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Journal of the Senate

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

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

Devotional Exercises

Devotional exercises were conducted by the Reverend Kevin Rooney of Northfield.

Pledge of Allegiance

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

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. 170.

By the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General ,

An act relating to the rights of family members, funeral directors, and crematory operators concerning the disposition of bodily remains and funeral goods and services.

Bills Introduced

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

S. 171.

By Senator Coppenrath, Campbell and Illuzzi,

An act relating to discharge of a mortgage by an attorney.

To the Committee on Judiciary.

S. 172.

By Senator Carris,

An act relating to installation standards for manufactured housing.

To the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs.


S. 173.

By Senators Nitka, Campbell, Condos, Flanagan, Giard, Hartwell, Kittell, Lyons, Maynard, Mazza, Miller, Racine and White,

An act relating to the awarding of high school diplomas to veterans of the Vietnam war.

To the Committee on Education.

S. 174.

By Senators Kittell, Flanagan, Lyons and White,

An act relating to reimbursement for chronic care.

To the Committee on Health and Welfare.

S. 175.

By Senator Nitka,

An act relating to voting for a supervisory union budget; voters.

To the Committee on Education.

S. 176.

By Senator Nitka,

An act relating to voting for a supervisory union budget; board members.

To the Committee on Education.

S. 177.

By Senator Racine,

An act relating to child poverty in Vermont.

To the Committee on Health and Welfare.

S. 178.

By Senator Giard,

An act relating to dairy milk promotion.

To the Committee on Agriculture.

S. 179.

By Senator Nitka,

An act relating to a common level of appraisal 3.5 percent cap.

To the Committee on Finance.

Joint Resolution Placed on Calendar

J.R.S. 22.

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

   By Senators Giard, Ayer, Bartlett, Campbell, Kittell, Nitka and White,

     J.R.S. 22.  Joint resolution urging Congress to enact S. 340 the "Agricultural Job Opportunities, Benefits, and Security Act of 2007 (the AgJOBS Act of 2007).

Whereas, agricultural operations in Vermont require many labor intensive roles that Vermonters are no longer willing to perform, and    

Whereas, in search of individuals to accept these jobs, Vermont’s agricultural managers have turned to foreign workers to perform these tasks, and

Whereas, the federal H-2A program allows foreigners to enter the United States for seasonal employment in the agricultural sector, and

Whereas, for many years, apple orchard owners, especially in Grand Isle County, have availed themselves of the H-2A program with great success, and

Whereas, there are now approximately 2,000 foreign workers employed on dairy farms across the state with a large concentration in Addison County, and

Whereas, unlike the apple picking season that lasts for a limited period of time in the late summer and early fall, dairy farming continues 365 days a year, and

Whereas, the seasonal limitation placed on H-2A workers means that a large percentage of the foreign employees on dairy farms, although excellent workers and essential to their employers’ business operations, is working in the United States illegally, and

Whereas, in order to enable these dairy farm employees and similarly situated persons in other states to remain on the job, a number of United States senators, including Senator Leahy of Vermont, have introduced S.340, the AgJOBS Act of 2007, and

Whereas, the provisions of the AgJOBS Act provide that foreign workers, who satisfy further work requirements, have not committed serious criminal offenses; apply within the time limits provided; and are otherwise admissible under the provisions of federal immigration law may be granted blue card status, and

Whereas, foreign workers granted blue card status would be considered “lawfully admitted for permanent residence” except for the receipt of certain federal benefits, and they would be afforded procedural rights and protections with respect to their employment, and

Whereas, the act contains provisions for a foreign worker who has been granted blue card status to gain permanent residence status subject to the completion of additional work requirements, the payment of any federal income taxes owed, and the absence of any major criminal activity, and

Whereas, the act also makes provisions for the residence of spouses and minor children, and

Whereas, the burden of producing documentation to qualify for an upgraded residency status would rest with the foreign worker, and

Whereas, the act also makes important revisions to the H-2A temporary worker program that provide employment preferences for American citizens and green card holders while affording procedural rights and minimum working conditions for the covered foreign workers, and

Whereas, S.340 represents a fair balancing of the interests of the agricultural community, American workers, foreign workers, and the federal government’s legitimate need to protect the integrity of our nation’s borders, now therefore be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

That the General Assembly urges Congress to enact S.340, the “Agricultural Job Opportunities, Benefits, and Security Act of 2007 the (AgJOBS Act of 2007), and be it further

Resolved:  That the Secretary of State be directed to send a copy of this resolution to the members of 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.

Message from the Governor

Appointments Referred

     A message was received from the Governor, by Kiersten Bourgeois, Secretary of Civil and Military Affairs, submitting the following appointments, which were referred to committees as indicated:

     Kathryn T. Boardman of Shelburne - Member of the Vermont Municipal Bond Bank, - from February 1, 2007, to January 31, 2009.

     To the Committee on Finance.

     John P. Cassarino of Rutland - Member of the Liquor Control Board, - from February 1, 2007, to January 31, 2013.

     To the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs.

     Walter E. Freed of Dorset - Member of the Liquor Control Board, - from February 1, 2007, to January 31, 2013.

