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Journal of the Senate

________________

Thursday, January 4, 2007

The Senate was called to order by the President.

Devotional Exercises

Devotional exercises were conducted by the Reverend David M. Hall of Montpelier.

Message from the House No. 3

     A message was received from the House of Representatives by Ms. Wrask, its Second Assistant Clerk, as follows:

Mr. President:

     I am directed to inform the Senate the House has appointed as members of the Joint Canvassing Committee on the part of the House to canvass votes for state officers:

               Addison District                                      Nuovo of Middlebury                                                                                              Sharpe of Bristol

                                                                             Clark of Vergennes

               Bennington District                           Botzow of Pownal

                                                                             Morrissey of Bennington

                                                                             Corcoran of Bennington

               Caledonia District                                   Lawrence of Lyndon

                                                                             Larocque of Barnet

                                                                             Leriche of Hardwick

               Chittenden District                                  Orr of Charlotte

                                                                             Wright of Burlington

                                                                             Pearson of Burlington

               Essex-Orleans District                             Perry of Richford

                                                                             Kilmartin of Newport City

                                                                             Randall of Troy

               Franklin District                                      Allard of St. Albans Town   

                                                                             McAllister of Highgate

                                                                             Fitzgerald of St. Albans City


               Grand Isle District                                   Brennan of Colchester

                                                                             Trombley of Grand Isle

                                                                             Condon of Colchester

               Lamoille District                                      Scheuermann of Stowe

                                                                             Nease of Johnson

                                                                             Smith of Morristown           

               Orange District                                       Winters of Williamstown

                                                                             Davis of Washington

                                                                             French of Randolph

               Rutland District                                       Potter of Clarendon

                                                                             Sunderland of Rutland Town

                                                                             Malcolm of Pawlet

               Washington District                          Donahue of Northfield

                                                                             McDonald of Berlin

                                                                             Minter of Waterbury

               Windham District                                    Edwards of Brattleboro

                                                                             Pillsbury of Brattleboro

                                                                             Marek of Newfane

               Windsor District                                      Pellett of Chester

                                                                             Ainsworth of Royalton

                                                                             Clarkson of Woodstock

Joint Resolution Adopted on the Part of the Senate

Joint Senate resolution of the following title was offered, read and adopted on the part of the Senate, and is as follows:

   By Senator Shumlin,

     J.R.S. 5.  Joint resolution relating to weekend adjournment.

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

That when the two Houses adjourn on Friday, January 5, 2007, it be to meet again no later than Tuesday, January 9, 2007.

Joint Resolution Adopted on the Part of the Senate

J.R.S. 4.

Joint Senate resolution entitled:

Joint resolution relating to Town Meeting adjournment.

Having been placed on the Calendar for action, was taken up and adopted on the part of the Senate.


Recess

On motion of the President the Senate recessed until 9:55 A.M.

Called to Order

At 10:00 A.M. the Senate was called to order by the President.

Joint Assembly

At ten o'clock, the hour having arrived for the meeting of the two Houses in Joint Assembly pursuant to:

     J.R.S. 2.  Joint resolution to provide for a Joint Assembly to receive the report of the committee appointed to canvass votes for state officers.

The Senate repaired to the hall of the House.

Having returned therefrom, at ten o'clock and ten minutes, the President assumed the Chair.

Recess

The Chair declared a recess until 11:25 A.M.

Called to Order

At eleven o’clock and twenty-nine minutes the Senate was called to order by the President pro tempore.

Incoming President Takes Oath of Office

Senator Doyle moved that the President pro tempore appoint a Committee of two Senators to wait upon His Excellency, Brian E. Dubie, Lieutenant Governor-elect, and escort him to the bar of the Senate.

Which was agreed to.

Thereupon, the President pro tempore appointed as members of such Committee

Senator Doyle

Senator Bartlett

The Committee appointed to wait upon His Excellency, Brian E. Dubie, Lieutenant Governor-elect, performed the duties assigned to it and appeared at the bar of the Senate accompanied by His Excellency, Brian E. Dubie, who took and subscribed the oath of office required by the Constitution from Colonel Clement Dubie, father of the Lieutenant Governor.


