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Journal of the Senate

________________

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Senate was called to order by the President pro tempore.

Devotional Exercises

A moment of silence was observed in lieu of devotions.

Pledge of Allegiance

The President pro tempore then led the members of the Senate in the pledge of allegiance.

Bills Introduced

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

S. 125.

By Senators White, Condos, Flanagan and Kittell,

An act relating to establishing a statewide association captive insurance company for medical malpractice insurance.

To the Committee on Finance.

S. 126.

By Senator White,

An act relating to the creation of a statewide direct care provider registry.

To the Committee on Health and Welfare.

S. 127.

By Senators Carris, Coppenrath, Maynard, Mullin, Nitka, Sears and Starr,

An act relating to a local option Act 250 exemption for construction within a traditional industrial district.

To the Committee on Natural Resources and Energy.


Committee Bill Introduced

Senate committee bill of the following title was introduced, read the first time, and, under the rule, placed on the Calendar for notice tomorrow:

S. 128.

By the Committee on Health and Welfare,

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

Bills Introduced

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

S. 129.

By Senator Illuzzi,

An act relating to unfair claim settlement practices rights of action.

To the Committee on Judiciary.

S. 130.

By Senator Mullin,

An act relating to the use of artificial trans fat by food service establishments.

To the Committee on Health and Welfare.

S. 131.

By Senator Condos,

An act relating to harassment and bullying occurring in an educational institution.

To the Committee on Judiciary.

S. 132.

By Senators Kitchel, Lyons and Snelling,

An act relating to rules of the plumbers’ examining board.

To the Committee on Government Operations.


Committee Bill Introduced

Senate committee bill of the following title was introduced, read the first time, and, under the rule, placed on the Calendar for notice tomorrow:

S. 133.

By the Committee on Transportation,

An act relating to the operation of a motor vehicle by junior operators and primary safety belt enforcement.

Bills Introduced

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

S. 134.

By Senator Cummings,

An act relating to land gains tax exemption for transfer to nonprofit housing organization.

To the Committee on Finance.

S. 135.

By Senators Lyons and Racine,

An act relating to pesticide use in and around day care and school facilities.

To the Committee on Natural Resources and Energy.

S. 136.

By Senators Lyons and Condos,

An act relating to a solid waste management facilities working group.

To the Committee on Natural Resources and Energy.

S. 137.

By Senators Lyons and Ayer,

An act relating to reducing the amount of phosphorus allowed in household cleansing products used in dishwashers.

To the Committee on Natural Resources and Energy.


S. 138.

By Senators Ayer and Giard,

An act relating to calculation of excess education spending amounts.

To the Committee on Education.

S. 139.

By Senators Lyons, Snelling, Condos, Flanagan and White,

An act relating to requiring vaccination against cervical cancer.

To the Committee on Health and Welfare.

S. 140.

By Senators Lyons, Ayer, Bartlett, Campbell, Carris Cummings, Flanagan, Giard, Kittell, MacDonald, Maynard, McCormack, Mullin, Sears and Shumlin,

An act relating to confidentiality of prescription information.

To the Committee on Health and Welfare.

S. 141.

By Senator Lyons,

An act relating to safe patient handling.

To the Committee on Health and Welfare.

S. 142.

By Senators Lyons, Ayer, Carris, Giard, Maynard and Mullin,

An act relating to a screening panel for medical injury claims.

To the Committee on Judiciary.

S. 143.

By Senators Scott and Mazza,

An act relating to authorizing the use of racing fuel containing the additive MTBE or other gasoline ethers.

To the Committee on Transportation.


Bill Referred to Committee on Appropriations

S. 6.

Senate bill of the following title, appearing on the Calendar for notice and carrying an appropriation or requiring the expenditure of funds, under the rule was referred to the Committee on Appropriations:

An act relating to preventing conviction of innocent persons.

Joint Resolution Placed on Calendar

J.R.S. 19.

Joint Senate resolution of the following title was offered, read the first time and is as follows:

   By the Committee on Natural Resources and Energy,

     J.R.S. 19.  Joint resolution urging Congress to oppose any grandfathering of carbon emissions from new coal burning plants in future national regulation of carbon emissions.

