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Journal of the Senate

________________

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

The Senate was called to order by the President.

Devotional Exercises

Devotional exercises were conducted by the Reverend Daniel McAllister of Montpelier.

Message from the House No. 43

     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 Governor has informed the House of Representatives that on the third day of April, 2007, he returned without signature and vetoed a bill originating in the House of the following title:  

H. 302.  An act relating to Fiscal Year 2007 budget adjustments.

Message from the House No. 44

     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 Governor has informed the House of Representatives that on the third day of April, 2007, he approved and signed a bill originating in the House of the following title:

H. 72.  An act relating to approval of amendments to the charter of the city of Barre.

Text of Communication from Governor

The text of the communication from His Excellency, the Governor, whereby he vetoed and returned unsigned House Bill No. 302 to the House is as follows:


Communication from the Governor

April 3, 2007

The Honorable Donald G. Milne

Clerk of the House of Representatives

State House

Montpelier, VT 05633-5401

Dear Mr. Milne:

     Pursuant to Chapter II, Section 11 of the Vermont Constitution, I am returning H.302, An Act Relating to Fiscal Year 2007 Budget Adjustments, without my signature because of objections described herein.

     Achieving the prosperity and peace of mind we desire for every generation of Vermonters requires that we take steps now to moderate the cost of living in Vermont—including the cost of higher education.

     Scholarships are immensely important to Vermont families, Vermont's institutions of higher learning, and Vermont's continued economic growth. Accordingly, for some time I insisted that funding for scholarships be included in the Budget Adjustment bill – which is the most appropriate and most timely vehicle for this initiative.

     The reluctance of the controlling majority of this General Assembly to embrace scholarships has been both astonishing and disappointing. After more than a year of discussion, their unwillingness to pass scholarships expeditiously is equally astounding. Such intransigence reflects a fundamental, and widening, divide between the priorities of this majority and working families.

     Scholarships are an important investment in the future of our state, and Vermonters have embraced this initiative. They make college more affordable and accessible for more working families and help address the enormous demographic challenges facing our state, by enticing college-bound students to stay in Vermont after college graduation.

     Legislative leaders knowingly abandoned an opportunity to include funding for scholarships in the Budget Adjustment bill and ensure that scholarships are available to Vermont students who are now making their decisions about which college to attend this fall, or whether they can afford to attend college at all.

     In order to ensure the economic security, prosperity and peace of mind we desire for every new generation of Vermonters, we must take more aggressive steps—like providing scholarships that make Vermont more affordable.

     I respectfully request that the General Assembly immediately pass a new budget adjustment bill that provides scholarships for Vermont students. If you
do so, I am confident that those students, their parents, and all who care about the security and prosperity of this great state will thank you.

                                                           Sincerely,

                                                           /s/James H. Douglas

                                                           Governor

Bill Introduced

Senate bill of the following title was introduced, read the first time and referred:

S. 206.

By Senator Lyons,

An act relating to tax holiday for home insulation and hybrid vehicles.

To the Committee on Finance.

Bill Referred to Committee on Finance

S. 204.

Senate Committee bill of the following title, appearing on the Calendar for notice, and affecting the revenue of the state, under the rule was referred to the Committee on Finance:

An act relating to increased funding for downtown and village center tax credit program.

Senate Resolution Placed on Calendar

S.R. 14.

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

     By Senators Lyons and Snelling,

     S.R. 14.  Senate resolution urging Vermonters to learn more about lupus.

Whereas, lupus is often referred to as “the disease that fools,” due to the patient’s unawareness of the disease’s presence for extended periods of time, and

Whereas, lupus fools clinicians who may confuse the disease with other disorders, and

Whereas, lupus fools most persons because those afflicted with the disease give the appearance of being healthy, and


Whereas, more persons in the United States are afflicted with lupus than AIDS, sickle cell anemia, cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis and multiple sclerosis combined, and

Whereas, lupus is a chronic inflammatory disease that can affect various parts of the body, especially the skin, joints, blood and kidneys, and

Whereas, while the exact cause of lupus is still not specifically identified, scientists have determined that certain persons are genetically predisposed to the disease, and that environmental conditions, such as ultraviolet light and other factors including infections, selected antibiotics and manufactured drugs, and extreme stress can trigger this stealthy affliction, and

Whereas, while lupus can occur in males or females of any age; adult females are 10 to 15 times more susceptible to becoming victims of the disease, and

