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Journal of the House

________________

THURSDAY, APRIL 3, 2008

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

Devotional Exercises

Devotional exercises were conducted by Rep. Allison Clarkson of Woodstock.

House Bill Introduced

H. 893

Reps. Andrews of Rutland City, Courcelle of Rutland City, Howard of Rutland City and McCormack of Rutland City introduced a bill, entitled

An act relating to approval of amendments to the charter of the city of Rutland;

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

H. 894

Rep. Sweaney of Windsor introduced a bill, entitled

An act relating to approval of amendments to the charter of the town of Windsor;

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

Committee Relieved of Consideration

and Bill Committed to Other Committee

S. 233

Rep. Lippert of Hinesburg moved that the committee on Judiciary be relieved of House bill, entitled

An act relating to temporary officiants for marriages and civil unions;

And that the bill be committed to the committee on Government Operations, which was agreed to.

Proposal of Amendment Agreed to; Third Reading Ordered

S. 45

Rep. McDonald of Berlin, for the committee on Government Operations, to which had been referred Senate bill, entitled

An act relating to the right to attend town meeting;

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

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

Sec. 1.  21 V.S.A. § 472b is added to read:

§ 472b.  TOWN MEETING LEAVE; EMPLOYEES; STUDENTS

(a)  Subject to the essential operation of a business or entity of state or local government, which shall prevail in any instance of conflict, an employee shall have the right to take unpaid leave from employment under this section or subsection 472(b) of this title for the purpose of attending his or her annual town meeting, provided the employee notifies the employer at least seven days prior to the date of the town meeting.  An employer shall not discharge or in any other manner retaliate against an employee for exercising the right provided by this section.

(b)  A student of voting age shall have the right to attend his or her annual town meeting, and the school shall not penalize or report the student as a truant for exercising the right provided by this section.

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

Joint Resolution Read Second Time; Third Reading Ordered

J. R. H. 55

Rep. Weston of Burlington spoke for the committee on Natural Resources and Energy.

Joint Resolution entitled

Joint resolution requesting the public service department to adopt a revised state energy plan with new implementation recommendations in accordance with 30  V.S.A. § 202b(c);

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

Action on Resolution Postponed

H. R. 32

House Resolution, entitled

House Resolution in support of a veterans’ transitional housing facility in central Vermont;

Was taken up and pending the question, Shall the resolution be adopted? on motion of Rep. McDonald of Berlin, action on the bill was postponed until the next legislative day.

Bill Amended; Third Reading Ordered

H. 545

House bill, entitled

An act relating to the agency of human services;

Rep. Evans of Essex spoke for the committee on Government Operations.

Rep. French of Randolph, for the committee on Human Services, to which had been referred House bill, entitled

An act relating to the agency of human services;

Reported in favor of its passage when amended as follows:

First:  By striking Sec. 1 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 1 as follows:

Sec. 1.  3 V.S.A. § 3051 is amended to read:

§ 3051    COMMISSIONERS; DEPUTY COMMISSIONERS;                                                         APPOINTMENT; TERM

* * *

(b)  For the department of health, the secretary, with the approval of the governor, shall appoint deputy commissioners for the following divisions of the department:

(1)  public health;

(2)  substance abuse.

(3)  substance abuse.

(c)  For the department for children and families, the secretary, with the approval of the governor, shall appoint deputy commissioners for the following divisions of the department:

(1)  field operations;

(2)  economic services;

(3)(2)  child development;

(4)(3)  family services.

(d) For the department of disabilities, aging, and independent living, the secretary, with the approval of the governor, shall appoint two deputy commissioners for the following divisions of the department:

(1) operations;

(2) disabilities and aging services.

(e) Deputy commissioners shall be exempt from the classified service. Their appointments shall be in writing and shall be filed in the office of the secretary of state.