Remarks of Incoming Lieutenant Governor Brian E. Dubie Journalized

Thereupon, the incoming President addressed the Senate, assuring his full cooperation and accommodation on a nonpartisan and objective basis, and, on motion of Senator Doyle, his remarks were ordered entered in the Journal, and are as follows:

Remarks delivered by Lieutenant Governor Brian Dubie to the Vermont State Senate, after taking the oath of office on January 4, 2007:

     “First, I would like to say “thank you” to my family, for your support and for coming here today.

     “Welcome to your State House.

     “One year ago we dedicated our session to the Vermont soldiers who were so bravely serving our nation around the world.  Today we still have soldiers serving bravely around the world.  Having conferred with Senator Shumlin, I would like to suggest we continue our dedication to our soldiers and airmen who are serving us today.

     “Last year on a September evening, I stood on a rooftop with one of our Commanding Generals, overlooking the city of Baghdad. The city was beautiful at night, but it was not peaceful.

     “This General turned to me and said, "America has to declare its freedom from oil that comes from dangerous parts of the world.”

     “Late that same night, in a Blackhawk helicopter flying at very low altitude, the team I was part of left Baghdad for northern Iraq. I looked down as we passed over sleeping Iraqi villages, and I thought about the general’s words. I vowed, “When I get home to Vermont, I will make it a priority to find a way to move our state and our nation away from foreign oil.” 

     “Today I am excited to share with you the work of Professor Walter Varhue and his researchers at the University of Vermont. He is here today. Professor Varhue is committed to developing a way to produce clean hydrogen fuel.

     “During my four years as Lt. Governor, I have promoted an idea we call the Green Valley Initiative. It is a unifying vision that reinforces what makes Vermont a special place. It is a vision to help focus our colleges and universities, a vision to help to motivate a young person by sharing a dream about growing jobs in Vermont by helping to clean up our world. 

     “Our goal is to assist Vermont innovators and companies who develop cutting-edge real world answers to the world's environmental challenges. Vermont companies like NRG Systems, Northern Power, Clean Earth Technologies and Concepts NREC are world leaders in these fields. We have worked to help promote Vermont’s Green Valley brand in our nation and internationally. Last March, I led a delegation for our state to the largest environmental trade fair in the world, called GLOBE 2006 in Vancouver, BC.

     “At the GLOBE conference, I drove a car powered by a hydrogen fuel cell. It drove and performed like a normal car -- yet it produced no pollution, and it emitted no greenhouse gases. You could literally breathe fumes from the exhaust pipe. 

     “The car’s one big drawback was that its fuel cell engine cost more than $700,000 to produce!  A Vermonter named Bob Selzer and his team at JMAR Technologies in South Burlington is currently working on technologies we hope will reduce those costs.

     “Professor Varhue’s proposed research project would revolutionize hydrogen fuel production.  In simplest terms, the project proposes to produce semiconductor materials capable of absorbing energy from the sun that can then directly produce hydrogen from ordinary water. The new semiconductors would be similar to those currently used at IBM to make integrated circuits.

     “Professor Varhue says, “The emergence of nanotechnology science and engineering carries great potential to solve the challenges of photo-enhanced splitting of water to produce hydrogen cleanly and efficiently.”

     “As a result of concern over global climate change, the US Department of Energy has made billions of dollars in grants available to help develop the “hydrogen economy” and we have applied for a portion of those funds.

     “But I think we should do more.

     “I call on Vermont to say, “We are committed to help move toward energy independence” -- and to say it by helping to fund critical research.

     “Let’s reach out and engage Vermont high schools in this project.  Let’s engage our colleges, universities, and technical schools as partners in this research. Energy and clean environment projects like Professor Varhue’s today are forming the nucleus for a Green Cluster for our entire region, including northeast states and neighboring Canadian provinces.

     “This legislature will address the Next Generation Commission’s recommendations to encourage young Vermonters to choose Vermont as the place where they will build their careers and their families. 

     “But retaining young Vermonters in our state will take more than a commitment after college.

     “It is with a dream or with a challenge.

