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Journal of the House

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WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 6, 2008

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

Devotional Exercises

Devotional exercises were conducted by Speaker Gaye Symington of Jericho.

House Bill Introduced

H. 859

Reps. Emmons of Springfield, Lippert of Hinesburg and Lorber of Burlington introduced a bill, entitled

An act relating to increasing substance abuse treatment, vocational training, and transitional housing for offenders in order to reduce recidivism, increase public safety, and reduce corrections costs;

Which was read the first time and referred to the committee on Institutions.

Senate Bills Referred

Senate bills of the following titles were severally taken up, read the first time and referred as follows:

S. 222

Senate bill, entitled

An act relating to the safe haven exception to the crime of abandonment;

To the committee on Judiciary.

S. 240

Senate bill, entitled

An act relating to repealing the sunset of the law enforcement exemption to the social security breach notice act;

To the committee on Judiciary.

S. 283

Senate bill, entitled

An act relating to the managed care organizations and the blueprint for health;

To the committee on Health Care.

Joint Resolutions Placed on Calendar

The Speaker placed before the House the following resolutions which were read and in the Speaker’s discretion, placed on the Calendar for action tomorrow under Rule 52.

J.R.H. 50

Joint resolution relating to hunger awareness

Offered by:  Representatives Dostis of Waterbury, Anderson of Montpelier, Andrews of Rutland City, Aswad of Burlington, Atkins of Winooski, Bissonnette of Winooski, Botzow of Pownal, Branagan of Georgia, Bray of New Haven, Browning of Arlington, Canfield of Fair Haven, Chen of Mendon, Cheney of Norwich, Clarkson of Woodstock, Condon of Colchester, Consejo of Sheldon, Copeland-Hanzas of Bradford, Corcoran of Bennington, Deen of Westminster, Donahue of Northfield, Donovan of Burlington, Edwards of Brattleboro, Emmons of Springfield, Errecart of Shelburne, Fallar of Tinmouth, Fisher of Lincoln, Flory of Pittsford, Frank of Underhill, French of Randolph, Gervais of Enosburg, Gilbert of Fairfax, Godin of Milton, Head of S. Burlington, Heath of Westford, Helm of Castleton, Hosford of Waitsfield, Howard of Rutland City, Hube of Londonderry, Hutchinson of Randolph, Jerman of Essex, Jewett of Ripton, Johnson of South Hero, Johnson of Canaan, Keenan of St. Albans City, Keogh of Burlington, Kitzmiller of Montpelier, Klein of East Montpelier, Komline of Dorset, Krawczyk of Bennington, Kupersmith of S. Burlington, Larson of Burlington, Lawrence of Lyndon, Lenes of Shelburne, Leriche of Hardwick, Lorber of Burlington, Maier of Middlebury, Malcolm of Pawlet, Manwaring of Wilmington, Marek of Newfane, Martin of Springfield, Martin of Wolcott, Masland of Thetford, McAllister of Highgate, 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, O'Donnell of Vernon, Orr of Charlotte, Oxholm of Vergennes, Partridge of Windham, Pellett of Chester, Peltz of Woodbury, Perry of Richford, Peterson of Williston, Pillsbury of Brattleboro, Potter of Clarendon, Pugh of S. Burlington, Shand of Weathersfield, Sharpe of Bristol, Smith of Morristown, Spengler of Colchester, Sweaney of Windsor, Trombley of Grand Isle, Turner of Milton, Weston of Burlington and Zenie of Colchester

Whereas, 19,000 of Vermont’s children lack consistent access to nutritionally adequate foods due to economic hardship and lack of resources, and

Whereas, the general assembly’s joint fiscal office has determined that families earning up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level have trouble meeting their basic needs, representing approximately 42,000 Vermont children, and

Whereas, according to the U.S. Census, rates of poverty and food insecurity

among both children and households in Vermont are on the rise, and

Whereas, children living with food insecurity are at a significantly greater risk for illness, nutrient deficiency, delayed development, obesity, behavioral problems, educational challenges, abuse, and neglect, and 

Whereas, hunger and malnutrition in Vermont strain our state’s financial and medical resources, act as barriers to the growth of healthy communities, and threaten our investments in education, and

