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Journal of the Senate

________________

Thursday, May 3, 2007

The Senate was called to order by the President.

Devotional Exercises

A moment of silence was observed in lieu of devotions.

Message from the House No. 74

     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. 546.  An act relating to compensation and retirement benefits for certain state employees and emergency management.

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

Bill Referred

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

H. 546.

An act relating to compensation and retirement benefits for certain state employees and emergency management.

To the Committee on Government Operations.

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. 36.  Joint resolution relating to weekend adjournment.

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

That when the two Houses adjourn on Friday, May 4, 2007, it be to meet again no later than Tuesday, May 8, 2007.


Joint Resolutions Placed on Calendar

J.R.H. 21.

Joint resolution originating in the House of the following title was read the first time and is as follows:

Joint resolution in support of the worldwide ONE Campaign and urging Congress to appropriate and the President to spend an additional one percent of the federal budget on the goals of the ONE Campaign.

Whereas, the G-8 countries are publicly committed to helping alleviate world poverty and addressing the large number of AIDS cases in Africa, and

Whereas, an organization of citizens has established the worldwide ONE Campaign to support its respective countries' commitments to these goals through governmental assistance and the actions of each individual, and

Whereas, each one of us is able to make a difference on both of these critical public policy challenges, and

Whereas, the ONE Campaign is asking Congress to appropriate and the President to spend an additional one percent of the federal budget to alleviate world poverty and address the large number of AIDS cases in Africa, and

Whereas, the general assembly recognizes that, by helping those at the bottom of the economic ladder, a more secure, healthy, and prosperous world will be created, and

Whereas, the ONE Campaign's mission statement reads: 

“We believe that in the best American tradition of helping others help themselves, now is the time to join with other countries in a historic pact for compassion and justice to help the poorest people of the world overcome AIDS and extreme poverty.  We recognize that a pact including such measures as fair trade, debt relief, fighting corruption and directing additional resources for basic needs — education, health, clean water, food, and care for orphans —would transform the futures and hopes of an entire generation in the poorest countries, at a cost equal to just one percent more of the United States budget.  We commit ourselves — one person, one voice, one vote at a time — to make a better, safer world for all,” now therefore be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

That the General Assembly supports the goals of the ONE Campaign to alleviate world poverty and AIDS, and asks that the Congress appropriate, and the President spend, an additional one percent of the federal budget on the goals listed in this resolution and that each one of us commit ourselves to achieving these goals, 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.

J.R.H. 28.

Joint resolution originating in the House of the following title was read the first time and is as follows:

Joint resolution commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Vermont Vietnam Veterans Memorial and all Vietnam War Veterans.

Whereas, over 19,000 Vermonters served during the Vietnam War, and

Whereas, the first Vietnam Veterans Memorial in the United States was dedicated on October 30, 1982 in Sharon, Vermont as a fitting tribute to the memory of those Vermonters who lost their lives in the Vietnam War, and

Whereas, it is important to remember always those members of the American Armed Forces, from both Vermont and across the nation, who made the ultimate sacrifice when called to serve their nation in the Vietnam War, now therefore be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

That the General Assembly highly commends all Vietnam veterans and their families for their outstanding service to Vermont, the United States, Southeast Asia, and the world, and be it further

Resolved:  That the General Assembly commends and applauds the upcoming 25th anniversary of the dedication of the Vermont Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and be it further

Resolved:  That the General Assembly calls upon all citizens to participate in special observances surrounding the 25th anniversary of the dedication of the Vermont Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Sharon, Vermont on October 27, 2007, and be it further

Resolved:  That the secretary of state be directed to send a copy of this resolution to the Vermont State Council of the Vietnam Veterans of America.

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


Proposal of Amendment; Consideration Interrupted by Recess

H. 248.

House bill entitled:

     An act relating to establishing the Vermont telecommunications authority to advance broadband and wireless communications infrastructure throughout the state.

Was taken up.

Thereupon, pending third reading of the bill, Senator Cummings, on behalf of the Committee on Finance moved to amend the Senate proposal of amendment in Sec. 17, in 30 V.S.A. §248a, by striking out subsection (c), and by inserting a new subsection (c) to read as follows:

(c)  Before the public service board issues a certificate of public good under this section, it shall find that:

(1)  the proposed facilities, in the aggregate, will not have an undue adverse effect on aesthetics, historic sites, air and water purity, the natural environment, and the public health and safety, with due consideration having been given to the relevant criteria specified in subsection 1424a(d) and subdivisions 6086(a)(1) through (8) and (9)(K) of Title 10;

(2) unless there is good cause to find otherwise, substantial deference in determinations under this subsection have been given to the recommendations of the municipal and regional planning commissions, the recommendations of the municipal legislative bodies, and the plan of any affected municipality;

(3) the proposed facilities are in conformance with the regional plan.

Which was agreed to.

Thereupon, pending third reading of the bill, Senator Bartlett moved to amend the Senate proposal of amendment by striking out Sec. 18a [Network Evolution and Modernization] in its entirety.

Which was disagreed to on a roll call, Yeas 15, Nays 16.

There being a tie, the Secretary took the casting vote of the President, who voted “Nay”.

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


Roll Call

Those Senators who voted in the affirmative were: Bartlett, Coppenrath, Doyle, Giard, Hartwell, Kitchel, Kittell, Lyons, Maynard, Mazza, Mullin, Nitka, Scott, Sears, Snelling.

Those Senators who voted in the negative were: Ayer, Campbell, Carris, Collins, Condos, Cummings, Flanagan, Illuzzi, MacDonald, McCormack, Miller, Racine, Shumlin, Starr, White.

Thereupon, pending third reading of the bill, Senators MacDonald Cummings, Sears and Snelling moved that the Senate proposal of amendment be amended by striking out Sec. 11 in its entirety, and in Sec. 10 by adding a subsection (d) to read as follows:

(d)  Nothing in this section shall be construed to impair any contractual rights existing on the effective date of this act.  The state shall have no authority under this section or Sec. 10 of this act to waive any sums due to a railroad.  The state shall also not offer any grants or waivers of charges for any new broadband installations in segments of rail corridor where an operating railroad has installed or allowed installation of fiber optic facilities prior to the effective date of this act unless the state offers equivalent terms and conditions to the owner or owners of existing fiber optic facilities. 

Thereupon, pending the question, Shall the Senate proposal of amendment be amended as recommended by Senators MacDonald, Cummings, Sears and Snelling?, Senator Shumlin moved that the Senate recess until 4:00 P.M.

Which was agreed to.

Called to Order

At 4:00 P.M. the Senate was called to order by the President.

Message from the House No. 75

     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 bill originating in the Senate of the following title:

S. 194.  An act relating to firefighters and cancer caused by employment.

And has passed the same in concurrence with proposals of amendment in the adoption 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. 523.  An act relating to moving families out of poverty.

And has concurred therein with proposals of amendment in the adoption of which the concurrence of the Senate is requested.

     The House has considered Senate proposals of amendment to House bills of the following titles and has refused to concur therein and asks for a Committee of Conference upon the disagreeing votes of the two Houses to which the Speaker has appointed as members of such Committees on the part of the House

     H. 294.  An act relating to executive branch fees.

                                         Rep. Branagan of Georgia

                                         Rep. Condon of Colchester

                                         Rep. Aswad of Burlington

     H. 449.  An act relating to foster care services and supports.

                                         Rep. Pugh of South Burlington

                                         Rep. French of Randolph

                                         Rep. McAllister of Highgate

     H. 534.  An act relating to prekindergarten education.

                                         Rep. Kilmartin of Newport City

                                         Rep. Barnard of Richmond

                                         Rep. Donovan of Burlington

Consideration Resumed; Proposal of Amendment; Bill Passed in Concurrence with Proposal of Amendment; Bill Messaged

H. 248.

Consideration was resumed on House bill entitled:

     An act relating to establishing the Vermont telecommunications authority to advance broadband and wireless communications infrastructure throughout the state.

Thereupon, the pending question, Shall the Senate proposal of amendment be amended as recommended by Senators MacDonald, Cummings, Sears and Snelling?, was decided in the affirmative on a roll call, Yeas 28, 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: Ayer, Bartlett, Campbell, Carris, Condos, Coppenrath, Cummings, Flanagan, Giard, Hartwell, Illuzzi, Kitchel, Kittell, Lyons, MacDonald, Maynard, Mazza, McCormack, 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: Collins, Doyle.