Whereas, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC’s) Fourth Assessment Report:  the natural range of carbon dioxide over the past 650,000 years is 180 to 300ppm; as a result of human activities, global atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide have increased to 379ppm as of 2005; and the primary source of carbon dioxide is from fossil fuels, and

Whereas, studies from the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center, the primary climate-change data and information analysis center of the United States Department of Energy (DOE) since 1982, show that:  energy-related activities were the primary sources of United States anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, from the United States, accounting for 86 percent of total emissions of carbon equivalents in 2004; the United States produced nearly 1.6 billion tons of carbon in 2002; and coal used by electric utilities produces 25.98 metric tons of carbon per billion BTUs, and

Whereas, a recent report to the Pew Center for Climate Change from the Carnegie Mellon's Electricity Industry Center showed that the nation needs to cut carbon dioxide emissions from electricity generation by 65–85 percent below current levels by 2100 to stabilize atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations at twice the level of pre-industrial times, and

Whereas, there are currently over 150 proposed new coal-burning electric power plants within the continental United States, and

Whereas, the increase in proposed coal-burning power plant construction, in the face of the increasing societal need to drastically decrease production of carbon, indicates a race to grandfather the new coal-burning electric power plants by those intending to build large carbon–emitting power plants prior to carbon restrictive legislation being enacted by Congress, now therefore be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

That the General Assembly of the State of Vermont believes that this type of race to grandfather huge new carbon emissions is contradictory to the purpose of carbon-restricting legislation in that it would allow coal-burning power plants that are not even built yet to contribute large amounts of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, and be it further  

Resolved:  That the General Assembly urges Congress to send a clear message that any future carbon-restricting legislation will not grandfather or otherwise grant exempt status to any coal-burning power plants where construction began after January 1, 2007, and be it further

Resolved:  That the Secretary of State be directed to send a copy of this resolution to Governor Douglas, the President of the United States, and the Vermont Congressional delegation.

Thereupon, in the discretion of the President, under Rule 51, the joint resolution was placed on the Calendar for action tomorrow.

Senate Resolution Placed on Calendar

S.R. 12.

Senate resolution of the following title was offered, read the first time and is as follows:

   By Senators Shumlin, Ayer, Campbell, Hartwell, Illuzzi, Lyons, Nitka, Snelling and White,

     S.R. 12.  Senate resolution relating to the lack of compensated women on Vermont corporate boards.

Whereas, corporations play a fundamental role in the commercial life of Vermont, and

Whereas, boards of directors are the governing mechanism for many and nearly all large corporations, and

Whereas, in order for corporate boards to reflect the diverse social and economic perspectives in Vermont, it is important that they have equitable representation of women, and

Whereas, it is only in recent years that a greater percentage of Vermont’s corporate board membership has been comprised of women although, at 33 percent, the percentage still does not reflect the actual presence of women in the state’s population, and

Whereas, those women members who are fortunate enough to sit on a Vermont-based corporate board work as vigorously and conscientiously as their male counterparts, and

Whereas, nevertheless, according to Vermont Business Magazine’s 2006–2007 Book of Lists, women serving on Vermont corporate boards were more likely to serve on boards that do not compensate their members, and

Whereas, in percentage terms, women constituted 37 percent of the unpaid board membership while they equaled only 24 percent of the paid board members accounted for in the survey, now therefore be it

Resolved by the Senate:

That the Senate of the State of Vermont urges all Vermont corporations to recruit more women to serve on their boards of directors and especially those corporations whose boards compensate their members, and be it further

Resolved:  That the Secretary of the Senate be directed to send a copy of this resolution to the Vermont Chamber of Commerce, to Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility, and to the Vermont Business Roundtable.

Thereupon, in the discretion of the President, under Rule 51, the resolution was placed on the Calendar for action tomorrow.

Consideration Postponed

S. 7.

Senate bill entitled:

An act relating to medical marijuana.

Was taken up.

Thereupon, without objection consideration of the bill was postponed until the next legislative day.

Third Reading Ordered

H. 131.

Senator Doyle, for the Committee on Government Operations, to which was referred House bill entitled:

An act relating to approval of an amendment to the charter of the village of North Troy.

Reported that the bill ought to pass in concurrence.

Thereupon, the bill was read the second time by title only pursuant to Rule 43, and third reading of the bill was ordered.

Proposals of Amendment; Third Reading Ordered

H. 302.

Senator Bartlett, for the Committee on Appropriations, to which was referred House bill entitled:

An act relating to fiscal year 2007 budget adjustments.

Reported recommending that the Senate propose to the House to amend the bill as follows:

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

Sec. 8.  Sec. 56 of No. 215 of the Acts of 2006 is amended to read:

Sec. 56.  Vermont court diversion

* * *

     (a)  Court diversion programs may use funds allocated in the appropriation above for increased wages to maintain salaries and benefits.

     Second:  After Sec. 9, by adding a new section to be numbered Sec. 9a to read as follows:

Sec. 9a.  Sec. 63 of No. 215 of the Acts of 2006 is amended to read:

Sec. 63.  Public safety – administration

* * *

     (b)  Of the funds appropriated to the department of public safety $26,000 shall be used to make a grant to the Essex county sheriff department. The commissioner may transfer this amount from line items in this appropriation or other department of public safety appropriations to implement this directive forthwith.

