursuant to 20 V.S.A. chapter 173, before the effective date of the amended CBES shall have the option of complying with the applicable provisions of the earlier or the amended CBES.  After the effective date of the original or the amended CBES, any person submitting such an application for any state or local permit authorizing commercial construction in an area subject to the CBES shall comply with the most recent version of the CBES.

(3)  The advisory committee convened under this subsection, in preparing for the CBES updates, shall advise the department of public service with respect to the coordination of the CBES amendments with existing and proposed demand‑side management programs offered in the state.

(4)  The commissioner of public service is authorized to adopt rules interpreting and implementing the CBES.

(5)  The commissioner of public service may grant written variances or exemptions from the CBES or rules adopted under this section where strict compliance would entail practical difficulty or unnecessary hardship, or is otherwise found unwarranted, provided that:

(A)  Any such variance or exemption shall be consistent with state energy policy, as specified in 30 V.S.A. § 202a.

(B)  Any petitioner for such a variance or exemption can demonstrate that the methods, means, or practices proposed to be taken in lieu of compliance with the rule or rules provide, in the opinion of the commissioner, equal energy efficiency to that attained by compliance with the rule or rules.

(C)  A copy of any such variance or exemption shall be recorded by the petitioner in the land records of the city or town in which the building is located.

(D)  A record of each variance or exemption shall be maintained by the commissioner, together with the certifications received by the commissioner.

(d)  Certification requirement.  Commercial

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

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

(3)  Any person certifying under this subsection shall provide a copy of the person’s certificate and any accompanying affidavit to the department of public service.

(4)  A certificate issued pursuant to subdivision (1) of this subsection and a certificate issued pursuant to subdivision (2) of this subsection shall be conditions precedent to issuance by the commissioner of public safety (or a municipal official acting under 20 V.S.A. § 2736) of any final occupancy permit required by the rules of the commissioner of public safety for use or occupancy of a commercial building that is also a public building as defined in 20 V.S.A. § 2730(a).

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

(1)  Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, a person aggrieved by noncompliance with this section another person’s breach of that other person’s representations contained in a certification or supporting affidavit issued or received as provided under subsection (d) of this section, within ten years after the earlier of completion of construction or occupancy of the affected commercial building or portion of that building, may bring a civil action in superior court against a person who has the an obligation of certifying compliance under subsection (d) of this section alleging breach of the representations contained in that person’s certification.  This action may seek injunctive relief, damages arising from the aggrieved party’s reliance on the accuracy of those representations, court costs, and reasonable attorneys’ fees in an amount to be determined by the court.  As used in this subdivision, “damages” means:

(A)  includes costs incidental to increased energy consumption; and

(B)  labor, materials, and other expenses associated with bringing the structure into compliance with CBES in effect on the date construction was commenced.

(2)  A person’s failure to affix the certification as required by this section shall not be an affirmative defense in such an action against the person.

(3)  The rights and remedies created by this section shall not be construed to limit any rights and remedies otherwise provided by law.

(4)  The right of action established in this subsection may not be waived by contract or other agreement.

(5)  It shall be a defense to an action under this subsection that either at the time of completion or at any time thereafter, the commercial building or portion of building covered by a certificate under subsection (d) of this section, as actually constructed, met or exceeded the overall performance standards established in the CBES in effect on the date construction was commenced.

(f)  Violation of section State or local enforcements.  Any person who falsely certifies knowingly makes a false certification under subsection (d) of this section, or any builder party who fails to certify under subsection (d) of this section when required to do so, shall be subject to a civil penalty of not more than $250.00 per day, up to $10,000.00 for each year the violation continuesEach violation shall constitute a separate offense, and each day that the violation continues shall constitute a separate offense.

(g)  Title validity not affected.  A defect in marketable title shall not be created by a failure to record a variance or exemption pursuant to subdivision (c)(5) of this section, by a failure to issue certification or a certificate, as required under subsection (d) of this section, or by a failure under that subsection to:  affix a certificate; or provide a copy of a certificate to the department of public service; or record and index a certificate in the town records.

* * * Smart Metering * * *

Sec. 7.  SMART METERING INVESTIGATION

(a)  The public service board shall investigate opportunities for Vermont electric utilities cost‑effectively to install advanced “smart” metering equipment capable of sending two‑way signals and sufficient to support advanced time‑of‑use pricing during periods of critical peaks or hourly differentiated time‑of‑use pricing. 

(b)  The scope of the investigation shall include the following:

(1)  The current status of implementing either advanced time‑of‑use rate designs or advanced metering by Vermont utilities.

(2)  Analysis of experience from other state jurisdictions and individual utility experience in planning and implementing programs that promote advanced time‑of‑use rate designs or advanced metering.

(3)  Opportunities for exploring ways to design pilot programs and share experience among Vermont utilities with the deployment of advanced meters and rate designs.

(4)  Analysis of all costs and benefits of installing advanced metering equipment, giving due consideration to the circumstances that differentiate Vermont utilities.

(5)  Analysis of opportunities for reducing rates in the short and long term or mitigating rate impacts of investments in advanced metering and ancillary equipment through advanced time‑of‑use rate designs enabled by these investments.

(6)  Analysis of constraints or barriers to implementing this subsection, or opportunities presented by further deferring plans or commitments toward advanced metering equipment or rates.

(7)  Analysis of all supporting and ancillary equipment, equipment standards, and efficiency programs necessary to ensure that customers are adequately and effectively empowered to use and respond cost‑effectively to price signals made possible through advanced metering equipment.

(c)  After investigation, in utility territories where the board concludes it appropriate and cost‑effective, the board shall require each Vermont utility to file plans for investment and deployment of appropriate technologies and plans and strategies for implementing advanced pricing with a goal of ensuring that all ratepayer classes have an opportunity to receive and participate effectively in advanced time‑of‑use pricing plans.

(d)  By January 15, 2008, the public service board shall report to the senate and house committees on natural resources and energy with regard to interim progress in its investigation and measures already implemented under this section.

(e)  By June 15, 2008, the board shall issue a final report and plan for implementation. 

* * * Conservation Rates * * *

Sec. 8.  30 V.S.A. § 218(b) is amended to read:

(b)  The department of public service shall propose, and the board through the establishment of rates of return, rates, tolls, charges, or schedules shall encourage the implementation by electric and gas utilities of energy‑efficiency and load management measures which will be cost‑effective for the utilities and their customers on a life cycle cost basis.  The board shall approve rate designs to encourage the efficient use of natural gas and electricity, including consideration of the creation of an inclining block rate structure for residential rate customers with an initial block of low‑cost power available to all residences. 

(1)  To implement the requirements of this subsection, the public service board shall host one or more workshops to examine the following:

(A)  the parameters for residential inclining block rate designs;

(B)  alternative rate designs, such as critical peak pricing programs or more widespread use of time‑of‑day rates, that would encourage more efficient use of electricity;

(C)  the possible inclusion of exemptions from otherwise applicable inclining block rates or rate designs to encourage efficiency for situations in which special health needs or another extraordinary situation presents such a significant demand for electricity that the board determines use of those rates would cause undue financial hardship for the customer;

(2)  By June 15, 2008, the board shall issue a report and plan for implementation based upon the results of its investigation.  The plan shall require each retail company to upgrade its rates as necessary to implement  new rate designs appropriate to encourage efficient energy use, which shall include residential inclining block rates, if the board determines that those rates would be appropriate, by a specified date, or as part of its next rate‑related appearance before the board, or according to a timetable otherwise specified by the board.  In implementing these rate designs, the board shall consider the appropriateness of phasing in the rate design changes to allow large users of energy a reasonable opportunity to employ methods of conservation and energy efficiency in advance of the full effect of the changes.

* * * Net Metering * * *

Sec. 9.  30 V.S.A. § 219a is amended to read:

§ 219a.  SELF‑GENERATION AND NET METERING

(a)  As used in this section:

(1)  “Customer” means a retail electric consumer who uses a net metering system.

(2)  “Net metering” means measuring the difference between the electricity supplied to a customer and the electricity fed back by a net metering system during the customer’s billing period:

(A)  using a single, nondemand meter or such other meter that would otherwise be applicable to the customer’s usage but for the use of net metering; or

(B)  on farm or group systems, using multiple meters as specified in this chapter.  The calculation will be made by converting all meters to a nondemand, nontime‑of‑day meter, and equalizing them to the tariffed kilowatt‑hour rate.

(3)  “Net metering system” means a facility for generation of electricity that:

(A)  is of no more than 15 150 kilowatts (AC) capacity, or is a farm system;

* * *

(E)(i)  employs a renewable energy source as defined in subdivision 8002(2) of this title; or

(ii)  is a qualified micro‑combined heat and power system of 20 kilowatts or fewer that meets the definition of combined heat and power in 10 V.S.A. § 6523(b) and may use any fuel source that meets air quality standards.

(4)  “Farm system” means a facility of no more than 150 250 kilowatts (AC) output capacity, except as provided in subdivision (k)(5) of this section, that generates electric energy on a farm operated by a person principally engaged in the business of farming, as that term is defined in Regulation 1.175‑3 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, from the anaerobic digestion of agricultural products, byproducts, or wastes, or other renewable sources as defined in subdivision (3)(E) of this subsection, intended to offset the meters designated under subdivision (g)(1)(A) of this section on the farm or has entered into a contract as specified in subsection (k) of this section.

(b)  A customer shall pay the same rates, fees, or other payments and be subject to the same conditions and requirements as all other purchasers from the electric company in the same rate‑class, except as provided for in this section, and except for appropriate and necessary conditions approved by the board for the safety and reliability of the electric distribution system.

* * *

(f)  Consistent with the other provisions of this title, electric energy measurement for net metering farm or group net metering systems shall be calculated in the following manner:

(1)  Net metering customers that are farm or group net metering systems may credit on‑site generation against all meters designated to the farm system or group net metering system under subdivision (g)(1)(A) of this section.

(2)  Electric energy measurement for farm or group net metering systems shall be calculated by subtracting total usage of all meters included in the farm or group net metering system from total generation by the farm or group net metering system.  If the electricity generated by the farm or group net metering system is less than the total usage of all meters included in the farm or group net metering system during the billing period, the farm or group net metering system shall be credited for any accumulated kilowatt‑hour credit and then billed for the net electricity supplied by the electric company, in accordance with the procedures in subsection (g) of this section.

(3)  If electricity generated by the farm or group net metering system exceeds the electricity supplied by the electric company:

(A)  The farm or group net metering system shall be billed for the appropriate charges for each meter for that month, in accordance with subsection (b) of this section.

(B)  Excess kilowatt‑hours generated during the billing period shall be added to the accumulated balance with this kilowatt‑hour credit appearing on the bill for the following billing period.

(C)  Any accumulated kilowatt‑hour credits shall be used within 12 months or shall revert to the electric company without any compensation to the farm or group net metering system.  Power reverting to the electric company under this subdivision (3) shall be considered SPEED resources under section 8005 of this title.

(g)(1)  In addition to any other requirements of section 248 of this title and this section and board rules thereunder, before a net metering farm or group net metering system including more than one meter may be formed and served by an electric company, the proposed net metering farm or group net metering system shall file with the board, with copies to the department and the serving electric company, the following information:

(A)  the meters to be included in the farm or group net metering system, which shall be associated with the farm buildings and residences owned or occupied by the person operating the farm or group net metering system, or the person’s family or farm employees, or other members of the group, identified by account number and location;

(B)  a method for adding and removing meters included in the farm or group net metering system;

(C)  a designated person responsible for all communications from the farm or group net metering system to the serving electric company, for receiving and paying bills for any service provided by the serving electric company for the farm or group net metering system, and for receiving any other communications regarding the farm or group net metering system net metering; and

(D)  a binding process for the resolution of any disputes within the farm or group net metering system relating to net metering that does not rely on the serving electric company, the board, or the department.

(2)  The farm or group net metering system shall, at all times, maintain a written designation to the serving electric company of a person who shall be the sole person authorized to receive and pay bills for any service provided by the serving electric company, and for receiving to receive any other communications regarding the farm system, the group net metering system, or net metering.

(3)  The serving utility shall implement appropriate changes to the farm system or group net metering system within 30 days after receiving written notification from the designated person.  However, written notification of a change in the person designated under subdivision (2) of this subsection shall be effective upon receipt by the serving utility.  The serving utility shall not be liable for action based on such notification, but shall make any necessary corrections and bill adjustments to implement revised notifications.

(4)  Pursuant to subsection 231(a) of this title, after such notice and opportunity for hearing as the board may require, the board may revoke a certificate of public good issued to a farm or group net metering system.

(5)  A group net metering system may consist only of customers that are located within the service area of the same electric company.  Various buildings owned by a municipality may constitute a group net metering system.  If it determines that it would promote the general good, the board shall permit a noncontiguous group of net metering customers to comprise a group net metering system.

(h)(1)  An electric company:

(A)  Shall make net metering available to any customer using a net metering system, group net metering system, or farm system on a first‑come, first‑served basis until the cumulative output capacity of net metering systems equals 1.0 2.0 percent of the distribution company’s peak demand during 1996; or the peak demand during the most recent full calendar year, whichever is greater.  The board may raise the 1.0 2.0 percent cap.  In determining whether to raise the cap, the board shall consider the following:

(i)  the costs and benefits of net metering systems already connected to the system; and

(ii)  the potential costs and benefits of exceeding the cap, including potential short and long‑term impacts on rates, distribution system costs and benefits, reliability and diversification costs and benefits;

(B)  Shall allow net metering systems to be interconnected using a kilowatt‑hour meter capable of registering the flow of electricity in two directions or such other comparably equipped meter that would otherwise be applicable to the customer’s usage but for the use of net metering;

(C)  May, at its own expense, and with the written consent of the customer, install one or more additional meters to monitor the flow of electricity in each direction;

(D)  Shall Except as otherwise provided in this section, shall charge the customer a minimum monthly fee that is the same as for other customers of the electric distribution company in the same rate class, but shall not charge the customer any additional standby, capacity, interconnection, or other fee or charge;

(E)  May require a customer to comply with generation interconnection, safety, and reliability requirements, as determined by the public service board by rule or order, and may charge reasonable fees for interconnection, establishment, special metering, meter reading, accounting, account correcting, and account maintenance of net metering arrangements of greater than 15 kilowatt (AC) capacity;

(F)  May charge, if the capacity of the distribution system is insufficient for the designed generation, subject to determination by the board, a reasonable fee to cover the cost of electric company improvements necessary to distribute power;

(G)  May require that all meters included within a farm or group net metering system be read on the same billing cycle;

(H)  May book and defer, with carrying costs, additional incremental costs, to the extent that such costs are not recovered through charges, authorized in subdivisions (D), (E), and (F) of this subdivision (1), directly related to implementing net metering of greater than 15 kilowatt (AC) capacity;

(I)  Shall receive from a farm system, which is designed to produce less energy than the total annual load of the meters identified in subdivision (g)(1)(A) of this section, any tradeable renewable credits for which the farm  system is eligible.  All other farm systems shall retain any tradeable renewable credits for which the farm is eligible;.

(2)  All such requirements shall be pursuant to and governed by a tariff approved by the board and any applicable board rule, which tariffs and rules shall be designed in a manner reasonably likely to facilitate net metering.

* * *

(j)  Notwithstanding the provisions of this section that define a net metering system as being of no more than 15 150 kilowatts (AC) capacity, the board may allow net metering for up to ten systems per year for customers that produce more than 15 150 kilowatts (AC) capacity, but do not produce more than 150 250 kilowatts of power and are not farm systems.

(k)  Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections (f) and (g) of this section, an electric company may contract to purchase all or a portion of the output products from a farm or group net metering system, provided:

(1)  the farm or group net metering system obtains a certificate of public good under the terms of subsections (c) and (d) of this section;

(2)  any contracted power shall be subject to the limitations set forth in subdivision (h)(1) of this section;

(3)  any contract shall be subject to interconnection and metering requirements in subdivisions (h)(1)(C) and (i)(2) and (3) of this section;

(4)  any contract may permit all or a portion of the tradeable renewable energy credits for which the farm or group net metering system is eligible to be transferred to the electric company;

(5)  the output capacity of a system may exceed 150 250 kilowatts, provided:

(A)  the contract assigns the amount of power to be net metered;

(B)  the net metered amount does not exceed 150 250 kilowatts; and

(C)  only the amount assigned to net metering is assessed to the cap provided in subdivision (h)(1)(A) of this section.

Sec. 10.  32 V.S.A. § 3845 is amended to read:

§ 3845.  Alternate energy sources

* * *

(b)  For the purposes of this section alternate energy sources includes any plant, structure or facility used for the generation of electricity or production of energy used on the premises for private, domestic or agricultural purposes, no part of which may be for sale or exchange to the public.  The term shall include, but not be limited to grist mills, windmills, facilities for the collection of solar energy or the conversion of organic matter to methane, net metering systems regulated by the public service board under 30 V.S.A. § 219a, and all component parts thereof including land upon which the facility is located, not to exceed one‑half acre.

* * * Temporary Meteorological Stations * * *

Sec. 11.  30 V.S.A. § 246 is added to read:

§ 246.  TEMPORARY SITING OF METEOROLOGICAL STATIONS

(a)  For purposes of this section, a “meteorological station” consists of one temporary tower, which may include guy wires, and attached instrumentation to collect and record wind speed, wind direction, and atmospheric conditions.

(b)  The public service board shall establish by rule or order standards and procedures governing application for, and issuance or revocation of, a certificate of public good for the temporary installation of one or more meteorological stations under the provisions of section 248 of this title.  A meteorological station shall be deemed to promote the public good of the state if it is in compliance with the criteria of this section and the board rules or orders.  An applicant for a certificate of public good for a meteorological station shall be exempt from the requirements of subsection 202(f) of this title.

(c)  In developing rules or orders, the board:

(1)  Shall develop a simple application form and shall require that completed applications be filed with the board, the department of public service, the agency of natural resources, and the municipality in which the meteorological station is proposed to be located.

(2)  Shall require that if no objections are filed within 30 days of the board’s receipt of a complete application and the board determines that the applicant has met all of the requirements of section 248 of this title, the certificate of public good shall be issued for a period that the board finds reasonable, but in no event for more than five years.  Upon request of an applicant, the board may renew a certificate of public good.  Upon expiration of the certificate, the meteorological station and all associated structures and material shall be removed, and the site shall be restored substantially to its preconstruction condition.

(3)  May waive the requirements of section 248 of this title that are not applicable to meteorological stations, including criteria that are generally applicable to public service companies as defined in this title.  The board shall not waive review regarding whether construction will have an undue adverse effect on esthetics, historic sites, air and water purity, the natural environment, and the public health and safety.

(4)  Shall seek to simplify the application and review process, as appropriate, in conformance with this section.

(d)  A proposal for decision shall be issued within five months of when the board receives a completed application for a certificate of public good for the temporary installation of one or more meteorological stations under the provisions of section 248 of this title.

* * * Renewable Energy Pricing and Portfolio Standards * * *

Sec. 12.  30 V.S.A. § 8002(4) is amended to read:

(4)  “New renewable energy” means renewable energy produced by a generating resource coming into service after December 31, 2004.  This may include the additional energy from an existing renewable facility retrofitted with advanced technologies or otherwise operated, modified, or expanded to increase the kwh output of the facility in excess of an historical baseline established by calculating the average output of that facility for the 10‑year period that ended December 31, 2004.  If the production of new renewable energy through retrofitting expansion involves combustion of the resource, the system also must result in an incrementally higher level of energy conversion efficiency or significantly reduced emissions.  For the purposes of this chapter, renewable energy refers to either “existing renewable energy” or “new renewable energy.”

Sec. 13.  30 V.S.A. § 8003 is amended to read:

§ 8003.  RENEWABLE ENERGY PRICING

(a)  Upon petition of an electric company subject to this title, upon request of the department of public service, or on its own initiative, the public service board may approve one or more renewable pricing programs for one or more electric utilities; provided, however, in the case of a municipal plant or department formed under local charter or chapter 79 of this title, or an electric cooperative formed under chapter 81 of this title, any renewable pricing program approved by the board shall also be approved by a majority of the voters of a municipality or cooperative voting upon the question at a duly warned annual or special meeting held for that purpose.  Unless the board finds good cause to exempt a utility, by no later than July 1, 2008, each electric utility, municipal department formed under local charter or chapter 79 of this title, and each electric cooperative formed under chapter 81 of this title shall implement a renewable energy pricing program under this section for its customers, or shall offer customers the option of making a voluntary contribution to the Vermont clean energy development fund established under 10 V.S.A. § 6523.  Such renewable energy pricing programs may include, but are not limited to, tariffs, standard special contracts, or other arrangements whose purpose is to increase the company’s reliance on, or the customer’s support of, renewable sources of energy or the type and quantity of renewable energy resources available.

* * *

(f)  Renewable pricing programs offered by a company shall be available to such customer classes as the board may determine.

(g)  The board shall consider the following factors in deciding whether and upon what conditions to approve a proposed renewable energy pricing program:

(1)  minimization of marketing and administrative expenses;

(2)  auditing or certification of sources of energy or tradeable renewable energy credits;

(3)  marketing and promotion plans;

(4)  effectiveness of the program in meeting the goals of promoting renewable energy generation and public understanding of renewable energy sources in Vermont;

(5)  retention by the program of renewable energy production incentives, tax incentives and other incentives earned or otherwise obtained by energy resources acquired pursuant to or as part of a renewable energy pricing program approved under this section to reduce the cost of any premiums paid under this section; and

(6)  costs imposed on nonparticipating customers arising on account of the implementation of the voluntary renewable energy pricing program.

Sec. 14.  30 V.S.A. § 8004(e) is amended to read:

(e)  In lieu of, or in addition to purchasing tradeable renewable energy credits to satisfy the portfolio requirements of this section, a retail electricity provider in this state may pay to a renewable energy fund established by the public service board the Vermont clean energy development fund established under 10 V.S.A. § 6523 an amount per kilowatt hour as established by the board.  As an alternative, the board may require any proportion of this amount to be paid to the energy conservation fund established under subsection 209(d) of this title.