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

Proposal of Amendment; Third Reading Ordered

H. 522.

Senator Kittell, for the Committee on Agriculture, to which was referred House bill entitled:

An act relating to the viability of Vermont agriculture.

     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.  GOALS

The goals of this act are for Vermont to:

(1)  Support programs and policies that foster the development of a diversified agricultural sector that:

(A)  offers farmers an opportunity to sell their products to a marketplace that pays them a reasonable rate of return for their labor and capital investments;

(B)  offers the public nutritious and safe foods;

(C)  produces, markets, and distributes agricultural products in a sustainable manner that conserves energy and the environment;

(D)  fosters on-farm renewable energy production and its infrastructure that maximizes energy conservation and efficiency and limits greenhouse gases;

(E)  provides economic stability to preserve the necessary infrastructure of the agricultural industry;

(F)  expands the market opportunities for farm-raised poultry and other meat products.

(2)  Maintain the state’s prominence as a major milk producer in the region, and;

(A)  assure a continued supply of high quality milk to processors and consumers in the region;

(B)  enable Vermont dairy farmers, processors, and retailers and their supporting infrastructure to achieve a positive return on their labor and investment;

(3)  Enable agricultural operations of diverse sizes producing a wide array of products to prosper in Vermont and contribute to the state and regional economy.

(4)  Support initiatives such as the development of a mobile slaughtering unit to serve Vermont poultry farmers.

(5)  Assure continued stewardship of the land with respect for the environment and efficient use of energy.

Sec. 2.  LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS

The general assembly finds:

(1)  A viable agricultural sector in Vermont represents part of a secure regional food supply, which in turn lends itself to energy and economic efficiencies.

(2)  The general public is increasingly interested in locally produced food.

(3)  The benefits of local food systems to local communities include open land, jobs, nutritious and safe foods, and youth education opportunities.

(4)  Farms are an integral part of Vermont’s overall economy.

(5)  Vermont agriculture is dependent upon a reliable and affordable supply of electrical energy, fuel, feed, and other supplies.

(6)  Vermont agriculture is dependent upon the availability of a competent work force; the shortage of willing and knowledgeable workers is detrimental to farm operations.

(7)  Current workers’ compensation insurance rates account for a significant portion of farmers’ payroll expenses.

(8)  Succession, or the transfer of farms from one generation to the next, is a critical part of a viable future for Vermont agriculture.

(9)  Vermont is the leading producer of fluid milk in New England, but only about five percent of its production is consumed in Vermont.

(10)  The current federal milk pricing system does not allow a reasonable return on labor and investment for most Vermont dairy farmers.

(11)  Regional marketing arrangements such as the Northeast Interstate Compact for Dairy Pricing have provided a positive operating margin without taxpayer subsidies or support.

(12)  The general assembly finds that dairy processing facilities in Vermont are crucial to both Vermont dairy farmers and the promotion of the Vermont name.

(13)  The “Vermont” name evokes a positive image for people and contributes to the marketing of Vermont products.

(14)  Value-added products offer profit potential and economic opportunity for Vermont producers and nonfarmer entrepreneurs alike.

(15)  Emerging agricultural sectors such as grape and wine growers and producers and artesan cheese makers have tremendous potential in Vermont and offer exciting value-added and agri-tourism opportunities to communities throughout the state.

(16)  Many factors affect the ability of businesses to process value-added food products, including shortage of capital, lack of design and engineering expertise, and issues relating to multi-layered state and federal regulation such as permitting, zoning, and inspection.

(17)  Institutional purchasers in Vermont have difficulty sourcing locally raised good quality products, including proteins such as meats and poultry.

(18)  There is a shortage of slaughter and meat processors as well as a lack of training opportunities for industry personnel.

(19)  Federal restrictions prevent interstate shipment of state-inspected meat from amenable species, although Vermont standards are equal to or exceed federal standards.

(20)  Relationship-based food systems such as farm-to-school programs, community supported agriculture (CSA) programs, farmers’ markets, and pick-your-own operations are increasingly popular and offer areas of opportunity for new farmers.

Sec. 3.  LEGISLATIVE INTENT

The general assembly intends:

(1)  To support and develop a more robust and self-sustaining agricultural sector that also promotes emerging agricultural industries.

(2)  That the policies and programs of the state will support and promote the Vermont agriculture industry as a vital component of the state’s economy and essential steward of our land.

(3)  That current policies and programs pertaining to the viability of Vermont’s agricultural industry be reviewed and confirmed or changed in order to assure the long-term economic prosperity of the industry.

(4)  That Vermont will cooperate and coordinate with other northeastern states to assure stable and fair prices for milk sold in the northeastern market.

(5)  That Vermont will promote processing and consumption of agricultural products bearing the Vermont seal of quality.

* * * Local Food Procurement * * *

Sec. 4.  FOOD AND DAIRY PROCUREMENT

(a)  The agency of agriculture, food and markets in cooperation with the agency of administration and the department of buildings and general services shall establish a system whereby the state will follow its own “buy local” campaign by purchasing local food and dairy products.  In so doing, the agency shall determine:

(1)  The amount of food and dairy products purchased annually by the state and state-funded entities, other than primary and secondary schools, and the associated costs.

(2)  The number and type of government and state-funded entities that purchase food and dairy products and the quantities and varieties purchased by each.

(3)  The person or persons with authority to make food and dairy purchasing decisions within each entity and the scope of that authority.

(4)  The implications of a program that directs “local” purchasing.

(b)  The agency of agriculture, food and markets, the agency of administration, and the department of buildings and general services shall:

(1)  Establish a system for local producers and processors to market their products to state purchasing entities.

(2)  Establish a system for state purchasing entities to advertise to and connect with local producers and processors.

(3)  Establish a program in the agency of agriculture, food and markets to provide strategic and technical assistance to local producers and processors for creating or enlarging the facilities necessary to produce or process food for sale to the state or other expanded markets.

(4)  Establish a system for the purchase of local food and dairy products at all levels of state government, other than primary and secondary schools, and at state-funded entities, other than primary and secondary schools.

(5)  Draft rules, policies and procedures for this section and report their findings with respect to feasibility, cost and progress to the joint agriculture committees on or before November 1, 2007.

(c)  All rules, policies, and procedures necessary to implement this section shall be adopted on or before October 1, 2008.

(d)  In carrying out the provisions of this section, the agency of agriculture, food and markets, the agency of administration, and the department of buildings and general services shall seek input from and work with citizen and farmer organizations such as the Northeast Organic Farming Association, Vermont F.E.E.D., and the Vermont Fresh Network.

* * * Dairy Processing * * *

Sec. 5.  INSTATE PROCESSING FACILITIES

(a)  Legislative finding.  The general assembly finds that dairy processing facilities in Vermont are an integral part of the infrastructure of both Vermont agriculture and the entire Vermont economy.  These facilities provide jobs and create income that is spent multiple times in Vermont.

(b)  The secretary of agriculture, food and markets shall:

(1)  Determine ways to attract and retain dairy processors to the state;

(2)  Determine ways to increase the numbers of producers processing their own milk;

(3)  Calculate the additional costs and benefits to dairy producers that may result from these additional processors;

(4)  Develop proposals for developing additional instate processing facilities.  These proposals and any recommendations for legislative action shall be presented to the house and senate committees on agriculture on or before November 1, 2007.

Sec. 6.  DAIRY PRICING INITIATIVE

The secretary of the agency of agriculture, food and markets shall endeavor to reestablish the Northeast Interstate Compact for Dairy Pricing or establish an alternative regional pricing system that assures Vermont dairy farmers of a fair, stable, and equitable price for their milk.  The secretary shall collaborate with Vermont’s Congressional delegation, the governor’s dairy task force, the coordinated milk pricing group, the region’s dairy cooperatives, and the Congressional delegations and state legislatures of the other states in the region to take such steps as necessary to assure the continued viability of dairy farming in the northeast and to assure consumers of an adequate, local supply of pure and wholesome milk.

* * * On-farm Poultry Processing and Labeling for Sale * * *

Sec. 7.  DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND AGENCY OF AGRICULTURE, FOOD AND MARKETS REGULATIONS

The department of health shall not require inspection of poultry that is exempt from inspection under 6 V.S.A. § 3312(b).

Sec. 8.  6 V.S.A § 3312 is amended to read:

§ 3312.  INSPECTION; EXCEPTION EXCEPTIONS

(a)  Inspection shall not be provided under this chapter at any establishment for the slaughter of livestock or poultry or the preparation of any livestock products or poultry products which are not intended for use as human food, but these products shall, prior to their offer for sale or transportation in intrastate commerce, unless naturally inedible by humans, be denatured or otherwise identified as prescribed by rules of the secretary to deter their use for human food.  These licensed establishments shall be subject to periodic review.

(b)  Inspection shall not be required for the slaughter or preparation of poultry products of the producer’s own raising on the producer’s own farm, whether or not they are intended for use as human food if:

(1)  Fewer than 1,000 birds are slaughtered annually; and

(2)  No birds are offered for sale or transportation in interstate commerce; and

(3)  The poultry products are only sold, as whole birds only, from the farm, at a farmers’ market, or to a food restaurant licensed by the commissioner of health, or are for personal use.

(c)  All poultry sold at a farmers’ market or to a restaurant pursuant to the exemption in subsection (b) of this section shall be labeled with the following information:

(1)  Name of farm and name of producer;

(2)  Address of farm including zip code;

(3)  “Exempt per 6 V.S.A. § 3312(b):  NOT INSPECTED.”  This statement shall be prominently displayed with such conspicuousness (as compared with other words or statements, designs, or devices in the labeling) as to render it likely to be read and understood under customary conditions of purchase and use.

(4)  Safe handling and cooking instructions as follows:

“SAFE HANDLING INSTRUCTIONS:

Keep refrigerated or frozen.  Thaw in refrigerator or microwave.

Keep raw poultry separate from other foods.

Wash working surfaces, including cutting boards, utensils, and hands after touching raw poultry.

Cook thoroughly to an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit maintained for at least 15 seconds.

Keep hot foods hot.  Refrigerate leftovers immediately or discard.”

(d)  Poultry sold to food restaurants under the exemption in subsection (b) of this section shall also include the following on the label:

“Any menu item that includes this poultry must clearly state the name of the farm and have the words “poultry processed on the farm and not inspected” on the menu in proximity to the menu item.”

(e)  The poultry producer, upon first selling poultry to a food restaurant, must procure a signed statement from the food restaurant stating that the food restaurant is aware that the poultry is exempted from inspection under subsection (b) of this section, and that the menu of the food restaurant must have the information required by subsection (d) of this section.  The poultry producer must keep the signed statement on file as long as the producer is selling poultry to the food restaurant under this section.  The poultry producer must have a signed statement on file from each food restaurant to which poultry is sold under this section and an exact copy of each statement, including the name of the producer and the name of the purchasing restaurant shall be forwarded to the department of health.

Sec. 9.  POULTRY SLAUGHTER STUDY

(a)  The agency of agriculture, food and markets shall review the effectiveness of the mobile processing units authorized by this act and the exemption from inspection authorized by this act.  The agency shall also consider the benefits to the poultry industry of each program individually and both programs working together.

(b)  The agency shall report its findings and recommendations no sooner than November 1, 2009 and no later than December 1, 2009.

* * * Authorizing Mobile Processing Units * * *

Sec. 10.  6 V.S.A. § 3302 is amended to read:

§ 3302. DEFINITIONS

As used in this chapter, except as otherwise specified, the following terms shall have the meanings stated below:

* * *

(42)  “Mobile slaughter and processing establishment” means any transportable structure used for slaughtering or processing of meat or poultry products on a farm or on an agricultural fairground registered pursuant to section 3902 of Title 20. 

Sec. 11.  6 V.S.A. § 3305(17) and (18) are added to read:

(17)  authorize and recognize mobile slaughter and processing establishments as official establishments or exempt them under subdivision 3305(13) of this section;

(18)  sell or lease a mobile slaughtering unit and may retain any proceeds therefrom in a revolving fund designated for the purpose of purchasing additional mobile slaughtering units by the agency.

* * * Vermont Seal of Quality * * *

Sec. 12.  6 V.S.A. § 2964(e) is amended and (f) is added to read:

(e)  As used in this chapter, "agricultural products" means any product of a farming operation as defined in 10 V.S.A. § 6001(22)(A), (B), (C) and, (D), and poultry slaughtered and inspected using a mobile processing unit authorized pursuant to subdivision 3305(17) of this title.

(f)  The secretary shall annually review the effectiveness of the identification program for increasing the value of Vermont agricultural products.

* * * Mobile Processing Units Comply with AAPs * * *

Sec. 13.  6 V.S.A. § 4810(a)(1) is amended to read:

(1)  "Accepted Agricultural Practices" (AAPs) shall be standards to be followed in conducting agricultural activities in this state.  These standards shall address activities which have a potential for causing pollutants to enter the groundwater and waters of the state, including dairy and other livestock operations plus all forms of crop and nursery operations and on-farm or agricultural fairground, registered pursuant to section 3902 of Title 20, livestock and poultry slaughter and processing activities.  The AAPs shall include, as well as promote and encourage, practices for farmers in preventing pollutants from entering the groundwater and waters of the state when engaged in, but not limited to, animal waste management and disposal, soil amendment applications, plant fertilization, and pest and weed control.  Persons engaged in farming, as defined in section 6001 of Title 10, who follow these practices shall be presumed to be in compliance with water quality standards. AAPs shall be practical and cost effective to implement.  The AAPs for groundwater shall include a process under which the agency shall receive, investigate, and respond to a complaint that a farm has contaminated the drinking water or groundwater of a property owner.

* * * Enforcement of Accepted Agriculture Practices * * *

Sec. 14.  6 V.S.A. § 4812 is amended to read:

§ 4812.  CORRECTIVE ACTIONS

(a)  When the secretary of agriculture, food and markets determines that a person engaged in farming is managing a farm using practices which are inconsistent with practices defined by rules under this subchapter, the secretary may issue a written warning which shall be served in person or by certified mail, return receipt requested.  The warning shall include a brief description of the alleged violation, identification of this statute and applicable rules, a recommendation for corrective actions that may be taken by the person, along with a summary of federal and state assistance programs which may be utilized by the person to remedy the violation and a request for an abatement schedule from the person according to which the practice shall be altered.  The person shall have 30 days to respond to the written warning.  If the person fails to respond to the written warning within this period or to take corrective action to change the practices in order to protect water quality, the secretary may act pursuant to subsection (b) of this section in order to protect water quality.

(b)  After an opportunity for a hearing, the secretary may issue cease and desist orders and institute appropriate proceedings on behalf of the agency to enforce this subchapter.

(c)  Whenever the secretary believes that any person engaged in farming is in violation of this subchapter or rules adopted thereunder, an action may be brought in the name of the agency in a court of competent jurisdiction to restrain by temporary or permanent injunction the continuation or repetition of the violation.  The court may issue temporary or permanent injunctions, and other relief as may be necessary and appropriate to curtail any violations.

(d)  The secretary may assess administrative penalties in accordance with sections 15, 16, and 17 of this title against any farmer who violates a cease and desist order or other order issued under subsection (b) of this section.

(e)  Any person subject to an enforcement order or an administrative penalty who is aggrieved by the final decision of the secretary may appeal to the superior court within 30 days of the decision.  The administrative judge may specially assign an environmental judge to superior court for the purpose of hearing an appeal.

* * * Permit Amendments * * *

Sec. 15.  10 V.S.A. § 6081(s) is added to read:

(s)  No permit amendment is required for farming that:

(1)  will occur on primary agricultural soils preserved in accordance with section 6093 of this title; or

(2)  will not conflict with any permit condition issued pursuant to this chapter. 

Permits shall include a statement that farming is permitted on lands exempt from amendment jurisdiction under this subsection.

* * * Farm Workers’ Compensation * * *

Sec. 16.  FARM WORKERS’ COMPENSATION INSURANCE

(a)  The secretary of the agency of agriculture, food and markets shall consult with the department of labor; the department of banking, insurance, securities, and health care; and representatives of the farm community to determine what can be done to lower the cost of workers’ compensation for agricultural employers.  The secretary shall report with recommendations to the house and senate committees on agriculture on or before November 1, 2007.

(b)  The department of labor, in consultation with the agency of agriculture, food and markets, the University of Vermont extension service, the department of health, the Vermont farm bureau, the Green Mountain Council of Cooperatives, and other interested parties, shall develop a statewide farm safety initiative.  The initiative shall perform outreach, technical assistance, and training for farmers and farm workers in best safety practices to be followed and assist in reinforcing a culture of safety on the farm.  In conjunction with this effort, the department of banking, insurance, securities, and health care administration shall work with insurers to get merit rating and other discounts for farms with good safety records.

(c)  The agency of agriculture, food and markets shall collaborate with farm organizations to alert farmers of the advantages of consulting alternative providers about the cost of their farm workers’ compensation insurance.

(d) The agency of agriculture, food and markets, the department of labor, and the department of banking, insurance, securities and health care administration shall submit a brief report on the effectiveness of this section in reducing workers’ compensation insurance rates. The report shall be submitted no later than January 15, 2008.

* * * Farm Energy * * *

Sec. 17.  FARM ENERGY PURCHASE REPORT

(a)  Legislative findings.  The general assembly finds that state-government buildings use 4.2 megawatt hours of electricity each year.

(b)  The agency of agriculture, food and markets shall study establishing a farm energy purchase program in coordination with the Vermont electric utility companies.  The study shall consider whether there is a need to develop a program to purchase renewable energy attributes from farm-based renewable energy projects to ensure a market for farm produced energy.  The study shall also consider how farm-based renewable energy can help to support a portion of state government electrical usage and the possibility of modeling a voluntary statewide program after Central Vermont Public Service’s “Cow Power” program.  The agency shall report to the house and senate committees on or before November 1, 2007 with its findings and any legislative proposals.

* * * Statutory Review * * *

Sec. 18.  AGENCY OF AGRICULTURE, FOOD AND MARKETS REVIEW

(a)  The agency of agriculture, food and markets in consultation with the legislative council shall jointly review existing state statutes as they pertain to public or quasi public entities created to provide and promote services to the Vermont agriculture sector.  The review shall consider the relevancy of the statutes as they relate to economic conditions in which Vermont agriculture is operating today.  The review shall include recommended changes in authorizing language to improve effectiveness in the development and delivery of programs designed to enhance the long-term viability of Vermont’s agriculture industry.

(b)  The agency of agriculture, food and markets with the legislative council shall report their findings back to the house and senate committees on agriculture no later than November 1, 2007.

* * * Viticulture * * *

Sec. 19.  VERMONT GRAPE AND WINE COUNCIL

(a)  The agency of agriculture, food and markets shall help establish a Vermont grape and wine council.  The council shall include representatives of grape growers, wine producers,  the University of Vermont extension program, the University of Vermont College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the agency of agriculture, food and markets, the department of economic development, the department of tourism and marketing and the hospitality council of the Vermont chamber of commerce.

(b)  The Vermont grape and wine council shall:

(1)  provide long-term support to the emerging grape and wine industries in Vermont by providing services, including research and education;

(2)  explore mechanisms such as grants and dues from its institutional members for funding its activities;

(3)  collaborate with the department of labor in order to seek workforce development funding;

(4)  foster the development of partnerships between all parties interested in the emerging grape and wine industry.

* * * Meat Production * * *

Sec. 20.  MEAT CUTTERS

The Department of labor in cooperation with the agency of agriculture, food and markets shall work with the meat processing industry to provide technical assistance, training, education, and other assistance to help expand the industry in Vermont.

* * * Labor * * *

Sec. 21.  DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

(a)  Legislative finding.  All agricultural industries are experiencing an

ever-increasing need for workers who are willing to work the hours involved in agriculture and who have the multiple skills necessary to handle successfully the multiple and varied responsibilities of the various facets of the agriculture industry.  Therefore, the department of labor has a crucial and ongoing role in the long-term viability of Vermont agriculture.

(b)  The department of labor shall at all times work in cooperation with the agency of agriculture, food and markets as well as the varied agricultural industries in Vermont and shall focus efforts on sustaining and strengthening the viability of Vermont agriculture by recruiting, educating, training, and maintaining a strong agricultural workforce that is not only capable of working in existing agricultural industries but also in emerging areas of Vermont agriculture where the need for skilled workers is even more profound.


* * * Dairy Pricing * * *

Sec. 22.  6 V.S.A. § 2924(f) is added to read:

(f)  Payment Statements. Payment statements provided to producers of cows’ milk shall include in the payment statement the national support price, the Boston, Massachusetts price, the producer price differential, and the amount per hundredweight of any charges or deductions where applicable.  The format shall be provided with clear language and with no abbreviations, except where the abbreviation is spelled out elsewhere in the statement.

Sec. 23.  PAYMENT STATEMENT DRAFTING

The agency of agriculture, food and markets shall draft a model payment statement that carries out the intent of Sec. 22 of this act and that may be used by milk purchasers.

Sec. 24.  EFFECTIVE DATE

This act shall take effect upon passage.

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

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

Thereupon, the bill was read the second time by title only pursuant to Rule 43, and pending the question, Shall the Senate propose to the House to amend the bill as recommended by the Committee on Agriculture?, Senators, Kitchel, Sears, Mazza and Illuzzi, moved to amend the proposal of amendment of the Committee on Agriculture, by striking out Secs. 8 and 9 in their entirety.

Which was disagreed to on a roll call, Yeas 7, Nays 22.

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

Roll Call

Those Senators who voted in the affirmative were: Campbell, Coppenrath, Illuzzi, Kitchel, Mazza, Sears, Snelling.

Those Senators who voted in the negative were: Ayer, Bartlett, Carris, Condos, Cummings, Doyle, Flanagan, Giard, Hartwell, Kittell, Lyons, MacDonald, Maynard, McCormack, Miller, Mullin, Nitka, Racine, Scott, Shumlin, Starr, White.

The Senator absent and not voting was: Collins.

Thereupon, pending the question, Shall the Senate propose to the House to amend the bill as recommended by the Committee on Agriculture?, Senator Condos moved to amend the proposal of amendment of the Committee on Agriculture, as follows:

First:  In Sec. 16, (a), after the words “and health care;” by adding the words representatives of the farm labor community;

Second:  In Sec. 16, (a), after the words “shall report with recommendations” by adding the words specific to issues of farm labor

Which was agreed to.

Thereupon, pending the question, Shall the Senate propose to the House to amend the bill as recommended by the Committee on Agriculture, as amended?, Senator Giard, on behalf of the Committee on Agriculture, moved to amend the proposal of amendment of the Committee on Agriculture by striking out Sec. 17 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 17 to read as follows:

Sec. 17.  FARM ENERGY PURCHASE REPORT

(a)  Legislative findings.  The general assembly finds that state government buildings use 4.2 megawatt hours of electricity each year.

(b)  The agency of agriculture, food and markets, in consultation with the Vermont electric utility companies and other renewable attribute companies, shall study establishing a farm energy purchase program to purchase renewable energy attributes from farm-based renewable energy projects to ensure a market for farm-produced energy.  The study shall also consider how farm‑based renewable energy can help to support a program of state government electrical usage similar to a voluntary statewide program modeled after Central Vermont Public Service’s “Cow Power” program.  The agency shall report to the house and senate committees on agriculture on or before November 1, 2007 with its findings and any legislative proposals.

Which was agreed to.

Thereupon, pending the question, Shall the Senate propose to the House to amend the bill as recommended by the Committee on Agriculture, as amended?, Senator Illuzzi moved to amend the proposal of amendment of the Committee on Agriculture by adding a new section to be numbered Sec. 23a to read as follows:


Sec. 23a.  STUDY ON THE CAUSES OF THE PRECIPITOUS DECLINE IN HONEYBEE POPULATION

The secretary of the agency of agriculture, food and markets shall study the causes of the precipitous decline in the wild and domestic honeybee population in Vermont. The secretary shall study the impact of the varroa mite and colony collapse disorder. The secretary shall also consult with the secretary of the agency of natural resources in determining the effects of the application of pesticides. In addition, the secretary of agriculture, food and markets shall consult with the commissioner of the department of public service in determining the effect, if any, of electromagnetic fields and mobile phone use on honeybees. The secretary shall report his findings with recommendations for assisting Vermont beekeepers to the house and senate committees on agriculture on or before January 15, 2008.

Which was agreed to.

Thereupon, pending the question, Shall the Senate propose to the House to amend the bill as recommended by the Committee on Agriculture, as amended?, Senators Campbell and Illuzzi moved to amend the proposal of amendment of the Committee on Agriculture by adding a new section to be numbered Sec. 23b to read as follows:

Sec. 23b.  16 V.S.A. §§ 912 and 913 are added to read:

§ 912.  Pupil’s right of refusal; animal dissection

(a)  Any student in a public or independent elementary or secondary school may refuse to dissect, vivisect, incubate, capture, or otherwise harm or destroy an animal or any part of an animal, or to observe any of these activities, as part of a course of instruction.

(b)  A student who chooses to refrain from participating in or observing a portion of a course pursuant to this section shall be assigned an alternative education project to learn the material required by the course.  If course assessments require harmful or destructive use of animals, the student shall be offered an alternative assessment by which to demonstrate mastery of the material.  A student may refuse to participate in any alternative education project or alternative assessment that involves or necessitates the harmful use of an animal or animal parts.  A student shall not be discriminated against based upon his or her decision to exercise the right afforded by this section.

(c)  As used in this section, the word “animal” means any living organism of the kingdom animalia and includes an animal’s cadaver or the severed parts of any animal’s cadaver.


§ 913.  Animal use in science classes and science fairs

(a)  In public and independent elementary and secondary schools, live vertebrate animals shall not:

(1)  Be experimentally medicated in a manner causing painful reactions or inducing painful or lethal pathological conditions.

(2)  Be injured in any other manner, including anesthetization and electric shock. 

(b)  Live animals on school premises shall be housed and cared for in a humane and safe manner.

Thereupon, pending the question, Shall the recommendation of proposal of amendment of the Committee on Agriculture be amended as moved by Senator Campbell and Illuzzi? Senator Bartlett raised a point of order under Sec. 402 of Mason’s Manual of Legislative Procedure on the grounds that the proposal of amendment offered by Senators Campbell and Illuzzi was not germane to the bill and therefore could not be considered by the Senate.

Thereupon, the President sustained the point of order and ruled that the proposal of amendment offered by Senators Campbell and Illuzzi was not germane to the bill since it presented matters outside of the natural scope of the bill or the committee’s recommendation of proposal of amendment, as amended.

Thereupon, Senator Campbell moved that the rules be suspended and that the Senate be allowed to consider a non-germane amendment, which was disagreed to on a division of the Senate, Yeas 16, Nays 12 (the necessary three-fourths vote not being attained).

Thereupon, the proposal of amendment of the Committee on Agriculture, as amended was agreed to.

Thereupon, third reading of the bill was ordered on a roll call, Yeas 26, Nays 3.

Senator Sears 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, Coppenrath, Cummings, Doyle, Flanagan, Giard, Hartwell, Illuzzi, Kitchel, Kittell, Lyons, MacDonald, Maynard, McCormack, Miller, Mullin, Nitka, Racine, Scott, Shumlin, Snelling, Starr, White.

Those Senators who voted in the negative were: Campbell, Mazza, Sears.

The Senator absent and not voting was: Collins.

Message from the House No. 76

     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 that pursuant to the request of the Senate for Committees of Conference upon the disagreeing votes of the two Houses on House bills of the following titles, the Speaker has appointed as members of such committees on the part of the House

H. 148.  An act relating to child abuse registry.

                                         Rep. Lippert of Hinesburg

                                         Rep. Flory of Pittsford

                                         Rep. Andrews of Rutland City

H. 154.  An act relating to stormwater management.

                                         Rep. Deen of Westminster

                                         Rep. Shaw of Derby

                                         Rep. Martin of Springfield

Pursuant to the request of the Senate for a Committee of Conference upon the disagreeing votes of the two Houses on Senate bills of the following titles, the Speaker has appointed as members of such committee on the part of the House

S. 39.  An act relating to health insurance plan reimbursement for covered services provided by naturopathic physicians.

                                         Rep. Milkey of Brattleboro

                                         Rep. O’Donnell of Vernon

                                         Rep. Ojibway of Hartford

S. 93.  An act relating to miscellaneous changes to education law.

                                         Rep. Ancel of Calais

                                         Rep. Donovan of Burlington

                                         Rep. Clark of Vergennes

The Governor has informed the House of Representatives that on the first day of May, 2007, he approved and signed bills originating in the House of the following titles:

H. 400.  An act relating to recapture of health insurance benefits by Group C members of the Vermont state retirement system.

H. 516.  An act relating to the creation of one fund within each of the three Vermont retirement systems and to compliance with federal requirements.

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

H. 372.  An act relating to the rendering of nursing and medical services by professional corporations.

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

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

Consideration Postponed

S. 6.

Senate bill entitled:

An act relating to preventing conviction of innocent persons.

Was taken up.

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

Rules Suspended; House Proposal of Amendment Not Concurred In; Committee of Conference Requested; Committee of Conference Appointed; Bill Messaged

S. 7.

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

An act relating to compassionate use of marijuana for medical purposes.

Was taken up for immediate consideration.

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.  18 V.S.A. chapter 86 is amended to read:

CHAPTER 86.  THERAPEUTIC USE OF CANNABIS

* * *


Subchapter 2.  Marijuana for Medical Symptom Use

by Persons with Severe Illness

§ 4472.  DEFINITIONS

For the purposes of this subchapter:

(1)  “Bona fide physician-patient relationship” means a treating or consulting relationship of not less than six months duration, in the course of which a physician has completed a full assessment of the registered patient’s medical history and current medical condition, including a personal physical examination.

(2)  “Debilitating medical condition,” provided that, in the context of the specific disease or condition described in subdivision (A) or (B) of this subdivision (2), reasonable medical efforts have been made over a reasonable amount of time without success to relieve the symptoms, means:

(A)  end of life care for cancer or acquired immune deficiency syndrome; or

(B)  cancer, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus, multiple sclerosis, or the treatment of these diseases or medical conditions if:

(i)  the disease or condition or its treatment results in severe, persistent, and intractable symptoms; and

(ii)  in the context of the specific disease or condition, reasonable medical efforts have been made over a reasonable amount of time without success in relieving the symptoms.

(A)  cancer, multiple sclerosis, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, or the treatment of these conditions, if the disease or the treatment results in severe, persistent, and intractable symptoms; or

(B)  a disease, medical condition, or its treatment that is chronic, debilitating, and produces severe, persistent, and one or more of the following intractable symptoms: cachexia or wasting syndrome; severe pain; severe nausea; or seizures.

(3)  “Marijuana” shall have the same meaning as provided in subdivision 4201(15) of this title.

(4)  “Physician” means a person who is:

(A)  licensed under chapter 23 or chapter 33 of Title 26, and is licensed with authority to prescribe drugs under Title 26; or

(B)  a physician, surgeon, or osteopathic physician licensed to practice medicine and prescribe drugs under comparable provisions in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, or New York.

(5)  “Possession limit” means the amount of marijuana collectively possessed between the registered patient and the patient’s registered caregiver which is no more than one two mature marijuana plant plants, two four immature plants, and two ounces of usable marijuana.

(6)  “Registered caregiver” means a person who is at least 21 years old who has never been convicted of a drug-related crime and who has agreed to undertake responsibility for managing the well-being of a registered patient with respect to the use of marijuana for symptom relief.

(7)  “Registered patient” means a person who has been issued a registration card by the department of public safety identifying the person as having a debilitating medical condition pursuant to the provisions of this subchapter.

(8)  “Secure indoor facility” means a building or room equipped with locks or other security devices that permit access only by a registered caregiver or registered patient.

(9)  “Usable marijuana” means the dried leaves and flowers of marijuana, and any mixture or preparation thereof, and does not include the seeds, stalks, and roots of the plant.

(10)  “Use for symptom relief” means the acquisition, possession, cultivation, use, transfer, or transportation of marijuana or paraphernalia relating to the administration of marijuana to alleviate the symptoms or effects of a registered  patient’s debilitating medical condition which is in compliance with all the limitations and restrictions of this subchapter.  For the purposes of this definition, “transfer” is limited to the transfer of marijuana and paraphernalia between a registered caregiver and a registered patient.

§ 4473.  REGISTERED PATIENTS; QUALIFICATION STANDARDS AND PROCEDURES

(a)  To become a registered patient, a person must be diagnosed with a debilitating medical condition by a physician in the course of a bona fide physician-patient relationship. 

(b)  The department of public safety shall review applications to become a registered patient using the following procedures:

(1)  A patient with a debilitating medical condition shall submit, under oath, a signed application for registration to the department.  If the patient is under the age of 18 the application must be signed by both the patient and a parent or guardian.  The application shall require identification and contact information for the patient and the patient’s registered caregiver applying for authorization under section 4474 of this title, if any.  The applicant shall attach to the application a copy of relevant portions of the patient’s medical record sufficient to establish that the patient has a debilitating medical condition medical verification form developed by the department pursuant to subdivision (2) of this subsection.

(2)  The department of public safety shall develop a medical verification form to be completed by a physician and submitted by a patient applying for registration in the program.  The form shall include:

(A)  A cover sheet which includes the following:

(i)  A statement of the penalties for providing false information.

(ii)  Definitions of the following statutory terms:

(I)  “Bona fide physician-patient relationship” as defined in subdivision 4472(1) of this title.

(II)  “Debilitating medical condition” as defined in subdivision 4472(2) of this title.

(III)  “Physician” as defined in subdivision 4472(4) of this title.

(B)  A verification sheet which includes the following:

(i)  A statement that a bona fide physician-patient relationship exists under subdivision 4472(1) of this title, or that under subdivision (3)(A) of this subsection (b) the debilitating medical condition is of recent or sudden onset, and the patient has not had a previous physician who is able to verify the nature of the disease and its symptoms.

(ii)  A statement that reasonable medical efforts have been made over a reasonable amount of time without success to relieve the symptoms.

(iii)  A statement that the patient has a debilitating medical condition as defined in subdivision 4472(2) of this title, including the specific disease or condition which the patient has and whether the patient meets the criteria under subdivision 4472(2)(A) or subdivision 4472(2)(B).

(iv)  A signature line which provides in substantial part: “I certify that I meet the definition of ‘physician’ under 18 V.S.A. § 4472(4)(A) or 4472(4)(B) (circle one), that I am a physician in good standing in the state of _______, and that the facts stated above are accurate to the best of my knowledge and belief.”

(v)  The physician’s contact information.  

(2)(3)(A) The department shall transmit the completed medical verification form to the physician and contact the physician him or her for purposes of verifying the existence of a bona fide physician-patient relationship and confirming the accuracy of the medical record information contained in the form.  The department may approve an application, notwithstanding the six-month requirement in subdivision 4472(1) of this title, if the department is satisfied that the medical verification form confirms that the debilitating medical condition is of recent or sudden onset and that the patient has not had a previous physician who is able to verify the nature of the disease and its symptoms.

(B)  If the physician is licensed in another state as provided by subdivision 4472(4)(B) of this title, the department shall contact the state’s medical practice board and verify that the physician is in good standing in that state.

(3)(4)  The department shall approve or deny the application for registration in writing within 30 days from receipt of a completed registration application.  If the application is approved, the department shall issue the applicant a registration card which shall include the registered patient’s name and photograph, as well as a unique identifier for law enforcement verification purposes under section 4474d of this title.

(4)(A)(5)(A)  A review board is established.  The medical practice board shall appoint three physicians licensed in Vermont to constitute the review board.  If an application under subdivision (1) of this subsection is denied, within seven days the patient may appeal the denial to the board.  Review shall be limited to information submitted by the patient under subdivision (1) of this subsection, and consultation with the patient’s treating physician.  All records relating to the appeal shall be kept confidential.  An appeal shall be decided by majority vote of the members of the board.

(B)  The board shall meet periodically to review studies, data, and any other information relevant to the use of marijuana for symptom relief.  The board may make recommendations to the general assembly for adjustments and changes to this chapter.

(C)  Members of the board shall serve for three-year terms, beginning February 1 of the year in which the appointment is made, except that the first members appointed shall serve as follows:  one for a term of two years, one for a term of three years, and one for a term of four years.  Members shall be entitled to per diem compensation authorized under section 1010 of Title 32.  Vacancies shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment for the unexpired portion of the term vacated.

§ 4474.  REGISTERED CAREGIVERS; QUALIFICATION STANDARDS AND PROCEDURES

(a)  A person may submit a signed application to the department of public safety to become a registered patient’s registered caregiver.  The department shall approve or deny the application in writing within 30 days.  The department shall approve a registered caregiver’s application and issue the person an authorization card, including the caregiver’s name, photograph, and a unique identifier, after verifying:

(1)  the person will serve as the registered caregiver for one registered patient only; and

(2)  the person has never been convicted of a drug‑related crime.

(b)  Prior to acting on an application, the department shall obtain from the Vermont criminal information center a Vermont criminal record, an out-of-state criminal record, and a criminal record from the Federal Bureau of Investigation for the applicant.  For purposes of this subdivision, “criminal record” means a record of whether the person has ever been convicted of a drug-related crime.  Each applicant shall consent to release of criminal records to the department on forms substantially similar to the release forms developed by the center pursuant to section 2056c of Title 20.  The department shall comply with all laws regulating the release of criminal history records and the protection of individual privacy.  The Vermont criminal information center shall send to the requester any record received pursuant to this section or inform the department of public safety that no record exists.  If the department disapproves an application, the department shall promptly provide a copy of any record of convictions and pending criminal charges to the applicant and shall inform the applicant of the right to appeal the accuracy and completeness of the record pursuant to rules adopted by the Vermont criminal information center.  No person shall confirm the existence or nonexistence of criminal record information to any person who would not be eligible to receive the information pursuant to this subchapter.

(c)  A registered caregiver may serve only one registered patient at a time, and a registered patient may have only one registered caregiver at a time.

§ 4474a.  REGISTRATION; FEES

(a)  The department shall collect a fee of $100.00 $50.00 for the application authorized by sections 4473 and 4474 of this title.  The fees received by the department shall be deposited into a registration fee fund and used to offset the costs of processing applications under this subchapter.

(b)  A registration card shall expire one year after the date of issue, with the option of renewal, provided the patient submits a new application which is approved by the department of public safety, pursuant to sections section 4473 or 4474 of this title, and pays the fee required under subsection (a) of this section.

* * *

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

Thereupon, pursuant to the request of the Senate, the President announced the appointment of

                                         Senator Campbell

                                         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.

Thereupon, on motion of Senator Shumlin, the rules were suspended and the bill was ordered messaged to the House forthwith.

Rules Suspended; House Proposal of Amendment Concurred In

S. 51.

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

An act relating to prohibiting discrimination on basis of gender identity.

Was taken up for immediate consideration.

The House proposes to the Senate to amend the bill as follows:

First:  In Sec. 18, 21 V.S.A. § 495, by striking out subsection (g) in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new subsection (g) to read as follows:

(g)  Notwithstanding any provision of this subchapter, an employer shall not be prohibited from establishing and enforcing reasonable workplace policies to address matters related to employees’ gender identity, including permitting an employer to establish a reasonable dress code for the workplace. 

Second:  By striking out Sec. 18a in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 18a to read as follows:


Sec. 18a.  LEGISLATIVE INTENT

(a)  It is the intent of the general assembly that 21 V.S.A. § 495(g) shall not be used as a pretext for an employer to enact workplace policies that deny an individual the protections afforded under this subchapter.

(b)  It is the intent of the general assembly that this act shall not require the offer of or coverage for additional health benefits under any insurance policy or certificate, subscriber contract, or employee health benefit plan.  This act shall not be interpreted to reduce any rights to health benefits that may be available under other law.

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

Rules Suspended; House Proposal of Amendment Concurred In

S. 82.

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

An act relating to the use of Vermont addresses and representations of Vermont origins.

Was taken up for immediate consideration.

The House proposes to the Senate to amend the bill by striking out Sec. 2 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Sec. 2.  10 V.S.A. § 7105(e)(1)(J) is amended to read:

(J)  A mercury-added neon type sign or lamp.

Sec. 3.  10 V.S.A. § 7106(i)(3) is amended to read:

(3)(A)(i)  Labeling of products that contain, as their only mercury-added components, one or more lamps not intended to be replaceable by the user or consumer that are used for one or more of the purposes enumerated in this subdivision shall meet all the requirements of subsections (a) through (f) of this section, except no label is required on the internal lamp, no label is required on the package, and no label is required to be visible prior to purchase.  A label must be included in the care and use manual or product instructions, if any in the event that no care and use manual is produced for the product, the product instructions.

(i)  Lamp purposes subject to this subdivision shall be:

(I)  backlighting;

(II)  liquid crystal display (LCD) panel;

(III)  scanning images; or

(IV)  copying images.

(ii)  This subdivision (A) shall apply to products containing lamps used for other purposes, if those products are approved under subsection (h) of this section, except that there need not be compliance in this instance with the requirement established in subdivision (h)(1)(A)(ii), regarding the effectiveness of the proposed alternative.