Second:  By adding a Sec. 7a to read:

Sec. 7a.  26 V.S.A. § 1317 is amended to read:

(a)  Any hospital, clinic, community mental health center, or other health care institution in which a licensee performs professional services shall report to the commissioner of mental health, along with supporting information and evidence, any disciplinary action taken by it or its staff which significantly limits the licensee’s privilege to practice or leads to suspension or expulsion from the institution.  The report shall be made within 10 days of the date such disciplinary action was taken, and, in the case of disciplinary action taken against a licensee who is employed by, or under contract with, a community mental health center based on the provision of mental health services, a copy of the report shall also be sent to the commissioner of developmental and mental health services.  This section shall not apply to cases of resignation or separation from service for reasons unrelated to disciplinary action.

(b) Within 30 days of any judgment or settlements involving a claim of professional negligence by a licensee, any insurer of the licensee shall report the information to the commissioner of health and, to the extent the claim relates to the provision of mental health services, to the commissioner of mental health.

(c) Except as provided in section 1368 of this title, information provided to the department department of health or of mental health under this section shall be confidential unless the department decides to treat the report as a complaint, in which case, the provisions of section 1318 of this title shall apply.

* * *

Third:  By striking Sec. 9 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 9 to read:

Sec. 9.  33 V.S.A. § 900(2) is amended to read:

(2)  “Director” or “director of rate setting” means the director of administration and rate setting.

Fourth:  By adding a Sec. 9a to read:

Sec. 9a.  33 V.S.A. § 902(b) is amended to read:

(b)  The division shall be headed by a director of administration who shall report to the secretary of the agency or his or her the secretary’s designee.

Fifth:  By adding a Sec. 11a to read:

Sec. 11a.  33 V.S.A. § 2073(f) is added to read:

(f)  A manufacturer of pharmaceuticals purchased by individuals receiving assistance from VPharm established under this section shall pay to OVHA, as a condition of participation in the program, a rebate in an amount at least as favorable as the rebate paid to OVHA in connection with the Medicaid program.

Sixth:  By striking Sec. 14 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 14 to read:

Sec. 14.  33 V.S.A. § 2604(c) is amended to read:

(c)  In determining heating fuel costs of households:

* * *

(2)  Residents of housing units subsidized by the federal, state, or local government shall be deemed to have incurred no annual home heating fuel costs, except to the extent required by any federal law or regulation if federal funds are utilized for the home heating fuel assistance program, and with the following additional exception.  Housing unit residents that receive Aid to Needy Families with Children (ANFC) Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Security Income/aid to the Aged, Blind, or Disabled (SSI/AABD), ANFC TANF emergency assistance, or general assistance benefits that are used in whole or in part to pay for their housing or utility costs and do not receive other federal, state, or local government assistance targeted specifically to their housing or utility needs shall, with the exception of households for which the cost of heat is supplied by the landlord, be assumed to incur annual home heating fuel costs and their eligibility for annual heating fuel assistance shall not be limited by this subsection.

* * *

Seventh:  By striking Sec. 15 in its entirety

Eighth:  By adding a Sec. 23 to read:

Sec. 23.  REPEAL

33 V.S.A. § 2605(e) (1997 report of the home office of energy assistance) is repealed.

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

     Pending the question, Shall the bill be read a third time?  Rep. French of Randolph moved that the bill be amended as follows:

By adding a Sec. 24 to read:

Sec. 24.  Sec. 3 of No. 180 of the Acts of 2006 is amended to read:

Sec. 3.  DATA COLLECTION

(a)  On or before January 31, 2007 2009, January 31, 2010, and January 31, 2008 2011, the commissioner of the department for children and families shall report to the house committee on human services and the senate committee on health and welfare data for the preceding year regarding the transportation of children in the custody of the commissioner by a sheriff or deputy sheriff.  The data shall include the number and gender of children transported to various locations and geographic distribution of the use of such transports.

