Download this document in MS Word format


AutoFill Template

Journal of the Senate

________________

Friday, May 11, 2007

The Senate was called to order by the President.

Devotional Exercises

A moment of silence was observed in lieu of devotions.

Pages Honored

In appreciation of their many services to the members of the General Assembly, the President recognized the following-named pages who are completing their services today and presented them with commemorative posters:

                                          Kelsey Burhans of Castleton

                                          Jasper Craven of Peacham

                                          Gia Giambrone of Bradford

                                          Rosetta Lane of Brattleboro

                                          Aaron Locke of Hartland

                                          Caitlin Morse of Milton

                                          Ryan Pembroke of Pownal

                                          Esther Peterson of Berlin

                                          Anna Jo Smith of Ferrisburg

                                          Alysia Vance of Danville

Senate Resolution Referred

S.R. 20.

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

     By Senator Giard,

     S.R. 20.  Senate resolution supporting the importance of fishing in Lake Champlain and the urgency of eliminating sea lampreys and cormorants from the lake.

Whereas, sea lampreys pose a grave threat to the integrity of Lake Champlain and its fishing industry, and

Whereas, despite the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s best efforts to eliminate sea lampreys from the lake, the threat they now pose has risen to an emergency situation, and

Whereas, according to an authoritative 2001 study, the sport contributed $111,000,000.00 directly to the state’s economy, and

Whereas, the number of fishing licenses sold annually in the state declined from 56,495 in 1987 to 42,469 in 2006, and this precipitous decline can in part be attributed to the large increase in the presence of lamprey and cormorants in Lake Champlain, and    

Whereas, according to the Lake Champlain Basin Program’s 2003 report entitled “Opportunities for Action,” the Lake Champlain basin’s portion of the Vermont tourism economy is valued at $2.7 billion, and

Whereas, the Department continues to treat infested tributaries at the maximum legally allowable rate, but the lampreys’ hit-rate on fish remains higher than expected, and

Whereas, similarly the double-crested cormorant population is a serious threat to the health of the islands and shoreline of the lake, and

Whereas, the density of these birds and their nesting habitats have deforested certain of the lake’s islands in their entirety, and

Whereas, the cormorants’ waste stream presents a significant phosphate loading problem into the lake, and it may even carry the viral infection known as VHS, which is the most dangerous infectious disease threat confronting fish species in the entire Lake Champlain basin, and

Whereas, VHS is already infecting lakes in western New York state, and it is urgent to prevent any VHS infection in Lake Champlain, and

Whereas, threats to Lake Champlain, and its fishing industry, are direct threats to the Vermont economic engine that must be fought to the greatest degree possible, now therefore be it

Resolved by the Senate:

That the Senate of the State of Vermont recognizes the grave threat that sea lampreys and double crested cormorants pose to the Lake Champlain fishing industry and to the economy of the state of Vermont, and be it further

Resolved:  That the Senate of the State of Vermont urges the Agency of Natural Resources and the Department of Fish and Wildlife to proceed with the greatest possible effort to eliminate any and all threats of sea lampreys and double-crested cormorants, and be it further

Resolved:  That the Secretary of the Senate be directed to send a copy of this resolution to George Crombie, Secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources, to Brad Wright, clean and clear specialist at the agency, and to Wayne Laroche, Commissioner of Fish and Wildlife.

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

Rules Suspended; House Proposal of Amendment Concurred in With an Amendment

S. 97.

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

An act relating to correctional facilities.

Was taken up for immediate consideration.

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

Sec. 1.  4 V.S.A. § 1102 is amended to read:

§ 1102.  JUDICIAL BUREAU; JURISDICTION

* * *

(b)  The judicial bureau shall have jurisdiction of the following matters:

* * *

(11)  violations of 18 V.S.A. § 4234b(b), relating to selling ephedrine base, pseudoephedrine base, or phenylpropanolamine base;

(12)  violations of 18 V.S.A. § 4249, relating to the introduction of tobacco or tobacco products into a correctional facility.

Sec. 2.  18 V.S.A. § 4249 is amended to read:

§ 4249.  TRANSPORTATION OF ALCOHOL, TOBACCO, OR REGULATED DRUGS INTO PLACES OF DETENTION

(a)  No person shall knowingly carry or introduce or cause to be carried or introduced into a lockup, jail, prison, or correctional facility:

(1)  alcohol, malt or vinous beverages, or spirituous liquor;

(2)  marijuana; or

(3)  a regulated drug, other than marijuana, as defined in section 4201 of this title, except upon the prescription or direction of a practitioner as that term is defined in chapter 36 of Title 26; or

(4)  tobacco or tobacco products, except that an employee may possess or store tobacco or tobacco products in a locked automobile parked on the correctional facility grounds, store tobacco or tobacco products in a secure place within the correctional facility which is designated for storage of employee tobacco, and possess tobacco or tobacco products in a designated smoking area.

(b)  A person who violates subdivision (a)(1) of this section shall be imprisoned not more than three months or fined not more than $300.00, or both.

(c)  A person who violates subdivision (a)(2) of this section shall be imprisoned not more than six months or fined not more than $500.00, or both.

(d)  A person who violates subdivision (a)(3) of this section shall be imprisoned not more than one year or fined not more than $1,000.00, or both.

(e)  A person who violates subdivision (a)(4) of this section shall be subject to a civil penalty of not more than $450.00 for the first offense and $900.00 for any subsequent offense.  An action under this subsection shall be brought in the same manner as for a traffic violation pursuant to chapter 24 of Title 23.

(f)  As used in this section, “correctional facility” means any secure or staff-secure building, enclosure, space, or structure of or supported by the department and used for the confinement of persons committed to the custody of the commissioner of corrections, or for any other matter related to such confinement.

Sec. 3.  28 V.S.A. § 802 is amended to read:

§ 802.  CORRESPONDENCE OF INMATES

(a)  Any authorized employee of any correctional facility shall have the right to inspect all correspondence by or to inmates of the facility.  The employee shall have the right to withhold and prevent the transmission of material intended to be sent through the mails by or to an inmate if the material is contraband as defined by the rules of the facility or constitutes a clear and present danger to the security of the facility.

(b)  Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, any correspondence from an inmate to any public official of the state or of the United States, shall not be impeded in its transmission, nor shall it be inspected, opened, copied, duplicated, photographed, or examined in any way.

(c)  An inmate shall not correspond through the mail with another inmate committed to the custody and supervision of the department of corrections, whether in the same facility or in a different facility, except as follows:

(1)  To communicate with immediate family members who are inmates also in the custody and supervision of the department of corrections, subject to the prior approval of the superintendent or the superintendent’s designee.

(2)  To communicate with other inmates where the inmate’s classification or treatment team deems the correspondence in the best interests of both parties.

(3)  To communicate with another inmate regarding legal matters, so long as the superintendent or his or her designee knows the second inmate customarily offers legal advice to other inmates.

(4)  To correspond with other inmates, so long as the correspondence has been approved by the superintendent or the superintendent’s designee at his or her sole discretion.

(d)  Negative contact list.

(1)  Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, an inmate incarcerated at a department of corrections facility shall not correspond through the mail with any individual on the department of corrections’ negative contact list.

(2)  An individual may be added to the negative contact list by notifying the department of corrections in writing that he or she does not wish to receive any correspondence through the mail from a particular inmate.

(3)  A parent or authorized legal guardian of a minor may add the minor child to the negative contact list of any inmate who is not the parent of the child by notifying the department of corrections in writing that he or she does not wish the minor child to receive any correspondence through the mail from a particular inmate.  If the inmate is a parent of the minor, the inmate shall have the right to have contact with the minor, unless the inmate is prohibited by court order from contacting the child.

Sec. 4.  28 V.S.A. § 120(h) is amended to read:

(h)  Required participation.  All persons under the custody of the commissioner of corrections who are under the age of 22 23 and have not received a high school diploma shall participate in the education program unless exempted by the commissioner.

Sec. 5.  2 V.S.A. § 801 (b) and (c) are amended to read:

§ 801.  CREATION OF COMMITTEE

* * *

(b)  The committee shall be composed of eight 10 members:  four five members of the house of representatives, who shall not all be from the same party, appointed by the speaker of the house; and four five members of the senate, who shall not all be from the same party, appointed by the committee on committees.  In addition to one member‑at‑large appointed from each chamber, one appointment shall be made from each of the following house and senate committees:  appropriations, judiciary, and institutions, the senate committee on health and welfare, and the house committee on human services.