* * * SPEED Program * * *

Sec. 15.  30 V.S.A. § 8005 is amended to read:

§ 8005.  SUSTAINABLY PRICED ENERGY ENTERPRISE
  DEVELOPMENT (SPEED) PROGRAM

* * *

(b)  The SPEED program shall be established, by rule, order, or contract, by the public service board by January 1, 2007.  As part of the SPEED program, the public service board may, and in the case of subdivisions (2) and (3) of this subsection shall:

* * *

(2)  allow the developer of a facility that is one megawatt or less, and is a qualifying SPEED resource or a nonqualifying SPEED resource, to sell that power under a long term contract that is established at a specified margin below the hourly spot market price determined by the board to be adequate to promote SPEED resource development while remaining consistent with the principles of least‑cost energy services under section 218c of this title.  For purposes of this section, a long‑term contract should be 15 years or greater unless the board finds good cause for a shorter term;

(3)  encourage Vermont’s retail electricity providers to secure long‑term  contracts, at stable prices, for renewable energy that are anticipated to be below the long‑term market price, over the lives of the projects qualifying SPEED resources.  The board shall create a standard contract price, or a set of maximum and minimum provisions, or both, for qualifying SPEED resources over 1 MW of capacity.  In setting a standard contract price for a qualifying SPEED resource, the board shall consider the goal of developing qualified SPEED resources, least cost provision of energy service under section 218c, and the impact on electric rates.  The board may create a competitive bid process through which to select a portion of those contracts;

* * *

(d)(1)  The public service board shall meet on or before January 1, 2012, and open a proceeding, and issue findings determining to determine the total amount of qualifying SPEED resources that have come into service or are projected to come into service during the period of time between January 1, 2005 and January 1, 2013 been supplied to Vermont retail electricity providers or have been issued a certificate of public good.  If the board finds that the amount of qualifying SPEED resources coming into service during that time or having been issued a certificate of public good after January 1, 2005 and before July 1, 2012 equals or exceeds total statewide growth in electric energy usage retail sales during the period of time between January 1, 2005 and January 1, 2012 that time, and in addition, at least five percent of the 2005 total statewide electric retail sales is provided by qualified SPEED resources, or if it finds that the amount of qualifying SPEED resources equals or exceeds 10 percent of total statewide electric energy usage retail sales for calendar year 2005, the portfolio standards established under this chapter shall not be in force.  The board shall make its determination by July 1, 2012 January 1, 2013.  If the board finds that the goal established has not been met, one year after the board’s determination the portfolio standards established under subsection 8004(b) of this title shall take effect.

(2)  A state goal is to assure that 20 percent of total statewide electric retail sales before July 1, 2017 shall be generated by speed resources.  The public service board shall report to the house and senate committees on natural resources and energy and to the joint energy committee by December 15, 2012 with regard to the state’s progress in meeting this goal.  In addition, the board shall report to the house and senate committees on natural resources and energy and to the joint energy committee by December 15, 2014 with regard to the state’s progress in meeting this goal and, if necessary, shall include any appropriate recommendations for measures that will make attaining the goal more likely.

(3)  For the purposes of the determination to be made under this subsection, electricity produced at all facilities owned by or under long‑term contract to Vermont retail electricity providers, whether it is generated inside or outside Vermont, that is new renewable energy shall be counted in the calculations under subdivision subdivisions (d)(1) and (2) of this section.

* * *

* * * Assistance * * *

Sec. 16.  REPORTS ON OMBUDSMAN AND TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE
  FOR COMMUNITIES

Technical assistance.  By no later than January 15, 2008, the public service department, after consultation with the public service board and the clean energy development fund investment committee established under 10 V.S.A. § 6523(e)(1)(B), shall report to the legislative committees on natural resources and energy with a recommended program by which the state may best:

(1)  Establish and fund an office of ombudsman, which would be charged with assisting those who desire to develop renewable energy projects in dealing with the regulatory process.  The department shall consult with the agency of natural resources with respect to how to assist individuals seeking a certificate of public good for a small hydroelectric facility, a small wind project, or a small solar project, as well as those seeking water quality certification associated with a small hydroelectric facility.  The department of public service shall consider how best to coordinate services between its ombudsman and the ombudsman for renewable energy at the agency of agriculture, food and markets.

(2)  Establish and fund a program to provide communities with assistance in assessing their renewable energy resources and the potential for development of those resources, and in evaluating, selecting, and implementing reasonable alternatives for financing the construction of those renewable energy resources.

Sec. 17.  32 V.S.A. § 8661 is amended to read:

§ 8661.  TAX LEVY KILOWATT HOUR TAX

(a)  There is hereby assessed each year upon electric generating plants constructed in the state subsequent to July 1, 1965, and having a name plate generating capacity of 200,000 kilowatts, or more, a state tax in accordance with the following table:

If megawatt hour production is:                  tax is:

Less than 2,300,000 megawatt hours         $2.0 million

2,300,000 to 3,800,000 megawatt hours   $2.0 million plus $0.40 per megawatt hour over 2,300,000

3,800,001 to 4,200,000 megawatt hours   $2.6 million

Over 4,200,000 megawatt hours               $2.6 million plus $0.40 per

                                                                 megawatt hour over 4,200,000

For purposes of this section, “megawatt hour production” means the average of net production for sale in the three most recent preceding calendar years.  The tax imposed by this section shall be paid to the commissioner in equal quarterly installments on or before the 25th day of March, June, September, and December by the person or corporation then owning or operating such electric generating plant. imposed at a rate per kWh of electrical energy produced by the facility as determined by the public service department for the average of the past three calendar years.  The rate of the tax shall be:

(1)  $0.00225 per kWh in fiscal year 2009;

(2)  $0.0025 in fiscal year 2010; and

(3)  $0.003 in fiscal year 2011 and thereafter.

(b)  If an entity subject to this tax generates no electricity during the tax year due to termination or expiration of a necessary license, or due to permanent cessation of operations, no tax shall be due for that year.

(c)  A person or corporation failing to make returns or pay the tax imposed by this section within the time required shall be subject to and governed by the provisions of sections 3202, 3203, 5868, and 5873 of this title.

(d)  The tax imposed by this section shall be collected quarterly and shall be due on the last day of the month following the end of the quarter.  It shall be paid to the commissioner of taxes by the person or corporation then owning or operating such electric generating plant.

(e)  Annually, of the revenues received:

(1)  42 percent shall be deposited in the education fund of the state established in section 4025 of Title 16 to be expended for the purposes of that fund.

(2)  58 percent shall be deposited in the general fund of the state.

Sec. 17a.  REPEAL

32 V.S.A. § 5402a [ELECTRIC GENERATING PLANT EDUCATION PROPERTY TAX] is repealed.

Sec. 17b.  EFFECTIVE DATE

     Secs. 17 and 17a of this act shall take effect July 1, 2008.

Sec.17c.  REPORT

By January 15, 2008, the commissioner of taxes shall present recommendations to the senate committee on finance and the house committee on ways and means with regard to transitioning from the existing tax established in 32 V.S.A. § 8661 to the tax as established under this act.

* * * Wind‑Powered Electric Generating Facilities * * *

Sec. 18.  32 V.S.A. § 5402c is added to read:

§ 5402c.  WIND‑POWERED ELECTRIC GENERATING FACILITIES TAX

(a)  A facility certified by the commissioner of public service as a facility which produces electrical energy for resale, generated solely from wind power, which has an installed capacity of at least five megawatts, which was placed in service after January 1, 2007, and which holds a valid certificate of public good issued under 30 V.S.A. § 248, shall be assessed an alternative education property tax on its buildings and fixtures used directly and exclusively in the generation of electrical energy from wind power.

(b)  The tax shall be imposed at a rate per kWh of electrical energy produced by the certified facility, as determined by the public service department for the six months ending April 30 and the six months ending October 31 each year.  The rate of the tax shall be:

(1)  $0.00225 in fiscal year 2009;

(2)  $0.0025 in fiscal year 2010;

(3)  $0.003 in fiscal year 2011 and thereafter.

(c)  In no case shall the tax imposed for any six‑month period be less than an amount equal to the rate per kWh imposed by this subsection multiplied by the number of kWh that would be generated if the facility operated at a 15 percent capacity factor.

(d)  The tax imposed by this section shall be paid to the commissioner of taxes by the person or entity then owning or operating the certified facility, by December 1 for the period ending October 31 and by June 1 for the period ending April 30, for deposit into the education fund.  A person or entity failing to make returns or pay the tax imposed by this section within the time required shall be subject to and governed by the provisions of sections 3202 and 3203 and subchapters 8 and 9 of chapter 151 of this title.

(e)  Until a facility is certified under this subsection, it shall remain subject to taxation under section 5402 of this title.  Buildings and fixtures subject to the education property tax under this section shall not be taken into account in determining the common level of appraisal for the municipality.

Sec. 19.  STUDY OF TAX ON ELECTRIC GENERATING PROPERTY    

The commissioner of the department of public service, the commissioner of taxes, and a representative of the joint fiscal office shall study the proper valuation of electric generating facilities and whether there are factors that might necessitate different treatment for different types of electric generating facilities.  Based on this study, they shall determine options for raising tax revenues from electric generating facilities, including the current education property tax, and the advantages and disadvantages of the various options with regard to stability of the revenue source, ability to build inflation into the tax mechanism, how well the tax mechanism will reflect the cost of power sold and fluctuations in power production, whether property valuation creates difficulties for application of a property tax, how the tax mechanism will produce revenue during any start‑up or construction period, and any other issues which they may find pertinent to the inquiry; and based upon their findings, shall recommend one or more education tax options for this property.  The study group shall report its findings and recommendations, including proposed legislative amendments, to the house committee on ways and means and senate committee on finance by December 1, 2007.

* * * Business Energy Credit * * *

Sec. 20.  32 V.S.A. § 5822(c)(1)(B) and (d) are amended to read:

(c)  The amount of tax determined under subsection (a) of this section shall be:

(1)  increased by 24 percent of the taxpayer’s federal tax liability for the taxable year for the following:

* * *

(B)  recapture of federal investment tax credit and increased by 76 percent of the Vermont‑property portion of the business solar energy investment tax credit component of the federal investment tax credit recapture for the taxable year;

(d)  A taxpayer shall be entitled to a credit against the tax imposed under this section of 24 percent of each of the credits allowed against the taxpayer’s federal income tax for the taxable year as follows:  elderly and permanently totally disabled credit, investment tax credit, and child care and dependent care credits.  A taxpayer shall also be entitled to a credit against the tax imposed under this section of 76 percent of the Vermont‑property portion of the business solar energy investment tax credit component of the federal investment tax credit allowed against the taxpayer’s federal income tax for the taxable year under Section 48 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Sec. 21.  32 V.S.A. § 5930z is added to read:

§ 5930z.  Pass‑Through of Federal Energy Credit for
    Corporations

(a)  A taxpayer of this state shall be eligible for a credit against the tax imposed under section 5832 of this title in an amount equal to 100 percent of the Vermont‑property portion of the business solar energy investment tax credit component of the federal investment tax credit allowed against the taxpayer’s federal income tax for the taxable year under Section 48 of the Internal Revenue Code.

(b)  Any taxpayer who has received a credit under subsection (a) of this section in any prior year shall increase its corporate income tax under this chapter by the amount of the Vermont‑property portion of the business solar energy investment tax credit component of the federal investment tax credit recapture for the taxable year.

Sec. 22.  EFFECTIVE DATE OF BUSINESS ENERGY TAX CREDITS

(a)  Secs. 20 and 21 of this act (business energy tax credits) shall apply to taxable years 2008 and after.

(b)  By January 15, 2008, the department of taxes and the joint fiscal office shall report to the general assembly regarding recommendations on any changes to the business solar tax credit, including options for replacing the pass‑through of the federal credit to promote solar investment, whether it should be restructured to be a state tax credit rather than a pass‑through of the federal investment tax credit, and whether other investment tax credits should be adopted to promote energy efficiency in the state.

* * * Small Hydro Reports * * *

Sec. 23.  PUBLIC SERVICE BOARD REPORT ON PERMITTING SMALL
   HYDROELECTRIC PROJECTS

Prior to December 15, 2007, the public service board shall report to the house committee on fish, wildlife and water resources and the senate committee on natural resources and energy with a recommendation for a simple, predictable, and environmentally sound process, other than the process set forth in subsection 248(j) of Title 30, for issuing a certificate of public good under section 248 of Title 30 for small hydroelectric projects that are not eligible for a net metering permit under public service board rule 5.100.  The report shall:

(1)  Recommend criteria for determining what constitutes a small hydroelectric facility, including the allowable maximum amount of output capacity at the facility and the type of eligible facilities, natural features, or other sites.

(2)  Address permit application requirements, including ownership of the facility, interconnection, and structural safety of the small hydroelectric project.

(3)  Address additional uses of the small hydroelectric project such as flood control; fish and wildlife habitat; recreation; water supply; historic resource; and structural grade control for infrastructure, roads, bridges, and houses.

Sec. 24.  AGENCY OF NATURAL RESOURCES REPORT ON WATER
   QUALITY CERTIFICATION FOR SMALL HYDROELECTRIC
   PROJECTS

Prior to December 15, 2007, the secretary of natural resources shall report to the house committee on fish, wildlife and water resources and the senate committee on natural resources and energy with a recommendation for a simple, predictable, and environmentally sound procedure for completing a water quality certification review, as required by Section 401 of the federal Clean Water Act, of small hydroelectric projects that are not subject to net metering.  The report shall:

(1)  Recommend, after consultation with the public service board, criteria for determining what constitutes a small hydroelectric facility, including the allowable maximum amount of output capacity at the facility and the type of eligible facilities, natural features, or other sites;

(2)  Address bypass flows for small hydroelectric projects.

(3)  Address the need for monitoring of dissolved oxygen at small hydroelectric facilities.

(4)  Address seasonal flows in bypasses at run‑of‑river facilities. 

(5)  Address the need for new fish or flow studies for small hydroelectric projects. 

(6)  Address the use of flashboards to increase upstream flooding.

(7)  Address measures to prevent fish from entering turbines and penstocks.

(8)  Address the size of authorized diversions and penstocks.

(9)  Include an analysis of the existing permitting process for small hydro projects.

Sec. 25.  PILOT PROJECTS FOR SMALL HYDROELECTRIC
  GENERATORS

In order to promote the timely development of environmentally sound small community hydro projects, and to help inform efforts to develop new permitting processes, the public service department and the agency of natural resources shall work with communities that are seeking to develop small hydro projects, to facilitate those projects through the existing permit processes.  These projects shall not have more than 2 MW of name‑plate capacity, shall have the support and involvement of the communities in which they are located, and shall not include the construction of a new dam.

Sec. 26.  LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS; EXISTING OUTDOOR WOOD
              BOILERS GRANDFATHERED; IMPROPER USE; NEW RULE
              05‑P41 EFFECTIVE MARCH 31, 2008

The general assembly finds:

(1)  confusion and misinformation has caused some current owners of outdoor wood boilers to incorrectly conclude that they may be unable to use their units when Rule 05‑P41 goes into effect;

(2)  Rule 05‑P41, recently adopted by the agency of natural resources, raises emission standard requirements for new outdoor wood boilers purchased after March 31, 2008, and does not in any way affect Vermonters who currently own outdoor wood boilers, the proper use of which will be grandfathered unless a nuisance is created;

(3)  Rule 05‑P41 for new outdoor wood boilers does not take effect until March 31, 2008, thereby giving fair warning to dealers and manufacturers;

(4)  Rule 05‑P41 and 10 V.S.A. § 561 (variances) authorizes the secretary of natural resources, on application from an affected party, to extend the implementation date of the rule if the available technology cannot satisfy the air quality standards in the rule; and

(5)  it is unlawful for a person to use an outdoor wood boiler, as it is for other wood‑burning equipment, to burn rubber, tires, plastics, common household waste, or hazardous waste of any kind, which when combusted often cause high levels of toxins to be emitted into our communities, in turn resulting in dirty and toxic air with complaints to municipal and state governments, and demands for stricter air quality rules.  See 24 V.S.A. § 2201 (relating to enforcement of solid waste law violations and municipal enforcement) and 10 V.S.A. Chapters 23 and 159 and the rules adopted thereunder (relating to the definitions of solid waste).

Sec. 27.  REPORT ON STATUS OF SPEED PROGRAM

By no later than January 15, 2008, the public service board shall report to the legislative committees on natural resources and energy with an evaluation of the likelihood of qualifying SPEED resources coming into service in time to meet the standards established in 30 V.S.A. § 8005(d), as amended by this act.

* * * Plumbing * * *

Sec. 28.  26 V.S.A. § 2192a(b) is amended to read:

(b)  Specialty fields include the following:

* * *

(4)  Solar System Specialist:  Installation, replacement and repair of residential, industrial or commercial domestic solar heating systems for use as a supplemental or pre‑heat source.  Systems shall include; passive or active design, collectors, storage tanks, heat exchangers, piping, safety devices and related materials.  The Solar System Specialist shall only connect to new or existing domestic hot water supply tanks, including instantaneous heaters, as well as tanks or heat exchangers supplementing hydronic space heating systems.  At no time shall a Solar System Specialist install, replace and repair any other part of a domestic hot water supply or hydronic space heating system.

* * * Affordability * * *

Sec. 29.  30 V.S.A. § 218(e) is added to read:

(e)  Notwithstanding any other provisions of this section, the board, on its own motion or upon petition of any person, may issue an order approving a rate schedule, tariff, agreement, contract, or settlement that provides reduced rates for low income electric utility consumers better to assure affordability.  For the purposes of this subsection, “low income electric utility consumer” means a customer who has a household income at or below 150 percent of the current federal poverty level.  When considering whether to approve a rate schedule, tariff, agreement, contract, or settlement for low income electric utility consumers, the board shall take into account the potential impact on, and cost‑shifting to, other utility customers.

* * * Energy Efficiency Services Fund * * *

Sec. 30.  30 V.S.A. § 203a is added to read:

§ 203a.  ENERGY EFFICIENCY SERVICES

(a)  Purpose.  The general assembly finds and determines that:

(1)  it is the policy of the state to assure the efficient use of energy resources and cost‑effective demand management, as specified in section 202a of this title;

(2)  a comprehensive state energy plan, as is specified in section 202b of this title, must be developed to implement this state energy policy;

(3)  it is appropriate to build upon the work in reducing energy costs for Vermonters already done by the existing efficiency utility established under the authority of section 209 of this title, and to integrate that work into a broader program implemented through an expanded energy efficiency utility that will serve the needs of the people of the state in an even better manner;

(4)  current energy efficiency programs are not designed to meet fully the thermal efficiency needs of consumers who rely on heating oil, kerosene, propane, and coal, as they are funded through efficiency charges that are currently assessed only on electricity and natural gas providers regulated by the board;

(5)  with the scientific consensus that global climate change is caused in significant part by human activities that release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, it is particularly important to reduce the extent to which these emissions result from the inefficient use of carbon‑containing fuels, regardless of the nature of the source;

(6)  it is desirable for the state to lower the risk of high fuel prices and vulnerable supplies, while at the same time strengthening the Vermont economy by establishing a system to promote all forms of energy end‑use efficiency, comprehensive sustainable building design, and integrated renewable energy installations.

(b)  Non‑electric energy efficiency fund.  The public service board shall establish a non‑electric energy efficiency fund to be managed by a fund administrator appointed by the board under this section and subdivision 209(d)(3) of this title.  The fund shall contain such sums as appropriated by the general assembly or as otherwise provided by law.  Balances in the fund and interest earned shall be carried forward and remain in the fund at the end of each fiscal year.

(c)  Use of the fund.  The non‑electric energy efficiency services fund shall be used to support the delivery of energy efficiency services to Vermont heating and process fuel consumers of oil, kerosene, propane, coal, and wood; and to carry out cost‑effective efficiency measures and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from sectors other than, or in addition to, the regulated electricity and natural gas use sectors.  These energy efficiency services shall be provided by the energy efficiency utility appointed by the board under subsection 209(d) of this title and operating in accordance with section 209  of this title.

(d)  Review of adequacy of the fund.

(1)  On or before January 15, 2011, the public service board shall report to the legislature on the expenditure of funds from the non‑electric energy efficiency services fund to meet the public’s needs for energy efficiency services.

(2)  The report shall include a funding adequacy evaluation and funding recommendations which shall be developed through a collaborative process involving representatives of heating fuel dealers, electric and gas utilities, the expanded energy efficiency utility, the department of public service, residential and business consumer representatives, environmental advocates, the building industry, entities currently engaged in delivering weatherization services, and other stakeholders identified by the board. 

(3)  The funding adequacy evaluation shall address:  the need for and availability of alternative revenue sources that may be dedicated to the non‑electric energy efficiency fund; the resources dedicated to energy efficiency purposes provided through electric and natural gas rates; an evaluation of potential cost‑effective energy efficiency investments and programs designed to meet the need for energy services through efficiency or conservation in all customer classes and areas of opportunity; the amount of funding necessary in order to realize all reasonably available, cost‑effective energy efficiency savings; and other factors to assure consistency with the purposes of this section and the goals of section 202a of this title.

(4)  The funding recommendations shall be developed in a manner that accords an appropriate balance among the following objectives:  reducing the size of future heating and process‑fuel purchases; reducing the generation of greenhouse gases; providing efficiency and conservation as a part of a comprehensive resource supply strategy; providing the opportunity for all Vermonters to participate in efficiency and conservation programs; providing that residential and commercial sector benefits generally shall be proportional to sector contributions to the extent such proportion can be determined; and targeting efficiency and conservation efforts to locations, markets, or customers where they may provide the greatest value.

* * * Revised Efficiency Utility Structure * * *

Sec. 31.  REPORT ON REVISED STRUCTURE FOR ENERGY
           EFFICIENCY UTILITY

Public service board report.  By no later than December 15, 2007, the public service board shall present a report to the house and senate committees on natural resources and energy, the senate committee on finance, and the house committee on ways and means that contains a proposed revised energy efficiency utility structure, together with any proposed legislative changes that in its judgment will assist in the effective implementation of the revised efficiency utility.  The  board shall develop the proposal in a manner consistent with the provisions of 30 V.S.A. § 209 and in collaboration with representatives from heating fuel dealers, electric and gas utilities, the energy efficiency utility, the department of public service, consumer representatives, environmental advocates, the building industry, entities currently engaged in delivering weatherization services, and other stakeholders identified by the board.  The report shall include options for ongoing funding of the expanded fossil fuel efficiency responsibilities of the energy efficiency utility.

Sec. 31a.  OVERSIGHT OF EFFICIENCY UTILITY

(a)  Legislative oversight.  Final responsibility for establishing the proposed efficiency utility rests with the general assembly.  The general assembly shall promptly review and give deliberate consideration to the proposal submitted by the board under Sec. 31 of this act, and take appropriate action.  Unless the general assembly enacts legislation to the contrary by March 31, 2008, the efficiency utility shall become effective as provided by this act.

(b)  Representation of ratepayers.  The department of public service shall represent the interests of ratepayers in proceedings before the public service board involving the efficiency utility in a manner consistent with the provisions of 30 V.S.A. § 202a.

(c)  Accountability.  The public service board shall provide ongoing oversight in order to assure continued accountability of the efficiency utility, as required under 30 V.S.A. §§ 209 and 203a.

* * * Existing Efficiency Utility * * *

Sec. 32.  30 V.S.A. § 209 is amended to read:

§ 209.  JURISDICTION; GENERAL SCOPE

* * *

(d)(1)  The public service department, any entity appointed by the board under subdivision (2) of this subsection, all gas and electric utility companies, and the board upon its own motion, are encouraged to propose, develop, solicit, and monitor energy efficiency and conservation programs and measures, including appropriate combined heat and power systems that result in the conservation and efficient use of energy and meet the applicable agency of natural resources’ air quality standards.  Such programs and measures, and their implementation, may be approved by the board if it determines they will be beneficial to the ratepayers of the companies after such notice and hearings as the board may require by order or by rule.

