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Journal of the Senate


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Senate was called to order by the President.

Devotional Exercises

Devotional exercises were conducted by Chaplain Miriam Buchanan of Berlin.

Message from the House No. 11

     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 adopted concurrent resolutions of the following titles:

     H.C.R. 16.  Concurrent resolution honoring Allison Hicks for her self-initiated campaign to prevent and eradicate cervical cancer in Vermont.

     H.C.R. 17.  Concurrent resolution in memory of the American military personnel who have died in the service of their nation in Iraq from December 20, 2005 to December 29, 2006.

     H.C.R. 18.  Concurrent resolution congratulating the Norwich Women’s Club on its centennial anniversary.

     H.C.R. 19.  Concurrent resolution honoring Norwich fire chief Howard D. “Jack” Fraser for his half century of outstanding local, state, and national public service.

     H.C.R. 20.  Concurrent resolution congratulating the 2006 Woodstock Union High School Wasps Division III championship football team.

     H.C.R. 21.  Concurrent resolution in memory of United States Army Colonel (Ret.) and former Vermont state historian John A. Williams of Colchester.

     The House has considered concurrent resolutions originating in the Senate of the following titles:

     S.C.R. 1.  Concurrent resolution honoring David "Dave" and Dorothy Stevens of Wells River.

     S.C.R. 2.  Concurrent resolution honoring Dr. Harry Rowe of Wells River for his six decades of outstanding service as a family physician.

And has adopted the same in concurrence.

Committee Bills Introduced

Senate committee bills of the following titles were severally introduced, read the first time, and, under the rule, placed on the Calendar for notice tomorrow:

S. 52.

By the Committee on Transportation,

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

S. 53.

By the Committee on Transportation,

An act relating to motor vehicles.

S. 54.

By the Committee on Transportation,

An act relating to motor vehicle wreckers.

Bills Introduced

Senate bills of the following titles were severally introduced, read the first time and referred:

S. 55.

By Senator Mullin,

An act authorizing special “efficiency” motor vehicles to be operated on a public highway.

To the Committee on Transportation.

S. 56.

By Senators Mullin and Maynard,

An act relating to property tax valuation of subsidized housing.

To the Committee on Finance.

Rules Suspended; Bill Committed

S. 7.

Appearing on the Calendar for notice, on motion of Senator Sears, the rules were suspended and Senate bill entitled:

An act relating to medical marijuana.

Was taken up for immediate consideration.

Thereupon, pending the reading of the report of the Committee on Judiciary, Senator Sears moved that Senate Rule 49 be suspended in order to commit the bill to the Committee on Health and Welfare with the report of the Committee on Judiciary intact,

Which was agreed to.

Rules Suspended; House Proposal of Amendment Concurred In

J.R.S. 8.

Appearing on the Calendar for notice, on motion of Senator Shumlin, the rules were suspended and House proposal of amendment to Senate bill entitled:

Joint resolution urging Congress to appropriate as quickly as possible federal funds for payments of agricultural disaster relief to Vermont’s financially pressed farmers.

Was taken up for immediate consideration.

The House proposes to the Senate to amend the resolution by striking out all after the title and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Whereas, during May 2006, Vermont experienced extremely heavy rainfall causing delayed planting and late harvests which resulted in poor crop yields and low quality feed, and

Whereas, this extremely damaging precipitation occurred at the same time that milk prices were low, and well below dairy farmers’ production costs, and

Whereas, as a result of the terrible May weather, Governor Douglas requested that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) office in Vermont prepare a damage assessment report for all crops in all counties in the state, and 

Whereas, the report tallied $53,955,513.00 in crop damage in Vermont, and the Vermont USDA-FSA office submitted it in June 2006 to United States Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns, and

Whereas, based on this report, on June 23, 2006, Secretary Johanns declared all counties in Vermont as agricultural disaster areas because each county had sustained at least 30 percent crop damage, and

Whereas, dairy farmers face severe problems due not only to the continuing low price for milk but also on account of the limited availability of feed for their herds due to the wet weather that persisted throughout the spring and summer of 2006, and

Whereas, because of the combination of low milk prices and crops of decreased quality and quantity, many Vermont farmers are carrying a larger debt burden that is hampering their ability to purchase seeds and fertilizers for the 2007 spring planting, and

Whereas, compounding the problems associated with poor crop yields in Vermont, livestock farmers are confronted with feed prices that have risen 25 to 30 percent or more in just the last two or three months, and

Whereas, the continuing high energy costs only add another burden for Vermont’s farmers to confront, and

Whereas, Vermont farmers need federal agricultural disaster aid  immediately in order to assist them to purchase seed for the rapidly  approaching 2007 spring planting and to pay other debts resulting from the abnormal weather conditions of the last year, and

Whereas, the state of Vermont responded quickly and generously this past Summer when the Emergency Board authorized the expenditure of $8.6 million for agricultural disaster assistance, but this sum is far from enough to meet the basic financial requirements of Vermont’s farmers, and

Whereas, the immediacy of this crisis cannot be overemphasized; and without federal assistance, future prospects are bleak for many Vermont farmers and the associated infrastructure of the state’s farm economy, now therefore be it  

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

That the General Assembly urges Congress to appropriate federal funds, as quickly as possible for payment of agricultural disaster relief to Vermont’s financially pressed farmers, and be it further

Resolved:  That the Secretary of State be directed to send a copy of this resolution to United States Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns; to United States Senators Tom Harkin and Saxby Chambliss, chair and ranking minority member, respectively, of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry; to United States Representatives Collin Peterson and Bob Goodlatte, chair and ranking minority, member respectively, of the House Committee on Agriculture; and to the members of the Vermont Congressional delegation.

Thereupon, the question, Shall the Senate concur in the House proposal of amendment?, was decided in the affirmative.


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


Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont