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Journal of the Senate

________________

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

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

Devotional Exercises

Devotional exercises were conducted by the Reverend Wendy Manley of Berlin.

President Assumes the Chair

Pledge of Allegiance

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

Joint Resolution Referred

J.R.S. 33.

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

By Senator Sears,

     J.R.S. 33. Joint resolution requesting the Attorney General and the Department of Public Safety examine DNA-related exonerations nationally in order to insure the accuracy and fairness of Vermont's criminal justice system.

Whereas, no one benefits from a wrongful conviction except the real perpetrator of crime who eludes justice, and

Whereas, convicting the guilty and protecting the innocent are two fundamental goals of our constitutional criminal justice system, and

Whereas, post-conviction DNA testing has now proven the innocence of 200 wrongfully convicted individuals nationally, and

Whereas, the examination of convictions proven erroneous pursuant to DNA evidence enables law enforcement officials to learn what aspects of the criminal process lead to wrongful convictions, and

Whereas, recognizing and understanding the causes of wrongful convictions enable law enforcement officials to identify means of improving the accuracy of criminal investigations, strengthening criminal prosecutions, and minimizing the possibility of misdirected criminal investigations and wrongful convictions, and

Whereas, the Conference of Chief Justices and Conference of State Court Administrators endorse the creation of state entities to prevent the conviction of persons charged with criminal acts they did not commit, and

Whereas, the American Bar Association has urged federal, state and territorial governments to identify and remedy the causes of wrongful conviction, and the association has adopted a series of positions, policies and reforms directly related to the reduction of wrongful convictions, now therefore be it  

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

That the General Assembly supports all efforts on the part of the office of the Attorney General and the Department of Public Safety to review DNA exonerations nationally in order to increase the accuracy of Vermont’s criminal investigations, strengthen prosecutions, protect the innocent, and enhance public safety, and be it further

ResolvedThat the Secretary of State be directed to send a copy of this resolution to Attorney General William Sorrell and to Commissioner of Public Safety Kerry Sleeper.

Thereupon, the President, in his discretion, treated the joint resolution as a bill and referred it to the Committee on Judiciary.

Consideration Postponed

House bills entitled:

H. 148.

An act relating to the child abuse registry.

H. 154.

An act relating to stormwater management.

Were taken up.

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

Proposals of Amendment; Bills Passed in Concurrence with Proposals of Amendment

H. 296.

House bill entitled:

An act relating to potable water supply and wastewater system permitting.

Was taken up.

Thereupon, pending third reading of the bill, Senator Bartlett moved to amend the Senate proposal of amendment by striking out Sec 1 in its entirety and renumbering the remaining sections of the bill to be numerically correct.

Which was agreed to.

Thereupon, the bill was read the third time and passed in concurrence with proposals of amendment.

H. 313.

House bill entitled:

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

Was taken up.

Thereupon, pending third reading of the bill, Senator Sears, on behalf of the Committee on Appropriations moved to amend the Senate proposal of amendment by adding two new sections to be numbered Secs. 18 and 19 to read as follows:

Sec. 18.  4 V.S.A. § 27 is added to read:

§ 27.  MUNICIPAL TICKET REPAYMENT REVOLVING FUND

(a)  A municipal ticket repayment revolving fund is created for the purpose of facilitating the transfer of incorrectly deposited judicial bureau payments to the appropriate municipality.  A municipality may request a loan from the municipal ticket repayment revolving fund in the amount owed another municipality if the municipality requesting the loan:

(1)  received payments from the judicial bureau that were actually owed to the other municipality for penalties collected by the judicial bureau for violations of an ordinance within the other municipality; and

(2)  received such payments from the judicial bureau between June 30, 2004 and June 30, 2007.

(b)  The court administrator shall have the authority to approve all loans from the municipal ticket repayment revolving fund.  To request a loan from the fund, a municipality shall file an application on a form approved by the court administrator by July 1, 2008.  The application shall contain the following information:

(1)  an agreement, signed by both municipalities, defining the amount owed by one municipality to the other; and

(2)  a plan for the municipality requesting the loan to repay the fund by July 1, 2013.  The plan may authorize the court administrator to withhold judicial bureau violation payments to the municipality requesting the loan for deposit into the fund.