(2)  In place of utility‑specific programs developed pursuant to section 218c of this title, the board may shall, after notice and opportunity for hearing, provide for the development, implementation, and monitoring of gas and electric energy efficiency and conservation programs and measures including programs and measures delivered in multiple service territories, by one or more entities appointed by the board for these purposes appointing a qualified entity as an energy efficiency utility.  An appointment of an energy efficiency utility shall be made under this section and section 203a of this title, on a schedule that provides the energy efficiency utility adequate time to prepare for the delivery of relevant services no later than January 1, 2009.  Despite this appointment, however, the board may allow the Burlington Electric Department and the Vermont Gas Systems, Inc., and any successors in interest, to continue to provide efficiency services within their respective service territoriesThe As part of this appointment, the board may shall include as eligible measures appropriate combined heat and power systems that result in the conservation and efficient use of energy and meet the applicable agency of natural resources’ air quality standards.  The Except with regard to a transmission company, the board may specify that the implementation of these programs and measures appointment of an energy efficiency utility to deliver services within an electric utility’s service territory satisfies a that electric utility’s corresponding obligations, in whole or in part, under section 218c of this title and under any prior orders of the board.

(3)  In addition to its existing authority, the board may establish by order or rule a volumetric charge to customers for the support of energy efficiency programs that meet the requirements of section 218c of this title.  The charge shall be known as the energy efficiency charge, shall be shown separately on each customer’s bill, and shall be paid to a fund administrator appointed by the board and deposited into an electric efficiency fund.  When such a charge is shown, notice as to how to obtain information about energy efficiency programs approved under this section shall be provided in a manner directed by the board.  This notice shall include, at a minimum, a toll free telephone number, and to the extent feasible shall be on the customer’s bill and near the energy efficiency charge.  Balances in the electric efficiency fund shall be ratepayer funds, shall be used to support the activities authorized in this subdivision, and shall be carried forward and remain in the fund at the end of each fiscal year.  These monies shall not be available to meet the general obligations of the state.  Interest earned shall remain in the fund.  The board will annually provide the legislature with a report detailing the revenues collected and the expenditures made for energy efficiency programs under this section.

(4)  The charge established by the board pursuant to subdivision (3) of this subsection shall be in an amount determined by the board by rule or order that is consistent with the principles of least cost integrated planning as defined in section 218c of this title. As circumstances and programs evolve, the amount of the charge shall be reviewed for unrealized energy efficiency potential and shall be adjusted as necessary in order to realize all reasonably available, cost‑effective energy efficiency savings. In setting the amount of the charge and its allocation, the board shall determine an appropriate balance among the following objectives; provided, however, that particular emphasis shall be accorded to the first four of these objectives: reducing the size of future power purchases; reducing the generation of greenhouse gases; limiting the need to upgrade the state’s transmission and distribution infrastructure; minimizing the costs of electricity; providing efficiency and conservation as a part of a comprehensive resource supply strategy; providing the opportunity for all Vermonters to participate in efficiency and conservation programs; and the value of targeting efficiency and conservation efforts to locations, markets or customers where they may provide the greatest value.  The board, by rule or order, shall establish a process by which a customer may apply to the board for an exemption from some or all of the charges assessed under this subdivision. The board shall establish criteria by which these applications shall be measured. Any such exemption shall extend for a period of time not to exceed one year. In addition, the board may authorize exemptions only if, at a minimum, a customer demonstrates that, during the preceding year, it implemented an extraordinary amount of cost‑effective energy efficiency at the customer’s own expense or incurred extraordinary costs on those measures and the customer did not and will not receive reimbursement for those measures from the entity designated by the board under this section who pays an average annual energy efficiency charge of at least $5,000.00 may apply to the board to self‑administer energy efficiency through the use of an energy savings account which shall contain a percentage of the customer’s energy efficiency charge payments as determined by the board.  The remaining portion of the charge shall be used for system‑wide energy benefits.  The board shall establish criteria for approval of these applications.

(5)  Effective January 1, 2009, an energy efficiency utility shall have the same unrestricted term of appointment and process for termination of appointment as is most common for electric and gas utilities in the state.

(e)  The board shall:

(1)  Ensure that all retail consumers, regardless of retail electricity or, gas, or heating or process fuel provider, will have an opportunity to participate in and benefit from a comprehensive set of cost‑effective energy efficiency programs and initiatives designed to overcome barriers to participation.

(2)  Require that continued or improved efficiencies be made in the production, delivery, and use of energy efficiency services, including the use of compensation mechanisms for any energy efficiency utility that are based upon verified savings in energy usage and demand, and other performance targets specified by the board.  The linkage between compensation and verified savings in energy usage and demand (and other performance targets) shall be reviewed and adjusted not less than triennially by the board.

(3)  Build on the energy efficiency expertise and capabilities that have developed or may develop in the state.

(4)  Promote program initiatives and market strategies that address the needs of persons or businesses facing the most significant barriers to participation.

(5)  Promote coordinated program delivery, including coordination with low income weatherization programs, other efficiency programs, and utility programs.

(6)  Consider innovative approaches to delivering energy efficiency, including strategies to encourage third party financing and customer contributions to the cost of efficiency measures.

(7)  Provide a reasonably stable multiyear budget and planning cycle and in order to promote program improvement, program stability, enhanced access to capital and personnel, improved integration of program designs with the budgets of regulated companies providing energy services, and maturation of programs and delivery resources.    

(8)  Approve programs, measures, and delivery mechanisms that reasonably reflect current and projected market conditions, technological options, and environmental benefits.

(9)  Provide for delivery of these programs as rapidly as possible, taking into consideration the need for these services, and cost‑effective delivery mechanisms.

(10)  Provide for the independent evaluation of programs delivered under subsection (d) of this section and those delivered under section 203a of this title.

(11)  Require that any entity approved appointed by the board under subsection (d) of this section deliver board‑approved programs in an effective, efficient, timely, and competent manner and meet standards that are consistent with those in section 218c of this title, the board’s orders in public service board docket 5270, and any relevant board orders in subsequent energy efficiency proceedings.

(12)  Require verification, on or before January 1, 2003, and every three years thereafter, by an independent auditor of the reported energy and capacity savings and cost‑effectiveness of programs delivered by any entity appointed by the board to deliver energy efficiency programs under subdivision (d)(2) of this section and under section 203a of this title.

(13)  Ensure that any energy efficiency program approved by the board shall be reasonable and cost‑effective.

(14)  Consider the impact on retail electric rates and bills of programs delivered under subsection (d) of this section and the impact on fuel prices and bills of programs delivered under section 203a of this title.

(15)  Ensure that the energy efficiency utility promotes strategies that shall be designed to make continuous progress by promoting all forms of energy end‑use efficiency and comprehensive sustainable building design.  The program may utilize performance‑based compensation.  The program administrator may secure and administer revenue from other sources.

(f)  Appointment of, oversight of, and revenue determinations for such an energy efficiency utility shall fall within the regulatory powers and jurisdiction of the board and, as is the case regarding the regulation of the revenues, terms, and conditions of service and compensation of gas and electric utilities, shall not be considered a contractual activity of the state.

(g)  No later than January 1, 2009, consistent with the provisions of subsections (d),(e), and (f) of this section, the board shall adopt a revised structure for an efficiency utility in order to:

(1)  establish processes for the appointment and revocation of  appointment to serve as the energy efficiency utility similar to those in effect for regulated utilities in Vermont;

(2)  provide for regulatory oversight by the board and the department of public service that is appropriate to the structure and purpose of the expanded energy efficiency utility;

(3)  base some of the expanded energy efficiency utility’s compensation on verified savings in energy usage and demand and on other performance targets specified by the board and consistent with the provisions of section 202a of this title;

(4)  clarify the relationship between the energy efficiency utility and the City of Burlington Electric Department and Vermont Gas Systems, Inc., or any successors in interest, under which the city and the Vermont Gas Systems, Inc., or any successors in interest, may continue to provide some or all energy efficiency services in their respective service territories if approved by the board;

(5)  continue the delivery of electric efficiency programs consistent with the relevant provisions of subsection (e) of this section;

(6)  expand the energy efficiency utility’s responsibilities to include thermal efficiency and the development of comprehensive building efficiency strategies to promote all forms of energy end‑use efficiency and comprehensive sustainable building design;

(7)  provide for appropriate notice to customers on means to obtain information about energy efficiency programs approved under this section;

(8)  determine what, if any, regulatory authority over fuel dealers that the board or department of public service, or both, may require in order to implement the expansion of the energy efficiency utility’s responsibilities set forth in this section and section 203a of this title; and

(9)  permit the energy efficiency utility independently to report and recommend to the board, the general assembly, and the public measures and policies intended to achieve the purposes of section 202a of this title, and, more generally, the purposes of this title.

(h)  The public service board may prescribe, by rule or order, standards for the labeling of electricity delivered or intended for delivery to ultimate consumers as to price, terms, sources and objective environmental impacts, along with such procedures as it deems necessary for verification of information contained in such labels.  The public service board may prescribe, by rule or by order, standards and criteria for the substantiation of such labeling or of any claims regarding the price, terms, sources and environmental impacts of electricity delivered or intended for delivery to ultimate consumers in Vermont, along with enforcement procedures and penalties.  When establishing standards for the labeling of electricity, the board shall weigh the cost, as well as the benefits, of compliance with such standards.  With respect to companies distributing electricity to ultimate consumers, the board may order disclosure and publication, not to occur more than once each year, of any labeling required pursuant to the standards established by this subsection. Standards established under this subsection may include provisions for:

* * *

* * * Coordination with Efficiency Utility * * *

Sec. 33.  30 V.S.A. § 218c(b) is amended to read:

(b)  Each regulated electric or gas company shall prepare and implement a least cost integrated plan for the provision of energy services to its Vermont customers.  In preparing the efficiency portion of an integrated plan, a regulated company shall consult with any entity appointed by the board to deliver energy efficiency services under subdivision 209(d)(2) of this title or under section 203a of this title.  Proposed plans shall be submitted to the department of public service and the public service board.  The board, after notice and opportunity for hearing, may approve a company’s least cost integrated plan if it determines that the company’s plan complies with the requirements of subdivision (a)(1) of this section.

Sec. 34.  FORWARD CAPACITY MARKET REVENUES; ENERGY
   EFFICIENCY UTILITY

Net revenues above costs associated with payments from the New England Independent System Operator (ISO‑NE) for capacity savings resulting from the activities of the energy efficiency utility designated under 30 V.S.A. § 209(d)(3) shall be used to further the ability to undertake cost‑effective energy efficiency activities that will reduce Vermont energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.  The priority for use of these funds shall be to develop, support, and implement mechanisms designed to provide positive cash flow financing for energy efficiency investments.  These investments shall be supervised by the public service board.  Beginning January 1, 2009, these funds shall be deposited into the non‑electric energy efficiency fund established under 30 V.S.A. § 203a(b).

* * * Low Income Weatherization * * *

Sec. 35.  33 V.S.A. § 2501(d)–(i) are added to read:

(d)  This fund shall be used solely for the purpose of funding weatherization services to low income Vermonters.  Borrowing from the fund to provide cash flow assistance to LIHEAP, or enhancement of the LIHEAP program if unmet need is determined to be critical, may be authorized by the general assembly if it is determined that such borrowing will not affect cash flow to the weatherization contractors.  Provisions for repayment of borrowed funds must be made by the end of the fiscal year in which they were borrowed.

(e)  A full annual accounting of the revenues and expenditures of the weatherization trust fund will be provided by the agency of administration to the house and senate committees on appropriations and on natural resources and energy.

(f)  The low income weatherization program will be guided by a five‑year plan that is drafted with the specific purpose of improving continuously the comfort, safety, and affordability in low income housing and to reduce fuel use and greenhouse gas generation in that housing.  The plan shall describe a five‑year strategy, with a three‑year detailed work plan.  Each year, the strategy and the work plan shall be updated by one year.  The initial plan and subsequent updates will be developed by a weatherization oversight committee, working cooperatively with the office of economic opportunity.  The weatherization oversight committee will be composed of:  three representatives, including two representatives of weatherization contractors and one director of a community action program appointed by the Vermont community action directors association; a representative appointed by the energy efficiency utility provided for in 30 V.S.A. § 209; a low income representative appointed by the Vermont low income advocacy council; a representative appointed by the Vermont housing finance agency; a representative of the department of public service; a representative of a local or regional nonprofit land trust that develops affordable housing appointed by the housing and conservation board; a representative from the office of home heating assistance; a member of the Vermont house of representatives, appointed by the speaker of the house; a member of the senate, appointed by the committee on committees of the senate; a representative of renewable energy installers, to be appointed by renewable energy Vermont; a representative with expertise in climate change reduction appointed by the joint energy committee; a representative of the workforce development council; and a representative of the office of economic opportunity.  The office of economic opportunity shall provide support and full drafting assistance to the weatherization oversight committee in the production of this plan and required updates.  

(g)  The initial plan shall be completed and provided to the general assembly by December 20, 2007.  The plan shall include the following:

(1)  A five‑year strategy to ensure stable financing and capacity‑building in the regional weatherization programs, including a plan for ramp‑up of services consistent with sound management practices.

(2)  A full examination of the effect of the federal Department of Energy rules guiding the federal portion of weatherization funds that now also guide the use of state funds, and steps that could be taken with the state funds to expand the number of units served, the comprehensiveness of services offered, and the greenhouse gas reduction effect of the program.  This will include, where appropriate, the potential for revisions in eligibility, both statewide and by region.

(3)  A comprehensive strategy to use the weatherization program to reduce the rapidly increasing annual requirements for LIHEAP funds.

(4)  A full discussion of efficiencies and improved services to be gained in continuing coordination with Efficiency Vermont, with energy efficiency programs of the Burlington electric department and Vermont Gas Systems, Inc., and any successors in interest, and with any other partnerships that could improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the program.

(5)  Full consideration of strategies and documentation that may be required to secure any greenhouse gas cap‑and‑trade revenues for furtherance of the program.

(6)  Strategies for appropriate use of renewable energy technologies to secure long‑term affordability for low income households.

(7)  Financing strategies that might leverage other funds to increase efficiency and renewable energy investment in low income housing.

(8)  Estimation of job training requirements to implement the plan, how they may be met, and the role of weatherization programs in providing training for their own programs and for the expanded efficiency utility program as well.

(9)  A comprehensive plan for evaluation of the program, documentation of savings and other benefits, and regular reporting to the general assembly.

(h)  On or before January 30 of each year, the office of economic opportunity shall make a report to the house and senate committees on appropriations and on natural resources and energy utilizing existing resources within state government available in the office of economic opportunity’s weatherization data management system that compiles performance data available on households weatherized in the past year to include: 

(1)  number of households weatherized;

(2)  average program expenditure per household for energy efficiency;

(3)  average percent energy savings;

(4)  energy and nonenergy benefits combined;

(5)  benefits saved for every dollar spent;

(6)  average savings per unit for heating fuels;

(7)  gallons of oil saved related to equivalent number of homes heated;

(8)  projected number of households to be weatherized in the current program year; and

(9)  projected program expenditures for the current program year ending March 31.

(i)  The office of economic opportunity may implement administrative changes to the operation of the low income weatherization program that are within its authority to make, prior to submitting the plan.  All such changes will be described in the plan.

* * * Energy Planning * * *

Sec. 36.  30 V.S.A. § 202 is amended to read:

§ 202.  ELECTRICAL ENERGY PLANNING

(a)  The department of public service, through the director for regulated utility planning, shall constitute the responsible utility planning agency of the state for the purpose of obtaining for all consumers in the state proper utility service at minimum cost under efficient and economical management consistent with other public policy of the state.  The director shall be responsible for the provision of plans for meeting emerging trends related to electrical energy demand, supply, safety and, conservation, environmental impacts, and continuing reductions in the generation of greenhouse gases in the production or use of energy.

(b)  The department, through the director, shall prepare an electrical energy plan for the state.  The plan shall be for a 20‑year period and shall serve as a basis for state electrical energy policy.  The electric energy plan shall be based on the principles of “least cost integrated planning” set out in and developed under section 218c of this title.  The plan shall include at a minimum:

(1)  an overview, looking twenty 20 years ahead, of statewide growth and development as they relate to future requirements for electrical energy, including patterns of urban expansion, statewide and service area economic growth, shifts in transportation modes, modifications in housing types and design, conservation, environmental impacts, the increasing global importance of continual reductions in the generation of greenhouse gases, and other trends and factors which, as determined by the director, will significantly affect state electrical energy policy and programs;

(2)  an assessment of all energy resources available to the state for electrical generation or to supply electrical power, including among others, fossil fuels, nuclear, hydro‑electric, biomass, wind, fuel cells, and solar energy and strategies for minimizing the economic and environmental costs of energy supply, including the production of pollutants and greenhouse gases, by means of efficiency and emission improvements, fuel shifting, and other appropriate means;

(3)  estimates of the projected level of electrical energy demand, the projected level of pollution, and the projected level of greenhouse gases generated as a byproduct of the generation of electrical energy;

(4)  a detailed exposition, including capital requirements and the estimated cost to consumers, of how such demand shall be met and how the generation of pollutants, including greenhouse gases, may be continually reduced, based on the assumptions made in subdivision (1) of this subsection and the policies set out in subsection (c) of this section; and

(5)  specific strategies for reducing electric rates and for reducing the generation of pollution including greenhouse gases to the greatest extent possible in Vermont over the most immediate five‑year period, for the next succeeding five‑year period, and long‑term sustainable strategies for achieving and maintaining the lowest possible electric rates and generation of pollution including greenhouse gases over the full 20‑year planning horizon consistent with the goal of maintaining a financially stable electric utility industry in Vermont.

(c)  In developing the plan, the department shall take into account the protection of public health and safety; preservation of environmental quality; the potential for reduction of rates paid by all retail electricity customers; the potential for reduction of electrical demand through conservation, including alternative utility rate structures; use of load management technologies; efficiency of electrical usage; utilization of waste heat from generation; and utility assistance to consumers in energy conservation.  The department shall place an emphasis upon continuing reductions in the generation of pollution, including greenhouse gases.

(d)  In establishing plans, the director shall:

(1)  Consult with:

* * *

(J)  an entity designated to meet the public’s need for energy efficiency services under subdivision 218c(a)(2) of this title or designated under section 203a of this title;

* * *

(2)  To the extent necessary, include in the plan surveys to determine needed and desirable plant improvements and extensions and coordination between utility systems, joint construction of facilities by two or more utilities, methods of operations, and any change that will produce better service or, reduce costs, or reduce pollution, including the generation of greenhouse gases.  To this end, the director may require the submission of data by each company subject to supervision, of its anticipated electrical demand, including load fluctuation, supplies, costs, the generation of pollution including greenhouse gases, and its plan to meet that demand and reduce that pollution including greenhouse gas emissions, together with such other information as the director deems desirable.

(3)  Work in conjunction with the energy efficiency utility designated under subsection 209(d) of this title or under section 203a of this title to develop 20‑year projections for efficiency programs administered by that utility and to incorporate those projections into the state electrical energy plan.

* * *

(f)  After adoption by the department of a final plan, any company seeking board authority to make investments, to finance, to site or construct a generation or transmission facility or to purchase electricity or rights to future electricity, shall notify the department of the proposed action and request a determination by the department whether the proposed action is consistent with the plan.  In its determination whether to permit the proposed action, the board shall consider the department’s determination of its consistency with the plan along with all other factors required by law or relevant to the board’s decision on the proposed action.  If the proposed action is inconsistent with the plan, the board may nevertheless authorize the proposed action if it finds that there is good cause to do so.  To the extent that the inconsistency entails an excessive generation of greenhouse gases, the board may authorize the proposed action only if it finds that there is compelling reason to do so.  The department shall be a party to any proceeding on the proposed action, except that this section shall not be construed to require a hearing if not otherwise required by law.

* * *

Sec. 37.  30 V.S.A. § 202a is amended to read:

§ 202a.  STATE ENERGY POLICY

It is the general policy of the state of Vermont:

(1)  To assure, to the greatest extent practicable, that Vermont can meet its energy service needs in a manner that is adequate, reliable, secure, and sustainable; that assures affordability and encourages the state’s economic vitality, continuing and substantial reductions in the generation of pollution including greenhouse gases, the efficient use of energy resources and cost effective cost‑effective demand side management; and that is environmentally sound.

(2)  To identify and evaluate on an ongoing basis, resources that will meet Vermont’s energy service needs in accordance with the principles of least cost integrated planning; including efficiency, conservation and load management alternatives, wise use of renewable resources, continuing and substantial reductions in the generation of pollution including greenhouse gases, and environmentally sound energy supply.

Sec. 38.  30 V.S.A. § 202b is amended to read:

§ 202b.  STATE COMPREHENSIVE ENERGY PLAN

(a)  The department of public service, in conjunction with other state agencies designated by the governor, shall prepare a comprehensive state energy plan covering at least a 20‑year period.  The plan shall seek to implement the state energy policy set forth in section 202a of this title.  The plan shall include:

(1)  A comprehensive analysis and projections regarding the use, cost, supply, and environmental effects of all forms of energy resources used within Vermont and regarding all pollution including greenhouse gases generated within the state, including the state’s progress in meeting greenhouse gas reduction goals established in 10 V.S.A. § 578.

(2)  Recommendations for state implementation actions, regulation, legislation, and other public and private action to carry out the comprehensive energy plan.

* * *

* * * Biodiesel * * *

Sec. 39.  USE OF BIODIESEL IN STATE OFFICE BUILDINGS, STATE
   GARAGES, AND THE STATE VEHICLE FLEET

(a)  Definitions.  As used in this section:

(1)  “Biodiesel blend” means a blend of biodiesel fuel and petroleum diesel fuel or petroleum heating fuel that contains at least two percent biodiesel fuel by volume.

(2)  “Biodiesel fuel” means a renewable, biodegradable, mono alkyl ester combustible liquid fuel derived from vegetable oil or animal fat which meets the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) specification D6751‑02 for Biodiesel Fuel (B100) Blend Stock for Distillate Fuel.

(b)  On or before January 15, 2008, the department of buildings and general services, department of public service, and agency of transportation jointly shall submit a report to the house and senate committees on institutions, the house and senate committees on natural resources and energy, the house and senate committees on transportation, the house and senate committees on agriculture, the house committee on commerce, the house committee on ways and means, and the senate committee on finance with recommendations on increasing the use of biodiesel blends in state office buildings, state garages, and in the state transportation fleet. 

(1)  The portion of the report prepared by the department of buildings and general services shall contain:

(A)  A summary of the current use of biodiesel blends in state office buildings.

(B)  Recommendations on how to increase the use of biodiesel blends in all state office buildings, wherever feasible, to at least five percent biodiesel (B5) by December 31, 2008, and to at least 10 percent biodiesel (B10) by 2012.

