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Journal of the Senate

________________

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Senate was called to order by the President.

Devotional Exercises

Devotional exercises were conducted by the Reverend Steve Burt of Waitsfield.

Message from the House No. 63

     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. 453.  An act relating to the job start program.

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

The House has considered Senate proposal of amendment to House bill of the following title:

H. 137.  An act relating to the restoration of a department of mental health and a commissioner of mental health.

And has concurred therein.

The House has considered Senate proposal of amendment to House bill of the following title:

H. 526.  An act relating to education quality and cost control.

And has refused to concur therein and asks for a Committee of Conference upon the disagreeing votes of the two Houses;

And the Speaker has appointed as members of such Committee on the part of the House

                                         Rep. Ancel of Calais

                                         Rep. Clark of Vergennes

                                         Rep. Sharpe of Bristol

The House has considered Senate proposal of amendment to House bill of the following title:

H. 527.  An act relating to the state’s transportation program.

And has refused to concur therein and asks for a Committee of Conference upon the disagreeing votes of the two Houses;

And the Speaker has appointed as members of such Committee on the part of the House

                                         Rep. Westman of Cambridge

                                         Rep. Audette of South Burlington

                                         Rep. Corcoran of Bennington

Pursuant to the request of the Senate for a Committee of Conference upon the disagreeing votes of the two Houses on House bill of the following title:

H. 360.  An act relating to employment protection and training period for Vermont National Guard members.

The Speaker has appointed as members of such committee on the part of the House

                                         Rep. Head of South Burlington

                                         Rep. Howrigan of Fairfield

                                         Rep. Valliere of Barre City

Pursuant to the request of the Senate for a Committee of Conference upon the disagreeing votes of the two Houses on Senate bill of the following title:

S. 37.  An act relating to mosquito control.

The Speaker has appointed as members of such committee on the part of the House

                                         Rep. Malcolm of Pawlet

                                         Rep. Spengler of Colchester

                                         Rep. Bray of New Haven

Bill Referred

House bill of the following title was read the first time and referred:

H. 453.

An act relating to the job start program.

To the Committee on Rules.

Bill Referred to Committee on Finance

House 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:

H. 48.

An act relating to approval of amendment to the charter of the city of South Burlington authorizing the imposition of a sales, rooms, meals, and alcoholic beverage tax.

Bills Referred to Committee on Appropriations

House bills of the following titles, appearing on the Calendar for notice, and carrying an appropriation or requiring the expenditure of funds, under the rule, were severally referred to the Committee on Appropriations:

H. 294.

An act relating to executive branch fees.

H. 534.

An act relating to prekindergarten education.

Joint Resolution Adopted on the Part of the Senate

Joint Senate resolution of the following title was offered, read and adopted on the part of the Senate, and is as follows:

   By Senator Shumlin,

     J.R.S. 34.  Joint resolution relating to weekend adjournment.

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

That when the two Houses adjourn on Friday, April 27, 2007, it be to meet again no later than Tuesday, May 1, 2007.

Senate Resolution Placed on Calendar

S.R. 17.

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

By the Committee on Judiciary,

S.R. 17.  Senate resolution honoring victims of crime and designating the week of April 22–29 as National Victims of Crime Week in Vermont.

Whereas, 2007 marks the 17th annual Vermont commemoration of National Crime Victims' Rights Week, and

Whereas, all crime victims suffer violation of their persons, property and trust, and, over 64,000 crimes were reported to have occurred in Vermont last year, and

Whereas, policymakers in Vermont have recognized and embraced the need to empower crime victims and seek to make them the center of state policy in our criminal and juvenile justice systems, and

Whereas, members of the general public, both in their professional roles as clergy, educators, employers, medical professionals and public servants, and as volunteer community members, work to support and help crime victim‑survivors in their recovery, and the Vermont Senate acknowledges gratefully their dedication and service, and

Whereas, within Vermont, important public and private partnerships have been forged among criminal and juvenile justice agencies, allied professionals and social service providers to ensure that crime victims are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve, and

Whereas, the victims' rights movement in Vermont has broadened efforts to develop and expand community-based supports while helping victim-survivors rebuild their lives, now therefore be it

Resolved by the Senate:

That the Senate of the State of Vermont recognizes the courage and selflessness of members of the Vermont Victim-Survivor of Crime Council who have turned personal tragedy into a motivating force to improve the rights and treatment of other victims of crime and to build a better, more just community in Vermont and the nation, and be it further

Resolved:  That the Senate of the State of Vermont recognizes the importance of ensuring that crime victims are afforded the greatest possible right to participate in their criminal justice process and encourages efforts to achieve this important goal throughout the year, and be it further

Resolved:  That the Senate of the State of Vermont designates the week of April 22–29 as National Crime Victims’ Rights Week in Vermont, and be it further

Resolved:  That the Secretary of the Senate be directed to send a copy of this resolution to Judy Rex, executive director of the center for Crime Victim Services in Waterbury.