     “Like the dream of creating a hydrogen economy …

     “… or the challenge to produce cellulosic ethanol from our abundant forest products …

     “… Like the dream of educating and inspiring the next generation of young Vermonters …

     “… or the challenge to discover new technologies that will clean up contaminated air, soil and water for a better, more livable world.  These are exciting challenges all Vermonters can share.

     “Speaking of the future, the theme of this year’s Senate could be named “back to the future”.

     “We have some impressive returning talent. Senator Racine, Senator Shumlin, Senator McCormack, we are fortunate to have such experience.  I look forward to serving with all of you. Senator Racine, I must admit I am not sure how to address you.  As a former Lt. Governor, I know that according to formal terms of address, I should address you as Governor.  As a Senator, I know I should address you as Senator. As a Vermonter, it’s Doug. Perhaps we can talk about this, Governor.

     “You all have recently completed campaigns in your districts, and I am certain that you have made some promises.  I have made some promises also, and like you I intend to honor those promises. Please allow me to share some of them with you today.

     “First I pledged to Vermont and I pledge to you today that I will preside over the Vermont Senate in a nonpartisan way. I look forward to serving with the other members of the Committee on Committees, with Senator Shumlin and Senator Mazza.  I look forward to working with the Majority leader, Senator Campbell, and the Minority leader, Senator Doyle. Last session, leading up to a campaign year, many of the pundits predicted gridlock and political maneuvering, but we proved them wrong. Senator Shumlin, I am confident that working together, we can get our work done for the people of Vermont.

     “On education, I pledge to continue to advocate for excellence in every classroom in Vermont.  I know we can improve our schools. As we talk about education I think we need to ask four key questions:

     “First, what outcomes are we looking for from our schools?

     “Second, do we have the best governance in place to deliver those outcomes?

     “Third, can we improve the ways our schools are financed?

     “Fourth, how will we know that we have achieved our desired outcomes?

     “Our Commissioner of Education, Richard Cate, is in the process of answering some of these questions.  He is very committed to improving our schools and producing educated young Vermonters ready to become lifelong learners.  As we approach school reforms let us keep in mind our state’s motto, “freedom and unity”.   Let us strive to expand freedom for students, for parents, and for teachers -- while at the same time remaining united as we look for efficiencies, and more effective ways to deliver a world-class education.

     “Education finance reform is critically important this legislative session.  Before I was elected as your Lt. Governor, I chaired my hometown school board. As chair, I helped to pass six school budgets. That experience taught me a few things about Act 60.  I would like to share three things I learned.

     “The first thing I learned as a school board chair under Act 60 was to instruct my voters not to focus on the tax rate but to focus on their bill.  As a result of income sensitivity, 67 percent of the voters in my district (and this is largely true for the entire state) can vote an increase in spending and not feel the full consequence of their vote.

     “Second, I believe that building safety nets for people is a reasonable public policy objective.  A safety net is for low-income people in need.  $110,000 is not a low income.

     “Third, people have lost the connection between their school budgets and the property taxes they pay.  People should understand the taxes they pay, and people do not understand Act 60.   

     “When I was the chair I would also remind the people in my community that teachers may be 70% of our district’s costs, but they are 100% of the reason for the successful education of our students.  Teachers work hard to do the best job they can to educate the next generation.  I know. I married one. 

     “Recently, I met with a college classmate of mine who is a now very successful entrepreneur.  He said to me, “There are just three keys ingredients to a continued strong economy: Education, Education, and Education.”

     “The poet William Butler Yeats said “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”

     On Vermont’s economy:

     “To finance our schools, and to pay for public services, we depend on a strong economy.  We also know that recent research has confirmed the best way to help people out of poverty is to foster economic opportunity and growth. George Chandler, the CEO from Hubbardton Forge -- a very progressive and well-run Vermont Company -- once said to me, “Brian you cannot be pro-worker if you are anti-business.”

     “We need to be mindful that the cost of doing business in Vermont is critical to job growth and job security: taxes, workers compensation, unemployment and the cost of regulations can be a real burden for Vermont companies that compete in the global marketplace.

     “To assist some outstanding Vermont companies – aerospace companies that do compete in the global marketplace -- we have created the Vermont Aerospace and Aviation Association.