(C)  A summary of any obstacles to increasing biodiesel use in state buildings.

(D)  A proposed work plan to increase biodiesel use.

(2)  The portion of the report prepared by the department of public service shall contain:

(A)  A summary of the biodiesel fuel production capacity, storage facilities, and distribution facilities currently available in Vermont.

(B)  Recommendations for increasing biodiesel fuel production, storage facilities, and distribution facilities.

(C)  A summary of current information on the performance of biodiesel blends for use as heating fuel and as a motor vehicle fuel.

(D)  A summary of the national and regional quality assurance and quality control measures in use for blending biodiesel fuel.

(E)  A proposed work plan to increase biodiesel use.

(3)  The portion of the report prepared by the agency of transportation shall contain:

(A)  A summary of the current use of biodiesel blends in state garages and the state transportation fleet.

(B)  Recommendations on how to increase the use of biodiesel blends in state garages and in the state transportation fleet, wherever feasible, to at least five percent biodiesel (B5) by December 31, 2008, and to at least 10 percent biodiesel (B10) by 2012.

(C)  A summary of any obstacles to increasing biodiesel use in state garages and the state transportation fleet.

(D)  A proposed work plan to increase biodiesel use.

(c)  The department of public service, with representatives of the department of buildings and general services and the agency of transportation present, shall conduct at least one public hearing to review the draft report and to solicit comments prior to finalizing the report.

* * * Energy Efficiency Mortgages * * *

Sec. 40.  ENERGY EFFICIENCY MORTGAGES

On or before January 15, 2008, the Vermont housing finance agency and the Vermont economic development authority, respectively, shall report to the house and senate committees on natural resources and energy, the house committee on commerce, and the senate committee on finance regarding the feasibility of establishing programs to support energy efficiency residential and commercial building mortgages of up to 15 percent of the appraised value of a dwelling or commercial building for energy saving improvements, weatherization, or energy efficiency for which the monthly mortgage or loan payment does not exceed the likely reduction in utility and heating costs for the dwelling or commercial building.

Sec. 41.  10 V.S.A. § 6025(f) is added to read:

(f)  The land use panel, in consultation with the efficiency utility established under 30 V.S.A. § 209(d) or § 203a shall adopt rules to assure that the requirements of subdivision 6086(a)(9)(F) of this title are in concert with the evolution of land use design and planning concepts that occurs in response to global climate change.  Other factors to be considered by the land use panel shall include the potential for solar orientation of buildings and increases in fuel prices that shorten lifecycle payback periods for energy efficiency measures.  These rules shall thereby assure the identification and implementation of the best available technology for the efficient use or recovery of energy.  Rules adopted under this subsection shall complement residential and commercial building energy standards accorded presumptive weight under this chapter and shall specifically address areas not covered by those standards.

* * Transportation * * *

Sec. 42.  STUDY ON INCENTIVES FOR EFFICIENT TRANSPORTATION

(a)  There is established a study committee on incentives for efficient transportation.  The committee shall include two members of the house appointed by the speaker, one each from the committees on transportation and on natural resources and energy, and two members of the senate appointed by the committee on committees, one each from the committees on transportation and on natural resources and energy.  The first member appointed from the senate and the first member appointed from the house jointly shall convene the committee.  In addition, the governor, in consultation with the particular interest group in question, shall appoint one representative each from the following:  the automobile dealers association; the truck and bus association; the Vermont association of planning and development agencies; the business community; the environmental community; the commission on climate change; and the public transit association.  Other members shall include the secretary of transportation, or a designee; the commissioner of environmental conservation, or a designee; and the commissioner of motor vehicles, or a designee.

(b)  By December 15, 2007, the committee shall report to the house and senate committees on natural resources and energy and on transportation, to the house committee on ways and means, and to the senate committee on finance with:

(1)  Recommendations regarding the use of financial incentives and disincentives that would encourage consumers to purchase vehicles that result in lesser amounts of emissions that contribute to climate change.

(2)  An analysis of the role of motor vehicles in creating and contributing to air contaminants in Vermont, and a determination of what portion of overall statewide energy consumption is due to the use of motor vehicles.

(3)  Recommendations regarding policy options that would encourage and reward efficient transportation, including supporting alternative modes of transportation.

(4)  Recommendations regarding state purchase of motor vehicles and fuels that favor fuel efficiency and improve air quality.

(5)  Recommendations for public education regarding clean and efficient transportation.

(6)  An analysis of air quality within the state with regard to compliance with national ambient air quality standards, and the prospects of air quality within the state not remaining in attainment of these standards.  This analysis should include the impact of nonattainment with the Clean Air Act standards on the health of Vermonters, transportation investment and operations, and business development.

(7)  Other recommendations regarding the efficient use of transportation services. 

(c)  The committee shall be entitled to administrative support from the joint fiscal office and the legislative council.

(d)  Legislative members shall be entitled to compensation as provided in 2 V.S.A. § 406.  The committee may meet up to four times.

* * * Right to Conserve Energy * * *

Sec. 43.  9 V.S.A. chapter 138 is added to read:

Chapter 138.  Right to CONSERVE ENERGY

§ 4481.  LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS AND PURPOSE

The general assembly finds that prohibiting or limiting the ability of people voluntarily to conserve energy is contrary to the public interest.  It is the purpose of this chapter to encourage energy conservation by discouraging governmental regulations and practices and private contracts which restrict the use of solar collectors, clotheslines, or other energy saving devices, or that impede non‑motorized transportation on state and town highways. 

§ 4482.  TRIENNIAL REPORT ON LIMITATIONS ON RIGHT TO
  CONSERVE ENERGY

By no later than January 1, 2008, and triennially thereafter, the commissioner of housing and community affairs shall report to the house and senate committees on natural resources and energy regarding the extent to which private covenants within the state, in general, restrict the use of solar collectors, clotheslines, or other energy saving devices, together with any related recommendations on that issue.

* * * Green Building, Efficiency, and

Renewable Energy Workforce Development * * *

Sec. 44.  GREEN BUILDING, EFFICIENCY, AND RENEWABLE ENERGY
   WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT PLAN

(a)  Legislative Findings.  Vermont must implement a comprehensive green building, energy efficiency, and renewable energy workforce development plan in order to fill the well‑paying jobs that will stay in Vermont and are essential to meeting the needs of the renewable energy and energy efficiency industry in order to meet our goals in regard to global climate change. 

(b)  Workforce development plan.  The commissioner of labor shall develop a green building, energy efficiency, and renewable energy workforce development plan, in consultation with representatives to include the following:  the apprenticeship program; the building trades; the Vermont workforce development council; the association of weatherization contractors; Efficiency Vermont; Vermont Technical College; the association of general contractors; associated industries of Vermont; Vermont businesses for social responsibility; Vermont fuel dealers association; the coalition for workforce solutions; Renewable Energy Vermont; Vermont small business development centers; the  association of vocational‑technical schools; the association of adult service coordinators; Vermont green building network; and the green institute for the advancement of sustainability.   

(c)  Contents of plan.  The plan developed under this section shall be included in a written report that shall be presented on or before March 1, 2008 to the house committees on commerce and on ways and means and to the senate committees on economic development, housing and general affairs and on finance.  The plan shall include:

(1)  Comprehensive recommendations for recruiting and training individuals for employment in the green building and renewable energy and energy efficiency fields.  The recommendations shall include goals for secondary and postsecondary schools, other educational institutions, workforce development organizations, and apprenticeship programs.

(2)  Recommendations for expanding certification programs for green builders and designers and installers of energy efficiency and renewable energy devices and systems.

(3)  Recommendations for incorporating energy efficiency and renewable energy training into apprenticeship and other training programs for electricians, plumbers, and other skilled trades persons.

(4)  Curricula for business development training and technical assistance for businesses that include green builders, energy efficiency designers and developers, and manufacturers of renewable energy and energy efficiency products.

(5)  Enhanced training programs for green builders and designers and weatherization professionals, including how to utilize state‑of‑the‑art tools and materials.

Sec. 45.  REPORT ON ENERGY EFFICIENT BUILDING INCENTIVES;
     COMPREHENSIVE ENERGY PLAN UPDATE

(a)  The department of public service, in consultation with the efficiency utility, shall work with representatives of the buildings trades, architects, real estate sales professionals, bankers, nonprofit housing providers, and other interested persons to develop recommendations to the general assembly with regard to:

(1)  How best to create incentives to encourage the economic development likely to accompany the voluntary use of residential and commercial building practices and material that are best suited to limit the amount of energy consumed and greenhouse gases generated, without creating hardships among the users of the building.

(2)  How to assure or facilitate the installation of appropriate and substantial weatherization, particularly with regard to multiple dwellings, rental property, and other instances in which the owner may lack incentives to weatherize because energy costs are paid by a tenant; including the advisability of creating weatherization requirements that must be met at the time of sale.

(3)  How to encourage or require better disclosure of building energy efficiency and weatherization leading up to the time of sale of the building.

(b)  As part of the next update to the state comprehensive energy plan required by 30 V.S.A. § 202b, the department of public service shall evaluate and make specific recommendations on:

(1)  How to increase the energy efficiency of Vermont’s built environment, including strategies to increase the efficiency of new and existing residential, commercial, and industrial buildings, including industrial processes.

(2)  How to assure or facilitate the installation of appropriate and substantial weatherization, particularly with regard to multiple dwellings, rental property, and other instances in which the owner may lack incentives to weatherize because energy costs are paid by a tenant; including the advisability of creating weatherization requirements that must be met at the time of sale.

(3)  How to encourage or require better disclosure of building energy efficiency and weatherization leading up to the time of sale of the building.

Sec. 46.  EFFECTIVE DATE

This act shall take effect upon passage, except that Sec. 30, adding 30 V.S.A. § 203a, shall take effect upon March, 31, 2008.

and upon passage, the title of the bill shall be revised to read:

     AN ACT RELATING TO THE VERMONT ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND AFFORDABILITY ACT

Sen. Ann Cummings                                       Rep. Robert Dostis

Sen. Virginia Lyons                                        Rep. Anthony Klein

Sen. Richard McCormack                              Rep. Shapleigh Smith

Committee on the part of the Senate    Committee on the part of the House

Pending the question, Shall the House adopt the Committee of Conference report? Rep. Komline of Dorset 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 adopt the Committee of Conference report? was decided in the affirmative. Yeas, 85.  Nays, 61.

Those who voted in the affirmative are:


Ancel of Calais

Anderson of Montpelier

Andrews of Rutland City

Aswad of Burlington

Atkins of Winooski

Audette of S. Burlington

Barnard of Richmond

Bissonnette of Winooski

Botzow of Pownal

Bray of New Haven

Browning of Arlington

Chen of Mendon

Cheney of Norwich

Clarkson of Woodstock

Copeland-Hanzas of Bradford

Courcelle of Rutland City

Davis of Washington

Deen of Westminster

Donovan of Burlington

Dostis of Waterbury

Edwards of Brattleboro

Emmons of Springfield

Fallar of Tinmouth

Fisher of Lincoln

Frank of Underhill

French of Randolph

Gilbert of Fairfax

Godin of Milton

Grad of Moretown

Haas of Rochester

Head of S. Burlington

Heath of Westford

Hosford of Waitsfield

Howard of Rutland City

Hunt of Essex

Hutchinson of Randolph

Jewett of Ripton

Johnson of South Hero

Keogh of Burlington

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

Partridge of Windham

Pearson of Burlington

Pellett of Chester

Peltz of Woodbury

Peterson of Williston

Potter of Clarendon

Pugh of S. Burlington

Randall of Troy

Shand of Weathersfield

Sharpe of Bristol

Smith of Morristown

Spengler of Colchester

Stevens of Shoreham

Sweaney of Windsor

Trombley of Grand Isle

Weston of Burlington

Zenie of Colchester

Zuckerman of Burlington


Those who voted in the negative are:


Acinapura of Brandon

Adams of Hartland

Ainsworth of Royalton

Allard of St. Albans Town

Baker of West Rutland

Bostic of St. Johnsbury

Branagan of Georgia

Brennan of Colchester

Canfield of Fair Haven

Clark of St. Johnsbury

Clark of Vergennes

Clerkin of Hartford

Condon of Colchester

Consejo of Sheldon

Corcoran of Bennington

Devereux of Mount Holly

Donaghy of Poultney

Donahue of Northfield

Errecart of Shelburne

Evans of Essex

Fitzgerald of St. Albans City

Flory of Pittsford

Gervais of Enosburg

Helm of Castleton

Howrigan of Fairfield

Hube of Londonderry

Hudson of Lyndon

Jerman of Essex

Johnson of Canaan

Keenan of St. Albans City

Kilmartin of Newport City

Koch of Barre Town

Komline of Dorset

Krawczyk of Bennington

Larocque of Barnet

Larrabee of Danville

LaVoie of Swanton

Lawrence of Lyndon

Livingston of Manchester

Marcotte of Coventry

McAllister of Highgate

McDonald of Berlin

McFaun of Barre Town

Morley of Barton

Morrissey of Bennington

Myers of Essex

O'Donnell of Vernon

Otterman of Topsham

Oxholm of Vergennes

Peaslee of Guildhall

Perry of Richford

Rodgers of Glover

Scheuermann of Stowe

Shaw of Derby

Sunderland of Rutland Town

Turner of Milton

Valliere of Barre City

Westman of Cambridge

Wheeler of Derby

Winters of Williamstown

Wright of Burlington


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


Kitzmiller of Montpelier

Monti of Barre City

Pillsbury of Brattleboro


 

     Rep. Adams of Hartland explained his vote as follows:

“Madam Speaker:

     While I fully support energy conservation and many of the goals of this bill, I cannot support the funding for it which, make no mistake, is nothing short of legalized plunder of an easy target.”

     Rep. Copeland-Hanzas of Bradford explained her vote as follows:

“Madam Speaker:

     I am part of a family business in manufacturing which is an energy intensive business.  I share with you the truths that inform my vote on this bill:  Efficiency in thermal and electrical energy in Vermont will benefit my family’s business.  H. 520 will NOT impact any electrical rates which are set by contracts that expire in 2012.  There is almost unanimous agreement here this afternoon that an all fuels utility WILL save Vermonters and Vermont businesses money.  We have the choice today whether to continue banging our heads against the wall, acting like energy hogs, stupidly wasting our money and girdling our businesses and families by our wastefulness.  Do you really want to make Vermont a good place to work and raise a family?  Or only if it doesn’t cost anything?

     I’m through with procrastination, soothing expedients and delays.  I voted yes.

     Rep. Clark of Vergennes explained his vote as follows:

“Madame Speaker:

     It’s not that the government needs to be concerned with the problems of the consumer.  With this bill it’s the consumer who needs to be concerned about its government.  Higher taxes with no relief in sight we ought not to be concerned about the decisions our constituents make, but they have every reason to worry about ours.  Promoting higher taxes is an easy decision.  Using common sense in our tax policy and decisions seems to be conspicuous by its absence.”

     Rep. Donahue of Northfield explained her vote as follows:

“Madame Speaker:

     This bill relies upon trade-offs that do not benefit our conservation, energy, and renewable resource efforts over the long term.”

     Rep. Errecart of Shelburne explained her vote as follows:

Madame Speaker:

     “I support renewable energy and energy conservation.  I’m sad that I must vote against a good bill that’s been fatally damaged.  Climate change should not be an excuse for passing an unconstitutional bill and throwing away Vermonters’ money.”

     Rep. Kilmartin of Newport City explained his vote as follows:

“Madame Speaker:

     Let’s call it for what it is… theft, victim targeting, deceit, political chicanery, a back alley bludgeoning, breach of trust, false representation, and fraud.  If a citizen did what we are doing today, we’d levy grand larceny charges in the blink of an eye, obtain a conviction and send them out of state to do “hard time”.  Because we are the Legislature we think we are the law or are above the law.  The Constitution of the People says we are not… I think we will know their wrath sooner rather than later.  God knows we deserve it with this miscarriage of justice.”

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

“Madame Speaker:

     I voted yes to begin now helping Vermonters save money helping Vermonters reduce their CO2 emissions and helping create lots of good paying jobs for Vermonters.  Now is the time Vermonters need help.  I’m more concerned about Vermonters, and less concerned about a message being sent on trying to answer now the hypothetical question of what we do now will raise the price of power we may purchase from a plant that may not be operating after 2012.”

     Rep. LaVoie of Swanton explained her vote as follows:

“Madam Speaker:

     Unfortunately for the citizens of Vermont, H. 520 is more about the political agenda of a few, rather than the energy future of many.”

     Rep. Maier of Middlebury explained his vote as follows:

“Madame Speaker:

     My vote for this bill is for my children and all of our children.  May our action here today be the first of many steps to preserve Earth’s many life systems, including those that support human life and prosperity.”

     Rep.  Minter of Waterbury explained her vote as follows:

“Madam Speaker:

    I vote yes on H. 520.  By investing in efficiency now we move our State toward energy independence and security.  Establishing and funding on all fuels utility will place savings into the budgets of Vermont families and businesses.  It will help our state take a significant step forward in the fight against climate change.  Our children and our energy future depend on our taking action now.”

  Rep. Peterson of Williston explained her vote as follows:

“Madam Speaker:

    I vote yes for energy efficiency and challenge those opposed to funding by raising the rate on a existing flat tax to identify other funding sources, perhaps starting with closing existing tax exemptions.”

     Rep. Trombley of Grand Isle explained his vote as follows:

“Madame Speaker:

     We have an aging and energy costly housing supply.  High costs for heating oil, bottled gas, wood and electricity, hurt working Vermonters.  The rehabilitation of homes into energy efficient dwellings will help working Vermonters pocket books.”

     Rep. Wright of Burlington explained his vote as follows:

“Madame Speaker:

     I vote no on H. 520.  Unfortunately when the Senate got their hands on this bill, process went out the window, and politics trumped policy.  The message to business if this bill passes is “be afraid, be very afraid”.  We would have been more productive passing something which could become law, instead of encouraging a veto.”

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

H. 429    An act relating to underground and aboveground storage                                                       tanks.

Recess

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

At six o’clock in the evening, the Speaker called the House to order.

     Rep. Willem Jewett of Ripton in Chair.

Message from the Senate No. 78

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

Madam Speaker:

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

H. 433.  An act relating to the next generation initiative of workforce development through workforce development programs and internships.

And has concurred therein.

The Governor has informed the Senate that on the tenth day of May, 2007, he approved and signed a bill originating in the Senate of the following title:

S. 52.  An act relating to motor vehicles, snowmobiles, motorboats, and all-terrain vehicles.

S. 54.  An act relating to motor vehicle wreckers.

S.120.  An act relating to wine tastings at farmers’ markets.

 

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

S. 173.  An act relating to the awarding of high school diplomas to veterans of the Vietnam era.

Joint Resolutions Adopted

The Speaker placed before the House the following Joint resolutions, which were read and adopted on the part of the House.

J. R. H. 39

     Joint resolution requesting Congress to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the authorization of a 90,000‑pound weight limitation for all vehicles with a minimum of five axles traveling on interstate highways in Vermont.

J. R. H. 42

     Joint resolution recognizing the importance of Farmers’ Markets in Vermont.

House Resolutions Adopted

House resolutions of the following titles were severally taken up and adopted by the House:

H. R.   24

     House resolution recognizing William McKibben and students from Middlebury College for their insightful leadership and foresight on climate change policy.

H. R.    25

     House resolution congratulating Mary Claire Carroll on being recognized for her work to advance the cultural and economic status of women.

 

Joint Resolution Adopted in Concurrence

J.R.S. 37

Joint resolution, entitled

Joint resolution recognizing Edward Taylor’s significant contributions to the advancement of aviation mechanics and designating May 24 as Aviation Maintenance Technicians Day.

Was taken up read and adopted in concurrence.

House Resolution Adopted

H. R.  23

     House resolution, entitled

     House resolution designating October 13, 2007 as statewide Pumpkin Carving Day;

Was taken up and adopted on the part of the House.

Rules Suspended; Senate Proposal of Amendment to House

Proposal of Amendment Concurred in

S. 97

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

An act relating to correctional facilities;

Was taken up for immediate consideration.

     The Senate has concurred in the House proposal of amendment with a further proposal of amendment thereto, as follows:

By striking out Sec. 6 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 6 to read as follows:

Sec. 6.    JOINT LEGISLATIVE CORRECTIONS OVERSIGHT                                                      COMMITTEE; MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES; REDUCTION OF                               RECIDIVISM

(a)  During the 2007 interim, the joint legislative corrections oversight committee shall develop recommendations regarding the current and future needs of persons with mental illnesses who are or will be involved in the criminal justice or corrections systems.

(b)  In accomplishing its work under subsection (a) of this section, the committee shall coordinate with and consider the work of the consultant hired under No. 9 of the Acts of 2007 with respect to the impact of inmates and criminal defendants in inpatient settings to ensure that corrections mental health needs are integrated with the continuum of mental health care, including replacement of the services currently provided at the Vermont State Hospital.  The committee shall:

(1)  Assess current and accurate data on the prevalence of inmates who are in need of inpatient care and the number of inpatient psychiatric beds needed by:

(A)  inmates with acute mental health treatment needs;

(B)  criminal defendants committed for pre‑trial forensic evaluation in an inpatient setting; and

(C)  criminal defendants found incompetent to stand trial or insane at the time of the offense;

(2)  Assess current and accurate data on the prevalence of inmates who can be prevented from requiring inpatient care through having their acute mental health needs met in an adequately staffed and fully programmed therapeutic residence within a correctional setting;

(3)  Review policies from other states of similar population profiles that address issues of mental health in inmate populations.  The committee may consult with the National Council of State Legislatures or the Council of State Governments to meet the requirements of this subdivision; and

(4)  Consider the best way to meet the mental health needs of the corrections population, including consideration of a separate inpatient facility.

(c)  If the committee has sufficient time and resources available after completing the work required by subsection (a) of this section, the committee may engage policymakers, social scientists, and interested persons to develop a strategic plan to reduce the number of Vermont offenders confined to corrections facilities.  In preparing the strategic plan described in this subsection, the committee shall:

(1)  Include projections for incarceration rates based on current department of corrections’ practices;

(2)  Identify programs that aim to reduce recidivism and prevent crime;

(3)  Consider alternatives to current sentencing practices, particularly for nonviolent, first‑time offenders;

(4)  Consult with interested persons and experts in the field to determine best practices which might lead to successful implementation of the strategic plan;

(5)  Develop cost estimates of any resources needed to implement the strategic plan; and

(6)  Include in its report a draft of any legislative action recommended to implement the strategic plan.

(d)  The committee shall also:

(1)  Consider whether “serious mental illness,” as defined in subdivision 906(1) of Title 28, should be amended to include other mental impairments that significantly and negatively affect daily functioning, including all forms of developmental disabilities, mental retardation, traumatic brain injury, autism, and various forms of dementia.

(2)  Review the department of corrections’ policies governing the administration of drugs prescribed to treat mental health issues among the inmate population, including:

(A)  The economic cost of current prescription policies.