(c)  The maximum loan balance at any time shall be $100,000.00 for one municipality and $400,000.00 for all municipalities.  The court administrator shall administer the municipal ticket repayment revolving fund and shall establish procedures to allocate the available funds fairly and equitably.

(d)  Nothing in this section shall prohibit the sending or receiving municipality from otherwise agreeing on, or bringing a civil action to resolve, overpayment issues prior to June 30, 2004.

Sec. 19.  23 V.S.A. § 1098 is added to read:

§ 1098.  DISPOSITION OF PENDING CASES

(a)  The judicial bureau shall enter judgment against the defendant in all cases in which:

(1)  prior to January 1, 2007, the defendant filed an answer admitting or not contesting the violation;

(2)  the defendant paid all or a portion of the fine, penalty, or surcharge; and

(3)  The issuing officer did not file the original complaint prior to July 1, 2007.

(b)  Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, a judgment entered pursuant to this section shall not result in points assessed against the defendant by the department of motor vehicles. Any funds received by the judicial bureau for judgments under this section shall be deposited in the court technology special fund up to $150,000.00, and the balance to be deposited to the municipal ticket repayment revolving fund defined in 4 V.S.A. § 27.

(c)  The judicial bureau shall dismiss the action in all cases in which:

(1)  the defendant filed an answer denying or contesting the violation prior to January 1, 2007; and

(2)  the issuing officer did not file the original complaint prior to July 1, 2007.

     And by renumbering the remaining section to be to be numerically correct.

Which was agreed to.

Thereupon, pending third reading of the bill, Senator Illuzzi moved to amend the Senate proposal of amendment by striking out Sec. 17 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 17 to read as follows:

Sec. 17.  24 V.S.A. § 441 is amended to read:

§ 441. APPOINTMENT; JURISDICTION; EX OFFICIO NOTARIES; APPLICATION

(a) The judges of the superior court may appoint as many notaries public for the county as the public good requires, to hold office until ten days after the expiration of the term of office of such judges, whose jurisdiction shall extend throughout the state.

(b) The clerk of the supreme court, county clerks, district court clerks, family court clerks, justices of the peace, and town clerks and their assistants shall be ex officio notaries public.

(c)(1) Unless subdivision (2) of this subsection applies, every Every applicant for appointment and commission as a notary public shall complete an application to be filed with the clerk of the superior court stating that the applicant is a resident of the county and has reached the age of majority, giving his business or home address and providing a handwritten specimen of the applicant's official signature.

(2)  The judges of the superior court may appoint as a notary public a person not less than 17 years of age upon application to the clerk of the superior court stating that the applicant is an honor student and a resident of the county, giving the applicant’s home address and providing a handwritten specimen of his or her official signature.  The application shall be accompanied by a certification from the applicant’s school that the applicant is an honor student under criteria established by the school. 

(d)  The attorney general, a state’s attorney, a deputy attorney general, an assistant attorney general, and a deputy state’s attorney shall be ex officio notaries public.

(d)(e)  An ex officio notary public shall cease to be a notary public when he vacates the office on which his status as a notary public depends.

Which was agreed to.

Thereupon, the bill was read the third time and passed in concurrence with proposal of amendment.


Consideration Postponed

S. 108.

Senate bill entitled:

An act relating to election for statewide and national offices by the instant runoff voting method.

Was taken up.

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

Rules Suspended; Bill Committed

H. 522.

Appearing on the Calendar for action, House bill entitled:

An act relating to the viability of Vermont agriculture.

Was taken up.

Thereupon, pending the reading of the report of the Committee on Agriculture, Senator Shumlin moved that Senate Rule 49 be suspended in order to commit the bill to the Committee on Finance with the report of the Committee on Agriculture intact,

Which was agreed to.

Adjournment

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

 



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us