     Third:  By striking out Sec. 11(d) in its entirety

     Fourth:  By striking out Sec. 22 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 22 to read as follows:

Sec. 22.  Sec. 101 of No. 215 of the Acts of 2006 is amended to read:

Sec. 101.  Secretary’s office – Global Commitment


     Grants                                                        792,294,238       807,422,501

Source of funds

     General fund                                              116,901,768       124,205,456

     Special funds                                               12,939,662         14,671,205

     Tobacco fund                                              19,299,711         19,299,711

     State health care resource fund                   153,832,688       153,832,688

     Federal funds                                            487,041,206       493,134,238

     Interdepartmental transfer                    2,279,203                     2,279,203

          Total                                                     792,294,238       807,422,501

***

(b)  In addition to the state funds appropriated in this section, a total estimated sum of $35,594,773 $33,133,325 is anticipated to be certified as state matching funds under the Global Commitment as follows:

(1)  $19,536,7351 $17,075,287 certified state match available from local education agencies.  This amount combined with $27,665,633 $24,379,713 of federal funds appropriated in this section equals a total estimated expenditure of $47,202,367 $41,455,000 for eligible special education school-based Medicaid services under the Global Commitment.  An amount equal to the actual amount of the federal matching funds for eligible special education school-based Medicaid services under global commitment shall be transferred from the Global Commitment fund to the Medicaid reimbursement special fund created in 16 V.S.A. § 2959a.

(2)  $1,497,110 certified state match available from local education agencies for eligible services under the Global Commitment provided to students under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

(32$7,459,137 $8,956,247 certified state match available from local education agencies for eligible services under the Global Commitment provided to students through school-based health services, including school nurses.

(43)  $4,215,210 certified state match available from local education and social service agencies for eligible services provided to students in the success beyond six programs eligible persons through the children’s collaborative services program.

(54)  $1,847,186 certified state match available from local designated mental health agencies for eligible mental health services provided under the Global Commitment.

(65)  $1,039,395 certified state match available from local designated developmental services agencies for eligible developmental services provided under the Global Commitment.

***

     Fifth:  After Sec. 22, by adding a new section to be numbered Sec. 22a to read as follows:

Sec. 22a.  GLOBAL COMMITMENT APPROPRIATIONS; TRANSFER;  REPORT

(a)  In order to facilitate the end of year closeout for fiscal year 2007, the secretary of the agency of human services, with approval from the secretary of administration, may make transfers among the appropriations authorized for Medicaid and Medicaid-waiver program expenses.  At least three business days prior to any transfer, the agency shall submit a proposal of transfers to be made pursuant to this section to the joint fiscal office.  A final report on all transfers made under this section shall be made to the joint fiscal committee for review at the September 2007 meeting.  The purpose of this section is to provide the agency with limited authority to modify the appropriations to comply with the terms and conditions of the global commitment for health waiver approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services under Section 1115 of the Social Security Act.

     Sixth:  In Sec. 24, by adding a new subsection (c) to read as follows:

     (c)  The director of the office of Vermont health access shall not encumber or expend more than 10 percent of the $3,034,333 allocated in the appropriation above for marketing, outreach and associated internal systems for the Catamount, Medicaid and SCHIP programs until a plan has been reviewed and approved by the commission on health care reform created pursuant to Sec. 277c of No. 71 of the Acts of 2005.  

     Seventh:  By striking out Sec. 25 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 25 to read as follows:

Sec. 25.  Sec. 109 of No. 215 of the Acts of 2006 is amended to read:

Sec. 109.  Office of Vermont health access - Medicaid program – non-Global Commitment long-term care waiver

     Grants                                             172,317 361                 167,782,587

Source of funds

     General fund                                     70,960,289                   69,092,869

     Federal funds                                  101,357,071                   98,689,718

          Total                                           172,317,361                 167,782,587

     (a)  The director of the office of Vermont health access and the commissioner of the department of disabilities, aging and independent living shall provide services to all eligible persons deemed high needs or greater.  The intent of this subsection is that for the remainder of fiscal year 2007 persons who are determined to be high or highest needs and eligible for services under the choices for care waiver shall receive services and not be placed on a waiting list.

     (b)  The director of the office of Vermont health access and the commissioner of the department of disabilities, aging and independent living shall report to the house and senate committees on appropriations by April 1, 2007 with recommendations on:  the methodology to be used for calculating program savings due to the Choices for Care waiver; and a framework for deciding how savings are to be reinvested.