(B)  The effectiveness of prescription drugs in treating mental illness within the inmate population.

(C)  Current trends in the use of particular categories of drugs to treat mental illness within the inmate population.

(D)  The department’s policies regarding off‑label usage of prescription drugs.

(e)  On or before January 15, 2008, the committee shall report its findings and recommendations for legislative action to the general assembly.

     Which proposal of amendment was considered and concurred in.

Rules Suspended; Proposal of Amendment Agreed to

and Third Reading Ordered; Rules Suspended; Read Third Time and Passed in Concurrence with Proposal of Amendment

S. 53

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

An act relating to motor vehicles;

Was taken up for immediate consideration.

Rep. Potter of Clarendon, for the committee on Transportation, to which had been referred the bill reported in favor of its passage in concurrence with proposal of amendment as follows:

     By adding a new Sec. 1 to read as follows:

Sec. 1.  23 V.S.A. § 4(73) is amended to read:

Except as may be otherwise provided herein, and unless the context otherwise requires in statutes relating to motor vehicles and enforcement of the law regulating vehicles, as provided in this title and part 5 of Title 20, the following definitions shall apply:

* * *

(73)  “Neighborhood electric vehicle” means a self‑propelled, electrically‑powered motor vehicle which:

(A)  is emission free;

(B)  is designed to carry four or fewer persons;

(C)  is designed to be, and is, operated at speeds of 25 miles per hour or less;

(D)  has at least four wheels in contact with the ground;

(E)  has an unladen a gross vehicle weight of rating less than 1,800 3,000 pounds;

(F)  conforms to the minimum safety equipment requirements as adopted in the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 500, Low Speed Vehicles (49 C.F.R. 571, 500).

and by renumbering the remaining sections of the bill to be numerically correct

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

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

Thereupon, the bill was read the third time and passed in concurrence with proposal of amendment.

House Resolution Adopted

H.R. 26

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

House resolution relating to the federal “fast track” process of congressional review of international trade;

Was taken up for immediate consideration.

Rep. Consejo of Sheldon, for the committee on Commerce, recommended that the resolution ought to be adopted.

Thereupon, the resolution was adopted on the part of the House.

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:

S. 97

     Senate bill, entitled

An act relating to correctional facilities;

S. 53

Senate bill, entitled

An act relating to motor vehicles;

Recess

At six o’clock and thirty minutes in the evening, the Speaker declared a recess until eight o’clock in the evening.

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

Message from the Senate No. 79

     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 the reports of the Committees of Conference upon the disagreeing votes of the two Houses upon House bills of the following titles:

H. 294.  An act relating to executive fees.

H. 313.  An act relating to the administration and enforcement of fines within the judicial bureau.

And has accepted and adopted the same on its part.

Rules Suspended; Report of Committee of Conference Adopted

H. 148

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

An act relating to the child abuse registry;

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 recommends that the Senate accede to the House proposal of amendment to the Senate proposal of amendment, with further proposal of amendment as follows:

First:  In Sec. 5, after the number “4”, by inserting the following: “of this act”

Second:  In Sec. 6, subdivision (a)(5), by striking the last sentence in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof the following: “The commissioner shall consult with the house committee on human services and the senate committee on health and welfare while considering the issues in this subdivision.”

Third:  After Sec. 6, by inserting seven new sections, to be numbered Secs. 7–14, to read as follows:

Sec. 7.  13 V.S.A. § 5407 is amended to read:

§ 5407.  SEX OFFENDER’S RESPONSIBILITY TO REPORT

(a)  A Except as provided in section 5411d of this title, a sex offender shall report to the department as follows:

(1)  if convicted of a registry offense in another state, within 10 days after either establishing residence in this state or crossing into this state for purposes of employment, carrying on a vocation, or being a student, the sex offender shall provide the information listed in subsection 5403(a) of this title;

(2)  annually within 10 days after the registrant’s birthday, or if a person is determined to be a sexually violent predator, that person shall report to the department every 90 days;

(3)  within three days after any change of address, or if a person is designated as a high‑risk sex offender pursuant to section 5411b of this title, that person shall report to the department within 36 hours;

(4)  within three days after the registrant enrolls in or separates from any postsecondary educational institution; and

(5)  within three days after any change in place of employment; and

(6)  within three days of any name change.

* * *

(f)  A person required to register as a sex offender under this subchapter shall continue to comply with this section for the life of that person, except during periods of incarceration, if that person:

(1)  has at least one prior conviction for an offense described in subdivision 5401(10) of this subchapter or a comparable offense in another jurisdiction of the United States;

(2)  has been convicted of a sexual assault as defined in section 3252 of this title or aggravated sexual assault as defined in section 3253 of this title; however, if a person convicted under section 3252 is not more than six years older than the victim of the assault and if the victim is 14 years or older, then the offender shall not be required to register for life if the age of the victim was the basis for the conviction; or

(3)  has been determined to be a sexually violent predator pursuant to section 5405 of this subchapter title; or

(4)  has been designated as a noncompliant high‑risk sex offender pursuant to section 5411d of this title.

* * *

(h)  A registrant who has no permanent address shall report to the department to notify it as to his or her temporary residence.  Temporary residence, for purposes of this section, need not include an actual dwelling or numbered street address, but shall identify a specific location.  A registrant shall not be required to check in daily if he or she makes acceptable other arrangements with the department to keep his or her information current.  The department may enter into an agreement with a local law enforcement agency to perform this function, but shall maintain responsibility for compliance with this subsection.

Sec. 8.  13 V.S.A. § 5411 is amended to read:

§ 5411.  NOTIFICATION TO LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT AND
  LOCAL COMMUNITY

* * *

(e)  After 10 years have elapsed from the completion of the sentence, a person required to register as a sex offender for life pursuant to section 5407 of this title who is not designated as a noncompliant high‑risk sex offender pursuant to section 5411d of this title may petition the district court for a termination of community notification, including the internet.  The state shall make a reasonable attempt to notify the victim of the proceeding, and consider victim testimony regarding the petition.  If the registrant was convicted of a crime which requires lifetime registration, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that the person is a high‑risk sex offender.  Should the registrant present evidence that he or she is not a high‑risk offender, the state shall have the burden of proof to establish by a preponderance of the evidence that the person remains a high risk to reoffend.  The court shall consider whether the offender has successfully completed sex offender treatment.  The court may require the offender to submit to a psychosexual evaluation.  If the court finds that there is a high risk of reoffense, notification shall continue.  The Vermont Rules of Civil Procedure shall apply to these proceedings.  A lifetime registrant may petition the court to be removed from community notification requirements once every 60 months.  The presumption under this section that a lifetime registrant is a high‑risk offender shall not automatically subject the offender to increased public access to his or her status as a sex offender and related information under subdivision (c)(1) of this section or section 5411a of this title.

Sec. 9.  13 V.S.A. § 5411a is amended to read:

§ 5411a.  ELECTRONIC POSTING OF THE SEX OFFENDER REGISTRY

(a)  Notwithstanding sections 2056a–2056e of Title 20, the department shall electronically post information on the internet in accordance with subsection (b) of this section regarding the following sex offenders, upon their release from confinement:

* * *

(5)(A)  Sex offenders who have not complied with sex offender treatment recommended by the department of corrections or who are ineligible for sex offender treatment.  The department of corrections shall establish rules for the administration of this subdivision and shall specify what circumstances constitute noncompliance with treatment and criteria for ineligibility to participate in treatment.  Offenders subject to this provision shall have the right to appeal the department of corrections’ determination in superior court in accordance with Rule 75 of the Vermont Rules of Civil Procedure.  This subdivision shall apply prospectively and shall not apply to those sex offenders who did not comply with treatment or were ineligible for treatment prior to March 1, 2005. 

(B)  The department of corrections shall notify the department if a sex offender who is compliant with sex offender treatment completes his or her sentence but has not completed sex offender treatment.  As long as the offender complies with treatment, the offender shall not be considered noncompliant under this subdivision and shall not be placed on the internet registry in accordance with this subdivision alone.  However, the offender shall submit to the department proof of continuing treatment compliance every three months.  Proof of compliance shall be a form provided by the department that the offender’s treatment provider shall sign, attesting to the offender’s continuing compliance with recommended treatment.  Failure to submit such proof as required under this subdivision (B) shall result in the offender’s placement on the internet registry in accordance with subdivision (A) of this subdivision (5).

* * *

Sec. 10.  13 V.S.A. § 5411d is added to read:

§ 5411d.  DESIGNATION OF NONCOMPLIANT HIGH‑RISK SEX
 OFFENDER

(a)  Prior to releasing a person from total confinement, the department of corrections shall designate the person as a noncompliant high‑risk sex offender if the person:

(1)  Is incarcerated on or after the effective date of this act for lewd and lascivious conduct with a child as defined in section 2602 of this title, sexual assault as defined in section 3252 of this title, aggravated sexual assault as defined in section 3253 of this title, or any attempt to commit a crime listed herein, or a comparable offense in another jurisdiction of the United States.

(2)  Is not subject to indeterminate life sentences under section 3271 of this title.

(3)  Is designated as a high‑risk sex offender pursuant to section 5411b of this title.

(4)  Is noncompliant with sex offender treatment as defined by department of corrections’ directives.

(b)  Noncompliant high‑risk sex offenders shall report to the department as follows:

(1)  In person, within 15 days from the date of release from department of corrections’ supervision, and within every 30 days thereafter.

(2)  Prior to any change of address.  However, if the change of address is unanticipated, the offender shall report within one day of the change of address.

(3)  Prior to enrollment in or separation from any postsecondary educational institution.  However, if the change in school status is unanticipated, the offender shall report within one day of the change.

(4)  Within one day of any change in a place of employment.

(c)  In addition to the registry information required in section 5403 of this title, a noncompliant high‑risk sex offender shall provide the department with the make, model, color, registration, and license plate number of any vehicle the person operates prior to operation.  An offender found in operation of a vehicle not on the list provided to the department shall be considered to be in violation of this subsection.

(d)  The department shall arrange for the noncompliant high‑risk sex offender to have his or her digital photograph updated annually for purposes of the electronic registry as provided in section 5411a of this title.  An offender who is requested by the department to report to the department or a local law enforcement agency for the purpose of being photographed for the internet registry shall comply with the request within 30 days.

(e)  The department shall conduct periodic unannounced registry compliance checks on noncompliant high‑risk sex offenders to verify the accuracy of registry information.  The department may enter into an agreement with a local law enforcement agency to perform duties under this subsection and under subdivision (b)(1) of this section, but shall maintain responsibility for compliance with this subsection.

(f)(1)  A noncompliant high‑risk sex offender may petition the district court to be relieved from the heightened registry requirements in this section once every five years from the date of designation.  The offender shall have the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that he or she:

(A)  no longer qualifies as a high‑risk offender as defined in section 5401 of this title and rules adopted by the department of corrections in accordance with section 5411b of this title; and

(B)  has complied with and completed sex offender treatment as provided by department of corrections’ directives.

(2)  The Vermont Rules of Civil Procedure shall apply to these proceedings.

(3)  If the court finds that the offender is not high‑risk and has successfully completed treatment, the court shall order that the offender is no longer considered a noncompliant high‑risk offender and is subsequently relieved from the heightened registry requirements of this section; however, the offender shall still continue to comply with sex offender registry and other requirements as provided elsewhere in this subchapter.

(g)(1)  A noncompliant high‑risk sex offender who knowingly fails to comply with any of the registry requirements under this section shall be imprisoned for not less than five years and a maximum term of life and, in addition, may be fined not more than $50,000.00.  A sentence may be suspended in whole or in part, or the person may be eligible for parole or release on conditional reentry or furlough, provided the person is subject to intensive supervision by the department of corrections.

(2)  In a criminal proceeding for violating any of the registry requirements under this section, a defendant shall be prohibited from challenging his or her status as a noncompliant high‑risk sex offender.

(h)  A noncompliant high-risk sex offender convicted of violating this section shall be sentenced under section 3271 of this title.

Sec. 11.  13 V.S.A. § 3271(a) is amended to read:

(a)  A person who commits one of the following offenses shall be sentenced under this section:

* * *

(4)  Violation of sex offender registry requirements by noncompliant high-risk sex offenders, in violation of subsection 5411d(g) of this title.

Sec. 12.  4 V.S.A. § 437 is amended to read:

§ 437.  Civil jurisdiction of district court

The district court shall have jurisdiction of the following actions:

* * *

(9)  Sex offender notification proceedings pursuant to 13 V.S.A. § 5411(c) subsections 5411(e) and 5411d(f) of Title 13.

* * *

Sec. 13.  APPROPRIATION; POSITION AUTHORIZED

(a)  One position is authorized for the office of the defender general, to be assigned to the office of prisoners’ rights, to ensure that the due process rights of prisoners subject to this chapter are protected.

(b)  An appropriation of $75,000.00 shall be considered by the administration and the general assembly in the fiscal year 2009 budget to fund the office of the defender general positions.

and by renumbering the remaining section to be numerically correct

Fourth:  In Sec. 14, by adding a new subsection (b) to read as follows:

(b)  Sec. 13 of this act shall take effect July 1, 2008.

and by relettering the remaining subsections to be alphabetically correct

Sen. Richard Sears

Sen. Alice Nitka

Sen. Kevin Mullin

Committee on the part of the Senate

Rep. William Lippert

Rep. Margaret Flory

Rep. Sandy Haas

Committee on the part of the House

Pending the question, Shall the House adopt the Committee of Conference report? 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 adopt the Committee of Conference report? was decided in the affirmative.  Yeas, 118.  Nays, 14.

Those who voted in the affirmative are:


Acinapura of Brandon

Adams of Hartland

Ainsworth of Royalton

Allard of St. Albans Town

Anderson of Montpelier

Andrews of Rutland City

Atkins of Winooski

Audette of S. Burlington

Baker of West Rutland

Barnard of Richmond

Bissonnette of Winooski

Bostic of St. Johnsbury

Botzow of Pownal

Branagan of Georgia

Bray of New Haven

Brennan of Colchester

Browning of Arlington

Canfield of Fair Haven

Chen of Mendon

Clark of St. Johnsbury

Clark of Vergennes

Clerkin of Hartford

Condon of Colchester

Consejo of Sheldon

Corcoran of Bennington

Courcelle of Rutland City

Devereux of Mount Holly

Donaghy of Poultney

Dostis of Waterbury

Emmons of Springfield

Errecart of Shelburne

Evans of Essex

Fallar of Tinmouth

Fisher of Lincoln

Flory of Pittsford

Frank of Underhill

French of Randolph

Gervais of Enosburg

Gilbert of Fairfax

Godin of Milton

Grad of Moretown

Haas of Rochester

Heath of Westford

Helm of Castleton

Hosford of Waitsfield

Howard of Rutland City

Hube of Londonderry

Hudson of Lyndon

Hunt of Essex

Hutchinson of Randolph

Jerman of Essex

Johnson of South Hero

Keogh of Burlington

Kilmartin of Newport City

Koch of Barre Town

Komline of Dorset

Kupersmith of S. Burlington

Larocque of Barnet

Larrabee of Danville

Larson of Burlington

Lawrence of Lyndon

Lenes of Shelburne

Leriche of Hardwick

Lippert of Hinesburg

Livingston of Manchester

Lorber of Burlington

Maier of Middlebury

Malcolm of Pawlet

Manwaring of Wilmington

Marcotte of Coventry

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

Miller of Shaftsbury

Minter of Waterbury

Monti of Barre City

Mook of Bennington

Morley of Barton

Morrissey of Bennington

Mrowicki of Putney

Myers of Essex

Nease of Johnson

Obuchowski of Rockingham

O'Donnell of Vernon

Oxholm of Vergennes

Partridge of Windham

Pearson of Burlington

Peaslee of Guildhall

Pellett of Chester

Peltz of Woodbury

Perry of Richford

Peterson of Williston

Potter of Clarendon

Pugh of S. Burlington

Randall of Troy

Rodgers of Glover

Scheuermann of Stowe

Shand of Weathersfield

Sharpe of Bristol

Smith of Morristown

Spengler of Colchester

Stevens of Shoreham

Sunderland of Rutland Town

Trombley of Grand Isle

Turner of Milton

Valliere of Barre City

Westman of Cambridge

Weston of Burlington

Wheeler of Derby

Winters of Williamstown

Wright of Burlington

Zenie of Colchester

Zuckerman of Burlington


 

Those who voted in the negative are:


Ancel of Calais

Copeland-Hanzas of Bradford

Davis of Washington

Deen of Westminster

Donahue of Northfield

Donovan of Burlington

Edwards of Brattleboro

Klein of East Montpelier

Milkey of Brattleboro

Mitchell of Barnard

Moran of Wardsboro

Nuovo of Middlebury

Orr of Charlotte

Sweaney of Windsor


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


Aswad of Burlington

Cheney of Norwich

Clarkson of Woodstock

Fitzgerald of St. Albans City

Head of S. Burlington

Howrigan of Fairfield

Johnson of Canaan

Keenan of St. Albans City

Kitzmiller of Montpelier

Krawczyk of Bennington

LaVoie of Swanton

Marek of Newfane

Ojibway of Hartford

Otterman of Topsham

Pillsbury of Brattleboro

Shaw of Derby

Symington of Jericho


 

     Rep. Consejo of  Sheldon explained his vote as follows:

“Madam Speaker:

     Today I gave my vote, and my voice to all the victims of predators that never had a chance to do it themselves.”

     Rep. Nuovo of Middlebury explained her vote as follows:

“Madam Speaker:

     We all want to have safe communities but when we take away the right of some members of the community we infringe on the rights of other groups or of all.”

Rules Suspended; Report of Committee of Conference Adopted

H. 313

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

An act relating to the administration and enforcement of fines within the judicial bureau;

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 recommends that the Senate recede from its proposals of amendment, and that the bill be amended by striking out all after the enacting clause and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Sec. 1.  4 V.S.A. § 1105 is amended to read:

§ 1105.  ANSWER TO COMPLAINT; DEFAULT

(a)  A violation shall be charged upon a summons and complaint form approved and distributed by the court administrator.  The complaint shall be signed by the issuing officer or by the state’s attorney.  The original shall be filed with the judicial bureau, a copy shall be retained by the issuing officer or state’s attorney and two copies shall be given to the defendant.  The complaint shall include a statement of rights, instructions, notice that a defendant may admit, not contest, or deny a violation, notice of the fee for failure to answer within 20 days, and other notices as the court administrator deems appropriate.  The court administrator, in consultation with appropriate law enforcement agencies, may approve a single form for charging all violations, or may approve two or more forms as necessary to administer the operations of the judicial bureau.

(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.

(c)  A person who admits or does not contest the allegations may so indicate and sign the complaint.  The bureau shall accept the admission or statement that the allegations are not contested and accept payment of the waiver penalty.

(d)  If the person sends in the amount of the waiver penalty without signing the complaint, the bureau shall accept the payment indicating that payment was made and that the allegations were not contested.

(e)  A person who denies the allegations may so indicate and sign the complaint.  Upon receipt, the bureau shall schedule a hearing.

(f)  If a person fails to appear or answer a complaint the bureau shall enter a default judgment against the person.  The bureau shall mail a notice to the person that a default judgment has been entered.  A default judgment may be set aside by the hearing officer for good cause shown.

(g)  All judicial bureau judgments shall contain a notice of tax setoff pursuant to 32 V.S.A. § 5941.

Sec. 2.  4 V.S.A. § 1109 is added to read:

§ 1109.  REMEDIES FOR FAILURE TO PAY

(a)  As used in this section:

(1)  “Amount due” means all financial assessments contained in a judicial bureau judgment, including penalties, fines, surcharges, court costs, and any other assessment authorized by law.

(2)  “Designated collection agency” means a collection agency designated by the court administrator.

(3)  “Designated credit bureau” means a credit bureau designated by the court administrator or the court administrator’s designee.

(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.

(c)  Civil contempt proceedings.  If an amount due remains unpaid for 75 days after the judicial bureau provides the defendant with a notice of judgment, the judicial bureau may initiate civil contempt proceedings pursuant to this subsection.

(1)  Notice of hearing.  The judicial bureau shall provide notice by first class mail sent to the defendant’s last known address that a contempt hearing will be held pursuant to this subsection, and that failure to appear at the contempt hearing may result in the sanctions listed in subdivision (2) of this subsection.

(2)  Failure to appear.  If the defendant fails to appear at the contempt hearing, the hearing officer may direct the clerk of the judicial bureau to:

(A)  cause the matter to be reported to one or more designated credit bureaus; or

(B)  refer the matter to district court for contempt proceedings.

(3)  Hearing.  The hearing shall be conducted in a summary manner.  The hearing officer shall examine the defendant and any other witnesses and may require the defendant to produce documents relevant to the defendant’s ability to pay the amount due.  The state or municipality shall not be a party except with the permission of the hearing officer.  The defendant may be represented by counsel at the defendant’s own expense.

(4)  Contempt.

(A)  The hearing officer may conclude that the defendant is in contempt if the hearing officer states in written findings a factual basis for concluding that:

(i)  the defendant knew or reasonably should have known that he or she owed an amount due on a judicial bureau judgment;

(ii)  the defendant had the ability to pay all or any portion of the amount due; and

(iii)  the defendant failed to pay all or any portion of the amount due.

(B)  In the contempt order, the hearing officer may do one or more of the following:

(i)  Set a date by which the defendant shall pay the amount due.

(ii)  Assess an additional penalty not to exceed ten percent of the amount due.

(iii)  Direct the clerk of the judicial bureau to cause the matter to be reported to one or more designated credit bureaus.  The court administrator or the court administrator’s designee is authorized to contract with one or more credit bureaus for the purpose of reporting information about unpaid judicial bureau judgments.

(iv)  Recommend that the district court incarcerate the defendant until the amount due is paid.  If incarceration is recommended pursuant to this subdivision (4), the judicial bureau shall notify the district court that contempt proceedings should be commenced against the defendant.  The district court proceedings shall be de novo.  If the defendant cannot afford counsel for the contempt proceedings in district court, the defender general shall assign counsel at the defender general’s expense.

(d)  Collections.

(1)  If an amount due remains unpaid after the issuance of a notice of judgment, the court administrator may authorize the clerk of the judicial bureau to refer the matter to a designated collection agency.

(2)  The court administrator or the court administrator’s designee is authorized to contract with one or more collection agencies for the purpose of collecting unpaid judicial bureau judgments pursuant to 13 V.S.A. § 7171.

(e)  For purposes of civil contempt proceedings, venue shall be statewide.

(f)  Notwithstanding 32 V.S.A. § 502, the court administrator is authorized to contract with a third party to collect fines, penalties, and fees by credit card, debit card, charge card, prepaid card, stored value card, and direct bank account withdrawals or transfers, as authorized by 32 V.S.A. § 583, and to add on and collect, or charge against collections, a processing charge in an amount approved by the court administrator.