Whereas, persons of African-American, Asian-American, and Native‑American ethnicity are more susceptible for reasons that continue to baffle medical science, and

Whereas, lupus does not inhibit an individual from having a successful working career, and employers need to be educated concerning the reasonable accommodations persons with lupus may require in order to maximize their productivity as employees, and

Whereas, the Lupus Foundation of America (LFA), a predominantly volunteer and grass roots organization, was established in 1977 to provide supportive services to the victims of lupus, to fund medical research into the disease’s causes and possible treatments, and to educate the public concerning the realities of lupus, and

Whereas, reflecting on lupus’s reputation as “the disease that fools,” the LFA is observing April 1, April Fools’ Day, as “Lupus Awareness Day,” a special opportunity to educate the public about this often unknown and misunderstood disease, and

Whereas, volunteers in Vermont will be actively participating in this special LFA national campaign, now therefore be it

Resolved by the Senate:

That the Senate of the State of Vermont, in recognition of Lupus Awareness Day, which was April 1, 2007, urges all Vermonters to learn more about the realities of lupus, and be it further


Resolved:  That the Secretary of the Senate be directed to send a copy of this resolution to the Vermont chapter of the Lupus Foundation of America in Waterbury.

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

Bill Amended; Third Reading Ordered

S. 194.

Senate bill entitled:

An act relating to firefighters and cancer caused by employment.

Having been called up, was taken up.

Thereupon, the bill was read the second time by title only pursuant to Rule 43, and pending the question, Shall the bill be read a third time?, Senator Ayer, on behalf of the Committee on Finance, moved to amend the bill as follows:

First:  In Sec. 2.  21 V.S.A. § 601(11)(E) by striking out subdivision (ii) and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

(ii)  The firefighter was engaged in firefighting duties or other hazardous activities over a period of at least five years in Vermont prior to the diagnosis.

Second:  In Sec. 2.  21 V.S.A. § 601(11)(E) by adding a subdivision (v) to read as follows:

(v)  The firefighter is under the age of 65.

Which was agreed to.

Thereupon, third reading of the bill was ordered.

Bill Amended; Bill Passed

S. 190.

Senate bill entitled:

An act relating to establishing a brownfields advisory committee.

Was taken up.

     Thereupon, pending third reading of the bill, Senator MacDonald, on behalf of the Committee on Natural Resources and Energy, moved to amend the bill in Sec. 1, subsection (a) by adding two new subdivisions to be numbered subdivisions (8) and (9) to read as follows:

(8) an expert on the movement of contaminants through water, soil, and air, who has not acted as a consultant to a developer of contaminated sites within the preceding 10 years;

(9) a public health expert on issues related to the protection of people with sensitivity to certain forms of contamination, who has not acted as a consultant to a developer of contaminated sites within the preceding 10 years;

And by renumbering the remaining subdivisions to be numerically correct.

Which was agreed to.

Thereupon, the bill was read the third time and passed.

Consideration Postponed

S. 115.

Senate bill entitled:

An act relating to increasing transparency of prescription drug pricing and information.

Was taken up.

Thereupon, without objection consideration of the bill was postponed until the end of the orders of the day.

Bill Passed

Senate bill of the following title was read the third time and passed:

S. 121.

An act relating to enhancing Vermont’s system of care for individuals with autism spectrum disorders.

Bills Passed in Concurrence

House bills of the following titles were severally read the third time and passed in concurrence:

H. 51.

An act relating to approval of amendments to the charter of the village of Newbury.

H. 97.

An act relating to the ability of the unified towns and gores of Essex county to incur indebtedness.


Third Readings Ordered

H. 81.

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

An act relating to approval of amendments to the charter of the city of Burlington.

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.

H. 169.

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

An act relating to approval of amendments to the charter of the town of Williston.

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.

Consideration Postponed

Senate bills entitled:

S. 102.

An act relating to decreasing the percentage to determine a school district’s excess spending.

S. 118.

An act relating to fiscal review of high spending districts and special education.

Were taken up.

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

Bills Amended; Third Readings Ordered

S. 177.

Senator Racine, for the Committee on Health and Welfare, to which was referred Senate bill entitled:

An act relating to child poverty in Vermont.