(b)  On or before January 31, 2007 2009, January 31, 2010, and January 31, 2008 2011, the commissioner of the department of mental health shall report to the house committee on human services and the senate committee on health and welfare data for the preceding year regarding the transportation of persons in accordance with 18 V.S.A. § 7511.  The data shall include the number, method, and location of all adult and child transports.

(c)  The department for children and families, the department of mental health, the department of corrections, the department of state’s attorneys and sheriffs, the office of the defender general, and the court administrator’s office shall meet to discuss protocols for the secure transport of children, persons being hospitalized for mental illness, and pregnant inmates who are in state custody and develop strategies for reducing the frequency and necessity of secure transports using mechanical restraints.  The group shall provide the house committee on human services and the senate committee on health and welfare with a letter detailing its findings and recommendations no later than January 15, 2007 2009.

     Which was agreed to and third reading was ordered.

Favorable Report; Third Reading Ordered; Point of Order

H. 889

Rep. Westman of Cambridge spoke for the committee on Transportation.

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

An act relating to the state’s transportation program;

Reported in favor of its passage.  The bill, having appeared on the Calendar one day for notice, was taken up, read the second time. 

Pending the question, Shall the bill be read a third time?  Rep. Masland of Thetford moved that the bill be amended as follows:

     By striking out Secs 9 and 12 and by adding new Secs. 9 and 12 to read as follows:

Sec. 9.  [DELETED]

Sec. 12.  TOWN HIGHWAY STATE AID

The following modifications are made to the town highway state aid program:

FY09 As Proposed           As Amended    Change

Other 24,982,744        25,430,407      447,663

Total  24,982,744        25,430,407      447,663

Sources of funds

State  24,982,744        25,430,407      447,663

Federal   0   0               0

Local 0   0   0

Total  24,982,744        25,430,407      447,663

     Which was agreed to.

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

By striking out Sec. 41 and Sec. 42 in their entirety and inserting in lieu thereof new Sec. 41 and 42 to read as follows:

Sec. 41.  13 V.S.A. § 3110 is added to read:

§ 3110.  RAILROAD VANDALISM

(a)  Purpose.  The purpose of this section is to prevent acts of vandalism to railroad property which affect the health, safety, and welfare of the traveling public, the neighboring community, and railroad employees; to protect railroad property and freight in transportation by railroad; and otherwise to enhance the safety of transportation by railroad.

(b)  Definitions.  For purposes of this section:

(1)  “Bodily injury” shall have the same meaning as in subdivision 1021(1) of this title.

(2)  “Railroad” means any form of non-highway ground transportation that runs on rails or electromagnetic guideways, including:

(A)  commuter or other short-haul railroad passenger service in a  metropolitan or suburban area; and

(B)  high-speed ground transportation systems that connect metropolitan areas, but does not include rapid transit operations in an urban area that are not connected to the general railroad system of transportation.

(3)  “Railroad carrier” means a person providing railroad transportation.

(4)  “Railroad property” means all property owned, leased, or operated by a railroad carrier, including a right-of-way, track, bridge, yard, shop, station, tunnel, viaduct, trestle, depot, warehouse, terminal, railroad signal system, train control system, centralized dispatching system, or any other structure, appurtenance, or equipment owned, leased, or used in the operation of any railroad carrier, including a train, locomotive, engine, rail car, work equipment, rolling stock, or safety device.  “Railroad property” does not include administrative buildings, administrative offices, or administrative office equipment.

(5)  “Right-of-way” means the track or roadbed owned, leased, or operated by a railroad carrier which is located on either side of its tracks and which is readily recognizable to a reasonable person as being railroad property or is reasonably identified as such by fencing or appropriate signs.

(6)  “Serious bodily injury” shall have the same meaning as in subdivision 1021(2) of this title.

(c)  Vandalism of railroad property.  No person shall, with reckless disregard for railroad property or the safety of another, commit an act which causes damage to railroad property.

(d)  Penalty for vandalism of railroad property. 