Sec. 3.  4 V.S.A. § 1110 is added to read:

§ 1110.  Licenses or governmental contracts

(a)  As used in this section:

(1)  “License” means any license, certification, or registration issued by an agency to conduct a trade or business, including a license to practice a profession or occupation, or a license required to engage in recreational activities, including licenses to hunt, fish, or trap.

(b)  Every applicant for a license shall sign a statement that the applicant is in good standing with respect to any unpaid judgment issued by the judicial bureau or district court for fines or penalties for a violation or criminal offense.  A license may not be issued or renewed without such a statement.

(c)  For the purposes of this section, a person is in good standing with respect to any unpaid judgment issued by the judicial bureau or district court for fines or penalties for a violation or criminal offense if:

(1)  60 days or fewer have elapsed since the date a judgment was issued; or

(2)  the person is in compliance with a repayment plan approved by the judiciary.

Sec. 4.  13 V.S.A. § 7171 is amended to read:

§ 7171.  Collection by complaint, information, or
  indictment

(a)  Fines, forfeitures, and penalties incurred or imposed by statute may be recovered by complaint, information, or indictment, unless some other mode of recovery is specially provided.

(b)  The attorney general court administrator is authorized to contract with private collection agencies for collection of fines, forfeitures, fees and penalties, fines, surcharges, court costs, and any other assessment authorized by law incurred or imposed by statute on persons who have failed to pay after reasonable notification of the debt, and the risk that the debt may be referred to a collection agency and that the debtor will be liable for the collection agency’s fee.  The attorney general and the court administrator may agree to pay collection agencies a fee based on a fixed rate for services rendered or a percentage of the amount actually collected by such agencies and remitted to the state.  Notwithstanding 32 V.S.A. § 502, the attorney general may charge against such collections an agreed‑upon fixed rate or percentage of collections  The debtor shall be liable for the collection agency’s fee, in addition to the judgment amount.  The collection agency shall deduct its fee from the collected amount and remit the balance to the judiciary.  All collection agency fees shall be governed by the contract with the court administrator and shall be clearly disclosed in all notices sent by the collection agency to the debtor.

Sec. 5.  23 V.S.A. § 2307 is amended to read:

§ 2307.  REMEDIES FOR FAILURE TO PAY TRAFFIC VIOLATIONS

(a)  As used in this section:,

(1)  “Amount “amount due” means all financial assessments contained in a judicial bureau judgment, including penalties, fines, surcharges, court costs, and any other assessment authorized by law.

(2)  “Designated collection agency” means a collection agency designated by the court administrator.

(3)  “Designated credit bureau” means a credit bureau designated by the court administrator or the court administrator’s designee.

(b)  Notice of risk of suspension.  A judgment for a traffic violation shall contain a notice that failure to pay or otherwise satisfy the amount due within 20 30 days of the notice will result in suspension of the person’s operator’s license or privilege to operate, and the denial, if the person is the sole registrant, of the person’s application for renewal of a motor vehicle registration, until the amount due is paid or otherwise satisfied.  If the defendant fails to pay the amount due within 20 30 days of the notice and the case is not pending on appeal, the judicial bureau shall provide electronic notice thereof to the commissioner of motor vehicles who, after 20 days from the date of receiving the electronic notice, shall suspend the person’s operator’s license or privilege to operate and deny, if the person is the sole registrant, the person’s application for renewal of a motor vehicle registration until the amount due is paid or otherwise satisfied. 

(c)  Civil contempt proceedings.  If an amount due remains unpaid for 45 days after the judicial bureau provides the defendant with a notice of risk of suspension pursuant to subsection (b) of this section, the judicial bureau may initiate civil contempt proceedings pursuant to this subsection.  During proceedings conducted pursuant to 4 V.S.A. § 1109, the hearing officer may apply the following mitigation remedies when the judgment is based upon a traffic violation:

(1)  Notice of hearing.  The judicial bureau shall provide notice by first class mail sent to the defendant’s last known address that a contempt hearing will be held pursuant to this subsection and that failure to appear at the contempt hearing may result in the sanctions listed in subdivision (c)(2) of this section and subject to procedures for tax setoffs under 32 V.S.A. § 5941.

(2)  Failure to appear.  If the defendant fails to appear at the contempt hearing, the hearing officer may direct the clerk of the judicial bureau to:

(A)  cause the matter to be reported to one or more designated credit bureaus; or

(B)  refer the matter to district court for contempt proceedings.

(3)  Hearing.  The hearing shall be conducted in a summary manner.  The hearing officer shall examine the defendant and any other witnesses and may require the defendant to produce documents relevant to the defendant’s ability to pay the amount due.  The state or municipality shall not be a party except with the permission of the hearing officer.  The defendant may be represented by counsel at the defendant’s own expense.

(4)  Mitigation remedies.

(A)(1)  The hearing officer may waive the reinstatement fee required by section 675 of this title or reduce the amount due on the basis of:

(i)(A)  the defendant’s driving history, ability to pay, or service to the community;

(ii)(B)  the collateral consequences of the violation; or

(iii)(C)  the interests of justice.

(B)(2)  The hearing officer may specify a date by which the defendant shall pay the amount due and may notify the commissioner of motor vehicles to reinstate the defendant’s operator’s license or privilege subject to payment of the amount due by the specified date.  If the defendant fails to pay the amount due by the specified date, the judicial bureau may notify the commissioner to suspend the defendant’s operator’s license or privilege.  A license may be reinstated under this subdivision only if the defendant’s license is suspended solely for failure to pay a judicial bureau judgment.

(C)(3)  The judicial officer shall have sole discretion to determine mitigation remedies pursuant to this subdivision, and the judicial officer’s determination shall not be subject to review or appeal in any court, tribunal, or administrative office.

(5)  Contempt.

(A)  The hearing officer may conclude that the defendant is in contempt if the hearing officer states in written findings a factual basis for concluding that:

(i)  The defendant knew or reasonably should have known that he or she owed an amount due on a judicial bureau judgment;

(ii)  The defendant had the ability to pay all or any portion of the amount due; and

(iii)  The defendant failed to pay all or any portion of the amount due.

(B)  The hearing officer may in the contempt order do one or more of the following:

(i)  Set a date by which the defendant shall pay the amount due;

(ii)  Assess an additional penalty not to exceed ten percent of the amount due;

(iii)  Direct the clerk of the judicial bureau to cause the matter to be reported to one or more designated credit bureaus.  The court administrator or the court administrator’s designee is authorized to contract with one or more credit bureaus for the purpose of reporting information about unpaid judicial bureau judgments; and

(iv)  Recommend that the district court incarcerate the defendant until the amount due is paid.  If incarceration is recommended pursuant to this subdivision, the judicial bureau shall notify the district court that contempt proceedings should be commenced against the defendant.  If the defendant cannot afford counsel for the contempt proceedings in district court, the defender general shall assign counsel at the defender general’s expense.

(d)  Collections.

(1)  If an amount due remains unpaid for one year after the issuance of a notice of risk of suspension pursuant to subsection (b) of this section and the defendant has failed to appear at a judicial bureau contempt hearing, the court administrator may authorize the clerk of the judicial bureau to refer the matter to a designated collection agency.

(2)(A)  The court administrator or the court administrator’s designee is authorized to contract with one or more collection agencies for the purpose of collecting unpaid judicial bureau judgments.

(B)  The court administrator may authorize a collection agency to settle a judicial bureau judgment for less than the amount due and to retain a portion of the amount collected for its services.  The judgment amount shall be reduced in the judicial bureau records to reflect the settlement amount and the fee retained by the collection agency.

(e)  For purposes of civil contempt proceedings, venue shall be statewide.

(f)  Notwithstanding 32 V.S.A. § 502, the court administrator is authorized to contract with a third party to collect fines, penalties, and fees by credit card, debit card, charge card, prepaid card, stored value card, and direct bank account withdrawals or transfers, as authorized by 32 V.S.A. § 583, and to add on and collect a processing charge in an amount approved by the court administrator.

Sec. 6.  23 V.S.A. § 305a is added to read:

§ 305a.  –WHEN NOT ISSUED

The commissioner shall not renew the registration of a person who is the sole registrant after receiving notice from the judicial bureau that the person has not paid a judgment for a traffic violation.

Sec. 7.  32 V.S.A. § 509a is added to read:

§ 509a.  Judiciary overpayment; refund

Notwithstanding the provisions of section 509 of this title, when a person who owes money to the judiciary makes an overpayment, the judiciary shall forthwith refund to that person the amount of such overpayment; however, there shall be no obligation to refund sums in the amount of $10.00 or less.  If a person is owed a refund of more than $10.00 and cannot be located by the judiciary, the refund shall be submitted to the abandoned property procedure.  For refunds of $10.00 or less which are not demanded by the person within a year after the payment, the refund shall revert to the state and be deposited into the revenue fund where the original payment was deposited. 

Sec. 8.  32 V.S.A. § 583 is amended to read:

§ 583.  Credit card payments

(a)  A statewide officer or secretary of a state agency, commissioner of a state department, or the court administrator may accept payment of taxes, registration fees, license fees, penalties, fines, interest, charges, surcharges, or any other fees or amounts due the state by means of credit cards, debit cards, charge cards, prepaid cards, stored value cards, and direct bank account withdrawals or transfers.

(b)  The court administrator may not accept credit cards, debit cards, charge cards, prepaid cards, stored value cards, and direct bank account withdrawals or transfers for payments of fines, penalties or surcharges assessed by a circuit of the district court.  However, the court administrator may accept credit cards, debit cards, charge cards, prepaid cards, stored value cards, and direct bank account withdrawals or transfers for any payments to the Chittenden, Essex, and Washington circuits of the district court.

(c)  The state treasurer shall negotiate and contract with banks and bank credit card companies or others to provide as a method of payment to state agencies, or departments, or the judiciary the use of credit card or debit card accounts or direct bank account withdrawals or transfers, and may agree to pay such bank or other company a fee or percentage of the amount collected and remitted to the state.  The court administrator may so contract for the judiciary with the approval of the state treasurer.  Notwithstanding section 502 of this title, an agency, a department, or the judiciary may charge against such collections the percentage or fee imposed.

(d)(c)  The state treasurer shall assist each statewide officer, secretary, commissioner, and court administrator who elects to accept payments, as authorized by this section, with establishing procedures for accepting those payments.

(e)(d)  A statewide officer or secretary of a state agency, a commissioner of a state department, or the court administrator who has authority to accept payment of fees, penalties, fines, charges, surcharges, or any other amounts due the state by a credit card, debit card, charge card, prepaid card, or stored value card shall not charge or collect any additional amounts for using such card to make the payment unless the agency develops a policy regarding additional charges.  Each policy and recommended charge, except that which is adopted and recommended by the court administrator, shall be approved by the secretary of administration prior to applying the charge.  Any such charge shall approximate the cost of providing the service. 

(f)(e)  By January 15 of each year, the treasurer, with the assistance of the court administrator, shall file a report with the general assembly and the joint fiscal committee which:

* * *

Sec. 9.  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 4 V.S.A. § 27.  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.

Sec. 10.  REPEAL

12 V.S.A. § 5540 is repealed.

Sec. 11.  12 V.S.A. § 5540a is amended to read:

§ 5540a.  JURISDICTION OVER SMALL CLAIMS; ASSISTANT JUDGES;
    ADDISON, CHITTENDEN, FRANKLIN, GRAND ISLE,
    LAMOILLE, ORANGE, ORLEANS, WASHINGTON,
   WINDHAM, AND WINDSOR COUNTIES

(a)(1)  Subject to the limitations in this section and notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, assistant judges of Essex, Caledonia, Rutland, and Bennington Counties sitting alone shall hear and decide small claims actions filed under this chapter with the Essex, Caledonia, Rutland, and Bennington superior courts.

(2)  Subject to the limitations in this section and notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, assistant judges of Addison, Chittenden, Franklin, Grand Isle, Lamoille, Orange, Orleans, Washington, Windham, and Windsor counties sitting alone shall hear and decide small claims actions filed under this chapter with the appropriate superior court if the assistant judges first elect to successfully complete the training required in subsection (b) of this section.

(b)  With the exception of assistant judges authorized to preside in small claims matters prior to the effective date of this act who have successfully completed the testing requirements established herein, an assistant judge hearing cases under this section shall have completed at least 100 hours of relevant training and testing, and observed 20 hours of small claims hearings in accordance with the protocol for said training and observation which shall be established by a majority of the assistant judges of the state, which shall include attendance at colleges or classes available in various locations in and outside the state to lay judges.  An assistant judge who hears cases under this section shall complete 16 hours of continuing education every year relating to jurisdiction exercised under this section and shall file a certificate to such effect with the court administrator.  Training shall be paid for on a per capita basis of those judges electing to take the training by the county, which expenditure is hereby authorized.  Law clerk assistance available to superior court judges shall be available to the assistant judges.

(c)  A decision of an assistant judge shall be entered as a small claims judgment and may be appealed pursuant to section 5538 of this title.  The appeal shall be decided by the presiding judge.

(d)  An assistant judge upon successful completion of the training under subsection (b) of this section, shall cause the superior court clerk to notify the court administrator of the assistant judge’s successful completion of training. Upon receipt of such notification, small claims cases which require a hearing shall first be set for hearing before an assistant judge in the superior court in the county and shall be heard by the assistant judge.  If the assistant judge is unavailable due to illness, vacation, administrative leave, disability, or disqualification, the administrative judge pursuant to section 22 of Title 4 may assign a judge, or appoint and assign a member of the Vermont bar to serve temporarily as an acting judge, to hear small claims cases in Addison, Chittenden, Franklin, Grand Isle, Lamoille, Orange, Orleans, Washington, Windham, and Windsor counties the county.  No action filed or pending shall be heard at or transferred to any other location unless agreed to by the parties.  If both assistant judges of the county elect to successfully complete training to hear these matters, the senior assistant judge shall make the assignment of cases to be heard by each assistant judge.  The assistant judges, once qualified to preside in these matters, shall work with the court administrator’s office and the administrative judge such that the scheduling of small claims cases before the assistant judges are at such times as to permit adequate current court personnel to be available when these cases are heard.

(e)  This section shall be repealed effective on July 1, 2008 July 1, 2012.

Sec. 12.  13 V.S.A. § 7043a is added to read:

§ 7043a.  Licenses or governmental contracts

(a)  As used in this section:

(1)  “License” means any license, certification, or registration issued by an agency to conduct a trade or business, including a license to practice a profession or occupation, or a license required to engage in recreational activities, including a license to hunt, fish, or trap.

(b)  Every applicant for a license shall sign a statement that the applicant is in good standing with respect to any restitution order.  A license may not be issued or renewed without such a statement.

(c)  For the purposes of this section, a person is in good standing with respect to any restitution order if:

(1)  60 days or fewer have elapsed since the date a restitution judgment was issued;

(2)  the person is in compliance with a repayment plan approved by the restitution unit; or

(3)  the person is in compliance with a court‑ordered restitution judgment order.

Sec. 13.  REPORTS

(a)(1)  The commissioner of the department of fish and wildlife, in consultation with the court administrator, the office of child support, the center for crime victims services, the department of motor vehicles, and the department of information and innovation, shall develop a proposal for an automated system for the department of fish and wildlife to suspend a license to hunt, fish, or trap for a violation of:

(A)  4 V.S.A. § 1110, relating to any unpaid judgment issued by the judicial bureau or district court for fines or penalties for a criminal offense;

(B)  13 V.S.A. § 7043, relating to failure to comply with a restitution order; and

(C)  15 V.S.A. §§ 795 and 798, relating to failure to comply with a child support order.

(2)  The commissioner shall report to the house and senate committees on judiciary and to legislative council not later than December 1, 2007 regarding the proposed automated system and any costs associated with implementation.

(b)  The commissioner of the department of fish and wildlife shall report to the house and senate committees on judiciary not later than December 1, 2007 regarding the current policies and practices of the department for suspending licenses of persons to hunt, fish and trap who have failed to pay child support.  The report shall describe how the department receives notice from the office of child support that a licensee has failed to pay child support, the contents of the notice, the procedures that the department follows after receiving notice, data on how many and how frequently licenses are suspended after notice is received, and whether any changes in law would assist the department to effect license suspensions of licensees who fail to pay child support.  

(c)  The commissioner of the department of buildings and general services shall report to the house and senate committees on judiciary not later than December 1, 2007 regarding the feasibility, advisability, and likely effects of prohibiting a state agency from entering into, extending, or renewing a contract with a person unless the person submits a statement that the person is in good standing with respect to any unpaid judicial bureau judgments, district court fines, or restitution orders. 

(d)  The commissioner of the department of motor vehicles and the court administrator shall report to the senate and house committees on judiciary no later than December 1, 2007 on methods to protect the interests of innocent owners when suspending the registrations of motor vehicles titled to more than one person on account of the failure of one of the titleholders to pay to the judicial bureau judgments for traffic violations.

Sec. 14.  VICTIMS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT STUDY COMMITTEE

(a)  A committee is established to study certain issues related to victims of sexual assault.  The committee shall examine:

(1)  the financial cost of forensic sexual assault examination and other health care needs of sexual assault victims, including follow‑up care for victims undergoing PEP, best practices in other states, and whether the cost of forensic sexual assault examinations should be capped;

(2)  how forensic sexual assault examination kits are collected and transported by law enforcement and how the kits are received and processed by the Vermont Forensic Laboratory;

(3)  the currency of practice standards for sexual assault nurse examiners, oversight and enforcement of standards, and the training and certification opportunities available in Vermont;

(4)  the feasibility of instituting a pediatric sexual assault examination program in Vermont.  The committee shall review the study conducted by the Vermont children’s alliance and consult with other state and national organizations with expertise in pediatric sexual assault examiner programs;

(5)  whether a victim of sexual assault shall be considered eligible for the victims compensation program based solely on a report to a sexual assault nurse examiner;

(6)  the current funding sources for the sexual assault nurse examiner program and the need for additional resources.

(b)  The committee shall consist of the following members:

(1)  One member appointed by the Vermont center for crime victim services, who shall serve as co‑chair of the committee.

(2)  One member appointed by the Vermont center for the prevention and treatment of sexual abuse, who shall serve as co‑chair of the committee.

(3)  One member appointed by the Vermont hospital association.

(4)  One member appointed by the Vermont network against domestic and sexual violence.

(5)  A survivor of sexual assault appointed by the Vermont center for crime victim services.

(6)  One member appointed by the department of public safety.

(7)  The director of the Vermont forensic laboratory.

(8)  One member of the Vermont children’s alliance.

(9)  A pediatrician appointed by the Vermont medical society.

(10)  A sexual assault nurse examiner appointed by the sexual assault nurse examiner advisory board.

(11)  One member of the senate appointed by the committee on committees.

(12)  One member of the house appointed by the speaker of the house.   

(c)  The committee shall have the assistance and cooperation of all state and local agencies and departments.  The center for crime victims services shall convene the meetings and provide professional and administrative support for the committee.

(d)(1)  Members of the committee who are not state employees shall be entitled to per diem compensation and reimbursement for expenses through the center for crime victims services to the same extent that legislative members of committees are entitled to such compensation and reimbursement under 2 V.S.A. § 406. 

(2)  For attendance at a meeting when the general assembly is not in session, the legislative members of the committee shall be entitled to per diem compensation and reimbursement for expenses as provided by 2 V.S.A. § 406.

(e)  The committee shall present its findings and recommendations, including proposals for legislative action, to the general assembly no later than December 1, 2007.

Sec. 15.  Sec. 9 of No. 169 of the Acts of the 2005 Adj. Sess. (2006) is amended to read:

Sec. 9.  DISSEMINATION OF ELECTRONIC CASE RECORDS

The judiciary shall not permit public access via the internet to criminal case records or family court case records prior to June 1, 2007 July 1, 2008.  The court may permit criminal justice agencies, as defined in 20 V.S.A. § 2056a, internet access to criminal case records for criminal justice purposes, as defined in section 2056a. 

Sec. 16.  4 V.S.A. § 27 is added to read:

§ 27.  MUNICIPAL TICKET REPAYMENT REVOLVING FUND

(a)  A municipal ticket repayment revolving fund is created for the purpose of facilitating the transfer of incorrectly deposited judicial bureau payments to the appropriate municipality.  A municipality may request a loan from the municipal ticket repayment revolving fund in the amount owed another municipality if the municipality requesting the loan:

(1)  received payments from the judicial bureau that were actually owed to the other municipality for penalties collected by the judicial bureau for violations of an ordinance within the other municipality; and

(2)  received such payments from the judicial bureau between June 30, 2004 and June 30, 2007.

(b)  The court administrator shall have the authority to approve all loans from the municipal ticket repayment revolving fund.  To request a loan from the fund, a municipality shall file an application on a form approved by the court administrator by July 1, 2008.  The application shall contain the following information:

(1)  an agreement, signed by both municipalities, defining the amount owed by one municipality to the other; and

(2)  a plan for the municipality requesting the loan to repay the fund by July 1, 2013.  The plan may authorize the court administrator to withhold judicial bureau violation payments to the municipality requesting the loan for deposit into the fund.

(c)  The maximum loan balance at any time shall be $100,000.00 for one municipality and $400,000.00 for all municipalities.  The court administrator shall administer the municipal ticket repayment revolving fund and shall establish procedures to allocate the available funds fairly and equitably.

(d)  Nothing in this section shall prohibit the sending or receiving municipality from otherwise agreeing on, or bringing a civil action to resolve, overpayment issues prior to June 30, 2004.

Sec. 17.  23 V.S.A. § 1098 is added to read:

§ 1098.  DISPOSITION OF PENDING CASES

(a)  The judicial bureau shall enter judgment against the defendant in all cases in which:

(1)  prior to January 1, 2007, the defendant filed an answer admitting or not contesting the violation;

(2)  the defendant paid all or a portion of the fine, penalty, or surcharge; and

(3)  The issuing officer did not file the original complaint prior to July 1, 2007.

(b)  Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, with respect to any judgment entered pursuant to this section, the judicial bureau shall immediately seal the record and shall not report the judgment to the commissioner of motor vehicles.  Any funds received by the judicial bureau for judgments under this section shall be deposited in the court technology special fund up to $150,000.00, and the balance to be deposited to the municipal ticket repayment revolving fund defined in 4 V.S.A. § 27.

(c)  The judicial bureau shall dismiss the action in all cases in which:

(1)  the defendant filed an answer denying or contesting the violation prior to January 1, 2007; and

(2)  the issuing officer did not file the original complaint prior to July 1, 2007.

Sec. 18.  13 V.S.A. § 1028 is amended to read:

§ 1028.  ASSAULT OF LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER, FIREFIGHTER,

OR EMERGENCY MEDICAL PERSONNEL member

A person convicted of a simple or aggravated assault against a law enforcement officer or, firefighter, or member of emergency services personnel as defined in subdivision 2651(6) of Title 24 while the officer or, firefighter, or emergency medical personnel member is performing a lawful duty, in addition to any other penalties imposed under sections 1023 and 1024 of this title, shall:

(1)  For the first offense, be imprisoned not more than one year;

(2)  For the second offense and subsequent offenses, be imprisoned not more than ten years.