(c)  The committee shall elect a chair, vice chair, and clerk from among its members and shall adopt rules of procedure.  The chair shall rotate biennially between the house and the senate members.  The committee shall keep minutes of its meetings and maintain a file thereof.  A quorum shall consist of five six members.

* * *

Sec. 6.  JOINT LEGISLATIVE CORRECTIONS OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE; MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES; REDUCTION OF RECIDIVISM

(a)  During the 2007 interim, the joint legislative corrections oversight committee shall engage policymakers, social scientists, and interested persons to:

(1)  gather and review current and accurate data of the prevalence of current and recent inmates with serious mental illness, use the data to project the future acute care needs of all persons with serious mental illnesses who are or will be committed to corrections’ custody, and develop recommendations for legislative change that will meet these needs; and

(2)  develop a strategic plan to reduce the number of Vermont offenders confined to corrections facilities by 30 percent within the ensuing 10‑year period. 

(b)  In working with data under subdivision (a)(1) of this section, the committee shall:

(1)  Study the number of mental health hospital beds needed, including those required by:

(A)  Inmates with acute mental health treatment needs.

(B)  Criminal defendants committed for pre‑trial forensic evaluation in an inpatient setting.

(C)  Criminal defendants found incompetent to stand trial or insane at the time of the offense.

(2)  Review policies from other states that address issues of mental health in inmate populations.  The committee may consult with the National Council of State Legislatures or the Council of State Governments to meet the requirements of this subdivision.

(3)  Consider whether a separate inpatient psychiatric facility, administered by the agency of human services, for inmates with severe mental illness would address the mental health needs of the inmate population.

(4)  Consider whether “serious mental illness,” as defined in subdivision 906(1) of Title 28, should be amended to include other mental impairments that significantly and negatively affect daily functioning, including all forms of developmental disabilities, mental retardation, traumatic brain injury, autism, and various forms of dementia.

(5)  Review the department of corrections’ policies governing the administration of drugs prescribed to treat mental health issues among the inmate population, including:

(A)  The economic cost of current prescription policies.

(B)  The effectiveness of prescription drugs in treating mental illness within the inmate population.

(C)  Current trends in the use of particular categories of drugs to treat mental illness within the inmate population.

(D)  The department’s policies regarding off‑label usage of prescription drugs.

(c)  In preparing the strategic plan required by subdivision (a)(2) of this section, the committee shall:

(1)  Include projections for incarceration rates based on current department of corrections’ practices;

(2)  Identify programs that aim to reduce recidivism and prevent crime;

(3)  Consider alternatives to current sentencing practices, particularly for nonviolent, first‑time offenders;

(4)  Consult with interested persons and experts in the field to determine best practices which might lead to successful implementation of the strategic plan;

(5)  Develop cost estimates of any resources needed to implement the strategic plan; and

(6)  Include in its report a draft of any legislative action recommended to implement the strategic plan.

(d)  The committee shall report to the general assembly:

(1)  data gathered pursuant to subdivision (a)(1) of this section and its findings and recommendations for legislative action on or before October 15, 2007, and

(2)  the strategic plan developed pursuant to subdivision (a)(2) of this section on or before January 15, 2008.

Sec. 7.  COMMISSIONER OF CORRECTIONS; COMMISSIONER OF EDUCATION; MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING

On or before January 15, 2008, the commissioner of corrections and the commissioner of education shall provide to the house committee on institutions, the senate committee on judiciary, and the senate and house committees on education a copy of a memorandum of understanding executed and signed by the two commissioners as required by an interagency agreement required under Part B of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.  The memorandum shall describe the legal, service provision, financial, and accounting roles and responsibilities of each of their agencies regarding special education services delivery by the Community High School of Vermont.

Thereupon, pending the question, Shall the Senate concur in the House proposal of amendment? Senator Sears moved that the Senate concur in the House proposal of amendment with an amendment, as follows;

Senate concur in the House proposal of amendment with a further proposal of amendment, as follows:

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

Sec. 6.  JOINT LEGISLATIVE CORRECTIONS OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE; MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES; REDUCTION OF RECIDIVISM

(a)  During the 2007 interim, the joint legislative corrections oversight committee shall develop recommendations regarding the current and future needs of persons with mental illnesses who are or will be involved in the criminal justice or corrections systems.

(b)  In accomplishing its work under subsection (a) of this section, the committee shall coordinate with and consider the work of the consultant hired under No. 9 of the Acts of 2007 with respect to the impact of inmates and criminal defendants in inpatient settings to ensure that corrections mental health needs are integrated with the continuum of mental health care, including replacement of the services currently provided at the Vermont State Hospital.  The committee shall:

(1)  Assess current and accurate data on the prevalence of inmates who are in need of inpatient care and the number of inpatient psychiatric beds needed by:

(A)  inmates with acute mental health treatment needs;

(B)  criminal defendants committed for pre‑trial forensic evaluation in an inpatient setting; and

(C)  criminal defendants found incompetent to stand trial or insane at the time of the offense;

(2)  Assess current and accurate data on the prevalence of inmates who can be prevented from requiring inpatient care through having their acute mental health needs met in an adequately staffed and fully programmed therapeutic residence within a correctional setting;

(3)  Review policies from other states of similar population profiles that address issues of mental health in inmate populations.  The committee may consult with the National Council of State Legislatures or the Council of State Governments to meet the requirements of this subdivision; and

(4)  Consider the best way to meet the mental health needs of the corrections population, including consideration of a separate inpatient facility.

(c)  If the committee has sufficient time and resources available after completing the work required by subsection (a) of this section, the committee may engage policymakers, social scientists, and interested persons to develop a strategic plan to reduce the number of Vermont offenders confined to corrections facilities.  In preparing the strategic plan described in this subsection, the committee shall:

(1)  Include projections for incarceration rates based on current department of corrections’ practices;

(2)  Identify programs that aim to reduce recidivism and prevent crime;

(3)  Consider alternatives to current sentencing practices, particularly for nonviolent, first‑time offenders;

(4)  Consult with interested persons and experts in the field to determine best practices which might lead to successful implementation of the strategic plan;

(5)  Develop cost estimates of any resources needed to implement the strategic plan; and

(6)  Include in its report a draft of any legislative action recommended to implement the strategic plan.

(d)  The committee shall also:

(1)  Consider whether “serious mental illness,” as defined in subdivision 906(1) of Title 28, should be amended to include other mental impairments that significantly and negatively affect daily functioning, including all forms of developmental disabilities, mental retardation, traumatic brain injury, autism, and various forms of dementia.

(2)  Review the department of corrections’ policies governing the administration of drugs prescribed to treat mental health issues among the inmate population, including:

(A)  The economic cost of current prescription policies.

(B)  The effectiveness of prescription drugs in treating mental illness within the inmate population.

(C)  Current trends in the use of particular categories of drugs to treat mental illness within the inmate population.

(D)  The department’s policies regarding off‑label usage of prescription drugs.

(e)  On or before January 15, 2008, the committee shall report its findings and recommendations for legislative action to the general assembly.

Which was agreed to.

Rules Suspended; House Proposal of Amendment Concurred In

S. 164.

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

An act relating to campaign finance.

Was taken up for immediate consideration.

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

Sec. 1.  FINDINGS

The general assembly finds that:

(1)  Large campaign contributions reduce public confidence in the electoral process and increase the risk and the appearance that candidates and elected officials will not act in the best interests of all Vermont citizens.

(2)  Some candidates and elected officials, particularly when time is limited, respond and give access to contributors who make large contributions in preference to those who make small or no contributions.

(3)  In Vermont, contributions greater than the amounts specified in this act are considered by the general assembly, candidates, and elected officials to be large contributions.

(4)  In Vermont, contributions in the amounts permitted in this act adequately allow contributors to express their opinions, levels of support, and affiliations with respect to candidates, political committees, and political parties.

(5)  In Vermont, candidates can raise sufficient monies to fund effective campaigns from contributions no larger than the amounts specified in this act.

(6)  Limiting large contributions will encourage direct and small group contact between candidates and the electorate and will encourage the personal involvement of a larger number of citizens in campaigns, both of which are crucial to public confidence and the robust debate of issues.

(7)  In Vermont, campaign expenditures by persons who are not candidates have been increasing and public confidence is eroded when unidentified expenditures are made, particularly during the final days of a campaign.