(1)  A person who violates subsection (c) of this section shall be fined not more than $500.00 or imprisoned for not more than six months, or both, if the violation results in property damage of $900.00 or less. 

(2)  A person who violates subsection (c) of this section shall be fined not more than $1,000.00 or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both, if the violation results in bodily injury to another person or property damage of greater than $900.00. 

(3)  A person who violates subsection (c) of this section shall be fined not more than $20,000.00 or imprisoned for not more than 15 years, or both, if the violation results in death or serious bodily injury to another person.

(e)  Aggravated railroad vandalism.  No person shall intentionally cause damage to railroad property.

(g)  Penalty for aggravated railroad vandalism. 

(1)  A person who violates subsection (e) of this section shall be fined not more than $10,000.00 or imprisoned for not more than two years, or both, if the violation results in property damage of $900.00 or less. 

(2)  A person who violates subsection (e) of this section shall be fined not more than $20,000.00 or imprisoned for not more than five years, or both, if the violation results in bodily injury to another person or property damage of greater than $900.00. 

(3)  A person who violates subsection (e) of this section shall be fined not more than $25,000.00 or imprisoned for not more than 15 years, or both, if the violation results in death or serious bodily injury to another person. 

(g)  If serious bodily injury or death results to more than one person other than the defendant as a result of a violation of this section, the defendant may be convicted of a separate violation of this section for each decedent or person injured.

(h)  Theft of railroad freight.  Whoever willfully and with intent to permanently deprive the owner of railroad freight takes or removes railroad freight from any freight car, including a boxcar, container, or flatbed shall be guilty of petit larceny pursuant to 13 V.S.A. § 2502 if the value of the property does not exceed $900.00.  If the value of the property exceeds $900.00, the person shall be guilty of grand larceny pursuant to 13 V.S.A. § 2501.

(i)  Receiving stolen railroad freight.  Whoever buys or receives any of the railroad freight described in subsection (h) of this section, having reason to know that this freight has been stolen, shall be subject to the penalties provided for in 13 V.S.A. § 2502 if the value of the property does not exceed $900.00.   If the value of the property exceeds $900.00, the person shall be subject to the penalties provided for in 13 V.S.A. § 2501.

Sec. 42.  REPEALS

(1)  13 V.S.A. 3101-3104 are repealed.

(2)  5  V.S.A. § 3733 is repealed.

     Which was agreed to.

     Pending the question shall the bill be read a third time? Rep. Koch of Barre Town raised a Point of Order that the last sentence of Sec. 21 which directed the Governor to include certain items in the 2010 budget, was in violation of the Vermont Constitution in that it violated the separation of powers clause.

     The Speaker ruled that the Point of Order not well taken in that it has been long the custom of this House, supported by Section 242.2 of Mason’s Manual of Legislative Procedure that the chair does not rule on the constitutionality of amendments.

     Pending the question, Shall the bill be read a third time?  Rep. Pearson of Burlington demanded the Yeas and Nays, which demand was sustained by the Constitutional number.  The Clerk proceeded to call the roll and the question, Shall the bill be read a third time? was decided in the affirmative.  Yeas, 139.  Nays, 0.

Those who voted in the affirmative are:


Acinapura of Brandon

Adams of Hartland

Ainsworth of Royalton

Allard of St. Albans Town

Ancel of Calais

Anderson of Montpelier

Andrews of Rutland City

Aswad of Burlington

Atkins of Winooski

Audette of S. Burlington

Baker of West Rutland

Barnard of Richmond

Bissonnette of Winooski

Bostic of St. Johnsbury

Botzow of Pownal

Branagan of Georgia

Bray of New Haven

Brennan of Colchester

Browning of Arlington

Canfield of Fair Haven

Chen of Mendon

Cheney of Norwich

Clark of Vergennes

Clarkson of Woodstock

Clerkin of Hartford

Condon of Colchester

Consejo of Sheldon

Copeland-Hanzas

of Bradford

Corcoran of Bennington

Courcelle of Rutland City

Crawford of Burke

Davis of Washington

Deen of Westminster

Devereux of Mount Holly

Donaghy of Poultney

Donovan of Burlington

Dostis of Waterbury

Edwards of Brattleboro

Emmons of Springfield

Errecart of Shelburne

Evans of Essex

Fallar of Tinmouth

Fisher of Lincoln

Fitzgerald of St. Albans City

Flory of Pittsford

Frank of Underhill

French of Randolph

Gervais of Enosburg

Gilbert of Fairfax

Godin of Milton

Grad of Moretown

Grenier of St. Johnsbury

Haas of Rochester

Head of S. Burlington

Heath of Westford

Helm of Castleton

Howard of Rutland City

Howrigan of Fairfield

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

Kilmartin of Newport City

Kitzmiller of Montpelier

Klein of East Montpelier

Koch of Barre Town

Komline of Dorset

Krawczyk of Bennington

Kupersmith of S. Burlington

Larocque of Barnet

Larrabee of Danville

Larson of Burlington

Lawrence of Lyndon

Lenes of Shelburne

Leriche of Hardwick

Lewis of Derby

Lippert of Hinesburg

Livingston of Manchester

Lorber of Burlington

Maier of Middlebury

Malcolm of Pawlet

Manwaring of Wilmington

Marcotte of Coventry

Marek of Newfane

Martin, C. of Springfield

Martin of Wolcott

Masland of Thetford

McAllister of Highgate

McCormack of Rutland City

McCullough of Williston

McDonald of Berlin

McFaun of Barre Town

McNeil of Rutland Town

Milkey of Brattleboro

Miller of Shaftsbury

Minter of Waterbury

Mitchell of Barnard

Monti of Barre City

Mook of Bennington

Moran of Wardsboro

Morley of Barton

Morrissey of Bennington

Myers of Essex

Nease of Johnson

Nuovo of Middlebury

Obuchowski of Rockingham

O'Donnell of Vernon

Ojibway of Hartford

Otterman of Topsham

Oxholm of Vergennes

Partridge of Windham

Pearson of Burlington

Peaslee of Guildhall

Pellett of Chester

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

Sweaney of Windsor

Trombley of Grand Isle

Valliere of Barre City

Westman of Cambridge

Wheeler of Derby

Winters of Williamstown

Wright of Burlington

Zenie of Colchester

Zuckerman of Burlington


Those who voted in the negative are:


None.


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


Donahue of Northfield

Hosford of Waitsfield

Hunt of Essex

LaVoie of Swanton

Mrowicki of Putney

Orr of Charlotte

Peltz of Woodbury

Pillsbury of Brattleboro

Turner of Milton

Weston of Burlington


 

     Rep.  McCullough of Williston explained his vote as follows:

“Madam Speaker:

     I voted yes for our transportation bill with a tear on my cheek for the loss of the bicycle and pedestrian program and the attendant lack of future budget considerations for all non motorized citizens of Vermont.”

Message from the Senate No. 48

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

Madam Speaker:

I am directed to inform the House that the Senate has on its part passed Senate bill of the following title:

S. 201.  An act relating to state employee whistleblower protection.

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

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

J.R.S. 60.  Joint resolution requesting the Attorney General of Vermont to initiate legal action on behalf of the state and its citizens to seek reimbursement for the costs of illegal price-fixing, price-gouging, and conspiracy to restrain trade in retail gasoline and diesel fuel.

J.R.S. 61.  Joint resolution relating to weekend adjournment.

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

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

J.R.H. 52.  Joint resolution urging Congress to enact legislation establishing an Office of the National Nurse.

And has adopted the same in concurrence.

     Adjournment

At twelve o’clock and fifty-five minutes in the afternoon, on motion of Rep. Komline of Dorset, the House adjourned until tomorrow at nine o’clock and thirty minutes in the forenoon.

 

 

 



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The Vermont General Assembly
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Montpelier, Vermont


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