Sec. 19.  4 V.S.A. § 1102(b) is amended to read:

(b)  The judicial bureau shall have jurisdiction of the following matters:

(1)  traffic Traffic violations alleged to have been committed on or after July 1, 1990;.

(2)  civil Civil ordinance violations alleged to have been committed on or after July 1, 1994;.

(3)  minor Minor fish and wildlife violations alleged to have been committed on or after September 1, 1996;.

(4)  violations Violations of subsection 1005(a) of Title 7, relating to possession of tobacco products by a person less than 18 years of age;.

(5)  violations Violations of 7 V.S.A. § 1007, relating to furnishing tobacco products to a person under the age of 18 years;.

(6)  violations Violations of 24 V.S.A. § 2201, relating to littering, burning of solid waste, and illegal dumping;.

(7)  violations Violations of subchapter 9 of chapter 1 of Title 16, relating to hazing;.

(8)  violations Violations of 20 V.S.A. §§ 2056a, 2056b, and 2056c, relating to unauthorized disclosure of criminal record information;.

(9)  violations Violations of 7 V.S.A. § 656, relating to illegal possession of alcoholic beverages;.

(10)  violations Violations under subdivision 658(c)(1) of Title 7, relating to an employee of a second class licensee selling alcohol to a minor during a compliance check;.

(11)  violations Violations of 18 V.S.A. § 4234b(b), relating to selling ephedrine base, pseudoephedrine base, or phenylpropanolamine base.

(12)  Violations of 13 V.S.A. § 352(3), (4), and (9), relating to cruelty to animals.

Sec. 20.  13 V.S.A. § 353 is amended to read:

§ 353.  DEGREE OF OFFENSE; SENTENCING UPON CONVICTION

(a)  Penalties.

(1)  Except as provided in subdivision (3) or (4) of this subsection, cruelty to animals under section 352 of this title shall be punishable by a sentence of imprisonment of not more than one year, or a fine of not more than $2,000.00, or both.  Second and subsequent convictions shall be punishable by a sentence of imprisonment of not more than two years or a fine of not more than $5,000.00, or both.

* * *

(4)(A)  Except as provided in subdivision (B) of this subdivision (4), a person found in violation of subdivision 352(3), (4), or (9) of this title pursuant to this subdivision shall be imprisoned not more than one year or fined not more than $2,000.00, or both.  Second and subsequent convictions shall be punishable by a sentence of imprisonment of not more than two years or a fine of not more than $5,000.00, or both.

(B)  A law enforcement officer shall issue a civil citation to a person who violates subdivision 352(3), (4), or (9) of this title if the person has not been previously adjudicated in violation of this chapter.  A person adjudicated in violation of subdivision 352(3), (4), or (9) of this title pursuant to this subdivision shall be assessed a civil penalty of not more than $500.00.  At any time prior to the person admitting the violation and paying the assessed penalty, the state’s attorney may withdraw the complaint filed with the judicial bureau and file an information charging a violation of subdivision 352(3), (4), or (9) of this title in district court.   

* * *

Sec. 21.  13 V.S.A. § 7251(d) is added to read:

(d)  Fines, forfeitures, and penalties imposed by the judicial bureau for violations of subdivisions 352(3),(4), and (9) of this title, relating to animal cruelty that result from the enforcement by villages, towns, and cities within their jurisdiction shall be paid to the respective village, town, or city, except for a $12.50 administrative charge for each violation which shall be retained by the state.  The enforcement by villages, towns, and cities shall be by a local law enforcement officer or a law enforcement officer by contract with the village, town, or city.  Such law enforcement officer shall be certified according to the provisions of 20 V.S.A. § 2358.

Sec. 22.  EFFECTIVE DATES

(a)  In Sec. 5 of this act, 23 V.S.A. § 2307(b), the provisions relating to the denial of a motor vehicle registration, and Sec. 6 in its entirety shall take effect January 1, 2010. 

(b)  Secs. 3 and 12 shall take effect January 1, 2008.

(c)  Sec. 15 shall take effect on passage.

(d)  All other sections shall take effect July 1, 2007.

and that, upon passage, the title shall read:  “AN ACT RELATING TO THE ADMINISTRATION AND ENFORCEMENT OF JUDICIAL FINES, JURISDICTION OF ASSISTANT JUDGES OVER SMALL CLAIMS, ENHANCED PENALTIES FOR ASSAULTS ON EMERGENCY MEDICAL PESONNEL, AND CIVIL VIOLATIONS FOR ANIMAL CRUELTY”

Sen. Richard Sears

Sen. John Campbell

Sen. Ann Cummings

Committee on the part of the Senate

Rep. William Lippert

Rep. Maxine Grad

Rep. Margaret Flory

Committee on the part of the House

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

Rules Suspended; Senate Proposal of Amendment Concurred in

J.R.H. 37

     On motion of Rep. Adams of Hartland, the rules were suspended and Joint resolution, entitled

     Joint Resolution authorizing the commissioner of forests, parks and recreation to enter into land exchanges and the commissioner of fish and wildlife to accept a labrador retriever for law enforcement purposes;

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

     The Senate proposed to the House to amend the Joint resolution by striking out subdivision (2) in its entirety, following the first Resolve clause, and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

(2)  Notwithstanding 29 V.S.A. § 166, sell a portion of Willoughby state forest containing the so‑called Cheney House located near the south end of Lake Willoughby in the town of Westmore.  The sale shall include up to five acres of land necessary to encompass the Cheney House, associated wastewater treatment facilities, and associated outbuildings, structures, facilities, and access drives.  It shall not include any frontage on Lake Willoughby.  The commissioner shall follow the 29 V.S.A. § 166 process for sale of state lands.  However, proceeds from this sale shall be deposited in the department of forests, parks and recreation parks special fund and used to implement a plan, which shall be developed by the department no later than September 1, 2007, to restore the buildings and grounds of Sentinel Rock State Park in Westmore.  If not all funds are necessary to implement the plan, funds may also be use for improvement of facilities in Willoughby state forest at the south end of Lake Willoughby; or construction of cabins at state parks, or both.

     Which proposal of amendment was considered and concurred in.

House Resolution Adopted

H.R. 27

Reps. Canfield of Fair Haven, Helm of Castleton, Baker of West Rutland, Donaghy of Poultney, Potter of Clarendon and Stevens of Shoreham offered a House resolution, entitled

House concurrent resolution honoring Frances C. LaPlaca and the late Tom LaPlaca on their induction into the Vermont Principals’ Association Hall of Fame;

Whereas, the late Tom LaPlaca and his wife, Frances (Fran) LaPlaca, commenced teaching at Fair Haven Union High School (FHUHS) in 1958, and

Whereas, rarely has a husband and wife team left so positive and enduring a legacy at a secondary educational institution, and

Whereas, Tom LaPlaca taught physical education and coached teams in baseball, basketball, and, most especially, football, and

Whereas, in the course of Tom LaPlaca’s coaching career, the FHUHS Slaters earned gridiron championship crowns on four occasions, and

Whereas, he coached the triumphant Vermont team in the 1975 Shrine football all-star game, and

Whereas, he was not only a superb coach and athletic director, but also an outstanding school administrator in his role as assistant principal, and

Whereas, since his retirement in 1988, the school has honored him in a special way, as the football and soccer teams now play on the lighted Thomas E. LaPlaca Field, and

Whereas, the work of Tom’s musically talented wife, Fran LaPlaca, has been as inspiring as her husband’s accomplishments on the FHUHS athletic fields and courts, and

Whereas, Fran LaPlaca is now in her remarkable 49th year of teaching chorus at FHUHS and continues as a creative and vibrant member of the teaching staff, and

Whereas, the choral concerts at FHUHS are known for their musical appeal and enjoyment due to her professional standards and innate teaching ability, and

Whereas, throughout their careers at FHUHS, both Tom and Fran LaPlaca inspired their students to reach for new athletic and musical heights, and

Whereas, in recognition of their unique contribution to FHUHS and to the teaching profession in Vermont, Tom and Fran LaPlaca will be inducted into the Vermont Principals’ Association Hall of Fame at a celebratory dinner on May 2, 2007, now therefore be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

That the General Assembly congratulates Frances LaPlaca on her and her late husband Tom’s induction into the Vermont Principals’ Association Hall of Fame, and be it further

Resolved:  That the secretary of state be directed to send a copy of this resolution to Frances LaPlaca in Fair Haven, to each of her four children: James, Mary, Michael, and Theresa, and to Fair Haven Union High School.

Which was read and adopted.

Rules Suspended; Report of Committee of Conference Adopted

H. 294

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

An act relating to executive branch fees;

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 recommends that the House accede to the Senate proposal of amendments with further amendments as follows:

First:  By deleting Sec. 23 (BISHCA) in its entirety

Second:  In Sec. 30 (DEC), 3 V.S.A. § 2822(j)(4)(A)(i)(I), by striking the word “sewer” and inserting in lieu thereof the following: “sewerage” in 3 V.S.A. § 2822(j)(4)(B)(i)(I),  by striking the word “sewer” and inserting in lieu thereof the following: “sewerage”, after the words “$0.25 per gallon” by deleting the words “per lot”, and after the words “Minimum per” by striking the word “lot” and inserting in lieu thereof the following: “application”, in 3 V.S.A. § 2822(j)(4)(B)(ii)(I), by striking the word “sewer” and inserting in lieu thereof the following: “sewerage”, after the words “$0.15 per gallon” by striking the word “lot” and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

application”, and after the word “minimum per” by striking the word “lot” and inserting in lieu thereof the following: “application”, and in 3 V.S.A. § 2822(j)(4)(B)(iii)(I) by striking the word “sewer” and inserting in lieu thereof the following: “sewerage”, and by striking the word “lot” and inserting in lieu thereof the following: “application

Third:  By deleting Secs. 33g, 33h, and 33i (Judiciary) in their entirety

Fourth:  By deleting Sec. 33j (Special Commemorative License Plates) in its entirety

Fifth:  By deleting Sec. 33k (Medical Care of Inmates) in its entirety

Sixth:  By striking Sec. 15 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 15 to read as follows:

Sec. 15.  18 V.S.A. § 5201(b) is amended to read:

(b) (c) The person in charge of the body shall not release for cremation the body of a person who died in Vermont until the person in charge has received a certificate from the chief, regional or assistant medical examiner that the medical examiner has made personal inquiry into the cause and manner of death and is satisfied that no further examination or judicial inquiry concerning it is necessary. The certificate shall be retained by the person in charge of the body crematory for a period of three years. For the certificate, the medical examiner is entitled to a fee of $10.00 $25.00 payable by the person requesting cremation.

Seventh:  By striking Sec. 34 (Effective Dates) 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, 24, 25, and 33e of this act shall take effect on passage.

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

(c)  Sec. 12, 18 V.S.A. § 4353(a)(1)II (seating capacity of 26 to 50), III (seating capacity of 51 to 100), and IX (fair stands),  18 V.S.A. § 4353(a)(2)II (lodging capacity of 11 to 20), and Sec. 13, 18 V.S.A. § 4446(a)II (small commercial bakery) shall take effect on July 1, 2008.

Sen. Ann Cummings

Sen. William Carris

Sen. Hull Maynard

Committee on the part of the Senate

Rep. Carolyn Branagan

Rep. William Aswad

Rep. James Condon

Committee on the part of the House

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

Rules Suspended; Report of Committee of Conference Adopted

S. 6

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

An act relating to preventing conviction of innocent persons;

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 recommends that the House recede from its proposals of amendment, and that the bill be amended by striking out all after the enacting clause and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Sec. 1.  13 V.S.A. chapter 182 is added to read:

CHAPTER 182.  INNOCENCE PROTECTION

Subchapter 1.  Postconviction DNA Testing

§ 5561.  PETITION FOR POSTCONVICTION DNA TESTING

(a)  A person convicted of a qualifying crime may at any time file a petition requesting forensic DNA testing of any evidence which may contain biological evidence that was obtained during the investigation or prosecution of the crime.  The petition shall:

(1)  specifically identify the crime for which the petitioner asserts that he or she is innocent and the evidence which the petitioner seeks to have subjected to DNA testing;

(2)  contain the petitioner’s certification, under oath, that the petitioner did not commit the crime for which he or she was convicted;

(3)  contain the petitioner’s certification, under oath, that the petition is true and accurate; and

(4)  allege facts showing that DNA testing may be material to the petitioner’s claim of innocence.

(b)  As used in this section:

(1)  “Biological evidence” means:

(A)  a sexual assault forensic examination kit; or

(B)  semen, blood, saliva, hair, skin tissue, or other identified biological material.

(2)  “Person convicted of a qualifying crime” means a person convicted of:

(A)  one of the following crimes as defined in this title:

(1)  arson causing death, § 501;

(2)  assault and robbery with a dangerous weapon, § 608(b);

(3)  assault and robbery causing bodily injury, § 608(c);

(4)  aggravated assault, § 1024;

(5)  murder, § 2301;

(6)  manslaughter, § 2304;

(7)  aggravated murder, § 2311;

(8)  kidnapping, § 2405;

(9)  unlawful restraint, §§ 2406 and 2407;

(10)  maiming, § 2701;

(11)  sexual assault, § 3252;

(12)  aggravated sexual assault, § 3253;

(13)  burglary into an occupied dwelling, § 1201(c); or

(14)  lewd and lascivious conduct with a child; § 2602.

(B)  any felony not listed in subdivision (b)(1) of this section, if the petition is filed within 30 months after the conviction becomes final, the person presents specific facts demonstrating that DNA evidence will provide substantial evidence of the person’s innocence, and the court finds that the interests of justice would be served by permitting the petition.   

(c)(1)  The petition shall be filed in the superior court of the county where the conviction was imposed, and shall not be heard by a judge who presided over the trial, sentencing, or any motion hearing related to evidence to be admitted at the trial. 

(2)(A)  Unless subdivision (B) of this subdivision (2) applies, the petitioner shall provide copies of the petition to the attorney general and to the state’s attorney in the district where the conviction was obtained. 

(B)  If the petitioner is not represented by counsel, the court shall provide copies of the petition to the attorney general and to the state’s attorney in the district where the conviction was obtained.

(3)  Within 30 days after it receives the petition, the state shall agree to perform the requested DNA testing in a timely manner or file a response to the petition.  The petitioner may file a reply to the state’s response only within 30 days after the response is filed. 

(4)  The court shall schedule a hearing on the petition within 90 days after the state’s response is filed unless the state notifies the court that it has agreed to provide the testing in a timely manner or the court dismisses the petition pursuant to subsection (c) of this section. 

(5)  Time limits under this subsection may be extended for good cause shown or by consent of the parties.

(c)  The court shall dismiss the petition without a hearing if it determines that:

(1)  the petition, response, reply if any, files, and records conclusively establish that the petitioner is entitled to no relief; or

(2)  the petition was not made to demonstrate innocence or the appropriateness of a lesser sentence and will unreasonably delay the execution of sentence or administration of justice.

(d)  No person shall file a petition requesting forensic DNA testing pursuant to this chapter if the person’s conviction resulted from a plea agreement until after July 1, 2008.  

§ 5562.  ASSIGNMENT OF COUNSEL

The court may appoint counsel if the petitioner is unable financially to employ counsel and may order that all necessary costs and expenses incident to the matter, including but not limited to court costs, stenographic services, printing, and reasonable compensation for legal services, be paid by the state from the appropriation to the defender general.  On appeal, the supreme court may make a similar order.

§ 5563.  VICTIM NOTIFICATION

(a)  If the address of a victim of the crime which the petitioner claims to be innocent of in the petition is known, the state’s attorney or attorney general shall give written notice of a petition under this section to the victim upon the victim’s request.  If the victim’s current address is not known, the state’s attorney or the attorney general shall consult with the department of corrections victim services division to verify the victim’s last known address.  The notice shall be by any reasonable means to the victim’s last known address and shall indicate whether the petitioner is represented by public or private counsel.  Upon the victim’s request, the state’s attorney or attorney general shall give the victim notice of the time and place of any hearing on the petition and shall inform the victim of the disposition of the petition and the outcome of any hearing.  If DNA testing is ordered, the state’s attorney or the attorney general shall inform the victim whether the test results require further court hearings, the time and place of any hearings, and the outcome of the hearings.

(b)  The rights of victims contained in this section do not entitle a victim to be a party in any proceeding, or to any procedural rights which are not specifically provided for in this section, including any right to request a delay or rescheduling of any proceeding. 

§ 5564.  DISCOVERY

(a)  Upon motion by the petitioner or the state, and after providing the nonmovant with reasonable opportunity to respond to the motion, the court may permit reasonable discovery and the right to depose witnesses.  The court in its discretion may delay ruling on any discovery motions until after it has determined whether to dismiss the petition pursuant to subsection 5561(c) of this section.  

(b)  A discovery order issued pursuant to this section may include the following:

(1)  The court may order the state to locate and provide the petitioner with any documents, notes, logs, or reports relating to items of physical evidence collected in connection with the case or to help the petitioner locate items of biological evidence that the state contends have been lost or destroyed.  The court may further order the state to take reasonable measures to locate biological evidence that may be in its custody or to help the petitioner locate evidence that may be in the custody of a public or private hospital, public or private laboratory, or other facility.

(2)  If evidence has previously been subjected to DNA testing, the court may order production of laboratory reports prepared in connection with the testing and may order production of the underlying data and the laboratory notes.

(3)  If any DNA or other biological evidence testing was previously conducted by either the prosecution or the defense without knowledge of the other party, the court may order that the previous testing be disclosed.

(4)  If the court orders DNA testing under this subchapter, the court shall order the production of any laboratory reports prepared in connection with the testing and may order production of the underlying data, bench notes, or other laboratory notes.

§ 5565.  [RESERVED]

§ 5566.  ORDER; NECESSARY FINDINGS; CONFIDENTIALITY

(a)  The court shall grant the petition and order DNA testing if it makes all of the following findings:

(1)  A reasonable probability exists that the petitioner would not have been convicted or would have received a lesser sentence for the crime which the petitioner claims to be innocent of in the petition if the results of the requested DNA testing had been available to the trier of fact at the time of the original prosecution.

(2)  One or more of the items of evidence that the petitioner seeks to have tested is still in existence.

(3)  The evidence to be tested was obtained in connection with the offense that is the basis of the challenged conviction and:

(A)  was not previously subjected to DNA testing; or

(B)  although previously subjected to DNA testing, can be subjected to additional DNA testing that provides a reasonable likelihood of significantly more probative results.

(4)(A)(i)  The chain of custody of the evidence to be tested establishes that the evidence has not been tampered with, replaced, or altered in any material respect; or

(ii)  If the chain of custody does not establish the integrity of the evidence, the testing itself has the potential to establish the integrity of the evidence.

(B)  For purposes of this subchapter, evidence that has been in the custody of a law enforcement agency, a governmental body, or a public or private hospital shall be presumed to satisfy the chain-of-custody requirement of this subdivision.

(b)  The court may designate in its order:

(1)  the type of DNA analysis to be used;

(2)  the testing procedures to be followed;

(3)  the preservation of some portion of the sample for replicating the testing;

(4)  additional DNA testing, if the results of the initial testing are inconclusive or otherwise merit additional scientific analysis.

(c)  DNA profile information from biological samples taken from any person pursuant to a petition under this subchapter shall be confidential except for use and dissemination consistent with this chapter and chapter 113 of Title 20, and shall be exempt from any law requiring disclosure of information to the public.

§ 5567.  APPEALS

An order entered on the petition may be appealed to the Vermont supreme court pursuant to the Rules of Appellate Procedure.

§ 5568.  CHOICE OF LABORATORY; PAYMENT

(a)  If the court orders DNA testing under this subchapter, the testing shall be conducted at a facility mutually agreed upon by the petitioner and the state and approved by the court.  If the parties are unable to agree, the court shall designate the testing facility and provide the parties with a reasonable opportunity to be heard on the issue.

(b)  The court shall impose reasonable conditions on the testing to protect the parties’ interests in the integrity of the evidence and the testing process.

(c)(1)  The state shall bear the costs of testing performed at the state crime laboratory.

(2)  Except as provided in subdivision (3) of this subsection, the court may require the petitioner or the state or both to pay for testing performed at a private laboratory.

(3)  If the state crime laboratory does not have the ability or resources to conduct the type of DNA testing to be performed, the state shall bear the costs of testing at a private laboratory which does have such capabilities or resources.

§ 5569.  PROCEDURE AFTER TEST RESULTS OBTAINED

(a)  The results of any postconviction DNA testing conducted pursuant to this subchapter shall be disclosed to the state’s attorney, the attorney general, the department of corrections if the petitioner is under the department’s custody or supervision, the petitioner, and the court.

(b)  If the results of forensic DNA testing ordered under this subchapter support the facts alleged in the petition, the court shall schedule a hearing as soon as practicable after the results are received to determine the appropriate relief to be granted.  The petitioner and the state shall be permitted to submit motions and be heard at the hearing.

(c)  At or subsequent to the hearing, the court may issue an order including but not limited to the following:

(1)  setting aside or vacating the petitioner’s judgment of conviction;

(2)  granting the petitioner a new trial;

(3)  granting the petitioner a new sentencing hearing;

(4)  discharging the petitioner from custody;

(5)  specifying the disposition of any evidence that remains after the completion of the testing;

(6)  granting the petitioner additional discovery on matters related to DNA test results or the conviction or sentence under attack, including documents pertaining to the original criminal investigation and the identities of other suspects; or

(7)  providing such other relief as the court deems appropriate.

(d)  If, as a result of DNA evidence, the person’s conviction for an offense is reversed or vacated, the information or indictment is dismissed, the person is acquitted after a second or subsequent trial, or the person is pardoned:

(1)  The court shall order the removal and destruction of the person’s name and any information about that conviction from the sex offender registry established under section 5402 of this title, the child abuse registry established under section 4916 of Title 33, the vulnerable adult registry established under section 6911 of Title 33, and any other registry on which the person’s name appears solely because of his or her conviction of that offense.  If the person has more than one entry on a registry, only the entry related to the offense for which, as a result of DNA evidence, the person’s conviction was reversed or vacated, the information or indictment was dismissed, the person was acquitted after a second or subsequent trial, or the person received a pardon shall be removed and destroyed.

(2)  It shall not be a violation of Vermont law for the person to respond, when asked, that he or she has never previously been convicted of a crime, and that his or her innocence of the crime charged has been established.  This subdivision shall not apply if the person has been convicted of a crime other than the one for which, as a result of DNA evidence, the person’s conviction was reversed, the information or indictment was dismissed, the person was acquitted after a second or subsequent trial, or the person was pardoned.   

(e)  An order issued under this section may be appealed to the Vermont supreme court pursuant to the Rules of Appellate Procedure. 

§ 5570.  SUCCESSIVE PETITIONS

(a)  The court shall not be required to entertain a second or successive petition for similar relief on behalf of the same petitioner unless it appears the petition will be assisted by the availability of more advanced DNA technology.