     “Senator Vince Illuzzi, I look forward to working with you in this area. 

     “VAAA will also advocate in support of math, science and engineering education in Vermont.

     “Aerospace and aviation presently contribute nearly two billion dollars annually to our state’s economy. We will seek to grow the aerospace and aviation sector more, expanding opportunities in those industries, and in companies that supply those industries.

     “There is some very exciting work being done by General Electric in Rutland. They are developing an engine called the GEnx, which will produce 20% less greenhouse gases than existing engines -- and consume 20% less fuel.

     “And it is happening right here in Vermont.

     “We also need to expand the communication and broadband infrastructure in our state.  Building highways for vehicles or highways for information is a role of government.  We are committed to working with all public and private groups to insure Vermonters have the tools they need in the information age.

     “I look forward to working with Mike Spillane, the leader of the Vermont chapter of the IBEW.  Mike, you can count on my support in your effort to keep good jobs here in Vermont and to provide communication infrastructure that Vermonters can depend upon and will need in the future. Thanks for being here today.

     “For Vermont’s farmers, I want to compliment President pro tempore Shumlin, Senate Majority Leader Campbell and Minority Leader Doyle for establishing for the first time a permanent Senate Committee on Agriculture.  I also want to thank Senator Scott and the Institutions Committee for finding the space for this important committee.  Senator Scott did approach me looking to rent my office. He mentioned it has been suggested that my office has some availability during the year. I am glad he found other accommodations. 

     “I look forward to assisting with the important work of growing the economic engine of rural Vermont. Agriculture is the soul of Vermont, and is critically important to our State’s economy – generating more than 3 billion dollars annually. Vermont Farm Bureau’s President Jackie Folsom is here today. So is Brent Beidler, a Randolph farmer, and Spud Edwards, a farmer from Westfield, who are both leaders in our state’s organic dairy sector. Jane Clifford is here. Jane is Executive Director of Green Mountain Dairy Farmers Coop.  I look forward to working with you all.

     “Greg Burke is also here today. Greg is a former Vermont Maple King, now a student at UVM, and a young Vermonter who is making a difference. Thank you for coming, Greg.

     “This summer I had the chance to travel to Ireland to visit my mother’s side -- the McKenzie clan.  While there I arranged to meet with the minister of agriculture and the secretary of agriculture. I was looking for insights into how the Irish people are addressing GMO technology, animal or premise ID, globalization in agriculture and other issues. The ministry of agriculture gave me an entire book on the subject of GMO. It outlines an approach they call “coexistence”.  Today I want to share this book with our new Secretary of Agriculture, who is here with us today.  I want to congratulate our new Secretary of Agriculture, Roger Allbee.  We look forward to working with you, Roger.  I also would like to ask any other farmers in the room right now to raise your hands. Thank you for feeding my family, and the families of Vermont. We know times are very challenging and we look forward to serving you.

     “On the subject of energy, our farmers are not just providing us with healthy food but they are also providing clean energy.  The Blue Spruce Farm, run by the Audet Clan, has gotten more print than any Vermont politician could ever hope for. 

     “Look at this article in USA Today – and this one in Popular Science. Our farmers – Vermont’s farmers -- are today’s pioneers in alternative energy.  And we are helping to bring more farm energy projects on line.  The Fosters, Audets, St. Pierres, Whitcombs, Rowells, Gervis family -- are all leaders in the farm energy movement. I look forward to serving them and other Vermont farmers.

     “We also have signed on to the 25x25 Initiative – a national movement to produce 25% of our energy from our farms and forests and other renewable sources by the year 2025. 

     “Vermont is also a leader in energy conservation, thanks in great measure to Efficiency Vermont. Look at this article from USA Today. Vermont is one of two states recognized as leaders in our nation. A quiet revolution is occurring in green building design and construction. Andy Leach of Leach Construction explained to me in great detail that green building design and construction methods can make heating and cooling systems obsolete – yes, even in Vermont.  Working with Efficiency Vermont, the Leach brothers and other members of the Vermont Home Builders Association are building five-star energy homes. 

     “These homes make economic sense and they make environmental sense. 