(B)  Labeling of products with a screen or LCD panel less than seven inches on the diagonal that contain, as their only mercury-added components, one or more lamps not intended to be replaceable by the user or consumer that are used for backlighting shall meet all the requirements of subsections (a) through (c) of this section by placing the label on the product or in the care and use manual or product instructions, if any in the event that no care and use manual is produced for the product, the product instructions.  No label is required on the internal lamp, and no label shall be required to be visible prior to purchase.

(C)  Labeling of a product that contains as its only mercury-added components a lamp or lamps at least one of which is intended to be replaceable by the user or consumer must meet the labeling requirements of subsections (a) through (f) of this section, except no label is required to be visible prior to purchase. A label must also be included in the care and use manual or product instructions, if any in the event that no care and use manual is produced for the product, the product instructions. If the replaceable lamp is placed within a housing intended to be replaceable by the user or consumer, the housing must also be labeled.

(D)  Labeling of replacement components for products in subdivision (A) or (B) of this subdivision (3) shall meet all the requirements of subsections (a) through (f) of this section by labeling the package on the replacement component.

Sec. 4.  ELECTRONICS LABELING

(a)  Notwithstanding the labeling requirements contained in subsection

7106(a) of Title 10, the following products shall not be offered for final sale,  sold at a final sale, or distributed in Vermont on or after October 1, 2007,  unless both the product and its packaging are labeled in accordance with  section 7106 of Title 10:

(1)  A product that was manufactured on or after October 1, 2007 with a screen or an LCD panel more than seven inches on the diagonal that contains, as its only mercury-added component, one or more lamps not intended to be replaceable by the user or consumer; or

(2)  A product that was manufactured on or after October 1, 2007 that  contains as its only mercury-added component a replaceable lamp that is  placed within a housing intended to be replaceable by the user or consumer used in a projection system or projection television; or

(3)  A product that was manufactured on or after October 1, 2007 that contains as its only mercury-added component, one or more nonreplaceable  or nonremovable mercury-added lamps used for backlighting, LCD panels,  scanning images or copying images.

(b)  The requirement of subsection (a) of this section may also be met by compliance with the terms of any approved alternative labeling method granted under subsection 7106(h) or (i) of Title 10.

(c)  A retailer may not be found in violation of this section if the retailer lacked knowledge that the product contained mercury.

Sec. 5.  EFFECTIVE DATE; REPEAL

(a)  This act shall be effective upon passage.

(b)  Sec. 4 of this act shall be repealed on July 1, 2008.

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

Rules Suspended; Consideration Postponed

S. 116.

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

An act relating to miscellaneous election law amendments.

Was taken up for immediate consideration.

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

Rules Suspended; House Proposal of Amendment Concurred In

S. 121.

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

An act relating to autism spectrum disorders.

Was taken up for immediate consideration.

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.  FINDINGS

The general assembly finds:

(1)  Autism is a life-long pervasive developmental disorder identified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM‑IV).  The five pervasive developmental disorders are:  autistic disorder; Asperger’s disorder; pervasive developmental disorder, not otherwise specified; Rett’s disorder; and childhood disintegrative disorder.  These lifelong disorders are often referred to collectively as autism spectrum disorders.

(2)  Autism spectrum disorders are neurologically based developmental disorders that can have profound lifelong effects in social interaction, the ability to communicate, imagination, and the establishment of relationships.

(3)  Children are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders by psychologists, developmental pediatricians, psychiatrists, and neurologists.

(4)  In 1992, only 13 Vermont children with autism spectrum disorders received special education in Vermont.  According to the preliminary December 1, 2006 child count, 582 children with autism spectrum disorders are currently receiving special education in Vermont.

(5)  There is no single intervention that will be effective for all individuals with autism spectrum disorders or for the same individual across his or her lifespan.

(6)  National Research Council findings suggest that up to 48 percent of young children with autism spectrum disorders make marked progress when they receive intensive early intervention.

Sec. 2.  PROPOSAL FOR AN INTERAGENCY INITIATIVE TO ENHANCE SERVICES FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS

(a)  On or before January 15, 2008, the secretary of human services and the commissioner of education shall develop an interagency proposal for a coordinated, life-long system of care designed to address the needs of Vermonters with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and their families.  The agency of human services shall assume primary responsibility for developing the proposed plan.  The plan shall be:

(1)  Consistent with the Vermont Interagency White Paper on Autism Spectrum Disorders, issued March 2006, and informed by other papers or proposals developed by or for the agency of human services or the department of education. 

(2)  Developed in collaboration with a broad spectrum of stakeholders, including individuals with ASD and their families, professionals with established expertise in ASD, private and public providers of services to individuals with ASD and their families, entities providing support to families of individuals with ASD, and members of the autism task force, the Vermont developmental disabilities council, and the Act 264 advisory board.  Collaboration with individuals with ASD and their families shall reflect diversity in geography, in diagnoses, and in the severity of symptoms.  It shall also ensure consideration of an individual’s needs as a child, as a youth, and as an adult.

(b)  The proposed plan shall include:

(1)  A profile of the range of diagnoses and needs of the children, youth, and adults to be served.

(2)  Projections of the future needs of individuals with ASD in Vermont, including transitional services related to socialization, job training and employment, and independent living in a community-based format to assist individuals moving from school to the community.

(3)  Identification of the specific goals of the proposed plan for a life-long system of care for individuals with ASD and their families.

(4)  Development of research-based best practices guidelines to enhance the ability of public and private providers to meet the needs of individuals with ASD and their families.

(5)  A review of the educational and human services-related supports and services currently available to individuals with ASD throughout their lifetime.

(6)  A review of the supports and services currently available to the families of individuals with ASD.

(7)  Identification of the strengths of and deficiencies in the current system of supports and services identified in subdivisions (5) and (6) of this subsection and of the availability of those supports and services in all areas of the state.

(8)  Identification of the additional supports and services needed for an effective life-long system of care for individuals with ASD and their families and recommendations for how unmet needs might be satisfied. 

(9)  A review of the current role of public schools in connection with the provision of services to individuals with ASD, including:

(A)  the financial impact that the provision of these services has on school budgets.

(B)  Consideration of whether the current allocation of costs between the education system and the agency of human services for the provision of services to individuals with ASD is appropriate and whether any possible reallocation is appropriate, advisable, and consistent with federal law.

(10)  A detailed proposal, with a related timeline, for implementing the proposed life-long system of care, including:

(A)  The manner in which existing resources and facilities might be used or redirected to support the system.

(B)  The availability of federal and other potential funding sources for the proposed system of care.

(C)  Strategies to encourage collaboration among existing and new resources to provide coordinated, life-long services, training, technical assistance, information dissemination, and consultation to individuals with ASD and their families, including a centralized, publicly available information system with an information “hotline”.

(D)  Strategies to encourage collaboration among existing and new resources to provide coordinated training, technical assistance, information dissemination, and consultation to schools, local agencies, and other providers of developmental, mental health, and early intervention services to individuals with ASD and their families.

(E)  Strategies for enabling access to the early and accurate diagnosis of ASD.

(F)  Strategies for encouraging collaboration with higher education programs to provide a sufficient number of well‑trained professionals to provide life-long services to individuals with ASD and their families in all regions of the state.

(G)  Provisions ensuring regular review and revision of the proposed system of care.

(c)  On or before January 15, 2008, the agency and the department shall present a written plan consistent with this section to the governor, the house committees on education, on human services, and on appropriations, and the senate committees on education, on health and welfare, and on appropriations. 

Sec. 3.  EFFECTIVE DATE

This act shall take effect from passage.

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

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

S. 133.

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

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

Was taken up for immediate consideration.

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

Sec. 1.  TITLE OF THE ACT

This act shall be known as and may be cited as the “Highway Traffic Safety Act of 2007.”

* * * Legislative Findings * * *

Sec. 2.  LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS

The general assembly finds that:

* * * General Findings * * *

(1)  In December 2006, the governor transmitted to the Division Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration the Strategic Highway Plan for Vermont that stated “The first half of 2006 was trending toward a near record‑breaking year for highway deaths and incapacitating injuries.”  In response to this trend, the Strategic Highway Fatality Plan for Vermont was created with the mission to “minimize the occurrence and severity of crashes, related human suffering, and economic losses on the Vermont transportation network.”

(2)  In response to this increase, the commissioner of public safety held a law enforcement summit to develop collaborative strategies to combat these fatalities.

(3)  According to the governor’s highway safety office, each highway fatality costs the state of Vermont more than $900,000.00.