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


Rules Suspended; Proposals of Amendment; Third Reading Ordered

H. 380.

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

An act relating to the regulation of health care facilities.

Was taken up for immediate consideration.

     Senator Mullin, for the Committee on Health and Welfare, to which the bill was referred, reported recommending that the Senate propose to the House to amend the bill as follows:

First:  By striking out Sec. 1 in its entirety and by inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 1 to read as follows:

Sec. 1.  18 V.S.A. § 1854(a) is amended to read:

(a)  A hospital shall make public the maximum patient census and the number of registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and licensed nursing assistants providing direct patient care in each unit during each shift.  The number of nurses shall be reported  Each unit’s information shall be reported in full-time equivalents, with either every eight hours or 12 hours worked by a registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, or licensed nursing assistant during the shift as one full-time equivalent.  The reporting of this information shall be in a manner consistent with the requirements for public reporting for measures of nurse staffing selected by the commissioner of banking, insurance, securities, and health care administration under subdivision 9405b(a)(12) of this title, but shall not in any way change what is required to be posted as set forth in this subsection.  Each unit's information shall be posted in a prominent place that is readily accessible to patients and visitors in that unit at least once each day.  The posting shall include the information for the preceding seven days.

Second:  By striking out Sec. 6 in its entirety and by inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 6 to read as follows:

Sec. 6.  18 V.S.A. § 9405(b) is amended to read:

(b)  On or before July 1, 2005, the commissioner, in consultation with the secretary of human services, shall submit to the governor a four-year health resource allocation plan. The plan shall identify Vermont needs in health care services, programs, and facilities; the resources available to meet those needs; and the priorities for addressing those needs on a statewide basis.

(1)  The plan shall include:

* * *

(C)  Consistent with the principles set forth in subdivision (A) of this subdivision (1), recommendations for the appropriate supply and distribution of resources, programs, and services identified in subdivision (B) of this subdivision (1), options for implementing such recommendations and mechanisms which will encourage the appropriate integration of these services on a local or regional basis. To arrive at such recommendations, the commissioner shall consider at least the following factors: the values and goals reflected in the state health plan; the needs of the population on a statewide basis; the needs of particular geographic areas of the state, as identified in the state health plan; the needs of uninsured and underinsured populations; the use of Vermont facilities by out-of-state residents; the use of out-of-state facilities by Vermont residents; the needs of populations with special health care needs; the desirability of providing high quality services in an economical and efficient manner, including the appropriate use of midlevel practitioners; the cost impact of these resource requirements on health care expenditures; the services appropriate for the four categories of hospitals described in subdivision 9402(12) of this title; the overall quality and use of health care services as reported by the Vermont program for quality in health care and the Vermont ethics network; the overall quality and cost of services as reported in the annual hospital community reports; information from the hospital community needs assessments; individual hospital four-year capital budget projections; the unified health care budget; and the four-year projection of health care expenditures prepared by the division.

* * *

(4)  The commissioner shall develop a mechanism for receiving ongoing public comment regarding the plan and for revising it biannually every four years or as needed, in consultation with the public oversight commissionThe public oversight commission shall recommend revisions to the plan at least every four years and at any other time it determines revisions are warranted.

(5)  The commissioner in consultation with appropriate health care organizations and state entities shall inventory and assess existing state health care data and expertise, and shall seek grants to assist with the preparation of any revisions to the health resource allocation plan.  Based on this assessment and no later than January 15, 2004, the commissioner shall submit a report to the general assembly stating his or her recommendations regarding the professional assistance, budget, staff, and process needed to integrate available health care data and expertise into the health resource allocation plan.

(6)  The commissioner may retain such professional staff or other staff as needed to assist in his or her responsibilities under this section.  The reasonable expenses of such staff shall be funded to the maximum extent possible with grant money. Any additional amounts needed, not to exceed $300,000.00, shall be assessed and collected from hospitals licensed under chapter 43 of this title, proportionate to their annual operating budgets.  The commissioner’s assessment authority under this subdivision shall begin on July 1, 2003 and shall expire on July 1, 2005.