(8)  Identification of persons who publish political advertisements and electioneering communications assists in enforcement of the campaign finance limitations established by this act.

(9)  Aggregate contributions limitations are necessary to limit the influence of a single source, political committee, or political party in an election.

(10)  There is an extensive record supporting the need for the regulation of campaign finance in Vermont that was compiled during the consideration of No. 64 of the Acts of 1997, and that was considered by the courts during the litigation of Landell v. Sorrell, 118 F.Supp. 459 (D.Vt. 2000), aff’d in part and vacated in part, 382 F.3d 91 (2d Cir. 2004), rev’d and remanded sub nom. Randall v. Sorrell, 126 S. Ct. 2479 (2006).

(11)  This act is necessary in order to implement more fully the provisions of Article 8 of Chapter I of the Constitution of the State of Vermont, which declares “That all elections ought to be free and without corruption, and that all voters, having a sufficient, evident, common interest with, and attachment to the community, have a right to elect officers, and be elected into office, agreeably to the regulations made in this constitution.”


Sec. 2.  17 V.S.A. § 2801 is amended to read:

§ 2801.  DEFINITIONS

As used in this chapter:

(1)  “Candidate” means an individual who has taken affirmative action to become a candidate for state, county, local, or legislative office in a primary, special, general, or local election.  An affirmative action shall include one or more of the following:

(A)  accepting contributions or making expenditures totalling $500.00 or more; or

(B)  filing the requisite petition for nomination under this title or being nominated by primary or caucus; or

(C)  announcing that he or she seeks an elected position as a state, county, or local officer or a position as representative or senator in the general assembly.

(2)  “Clearly identified,” with respect to a candidate, means that:

(A)  The name of the candidate appears;

(B)  A photograph or drawing of the candidate appears; or

(C)  The identity of the candidate is apparent by unambiguous reference.

(3)  “Contribution” means a payment, distribution, advance, deposit, loan, or gift of money or anything of value, paid or promised to be paid to a person for the purpose of influencing an election, advocating a position on a public question, or supporting or opposing one or more candidates in any election, but shall not include services provided without compensation by individuals volunteering their time on behalf of a candidate, political committee or political party.  For purposes of this chapter, “contribution” shall not include a personal loan from a lending institution any of the following:

(A)  a personal loan of money to a candidate from a lending institution made in the ordinary course of business;

(B)  services provided without compensation by individuals volunteering their time on behalf of a candidate, political committee, or political party;

(C)  unreimbursed travel expenses incurred within the state of Vermont and paid for by an individual who volunteers personal services to a candidate, if the cumulative amount of these expenses does not exceed $500.00 per election;

(D)  unreimbursed campaign‑related travel expenses incurred within the state of Vermont and paid for by the candidate or the candidate’s spouse or civil union partner;

(E)  the payment by a political party of the costs of preparation, display, or mailing or other distribution of a party candidate listing;

(F)  documents, in printed or electronic form, including party platforms, single copies of issue papers, information pertaining to the requirements of this title, lists of registered voters and voter identification information, created, obtained, or maintained by a political party for the general purpose of party building and provided to a candidate who is a member of that party or to another political party;

(G)  compensation paid by a political party to its employees whose job responsibilities are not for the specific and exclusive benefit of a single candidate in any election;

(H)  campaign training sessions provided to three or more candidates;

(I)  costs paid for by a political party in connection with a campaign event at which three or more candidates are present;

(J)  the use of offices, telephones, computers, and similar equipment when that use does not result in additional cost to the provider;

(K)  activity or communication designed to encourage individuals to register to vote or to vote if that activity or communication does not mention or depict a clearly identified candidate;

(L)  compensation paid by a political party to its employees or consultants for the purpose of providing assistance to another political party.

(3)(4)  “Expenditure” means a payment, disbursement, distribution, advance, deposit, loan, or gift of money or anything of value, paid or promised to be paid, for the purpose of influencing an election, advocating a position on a public question, or supporting or opposing one or more candidates.  For the purposes of this chapter, “expenditure” shall not include any of the following:

(A)  a personal loan of money to a candidate from a lending institution made in the ordinary course of business;

(B)  services provided without compensation by individuals volunteering their time on behalf of a candidate, political committee, or political party;

(C)  unreimbursed travel expenses incurred within the state of Vermont and paid for by an individual who volunteers personal services to a candidate, if the cumulative amount of these expenses does not exceed $500.00 per election;

(D)  unreimbursed campaign‑related travel expenses incurred within the state of Vermont and paid for by the candidate or the candidate’s spouse or civil union partner.

(5)  “Party candidate listing” means any communication by a political party that:

(A)  lists the names of at least three candidates for election to public office;

(B)  is distributed through public advertising such as broadcast stations, cable television, newspapers and similar media, or through direct mail, telephone, electronic mail, publicly accessible sites on the internet or personal delivery;

(C)  treats all candidates in the communication in a substantially similar manner; and

(D)  is limited to:

(i)  the identification of each candidate, with which pictures may be used;

(ii)  the offices sought;

(iii)  the offices currently held by the candidates;

(iv)  the party affiliation of the candidates and a brief statement about the party or the candidates’ positions, philosophy, goals, accomplishments, or biographies;

(v)  encouragement to vote for the candidates identified; and

(vi)  information about voting, such as voting hours and locations.

(4)(6)  “Political committee” or “political action committee” means any formal or informal committee of two or more individuals, or a corporation, labor organization, public interest group, or other entity, not including a political party, which receives contributions of more than $500.00 and makes expenditures of more than $500.00 in any one calendar year for the purpose of supporting or opposing one or more candidates, influencing an election, or advocating a position on a public question in any election or affecting the outcome of an election.

(5)(7)  “Political party” means a political party organized under chapter 45 of this title or and any committee established, financed, maintained, or controlled by the party, including any subsidiary, branch, or local unit thereof and including national or regional affiliates of the party and shall be considered a single, unified political party.  The national affiliate of the political party shall be considered a separate political party.

(6)(8)  “Single source” means an individual, partnership, corporation, association, labor organization, or any other organization or group of persons which is not a political committee or political party.

(7)(9)  “Election” means the procedure whereby the voters of this state or any of its political subdivisions select a person to be a candidate for public office or fill a public office, or to act on public questions including voting on constitutional amendments.  Each primary, general, special, run‑off, or local election shall constitute a separate election.

(8)(10)  “Public question” means an issue that is before the voters for a binding decision.

(9)(11)  “Two‑year general election cycle” means the 24‑month period that begins 38 days after a general election. Expenditures related to a previous campaign and contributions to retire a debt of a previous campaign shall be attributed to the earlier campaign cycle.

(10)(12)  “Full name” means an individual’s full first name, middle name or initial, if any, and full legal last name, making the identity of the person who made the contribution apparent by unambiguous reference.

(11)(13)  “Telephone bank” means more than 500 telephone calls of an identical or substantially similar nature that are made to the general public within any 30‑day period.

Sec. 3.  17 V.S.A. § 2801a is amended to read:

§ 2801a.  EXCEPTIONS

The definitions of “contribution,” “expenditure,” and “electioneering communication” shall not apply to:

(1)  any news story, commentary, or editorial distributed through the facilities of any broadcasting station, newspaper, magazine, or other periodical publication which has not been paid for, or such facilities are not owned or controlled, by any political party, committee, or candidate; and

(2)  any communication distributed through a public access television station if the communication complies with the laws and rules governing the station, and all candidates in the race have an equal opportunity to promote their candidacies through the station.

Sec. 4.  17 V.S.A. § 2805 is amended to read:

§ 2805.  LIMITATIONS OF CONTRIBUTIONS

(a)  A candidate for state representative or local office shall not accept contributions totaling more than $200.00 $250.00 from a single source, or political committee or political party in for any two‑year general election cycle.

(b)  A candidate for state senator or county office shall not accept contributions totaling more than $300.00 $500.00 from a single source, or political committee or political party in for any two‑year general election cycle.

(c)  A candidate for the office of governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, state treasurer, auditor of accounts, or attorney general shall not accept contributions totaling more than $400.00 $750.00 from a single source, or political committee or political party in for any two‑year general election cycleA political committee, other than a political committee of a candidate, or a political party shall not accept contributions totaling more than $2,000.00 from a single source, political committee or political party in any two‑year general election cycle.