     “Our utilities are also leading the way. CVPS’s Cow Power projects, Burlington’s McNeil biomass plant and Washington Electric Coop landfill methane project are great examples, but we have more to do. I continue to believe we will find common ground on wind projects in our state. Commissioner O’Brien and Senators Lyons, I would like to commend you both for your leadership on your Public Engagement Process.

     “With regard to health care, we have begun to implement the health care reforms of the last session, and will continue on our mission to make health care accessible to all Vermonters, at costs that are sustainable for Vermonter ratepayers. But health is also a personal responsibility. So as the click-it-or-ticket guy would say, always wear your seat belt, do not smoke, get enough exercise, and watch your weight.

     “I look forward to continuing to chair the Governor’s Homeland Security Advisory Council.  We had a very difficult time at a school in Essex this last fall.  Chief Demag and the Essex Police Department did an outstanding job responding to this tragic event. Chief Demag tells me that he is grateful for the cooperation that came from the other police departments, the State Police and our federal agencies.  Commission Sleeper, you have a heavy responsibility.  There is outstanding work being done at our Law Enforcement Fusion Center in Williston, and I look forward to working with our United States Attorney Tom Anderson and Senator Sears on aggressively pursuing people who are committing crimes against children.

     “I look forward to continuing to Chair the Governor’s Commission on Healthy Aging. Volunteer Vermont AARP President Nancy Lang is one of the 15 Vermonters who serve with me on that Commission, and Nancy is here with us today. Thank you for your fine work, Nancy.

     “Senator Bartlett, I eagerly look forward to testifying in your committee about our vision for the Center for Aging at University of Vermont. Our state must expand our geriatrics medical capability as we prepare to serve an over-65 population that will double in the next couple of decades.

     “Rutland Regional Medical Center runs on the strength of about 500 volunteers – 98% of whom are over the age of 65. Hospital CEO Tom Huebner says, “I could not run this hospital without them.” Vermont’s senior citizens are an indispensable asset to our state as well.

     “I will continue to advocate for support of those who have served us. This Senate appropriated 250,000 dollars this year for our National Guard Soldiers and their families’ recurring medical needs or mental health issues.  Officials at the Guard and the VA hospital advise me that the funding is sufficient, but that we should closely monitor their caseloads and needs.  I know that I speak for this Senate when I say we stand ready to support those who have served us.  We will continue to do our part to serve them. 

     “Our first responders also serve us -- each and every day, literally putting their lives at risk in the line of duty.  Our firefighters, sheriffs, police officers, EMTs and state troopers need our support and recognition.

     “This fall, some of us in this chamber had the opportunity to participate in a training exercise at the Vermont Fire Academy. It is one thing to think you know what it takes to put out a fire. It is another thing to put on the gear, complete with oxygen mask and helmet, and then approach a burning car -- with really big flames – and to put out a really hot fire. Our first responders have our respect and gratitude. We are here to serve you.

     “Captain Matt Vinci of the South Burlington Fire Department is here today representing the Vermont Coalition of Fire and Rescue Services. Thanks you for all you do, Matt.

     “I look forward to continuing my work as Vermont’s Ambassador to the World, to foster important relationships for Vermont in Canada, Asia, and Cuba.  A Cuban dissident leader by the name of Vladimir Roca whom we have met with on two separate trips encouraged us to develop exchange programs -- people to people, farmer to farmer, student to student. I am excited to say that Burlington College, under the leadership of President Jane Sanders, and Sandy Baird are moving forward with establishing student-to-student exchanges. We are excited about continuing the work with Armando Villaseca, the Holstein Association and others in Vermont who are committed to expanding the relationship between our two countries.  I would like to recognize the leader of the Quebec delegation to our state, Ms. France Dionne, and also Scott Lai, representing the Taiwanese Consul in Boston. Scott, we would like to offer you our support for the terrible earthquake your people have endured. 

     “My mother passed away a couple of years ago.  My mom always impressed on my brothers and sisters that before we started criticizing someone else, we’d better try first to understand why that other person behaved in a certain way. She had a huge heart for the little guy, the weak or the infirm. I will also pledge to think of my mom as we wrestle with some very tough issues in our society.  Those concerning the ethics of life -- when it starts, how it should end -- and should we clone it?  For those who think the world is left or right, think again. Some of these issues are circular, and there’s a point on the circle where left meets right, and where we all need to strive to meet one another.  Because as the march of science moves forward, we all must engage in these conversations.