Reported recommending that the bill be amended as follows:

First:  In Sec. 1, by striking out subdivision (b)(1)(A) and inserting in lieu thereof a new (A) to read:

(A)  the secretary of human services and the secretary of agriculture, food and markets;

Second:  In Sec. 1, by striking out subdivision (b)(1)(G) and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

(G)  one representative each from the Vermont Voices for Children, the Vermont low income advocacy council, Vermont Legal Aid, and the Vermont superintendents’ association. 

and in Sec. 1, by striking out subdivisions (b)(1)(H) and (I)

Third:  In  Sec. 1, by striking out subdivision (b)(2) and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

(2)  The council, at its first meeting, shall elect one of the legislative members as chair or two legislative members as cochairs.  The legislative council and the joint fiscal office shall provide staff support to the council.

And that when so amended the bill ought to pass.

Senator Bartlett, for the Committee on Appropriations, to which the bill was referred, reported recommending that the bill ought to pass when so amended.

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

Consideration Postponed

S. 191.

Senate bill entitled:

An act relating to financing, reappraisal, and infrastructure in tax increment financing districts.

Was taken up.

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


Proposal of Amendment; Third Reading Ordered

H. 360.

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

An act relating to employment protection and training period for Vermont national guard members.

     Reported recommending that the Senate propose to the House to amend the bill by striking out all after the enacting clause and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Sec. 1.  21 V.S.A. § 491(a) is amended to read:

(a)  Any duly qualified member of the “reserve components of the armed forces,” of the ready reserve, or an organized unit of the national guard who leaves a position other than a temporary position in the employ of any employer, for state active duty or to receive military training with the armed forces of the United States and who notifies the employer of the date of departure and date of return for purposes of military training 30 days prior to the date of departure or as soon as practical after being called into state service by the governor shall be granted absence with leave with or without pay.  If the employee provides evidence of the satisfactory completion of the training immediately upon return and is still qualified to perform the duties for such position shall upon request be entitled to leaves of absence for a total of 15 days in any calendar year for the purpose of engaging in military drill, training, or other temporary duty under military authority.  A leave of absence shall be with or without pay as determined by the employer.  Upon completion of the military drill, training, or other temporary duty under military authority, the a full-time employee shall be reinstated in that position with the same status, pay, and seniority, including seniority that accrued during the period of absence.

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

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

Recess

On motion of Senator Shumlin the Senate recessed until 5:00 P.M.

Called to Order

At 5:14 P.M. the Senate was called to order by the President.

Bill Amended; Bill Passed

S. 115.

Senate bill entitled:

An act relating to increasing transparency of prescription drug pricing and information.

Was taken up.

Thereupon, pending third reading of the bill, Senator Condos moved to amend the first amendment of the Committee on Finance (amending the seventeenth amendment of the Committee on Health and Welfare), in §4655(a), after the words “established where the” by inserting the word manufacturer’s

Which was agreed to on a roll call, Yeas 27, Nays 0.

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

Roll Call

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

Those Senators who voted in the negative were: None.

Those Senators absent and not voting were: Carris, Illuzzi, McCormack.

Thereupon, pending third reading of the bill, Senator Mullin moved to amend the bill, as follows:

First:  By striking out Sec. 17 (unconscionable pricing) in its entirety.

Second:  In Sec. 19, by striking out subsection 2466a(a) and relettering the remaining subsections accordingly.

Which was disagreed to on a roll call, Yeas 8, Nays 19.

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

Roll Call

Those Senators who voted in the affirmative were: Condos, Coppenrath, Doyle, Kitchel, Maynard, Mazza, Mullin, Scott.

Those Senators who voted in the negative were: Ayer, Bartlett, Campbell, Collins, Cummings, Flanagan, Giard, Hartwell, Kittell, Lyons, MacDonald, Miller, Nitka, Racine, Sears, Shumlin, Snelling, Starr, White.

Those Senators absent and not voting were: Carris, Illuzzi, McCormack.

Thereupon, pending third reading of the bill, Senator MacDonald moved to amend the bill by striking out Sec. 13 of the bill and inserting in lieu thereof two new sections to be numbered Sec. 13 and 14 to read as follows:

Sec. 13.  18 V.S.A. chapter 91, subchapter 3 is added to read:

Subchapter 3.  Information Requirements

§ 4631.  Confidentiality of Prescription Information

(a)  The general assembly finds that it has become an increasingly common practice for information identifying physicians and other prescribers in prescription records to be used to target pharmaceutical marketing and gifts toward physicians who prescribe the most expensive drugs for their patients.  This practice raises drug costs for all Vermont residents and compromises the professional autonomy of physicians.  It is the intent of the general assembly to ensure the privacy of Vermonters and health care professionals by prohibiting the commercial use of prescription information.