(d)  A candidate for the office of governor shall not accept contributions totaling more than $1,000.00 from a single source or political committee in any election.

(b)(e)  A single source, political committee or political party shall not contribute more to a candidate, political committee or political party than the candidate, political committee or political party is permitted to accept under subsection (a) of this section than $20,000.00 to all candidates in any two‑year general election cycle.  A single source shall not contribute more than $20,000.00 to all political committees and political parties in any two‑year general election cycle.

(c)(f)  A candidate, political party or political committee shall not accept, from a political party contributions totaling more than the following amounts in any two‑year general election cycle, more than 25 percent of total contributions from contributors who are not residents of the state of Vermont or from political committees or parties not organized in the state of Vermont:

(1)  For the office of governor, $30,000.00;

(2)  For the office of lieutenant governor, $10,000.00;

(3)  For the office of secretary of state, state treasurer, auditor of accounts, or attorney general, $5,000.00;

(4)  For the office of state senator or county office, $2,000.00;

(5)  For the office of state representative or local office, $1,000.00.

(g)  A single source, political committee, or political party shall not contribute more to a candidate, political committee, or political party than the candidate, political committee, or political party is permitted to accept under subsections (a) through (d) and (f) of this section.

(d)(h)  A candidate shall not accept a monetary contribution in excess of $50.00 unless made by check, credit or debit card, or other electronic transfer.

(e)(i)  A candidate, political party, or political committee shall not knowingly accept a contribution which is not directly from the contributor, but was transferred to the contributor by another person for the purpose of transferring the same to the candidate, or otherwise circumventing the provisions of this chapter.  It shall be a violation of this chapter for a person to make a contribution with the explicit or implicit understanding that the contribution will be transferred in violation of this subsection.

(f)(j)  This section shall not be interpreted to limit the amount a candidate or his or her immediate family may contribute to his or her own campaign.  For purposes of this subsection, “immediate family” means individuals related to the candidate in the first, second or third degree of consanguinity a candidate’s spouse or civil union partner, parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, sister, brother, stepparent, stepgrandparent, stepchild, stepgrandchild, stepsister, stepbrother, mother‑in‑law, father‑in‑law, brother‑in‑law, sister‑in‑law, son‑in‑law, daughter‑in‑law, guardian, or former guardian.

(g)(k)  The limitations on contributions established by this section shall not apply to contributions made for the purpose of advocating a position on a public question, including a constitutional amendment.

(h)(l)  For purposes of this section, the term “candidate” includes the candidate’s political committee.

(m)  The contribution limitations contained in this section shall be adjusted for inflation by increasing them based on the Consumer Price Index.  Increases shall be rounded up to the nearest $10.00.  Increases shall be effective for the first two‑year general election cycle beginning after the general election held in 2008.  On or before July 1, 2009, the secretary of state shall calculate and publish the amount of each limitation that will apply to the election cycle in which July 1, 2009 falls.  On July 1 of each subsequent odd‑numbered year, the secretary shall publish the amount of each limitation for the election cycle in which that publication falls.

(n)  Contributions accepted by candidates shall be treated as follows:

(1)  A candidate who accepts a contribution prior to the date of the primary election may designate the contribution, or portion of the contribution, as either a primary or general election contribution.  Once designated, a general election contribution accepted prior to the primary election shall be accounted for separately.

(2)  A contribution accepted by a candidate after the date of the primary election shall be a general election contribution.  A candidate may designate a contribution, or portion of the contribution, accepted after the date of the primary election as a primary election contribution only for the purpose of retiring debt incurred for the primary election.

(3)  Contributions that were accepted prior to the primary election may be used for the general election if all debt incurred for the primary election has been retired.

(4)  Expenditures related to a previous two-year general election cycle and contributions to retire a debt of a previous two-year general election cycle shall be attributed to the earlier two-year general election cycle.

(5)  Independent candidates and minor party candidates, who do not have primary elections, may accept contributions prior to the primary election date in the same manner and subject to the same limits as major party candidates.

(o)  A candidate accepts a contribution when the contribution is deposited in the candidate’s campaign account.

Sec. 5.  17 V.S.A. § 2805b is added to read:

§ 2805b.  LIMITATIONS ON CONTRIBUTIONS; POLITICAL COMMITTEES; POLITICAL PARTIES

(a)  In any two-year general election cycle:

(1)  A political committee, other than a political committee of a candidate, shall not accept contributions totaling more than $2,000.00 from a single source, political committee, or political party.

(2)  A political party shall not accept contributions totaling more than $2,000.00 from a single source or political committee.

(3)  A political party shall not accept contributions totaling more than $30,000.00 from another political party.

(b)  The contribution limitations contained in this section shall be adjusted for inflation by increasing them based on the Consumer Price Index.  Increases shall be rounded up to the nearest $10.00.  Increases shall be effective for the first two‑year general election cycle beginning after the general election held in 2008.  On or before July 1, 2009, the secretary of state shall calculate and publish the amount of each limitation that will apply to the election cycle in which July 1, 2009 falls.  On July 1 of each subsequent odd‑numbered year, the secretary shall publish the amount of each limitation for the election cycle in which that publication falls.

(c)  In any two-year general election cycle:

(1)  A single source, political committee, or political party shall not contribute more than $2,000.00 to a political committee, other than a political committee of a candidate. 

(2)  A single source or political committee shall not contribute more than $2,000.00 to a political party. 

(3)  A political party shall not contribute more than $30,000.00 to another political party. 

(d)  The limitations on contributions established by this section shall not apply to contributions made for the purpose of advocating a position on a public question, including a constitutional amendment.

Sec. 6.  17 V.S.A. § 2809 is amended to read:

§ 2809.  ACCOUNTABILITY FOR RELATED COORDINATED EXPENDITURES

(a)  A related coordinated campaign expenditure made on a candidate’s behalf shall be considered a contribution to the candidate on whose behalf it was made.

(b)  A related coordinated campaign expenditure made on a candidate’s behalf shall be considered an expenditure by the candidate on whose behalf it was made.  However, if the expenditure did not exceed $50.00, the expenditure shall not be considered an expenditure by the candidate on whose behalf it was made.

(c)  For the purposes of this section, a “related coordinated campaign expenditure made on the candidate’s behalf” means any expenditure intended to promote the election of a specific candidate or group of candidates, or the defeat of an opposing candidate or group of candidates, if intentionally facilitated by, solicited by or approved by the candidate or the candidate’s political committee made by a single source, political committee, or political party in cooperation, consultation or concert with, or at the request or suggestion of, a candidate, a candidate’s political committee or an agent, unless otherwise exempt under subdivision 2801(3) or (4) or section 2801a of this title.

(d)  An expenditure made by a political party or by a political committee that recruits or endorses candidates, that primarily benefits six or fewer candidates who are associated with the political party or political committee making the expenditure, is presumed to be a related expenditure made on behalf of those candidates.  An expenditure made by a political party or by a political committee that recruits or endorses candidates, that substantially benefits more than six candidates and facilitates party or political committee functions, voter turnout, platform promotion or organizational capacity shall not be presumed to be a related expenditure made on a candidate’s behalf.  In addition, an expenditure shall not be considered a “related campaign expenditure made on the candidate’s behalf” if all of the following apply:

(1)  The expenditures were made in connection with a campaign event whose purpose was to provide a group of voters with the opportunity to meet the candidate personally.

(2)  The expenditures were made only for refreshments and related supplies that were consumed at that event.

(3)  The amount of the expenditures for the event was less than $100.00.

For the purposes of this section, a “coordinated campaign expenditure made on the candidate’s behalf” does not mean:

(1)  the cost of invitations and postage and of food and beverages voluntarily provided by an individual to provide an opportunity for a group of voters to meet a candidate, if the cumulative value of these activities by the individual on behalf of any candidate does not exceed $500.00 per election;

(2)  the sale of any food or beverage by a vendor at a charge less than the normal comparable charge, for use at a campaign event providing an opportunity for a group of voters to meet a candidate, if the charge to the candidate is at least equal to the cost of the food or beverages to the vendor and if the cumulative value of the food or beverages does not exceed $500.00 per election; or

(3)  amounts expended by an association or a membership organization in compiling and disseminating a nonpartisan voter guide that includes reports of votes on legislation by, or answers to written questions directed to, all or substantially all of the candidates seeking election to the general assembly or to statewide office, about the candidates’ positions on issues of concern to the association or organization, if both of the following apply:

(A)  the association or organization identifies itself as the sponsor of the communication, and accepts no funding from a candidate, political committee, or political party to defray the costs of the voter guide;

(B)  the voter guide does not contain a phrase such as “vote for,” “re‑elect,” “support,” “cast your ballot for,” “(name of candidate) for Senate,” “(name of candidate) in (year),” “vote against,” “defeat,” or “reject,” or other material that refers to a clearly identified candidate for office and that promotes or supports a candidate for that office, or attacks or opposes a candidate for that office.