     “Our state’s constitution states, “Industry and frugality are absolutely necessary to preserve the blessing of liberty, and keep government free”.

     “Shortly after I was first elected, the state troopers began calling me at home, asking me to talk to the Governor, and tell him that they wanted to keep their Crown Victorias, which were the traditional Governor’s vehicle. 

     “I said, “Gentlemen, the Governor drives a four cylinder Dodge Neon with no air conditioning; you can kiss those Crown Vics good-bye.” And they did.

     “When the Governor talks about his Affordability Agenda, it is consistent with a man who lives in a modest house with five cord of wood stacked in front lawn, his clothes hanging on the back porch and who in my mind is the quintessential thrifty Vermonter.  As stewards of the public’s resources, we need to constantly find more efficient and cost-effective ways to deliver essential services.  Senator Phil Scott’s tire program, Wheels for Warmth, is a great example of people in a community coming together and making a difference for their neighbors -- at no expense to the taxpayer!

     “In my other line of work, challenging market forces and fuel prices that have doubled required us to cut 20% out of our operating expenses on an annual basis.

     “Just like providing the next generation with an excellent education or delivering critical government services in the face of tightening fiscal challenges, we have no choice but to operate an airline safely and efficiently – at the same time as we find savings.

     “To put opportunity within reach of all young Vermonters, we must aggressively seek more efficient ways to deliver the services that Vermonters depend upon.   The Strategic Business Enterprise will reform state government, and can be an important tool for reducing Vermont’s tax burden.

     “I am going to close with a toast that I gave on our first trip to Cuba.

     “I was seated at a banquet between Cuba National Assembly President Ricardo Alarcon, and Central Bank President Francisco Soberon. At one point, Ricardo sat back and said to me, “Lt. Governor Dubie, why did you come to my country?”

     “He and Francisco both leaned forward as I answered.

     “In February of 1996,” I said to them, “Cuban Air Force MiG fighters shot down two US civilian aircraft flown by Brothers to the Rescue” – those are the Cuban Americans who conduct search and rescue missions for Cuban refugees adrift at sea between Florida and Cuba.

     “I went on, “At the time I was an F-16 pilot with the Vermont Air National Guard. Minutes after those planes were shot down, I received orders to get into my F-16, loaded with live missiles, and be ready at a moment’s notice to take off from Langley Air Force Base in Virginia. I sat in that jet for most of that long night. I was never given orders to launch that night,” I told Francisco and Ricardo. “But I vowed then and there that if I ever did have a chance to go to Cuba, I would. Now, eight years later, I’m the Lieutenant Governor of my state, and I am glad to be here.”

     “Francisco the banker looked at me closely, and smiled. Then he spoke. “In October 1962, I was a young Cuban anti-aircraft gunner during the missile crisis with your country. Every night, I would pray for a chance to shoot down an American fighter aircraft, just like yours.” We both smiled.  

     “At that moment, a chorus of Cuban children was singing on the stage where the evening’s entertainment was taking place. I turned to Francisco and proposed a toast that we both work together to make a better world, and a better life for the children of Cuba and the children of my country.

     “I know that is a vision that Vermonters share.

     “I look forward -- with you – to serving all the people of our state for two more years.

     “Thank you all for that privilege.”

Adjournment

On motion of Senator Shumlin, the Senate adjourned until one o’clock and fifty-five minutes in the afternoon.

Afternoon

The Senate was called to order by the President.

Joint Assembly

At two o'clock, the hour having arrived for the meeting of the two Houses in Joint Assembly pursuant to:

     J.R.S. 3.  Joint resolution providing for a Joint Assembly to hear the inaugural message of the Governor.

The Senate repaired to the hall of the House.

Having returned therefrom, at three o'clock and twenty-five minutes, the President resumed the Chair.

Adjournment

On motion of Senator Campbell, the Senate adjourned until eleven o’clock and thirty minutes in the morning.

 



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us