(7)(6)  The plan or any revised plan proposed by the commissioner shall be the health resource allocation plan for the state after it is approved by the governor or upon passage of three months from the date the governor receives the plan, whichever occurs first, unless the governor disapproves the plan, in whole or in part.  If the governor disapproves, he or she shall specify the sections of the plan which are objectionable and the changes necessary to meet the objections.  The sections of the plan not disapproved shall become part of the health resource allocation plan.  Upon its adoption, the plan shall be submitted to the appropriate legislative committees.

Third:  By striking out Sec. 9 in its entirety and by inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 9 to read as follows:

Sec. 9.  18 V.S.A. § 9456(d) is amended to read:

(d)(1)  Annually, the commissioner shall establish a budget for each hospital by September 15 followed by a written decision by October 1.  Each hospital shall operate within the budget established under this section.

(2)(A)  It is the general assembly's intent that hospital cost containment conduct is afforded state action immunity under applicable federal and state antitrust laws, if:

(i)  the commissioner requires or authorizes the conduct in any hospital budget established by the commissioner under this section;

(ii)  the conduct is in accordance with standards and procedures prescribed by the commissioner; and

(iii)  the conduct is actively supervised by the commissioner.

(B)  A hospital’s violation of the commissioner’s standards and procedures shall be subject to enforcement pursuant to subsection (h) of this section.

Fourth:  By striking out Sec. 11 in its entirety and by inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 11 to read as follows:

Sec. 11.  REPEAL

(a)  Sec. 25 of No. 53 of the Acts of 2003 (requiring an annual report on collaboration among hospitals) is repealed.

(b)  Subdivision 9402(2) of Title 18 (community needs assessment definition) is repealed and the remaining subsections renumbered accordingly.

Fifth:  By adding a new section to be numbered Sec. 13 to read as follows:

Sec. 13.  EFFECTIVE DATE

Sec. 12 of this act shall take effect upon passage.  The remaining sections of this act shall take effect July 1, 2007.

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.

House Proposals of Amendment Concurred In

S. 120.

House proposals of amendment to Senate bill entitled:

An act relating to wine tasings and farmers’ markets.

Were taken up.

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

Consideration Postponed

H. 518.

House bill entitled:

An act relating to technical tax amendments.

Was taken up.

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

Bill Passed

Senate bill of the following title:

S. 108.

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

Was read the third time and passed on a roll call, Yeas 16, Nays 12.

Senator Coppenrath 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, Cummings, Flanagan, Giard, Kittell, Lyons, MacDonald, McCormack, Racine, Shumlin, White.

Those Senators who voted in the negative were: Coppenrath, Hartwell, Kitchel, Maynard, Mazza, Miller, Mullin, Nitka, Scott, Sears, Snelling, Starr.

Those Senators absent and not voting were: Doyle, Illuzzi.

House Proposal of Amendment Not Concurred In; Committee of Conference Requested

S. 13.

House proposal of amendment to Senate bill entitled:

An act relating to idling motor vehicle engines on school property.

Was taken up.

The House proposes to the Senate to amend the bill by striking out all after the enacting clause and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Sec. 1.  23 V.S.A. § 1282(f) is added to read:

(f)  Subject to department of education rules, which may provide for limited idling in cold or otherwise inclement weather or to ensure the safety of students, the operator of a school bus shall not idle the engine while waiting for children to board or to exit the vehicle at a school and shall not start the engine until ready to leave the school premises.  The department, in consultation with the agency of natural resources, the department of health, and the department of motor vehicles, shall adopt rules to implement this subsection.

Sec. 2.  SCHOOL BOARDS; VEHICULAR IDLING

Nothing in this act or in department of education rules shall prevent a school board from adopting idling policies for motor vehicles other than school buses when present on school premises.

Sec. 3.  EFFECTIVE DATE

This act shall take effect on passage.  The rules required by this act shall take effect beginning in the 2007–2008 academic year.

Thereupon, pending the question, Shall the Senate concur in the House proposal of amendment?, on motion of Senator Collins, the Senate refused to concur in the House proposal of amendment and requested a Committee of Conference.

Proposal of Amendment; Third Reading Ordered

H. 274.

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

An act relating to adult foster care.