(b)  The court may entertain a second or successive petition if it determines that doing so would serve the interests of justice.

Subchapter 2.  Compensation for Wrongful Convictions

§ 5572.  RIGHT OF ACTION; PROCEDURE

(a)  A person convicted and imprisoned for a crime of which the person was exonerated pursuant to subchapter 1 of this chapter shall have a cause of action for damages against the state.

(b)  An action brought under this subchapter shall be filed in Washington County superior court.  Notice of the action shall be served upon the attorney general.

(c)  The Vermont Rules of Civil Procedure shall apply to actions brought under this subchapter, and the plaintiff shall have a right to trial by jury.  The Vermont Rules of Appellate Procedure shall apply to appeals from orders and judgments issued under this subchapter.

(d)  The attorney general may consider, adjust, determine, and settle any claim for damages brought against the state of Vermont under this subchapter.

§ 5573.  COMPLAINT

(a)  A complaint filed under this subchapter shall be supported by facts and shall allege that:

(1)  the complainant has been convicted of a crime, been sentenced to a term of imprisonment, and served all or any part of the sentence; and

(2)  the complainant was exonerated pursuant to subchapter 1 of this chapter through the complainant’s conviction being reversed or vacated, the information or indictment being dismissed, the complainant being acquitted after a second or subsequent trial,  or the granting of a pardon. 

(b)  The court may dismiss the complaint, upon its own motion or upon motion of the state, if it determines that the complaint does not state a claim for which relief may be granted.

§ 5574.  BURDEN OF PROOF; JUDGMENT; DAMAGES 

(a)  A claimant shall be entitled to judgment in an action under this subchapter if the claimant establishes each of the following by a preponderance of the evidence:

(1)  The complainant was convicted of a crime, was sentenced to a term of imprisonment, and served all or any part of the sentence.

(2)  As a result of DNA evidence:

(A)  The complainant’s conviction was reversed or vacated, the complainant’s information or indictment was dismissed, or the complainant was acquitted after a second or subsequent trial; or

(B)  The complainant was pardoned for the crime for which he or she was sentenced.

(3)  DNA evidence establishes that the complainant did not commit the crime for which he or she was sentenced.

(4)  The complainant did not fabricate evidence or commit or suborn perjury during any proceedings related to the crime with which he or she was charged.

(b)  A claimant awarded judgment in an action under this subchapter shall be entitled to damages in an amount to be determined by the trier of fact for each year the claimant was incarcerated, provided that the amount of damages shall not be less than $30,000.00 nor greater than $60,000.00 for each year the claimant was incarcerated, adjusted proportionally for partial years served.  The damage award may also include:

(1)  Economic damages, including lost wages and costs incurred by the claimant for his or her criminal defense and for efforts to prove his or her innocence.

(2)  Notwithstanding the income eligibility requirements of the Vermont Health Access Plan in section 1973 of Title 33, and notwithstanding the requirement that the individual be uninsured, up to ten years of eligibility for the Vermont Health Access Plan using state-only funds.

(3)  Compensation for any reasonable reintegrative services and mental and physical health care costs incurred by the claimant for the time period between his or her release from mistaken incarceration and the date of the award.

(4)  Reasonable attorney’s fees and costs for the action brought under this subchapter.  

(c)  Damages awarded under this section:

(1)  shall not be subject to any state taxes, except for the portion of the judgment awarded as attorney’s fees; and

(2)  shall not be offset by any services awarded to the claimant pursuant to this section or by any expenses incurred by the state or any political subdivision of the state, including expenses incurred to secure or maintain the claimant’s custody or to feed, clothe, or provide medical services for the claimant.

(d)  The claimant’s acceptance of a damages award, compromise, or settlement as a result of a claim under this subchapter shall be in writing and, except when procured by fraud, shall be final and conclusive on the claimant, and constitute a complete release by the claimant of any claim against the state and a complete bar to any action by the claimant against the state with respect to the same subject matter. 

(e)  A claimant shall be entitled to compensation under this subchapter only for the years in which he or she would not otherwise have been incarcerated for another sentence.  

§ 5575.  PAYMENT

(a)  Any award made or compromise or settlement against the state of Vermont agreed upon by the attorney general in response to an action brought under this subchapter shall be paid by the state treasurer out of the treasury, and the emergency board shall reimburse the state treasurer therefore from time to time.

(b)  If the state elects to self‑insure for liability as defined in section 5601 of Title 12, any award, compromise, or settlement against the state of Vermont agreed to by the attorney general shall be paid by the treasurer from the liability self-insurance fund.

(c)  To the extent that an award, settlement, or compromise is covered by a policy of liability insurance, payment will be governed by the terms of the policy.

§ 5576.  LIMITATIONS

(a)  Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, an action for compensation under this subchapter shall be commenced within three years after the person is exonerated pursuant to subchapter 1 of this chapter through the person’s conviction being reversed or vacated, the information or indictment being dismissed, the person being acquitted after a second or subsequent trial, or through the granting of a pardon.

(b)(1)  If the state challenges the exoneration of a person entitled to bring an action under this subchapter, the limitations period shall not commence until the challenge is finally resolved.

(2)  If a person entitled to bring an action under this subchapter is not provided the notice required by section 5586 of this title, the person shall have an additional year within which to bring the action.     

§ 5577.  NOTICE OF RIGHT OF ACTION

(a)  A copy of this subchapter shall be provided to a person by a court:

(1)  exonerating a person pursuant to subchapter 1 of this chapter  through vacating or reversing the person’s conviction, dismissing the information or indictment, entering judgment on an acquittal after a second or subsequent trial; or

(2)  receiving notice of a pardon.

(b)  A person receiving a copy of this subchapter pursuant to subsection (a) of this section shall be required to acknowledge its receipt in writing on a form established by the court administrator.  The acknowledgement shall be entered on the docket by the court and shall be admissible in an action filed under this subchapter.

Sec. 2.  PRESERVATION OF EVIDENCE STUDY COMMITTEE

(a)  A committee is established for the purpose of studying issues related to the preservation of evidence in criminal cases.

(b)  The committee shall consist of the following members:

(1)  the executive director of the department of state’s attorneys and sheriffs, who shall be the chair of the committee; 

(2)  the attorney general or designee;

(3)  one state’s attorney appointed by the executive director of the department of state’s attorneys and sheriffs;

(4)  one district court clerk appointed by the court administrator;

(5)  one member appointed by the Vermont chiefs of police association;

(6)  the captain of the bureau of criminal investigations or designee;

(7)  one member appointed by the Vermont criminal justice training council;

(8)  the commissioner of public safety or designee;

(9)  the director of the Vermont crime laboratory or designee;

(10)  the defender general or designee;

(11)  an investigator appointed by the defender general;

(12)  a staff public defender appointed by the defender general;

(13)  one member appointed by the Vermont sheriffs’ association;

(14)  one member appointed by the Vermont center for crime victims services;

(15)  one member appointed by the Vermont police association; and

(16)  the commissioner of the department of buildings and general services, or designee.

(c)  The committee shall consider the following:

(1)  Current statewide policies regarding the preservation of evidence in criminal cases, and whether a statewide policy should be adopted.

(2)  Current policies in local jurisdictions regarding the preservation of evidence in criminal cases, and whether these policies are consistent with one another and with relevant statewide policies.

(3)  Best practices regarding the preservation of evidence in criminal cases.

(4)  The appropriate duration for preservation of evidence, with specific consideration of whether evidence should be preserved while a convicted person is incarcerated or while the person is under other forms of state supervision.

(5)  Whether and how advances in DNA testing technology should affect policies concerning preservation of evidence.

(6)  If the committee determines that a statewide policy should be adopted regarding the preservation of evidence in criminal cases, the committee shall recommend a policy and a timeline for its adoption. 

(7)  Whether current facilities provide enough space to preserve the evidence that needs to be preserved.   

(8)  Whether there should be one central, statewide repository for evidence collected in criminal cases.

(d)  The committee shall have the assistance and cooperation of all state and local agencies and departments.  The committee shall consult with the Innocence Project.  The department of public safety shall provide professional and administrative support for the committee. 

(e)  The committee shall report its findings and recommendations, including proposals for legislative action, to the senate and house committees on judiciary no later than December 15, 2007 whereupon the committee shall cease to exist.

Sec. 3.  EYEWITNESS IDENTIFICATION AND CUSTODIAL
 INTERROGATION RECORDING STUDY COMMITTEE

(a)  A committee is established for the purpose of studying issues related to best practices regarding eyewitness identification procedures and audio and audiovisual recording of custodial interrogations.  The committee shall:

(1)  Study and analyze federal and state models and develop best practices regarding:

(A)  audio and audiovisual recording of any custodial interrogations of suspects during the course of felony investigations; and

(B)  eyewitness identification procedures for conducting photo lineups and live lineups.

(2)  Study current statewide policies regarding eyewitness identification procedures for conducting photo lineups and live lineups and audio and

audio-visual recording of custodial interrogations, and whether statewide policies on these issues should be adopted.

(3)  Study current policies in local jurisdictions regarding eyewitness identification procedures for conducting photo lineups and live lineups and audio and audiovisual recording of custodial interrogations, and whether these policies are consistent with one another and with relevant statewide policies.

(b)  The committee shall consist of the following members:

(1)  one member appointed by the executive director of the department of state’s attorneys and sheriffs, who shall be the chair of the committee;

(2)  the attorney general or designee;

(3)  one member appointed by the Vermont chiefs of police association;

(4)  the captain of the bureau of criminal investigations or designee;

(5)  one member appointed by the Vermont criminal justice training council;

(6)  the commissioner of public safety or designee;

(7)  the defender general or designee;

(8)  an investigator appointed by the defender general;

(9)  a staff public defender appointed by the defender general;

(10)  one member appointed by the Vermont sheriffs’ association;

(11)  one member appointed by the Vermont center for crime victims services; and

(12)  one member appointed by the Vermont bar association.

(c)  The committee shall have the assistance and cooperation of all state and local agencies and departments.  The committee shall consult with the Innocence Project and with the law enforcement advisory board.  The department of public safety shall provide professional and administrative support for the committee.    

(d)  The committee shall report its findings and recommendations, including proposals for legislative action, to the senate and house committees on judiciary no later than December 15, 2007, whereupon the committee shall cease to exist.

Sen. Richard Sears

Sen. Alice Nitka

Sen. John Campbell

Committee on the part of the Senate

Rep. William Lippert

Rep. Margaret Flory

Rep. Alison Clarkson

Committee on the part of the House

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

Members Replaced on Committee of Conference

H. 527

The Speaker announced that he has appointed Rep. Minter of Waterbury and Representative Potter of Clarendon to replace Rep. Corcoran of  Bennington and Representative Audette of South Burlington on the Committee of Conference on House bill, entitled

An act relating to the state’s transportation program.

Rules Suspended; Report of Committee of Conference Adopted

S. 7

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

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

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 recommends that the Senate accede to the House proposal amendment, with further proposal of amendment as follows:

In Sec. 1, 18 V.S.A. § 4472(5), defining “Possession limit,” by striking the words “four” and inserting in lieu thereof “seven

Sen. John Campbell

Sen. Kevin Mullin

Sen. Richard Sears

Committee on the part of the Senate

Rep. Ann Pugh

Rep. William Frank

Rep. Willem Jewett

Committee on the part of the House

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

Rules Suspended; Report of Committee of Conference Adopted

S. 143

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

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

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 recommends that the Senate accede to the House proposal of amendment, and that the bill be further amended as follows:

First:  By striking all after Sec. 1 and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Sec. 2.  10 V.S.A. § 579 is added to read:

§ 579.  VEHICLE EMISSIONS LABELING PROGRAM FOR NEW

             MOTOR VEHICLES

(a)  The secretary of natural resources, in consultation with the commissioner of motor vehicles, shall establish, by rule, a vehicle emissions labeling program for new motor vehicles sold or leased in the state with a model year of 2010 or later.  The rules adopted under this section shall require automobile manufacturers to install the labels.

(b)  Vehicle emissions labels under this program shall include the vehicle's emissions score.  The label required by subsection (a) of this section and the vehicle score included in the label shall be consistent with the labels and information required by other states, including the California motor vehicle greenhouse gas and smog index label and any revisions thereto.  A label that complies with the requirements of the California vehicle labeling program shall be deemed to meet the requirements of this section and the rules adopted thereunder for the content of labels.

(c)  The vehicle emissions label shall be affixed to the vehicle in a clearly visible location, as set forth by the secretary of natural resources in rule.

(d)  On or after the effective date of the rules adopted under subsection (a) of this section, no new motor vehicle shall be sold or leased in the state unless a vehicle emissions label that meets the requirements of this section and the rules adopted thereunder is affixed to the vehicle except in the case of a trade of a new motor vehicle by a Vermont dealer, as that term is defined in 23 V.S.A. § 4(8), with a dealer from another state that does not have a similar labeling law, provided that the motor vehicle involved in the trade is sold within 30 days of the trade.

(e)  As used in this section, "motor vehicle" means all passenger cars, light duty trucks with a gross vehicle weight of 8500 pounds or less, and medium duty passenger vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of less than 10,000 pounds that is designed primarily for the transportation of persons. 

Sec. 3.  EFFECTIVE DATE

(a)  This section and Secs. 1 (MTBE in racing fuel) and 2 (vehicle emissions labeling program) of this act shall take effect upon passage.

(b)  The rules required by 10 V.S.A. § 579 shall take effect for new motor vehicles with model year 2010 or at such time as the California motor vehicle greenhouse gas labeling specifications are implemented, whichever is later.

Sen. Jane Kitchel

Sen. Don Collins

Sen. Richard Mazza

Committee on the part of the Senate

Rep. Sue Minter

Rep. David Deen

Rep. Richard Westman

Committee on the part of the House

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:

S. 6

House bill, entitled

An act relating to preventing conviction of innocent persons;

S. 7

House bill, entitled

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

S. 143

House bill, entitled

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

Rules Suspended; Action Ordered Messaged to Senate Forthwith

 and Bills Delivered to the Governor Forthwith

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

H. 313

House bill, entitled

An act relating to the administration and enforcement of fines within the judicial bureau;

H. 148

House bill, entitled

An act relating to the child abuse registry;

H. 294

House bill, entitled

An act relating to executive branch fees;

Rules Suspended; Report of Committee of Conference Adopted

Rules Suspended; Bill Messaged to Senate Forthwith

S. 77

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

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

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 recommends that the House recede from its proposals of amendment, and that the bill be amended by striking out all after the enacting clause and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Sec. 1.  23 V.S.A. § 2023(e) is amended to read:

(e)(1)  Notwithstanding other provisions of the law, and except as provided in subdivision (2) of this subsection, whenever the estate of an individual who dies intestate consists principally of an automobile in whole or in part of a motor vehicle, and the person’s will or other testamentary document does not specifically address disposition of motor vehicles, the surviving spouse shall be deemed to be the owner of the motor vehicle and title to the same motor vehicle shall automatically and by virtue hereof pass to said the surviving spouse.  Registration and title of the motor vehicle in the name of the surviving spouse shall be effected by payment of a transfer fee of $7.00.  This transaction is exempt from the provisions of the purchase and use tax on motor vehicles.

(2)  This subsection shall apply to no more than two motor vehicles, and shall not apply if the motor vehicle is titled in the name of one or more persons other than the decedent and the surviving spouse.

Sec. 2.  REPORT

The department of motor vehicles shall report to the house and senate committees on judiciary on the advisability and feasibility of adding a transfer on death provision to motor vehicle titles and registrations.

Sec. 3.  12 V.S.A. § 5531 is amended to read:

§ 5531.  RULES GOVERNING PROCEDURE

(a)  The supreme court, pursuant to section 1 of this title, shall make rules under this chapter applicable to such court providing for a simple, informal, and inexpensive procedure for the determination, according to the rules of substantive law, of actions of a civil nature of which they have jurisdiction, other than actions for slander or libel and in which the plaintiff does not claim as debt or damage more than $3,500.00 $5,000.00.  Small claims proceedings shall be limited in accord with this chapter and the procedures made available under those rulesThe procedure shall not be exclusive, but shall be alternative to the formal procedure begun by the filing of a complaint.

(b)  Parties may not request claims for relief other than money damages under this chapter.  Nor may parties split a claim in excess of $5,000.00 into two or more claims under this chapter.

(c)  In small claims actions where the plaintiff makes a claim for relief greater than $3,500.00, the defendant shall have the right to request a special assignment of a judicial officer.  Upon making this request, a superior judge, a district judge, or a member of the Vermont bar appointed pursuant to 4 V.S.A. § 22(b) shall be assigned to hear the action.

(b)(d)  Venue in small claims actions shall be governed by section 402 of this title.

Sec. 4.  Rule 2 of the Vermont Rules of Small Claims Procedure is amended to read:

RULE 2.  JURISDICTION PLACE OF SUIT; FILING FEE

(a)  Jurisdiction.  Actions on claims for money damages not exceeding $3,500.00 $5,000.00 may be brought under these rules, except claims based on defamation.  Claims for relief other than money damages may not be brought under these rules.  A claim in excess of $3,500.00 $5,000.00 may not be split into two or more claims under these rules.

Sec. 5.  12 V.S.A. § 5537 is amended to read:

§ 5537.  PAYMENT OF JUDGMENTS

* * *

(c)  Rights granted in this section to judgment creditors are supplemental to other rights and procedures created by other statutes and rules.

Sec. 6.  12 V.S.A. § 2681 is amended to read:

§ 2681.  EXECUTIONS IN SUPREME AND SUPERIOR COURTS; TIME

(a)  The supreme and superior courts may issue executions on final judgments rendered by them, which shall be made returnable within 60 days from the date thereof.  Such executions may be issued so long as the judgment remains unsatisfied, but not after eight years from the date of rendition of the judgment, except as provided in subsection (b) of this section.

(b)  Executions on small claims court judgments may be made so long as the judgment remains unsatisfied, but not after eight years from the date of rendition of the judgment.  Actions to renew small claims court judgments shall be brought by filing a complaint in small claims court prior to the expiration of the judgment, and may be made for the amount of the judgment and any postjudgment costs, fees, and interest allowed by law.

Sec. 7.  CASH PAYMENT OF PROPERTY TAX ADJUSTMENTS FOR

      2007 REAL ESTATE CLOSINGS

For 2007 only, notwithstanding any other provision of law, for a residence transferred after March 31 and before June 21, 2007, if the transferor notifies the commissioner of taxes of the transfer, in writing, no later than

4:30 p.m. on June 20, 2007, and includes with the notice a copy of the property transfer tax return and proof of payment of the property transfer tax, the transferor's Social Security number, the property's school parcel account number, and any additional information which the commissioner may request the commissioner shall not notify the municipality of a property tax adjustment amount for the property, and the commissioner shall pay the property tax adjustment amount to the transferor by July 15, 2007.

Sec. 8.  EFFECTIVE DATE

     Sec. 7 of this act shall take effect upon passage and apply to property transfers after March 31 and before June 21, 2007.

and, that upon passage, the title shall read:  “AN ACT RELATING TO CASH PAYMENT OF PROPERTY TAX ADJUSTMENTS, TO SMALL CLAIMS COURT, AND TO TRANSFERRING TITLE TO A MOTOR VEHICLE TO A SURVIVING SPOUSE”

Sen. Kevin Mullin

Sen. John Campbell

Sen. Richard Sears

Committee on the part of the Senate

Rep. Margaret Flory

Rep. Willem Jewett

Rep. Kathy Pellett

Committee on the part of the House

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

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

Adjournment

At ten o’clock and fifteen minutes in the evening, on motion of Rep. Adams of Hartland, the House adjourned until tomorrow at eleven o’clock in the forenoon.

Concurrent Resolutions Adopted

     The following concurrent resolutions, having been placed on the Consent Calendar on the preceding legislative day, and no member having requested floor consideration  as provided by the Joint Rules of the Senate and House of Representatives, are hereby adopted in concurrence.

H.C.R.  142

House concurrent resolution thanking the utility crews, municipal employees, community organizations, and volunteers who assisted Rutland County in its storm-recovery effort

H.C.R.  143

     House concurrent resolution honoring girl scouting in Vermont on the 95thanniversary of Girl Scouts U.S.A.

H.C.R.  144

House concurrent resolution in memory of John Dostal of Bennington

H.C.R.  145

House concurrent resolution congratulating Southern Vermont College on its 80th anniversary

H.C.R. 146

House concurrent resolution congratulating the Destination Imagination teams from Randolph

H.C.R.  147

House concurrent resolution congratulating Nathaniel Alexander Soares on being named the Vermont state winner of the 2007 AXA Achievement Scholarship

H.C.R.  148

House concurrent resolution in memory of Gary Rosen

H.C.R. 149

House concurrent resolution honoring John and Joyce Miner for their devoted service on behalf of Vermont’s veterans

H.C.R. 150

House concurrent resolution honoring retiring town manager Jerome Mann Remillard for his many years of public service in the town of Brattleboro

H.C.R. 151

House concurrent resolution congratulating Hannah McMeekin and Garrett Bauman on their commendable service as United States Senate pages

H.C.R.  152

House concurrent resolution congratulating the 2007 Lamoille Union High School Lady Lancers Division II championship girls’ basketball team

H.C.R. 153

House concurrent resolution congratulating the American Cancer Society on the construction of the outstanding new Hope Lodge in Burlington

H.C.R.  154

House concurrent resolution honoring Brattleboro Fire Chief David J. Emery

H.C.R.  155

House concurrent resolution congratulating Dorothy McGuire of Shaftsbury on her 100th birthday

H.C.R.  156

House concurrent resolution honoring Jane Altobell for her outstanding 35‑year career as the Shaftsbury School nurse

H.C.R. 157

House concurrent resolution honoring Richford assistant town clerk Joyce Wetherby

H.C.R.  158

House concurrent resolution honoring Roger Gendron for his public service on behalf of the citizens of Richford

H.C.R.  159

House concurrent resolution congratulating Gordon DeLong on the completion of his exemplary career as Pittsford town clerk-treasurer

H.C.R.  160

House concurrent resolution in memory of William H. Leach

H.C.R.  161

House concurrent resolution honoring Margaret Larivee for her dedicated public service on behalf of the town of Richford

H.C.R.  162

House concurrent resolution commemorating the proud history of the Catamount Elementary School in Bennington

S.C.R. 23.

Senate concurrent resolution congratulating Morgan Lilly and Ethan Verberg for their prize-winning performances at the Vermont State Skills U.S.A. Diesel Competition.

 

 

S.C.R. 24.

     Senate concurrent resolution recognizing the role of former commissioner of banking and insurance George Chaffee in helping to establish the captive insurance industry in Vermont.

     [The full text of the concurrent resolutions appeared in the Senate and House Calendar Addendum on the preceding legislative day and will appear in the volume of the Public Acts and Resolves of the 2007, sixty-ninth  Adjourned session]

 



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