Whereas, increasing participation in the federal nutrition programs provides an effective, consistent, and dignified means for reducing hunger and food insecurity in Vermont, and

Whereas, the federal nutrition programs bring over $80 million into the state each year, stimulating Vermont’s economy and supporting local business and farmers, and

Whereas, children participating in the federal nutrition programs, including school breakfast and child care meals, have lower rates of tardiness and absenteeism and higher academic performance, face fewer cognitive and behavioral challenges, and are in better health, and

Whereas, the federal nutrition programs are underutilized in Vermont, especially the school breakfast program and the child and adult care food programs, with Vermont being ranked 23rd and 49th in the nation, respectively, and

Whereas, families struggling to put food on the table need and deserve the support of their community, and the state of Vermont, now therefore be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

          That the general assembly recognizes that hunger is a social, political, and public health issue that must be addressed through state supported improvements to federal nutrition program accessibility and the expansion of outreach efforts aimed at reducing common barriers to participation.

J.R.H. 51

Joint resolution supporting the Hanover High School Kids for a Cooler Planet reusable shopping bag campaign

Offered by:  Representatives Cheney of Norwich, Barnard of Richmond, Chen of Mendon, Clarkson of Woodstock, Clerkin of Hartford, Evans of Essex, Martin of Springfield, Martin of Wolcott, Masland of Thetford, Mitchell of Barnard, Ojibway of Hartford, Pellett of Chester, Shand of Weathersfield and Sweaney of Windsor

Whereas, Kids for a Cooler Planet is a group of environmentally concerned and savvy students at Hanover High School (whose student body includes Vermonters from Norwich and other Windsor and Orange County communities) who have started an ingenious campaign to encourage and promote the use of reusable shopping bags, and

Whereas, the environmental cost of using nonreusable shopping bags, either plastic or paper, is staggering, and

Whereas, the average American family uses approximately 1,000 disposable bags per year, and in 2005, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimated that only five percent of plastic bags and 10 percent of paper bags are recycled in the United States, and

Whereas, on an annual basis, United States consumers use approximately 100 billion plastic bags whose contents contain the equivalent of 12 barrels of oil, and

Whereas, plastic bags are not biodegradable but are rather photodegradable because they break up into smaller pieces that can release harmful toxins into the soil and water, and they often end up as litter, causing havoc for humans and for wildlife, especially on Lake Champlain and on the state’s many lakes, rivers, and other bodies of water in Vermont, and

Whereas, as detrimental as plastic bags are to our environment, paper bags, despite the widely held belief that they are far more ecologically friendly, are perhaps even worse environmental culprits, generating 70 percent more air and 50 times more water pollutants, and they consume 14 million trees annually, and

Whereas, the Kids for a Cooler Planet’s reusable shopping bag campaign does not involve any government funding or regulation, and it is designed both to educate consumers about the problems associated with nondisposable bags and to use market incentives to encourage the use of more environmentally compatible reusable shopping bags, and

Whereas, this reusable shopping bag campaign was first implemented in Hanover where the students raised money through corporate sponsors to pay for advertisements, posters, and flyers, and

Whereas, in return for a promotional fee, a sponsor’s corporate logo was placed on the first production run of the new bags, and

Whereas, the Hanover Selectboard endorsed the project, including authorizing the stringing of a huge banner over Main Street that generated publicity for the endeavor and goodwill for the town, and

Whereas, the project’s success in Hanover has been amazing as all 8,000 of the initially ordered bags were sold in one week, and thousands more have been reordered, but the local stores still have trouble keeping the bags in stock, and

Whereas, EPA estimates that reusing a bag only 11 times has a net positive effect on the environment, and

Whereas, the students hope to expand their reusable shopping bag campaign throughout Vermont and New Hampshire, and a similar project in Australia, where plastic bag use was reduced 60 percent in three years, without any government regulation, inspires them to proceed, and

Whereas, one of the students’ goals is to introduce, in several Vermont and New Hampshire school districts, a pilot high school study unit that will educate students, and in turn, their parents about the importance of purchasing reusable bags, and a Dartmouth College professor is assisting in this effort, and