     Reported recommending that the Senate propose to the House to amend the bill by adding two new sections to be numbered Secs. 3 and 4 to read as follows:

Sec. 3.  32 V.S.A. § 6061(5)(C) is amended to read:

(C)  without the inclusion of: any gifts from nongovernmental sources other than those described in subdivision (B) of this subdivision (5); surplus food or other relief in kind supplied by a governmental agency; or the first $6,500.00 of income earned by a full‑time student who qualifies as a dependent of the claimant under the federal Internal Revenue Code; the first $6,500.00 of income received by a person who qualifies as a dependent of the claimant under the Internal Revenue Code and who is the claimant’s parent or disabled adult child; or payments made by the state pursuant to chapters 49 and 55 of Title 33 for foster care, or the first $6,500.00 of payments made by the state or an agency designated in section 8907 of Title 18 for flexible family funding or difficulty of care payments made to an individual for the support of an eligible person with a developmental disability as defined in subdivision 8722(2) of Title 18 for adult foster care or to a family for the support of an eligible person with a developmental disability.  If the commissioner determines, upon application by the claimant, that a person resides with a claimant who is disabled or was at least 62 years of age as of the end of the year preceding the claim, for the primary purpose of providing attendant care services (as defined in section 6321 of Title 33) or homemaker or companionship services, with or without compensation, which allow the claimant to remain in his or her home or avoid institutionalization, the commissioner shall exclude that person’s modified adjusted gross income from the claimant’s household income.  The commissioner may require that a certificate in a form satisfactory to the commissioner be submitted which supports the claim.

Sec. 4.  EFFECTIVE DATE

Sec. 3 of this act shall apply to claims filed in 2008 and after.

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

     Senator Ayer, for the Committee on Finance, to which the bill was referred, reported recommending that the bill be amended as recommended by the Committee on Health and Welfare and that the bill be further amended by adding two new sections to be numbered Secs. 5 and 6 to read as follows:

Sec. 5.  Sec. 14(b) of No. 185 of the Acts of 2005, Adjourned Session, is amended to read:

Sec. 14.  AMENDMENT OF MODIFIED ADJUSTED GROSS INCOME TRANSITION AND EFFECTIVE DATE

(b)  Any tax assessments, including any penalties, related to prebate or rebate claims filed in 2005 or 2006 and which are contrary to the amendment in subsection (a) of this section shall be abated and any refund due to a claimant shall be paid with interest, in accordance with 32 V.S.A. § 3108.

Sec. 6.  EFFECTIVE DATE

     Sec. 5 of this act (abatement of penalties and payment of interest) shall be effective retroactively, as of May 25, 2006.

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, and the recommendation of proposal of amendment of the Committee on Health and Welfare was agreed to.

Thereupon, the recommendation of amendment of the Committee on Finance was agreed to, and third reading of the bill was ordered.

H. 368.

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

An act relating to the regulation of professions and occupations.

     Reported recommending that the Senate propose to the House to amend the bill by adding a new section to be numbered Sec. 78 to read as follows:

Sec. 78.  BOARD OF PUBLIC ACCOUNTANCY; RULEMAKING

No later than August 1, 2007, the board of public accountancy shall initiate rulemaking pursuant to chapter 25 of Title 3 to amend the board’s existing attest and audit experience requirements by filing proposed rules with the secretary of state.  The amended rules shall reflect applicant experience in non-public accounting settings and competency in the application of audit and attest techniques.  The board shall report its progress to the house and senate committees on government operations by January 15, 2008.

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

Senator Cummings, for the Committee on Finance, to which the bill was referred, reported the same without recommendation.

Senator Bartlett, for the Committee on Appropriations, to which the bill was referred, reported that the bill ought to pass in concurrence with 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.

Consideration Postponed

S. 173.

Senate bill entitled:

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

Was taken up.

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

Appointment Confirmed

The following Gubernatorial appointment was confirmed separately by the Senate, upon full report given by the Committee to which it was referred:

     Barbara Zander of St. Johnsbury – Family Court Magistrate- October 1, 2006, to September 30, 2012.

Committees of Conference Appointed

S. 77.

An act relating to transferring title to a motor vehicle to a surviving spouse.

Was taken up.  Pursuant to the request of the Senate, the President announced the appointment of

                                         Senator Mullin

                                         Senator Campbell

                                         Senator Sears

as members of the Committee of Conference on the part of the Senate to consider the disagreeing votes of the two Houses.

H. 334.

     An act relating to restitution.

Was taken up.  Pursuant to the request of the House, the President announced the appointment of

                                         Senator Nitka

                                         Senator Mullin

                                         Senator Sears

as members of the Committee of Conference on the part of the Senate to consider the disagreeing votes of the two Houses.

Rules Suspended; Bill Messaged

On motion of Senator Shumlin, the rules were suspended, and the following bill was ordered messaged to the House forthwith:

S. 77.

Rules Suspended; Action Messaged

On motion of Senator Shumlin, the action on the following bill was ordered messaged to the House forthwith:

H. 334.

Adjournment

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



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us