* * *

Sec. 7.  17 V.S.A. § 2893(b) is amended to read:

(b)  In addition to any other reports required to be filed under this chapter, a person who makes expenditures for any one mass media activity totaling $500.00 or more within 30 days of a primary or general election shall, for each activity, file a mass media report with the secretary of state and send a copy copies, by a verifiable method of sending, of the mass media report and the complete mass media activity in the same format as distributed to the public to each candidate whose name or likeness is included in the activity within 24 hours of the expenditure or activity, whichever occurs first at the same time as the release of the information contained in the mass media activity to the public.  For the purposes of this section, a person shall be treated as having made an expenditure if the person has executed a contract to make the expenditure.  The report shall identify the person who made the expenditure with the name of the candidate involved in the activity and any other information relating to the expenditure that is required to be disclosed under the provisions of subsections 2803(a) and (b) of this title.

Sec. 8.  EVALUATION OF 2008 PRIMARY AND GENERAL ELECTIONS

The house and senate committees on government operations shall evaluate the 2008 primary and general elections to determine whether the major provisions of this act are accomplishing their intended purposes.

Sec. 9.  REPEAL

17 V.S.A. § 2805a (campaign expenditure limitations) is repealed.

Sec. 10.  EFFECTIVE DATE

This act shall take effect on July 17, 2007.

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

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

H. 148.

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 the child abuse registry.

Was taken up for immediate consideration.

Senator Sears, 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. 148.  An act relating to the child abuse registry.

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

First:  In Sec. 5, after the following: “4” by inserting the following: of this act

Second:  In Sec. 6, subdivision (a)(5), by striking out the last sentence in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof the following: The commissioner shall consult with the house committee on human services and the senate committee on health and welfare while considering the issues in this subdivision.

Third:  After Sec. 6, by inserting seven new sections, to be numbered Secs. 7–13, to read as follows:

Sec. 7.  13 V.S.A. § 5407 is amended to read:

§ 5407.  SEX OFFENDER’S RESPONSIBILITY TO REPORT

(a)  A Except as provided in section 5411d of this title, a sex offender shall report to the department as follows:

(1)  if convicted of a registry offense in another state, within 10 days after either establishing residence in this state or crossing into this state for purposes of employment, carrying on a vocation, or being a student, the sex offender shall provide the information listed in subsection 5403(a) of this title;

(2)  annually within 10 days after the registrant’s birthday, or if a person is determined to be a sexually violent predator, that person shall report to the department every 90 days;

(3)  within three days after any change of address, or if a person is designated as a high‑risk sex offender pursuant to section 5411b of this title, that person shall report to the department within 36 hours;

(4)  within three days after the registrant enrolls in or separates from any postsecondary educational institution; and

(5)  within three days after any change in place of employment; and

(6)  within three days of any name change.

* * *

(f)  A person required to register as a sex offender under this subchapter shall continue to comply with this section for the life of that person, except during periods of incarceration, if that person:

(1)  has at least one prior conviction for an offense described in subdivision 5401(10) of this subchapter or a comparable offense in another jurisdiction of the United States;

(2)  has been convicted of a sexual assault as defined in section 3252 of this title or aggravated sexual assault as defined in section 3253 of this title; however, if a person convicted under section 3252 is not more than six years older than the victim of the assault and if the victim is 14 years or older, then the offender shall not be required to register for life if the age of the victim was the basis for the conviction; or

(3)  has been determined to be a sexually violent predator pursuant to section 5405 of this subchapter title; or

(4)  has been designated as a noncompliant high‑risk sex offender pursuant to section 5411d of this title.

* * *

(h)  A registrant who has no permanent address shall report to the department to notify it as to his or her temporary residence.  Temporary residence, for purposes of this section, need not include an actual dwelling or numbered street address, but shall identify a specific location.  A registrant shall not be required to check in daily if he or she makes acceptable other arrangements with the department to keep his or her information current.  The department may enter into an agreement with a local law enforcement agency to perform this function, but shall maintain responsibility for compliance with this subsection.

Sec. 8.  13 V.S.A. § 5411 is amended to read:

§ 5411.  NOTIFICATION TO LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT AND LOCAL COMMUNITY

* * *

(e)  After 10 years have elapsed from the completion of the sentence, a person required to register as a sex offender for life pursuant to section 5407 of this title who is not designated as a noncompliant high‑risk sex offender pursuant to section 5411d of this title may petition the district court for a termination of community notification, including the internet.  The state shall make a reasonable attempt to notify the victim of the proceeding, and consider victim testimony regarding the petition.  If the registrant was convicted of a crime which requires lifetime registration, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that the person is a high‑risk sex offender.  Should the registrant present evidence that he or she is not a high‑risk offender, the state shall have the burden of proof to establish by a preponderance of the evidence that the person remains a high risk to reoffend.  The court shall consider whether the offender has successfully completed sex offender treatment.  The court may require the offender to submit to a psychosexual evaluation.  If the court finds that there is a high risk of reoffense, notification shall continue.  The Vermont Rules of Civil Procedure shall apply to these proceedings.  A lifetime registrant may petition the court to be removed from community notification requirements once every 60 months.  The presumption under this section that a lifetime registrant is a high‑risk offender shall not automatically subject the offender to increased public access to his or her status as a sex offender and related information under subdivision (c)(1) of this section or section 5411a of this title.

Sec. 9.  13 V.S.A. § 5411a is amended to read:

§ 5411a.  ELECTRONIC POSTING OF THE SEX OFFENDER REGISTRY

(a)  Notwithstanding sections 2056a–2056e of Title 20, the department shall electronically post information on the internet in accordance with subsection (b) of this section regarding the following sex offenders, upon their release from confinement:

* * *

(5)(A)  Sex offenders who have not complied with sex offender treatment recommended by the department of corrections or who are ineligible for sex offender treatment.  The department of corrections shall establish rules for the administration of this subdivision and shall specify what circumstances constitute noncompliance with treatment and criteria for ineligibility to participate in treatment.  Offenders subject to this provision shall have the right to appeal the department of corrections’ determination in superior court in accordance with Rule 75 of the Vermont Rules of Civil Procedure.  This subdivision shall apply prospectively and shall not apply to those sex offenders who did not comply with treatment or were ineligible for treatment prior to March 1, 2005. 

(B)  The department of corrections shall notify the department if a sex offender who is compliant with sex offender treatment completes his or her sentence but has not completed sex offender treatment.  As long as the offender complies with treatment, the offender shall not be considered noncompliant under this subdivision and shall not be placed on the internet registry in accordance with this subdivision alone.  However, the offender shall submit to the department proof of continuing treatment compliance every three months.  Proof of compliance shall be a form provided by the department that the offender’s treatment provider shall sign, attesting to the offender’s continuing compliance with recommended treatment.  Failure to submit such proof as required under this subdivision (B) shall result in the offender’s placement on the internet registry in accordance with subdivision (A) of this subdivision (5).

* * *

Sec. 10.  13 V.S.A. § 5411d is added to read:

§ 5411d.  DESIGNATION OF NONCOMPLIANT HIGH‑RISK SEX  OFFENDER

(a)  Prior to releasing a person from total confinement, the department of corrections shall designate the person as a noncompliant high‑risk sex offender if the person:

(1)  Is incarcerated on or after the effective date of this act for lewd and lascivious conduct with a child as defined in section 2602 of this title, sexual assault as defined in section 3252 of this title, aggravated sexual assault as defined in section 3253 of this title, or any attempt to commit a crime listed herein, or a comparable offense in another jurisdiction of the United States.

(2)  Is not subject to indeterminate life sentences under section 3271 of this title.

(3)  Is designated as a high‑risk sex offender pursuant to section 5411b of this title.

(4)  Is noncompliant with sex offender treatment as defined by department of corrections’ directives.

(b)  Noncompliant high‑risk sex offenders shall report to the department as follows:

(1)  In person, within 15 days from the date of release from department of corrections’ supervision, and within every 30 days thereafter.