     Eighth:  By striking out Sec. 30 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 30 to read as follows: 

Sec. 30.  Sec. 117 of No. 215 of the Acts of 2006 is amended to read:

Sec. 117.     Health - health protection

          Personal services                        3,282,307                  3,282,307

          Operating expenses                       768,200                     803,200

          Grants                                        1,689,500                  1,689,500

               Total                                     5,740,007                  5,775,007

     Source of funds

          General fund                                  238,513                     151,513

          Special funds                                 904,000                     939,000

          Global Commitment fund                 55,093                     142,093

          Federal funds                              4,239,401                  4,239,401

          Interdepartmental transfer              303,000                     303,000

               Total                                     5,740,007                  5,775,007

     Ninth:  By striking out Sec. 34 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 34 to read as follows:

Sec. 34.  Sec. 121 of No. 215 of the Acts of 2006 is amended to read:

Sec. 121.  Health – alcohol and drug abuse programs

     Personal services                            9,228,703                      9,216,203

     Operating expenses                         1,130,648                      1,130,648

     Grants                                            20,255,145                   20,267,645

          Total                                          30,779,496                   30,614,496

Source of funds

     General fund                                     3,370,025                     3,294,765

     Special funds                                        195,500                        195,500

     Tobacco fund                                   2,382,834                     2,382,834

     Global Commitment fund   15,235,609             15,777,640

     Federal funds                                    9,445,528                     8,813,757

     Interdepartmental transfer      150,000                  150,000

          Total                                          30,779,496                   30,614,496

* * *

     (g)  In addition to the $345,000 of funds allocated for grants to recovery centers in the above appropriation, $12,500 of funds shall be granted to the Vermont’s recovery center network.

     Tenth:  By striking out Sec. 45(a) in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 45(a) to read as follows:

     (a)  In fiscal year 2007, the department for children and families may provide financial assistance and support services to families through solely state funded programs in order to maintain the separate state programs and segregated funds program established in subchapter 3 of chapter 11 of Title 33 and to assist the department in complying with the requirements relating to Temporary Assistance to Needy Families contained in the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 pending further action by the general assembly.  This section shall not be interpreted to modify the requirements for families receiving services or the programs established in subchapter 3 of chapter 11 of Title 33, but is intended to permit the department flexibility in reporting maintenance-of-effort funds.

     Eleventh:  After Sec. 58, by adding two new sections to be numbered Sec. 58a and Sec. 58b to read as follows:

Sec. 58a.  Sec. 177 of No. 215 of the Acts of 2006 is amended to read:

Sec. 177.  Education – adjusted education payment

     Grants                                             1,018,388,625            1,017,888,625

Source of funds

     Education fund                  1,018,388,625 1,017,888,625

* * *

Sec. 58b.  Sec. 180 of No. 215 of the Acts of 2006 is amended to read:

Sec. 180.  Education – small school grants

     Grants                                                       5,360,000           5,618,935

Source of funds

     Education fund                                5,360,000                   5,618,935

     Twelfth:  In Sec. 74(a), by striking out the word “catagory” and inserting in lieu thereof the word category

     Thirteenth:  In Sec. 90(a)(3), by striking out the words “up to

     Fourteenth:  By striking out Sec. 109 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 109 to read as follows:

Sec. 109.  NEXT GENERATION FUND

(a)  Of the total sum transferred from the fiscal year 2007 general fund to the next generation initiative fund, the sum of $1,700,000 is appropriated as follows:

(1)  The sum of $500,000 is appropriated to the agency of commerce and community development for the issuance of Vermont training program grants pursuant to 10 V.S.A. § 531.

(2)  The sum of $500,000 is appropriated to the workforce education and training fund created in Sec. 157a(d) of No. 62 of the Acts of 1999 as amended by Sec. 14 of No. 212 of the Acts of 2006.

(3)  The sum of $500,000 is appropriated to the Vermont student assistance corporation for its nondegree grant program.

(4)  The sum of $200,000 is appropriated to the  Vermont student assistance corporation for need-based scholarships enabling dual enrollment by high school students in college courses.

     And by renumbering all of the sections of the bill to be numerically correct (including internal references) and adjusting all of the totals to be arithmetically correct.

And that the bill ought to pass in concurrence with such proposals of amendment.

Thereupon, the bill was read the second time by title only pursuant to Rule 43, the proposals of amendment were collectively agreed to, and third reading of the bill was ordered.

Joint Resolution Adopted in Concurrence

J.R.H. 16.

Joint House resolution entitled:

Joint resolution recognizing February 22, 2007, as Hunger Awareness Day and supporting efforts to eliminate hunger in Vermont by maximizing the use of federal nutrition programs.

Having been placed on the Calendar for action, was taken up and adopted in concurrence.


Message from the House No. 25

     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 passed a bill of the following title:

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

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

The Governor has informed the House of Representatives that on the twenty-third day of February, 2007, he signed a bill originating in the House of the following title:

H. 213.  An act relating to interim assistance to the dairy industry and the development of long-term goals for a viable agricultural sector.

Adjournment

On motion of Senator Mazza, the Senate adjourned until one o’clock and thirty minutes in the afternoon on Wednesday, February 28, 2007.

 



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


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