     To the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs.

     Kenneth Perine of Middlebury - Member of the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, - from February 1, 2007, to January 31, 2010.

     To the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs.

     R. Tasha Wallis of Stowe – Commissioner, Department of Buildings and General Services, - from March 1, 2007, to February 28, 2009.

     To the Committee on Institutions.

     Mary Ann Gucciardi of South Burlington - Member of the Employment Security Board, - from March 1, 2007, to February 28, 2013.

     To the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs.

     Blanche Kelley of Rutland - Member of the Community High School of Vermont Board, - from March 1, 2007, to February 28, 2010.

     To the Committee on Education.

     Richard Fraser of South Ryegate - Member of the Community High School of Vermont Board, - from March 1, 2007, to February 28, 2010.

     To the Committee on Education.

     John C. Stewart of Jericho Center - Member of the Community High School of Vermont Board, - from March 1, 2007, to February 28, 2010.

     To the Committee on Education.

     Sharon Wilson of Duxbury - Member of the Human Services Board, - from March 1, 2007, to February 28, 2013.

     To the Committee on Health and Welfare.

     Wendy Schroeder of South Burlington - Member of the Public Oversight Commission, - from March 1, 2007, to February 28, 2010.

     To the Committee on Health and Welfare.

     Stephen S. Rauh of East Montpelier - Member of the Public Oversight Commission, - from March 1, 2007, to February 28, 2010.

     To the Committee on Health and Welfare.

     Jeffrey Larkin of Duxbury - Member of the Travel Information Council, - from March 1, 2007, to February 28, 2009.

     To the Committee on Transportation.

     John LaBarge of South Hero - Member of the Travel Information Council, - from March 1, 2007, to February 28, 2009.

     To the Committee on Transportation.

Third Reading Ordered

S. 128.

Senate committee bill entitled:

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

Having appeared on the Calendar for notice for one day, was taken up.

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

Consideration Postponed

S. 116.

Senate bill entitled:

An act relating to miscellaneous election law amendments.

Was taken up.

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

Third Reading Ordered

S. 167.

Senate committee bill entitled:

An act relating to voter registration.

Having appeared on the Calendar for notice for one day, was taken up.

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

Message from the House No. 29

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

J.R.S. 20.  Joint resolution providing for and relating to an extension of the date for the convening of a Joint Assembly to vote on the retention of Superior Judges and District Judges.

And has adopted the same in concurrence.

Appointments Confirmed

The following Gubernatorial appointments were confirmed separately by the Senate, upon full reports given by the Committees to which they were referred:

     Michael K. Smith of Essex Junction – Secretary of the Agency of Administration – March 1, 2007, to February 28, 2009.

Was confirmed by the Senate on a roll call, Yeas 24, Nays 2.

Senator Mullin having demanded the yeas and nays, they were taken and are as follows:

Roll Call

Those Senators who voted in the affirmative were: Bartlett, Campbell, Carris, Collins, Condos, Cummings, Doyle, Giard, Hartwell, Illuzzi, Kitchel, Kittell, Lyons, MacDonald, Maynard, Mazza, Mullin, Nitka, Racine, Scott, Sears, Snelling, Starr, White.

Those Senators who voted in the negative were: Flanagan, McCormack.

Those Senators absent or not voting were: Ayer, Coppenrath, Miller, Shumlin (presiding).

     Robert D. Hofmann of Waterbury – Commissioner, Department of Corrections – March 1, 2007, to February 28, 2009.

Was confirmed by the Senate on a roll call, Yeas 26, Nays 0.

Senator Snelling having demanded the yeas and nays, they were taken and are as follows:


Roll Call

Those Senators who voted in the affirmative were: Bartlett, Campbell, Carris, Collins, Condos, Cummings, Doyle, Flanagan, Giard, Hartwell, Illuzzi, Kitchel, Kittell, Lyons, MacDonald, Maynard, Mazza, McCormack, Mullin, Nitka, Racine, Scott, Sears, Snelling, Starr, White.

Those Senators who voted in the negative were: None.

Those Senators absent or not voting were: Ayer, Coppenrath, Miller, Shumlin (presiding).

     Neale F. Lunderville of Burlington – Secretary of the Agency of Transportation – March 1, 2007, to February 28, 2009.

Was confirmed by the Senate on a roll call, Yeas 26, Nays 0.

Senator Mazza having demanded the yeas and nays, they were taken and are as follows:

Roll Call

Those Senators who voted in the affirmative were: Bartlett, Campbell, Carris, Collins, Condos, Cummings, Doyle, Flanagan, Giard, Hartwell, Illuzzi, Kitchel, Kittell, Lyons, MacDonald, Maynard, Mazza, McCormack, Mullin, Nitka, Racine, Scott, Sears, Snelling, Starr, White.

Those Senators who voted in the negative were: None.

Those Senators absent or not voting were: Ayer, Coppenrath, Miller, Shumlin (presiding).

Adjournment

On motion of Senator Mazza, the Senate adjourned until one o’clock and thirty minutes in the afternoon on Wednesday, March 14, 2007.

 



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