(2)  Prior to any change of address.  However, if the change of address is unanticipated, the offender shall report within one day of the change of address.

(3)  Prior to enrollment in or separation from any postsecondary educational institution.  However, if the change in school status is unanticipated, the offender shall report within one day of the change.

(4)  Within one day of any change in a place of employment.

(c)  In addition to the registry information required in section 5403 of this title, a noncompliant high‑risk sex offender shall provide the department with the make, model, color, registration, and license plate number of any vehicle the person operates prior to operation.  An offender found in operation of a vehicle not on the list provided to the department shall be considered to be in violation of this subsection.

(d)  The department shall arrange for the noncompliant high‑risk sex offender to have his or her digital photograph updated annually for purposes of the electronic registry as provided in section 5411a of this title.  An offender who is requested by the department to report to the department or a local law enforcement agency for the purpose of being photographed for the internet registry shall comply with the request within 30 days.

(e)  The department shall conduct periodic unannounced registry compliance checks on noncompliant high‑risk sex offenders to verify the accuracy of registry information.  The department may enter into an agreement with a local law enforcement agency to perform duties under this subsection and under subdivision (b)(1) of this section, but shall maintain responsibility for compliance with this subsection.

(f)(1)  A noncompliant high‑risk sex offender may petition the district court to be relieved from the heightened registry requirements in this section once every five years from the date of designation.  The offender shall have the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that he or she:

(A)  no longer qualifies as a high‑risk offender as defined in section 5401 of this title and rules adopted by the department of corrections in accordance with section 5411b of this title; and

(B)  has complied with and completed sex offender treatment as provided by department of corrections’ directives.

(2)  The Vermont Rules of Civil Procedure shall apply to these proceedings.

(3)  If the court finds that the offender is not high‑risk and has successfully completed treatment, the court shall order that the offender is no longer considered a noncompliant high‑risk offender and is subsequently relieved from the heightened registry requirements of this section; however, the offender shall still continue to comply with sex offender registry and other requirements as provided elsewhere in this subchapter.

(g)(1)  A noncompliant high‑risk sex offender who knowingly fails to comply with any of the registry requirements under this section shall be imprisoned for not less than five years and a maximum term of life and, in addition, may be fined not more than $50,000.00.  A sentence may be suspended in whole or in part, or the person may be eligible for parole or release on conditional reentry or furlough, provided the person is subject to intensive supervision by the department of corrections.

(2)  In a criminal proceeding for violating any of the registry requirements under this section, a defendant shall be prohibited from challenging his or her status as a noncompliant high‑risk sex offender.

(h)  A noncompliant high-risk sex offender convicted of violating this section shall be sentenced under section 3271 of this title.

Sec. 11.  13 V.S.A. § 3271(a) is amended to read:

(a)  A person who commits one of the following offenses shall be sentenced under this section:

* * *

(4)  Violation of sex offender registry requirements by noncompliant high-risk sex offenders, in violation of subsection 5411d(g) of this title.

Sec. 12.  4 V.S.A. § 437 is amended to read:

§ 437.  Civil jurisdiction of district court

The district court shall have jurisdiction of the following actions:

* * *

(9)  Sex offender notification proceedings pursuant to 13 V.S.A. § 5411(c) subsections 5411(e) and 5411d(f) of Title 13.

* * *

Sec. 13.  APPROPRIATION; POSITION AUTHORIZED

(a)  One position is authorized for the office of the defender general, to be assigned to the office of prisoners’ rights, to ensure that the due process rights of prisoners subject to this chapter are protected.

(b)  An appropriation of $75,000.00 shall be considered by the administration and the general assembly in the fiscal year 2009 budget to fund the office of the defender general positions.

and by renumbering the remaining section to be numerically correct

Fourth:  In Sec. 14, by adding a new subsection (b) to read as follows:

(b)  Sec. 13 of this act shall take effect July 1, 2008.

     And by relettering the remaining subsections to be alphabetically correct

                                                                        RICHARD W. SEARS, JR.

                                                                        ALICE NITKA W. NITKA

                                                                        KEVIN J. MULLIN

                                                                 Committee on the part of the Senate

                                                                        WILLIAM J. LIPPERT, JR.

                                                                        MARGARET K. FLORY

                                                                        SANDY HAAS

                                                                 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 on a roll call, Yeas 28, Nays 0.

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

Roll Call

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

Those Senators who voted in the negative were None.

Those Senators absent and not voting were: Maynard, Miller.


Rules Suspended; Bills Messaged

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

S. 97; H. 148.

Rules Suspended; Bill Delivered

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

S. 164.

Message from the Governor

A message was received from His Excellency, the Governor, by Kiersten Bourgeois, Secretary of Civil and Military Affairs, as follows:

Mr. President:

I am directed by the Governor to inform the Senate that on the tenth day of May, 2007, he approved and signed bills originating in the Senate of the following titles:

S. 52.  An act relating to motor vehicles, snowmobiles, motorboats, and all-terrain vehicles.

S. 54.  An act relating to motor vehicle wreckers.

S. 120.  An act relating to wine tastings at farmers’ markets.

S. 128.  An act relating to eliminating certain sunsets on forensic examinations at designated hospitals.

S. 173.  An act relating to the awarding of high school diplomas to veterans of the Vietnam era.

Message from the House No. 89

     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 proposal of amendment to House bill of the following title:

H. 433.  An act relating to the next generation initiative of workforce development through workforce development programs and internships.

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

Recess

On motion of Senator Shumlin the Senate recessed until 2:00 P.M.

Called to Order

At 2:10 P.M.  the Senate was called to order by the President pro tempore.

Rules Suspended; House Proposals of Amendment to Senate Proposal of Amendment Concurred In; Rules Suspended; Bill Messaged to House

H. 433.

Pending entry on the Calendar for notice, on motion of Senator Sears, the rules were suspended and House proposals of amendment to Senate proposal of amendment to 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.

The House concurs in the Senate proposal of amendment with the following amendment thereto:

First:  In Sec. 4, in (f)(1) by striking out subdivision (E) and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

(E)  Do not duplicate, supplant, or replace other available programs funded with public money.

Second:  In Sec. 6, by striking out the first paragraph and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

The commissioner of labor shall be the leader of workforce development strategy and accountability. The commissioner of labor shall consult with and chair a subcommittee of the workforce development council consisting of the secretary of human services, the commissioner of economic development, the commissioner of education, four business members appointed by the governor, and a higher education member appointed by the governor.  Membership on the subcommittee shall be coincident with the members’ terms on the workforce development council.  The workforce development council shall provide administrative support.  The subcommittee shall assist the leader.  The duties of the leader include all the following:

Third:  In Sec. 6a, by striking out subsections (a), (b), and (c) and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

(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 identify sources of sustainable long term funding to adequately support 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 identify which, if any, are suitable and workable for Vermont.

(c)  The committee shall report its findings 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.

Fourth:  In Sec. 6c, in subsection (a), in the third sentence, by striking out the words “department of education, the workforce development”  and inserting in lieu thereof the words department of education and the workforce development and by deleting the word “a” that appears after the words “validated work” and before the word “readiness

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

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

Recess

On motion of Senator Mazza the Senate recessed until the fall of the gavel.

Called to Order

At 6:30 P.M. the Senate was called to order by the President.

Message from the House No. 90

     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. 53.  An act relating to motor vehicles.

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 Senate proposal of amendment to House proposal of amendment to Senate bill of the following title:

S. 97.  An act relating to correctional facilities.

And has concurred therein.

The House has adopted joint resolutions of the following titles:

J.R.H. 39.  Joint resolution requesting Congress to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the authorization of a 90,000-pound weight limitation for all vehicles with a minimum of five axles traveling on interstate highways in Vermont.

J.R.H. 42.  Joint resolution recognizing the importance of farmers’ markets in Vermont.

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

The House has considered a joint resolution originating in the Senate of the following title:

J.R.S. 37.  Joint resolution recognizing Charles Edward Taylor’s significant contributions to the advancement of aviation mechanics and designating May 24 as Aviation Maintenance Technician Day.

And has adopted the same in concurrence.

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

H. 294.

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 executive branch fees.

Was taken up for immediate consideration.

Senator Cummings, 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. 294.  An act relating to executive branch fees.