(b)  As used in this section:

(1)  “Commercial purpose” shall include advertising, marketing, promotion, or any activity that is intended to be used or is used to influence sales or the market share of a pharmaceutical product, influence or evaluate the prescribing behavior of an individual health care professional, market prescription drugs to patients, or evaluate the effectiveness of a professional pharmaceutical detailing sales force.

(2)  “Electronic transmission intermediary” means an entity that provides the infrastructure that connects the computer systems or other electronic devices used by health care professionals, prescribers, pharmacies, health care facilities and pharmacy benefit managers, health insurers, third-party administrators, and agents and contractors of those persons in order to facilitate the secure transmission of an individual’s prescription drug order, refill, authorization request, claim, payment, or other prescription drug information.

(3)  “Health care facility” shall have the same meaning as in section 9402 of this title.

(4)  “Health care professional” shall have the same meaning as in section 9402 of this title.

(5)  “Health insurer” shall have the same meaning as in section 9410 of this title.

(6)  “Pharmacy” means any individual or entity licensed or registered under chapter 36 of Title 26.

(7)  “Prescriber” means an individual allowed by law to prescribe and administer prescription drugs in the course of professional practice.

(8)  “Regulated records” means information or documentation from a prescription written by a prescriber doing business in Vermont or a prescription dispensed in Vermont.

(c)  A health insurer, a self-insured employer, an electronic transmission intermediary, a pharmacy, or other similar entity shall not license, transfer, use, or sell regulated records which include prescription information containing patient-identifiable or prescriber-identifiable data for any commercial purpose.

(d)  This section shall not apply to:

(1)  the license, transfer, use, or sale of regulated records for the limited purposes of pharmacy reimbursement; prescription drug formulary compliance; patient care management; utilization review by a health care professional, the patient’s health insurer, or the agent of either; or health care research;

(2)  the dispensing of prescription medications to a patient or to the patient’s authorized representative;

(3)  the transmission of prescription information between an authorized prescriber and a licensed pharmacy, between licensed pharmacies, or that may occur in the event a pharmacy’s ownership is changed or transferred;

(4)  care management educational communications provided to a patient about the patient’s health condition, adherence to a prescribed course of therapy and other information relating to the drug being dispensed, treatment options, recall or patient safety notices, or clinical trials;

(5)  the collection, use, or disclosure of prescription information or other regulatory activity as authorized by chapter 84, chapter 84A, or section 9410 of this title, or as otherwise provided by law;

(6)  the collection and transmission of prescription information to a Vermont or federal law enforcement officer engaged in his or her official duties as otherwise provided by law;

(7)  the collection, use, transfer, or sale of patient and prescriber

data for commercial purposes if the data do not identify a person, and there is no reasonable basis to believe that the data provided could be used to identify a person.

(e)  In addition to any other remedy provided by law, the attorney general may file an action in superior court for a violation of this section or of any rules adopted under this section by the attorney general.  The attorney general shall have the same authority to investigate and to obtain remedies as if the action were brought under the Vermont consumer fraud act, chapter 63 of Title 9.  Each violation of this section or of any rules adopted under this section by the attorney general constitutes a separate civil violation for which the attorney general may obtain relief. 

Sec. 14.  18 V.S.A. § 9410(e) is amended to read:

(e)  Records or information protected by the provisions of the physician‑patient privilege under subsection 1612(a) of Title 12, protected by section 4631 of this title, or otherwise required by law to be held confidential, shall be filed in a manner that does not disclose the identity of the protected person.

And by renumbering the remaining sections to be numerically correct.

Which was agreed to on a roll call, Yeas 16, Nays 13.

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

Roll Call

Those Senators who voted in the affirmative were: Ayer, Bartlett, Carris, Condos, Cummings, Flanagan, Giard, Hartwell, Illuzzi, Kitchel, Lyons, MacDonald, Sears, Shumlin, Starr, White.

Those Senators who voted in the negative were: Campbell, Collins, Coppenrath, Doyle, Kittell, Maynard, Mazza, Miller, Mullin, Nitka, Racine, Scott, Snelling.

The Senator absent and not voting was: McCormack.

Thereupon, the bill was read the third time and passed on a roll call, Yeas 28, Nays 1.

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

Roll Call

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

The Senator who voted in the negative was: Maynard.

The Senator absent and not voting was: McCormack.

Adjournment

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



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us