Whereas, with the support of the “Change the World Kids,” a 501(c)(3) tax‑exempt nonprofit organization, the Hanover High School students hope to air public service announcements on radio and television promoting their reusable shopping bag campaign, and

Whereas, the Kids for a Cooler Planet’s reusable shopping bag campaign is an admirable endeavor worthy of a broader audience, now therefore be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

That the General Assembly expresses its support of the Hanover High School Kids for a Cooler Planet’s reusable shopping bag campaign, and be it further

Resolved:  That the secretary of state be directed to send a copy of this resolution to Kids for a Cooler Planet at Hanover High School.

Bill Referred to Committee on Ways and Means

S. 209

     Senate bill, entitled

     An act relating to the Vermont energy efficiency and affordability act;

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

Third Reading; Bill Passed

H. 750

House bill, entitled

An act relating to prescription drug pricing and information;

Was taken up, read the third time and passed.

Joint Resolution Amended; Third Reading Ordered

J.R.H. 44

Rep. Zenie of Colchester, for the committee on Health Care, to which had been referred Joint resolution, entitled

Joint resolution approving the Vermont information technology leaders’ (VITL) health information technology plan as required by 22  V.S.A. §903(g);

Reported in favor of its passage when amended by striking the resolution in its entirety and inserting in lieu there of the following:

J.R.H. 44

Joint resolution approving the Vermont information technology leaders’ (VITL) health information technology plan as required by 22  V.S.A. §903(g);

Offered by Representatives Maier of Middlebury and Zenie of Colchester

Whereas, the Vermont Information Technology Leaders, Inc. (VITL) is a nonprofit, public-private partnership incorporated in Vermont, and

Whereas, VITL is an integral part of the development of health information technology in this state, and

Whereas, VITL has developed the Vermont health information technology plan pursuant to 22 V.S.A. § 903(b) and (c), and

Whereas, the Vermont health information technology plan outlines a vision for health information technology in Vermont that identifies key stakeholders, strategies, and objectives; provides standards for health information exchange that include the promotion of privacy and security; presents an overview of the technology architecture; and details the funding and governance of health information technology in this state, and

Whereas, the “Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information” established under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) and contained in 45 C.F.R., Parts 160 and 164, provide protections for the privacy of individually identifiable health information maintained or transmitted in connection with certain administrative and financial transactions, and

Whereas, the provisions of Vermont’s patients’ privilege statute in 12 V.S.A. § 1612, the mental health protections found in 18 V.S.A. § 7103, and the guidelines for privacy and security standards and protocols in 22 V.S.A. § 903(f) provide Vermonters with additional rights and protections regarding disclosure of their personal health information, and

Whereas, 22 V.S.A. § 903(g) allows the Vermont health information technology plan, upon recommendation of the commissioner of information and innovation and approval by the general assembly, to serve as the framework within which the commissioner reviews certificate of need applications for information technology, now therefore be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

That the General Assembly approves the Vermont health information technology plan, as submitted by VITL, to be implemented using HIPAA, 12 V.S.A. § 1612, 18 V.S.A. § 7103, and 22 V.S.A. § 903(f) as the minimum standards for the privacy and security of health information, and be it further

Resolved:  That VITL be directed to continue to update the health information technology plan to include state and national privacy and security policies and procedures as they become available to reflect industry best practices, and be it further

Resolved:  That the secretary of state be directed to send a copy of this resolution to the Vermont Information Technology Leaders, Inc.

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

Message from the Senate No. 17

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

Madam Speaker:

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

H. 590.  An act relating to the spelling of the name of the town and village of Alburg.

And has passed the same in concurrence.

The Senate has on its part adopted joint resolutions of the following titles:

J.R.S. 49.  Joint resolution relating to the collection of United States census data in Vermont.

J.R.S. 50.  Joint resolution urging Congress to include transportation infrastructure projects in the federal economic stimulus package.

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

Adjournment

At one o’clock and twenty-five minutes in the afternoon, on motion of Rep. Krawczyk of Bennington, the House adjourned until tomorrow at one o’clock and fifteen minutes in the afternoon.

 



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us