Respectfully reports that it has met and considered the same and recommends that the House accede to the Senate proposal of amendments with further amendments as follows:

First:  By striking out Sec. 23 (BISHCA) in its entirety

Second:  In Sec. 30 (DEC), 3 V.S.A. § 2822(j)(4)(A)(i)(I), by striking out the word “sewer” and inserting in lieu thereof the following: sewerage; in 3 V.S.A. § 2822(j)(4)(B)(i)(I),  by striking out the word “sewer” and inserting in lieu thereof the following: sewerage; after the following: “$0.25 per gallon” by deleting the words “per lot” and after the words “Minimum per” by striking out the word “lot” and inserting in lieu thereof the following: application in 3 V.S.A. § 2822(j)(4)(B)(ii)(I), by striking out the word “sewer” and inserting in lieu thereof the following: sewerage; after the words “$0.15 per gallon” by striking out the word “lot” and inserting in lieu thereof the following: application; and after the word “minimum per” by striking out the word “lot” and inserting in lieu thereof the following: application and in 3 V.S.A. § 2822(j)(4)(B)(iii)(I) by striking out the word “sewer” and inserting in lieu thereof the following: sewerage; and by striking out the word “lot” and inserting in lieu thereof the following: application

Third:  By striking out Secs. 33g, 33h, and 33i (Judiciary) in their entirety

Fourth:  By striking out Sec. 33j (Special Commemorative License Plates) in its entirety

Fifth:  By striking out Sec. 33k (Medical Care of Inmates) in its entirety

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

Sec. 15.  18 V.S.A. § 5201(b) is amended to read:

(b) (c) The person in charge of the body shall not release for cremation the body of a person who died in Vermont until the person in charge has received a certificate from the chief, regional or assistant medical examiner that the medical examiner has made personal inquiry into the cause and manner of death and is satisfied that no further examination or judicial inquiry concerning it is necessary. The certificate shall be retained by the person in charge of the body crematory for a period of three years. For the certificate, the medical examiner is entitled to a fee of $10.00 $25.00 payable by the person requesting cremation.

Seventh:  By striking out Sec. 34 (Effective Dates) in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 34 to read as follows:

Sec. 34.  EFFECTIVE DATES

(a)  This section and Secs. 1, 9, 22a, 24, 25, and 33e of this act shall take effect on passage.

(b)  Secs. 27, 28, and 29 shall take effect on January 1, 2008.

(c)  Sec. 12, 18 V.S.A. § 4353(a)(1)II (seating capacity of 26 to 50), III (seating capacity of 51 to 100), and IX (fair stands),  18 V.S.A. § 4353(a)(2)II (lodging capacity of 11 to 20), and Sec. 13, 18 V.S.A. § 4446(a)II (small commercial bakery) shall take effect on July 1, 2008.

                                                                        ANN E. CUMMINGS

                                                                        WILLIAM H. CARRIS

                                                                 Committee on the part of the Senate

                                                                        CAROLYN W. BRANAGAN

                                                                        WILLIAM N. ASWAD

                                                                        JAMES O. CONDON

                                                                 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. 313.

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 the administration and enforcement of fines within the judicial bureau.

Was taken up for immediate consideration.

Senator Sears, 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. 313.  An act relating to the administration and enforcement of fines within the judicial bureau.

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.  4 V.S.A. § 1105 is amended to read:

§ 1105.  ANSWER TO COMPLAINT; DEFAULT

(a)  A violation shall be charged upon a summons and complaint form approved and distributed by the court administrator.  The complaint shall be signed by the issuing officer or by the state’s attorney.  The original shall be filed with the judicial bureau, a copy shall be retained by the issuing officer or state’s attorney and two copies shall be given to the defendant.  The complaint shall include a statement of rights, instructions, notice that a defendant may admit, not contest, or deny a violation, notice of the fee for failure to answer within 20 days, and other notices as the court administrator deems appropriate.  The court administrator, in consultation with appropriate law enforcement agencies, may approve a single form for charging all violations, or may approve two or more forms as necessary to administer the operations of the judicial bureau.

(b)  A person who is charged with a violation shall have 20 days from the date the complaint is issued to admit or deny the allegations or to state that he or she does not contest the allegations in the complaint.  The judicial bureau shall assess against a defendant a fee of $10.00 for failure to answer a complaint within the time allowed.  The fee shall be assessed in the default judgment and deposited in the court technology special fund established pursuant to section 27 of this title.

(c)  A person who admits or does not contest the allegations may so indicate and sign the complaint.  The bureau shall accept the admission or statement that the allegations are not contested and accept payment of the waiver penalty.

(d)  If the person sends in the amount of the waiver penalty without signing the complaint, the bureau shall accept the payment indicating that payment was made and that the allegations were not contested.

(e)  A person who denies the allegations may so indicate and sign the complaint.  Upon receipt, the bureau shall schedule a hearing.

(f)  If a person fails to appear or answer a complaint the bureau shall enter a default judgment against the person.  The bureau shall mail a notice to the person that a default judgment has been entered.  A default judgment may be set aside by the hearing officer for good cause shown.

(g)  All judicial bureau judgments shall contain a notice of tax setoff pursuant to 32 V.S.A. § 5941.


Sec. 2.  4 V.S.A. § 1109 is added to read:

§ 1109.  REMEDIES FOR FAILURE TO PAY

(a)  As used in this section:

(1)  “Amount due” means all financial assessments contained in a judicial bureau judgment, including penalties, fines, surcharges, court costs, and any other assessment authorized by law.

(2)  “Designated collection agency” means a collection agency designated by the court administrator.

(3)  “Designated credit bureau” means a credit bureau designated by the court administrator or the court administrator’s designee.

(b)  A judicial bureau judgment shall provide notice that a $15.00 fee shall be assessed for failure to pay within 30 days.  If the defendant fails to pay the amount due within 30 days, the fee shall be added to the judgment amount and deposited in the court technology special fund established pursuant to section 27 of this title.

(c)  Civil contempt proceedings.  If an amount due remains unpaid for 75 days after the judicial bureau provides the defendant with a notice of judgment, the judicial bureau may initiate civil contempt proceedings pursuant to this subsection.

(1)  Notice of hearing.  The judicial bureau shall provide notice by first class mail sent to the defendant’s last known address that a contempt hearing will be held pursuant to this subsection, and that failure to appear at the contempt hearing may result in the sanctions listed in subdivision (2) of this subsection.

(2)  Failure to appear.  If the defendant fails to appear at the contempt hearing, the hearing officer may direct the clerk of the judicial bureau to:

(A)  cause the matter to be reported to one or more designated credit bureaus; or

(B)  refer the matter to district court for contempt proceedings.

(3)  Hearing.  The hearing shall be conducted in a summary manner.  The hearing officer shall examine the defendant and any other witnesses and may require the defendant to produce documents relevant to the defendant’s ability to pay the amount due.  The state or municipality shall not be a party except with the permission of the hearing officer.  The defendant may be represented by counsel at the defendant’s own expense.

(4)  Contempt.

(A)  The hearing officer may conclude that the defendant is in contempt if the hearing officer states in written findings a factual basis for concluding that:

(i)  the defendant knew or reasonably should have known that he or she owed an amount due on a judicial bureau judgment;

(ii)  the defendant had the ability to pay all or any portion of the amount due; and

(iii)  the defendant failed to pay all or any portion of the amount due.

(B)  In the contempt order, the hearing officer may do one or more of the following:

(i)  Set a date by which the defendant shall pay the amount due.

(ii)  Assess an additional penalty not to exceed ten percent of the amount due.

(iii)  Direct the clerk of the judicial bureau to cause the matter to be reported to one or more designated credit bureaus.  The court administrator or the court administrator’s designee is authorized to contract with one or more credit bureaus for the purpose of reporting information about unpaid judicial bureau judgments.

(iv)  Recommend that the district court incarcerate the defendant until the amount due is paid.  If incarceration is recommended pursuant to this subdivision (4), the judicial bureau shall notify the district court that contempt proceedings should be commenced against the defendant.  The district court proceedings shall be de novo.  If the defendant cannot afford counsel for the contempt proceedings in district court, the defender general shall assign counsel at the defender general’s expense.

(d)  Collections.

(1)  If an amount due remains unpaid after the issuance of a notice of judgment, the court administrator may authorize the clerk of the judicial bureau to refer the matter to a designated collection agency.

