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Journal of the Senate

________________

Thursday, May 10, 2007

The Senate was called to order by the President.

Devotional Exercises

A moment of silence was observed in lieu of devotions.

Joint Resolutions Referred

J.R.H. 27.

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

Joint resolution requesting Congress to maximize to the greatest extent possible the federal funding for state transportation construction projects and grant the states the maximum degree of flexibility in prioritization of projects to be financed.

Whereas, the transportation infrastructure of the state of Vermont was largely built in two phases:  initially in the 1920s–30s and then expanded in the 1950s–60s, and

Whereas, the maintenance costs of the state’s transportation infrastructure are easily obscured by the average 80‑year life cycles of transportation structures, and

Whereas, the state is just now approaching the first critical turning point in the life cycle of its mature transportation system in which significant portions of the original system are nearing the end of their useful lives and simultaneously, key portions of the expanded system are approaching the mid‑life point in their life cycles when major reconstruction work is called for, and

Whereas, the general assembly’s joint fiscal office has projected that the state of Vermont needs to be spending $153 million more each year than it is currently spending just to maintain the state’s transportation infrastructure in a serviceable condition, and

Whereas, traditional transportation funding resources have lagged behind general cost inflation for years, and

Whereas, transportation system construction costs have surged in recent years, rising over 18 percent in 2005 according to the Federal Highway Administration, and

Whereas, the maintenance, modernization and expansion of the state’s transportation system is vital to the state’s future economic health, and

Whereas, the imbalance between available resources and future infrastructure maintenance costs is so large and historically unique it raises important issues of intergenerational equity, and

Whereas, many other states are in the same situation and face the same issues as Vermont, and

Whereas, the integrity of the states’ transportation infrastructure is vital to the security and the economic health of the nation, now therefore be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

That the General Assembly requests Congress to maximize, to the greatest extent possible, the amount of funding that it appropriates for transportation construction projects within the states and grant the states the maximum flexibility in their expenditure of federal transportation funds with respect to the building and construction of individual state projects, and be it further

Resolved:  That the secretary of state be directed to send a copy of this resolution to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters and to the members of the Vermont Congressional Delegation.

Thereupon, in the discretion of the President, under Rule 51, the joint resolution was treated as a bill and referred to the Committee on Transportation.

J.R.H. 30.

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

Joint resolution encouraging the inclusion of international education programs in the curriculum and extracurricular activities of Vermont’s colleges and universities in order to meet the challenges of a global society,

Whereas, international education courses and activities are a critical component of higher education in Vermont and contribute to the economy of the state and to diverse college environment, and they enhance both academic and extracurricular programs, and

Whereas, academic and extracurricular programs that are internationally based are critical to promoting a broadened worldview and preparing Vermonters for life and work in the global economy, and

Whereas, they create a diverse academic environment through the exchange of scholars and students between countries and the construction of a foundation for future business success, and

Whereas, higher education should emphasize academic programs with an international focus, including foreign language instruction and study abroad opportunities, in order to ensure graduates have the cross-cultural skills necessary to function effectively in the global workforce, and

Whereas, international students and their families contributed over $13,490,000,000 to the U.S. economy and over $31,625,000 to the Vermont economy during 2005–2006, and a strategy at the state and national level is needed to ensure America’s status as a magnet for international students and scholars, and

Whereas, the economy of Vermont is inextricably tied to the rest of the world, and state economic development depends upon a deliberate strategic development plan that includes recognition of the role of international education in all its facets, and

Whereas, heightened cultural awareness is critical to national interests and is a critical component of foreign policy, and Vermont’s colleges and universities play a key role in developing foreign language and foreign area studies, and

Whereas, the General Assembly recognizes the social importance of cultural awareness, the need to promote study-abroad programs that serve Vermont students and the economic significance of international students who come to Vermont for the educational opportunities provided by the state, now therefore be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

That the General Assembly recognizes the economic, cultural, and social importance of promoting international education at Vermont’s institutions of higher education and urges all colleges and universities located in the state to place a high priority to expand current and develop new programs in all fields of education that are international in scope, and be it further

Resolved:  That the secretary of state be directed to send a copy of this resolution to Carol Bellamy, President of the School for International Studies in Brattleboro. 

Thereupon, in the discretion of the President, under Rule 51, the joint resolution was treated as a bill and referred to the Committee on Education.

Joint Resolution Placed on Calendar

J.R.H. 34.

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

Joint resolution designating the month of June as Vermont Birding Month.

Whereas, according to the most recent National Survey on Recreation and the Environment, birdwatching is the most rapidly expanding recreational pastime in the nation, and between 1983 and 2001, there was a 283-percent growth in its popularity, and

Whereas, evidence of the large number of birdwatching fans in Vermont is provided by the airing of a popular weekly radio program on WDEV in Waterbury devoted to this no-longer-esoteric topic and by data showing that birdwatching generates $20 million in annual retail sales and over 600 jobs in the state, and

Whereas, this colorful and sound-filled hobby is one of the most environmentally conscious segments of ecotourism, which is ideal for a state that prides itself on the beauty and preservation of its pristine environment, and

Whereas, neo-tropical migratory birds, including the rare Bicknell Thrush, can be found resting in Vermont’s forests and fields and on rivers, lakes, and ponds while en route to their seasonal destinations, and

Whereas, in recognition of the fact that the promotion of birdwatching has a great potential to entice visitors to travel to Vermont and to contribute to our state’s increasingly tourist-based economy, Audubon Vermont, the Birds of Vermont Museum, the Lamoille County Nature Center, the North Branch Nature Center, the Shelburne Museum, and the Stowe Area Association are organizing a month-long celebration during June 2007, including fun birdwatching activities, and

Whereas, these events, which will occur in a number of communities throughout the state and which will provide a great opportunity for Vermonters to become better acquainted with the diverse variety of bird life that populates the Green Mountain State, will help launch a successful summer tourism season, now therefore be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

That the General Assembly designates the month of June as Vermont Birding Month, and be it further

Resolved:  That the secretary of state be directed to send a copy of this resolution to each of the organizations listed in this resolution.

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

Joint Resolution Adopted on the Part of the Senate

J.R.S. 37.

Joint Senate resolution entitled:

Joint resolution recognizing Charles Edward Taylor’s significant contributions to the advancement of aviation mechanics and designating May 24 as Aviation Maintenance Technician Day.

Having been placed on the Calendar for action, was taken up and adopted on the part of the Senate.

Joint Resolutions Adopted in Concurrence

Joint House resolutions entitled:

J.R.H. 35.

Joint resolution designating May 8 as Children’s Mental Health Day at the State House.

J.R.H. 36.

Joint resolution recognizing that all Vermont firefighters and emergency medical service (EMS) personnel provide a professional level of service to their communities.

Having been placed on the Calendar for action, were taken up.

Thereupon, the resolutions were adopted severally in concurrence.

Rules Suspended; Proposals of Amendment; Third Reading Ordered; Point of Order; Rules Suspended; Bill Passed in Concurrence with Proposals of Amendment; Bill Messaged

H. 433.

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

An act relating to the next generation initiative of workforce development through workforce development programs and internships.

Was taken up for immediate consideration.

Senator Miller, for the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs, 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. 4 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 4 to read as follows:

* * * Consolidation of Grant Programs* * *

Sec. 4.  10 V.S.A. § 543 is added to read:

§ 543.  WORKFORCE EDUCATION AND TRAINING FUND; GRANT PROGRAMS

(a)  Creation.  There is created a workforce education and training fund in the department of labor to be managed in accordance with subchapter 5 of chapter 7 of Title 32.

(b)  Purposes.  The fund shall be used exclusively for two purposes: (1)  training to improve the skills of Vermont workers including those who are unemployed, underemployed or in transition, and (2)  student internships to provide work-based learning opportunities with Vermont employers for students from public and private high schools, regional technical centers, the community high school of Vermont and colleges.

(c)  Administrative Support.  Administrative support for the grant award process shall be provided by the departments of labor and economic development.  Technical, administrative, financial and other support shall be provided whenever appropriate and reasonable from the workforce development council and all other public entities involved in economic development, workforce development and training, and education.

(d)  Eligible Activities.  Awards from the fund shall be made to entities that collaborate with employers and businesses, including private, public, and nonprofit entities, institutions of higher education, technical centers, and workforce development programs.  Funding shall be for training programs and student internship programs that offer education, training, apprenticeship, mentoring, or work-based learning activities, or any combination; that use innovative intensive student-oriented competency based or collaborative approaches to workforce development; and that link workforce education and economic development strategies.  Training programs or projects that demonstrate actual increased income and economic opportunity for employees and employers may be funded for more than one year. Student internships that involve the same employer may be funded multiple times provided that new students participate.

(e)  Standards Against Which Training Program Applications Will Be Evaluated.  The workforce development council, in consultation with the commissioners of labor and economic development, shall develop criteria consistent with subsection (d) of this section for awards made under this section, and the commissioners of labor and economic development shall develop process for making awards.  The process shall include the following:

(1)  applications shall be sent to and reviewed by the local workforce investment board and within seven business days forwarded to the commissioner, unless this time requirement is waived by the applicant; and

(2)  if the review by the local workforce investment board as required by subdivision (1) of this subsection is not completed within seven business days, the applicant may directly file the application with the commissioner without further review by the local workforce investment board.  

(f)  Awards. Based on guidelines set by the council, the commissioner of labor shall make awards to:

(1)  (Training Programs) public, private, and nonprofit entities for existing or new and innovative training programs.  There shall be a preference for programs that include training for new or otherwise vacant positions, but awards may be made to applicants seeking to retrain incumbent workers.  Awards under this subdivision shall be made to programs or projects that:  

(A)  offer innovative programs of intensive, student-centric, competency-based education, training, apprenticeship, or mentoring, or any combination of these; 

(B)  address the needs of workers who are unemployed, underemployed, or are at risk of becoming unemployed due to changing workplace demands, to increase productivity, and to provide skills to incumbent workers;

(C)  lead to jobs paying at least 200 percent of the current minimum wage or  at least 150 percent if benefits are included; this requirement may be waived when warranted by regional or occupational wages or economic reality;

     (D)  require a measurable investment from involved employers;

     (E)  do not duplicate, supplant, or replace other programs funded with public money; and

     (F)  articulate clear goals and demonstrate readily accountable, reportable, and measurable results;

                   (G)  demonstrate how the trainee will become employed at the end of the training period; if the applicant cannot guarantee that the trainee will be employed by an identified employer at the end of the training period, the grant application shall demonstrate employer involvement and how the training program is likely to lead to employment in fields in which there is demand.

(2) (Internship Program) public and private entities for internship programs that match Vermont employers with students from public and private secondary schools, regional technical centers, the community high school of Vermont, and Vermont colleges. For the purposes of this section, “internship” means a learning experience working with an employer where the intern may, but does not necessarily, receive academic credit, financial remuneration, a stipend, or any combination of these. Awards under this subdivision may be used to fund the cost of administering an internship program and, based on need, to provide students with a stipend during the internship.  Awards may be made only to programs or projects that:

(A)  do not replace or supplant existing positions;

(B)  create real workplace expectations and consequences;

(C)  provide a process that measures progress toward mastery of skills, attitude, behavior, and sense of responsibility required for success in that workplace; 

(D)  are designed to motivate and educate secondary and postsecondary students through work-based learning opportunities with Vermont employers that are likely to lead to real employment;

(E)  provide mechanisms that promote employer involvement with secondary and postsecondary students, curriculum, and the delivery of education at the involved schools;

(F)  involve Vermont employers or resident Vermont workers; and

(G)  offer students a continuum of learning, experience, and relationships with employers that will make it financially possible and attractive for graduates to continue to work and live in Vermont.

(g)  Accountability.  The commissioners of labor and economic development and the workforce development council shall:

(1)  develop evaluation standards to measure the effectiveness of the programs and projects funded by this section, which shall include an objective process that documents the state return on investment; and

(2)  on or before December 1 of each year, submit a report to the governor, the speaker of the house, the president pro-tempore of the senate, the chair of the house committee on commerce, and the chair of the senate committee on economic development, housing and general affairs with the following information for the prior fiscal year:

     (A)  the number of applications received, grants awarded, jobs created, including wages for each, jobs filled, including wages for each, internships created, and interns served; the information shall be categorically posted every quarter on the department of labor’s website;

(B)  funds needed for the next fiscal year; and

(C)  the extent to which the program has improved coordination, cooperation, and effective expenditure of resources by workforce education and training entities and increased employers participation in and provision of workforce training opportunities and internships by employers, educational institutions, and other private entities; and

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

***WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT LEADERSHIP***

(a)  The commissioner of labor shall be the leader for workforce development strategy and accountability. The commissioner will work with a subcommittee of the workforce development council and will be composed of eight members to include four business members and a higher education member of the council appointed by the governor, the secretary of human services, the commissioners of education, and economic development.  Membership shall be coincident with their terms on the workforce development council.  The workforce development council shall provide administrative support to the leadership committee.  The commissioner of labor shall be the chair of the committee.  The duties of the leader include:

(1)  developing a limited number of challenging measurable criteria for the workforce development system that supports the creation of good jobs in order to assure   a strong, appropriate, and sustainable economic environment in Vermont;

(2)  receiving reports, on a schedule defined by the committee, from each state agency and public institution of higher education that provides education or training that prepares individuals for employment.  Each agency or institution shall report the following information:

(A)  a description of the mission and programs as they relate to preparing individuals for employment and meeting the needs of employers for skilled workers;

(B)  the measurable accomplishments that have contributed to the achievement of the overarching goals;

(C)  identification of any innovations made in the delivery of services;

(D)  the future plans that will contribute to the achievement of the goals;

(E)  the extent to which the program has established working partnerships and collaborations with other organizations that reduce duplication or enhance the delivery of services, or both; and

(F)  any other information that the committee may deem necessary and relevant;

(3)  accepting information required under subdivision (2) of this subsection, on a voluntary basis, from other education and training organizations that would like recognition for their contributions; 

(4)  based on this information, issue an annual report to the governor and the general assembly on or before December 1. The report shall systematically evaluate the accomplishments of the system and the agencies and institutions.  The information shall include:

(A)  system-wide accomplishments toward achieving each of the overarching goals;

(B)  recognition of any notable accomplishments, innovations, collaborations, grants received, or new funding sources developed by participating agencies, institutions, or other education and training organizations;

(C)  evaluation of the contribution of each provider in effecting the goals;

(D)  identification of any areas for improvement, including time frames, expected annual participation and contributions;

(E)  adjustments to the goals; and

(F)  recommendations for the allocation of next generation funds and other public resources;

(5)  developing an integrated workforce strategy that incorporates economic development, workforce development, and education to provide all Vermonters with the best education and training available in order to create a strong, appropriate, and sustainable economic environment that supports a healthy state economy; and

(6)  developing strategies to:

(A)  coordinate public and private workforce programs in order to assure that information is easily accessible to students, employees, and employers and that all information and necessary counseling is available through one contact; and

(B)  stimulate more effective communication between the business community and schools and colleges, both public and private.

     Third:  By adding a new section to be numbered Sec. 4a to read as follows:

* * * Sustainable Funding* * *

Sec. 4a.  WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT SUSTAINABLE FUNDING COMMITTEE; CREATION; DURATION

(a)  The workforce development sustainable funding committee is created consisting of three business members from the workforce development council appointed by the council executive committee, one business representative appointed by the senate president pro tempore, one business representative appointed by the speaker of the house, and three business members appointed by the governor representing business organizations.  The committee shall make a recommendation regarding new sustainable long term funding sources to support the future funding needs to adequately support ongoing workforce development efforts.  The governor, speaker, and president pro-tem jointly shall select the chair from the members of the committee.

(b)  The committee shall make a comprehensive review of workforce development funding strategies used successfully in other states and countries and determine which if any are suitable and workable for Vermont.

(c)  The committee shall report its findings and recommendations to the senate committee on economic development, housing and general affairs, the house committee on commerce, and the governor on or before December 1, 2007.

(d)  The joint fiscal office and legislative council shall provide administrative support to the committee.  The committee may request administrative support from the tax department, finance department, or the workforce development council and other agencies as required.

     Fourth:  By striking out Sec. 7 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 7 to read as follows:

Sec. 7.  APPROPRIATIONS

(a)  WETF.  The amount of $2,700,000.00 is appropriated to the Vermont workforce education and training fund, which is administered by the department of labor, for workforce development to supplement funds appropriated in the fiscal year 2008 omnibus appropriations act. 

(b)  VSAC Promise Scholarships. The amount of $4,000,000.00 is appropriated to the Vermont student assistance corporation for the purpose of awarding need-based scholarships for Vermont residents.  None of the funds appropriated herein shall be used for administrative overhead.

(c)  Career And Alternative Workforce Education.  The amount of $750,000.00 is appropriated to the department of labor for the purpose of awarding grants to support out-of-school youth, youth at risk, and youth at risk of remaining unemployed with outcomes that lead to employment or continued education, as follows: 

(1) (Vocational Career Exploration Programs).  The amount of $200,000.00 is appropriated to regional technical centers and comprehensive high schools for summer career exploration programs for students entering grades 7 through 9.

(2)  (Alternative Workforce Education Programs).  The amount of $550,000.00 is appropriated to regional technical centers, comprehensive high schools, the community high school of Vermont, and non-profit organizations, designated by the workforce development council, for alternative and intensive vocational/academic programs for students entering grades 11 and 12 in order to earn necessary credits toward graduation.

(d)  VTP.  The amount of $1,300,000.00 is appropriated to the Vermont training program, which is administered by the department of economic development, to supplement funds appropriated in the fiscal year 2008 omnibus appropriations act.

(e)  Dual Enrollment Programs.  The amount of $800,000 is appropriated for dual enrollment programs as follows:

     (1)  (VSC) the amount of $500,000 is appropriated to the Vermont state colleges ; and

     (2)  (VSAC) the amount of $300,000 is appropriated to the Vermont student assistance corporation.

(f)  Technical Education Equipment. The amount of $200,000.00 is appropriated to the department of education, for the purchase of technical education equipment for technical education centers and comprehensive high schools to be distributed equally to each center and high school with no local matching funds required.

(g)  Non-degree VSAC Promise Scholarships.  The amount of $1,000,000.00 is appropriated to the Vermont student assistance corporation for the purpose of providing non-degree grants to Vermonters to improve job skills and increase overall employability by enrolling in a post-secondary education or training program, including adult-technical education that is not part of a degree or accredited certificate program to supplement other funds made available for this purpose from the omnibus appropriations act for fiscal year 2008 using the model was used in fiscal 2007.  A portion of this appropriation shall be used for grants for indirect educational expenses to students enrolled in training programs. The grants shall not exceed $3,000 per student.  None of the funds appropriated herein shall be used for administrative overhead.    

(h)  Adult Technical Education Programs.  The amount of $1,000,000.00 is appropriated to the department of labor, working with the workforce development council, for the purpose of awarding grants to regional technical centers and comprehensive high schools to provide adult technical education, as that term is defined in 16 V.S.A. §1522, to unemployed and underemployed Vermont adults.

(i)  Accountability.  On or before March 15, 2008, the entities receiving appropriations under this section shall report to the house committees on commerce and education and the senate committee on economic development, housing and general affairs, regarding the distribution of funds, the number and categories of students served, the categorical number and amount of scholarships distributed, the geographic distribution of the funds and the number and types of jobs created.  

     Fifth: By adding a new section to be numbered Sec. 5a to read as follows:

Sec. 5a.  16 V.S.A. § 1565(b)(1)(C) is  amended to read:

(C)  Adult service coordinators' salary assistance shall not exceed be 50 percent of actual salaries and benefits.  Payment under this subsection does not preclude a district from using other state and federal grants to supplement the actual salaries and benefits of adult service coordinators.

     Sixth:  By adding a new section to be numbered Sec. 6a to read as follows:

Sec. 6a.  WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT; REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION; EMPLOYER CASH INCENTIVES; S.145 STUDY

The commissioners of labor and economic development, in consultation with the executive directors of the regional development corporations, shall study whether a program should be created to enable employers to offer cash incentives to employees to encourage workforce development. The study shall examine:

(1)  benefits and likely outcomes of cash incentives;

(2)  how these incentives would be delivered, to whom, and when;

(3)  long term funding sources if cash incentives are determined to be beneficial;

(4)  criteria for offering cash incentives;

(5)  methods for assuring accountability;

(6)  any other issue determined to be relevant to this proposal; and

(7) sustainable funding sources.

(b)  The commissioners shall issue a written report of recommendations to the house committee on commerce and the senate committee on economic development, housing and general affairs on or before December 1, 2007.     

     Seventh:  By adding a new section to be numbered Sec. 6b to read as follows:

Sec 6b.  CAREER READINESS CERTIFICATE; S.185 PILOT PROJECTS

(a)  The commissioner of labor may create up to two pilot career readiness certificate programs and use up to $6,000 of the funds appropriated to the department from workforce education and training fund.  The pilot programs shall be with a regional technical center or comprehensive high school providing technical education as defined in 16 V. S. A. Section 1522 or any workforce training program funded by this act.  In developing the pilot projects, the commissioner shall consult with the grant recipients to select 100 workforce training participants who will be given a nationally validated work readiness assessment that identifies levels of proficiency in specific academic, technical and work-ethic skills.  The work readiness assessment shall be administered at the beginning of the training program and at the conclusion of the program.  Those participants who demonstrate a level of proficiency determined by the commissioner to be appropriate for the applicable employment sector will be awarded a Career Readiness Certificate.  Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, the commissioner is authorized to receive in-kind contributions and grants from private and public sources to assist with the implementation of these pilot projects.

(b)  On or before December 15, 2008, the commissioner shall report to the governor, the house commerce and education committees, and to the senate economic development, general affairs and housing and education committees the effectiveness of the pilot projects, together with any  recommendations.  The report shall include recommendations related to further development of the Career Readiness Certificate program.  On or before January 15, 2008, the commissioner may provide a status report or preliminary results of these pilot programs. 

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, and pending the question, Shall the Senate propose to the House to amend the bill as recommended by the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Services?, Senator Miller, on behalf of the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Services, moved to substitute a proposal of amendment for the recommendation of amendment of the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Services as follows:

First:  By striking out Sec. 4 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 4 to read as follows:

* * * Consolidation of Grant Programs * * *

Sec. 4.  10 V.S.A. § 543 is added to read:

§ 543.  WORKFORCE EDUCATION AND TRAINING FUND; GRANT PROGRAMS

(a)  Creation.  There is created a workforce education and training fund in the department of labor to be managed in accordance with subchapter 5 of chapter 7 of Title 32.

(b)  Purposes.  The fund shall be used exclusively for the following two purposes:

(1) training to improve the skills of Vermont workers, including those who are unemployed, underemployed, or in transition; and

(2) internships to provide work‑based learning opportunities with Vermont employers for students from Vermont colleges, public and private high schools, regional technical centers, and the Community High School of Vermont.

(c)  Administrative Support.  Administrative support for the grant award process shall be provided by the departments of labor and of economic development.  Technical, administrative, financial, and other support shall be provided whenever appropriate and reasonable by the workforce development council and all other public entities involved in economic development, workforce development and training, and education.

(d)  Eligible Activities.  Awards from the fund shall be made to employers and entities that offer programs that require collaboration between employees and businesses, including private, public, and nonprofit entities, institutions of higher education, technical centers, and workforce development programs.  Funding shall be for training programs and student internship programs that offer education, training, apprenticeship, mentoring, or work‑based learning activities, or any combination; that employ innovative intensive student‑oriented competency‑based or collaborative approaches to workforce development; and that link workforce education and economic development strategies.  Training programs or projects that demonstrate actual increased income and economic opportunity for employees and employers may be funded for more than one year.  Student internships that involve the same employer may be funded multiple times, provided that new students participate.

(e)  Award Criteria and Process.  The workforce development council, in consultation with the commissioners of labor and of economic development, shall develop criteria consistent with subsection (d) of this section for making awards under this section.  The commissioners of labor and of economic development shall develop process for making awards that includes both the following:

(1)  applications shall be submitted to and reviewed by the local workforce investment board.  Within seven business days, the board shall forward them to the commissioner of labor, unless this time requirement is waived by the applicant; and

(2)  if review by the local workforce investment board as required by subdivision (1) of this subsection is not completed within seven business days, the applicant may file the application directly with the commissioner of labor without further review by the local workforce investment board.  

(f)  Awards.  Based on guidelines set by the council, the commissioner of labor shall make awards to the following:

(1)  Training Programs.  Public, private, and nonprofit entities for existing or new innovative training programs.  There shall be a preference for programs that include training for newly created or vacant positions.  Awards may be made to programs that retrain incumbent workers.  Awards under this subdivision shall be made to programs or projects that do all the following:  

(A)  offer innovative programs of intensive, student‑centric, competency‑based education, training, apprenticeship, mentoring, or any combination of these;

(B)  address the needs of workers who are unemployed, underemployed, or are at risk of becoming unemployed due to changing workplace demands by increasing productivity and developing new skills for incumbent workers;

(C)  lead to jobs paying at least 200 percent of the current minimum wage or at least 150 percent if benefits are included; this requirement may be waived when warranted based on regional or occupational wages or economic reality;

(D)  require a measurable investment from involved employers;

(E)  do not duplicate, supplant, or replace other programs funded with public money;

(F)  articulate clear goals and demonstrate readily accountable, reportable, and measurable results; and

(G)  demonstrate an integrated connection between training and employment.  If employment is not guaranteed at the successful completion of the training, the applicant must demonstrate employer involvement and that the training is likely to lead to employment in fields in which there is demand for jobs.

(2)  Internship Program.  Public and private entities for internship programs that match Vermont employers with students from public and private secondary schools, regional technical centers, the Community High School of Vermont, and colleges.  For the purposes of this section, “internship” means a learning experience working with an employer where the intern may, but does not necessarily receive academic credit, financial remuneration, a stipend, or any combination of these.  Awards under this subdivision may be used to fund the cost of administering an internship program and to provide students with a stipend during the internship, based on need.  Awards may be made only to programs or projects that do all the following:

(A)  do not replace or supplant existing positions;

(B)  create real workplace expectations and consequences;

(C)  provide a process that measures progress toward mastery of skills, attitude, behavior, and sense of responsibility required for success in that workplace;

(D)  are designed to motivate and educate secondary and postsecondary students through work‑based learning opportunities with Vermont employers that are likely to lead to real employment;

(E)  include mechanisms that promote employer involvement with secondary and postsecondary students and curriculum and the delivery of education at the participating schools;

(F)  involve Vermont employers or interns who are Vermont residents; and

(G)  offer students a continuum of learning, experience, and relationships with employers that will make it financially possible and attractive for graduates to continue to work and live in Vermont.

(g)  Accountability.  The commissioner of labor in consultation with the commissioner of economic development and the workforce development council shall do all the following: 

(1)  develop evaluation standards that measure the effectiveness of the programs and projects funded by this section, which shall include an objective process that documents the state’s return on investment; and

(2)  on or before December 1 of each year, submit a report to the governor, the speaker of the house, the president pro tempore of the senate, the chair of the house committee on commerce, and the chair of the senate committee on economic development, housing and general affairs that includes all the following information for the prior fiscal year:

(A)  the number of applications received, grants awarded, jobs created, including wages for each, jobs filled, including wages for each, internships created, and interns served; the information shall be categorically posted every quarter on the department of labor’s website;

(B)  funds needed for the next fiscal year; and

(C)  the extent to which the program has improved coordination, cooperation, and effective expenditure of resources by workforce education and training entities and increased employers’ participation in and provision of workforce training opportunities and internships by employers, educational institutions, and other private entities.

Second:  By adding a new section to be numbered Sec. 5a to read as follows:

Sec. 5a.  16 V.S.A. § 1565(b)(1)(C) is amended to read:

(C)  Adult service coordinators’ salary assistance shall not exceed be 50 percent of actual salaries and benefits.  Payment under this subsection does not preclude a district from using other state and federal grants to supplement the actual salaries and benefits of adult service coordinators.

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

* * * Workforce Development Leadership * * *

Sec. 6.  Workforce Development Leader; LeadersHIP COMMITTEE; CREATED

The commissioner of labor shall be the leader for developing workforce development strategy and accountability.  The commissioner shall work with a subcommittee of the workforce development council composed of eight members to include four business members and a higher education member of the council appointed by the governor, the secretary of human services, and the commissioners of education and of economic development.  Membership shall be coincident with the members’ terms on the workforce development council.  The workforce development council shall provide administrative support to the leadership committee.  The commissioner of labor shall be the chair of the committee.  The duties of the leader include all the following:

(1)  developing a limited number of overarching goals and challenging measurable criteria for the workforce development system that supports the creation of good jobs to build and retain a strong, appropriate, and sustainable economic environment in Vermont;

(2)  reviewing reports submitted by each entity that receives funding.  The reports shall be submitted on a schedule determined by the committee and shall include all the following information:

(A)  a description of the mission and programs relating to preparing individuals for employment and meeting the needs of employers for skilled workers;

(B)  the measurable accomplishments that have contributed to achieving the overarching goals;

(C)  identification of any innovations made to improve delivery of services;

(D)  future plans that will contribute to the achievement of the goals;

(E)  the successes of programs to establish working partnerships and collaborations with other organizations that reduce duplication or enhance the delivery of services, or both; and

(F)  any other information that the committee may deem necessary and relevant.

(3)  reviewing information pursuant to subdivision (2) of this section that is voluntary provided by education and training organizations that are not required to report this information but want recognition for their contributions; 

(4)  issuing an annual report to the governor and the general assembly on or before December 1, which shall include a systematic evaluation of the accomplishments of the system and the participating agencies and institutions and all the following:

(A)  a compilation of the systemwide accomplishments made toward achieving the overarching goals, specific notable accomplishments, innovations, collaborations, grants received, or new funding sources developed by participating agencies, institutions, and other education and training organizations;

(B)  an evaluation of each provider’s contributions toward achieving the overarching goals;

(C)  identification of areas needing improvement, including time frames, expected annual participation, and contributions, and the overarching goals; and

(D)  recommendations for the allocating of next generation funds and other public resources.

(5)  developing an integrated workforce strategy that incorporates economic development, workforce development, and education to provide all Vermonters with the best education and training available in order to create a strong, appropriate, and sustainable economic environment that supports a healthy state economy; and

(6)  developing strategies for both the following:

(A)  coordination of public and private workforce programs to assure that information is easily accessible to students, employees, and employers, and that all information and necessary counseling is available through one contact; and

(B)  more effective communications between the business community and educational institutions, both public and private.

     Fourth:  By adding a new section to be numbered Sec. 6a to read as follows:

* * * Sustainable Funding * * *

Sec. 6a.  WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT SUSTAINABLE FUNDING COMMITTEE; CREATION; DURATION

(a)  The workforce development sustainable funding committee is created consisting of eight members to include three business members from the workforce development council appointed by the council executive committee, one business representative appointed by the senate president pro tempore, one business representative appointed by the speaker of the house, and three business members who represent business organizations appointed by the governor.  The committee shall make a recommendation regarding new sustainable long‑term funding sources to support the future funding needed to support adequately ongoing workforce development efforts.  The governor, speaker, and president pro tempore jointly shall select the chair from the members of the committee.

(b)  The committee shall perform a comprehensive review of workforce development funding strategies that have been used successfully in other states and countries and determine which, if any, are suitable and workable for Vermont.

(c)  The committee shall report its findings and recommendations to the senate committee on economic development, housing and general affairs, the house committee on commerce, and the governor on or before December 1, 2007.

(d)  The joint fiscal office and legislative council shall provide administrative support to the committee.  The committee may request administrative support from the department of taxes, the department of finance and management, or the workforce development council and other agencies as required.

Fifth:  By adding a new section to be numbered Sec. 6b to read as follows:

Sec. 6b.  WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT; REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION; EMPLOYER CASH INCENTIVES; STUDY 

(a)  The commissioners of labor and of economic development, in consultation with the executive directors of the regional development corporations shall study the advantages of creating a program that offers cash incentives to encourage workforce development.  The study shall examine all the following issues:

(1)  benefits and likely outcomes of cash incentives;

(2)  how these incentives would be delivered, to whom, and when;

(3)  long‑term funding sources if cash incentives are determined to be beneficial;

(4)  criteria for offering cash incentives;

(5)  methods for assuring accountability;

(6)  any other issue determined to be relevant to this proposal; and

(7)  sustainable funding sources.    

(b)  The commissioners shall issue a written report of recommendations to the house committee on commerce and the senate committee on economic development, housing and general affairs on or before December 1, 2007.     


     Sixth:  By adding a new section to be numbered Sec. 6c to read as follows:

Sec 6c.  CAREER READINESS CERTIFICATE; PILOT PROJECTS

(a)  The commissioner of labor may create up to two pilot career readiness certificate programs and use up to $6,000.00 of the funds appropriated to the department from workforce education and training fund.  The pilot programs shall be with a regional technical center or comprehensive high school providing technical education as defined in 16 V.S.A. § 1522 or any workforce training program.  In developing the pilot projects, the commissioner shall consult with the department of education, the workforce development council to identify a nationally validated a work readiness assessment program that identifies levels of proficiency in specific academic, technical, and work‑ethic skills at the beginning of the training program and at the conclusion of the program.  The commissioner may accept in‑kind contributions or grants, or both, from private and public sources to assist with the implementation of the pilot projects. 

(b)  On or before December 15, 2008, the commissioner shall report to the governor, the house committees on commerce and on education, and the senate committees on economic development, housing and general affairs and on education the effectiveness of the pilot projects, together with recommendations for further development of the career readiness certificate program.  On or before January 15, 2008, the commissioner may provide a status report or preliminary results of these pilot programs. 

     Seventh:  By striking out Sec. 7 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 7 to read as follows:

Sec. 7.  APPROPRIATIONS

(a)  WETF.  The amount of $2,700,000.00 is appropriated to the Vermont workforce education and training fund, which is administered by the department of labor, for workforce development to supplement funds appropriated in the fiscal year 2008 omnibus appropriations act.  Up to seven percent of the funds may be used to cover the cost of administration. 

(b)  VSAC Scholarships.  The amount of $4,000,000.00 is appropriated to the Vermont student assistance corporation for the purpose of awarding need‑based scholarships for Vermont residents.  None of the funds appropriated herein shall be used for administrative overhead.

(c)  Career and Alternative Workforce Education.  The amount of $1,000,000.00 is appropriated to the department of labor for the purpose of awarding grants to support out‑of‑school youth, youth at risk, and youth at risk of remaining unemployed with outcomes that lead to employment or continued education, as follows: 

(1)  Career Exploration Programs.  The amount of $450,000.00 is appropriated to regional technical centers, comprehensive high schools, and other programs for career exploration programs for students entering grades 7 through 12.

(2)  Alternative Workforce Education Programs.  The amount of $550,000.00 is appropriated to regional technical centers, comprehensive high schools, the Community High School of Vermont, and nonprofit organizations, designated by the workforce development council, for alternative and intensive vocational or academic programs for secondary students in order to earn necessary credits toward graduation.

(d)  VTP.  The amount of $1,300,000.00 is appropriated to the Vermont training program, which is administered by the department of economic development, to supplement funds appropriated in the fiscal year 2008 omnibus appropriations act.

(e)  Dual Enrollment Programs.  The amount of $800,000.00 is appropriated for dual enrollment programs as follows:

(1)  the amount of $500,000.00 to the Vermont state colleges; and

(2)  the amount of $300,000.00 to the Vermont student assistance corporation.

(f)  UVM Technology Transfer Program.  The amount of $200,000.00 is appropriated to the University of Vermont for patent development and commercialization of technology created at the university for the purpose of creating jobs in Vermont.

(g)  Nondegree VSAC Grants.  The amount of $1,000,000.00 is appropriated to the Vermont student assistance corporation for the purpose of providing nondegree grants to Vermonters to improve job skills and increase overall employability by enrolling in a post‑secondary education or training program, including adult technical education that is not part of a degree or accredited certificate program to supplement other funds made available for this purpose from the omnibus appropriations act for fiscal year 2008, using the model that was used in fiscal 2007.  A portion of this appropriation shall be used for grants for indirect educational expenses to students enrolled in training programs.  The grants shall not exceed $3,000.00 per student.  None of the funds appropriated herein shall be used for administrative overhead.    

(h)  Adult Technical Education Programs.  The amount of $1,000,000.00 is appropriated to the department of labor, working with the workforce development council, for the purpose of awarding grants to regional technical centers and comprehensive high schools to provide adult technical education, as that term is defined in 16 V.S.A. § 1522, to unemployed and underemployed Vermont adults.

(i)  Accountability.  On or before March 15, 2008, the entities receiving appropriations under this section shall report to the house committees on commerce and on education and the senate committee on economic development, housing and general affairs regarding the distribution of funds, the number and categories of students served, the categorical number and amount of scholarships distributed, the geographic distribution of the funds, and the number and types of jobs created.  

Which was agreed to.

Senator Bartlett, for the Committee on Appropriations, to which the bill was referred, reported recommending that the bill be amended as recommended by the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs, as substituted with the following amendment thereto:

By striking out the Seventh proposal of amendment in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new Seventh proposal of amendment to read as follows:

Seventh:  By striking out Sec. 7 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 7 to read as follows:

Sec. 7.  APPROPRIATIONS

(a)  Workforce Development $5,400,000 as follows:

     (1)  WETF. The total sum of $2,200,000 is appropriated to the Vermont workforce education and training fund, which is administered by the department of labor, for workforce development. Of this appropriation, $900,000 is from the fiscal year 2007 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund, and $1,300,000 is from the fiscal year 2008 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund. This appropriation is supplemental to funds appropriated in the fiscal year 2008 appropriations act. Up to 7% of the funds may be used for administration of the program.

(2)  Vermont employment training fund.  The sum of $1,200,000 is appropriated to the agency of commerce and community development.  Of this appropriation, $550,000 is from the fiscal 2007 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund and $650,000 is from the fiscal year 2008 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund. This appropriation is for the Vermont employment training fund for the issuance of grants pursuant to 10 V.S.A. § 531 and is supplemental to funds appropriated in the fiscal year 2008 appropriations act.

     (3)  Career And Alternative Workforce Education.  The amount of $900,000 is appropriated to the department of labor. Of this appropriation, $450,000 is from the fiscal year 2007 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund, and $450,000 is from the fiscal year 2008 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund. This appropriation shall be to support out-of-school youth, youth at risk, and youth at risk of remaining unemployed with outcomes that lead to employment or continued education as follows:

          (A) Forty-five percent (45%) shall be for grants to regional technical centers, comprehensive high schools, and other programs for career exploration programs for students entering grades 7 through 12.

          (B) Fifty-five percent (55%) shall be for grants to regional technical centers, comprehensive high schools, the community high school of Vermont, and non-profit organizations, designated by the workforce development council, for alternative and intensive vocational/academic programs for secondary students in order to earn necessary credits toward graduation.

     (4)  Adult Technical Education Programs.  The amount of $900,000 is appropriated to the department of labor, working with the workforce development council. Of this appropriation, $450,000 is from the fiscal year 2007 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund, and $450,000 is from the fiscal year 2008 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund. This appropriation is for the purpose of awarding grants to regional technical centers and comprehensive high schools to provide adult technical education, as that term is defined in 16 V.S.A. §1522, to unemployed and underemployed Vermont adults.

          (5) UVM Technology Transfer Program. The amount of $200,000 is appropriated to the University of Vermont from the fiscal year 2008 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund. This appropriation is for patent development and commercialization of technology created at the university for the purpose of creating employment opportunities for Vermont residents.

     (b)  Loan Repayment $500,000 as follows;

          (1)  The total sum of $500,000 is appropriated to the agency of human services global commitment for the department of health to use for healthcare loan repayment. Of this appropriation, $50,000 is from the fiscal year 2007 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund, and $450,000 is from the fiscal year 2008 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund. The department shall use these funds for a grant to the area health education centers (AHEC) for repayment of commercial or governmental loans for postsecondary health care-related education or training owed by persons living and working in Vermont in the health care field.

(c)  Scholarships and Grants $6,100,000 as follows;

          (1)  Non-degree VSAC Grants. The amount of $1,000,000 is appropriated to the Vermont student assistance corporation. Of this appropriation, $300,000 is from the fiscal year 2007 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund, and $700,000 is from the fiscal year 2008 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund. This appropriations shall be for the purpose of providing non-degree grants to Vermonters to improve job skills and increase overall employability by enrolling in a post-secondary education or training program, including adult-technical education that is not part of a degree or accredited certificate program using the model was used in fiscal 2007. A portion of this appropriation shall be used for grants for indirect educational expenses to students enrolled in training programs. The grants shall not exceed $3,000 per student.  None of this appropriation shall be used for administrative overhead. These funds shall supplement other funds made available for this purpose from the omnibus appropriations act for fiscal year 2008.

          (2) The total sum of $4,700,000 is appropriated for scholarships. Of this appropriation, $2,200,000 is from the fiscal year 2007 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund, and $2,500,000 is from the fiscal year 2008 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund. These funds shall be equally distributed to the university of Vermont, the Vermont state colleges and the Vermont student assistance corporation. The Vermont student assistance corporation shall reserve these funds for student attending institutions other than the university of Vermont or the Vermont state colleges. This appropriation shall be for the purpose of awarding need-based scholarships for Vermont residents. None of this appropriation shall be used for administrative overhead.

          (3) Dual Enrollment Programs.  The total sum of $400,000 is appropriated to the Vermont state colleges for dual enrollment programs. Of the total amount appropriated in this subsection, $100,000 is from the fiscal 2007 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund, and $300,000 is from the fiscal 2008 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund. The state colleges shall develop a voucher program that will allow Vermont students to attend programs at post secondary institutions other than the state college system when programs at the other institution are better academically or geographically suited to student need.

               (d)  Accountability.  On or before March 15, 2008, the entities receiving appropriations under this section shall report to the house committees on commerce, education, and appropriations and the senate committees on economic development, housing and general affairs, education, and appropriations regarding the distribution of funds, the number and categories of students served, the categorical number and amount of scholarships and grants distributed, the geographic distribution of the funds and the number and types of jobs created.

     (e) The appropriations in this section that are funded through the fiscal year 2007 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund shall be effective on passage.

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

Thereupon, pending the question, Shall the recommendation of proposal of amendment of the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs, as substituted?, be amended as recommended by the Committee on Appropriations?, Senator Illuzzi moved to amend the recommendation of amendment of the Committee on Appropriations as follows:

In Sec. 7(c) by striking out subdivision (2) in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new subdivision (2) to read as follows:

          (2)  VSAC Degree Scholarships.  The total sum of $4,700,000 is appropriated to Vermont Student Assistance Corporation for degree scholarships. Of this appropriation, $2,200,000 is from the fiscal year 2007 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund, and $2,500,000 is from the fiscal year 2008 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund.  This appropriation shall be for the purpose of awarding need-based scholarships for Vermont residents. None of this appropriation shall be used for administrative overhead.

Which was disagreed to on a roll call, Yeas 10, Nays 18.

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: Ayer, Campbell, Carris, Condos, Cummings, Flanagan, Giard, Illuzzi, Shumlin, White.

Those Senators who voted in the negative were: Bartlett, Collins, Coppenrath, Doyle, Hartwell, Kitchel, Lyons, Maynard, Mazza, McCormack, Miller, Mullin, Nitka, Racine, Scott, Sears, Snelling, Starr.

Those Senators absent and not voting were: Kittell, MacDonald.

Thereupon, pending the question, Shall the recommendation of proposal of amendment of the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs, as substituted?, be amended as recommended by the Committee on Appropriations?, Senators Racine, Carris and Condos moved to amend the recommendation of amendment of the Committee on Appropriations by striking out the recommendation of amendment in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Seventh:  By striking out Sec. 7 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 7 to read as follows:

Sec. 7.  APPROPRIATIONS

(a)  Workforce Development $6,000,000 as follows:

     (1)  WETF. The total sum of $2,700,000 is appropriated to the Vermont workforce education and training fund, which is administered by the department of labor, for workforce development. Of this appropriation, $1,100,000 is from the fiscal year 2007 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund, and $1,600,000 is from the fiscal year 2008 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund. This appropriation is supplemental to funds appropriated in the fiscal year 2008 appropriations act. Up to 7% of the funds may be used for administration of the program.

(2)  Vermont employment training fund.  The sum of $1,300,000 is appropriated to the agency of commerce and community development.  Of this appropriation, $600,000 is from the fiscal 2007 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund and $700,000 is from the fiscal year 2008 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund. This appropriation is for the Vermont employment training fund for the issuance of grants pursuant to 10 V.S.A. § 531 and is supplemental to funds appropriated in the fiscal year 2008 appropriations act.

     (3)  Career And Alternative Workforce Education.  The amount of $900,000 is appropriated to the department of labor. Of this appropriation, $450,000 is from the fiscal year 2007 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund, and $450,000 is from the fiscal year 2008 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund. This appropriation shall be to support out-of-school youth, youth at risk, and youth at risk of remaining unemployed with outcomes that lead to employment or continued education as follows:

          (A) Forty-five percent (45%) shall be for grants to regional technical centers, comprehensive high schools, and other programs for career exploration programs for students entering grades 7 through 12.

          (B) Fifty-five percent (55%) shall be for grants to regional technical centers, comprehensive high schools, the community high school of Vermont, and non-profit organizations, designated by the workforce development council, for alternative and intensive vocational/academic programs for secondary students in order to earn necessary credits toward graduation.

     (4)  Adult Technical Education Programs.  The amount of $900,000 is appropriated to the department of labor, working with the workforce development council. Of this appropriation, $450,000 is from the fiscal year 2007 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund, and $450,000 is from the fiscal year 2008 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund. This appropriation is for the purpose of awarding grants to regional technical centers and comprehensive high schools to provide adult technical education, as that term is defined in 16 V.S.A. §1522, to unemployed and underemployed Vermont adults.

          (5) UVM Technology Transfer Program. The amount of $200,000 is appropriated to the University of Vermont from the fiscal year 2008 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund. This appropriation is for patent development and commercialization of technology created at the university for the purpose of creating employment opportunities for Vermont residents.

     (b)  Loan Repayment $500,000 as follows;

          (1)  The total sum of $500,000 is appropriated to the agency of human services global commitment for the department of health to use for healthcare loan repayment. Of this appropriation, $50,000 is from the fiscal year 2007 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund, and $450,000 is from the fiscal year 2008 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund. The department shall use these funds for a grant to the area health education centers (AHEC) for repayment of commercial or governmental loans for postsecondary health care-related education or training owed by persons living and working in Vermont in the health care field.

(c)  Scholarships and Grants $5,500,000 as follows;

          (1)  Non-degree VSAC Grants. The amount of $1,000,000 is appropriated to the Vermont student assistance corporation. Of this appropriation, $300,000 is from the fiscal year 2007 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund, and $700,000 is from the fiscal year 2008 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund. This appropriations shall be for the purpose of providing non-degree grants to Vermonters to improve job skills and increase overall employability by enrolling in a post-secondary education or training program, including adult-technical education that is not part of a degree or accredited certificate program using the model was used in fiscal 2007. A portion of this appropriation shall be used for grants for indirect educational expenses to students enrolled in training programs. The grants shall not exceed $3,000 per student.  None of this appropriation shall be used for administrative overhead. These funds shall supplement other funds made available for this purpose from the omnibus appropriations act for fiscal year 2008.

          (2) The total sum of $4,000,000 is appropriated for scholarships. Of this appropriation, $1,900,000 is from the fiscal year 2007 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund, and $2,100,000 is from the fiscal year 2008 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund. These funds shall be equally distributed to the university of Vermont, the Vermont state colleges and the Vermont student assistance corporation. The Vermont student assistance corporation shall reserve these funds for student attending institutions other than the university of Vermont or the Vermont state colleges. This appropriation shall be for the purpose of awarding need-based scholarships for Vermont residents. None of this appropriation shall be used for administrative overhead.

          (3) Dual Enrollment Programs.  The total sum of $500,000 is appropriated to the Vermont state colleges for dual enrollment programs. Of the total amount appropriated in this subsection, $200,000 is from the fiscal 2007 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund, and $300,000 is from the fiscal 2008 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund. The state colleges shall develop a voucher program that will allow Vermont students to attend programs at post secondary institutions other than the state college system when programs at the other institution are better academically or geographically suited to student need.

               (d)  Accountability.  On or before March 15, 2008, the entities receiving appropriations under this section shall report to the house committees on commerce, education, and appropriations and the senate committees on economic development, housing and general affairs, education, and appropriations regarding the distribution of funds, the number and categories of students served, the categorical number and amount of scholarships and grants distributed, the geographic distribution of the funds and the number and types of jobs created.

     (e) The appropriations in this section that are funded through the fiscal year 2007 monies transferred to the next generation initiative fund shall be effective on passage.

     Which was disagreed on a roll call, Yeas 8, Nays 21.

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: Ayer, Carris, Condos, Cummings, Flanagan, Giard, McCormack, Racine.

Those Senators who voted in the negative were: Bartlett, Campbell, Collins, Coppenrath, Doyle, Hartwell, Illuzzi, Kitchel, Kittell, Lyons, Maynard, Mazza, Miller, Mullin, Nitka, Scott, Sears, Shumlin, Snelling, Starr, White.

The Senators absent and not voting was: MacDonald.

Thereupon, the pending question, Shall the recommendation of proposal of amendment of the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs, as substituted?, be amended as recommended by the Committee on Appropriations?, was agreed to.

Thereupon, pending the question, Shall the Senate propose to the House to amend the bill as recommended by the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs, as substituted, as amended?, Senators Miller, Illuzzi, Carris, Condos and Racine move to amend the proposal of amendment of the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs, as substituted, as amended, as follows:

First:  By adding four new sections to be numbered Sec. 6d, Sec. 6e, Sec. 6f, and Sec. 6g to read as follows:

* * * Job Start Program* * *

Sec. 6d.  FINDINGS AND PURPOSE

(a)  The general assembly finds:

(1)  Beginning in 2002 the Job Start board began a process of evaluation and consultation with stakeholders to chart a course of sustainability and relevancy for the Job Start program.

(2)  As part of this process, in January 2005, the Vermont economic development authority (VEDA) and Central Vermont Community Action Council jointly funded a report, Job Start Analysis and Recommendations, by consultant Sleeping Lion Associates.  The report found:  “Statewide access to flexible character-based lending is both desirable and needed for microenterprises.”  One of the recommendations for making Job Start viable and sustainable was that clear ownership and accountability for the entire program needed to rest in a single entity committed to providing credit and financial services to low income people.

(3)  After the report was presented to a meeting of stakeholders in June of 2005, the Community Capital of Vermont and Opportunities Credit Union expressed interest in administering Job Start. These two entities responded to a request for information sent out in October 2005, and, in January 2006, presented their proposals to the job start board.

(4)  In July 2006, the board approved a motion to ask Community Capital of Vermont in consultation with Opportunities Credit Union, the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) and the job start staff to develop a plan to restructure job start.

(5)  In September 2006, the board approved Community Capital’s proposal.

(b)  In response to the findings, the purpose of this section and sections 6e, 6f, and 6g is to ratify the recommendations of the Job Start Board to restructure the Job Start Program by moving the program from VEDA to OEO.  OEO shall contract with a nonprofit as the program administrator provided the nonprofit meets the criteria of 3 V.S.A. §3721(b) and has the recommendation of the Job Start Advisory Board and VEDA.

Sec. 6e.  3 V.S.A. chapter 57A is added to read:

CHAPTER 57A.  JOB START

§ 3721.  JOB START PROGRAM

(a)  There is created a job start program to provide assistance in the development of business plans and to administer a microenterprise loan program for low income applicants.

(b)(1)  The office of economic opportunity shall contract with a Vermont nonprofit organization to administer the job start program and manage the microenterprise loan program of the job start revolving loan fund.  The office of economic opportunity shall provide grants to the job start program administrator to manage the job start revolving loan fund.  The job start program administrator shall have all the following qualifications:

(A)  Be registered as a nonprofit with the secretary of state.

(B)  Be certified by the secretary of state as being in good standing. 

(C)  Be certified by the U.S. Department of the Treasury as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI).

(D)  Have experience managing municipal loan funds.

(E)  Have both the resources and a business plan sufficient to implement the job start revolving loan fund program statewide.

(F)  Be supported by the community action agency network as demonstrated by the Vermont community action directors’ association.

(2)  The job start program administrator shall administer the program in accordance with organizational policies and procedures approved by the office of economic opportunity.  These policies shall include specific provisions for the job start revolving loan fund program, including eligibility criteria based on an applicant’s income, interest rates for loans, and a loan maximum of $25,000.00 to any applicant.

(3)  The board of directors of the job start administrator shall include two members who are former borrowers from the job start revolving loan fund.  In order to ease the transition of the job start revolving loan fund program from the Vermont office of economic opportunity, the board of directors of the job start administrator shall also include one former job start advisory board member for one term.

(4)  The job start program administrator shall issue an annual report to the office of economic opportunity on loan fund activity and shall rate performance against the goals and standards as determined by the office of economic opportunity.  The report shall also be provided to the house committees on commerce and on appropriations and the senate committees on economic development, housing and general affairs and on appropriations.

(c)  Notwithstanding the foregoing, the office of economic opportunity may delegate to the job start program administrator the authority to review, approve, and make loans and to disburse funds on those loans up to the limits prescribed by the job start program administrator.  For purposes of this section, “loan” means a loan, or a financing lease, provided that such lease transfers the ownership of the leased property to the lessee following the payment of all required lease payments as specified in the lease agreement.

§ 3722.  REGIONAL MICROBUSINESS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS OPERATION

The office of economic opportunity shall provide grants to each community action agency for the microbusiness development program at each community action agency.  In the event that a community action agency is unable, as determined by the office of economic opportunity, or unwilling to perform the required services, the office of economic opportunity may provide grants to another qualified regional entity.

§ 3723.  JOB START REVOLVING LOAN FUND

(a)(1)  A job start revolving loan fund, the fund, is created as a special fund subject to the provisions of subchapter 5 of chapter 7 of Title 32.  The fund shall be administered by the office of economic opportunity for the purposes of the Vermont job start program, in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.

(2)  The fund shall be composed of any state or federal funds appropriated for the program, repayments of principal and interest of program loans, private monies related to the administration and operation of the job start program, grants received for the benefit of the program, funds arising from loans made to the fund by banks or other private sources not to exceed $500,000.00 in the aggregate, and any interest earned by deposits.  Notwithstanding subdivision 32 V.S.A. § 588(4)(A), monies may be disbursed from the fund for program purposes without an annual appropriation.

(b)  The liabilities or obligations of the office of economic opportunity with regard to its activities under the job start program shall not extend beyond the funds which are deposited in the job start revolving loan fund and shall not constitute a debt or pledge of the faith and credit of the state or any subdivision of the state.

Sec. 6f.  TRANSFER OF POWERS AND DUTIES AND ASSETS AND LIABILITIES

Repeal of  subchapter 7 of chapter 12 of Title 10 pursuant to which the job start program is administered by the Vermont economic development authority will be recodified to transfer the program to the Vermont office of economic opportunity in order to continue job start.  The powers and duties of the authority shall continue and shall be vested in the office of economic opportunity to the extent that they are not inconsistent with the provisions of this act.  The authority shall continue to operate the job start revolving loan fund program to the extent that it is not inconsistent with the provisions of this act until the office of economic opportunity has contracted for a job start program administrator.  The office of economic opportunity shall succeed to all the authority’s rights, assets, and liabilities relating to the job start program.  Funds in the job start revolving loan fund on June 30, 2007, shall be deposited into the revolving loan fund administered by the office of economic opportunity under 3 V.S.A. § 3723.

Sec. 6g.  OFFICE OF ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY GRANT FOR MICROENTERPRISE LENDING

After the effective date of this act, the office of economic opportunity may issue a one-time grant of no more than $40,000.00 from the job start revolving loan fund to a community development financial institution for the proposes of making microenterprise loans based on the same criteria and performance standards as the job start program.

Second:  By striking out Sec. 8 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 8 to read as follows:

Sec. 8.  REPEAL

The following are repealed.

(1)  Sec. 157a(d) of No. 62 of the Acts of 1999, as amended by Sec. 14 of No. 212 of the Acts of the 2005 Adj. Sess. (2006) (workforce education and training fund).

(2)  Subchapter 7 of chapter 12 of Title 10 (job start program).

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 Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs, as substituted, as amended?, Senator McCormack moved to amend the proposal of amendment of the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs, as substituted, as amended, by adding three new sections to be numbered Secs. 1a, Sec. 1b and Sec. 1c to read as follows:

Sec. 1a 7 V.S.A. §68 is added to read:

§68.  VINOUS BEVERAGES STORAGE AND SHIPPING PERMIT

A person who provides climate controlled storage for vinous beverages owned by another person or persons for a fee may be granted a permit allowing the person to ship stored vinous beverages to the owners of the beverages.  A permitee shall ship the vinous beverages by common carrier in compliance with subsection (f) of section 66 of this title.  The permit shall be granted pursuant to rules adopted by the department.  A person granted a permit pursuant to this section shall not sell or resell any alcoholic beverages that are shipped.

Sec. 1b.  7  V.S.A. §64(b) is amended to read:

(b)  Except as provided in section 66 sections 66 and 68 of this title, all malt or vinous beverages, or both, imported or transported into this state shall be imported or transported by and through a wholesale dealer holding a wholesale dealer’s license issued by the liquor control board.  A person importing or transporting or causing to be imported or transported into this state any malt or vinous beverages, or both, shall be imprisoned not more than one year or fined not more than $1,000.00, or both.  Provided, however, a person may import or transport not more than six gallons of malt or vinous beverages, or both, into this state in his or her own private vehicle or in his or her actual possession at the time of importation without permit providing it is not for resale.

Sec. 1c.  7 V.S.A. §66(f) is amended to read:

(f) A common carrier shall not deliver vinous beverages until it has complied with the training provisions in subsections 239(a) and (b) of this title and been certified by the department of liquor control.  No employee of a certified common carrier may deliver vinous beverages until that employee completes the training provisions in subsection 239(c) of this title.  A common carrier shall deliver only vinous beverages that have been shipped by the holder of a license issued under this section or a permit issued under section 68 of this title.

Thereupon, pending the question, Shall the proposal of amendment of Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs, as substituted, be amended as moved by Senator McCormack?, Senator Condos 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 Senator McCormack 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 Senator McCormack was not germane to the bill since it presented a new question and was beyond the scope of the bill.

Thereupon, the pending question, Shall the Senate propose to the House to amend the bill as recommended by the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs, as substituted, as amended?, was decided in the affirmative

Thereupon, third reading of the bill was ordered on a roll call, Yeas 30, Nays 0.

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: Ayer, Bartlett, Campbell, Carris, Collins, Condos, Coppenrath, Cummings, Doyle, 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.

Thereupon, on motion of Senator Shumlin, the rules were suspended and the bill was placed on all remaining stages of its passage in concurrence with proposals of amendment forthwith.

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

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

Recess

On motion of Senator Shumlin the Senate recessed until 4:00 P.M.

Called to Order

At 4:20 P.M. the Senate was called to order by the President.

Message from the House No. 85

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

                                         Rep. Grad of Moretown

                                         Rep. Donaghy of Poultney

                                         Rep. Minter of Waterbury

S. 143.  An act relating to authorizing the use of racing fuel containing the additive MTBE or other gasoline ethers.

                                         Rep. Minter of Waterbury

                                         Rep. Westman of Cambridge

                                         Rep. Deen of Westminster

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. 148.  An act relating to child abuse registry.

The Speaker has changed a member of the Committee of Conference so that Rep. Haas of Rochester replaces Rep. Andrews of Rutland City.

The House has adopted a joint resolution of the following title:

J.R.H.  41.  Joint resolution creating an interim study committee on legislative ethics.

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

Message from the House No. 86

     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 Senate bills of the following titles:

S. 97.  An act relating to correctional facilities.

S. 170.  An act relating to the rights of family members, funeral directors, and crematory operators concerning the disposition of bodily remains and funeral goods and services.

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 proposal of amendment to Senate bill of the following title:

S. 167.  An act relating to voter registration.

And has concurred therein.

The House has considered the report of the Committee of Conference upon the disagreeing votes of the two houses on Senate bill of the following title:

S. 115.  An act relating to increasing transparency of prescription drug pricing and information.

And has adopted the same on its part.

The House has considered the report of the Committee of Conference upon the disagreeing votes of the two houses on House bills of the following titles:

H. 154.  An act relating to stormwater management.

H. 229.  An act relating to corrections and clarifications to the health care affordability act of 2006 and related legislation.

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

And has adopted the same on its part.


Joint Resolution Referred

J.R.H. 41.

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

Joint resolution creating an interim study committee on legislative ethics

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

That an interim committee on legislative ethics is created and shall consist of five persons, with the current and former legislative members representing each political party currently represented in the general assembly,  including: two former members of the general assembly, one of whom shall be appointed by the speaker of the house and one by the senate committee on committees; two members of the general assembly who have each served a minimum of 10 years in the legislature, one of whom shall be appointed by the speaker of the house and one by the senate committee on committees; and one person who shall not be a current or former member of the general assembly to be appointed jointly by the speaker of the house and the president pro tempore of the senate, and be it further

Resolved: That the committee shall be directed to:

(1) Evaluate and make recommendations on whether more guidance needs to be provided to members of the general assembly on legislative ethics; and

(2) Review other states that have a citizen legislature and compare those states’ legislative ethics laws and rules with those of Vermont, and be it further

Resolved: That the committee is authorized to meet no more than three times during the 2007 legislative interim and shall submit a report of its findings and recommendations to the house and senate committees on rules on or before December 15, 2007, and be it further

Resolved: That all persons serving on the committee shall be entitled to per diem compensation and reimbursement as provided to members of standing committees under section 406(a) of Title 2.

Thereupon, in the discretion of the President, under Rule 51, the joint resolution was treated as a bill and referred to the Committee on Rules.


Rules Suspended; Reports of Committee of Conference Accepted and Adopted on the Part of the Senate

H. 531.

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

An act relating to ensuring success in health care reform.

Was taken up for immediate consideration.

Senator Racine, for the Committee of Conference, submitted the following report:

To the Senate and House of Representatives:

The Committee of Conference to which were referred the disagreeing votes of the two Houses upon House bill entitled:

H. 531.  An act relating to ensuring success in health care reform.

Respectfully reports that it has met and considered the same and recommends that the House accede to the Senate proposals of amendment, with the following additional amendments:

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

Sec. 11.  33 V.S.A. § 1986(d) is amended to read:

(d)  All monies received by or generated to the fund shall be used only as allowed by appropriation of the general assembly for the administration and delivery of the Catamount Health assistance program under this subchapter, employer‑sponsored insurance premium assistance under section 1974 of this title, immunizations under section 1130 of Title 18 the nongroup health insurance market assistance under section 4062d of Title 8, and for transfers to the state health care resources fund established in section 1901d of this title as approved by the general assembly, and development and implementation of the blueprint for health under section 702 of Title 18.

Second:  By striking out Sec. 13 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 13 to read as follows:

Sec. 13.  8 V.S.A. § 4080f(f)(1) is amended to read:

(f)(1)  Except as provided for in subdivision (2) of this subsection, the carrier shall pay a health care professional the lowest of the health care professional’s contracted rate, the health care professional’s billed charges, or the rate derived from the Medicare payment methodologies, at a level ten percent greater than for levels paid under the Medicare program in 2006.  Payments based on Medicare payment methodologies under this subsection shall be indexed to the Medicare economic index developed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Third:  By striking out Sec. 15 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 15 to read as follows:

Sec. 15.  EFFECTIVE DATE

     Secs. 4 and 13 of this act shall take effect upon passage.  All other sections shall take effect July 1, 2007. 

Fourth:  By adding a new section Sec. 16 to read as follows:

Sec. 16.  MENTAL HEALTH AND OTHER NON-PHYSICIAN PROVIDER Reimbursement surveys

(a) In order to understand the impact of reimbursement on access to mental health care providers, the cost shift, the workforce shortages, and recruitment and retention of health care professionals, the commissioner of banking, insurance, securities, and health care administration shall administer a one-time survey of health insurers to determine the reimbursement paid for the ten most common billing codes for mental health services, along with differences in reimbursement based on the provider’s level of education or licensure.  Each insurer shall report the average reimbursement paid for a specific service for each applicable provider level of education or licensure. 

(b) In order to understand the impact of reimbursement on access to other non-physician health care providers, the cost shift, the workforce shortages, and recruitment and retention of health care professionals, the commissioner of banking, insurance, securities, and health care administration shall administer a one-time survey of health insurers to determine the reimbursement paid for the most common billing codes for non-physician health care provider services.   Each insurer shall report the average reimbursement paid for a specific service for each provider level of education or licensure, when applicable.  The department may limit the survey to a total of 20 billing codes except that it shall ensure that the survey includes reimbursement for at least two common billing codes for each major class of provider. 

(c) The surveys shall be managed by the department of banking, insurance, securities, and health care administration.  Any public reports shall be sufficiently aggregated so that they would not enable readers to determine the amount of reimbursement paid for specific services to any particular provider or facility.  No provider‑specific or facility‑specific reimbursement information shall be included in the public survey reports, or be available through public records requests.  Only the department will have access to the underlying survey responses.  Neither survey shall include hospital reimbursements.

(d) No later than December 15, 2008, the department shall provide the results of the surveys to the commission on health care reform, the house committees on health care and human services, and the senate committee on health and welfare.   In addition, the department shall also provide the results of the survey conducted pursuant to subsection (a) to the mental health oversight committee.

Fifth:  By adding a new Sec. 17 to read as follows:

Sec. 17.  STUDY ON RETROACTIVE ELIGIBILITY FOR PHARMACY PROGRAMS

(a)  The commissioner for children and families shall analyze the costs and benefits of providing coverage from the date of application for those applying for any state-funded pharmacy program, provided all conditions of eligibility were met as of such date. 

(b)  The commissioner shall consult with the medical care advisory committee in performing this analysis and shall report his or her findings to the health access oversight committee no later than November 15, 2007.  The report should include an explanation of why, if at all, there should be any disparate treatment in this regard between applicants for VHAP and applicants for pharmacy programs.

                                                                        DOUGLAS A. RACINE

                                                                        EDWARD S. FLANAGAN

                                                                 Committee on the part of the Senate

                                                                        STEVEN B. MAIER

                                                                        FRANCIS M. MCFAUN

                                                                        LUCY LERICHE

                                                                 Committee on the part of the House

Thereupon, the question, Shall the Senate accept and adopt the report of the Committee of Conference?, was decided in the affirmative.

H. 534.

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

An act relating to prekindergarten education.

Was taken up for immediate consideration.

Senator Giard, for the Committee of Conference, submitted the following report:

To the Senate and House of Representatives:

The Committee of Conference to which were referred the disagreeing votes of the two Houses upon House bill entitled:

H. 534.  An act relating to prekindergarten education.

Respectfully reports that it has met and considered the same and recommends that the Senate recede from its proposals of amendment and that the bill as approved by the House be amended by striking out all after the enacting clause and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Sec. 1.  FINDINGS

The general assembly finds:

(1)  The first five years of a child’s life are crucial to a child’s development.

(2)  The family plays the most important role in the life of a young child.  Families have the primary responsibility and right to nurture and provide for the early childhood development and education of their children.

(3)  Approximately 70 percent of Vermont parents are employed in the workforce.  At least 70 percent of Vermont’s three‑ and four‑year‑old children are in “out of the home” child care for up to 50 hours per week, while their parents work to provide for the family’s needs.

(4)  The broader community has a vested interest in assuring that all children and families have access to the care and support needed for the growth and development of children.  Failure to meet the needs of young children results in significant societal costs in the future.

(5)  A child’s growth and development occur best in integrated environments.  Early nurture and development opportunities are best provided in locations that are convenient to families and minimize transitions for children.

(6)  The provision of early care and prekindergarten education through high‑quality private providers is one of the most crucial elements supporting the strength and stability of the system serving young children.

Sec. 2.  16 V.S.A. § 11(a)(31) is amended to read:

(31)  “Early childhood education,means a program which provides educational “early education,” or “prekindergarten education” means services for designed to provide developmentally appropriate early development and learning experiences based on Vermont’s early learning standards to children who are three to five four years of age and to five‑year‑old children who are not eligible for or enrolled in kindergarten.

Sec. 3.  16 V.S.A. § 829 is added to read:

§ 829.  PREKINDERGARTEN EDUCATION; RULES

The commissioner of education and the commissioner for children and families shall jointly develop and agree to rules and present them to the state board of education for adoption under chapter 25 of Title 3 as follows:

(1)  To ensure that, before a school district begins or expands a prekindergarten education program that intends to enroll students who are included in its average daily membership, the district engage the community in a collaborative process that includes an assessment of the need for the program in the community and an inventory of the existing service providers.

(2)  To ensure that, if a school district begins or expands a prekindergarten education program that intends to include any of the students in its average daily membership, the district shall use existing qualified service providers to the extent that existing qualified service providers have the capacity to meet the district’s needs effectively and efficiently.

(3)  To require that the school district provides opportunities for effective parental participation in the prekindergarten education program. 

(4)  To establish a process by which a parent or guardian residing in the district or a provider, or both, may request a school district to enter into a contract with a provider located in or outside the district. 

(5)  To identify the services and other items for which state funds may be expended when prekindergarten children are counted for purposes of average daily membership, such as tuition reduction, quality improvements, or professional development for school staff or private providers.

(6)  To ensure transparency and accountability by requiring private providers under contract with a school district to report costs for prekindergarten programs to the school district and by requiring school districts to report these costs to the commissioner of education.

(7)  To require school districts to include identifiable costs for prekindergarten programs and essential early education services in their annual budgets and reports to the community.

(8)  To require school districts to report to the departments their annual expenditures made in support of prekindergarten care and education, with distinct figures provided for expenditures made from the general fund, from the education fund, and from all other sources, which shall be specified. 

(9)  To provide an appeal process for parent, guardian, or provider to challenge an action of the school district when the appellant believes that the district is in violation of state statute or rules regarding prekindergarten education.

(10)  To establish the minimum quality standards necessary for a district to include prekindergarten children within its average daily membership.  At a minimum, the standards shall include the following requirements:

(A)  A provider must have received:

(i)  National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) accreditation; or

(ii)  At least four stars in the department for children and families STARS system with at least two points in each of the five arenas; or

(iii)  Three stars in the STARS system if the provider has developed a plan, approved by the commissioner for children and families and the commissioner of education, to achieve four or more stars within three years with at least two points in each of the five arenas, and the provider has met intermediate milestones; and

(B)  A licensed center shall employ or contract for the services of at least one teacher who is licensed and endorsed in early childhood education or in early childhood special education under chapter 51 of this title; and

(C)  A registered home shall receive regular, active supervision and training from a teacher who is licensed and endorsed in early childhood education or in early childhood special education under chapter 51 of this title.

(11)  To establish a process for documenting the progress of children enrolled in prekindergarten programs and to require public and private providers to use the process to collect and report child progress data to the commissioner of education on an annual basis.

Sec. 4.  16 V.S.A. § 4001(15) is added to read:

(15)  “Prekindergarten child” means a three‑ or four‑year‑old child who is enrolled in a prekindergarten program offered by or through a public school pursuant to rules adopted under section 829 of this title or who is receiving essential early education services offered pursuant to section 2956 of this title.   Prekindergarten child also means a five‑year‑old child who otherwise meets the terms of this definition if that child is not yet eligible for or enrolled in kindergarten.

Sec. 5.  16 V.S.A. § 1073(c) is amended to read:

(c)  An individual who is not a legal pupil shall not may be enrolled in a public school, except for enrollment in a prekindergarten program offered by or through a public school pursuant to rules adopted under section 829 of this title or in a program of essential early education, without the consent of the superintendent offered pursuant to section 2956 of this title.

Sec. 6.  16 V.S.A. § 4001(1) is amended to read:

(1)  “Average daily membership” of a school district, or if needed in order to calculate the appropriate homestead tax rate, of the municipality as defined in 32 V.S.A.

§ 5401(9), in any year means:

(A)  the The full‑time equivalent enrollment of pupils, as defined by the state board by rule, who are legal residents of the district or municipality attending a school owned and operated by the district, attending a public school outside the district under an interdistrict agreement, or for whom the district pays tuition to one or more approved independent schools or public schools outside the district during the annual census period.  The census period consists of the first 40 days of the school year in which school is actually in session; and.

(B)  the The full‑time equivalent enrollment in the year between the end of the last census period and the end of the current census period, of any state‑placed students as defined in subdivision 11(a)(28) of this title.  A school district which provides for the education of its students by paying tuition to an approved independent school or public school outside the district shall not count a state‑placed student for whom it is paying tuition for purposes of determining average daily membership.  A school district which is receiving the full amount, as defined by the state board by rule, of the student’s education costs under subsection 2950(a) of this title, shall not count the student for purposes of determining average daily membership.  A state‑placed student who is counted in average daily membership shall be counted as a student for the purposes of determining weighted student count.

(C)  The full‑time equivalent enrollment for each prekindergarten child as follows:  If a child is enrolled in 10 or more hours of prekindergarten education per week or receives 10 or more hours of essential early education services per week, the child shall be counted as one full‑time equivalent pupil.  If a child is enrolled in six or more but fewer than 10 hours of prekindergarten education per week or if a child receives fewer than 10 hours of essential early education services per week, the child shall be counted as a percentage of one full‑time equivalent pupil, calculated as one multiplied by the number of hours per week divided by ten.  A child enrolled in prekindergarten education for fewer than six hours per week shall not be included in the district’s average daily membership.  Although there is no limit on the total number of children who may be enrolled in prekindergarten education or who receive essential early education services, the total number of prekindergarten children that a district may include within its average daily membership shall be limited as follows:

(i)  All children receiving essential early education services may be included.

(ii)  Of the children enrolled in prekindergarten education who are not receiving essential early education services, the greater of the following may be included:

(I)  ten children; or

(II)  the number resulting from:

(aa)  one plus the average annual percentage increase or decrease in the district’s first grade enrollment as counted in the census period of the previous five years; multiplied by

(bb)  the most immediately previous year’s first grade census count; or

(III)  the total number of four‑year‑olds in the district. 

Sec. 7.  16 V.S.A. § 4010 is amended to read:

§ 4010.  DETERMINATION OF WEIGHTED MEMBERSHIP

(a)  On or before the first day of December during each school year, the commissioner shall determine the average daily membership of each school district for the current school year.  The determination shall list separately:

(1)  resident Resident prekindergarten children;

(2)  Resident pupils being provided elementary or kindergarten education; and

(2)  resident (3)  Resident pupils being provided secondary education.

* * *

(c)  The commissioner shall determine the weighted long‑term membership for each school district using the long‑term membership from subsection (b) of this section and the following weights for each class:

Grade Level Weight

Prekindergarten  0.46

Elementary or kindergarten 1.0

* * *

Sec. 8.  33 V.S.A. § 3502 is amended to read:

§ 3502.  CHILD CARE FACILITIES; SCHOOL AGE CARE IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS; 21ST CENTURY FUND

(a)  Unless exempted under subsection (b) of this section, a person shall not operate a child care facility without a license, or operate a family day care home without registration from the department.  All prekindergarten programs, regardless of whether they are located in a public school or a private facility, shall be licensed by the department.  This provision does not apply to essential early education services provided to individual children.  

(b)  The following persons are exempted from the provisions of subsection (a) of this section:

(1)  A person providing care for children of not more than two families other than that of the person providing the care.

(2)  A hospital or establishment holding a license issued by the department of health, or a person operating a program primarily for recreational or therapeutic purposes, unless the hospital, establishment or person provides services for the care, protection and supervision of children not incidental to its primary purpose in which case subsection (a) shall apply to those nonincidental additional services.

(3)  Child care facilities operated by religious organizations for the care and supervision of children during or in connection with religious services or church sponsored activities.

(4)  Nursery schools or other preschool establishments, attended by children of less than compulsory school age, which are subject to regulation by the department of education.  [Repealed.]

* * *

Sec. 9.  DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AND DEPARTMENT FOR CHILDREN AND FAMILIES; RESPECTIVE DUTIES REGARDING PREKINDERGARTEN AND KINDERGARTEN PROGRAMS

The respective jurisdiction and duties of the department of education and the department for children and families with respect to prekindergarten and kindergarten programs shall be as outlined in the memorandum of understanding executed by the department of education and the precursor to the department for children and families on May 28, 1999.

Sec. 10.  REPORT TO GENERAL ASSEMBLY

On or before January 1, 2010, the commissioners of education and for children and families shall file a written report with the house and senate committees on education regarding:

(1)  The per‑district enrollment of children who are in prekindergarten programs and who are receiving essential early education services.

(2)  The breakdown of districts choosing to limit the average daily membership of prekindergarten children by each of the three methods set forth in 16 V.S.A.

§ 4001(1)(C)(2).

(3)  The statewide cost, including the cost to the education fund, of providing prekindergarten programs by or through school districts and any changes to that cost since the effective date of this act.

(4)  The annual expenditures spent in support of prekindergarten care and education, with distinct figures provided for expenditures made from the general fund, from the education fund, and from all other sources, which sources shall be specified, from the effective date of this act forward. 

(5)  The information and data required through rulemaking in 16 V.S.A. § 829(5) through (7).

(6)  The effectiveness of prekindergarten programs in reaching quality program standards set forth in department of education rule.

(7)  The effects that the prekindergarten programs covered by this act have had on the early development, learning experiences, and behaviors, including extreme or disruptive behaviors, of young children in Vermont. 

(8)  The effect that the limits on the number of prekindergarten children that may be included within a district’s ADM established in Sec. 6 of this act have had on the ability to serve the needs of young children and the advisability of eliminating or amending those limits.  

(9)  An analysis of whether and to what extent retention, elimination, or amendment of the ADM limits would affect the state’s ability to fund in an adequate manner the child care subsidy program administered by the department for children and families.  The child care subsidy program enables many at-risk children to receive both nurture and developmental services crucial to preparing these children to enter school.  The report shall also discuss any other actions that the commissioners believe would increase the state’s ability to fund the child care subsidy program adequately.

(10)  A proposal for consolidating the authority currently exercised by the department for children and families and the department of education to regulate and fund all early childhood programs.

Sec. 11.  TRANSITIONAL PROVISIONS

Any district that offered prekindergarten education during the 2006–2007 academic year shall not be affected by the provisions of 16 V.S.A. § 4001(1)(C) in Sec. 6 of this act that limit the total number of prekindergarten children who may be counted within the district’s average daily membership; rather, the district may instead choose to include within its average daily membership the total number of prekindergarten children enrolled in its program, provided that the number does not exceed the highest number of prekindergarten children enrolled and counted within its average daily membership in any one of the following three academic years:  2004–2005, 2005–2006, or 2006–2007.  If, at any time, the district elects to determine its average daily membership of prekindergarten children based on the limitations in 16 V.S.A. § 4001(1)(C), the decision shall be final, and the district shall at all times be bound by that subdivision.

Sec. 12.  PREKINDERGARTEN EDUCATION STUDY COMMITTEE

(a)  The prekindergarten education study committee created in Sec. 1 of No. 186 of the Acts of the 2005 Adj. Sess. (2006) shall continue its existence and composition until March 1, 2008 to: 

(1)  analyze additional financial data;

(2)  receive periodic reports from the commissioner of education and the commissioner for children and families regarding implementation of this act, particularly the rulemaking required in Sec. 2 of this act;

(3)  propose legislation to the general assembly as the committee deems necessary.

(b)  The committee shall meet no more than twice when the general assembly is not in session.  For attendance at a meeting when the general assembly is not in session, legislative members of the committee shall be entitled to per diem compensation and reimbursement of expenses as provided in 2 V.S.A. § 406(a).  

Sec. 13.  CONSTRUCTION

Nothing in this act shall be construed to require a school district to provide a prekindergarten education program.


Sec. 14.  REPEAL

Subsection 2(a) of No. 186 of the Acts of the 2005 Adj. Sess. (2006) (moratorium on state board of education rules regarding early childhood or prekindergarten services) is repealed.

Sec. 15.  EFFECTIVE DATES

This act shall take effect on July 1, 2007, except that the rules required by Sec. 3 of this act shall apply beginning in the 2008–2009 academic year.

                                                                        HAROLD W. GIARD

                                                                        JAMES C. CONDOS

                                                                        WILLIAM T. DOYLE

                                                                 Committee on the part of the Senate

                                                                        DUNCAN F. KILMARTIN

                                                                        DENISE B. BARNARD

                                                                        JOHANNAH L. DONOVAN

                                                                 Committee on the part of the House

Thereupon, the question, Shall the Senate accept and adopt the report of the Committee of Conference?, was decided in the affirmative.

Rules Suspended; Reports of Committee of Conference Accepted and Adopted on the Part of the Senate

H. 15.

Pending entry on the Calendar for notice, on motion of Senator Shumlin, the rules were suspended and the report of the Committee of Conference on House bill entitled:

An act relating to a statewide school calendar.

Was taken up for immediate consideration.

Senator Collins, for the Committee of Conference, submitted the following report:

To the Senate and House of Representatives:

The Committee of Conference to which were referred the disagreeing votes of the two Houses upon House bill entitled:

H. 15.  An act relating to a statewide school calendar.

Respectfully reports that it has met and considered the same and recommends that the Senate recede from its proposals of amendment and that the bill as approved by the House be amended by striking out all after the enacting clause and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Sec. 1.  FINDINGS; INTENT

(a)  The general assembly finds:

(1)  School districts need to find ways to collaborate in order to maintain concurrent schedules, improve student learning, and reduce costs through sharing of resources.

(2)  Students learn best when provided educational services for uninterrupted periods of instructional time.

(3)  Educators can deliver instructional services more efficiently and effectively when schools are following the same vacation, holiday, and statewide assessment schedules.

(4)  Common professional development days provide educators the opportunity to participate in regional and statewide programs.

(5)  A uniform statewide calendar ensures better attendance at regional programs, such as technical centers.

(6)  The dates on which a school year begins and ends have great impact on families and businesses, as does the scheduling of in-service days and vacation.

(7)  The purpose of adopting a statewide calendar is to improve high quality learning opportunities for all Vermont students.

(b)  Therefore, it is the intent of this act to direct the committee created by this act to develop a statewide calendar to be adopted by the state board of education. 

Sec. 2.  STATEWIDE SCHOOL CALENDAR; COMMITTEE

(a)  There is created a committee (the “Calendar Committee”) to develop a uniform statewide school calendar for use by all public schools in Vermont that the committee will propose to the state board of education for adoption.  The members of the Calendar Committee shall be:

(1)  The commissioner of education, or the commissioner’s designee, who shall serve as the committee’s chair and who shall ensure that the first committee meeting occurs on or before July 15, 2007.

(2)  Two representatives of each of the following entities to be selected by the entities:

(A)  The Vermont superintendents association.

(B)  The Vermont school boards association.

(C)  The Vermont principals’ association.

(D)  The Vermont-national education association.

(3)  Two regional technical center directors to be selected by the Vermont association of career and technical education directors.

(4)  Two members of the business community to be selected by the Vermont business roundtable.

(5)  Two high school students, who shall not be the students sitting on the state board of education, one of whom shall be selected by the speaker of the house of representatives and the other shall be selected by the president pro tempore of the senate.

(b)  Any calendar developed by the Calendar Committee and presented to the state board shall be by majority vote of the committee and:

(1)  Shall require at least 175 common student attendance days.  A majority of students in each grade must be in attendance or participating in a school-sponsored academic activity for a minimum of five and one-half hours, including recess and excluding lunch, for a day to constitute one full student attendance day.  If a majority of students in any grade is in attendance or participating for fewer than five and one-half hours, the day shall be counted as one-half of a student attendance day.

(2)  Shall require the first three student days of the academic year to occur on the Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday in the week preceding Labor Day.

(3)  Shall include at least five common teacher in-service education days.  At least one of the five days will be organized by the department and conducted at regional sites throughout the state.

(4)  Shall include provisions for the state board of education, after receiving recommendations from the Calendar Committee, to grant a waiver for the ensuing year to a group of school districts that requests, before May 1 of any year, to deviate from the statewide calendar due to unique regional circumstances that cannot otherwise be accommodated.

(5)  May include a provision that there be a sole vacation period between January 2 and April 30, to occur during the week of Town Meeting.   

(c)  To develop the statewide calendar, which if accepted by the state board of education shall serve as a model for all future years, the Calendar Committee shall engage in a public process with students, parents, educators, the business community, and other interested parties in at least five geographic regions of the state.  During the public process, the committee shall solicit comments and recommendations concerning common periods of uninterrupted student attendance days, common vacation schedules and holidays, common in-service days, and common periods for statewide assessment.  In addition, on or before September 30, 2007, the director or directors of each regional technical center shall designate a time and location at which the principals within each region shall meet with the directors to develop regional recommendations regarding a statewide calendar for presentation to the Calendar Committee.

(d)  On or before January 30, 2008, the Calendar Committee shall recommend to the legislature a process by which an appropriate financial penalty shall be imposed upon any district that fails to provide at least five and one-half hours of classes daily to students in all grade levels on each of the 175 common student attendance days required in the statewide calendar.  Included within the recommendation shall be an appeal process for districts that believe they have complied with all requirements of the calendar. 

(e)  On or before January 30, 2008, and before each January 30 thereafter, the Calendar Committee shall present its proposal for a uniform statewide school calendar to the state board of education.  The board may vote to approve or disapprove the proposed calendar, but may not amend it.  The board shall announce its decision regarding the calendar no later than March 31 each year.

Sec. 3.  EFFECTIVE DATE

This act shall take effect from passage and the statewide calendar shall apply to the 2009-2010 school year and after.

                                                                        DONALD E. COLLINS

                                                                        WILLIAM T. DOYLE

                                                                        ROBERT A. STARR

                                                                 Committee on the part of the Senate

                                                                        ANNE H. MOOK

                                                                        PATRICIA A. MCDONALD

                                                                        DENISE B. BARNARD

                                                                 Committee on the part of the House

Thereupon, the question, Shall the Senate accept and adopt the report of the Committee of Conference?, was decided in the affirmative.


Rules Suspended; Bills Messaged

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

H. 15; H. 531; H. 534.

Rules Suspended; Report of Committees of Conference Accepted and Adopted on the Part of the Senate

H. 296.

Pending entry on the Calendar for notice, on motion of Senator Shumlin, the rules were suspended and the report of the Committee of Conference on House bill entitled:

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

Was taken up for immediate consideration.

Senator Lyons, for the Committee of Conference, submitted the following report:

To the Senate and House of Representatives:

The Committee of Conference to which were referred the disagreeing votes of the two Houses upon House bill entitled:

H. 296.  An act relating to potable water supply and wastewater system permitting.

Respectfully reports that it has met and considered the same and recommends that the House accede to the Senate proposal of amendment, and that the bill be further amended as follows:

First:  By adding a new Sec. 1 to read as follows:

Sec. 1.  FINDINGS

The general assembly finds that:

(1)  The agency of natural resources’ assumption on July 1, 2007 of statewide jurisdiction over the permitting program for on‑site wastewater systems and potable water supplies and implementation of the rules adopted under that program are intended to protect human health and the environment, prevent the creation of health hazards or unsanitary conditions, and ensure the availability of an adequate supply of potable water.

(2)  The cost of compliance with the state on‑site wastewater systems and potable water supply rules when replacement of a failed wastewater system or potable water supply is required can be expensive and, consequently, difficult for many homeowners in Vermont to pay for.

(3)  The agency of administration, the agency of commerce and community development, and the agency of natural resources should provide funding for and should encourage other state and federal funding providers to develop programs or contribute funds to help Vermont residents pay for the cost of replacing failed wastewater systems or potable water supplies.

(4)  The agency of natural resources should establish a point of contact or clearinghouse where homeowners can find information regarding programs available to aid in the replacement of wastewater systems or potable water supplies.

(5)  The agency of natural resources should exercise its current authority to adopt rules regarding flexible design flow standards, design requirements, site conditions, replacement area requirements, and isolation distance requirements for wastewater systems and potable water supplies.  The agency should exercise its rulemaking authority to approve alternative, innovative, or experimental wastewater systems.

Second:  By adding two new sections to be numbered Secs. 4a and 4b to read as follows:

Sec. 4a.  24 V.S.A. § 4414 is amended to read:

§ 4414.  ZONING; PERMISSIBLE TYPES OF REGULATIONS

Any of the following types of regulations may be adopted by a municipality in its bylaws in conformance with the plan and for the purposes established in section 4302 of this title.

* * *

(13)  Wastewater and potable water supply systems.  A municipality may adopt bylaws that prohibit the initiation of construction under a zoning permit unless and until a wastewater and potable water supply permit is issued under 10 V.S.A. chapter 64.

Sec. 4b.  AGENCY OF COMMERCE AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT STATUS REPORT ON IMPLEMENTATION OF NO. 133 OF THE ACTS OF THE 2001 ADJ. SESS. (2002)

On or before January 15, 2008, the agency of commerce and community development shall submit to the house committee on fish, wildlife and water resources and the senate committee on natural resources and energy a status report regarding implementation of No. 133 of the 2001 Adj. Sess. (2002).  The report shall include:

(1)  A summary of existing zoning or subdivision bylaws that municipalities have adopted since 2002 to address the siting of development, including bylaws that address development on steep slopes and ridgelines and bylaws that address specific site conditions or setbacks for development.

(2)  A summary of compliance with the requirements of No. 133 of 2002, including:

(A)  the requirement under subdivision 15(i)(2) of No. 133 of 2002 that the agency of natural resources map the groundwater resources of the state;

(B)  the requirements under subdivision 15(j)(3) of No. 133 of 2002 that the agency of natural resources report on implementation of performace based wastewater systems and assess how such systems effect land use development patterns that results from the use of those systems.

(C)  the requirement under subdivision 15(k)(1) of No. 133 of 2002 that the agency of commerce and community development shall provide technical assistance and funding assistance for the purpose of revising municipal plans and bylaws.

(D)  the requirement under subdivision 15(k)(2) of No. 133 of 2002 that the agency of commerce and community development and the agency of natural resources, in consultation with the Vermont league of cities and towns and the Vermont association of planning and development agencies, develop a model groundwater protection ordinance for distribution to municipalities.

(3)  a proposal to strike, amend, or retain the prohibition in 10 V.S.A. § 1978(d) on the siting of wastewater systems on ground with a maximum slope in excess of 20 percent in order to inform the evaluation of existing state wastewater system and potable water supply requirements and the consequences of such requirements on land use zoning and development.

     And by renumbering the sections of the act to be numerically correct

                                                                        VIRGINIA V. LYONS

                                                                        CLAIRE D. AYER

                                                                        MARK A. MACDONALD

                                                                 Committee on the part of the Senate

                                                                        WILLIAM F. JOHNSON

                                                                        DAVID L. DEEN

                                                                        JIM MCCULLOUGH

                                                                 Committee on the part of the House

Thereupon, the question, Shall the Senate accept and adopt the report of the Committee of Conference?, was decided in the affirmative.

H. 334.

Pending entry on the Calendar for notice, on motion of Senator Shumlin, the rules were suspended and the report of the Committee of Conference on House bill entitled:

An act relating to restitution.

Was taken up for immediate consideration.

Senator Nitka, for the Committee of Conference, submitted the following report:

To the Senate and House of Representatives:

The Committee of Conference to which were referred the disagreeing votes of the two Houses upon House bill entitled:

H. 334.  An act relating to restitution.

Respectfully reports that it has met and considered the same and recommends that the Senate recede from its proposals of amendment, and that the bill be amended by striking out all after the enacting clause and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Sec. 1.  12 V.S.A. § 2901 is amended to read:

§ 2901.  CREATION OF JUDGMENT LIEN

A final judgment issued in a civil action or a restitution order entered under section 7043 of Title 13 shall constitute a lien on any real property of a judgment debtor if recorded as provided in this chapter.

Sec. 2.  13 V.S.A. § 5312 is amended to read:

§ 5312.  VICTIM’S INTEREST IN SPEEDY PROSECUTION

(a)  The prosecutor’s office, if practicable, shall make every effort to inform a victim of a listed crime of any pending motion that may substantially delay the prosecution any deposition, change of plea, trial, sentencing hearing, or restitution hearing.  The prosecutor shall inform the court of how the victim was notified and the victim’s position on the motion, if any.  In the event the victim was not notified, the prosecutor shall inform the court why notification did not take place.

* * *


Sec. 3.  13 V.S.A. § 5362 is amended to read:

§ 5362.  RESTITUTION UNIT

* * *

(c)  The restitution unit shall have the authority to:

* * *

(4)  Investigate and verify the amount of insurance or other payments paid to or for the benefit of a victim, and adjust reduce the amount collected or to be collected from the offender or disbursed to the victim from the crime victims’ restitution special fund accordingly.  The restitution unit shall submit to the court a proposed revised restitution order stipulated to by the victim and the unit, with copies provided to the victim and the offender.  No hearing shall be required, and the court shall amend the judgment order to reflect the amount stipulated to by the victim and the restitution unit.

* * *

(6)  Report offenders’ payment histories to credit reporting agencies, provided that the unit shall not report information regarding offenders who are incarcerated.  The unit shall not make a report under this subdivision until after it has notified the offender of the proposed report by first class mail or other like means to give actual notice, and provided the offender a period not to exceed 20 days to contest the accuracy of the information with the unit.  The unit shall immediately notify each credit bureau organization to which information has been furnished of any increases or decreases in the amount of restitution owed by the offender.

Sec. 4.  13 V.S.A. § 5363 is amended to read:

§ 5363.  CRIME VICTIMS’ RESTITUTION SPECIAL FUND

* * *

(b)(1)  There shall be deposited into the fund:

* * *

(3)  If a victim who is entitled to receive an advance payment of restitution from the crime victims’ restitution special fund cannot be located, the restitution unit shall report the amount to the treasurer within the time limits provided by subsection 1247(d) of Title 27, and the treasurer shall report it as unclaimed property.  Notwithstanding any other provision of law, in no event shall the advance payments from the restitution special fund to which the victim is entitled be subject to ultimate deposit in the general or education fund. 

* * *

Sec. 5.  13 V.S.A. § 5365 is added to read:

§ 5365.  ACCESS TO FINANCIAL RECORDS

(a)  As used in this section:

(1)  “Depositor” means an owner of an account in a financial institution and includes “share account holders” of credit unions.

(2)  “Financial institution” means a savings and loan association, a trust company, a savings bank, an industrial bank, a banking organization, a commercial bank, or a credit union organized under the laws of this state or authorized to do business in this state.

(4)  “Offender” means a person who owes restitution.

(5)  “Restitution unit” means the state of Vermont restitution unit.

(6)  “Restitution” means an unsatisfied obligation to pay restitution that was ordered in connection with a criminal case and about which, prior to the issuance of the order, the offender had notice and an opportunity to contest the amount owed.

(b)  Upon receipt of a duly authorized written request from the restitution unit to identify depository accounts held by an offender, a financial institution shall search its depositor records in order to identify accounts in which the offender has an ownership or beneficial interest.

(c)  A financial institution shall notify the restitution unit of all accounts identified in response to a request filed under subsection (b) of this section.  The notification shall contain the following information, if available to the financial institution through its search procedure, for each account identified:

(1)  The full name, date of birth, and address that the offender provided for himself or herself to the financial institution.

(2)  The offender’s Social Security number.

(3)  The offender’s account number.

(4)  The amount of deposits contained in the offender’s account.

(5)  Whether the offender is the sole owner of the account.

(d)  The financial institution shall not provide notice in any form to a depositor identified by the restitution unit pursuant to this section.  Failure to provide notice to a depositor shall not constitute a violation of the financial institution’s duty of good faith to its customers.

(e)  A financial institution may charge the restitution unit a fee for services provided under this section, provided that the fee shall not exceed the actual costs incurred by the financial institution.

(f)  The information provided to each other by the financial institution and the restitution unit pursuant to this section shall be confidential and shall be used only for the purpose of collecting unpaid restitution.

Sec. 6.  13 V.S.A. § 7043 is amended to read:

§ 7043.  RESTITUTION

(a)(1)  Restitution shall be considered in every case in which a victim of a crime, as defined in subdivision 5301(4) of this title, has suffered a material loss.

(2)  For purposes of this section, “material loss” means uninsured property loss, uninsured out-of-pocket monetary loss, uninsured lost wages, and uninsured medical expenses.

(b)(1)  When ordered, restitution may include:

(1)(A)  return of property wrongfully taken from the victim;

(2)(B)  cash, credit card, or installment payments paid to the restitution unit; or

(3)(C)  payments in kind, if acceptable to the victim.

(2)  In the event of a victim’s crime-related death, the court may, at the request of the restitution unit, direct the unit to pay up to $10,000.00 from the restitution fund to the victim’s estate to cover future uninsured material losses caused by the death.  

(c)  In awarding restitution, the court shall make findings with respect to:

(1)  The total amount of the material loss incurred by the victim. If sufficient documentation of the material loss is not available at the time of sentencing, the court shall set a hearing on the issue, and notice thereof shall be provided to the offender.

(2)  The offender’s current ability to pay restitution, based on all financial information available to the court, including information provided by the offender.

(d)(1)  An order of restitution shall establish the amount of the material loss incurred by the victim, which shall be the restitution judgment order. In the event the offender is unable to pay the restitution judgment order at the time of sentencing, the court shall establish a restitution payment schedule for the offender based upon the offender’s current and reasonably foreseeable ability to pay, subject to modification under subsection (k) of this section.  Notwithstanding chapter 113 of Title 12 or any other provision of law, interest shall not accrue on a restitution judgment.

(2)(A)  Every order of restitution shall:

(i)  include the offender’s name, address, and social security Social Security number;

(ii)  include the name, address, and telephone number of the offender’s employer; and

(iii)  require the offender, until his or her restitution obligation is satisfied, to notify the restitution unit within 30 days if the offender’s address or employment changes, including providing the name, address, and telephone number of each new employer.

(B)  [Repealed.]

(e)(1)  If not paid at the time of sentencing, restitution may be ordered as a condition of probation, supervised community sentence, furlough, preapproved furlough, or parole if the convicted person is sentenced to preapproved furlough, probation, or supervised community sentence, or is sentenced to imprisonment and later placed on parole.  A person shall not be placed on probation solely for purposes of paying restitution.  An offender may not be charged with a violation of probation, furlough, or parole for nonpayment of a restitution obligation incurred after July 1, 2004.

(2)  The department of corrections shall work collaboratively with the restitution unit to assist with the collection of restitution.  The department shall provide the restitution unit with information about the location and employment status of the offender.

(f)(1)  When restitution is requested but not ordered, the court shall set forth on the record its reasons for not ordering restitution.

(2)(A)  If restitution was not requested at the time of sentencing, or if expenses arose after the entry of a restitution order, the state may file a motion with the sentencing court to reopen the restitution case in order to consider a request for restitution payable from the restitution fund.  Restitution ordered under this subdivision shall not be payable by the offender. 

(B)  A motion under this subdivision shall be filed within one year after the imposition of sentence or the entry of the restitution order.

(g)  Restitution ordered under this section shall not preclude a person from pursuing an independent civil action for all claims not covered by the restitution order.

(h)(1)  The court shall transmit a copy of a restitution order to the restitution unit, which shall make payment to the victim in accordance with section 5363 of this title.

(2)  To the extent that the victims compensation board has made payment to or on behalf of the victim in accordance with chapter 167 of this title, restitution, if imposed, shall be paid to the restitution unit, which shall make payment to the victims compensation fund.

(i)  The restitution unit may bring an action to enforce a restitution order against an offender in the superior or small claims court of the county where the offender resides or in the county where the order was issued.  In an action under this subsection, a restitution order issued by the district court shall be enforceable in superior or small claims court in the same manner as a civil judgment.  Superior and small claims court filing fees shall be waived for an action under this subsection, and for an action to renew a restitution judgment.

(j)  All restitution payments shall be made to the restitution unit, with the exception of restitution relating to a conviction for welfare fraud ordered under this section and recouped by the economic services division.  The economic services division shall provide the restitution unit with a monthly report of all restitution collected through recoupment.  This subsection shall have no effect upon the collection or recoupment of restitution ordered under Title 33.

(k)  The sentencing court may modify the payment schedule of a restitution order if, upon motion by the restitution unit or the offender, the court finds that modification is warranted by a substantial change in circumstances.

(l)  If the offender fails to pay restitution as ordered by the court, the restitution unit may file an action to enforce the restitution order in superior or small claims court.  After an enforcement action is filed, any further proceedings related to the action shall be heard in the court where it was filed.  The court shall set the matter for hearing and shall provide notice to the restitution unit, the victim, and the offender.  If the court determines the offender has failed to comply with the restitution order, the court may take any action the court deems necessary to ensure the offender will make the required restitution payment, including:

(1)  amending the payment schedule of the restitution order;

(2)  ordering, in compliance with the procedures required in Rule 4.1 of the Vermont Rules of Civil Procedure, the disclosure, attachment, and sale of assets and accounts owned by the offender;

(3)  ordering the offender’s wages withheld pursuant to subsection (n) of this section; or

(4)  ordering the suspension of any recreational licenses owned by the offender.

(m)(1)  Any monies owed by the state to an offender who is under a restitution order, including lottery winnings and tax refunds, shall be used to discharge the restitution order to the full extent of the unpaid total financial losses, regardless of the payment schedule established by the courts.

(2)  When an offender is entitled to a tax refund, any restitution owed by the offender shall be withheld from the refund pursuant to subchapter 12 of chapter 151 of Title 32.

(3)(A)  For all Vermont lottery games, the lottery commission shall, before issuing prize money of $500.00 or more to a winner, determine whether the winner has an outstanding restitution order.  If the winner owes restitution, the lottery commission shall withhold the entire amount of restitution owed and pay it to the restitution unit.  The remainder of the winnings, if any, shall be sent to the winner.  The winner shall be notified by the restitution unit of the offset prior to payment to the victim and given a period not to exceed 20 days to contest the accuracy of the information.

(B)  The restitution unit shall inform the lottery commission of persons with outstanding restitution orders upon request. Each person subject to such an order shall be identified by name, address, and Social Security number.

(C)  If a lottery winner has an outstanding restitution order and an outstanding child support order, the lottery winnings shall be offset first pursuant to section 792 of Title 15 by the amount of child support owed, and second pursuant to this subsection by the amount of restitution owed.  The remainder of the winnings, if any, shall be sent to the winner.

(4)  Unless otherwise provided, monies paid under this subsection shall be paid directly to the restitution unit.

(n)(1)  The sentencing court at the time of sentencing, or the superior or small claims court in a subsequent proceeding, may issue a wage withholding order directing All restitution orders made or modified on or after January 1, 2008 shall include an order for wage withholding unless the court in its discretion finds good cause not to order wage withholding or the parties have entered into an alternative arrangement by written agreement which is affirmatively stated in the order.  The wage withholding order shall direct current and subsequent employers of the offender to pay a portion of the offender’s wages directly to the restitution unit until the offender’s restitution obligation is satisfied.  The wages of the offender shall be exempt as follows:

(A)  to the extent provided under Section 303(b) of the Consumer Credit Protection Act (15 U.S.C. § 1673(b)); or

(B)  if the court finds the weekly expenses reasonably incurred by the debtor for his or her maintenance and that of dependents exceed the amounts exempted by subdivision (1)(A) of this subsection, such greater amount of earnings as the court shall order.

(2)  The court shall transmit all wage withholding orders issued under this section to the restitution unit, which shall forward the orders to the offender’s employers.  Upon receipt of a wage withholding order from the restitution unit, an employer shall:

(A)  withhold from the wages paid to the offender the amount specified in the order for each wage period;

(B)  forward the withheld wages to the restitution unit within seven working days after wages are withheld, specifying the date the wages were withheld;

(C)  retain a record of all withheld wages;

(D)  cease withholding wages upon notice from the restitution unit; and

(E)  notify the restitution unit within 10 days of the date the offender’s employment is terminated.

(3)  In addition to the amounts withheld pursuant to this section, the employer may retain not more than $5.00 per month from the offender’s wages as compensation for administrative costs incurred.

(4)  Any employer who fails to withhold wages pursuant to a wage withholding order within 10 working days of receiving actual notice or upon the next payment of wages to the employee, whichever is later, shall be liable to the restitution unit in the amount of the wages required to be withheld.

(5)  An employer who makes an error in the amount of wages withheld shall not be held liable if the error was made in good faith.

(6)  For purposes of this subsection, “wages” means any compensation paid or payable for personal services, whether designated as wages, salary, commission, bonuses, or otherwise, and shall include periodic payments under pension or retirement programs and workers’ compensation or insurance policies of any type.

(o)  An obligation to pay restitution is part of a criminal sentence and is:

(1)  nondischargeable in the United States Bankruptcy Court to the maximum extent provided under 11 U.S.C. §§ 523 and 1328; and

(2)  not subject to any statute of limitations.

(p)  A transfer of property made with the intent to avoid a restitution obligation shall be deemed a fraudulent conveyance for purposes of chapter 57 of Title 9, and the restitution unit shall be entitled to the remedies of creditors provided under section 2291 of Title 9.

Sec. 7.  23 V.S.A. § 1213c(j) is amended to read:

(j)  Order of forfeiture.  If the court orders the motor vehicle forfeited, it shall be delivered into the custody of the commissioner of buildings and general services, who shall dispose of the motor vehicle pursuant to section 1556 of Title 29.  The proceeds from the sale of the vehicle shall first be used to offset any costs of selling the vehicle, and then, after any liens on the vehicle have been paid in full, applied to any unpaid restitution owed by the defendant in connection with the charge that resulted in forfeiture.  Any balance remaining, after any liens on the vehicle have been paid in full, shall be deposited into the general fund.

Sec. 8.  27 V.S.A. § 1249 is amended to read:

§ 1249.  NOTICE AND PUBLICATION OF LISTS OF UNCLAIMED PROPERTY

(a)  The treasurer shall notify apparent owners of unclaimed property under this chapter in the manner and method set out in subsection (b) of this section. In deciding whether to use an additional method specified in subdivision (b)(2) of this section, and which of those methods to use, the treasurer shall employ the method he or she deems to be the most cost-effective method available within its appropriations, while also giving consideration to the effectiveness of the method.

(b)  The treasurer:

(1)  shall notify all apparent owners of unclaimed property in accordance with this section by means of posting on the treasurer’s website on the internet;

(2)  may use any of the following to provide additional notice to the apparent owners:

(A)  publication in a newspaper of general circulation:

(i)  in the area of the state in which the last known address of a person to be named in the notice is located;

(ii)  in the area in which the holder has its principal place of business in the state; or

(iii)  in the area the treasurer deems to provide the best opportunity to reach the apparent owner;

(B)  individual contact by regular or electronic mail, or by telephone, if the treasurer has current contact information on file;

(C)  any other manner and method that the treasurer considers effective for providing notice and publication.

(c)  In the notice and publication under subsection (b) of this section, the treasurer shall provide the names of the apparent owners of the property and information regarding recovery of the unclaimed property.

(d)  The treasurer is not required to publish in the notice an item of less than $100.00 in value.

(e)  The treasurer may establish a program to assist other state agencies holding property not presumed to be abandoned to locate the owners of the property.  Under this program, the treasurer may publish the owners’ names on the treasurer’s website and in any other manner the treasurer deems appropriate without taking possession of the property.  Owners contacting the treasurer’s office under this program would be referred to the state agency possessing the property.  Agencies participating in the program will remain obligated to report and remit the property to the treasurer’s office after it is presumed abandoned.

Sec. 9.  13 V.S.A. § 7282 is amended to read:

§ 7282.  ASSESSMENT

(a)  In addition to any penalty or fine imposed by the court or judicial bureau for a criminal offense or any civil penalty imposed for a traffic violation, including any violation of a fish and wildlife statute or regulation, violation of a motor vehicle statute, or violation of any local ordinance relating to the operation of a motor vehicle, except violations relating to seat belts and child restraints and ordinances relating to parking violations, the clerk of the court or judicial bureau shall levy an additional fee of:

* * *

(9)  For any offense or violation committed after June 30, 2003, an amount equal to 15 percent of the fine imposed for the offense, rounded upward to the nearest whole dollar, which shall be deposited into the crime victims’ restitution special fund established by section 5363 of this title.

* * *


Sec. 10.  REPEAL OF SUNSET FOR RESTITUTION UNIT AND CRIME VICTIMS’ RESTITUTION SPECIAL FUND

Sec. 16 of No. 57 of the Acts of 2003 (sunset for restitution unit and crime victims’ restitution special fund) is repealed.

Sec. 11.  13 V.S.A. § 6607 is added to read:

§ 6607.  DISCLOSURE OF CONFIDENTIAL RECORDS; NOTICE TO PROSECUTION

When a defendant seeks access to a victim’s school records, or to any other records of a victim which are by law confidential, the defendant shall provide written notice to the prosecutor that the records have been requested prior to the service of any subpoena requesting the records.

Sec. 12.  REPORT

The joint fiscal office, in consultation with the Vermont center for crime victims services, shall report to the house and senate committees on judiciary on or before December 15, 2007 regarding the present and projected financial health and status of the crime victims’ restitution special fund established pursuant to section 5363 of Title 13.  The report shall include:

(1)  a projection of the fund’s financial balances in 2012 and 2017, taking into account all of the fund’s revenues and expenditures, including surcharges on traffic and criminal fines; and

(2)  an analysis of the financial cost of a policy change proposal to allow payment from the fund of restitution which has been ordered by a court during the years 1988–2004 but not collected.   

Sec. 13.  EFFECTIVE DATE

Sec. 9 of this act shall take effect on July 1, 2012.

The Committee further recommends that after passage of the bill the title be amended to read as follows:

     AN ACT RELATING TO RESTITUTION AND NOTICE TO PROSECUTION OF CONFIDENTIAL RECORDS DISCLOSURE.

                                                                        ALICE W. NITKA

                                                                        RICHARD W. SEARS, JR.

                                                                        KEVIN J. MULLIN

                                                                 Committee on the part of the Senate


                                                                        MAXINE GRAD

                                                                        AVIS L. GERVAIS

                                                                        ANDREW P. DONAGHY

                                                                 Committee on the part of the House

Thereupon, the question, Shall the Senate accept and adopt the report of the Committee of Conference?, was decided in the affirmative.

Rules Suspended; Bills Messaged

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

H. 296, H. 334.

Rules Suspended; Report of Committee of Conference Accepted and Adopted on the Part of the Senate

S. 115.

Pending entry on the Calendar for notice, on motion of Senator Shumlin, the rules were suspended and the report of the Committee of Conference on Senate bill entitled:

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

Was taken up for immediate consideration.

Senator MacDonald, for the Committee of Conference, submitted the following report:

To the Senate and House of Representatives:

The Committee of Conference to which were referred the disagreeing votes of the two Houses upon Senate bill entitled:

S. 115.  An act relating to increasing transparency of prescription drug pricing and information.

Respectfully reports that it has met and considered the same and recommends that the Senate accede to the House proposal of amendment.

                                                                   MARK A. MACDONALD

                                                                   ANN E. CUMMINGS

                                                                   EDWARD S. FLANAGAN

                                                                 Committee on the part of the Senate


                                                                   HARRY L. CHEN

                                                                   SARAH COPELAND-HANZAS

                                                                   STEVEN B. MAIER

                                                                 Committee on the part of the House

Thereupon, the question, Shall the Senate accept and adopt the report of the Committee of Conference?, was decided in the affirmative.

Rules Suspended; House Proposal of Amendment Concurred In

S. 170.

Pending entry 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 rights of family members, funeral directors and crematory operators concerning the disposition of bodily remains and funeral goods and services.

Was taken up for immediate consideration.

The House proposes to the Senate to amend the bill in Sec. 5, 18 V.S.A. § 5201(c), after the words “in Vermont until the person” by adding the words in charge of the body and after the words “person in charge of the body” by striking out the words “by the

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

Rules Suspended; Proposal of Amendment; Third Reading Ordered; Rules Suspended; Joint Resolution Adopted; Rules Suspended; Joint Resolution Messaged

J.R.H. 37.

Pending entry on the Calendar for notice, on motion of Senator Shumlin, the rules were suspended and joint House resolution entitled:

Joint resolution authorizing the commissioner of forests, parks and recreation to enter into land exchanges and the commissioner of fish and wildlife to accept a Labrador retriever for law enforcement purposes.

Was taken up for immediate consideration.

     Senator Hartwell, for the Committee on Institutions, to which the joint resolution was referred, reported recommending that the Senate propose to the House to amend the joint resolution by striking out subdivision (2) in its entirety, following the first Resolve clause, and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

(2)  Notwithstanding 29 V.S.A. § 166, sell a portion of Willoughby state forest containing the so‑called Cheney House located near the south end of Lake Willoughby in the town of Westmore.  The sale shall include up to five acres of land necessary to encompass the Cheney House, associated wastewater treatment facilities, and associated outbuildings, structures, facilities, and access drives.  It shall not include any frontage on Lake Willoughby.  The commissioner shall follow the 29 V.S.A. § 166 process for sale of state lands.  However, proceeds from this sale shall be deposited in the department of forests, parks and recreation parks special fund and used to implement a plan, which shall be developed by the department no later than September 1, 2007, to restore the buildings and grounds of Sentinel Rock State Park in Westmore.  If not all funds are necessary to implement the plan, funds may also be use for improvement of facilities in Willoughby state forest at the south end of Lake Willoughby; or construction of cabins at state parks, or both.

And that the joint resolution ought to be adopted in concurrence with such proposal of amendment.

Thereupon, the joint resolution was read the second time by title only pursuant to Rule 43, and the proposal of amendment was agreed to.

Thereupon, third reading of the joint resolution was ordered.

Thereupon, on motion of Senator Shumlin, the rules were suspended and the joint resolution was placed on all remaining stages of its adoption in concurrence with proposal of amendment forthwith.

Thereupon, the joint resolution was read the third time and adopted in concurrence with proposal of amendment.

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

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. 115; S. 170.

Message from the House No. 87

     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 the reports of the Committees of Conference upon the disagreeing votes of the two houses on House bills of the following titles:

H. 15.  An act relating to a statewide school year calendar.

H. 296.  An act relating to potable water supply and wastewater system permitting.

H. 334.  An act relating to restitution.

H. 531.  An act relating to ensuring success in health care reform.

H. 534.  An act relating to prekindergarten education.

And has adopted the same on its part.

Message from the House No. 88

     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. 164.  An act relating to campaign finance.

And has passed the same in concurrence with proposal of amendment in the adoption of which the concurrence of the Senate is requested.

The House has considered the report of the Committee of Conference upon the disagreeing votes of the two houses on House bill of the following title:

H. 78.  An act relating to reconsideration or rescission of votes in local elections

And has adopted the same on its part.

Adjournment

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



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