(4)  In further recognition of the terrible toll in terms of human suffering, and financial loss resulting from motor vehicle crashes, on July 6, 2006, the Vermont department of health’s injury prevention program hosted the 2006 Symposium on Preventing Crashes Among Young Drivers at the Inn at Essex, Vermont.  The symposium brought together key leaders in highway safety, transportation, public health, and youth development for an in‑depth, multidisciplinary exploration of crashes among young drivers and opportunities for prevention.

* * * Teen Driving Safety * * *

(1)  The Strategic Highway Safety Plan for Vermont of 2006, signed by the governor and endorsed by state agencies, stated that “new language” should be added to the existing graduated driver license legislation to achieve:

(A)  Restrictions on passengers in cars driven by young drivers.

(B)  Nighttime limitations for young drivers.

(C)  Primary safety belt enforcement to the age of 18.

(D)  No cell phone use for junior operators. 

(2)  From a public health perspective, “Motor vehicle crashes are among the most serious problems facing teenagers (Anatomy of Crashes Involving Young Drivers‑Preventing Teen Motor Crashes).”  According to the Centers for Disease Control, highway injuries and deaths constitute the largest reason for youth injuries and deaths, and therefore constitute a public health risk warranting remedial action.

(3)  According to the above sources, the 2002 cost of crashes involving drivers ages 20 through 25 was $40.8 billion.  (National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, 2006.)

(4)  A study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety on junior operators demonstrated that a single passenger nearly doubled the risk of a fatal crash, and two or more passengers raise the risk fivefold for the junior operator.

(5)  Nighttime is one of the riskiest times of day for junior operators due to DUI, darkness, and sleep deprivation in teens.  Midnight to 2 a.m. is the most dangerous time.

* * * Cell Phones * * *

(1)  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration policy on cell phones states “The primary responsibility of the driver is to operate a motor vehicle safely.  The task of driving requires full attention and focus.  Cell phone use can distract drivers from this task, risking harm to themselves and others.  Therefore, the safest course of action is to refrain from using a cell phone while driving.”

(2)  Teens, driving, and cell phones are a dangerous mix due to teens’ vulnerability to distractions and accidents.  (“Teens, phones, cars, a bad mix,” The Sunday Rutland Herald, June 26, 2005—Source—The National Transportation Safety Board.)

* * * Safety Belts * * *

(1)  States with primary enforcement average 10 percent higher usage than states with secondary enforcement.

(2)  A crash involving an unrestrained person costs 55 percent more than for someone who was restrained.

(3)  Approximately 74 percent of the costs associated with crashes are paid for by society; the victim pays the balance.

(4)  Drivers who do not wear safety belts are also most likely to engage in risky driving behavior, such as speeding or drinking and driving.

(5)  Traffic crashes are a health care issue, not an enforcement issue.  As Dr. Eliot Nelson, pediatrician at Vermont’s Childrens Hospital and professor at the UVM school of medicine said, “By passing primary (enforcement), the legislature can save more lives with one stroke of the pen than I can in a lifetime of practice.”

* * * Operation After Recall Is a Civil Violation * * *

Sec. 3.  23 V.S.A. § 676 is amended to read:

§ 676.  OPERATION AFTER SUSPENSION, REVOCATION, OR REFUSAL, OR RECALL ‑ CIVIL VIOLATION

(a)  A person whose license or privilege to operate a motor vehicle has been revoked, suspended or, refused, or recalled by the commissioner of motor vehicles for any reason other than a violation of sections 1091(b), 1094(b), 1128(b) or (c), or 1201 or a suspension under section 1205 of this title and who operates or attempts to operate a motor vehicle upon a public highway before the license or privilege of the person to operate a motor vehicle has been reinstated by the commissioner commits a civil traffic violation.

(b)  In establishing a prima facie case against a person accused of violating this section, the judicial bureau shall accept as evidence, a printout attested to by the law enforcement officer as the person’s motor vehicle record showing convictions and resulting license suspensions.  The admitted motor vehicle record shall establish a permissive inference that the person was under suspension or had his or her license revoked or recalled on the dates and time periods set forth in the record.  The judicial bureau shall not require a certified copy of the person’s motor vehicle record from the department of motor vehicles to establish the permissive inference.

* * * Junior Operator Night‑Time Restriction * * *

Sec. 4.  23 V.S.A. § 614(c) and (d) are added to read:

(c)  A person operating with a junior operator’s license shall not operate a motor vehicle between 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. except when carrying the signed and dated written permission of a parent or guardian that contains the parent's or guardian's contact information, including a home and work address and phone numbers, or except when:

(1)  traveling on a direct route between work and home;

(2)  traveling for a school‑related activity; or

(3)  going to or returning from hunting or fishing, provided the operator has in his or her possession hunting or fishing equipment and a valid hunting or fishing license.

(d)  A person in violation of subsection (c) of this section shall be allowed to drive his or her vehicle on a direct route home, following issuance of a traffic ticket by a law enforcement officer.

* * * Safety Restriction on the Use of Cellular Telephones and Hand‑Held Electronic Devices by Junior Operators * * *

Sec. 5.  23 V.S.A. § 1095a is added to read:

§ 1095a.  WIRELESS TELEPHONE USE; HAND‑HELD ELECTRONIC DEVICES; LEARNERS AND JUNIOR OPERATORS

A person operating a motor vehicle with a learner permit under the provisions of section 617 of this title or with a junior operator license under the provisions of section 607 of this title shall not use any wireless telephone or hand‑held electronic device while operating on the traveled portion of the highway.  This prohibition shall not apply if it is necessary to place an emergency 911 call.

* * * Use of Cellular Telephones and other Electronic Devices by A Person Operating a Vehicle with an Operators License * * *

Sec. 6.  23 V.S.A. § 1095b is added to read:

§ 1095b.  USE OF HANDS‑FREE WIRELESS TELEPHONES AND ELECTRONIC DEVICES BY A PERSON WITH AN OPERATORS LICENSE

(a)  A person operating a motor vehicle with a valid operators license shall be restricted to using only a hands‑free wireless telephone or hands‑free electronic communication device while operating on the traveled portion of the highway.  This prohibition shall not apply if it is necessary to place an emergency 911 call.

(b)  As used in this section, “hands‑free” means a mobile telephone that has an internal feature or function, or that is equipped with an attachment or addition, whether or not permanently part of the mobile telephone, by which a user engages in a conversation without the use of either hand; provided, however, this definition shall not preclude the use of either hand to activate, deactivate, or initiate a function of the telephone.

* * * Primary Enforcement of Safety Belt Law; Federal Funds * * *

Sec. 7.  REPEAL; ACCEPTANCE OF FEDERAL FUNDS

(a)  23 V.S.A. § 1259(e) (secondary enforcement of safety belt law) is repealed.

(b)  The state is authorized to accept any additional funding available from the federal government attributable to the passage of this section.

Sec. 8.  EFFECTIVE DATES

(a)  This section and Secs. 1, 2, and 3 of this act shall take effect from passage.

(b)  Sec. 7 shall take effect on June 30, 2007.

(c)  Secs. 4, 5, and 6 shall take effect on September 1, 2007.

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

Rules Suspended; Bill Referred

On motion of Senator Shumlin, pending entry on the Calendar for Notice, the rules were suspended and House bill entitled:

H. 546.

H. 546.  An act relating to compensation and retirement benefits for certain state employees and emergency management.

Was taken up for immediate consideration.

Thereupon, on motion of Senator Shumlin, the rules were suspended and the bill was referred to the Committee on Appropriations, with the report of the Committee on Government Operations, intact.


Committees of Conference Appointed

H. 294.

An act relating to executive branch fees.

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

                                         Senator Cummings

                                         Senator Carris

                                         Senator Maynard

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

H. 449.

An act relating to foster care services and supports.

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

                                         Senator Racine

                                         Senator Flanagan

                                         Senator Mullin

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

H. 534.

An act relating to prekindergarten education.

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

                                         Senator Giard

                                         Senator Condos

                                         Senator Doyle

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

Rules Suspended; Bills Messaged

On motion of Senator Shumlin, the rules were suspended, and the following bills, or the actions taken thereon, were ordered messaged to the House forthwith:

H. 248; H. 294; H. 449; H. 534.


Rules Suspended; Bills Delivered

On motion of Senator Shumlin, the rules were suspended, and the following bills were ordered delivered to the Governor forthwith:

S. 51; S. 82; S. 121.

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