(2)  The court administrator or the court administrator’s designee is authorized to contract with one or more collection agencies for the purpose of collecting unpaid judicial bureau judgments pursuant to 13 V.S.A. § 7171.

(e)  For purposes of civil contempt proceedings, venue shall be statewide.

(f)  Notwithstanding 32 V.S.A. § 502, the court administrator is authorized to contract with a third party to collect fines, penalties, and fees by credit card, debit card, charge card, prepaid card, stored value card, and direct bank account withdrawals or transfers, as authorized by 32 V.S.A. § 583, and to add on and collect, or charge against collections, a processing charge in an amount approved by the court administrator.

Sec. 3.  4 V.S.A. § 1110 is added to read:

§ 1110.  Licenses or governmental contracts

(a)  As used in this section:

(1)  “License” means any license, certification, or registration issued by an agency to conduct a trade or business, including a license to practice a profession or occupation, or a license required to engage in recreational activities, including licenses to hunt, fish, or trap.

(b)  Every applicant for a license shall sign a statement that the applicant is in good standing with respect to any unpaid judgment issued by the judicial bureau or district court for fines or penalties for a violation or criminal offense.  A license may not be issued or renewed without such a statement.

(c)  For the purposes of this section, a person is in good standing with respect to any unpaid judgment issued by the judicial bureau or district court for fines or penalties for a violation or criminal offense if:

(1)  60 days or fewer have elapsed since the date a judgment was issued; or

(2)  the person is in compliance with a repayment plan approved by the judiciary.

Sec. 4.  13 V.S.A. § 7171 is amended to read:

§ 7171.  Collection by complaint, information, or indictment

(a)  Fines, forfeitures, and penalties incurred or imposed by statute may be recovered by complaint, information, or indictment, unless some other mode of recovery is specially provided.

(b)  The attorney general court administrator is authorized to contract with private collection agencies for collection of fines, forfeitures, fees and penalties, fines, surcharges, court costs, and any other assessment authorized by law incurred or imposed by statute on persons who have failed to pay after reasonable notification of the debt, and the risk that the debt may be referred to a collection agency and that the debtor will be liable for the collection agency’s fee.  The attorney general and the court administrator may agree to pay collection agencies a fee based on a fixed rate for services rendered or a percentage of the amount actually collected by such agencies and remitted to the state.  Notwithstanding 32 V.S.A. § 502, the attorney general may charge against such collections an agreed‑upon fixed rate or percentage of collections  The debtor shall be liable for the collection agency’s fee, in addition to the judgment amount.  The collection agency shall deduct its fee from the collected amount and remit the balance to the judiciary.  All collection agency fees shall be governed by the contract with the court administrator and shall be clearly disclosed in all notices sent by the collection agency to the debtor.

Sec. 5.  23 V.S.A. § 2307 is amended to read:

§ 2307.  REMEDIES FOR FAILURE TO PAY TRAFFIC VIOLATIONS

(a)  As used in this section:,

(1)  “Amount “amount due” means all financial assessments contained in a judicial bureau judgment, including penalties, fines, surcharges, court costs, and any other assessment authorized by law.

(2)  “Designated collection agency” means a collection agency designated by the court administrator.

(3)  “Designated credit bureau” means a credit bureau designated by the court administrator or the court administrator’s designee.

(b)  Notice of risk of suspension.  A judgment for a traffic violation shall contain a notice that failure to pay or otherwise satisfy the amount due within 20 30 days of the notice will result in suspension of the person’s operator’s license or privilege to operate, and the denial, if the person is the sole registrant, of the person’s application for renewal of a motor vehicle registration, until the amount due is paid or otherwise satisfied.  If the defendant fails to pay the amount due within 20 30 days of the notice and the case is not pending on appeal, the judicial bureau shall provide electronic notice thereof to the commissioner of motor vehicles who, after 20 days from the date of receiving the electronic notice, shall suspend the person’s operator’s license or privilege to operate and deny, if the person is the sole registrant, the person’s application for renewal of a motor vehicle registration until the amount due is paid or otherwise satisfied. 

(c)  Civil contempt proceedings.  If an amount due remains unpaid for 45 days after the judicial bureau provides the defendant with a notice of risk of suspension pursuant to subsection (b) of this section, the judicial bureau may initiate civil contempt proceedings pursuant to this subsection.  During proceedings conducted pursuant to 4 V.S.A. § 1109, the hearing officer may apply the following mitigation remedies when the judgment is based upon a traffic violation:

(1)  Notice of hearing.  The judicial bureau shall provide notice by first class mail sent to the defendant’s last known address that a contempt hearing will be held pursuant to this subsection and that failure to appear at the contempt hearing may result in the sanctions listed in subdivision (c)(2) of this section and subject to procedures for tax setoffs under 32 V.S.A. § 5941.

(2)  Failure to appear.  If the defendant fails to appear at the contempt hearing, the hearing officer may direct the clerk of the judicial bureau to:

(A)  cause the matter to be reported to one or more designated credit bureaus; or

(B)  refer the matter to district court for contempt proceedings.

(3)  Hearing.  The hearing shall be conducted in a summary manner.  The hearing officer shall examine the defendant and any other witnesses and may require the defendant to produce documents relevant to the defendant’s ability to pay the amount due.  The state or municipality shall not be a party except with the permission of the hearing officer.  The defendant may be represented by counsel at the defendant’s own expense.

(4)  Mitigation remedies.

(A)(1)  The hearing officer may waive the reinstatement fee required by section 675 of this title or reduce the amount due on the basis of:

(i)(A)  the defendant’s driving history, ability to pay, or service to the community;

(ii)(B)  the collateral consequences of the violation; or

(iii)(C)  the interests of justice.

(B)(2)  The hearing officer may specify a date by which the defendant shall pay the amount due and may notify the commissioner of motor vehicles to reinstate the defendant’s operator’s license or privilege subject to payment of the amount due by the specified date.  If the defendant fails to pay the amount due by the specified date, the judicial bureau may notify the commissioner to suspend the defendant’s operator’s license or privilege.  A license may be reinstated under this subdivision only if the defendant’s license is suspended solely for failure to pay a judicial bureau judgment.

(C)(3)  The judicial officer shall have sole discretion to determine mitigation remedies pursuant to this subdivision, and the judicial officer’s determination shall not be subject to review or appeal in any court, tribunal, or administrative office.

(5)  Contempt.

(A)  The hearing officer may conclude that the defendant is in contempt if the hearing officer states in written findings a factual basis for concluding that:

(i)  The defendant knew or reasonably should have known that he or she owed an amount due on a judicial bureau judgment;

(ii)  The defendant had the ability to pay all or any portion of the amount due; and

(iii)  The defendant failed to pay all or any portion of the amount due.

(B)  The hearing officer may in the contempt order do one or more of the following:

(i)  Set a date by which the defendant shall pay the amount due;

(ii)  Assess an additional penalty not to exceed ten percent of the amount due;

(iii)  Direct the clerk of the judicial bureau to cause the matter to be reported to one or more designated credit bureaus.  The court administrator or the court administrator’s designee is authorized to contract with one or more credit bureaus for the purpose of reporting information about unpaid judicial bureau judgments; and

(iv)  Recommend that the district court incarcerate the defendant until the amount due is paid.  If incarceration is recommended pursuant to this subdivision, the judicial bureau shall notify the district court that contempt proceedings should be commenced against the defendant.  If the defendant cannot afford counsel for the contempt proceedings in district court, the defender general shall assign counsel at the defender general’s expense.

(d)  Collections.

(1)  If an amount due remains unpaid for one year after the issuance of a notice of risk of suspension pursuant to subsection (b) of this section and the defendant has failed to appear at a judicial bureau contempt hearing, the court administrator may authorize the clerk of the judicial bureau to refer the matter to a designated collection agency.

(2)(A)  The court administrator or the court administrator’s designee is authorized to contract with one or more collection agencies for the purpose of collecting unpaid judicial bureau judgments.

(B)  The court administrator may authorize a collection agency to settle a judicial bureau judgment for less than the amount due and to retain a portion of the amount collected for its services.  The judgment amount shall be reduced in the judicial bureau records to reflect the settlement amount and the fee retained by the collection agency.

(e)  For purposes of civil contempt proceedings, venue shall be statewide.

(f)  Notwithstanding 32 V.S.A. § 502, the court administrator is authorized to contract with a third party to collect fines, penalties, and fees by credit card, debit card, charge card, prepaid card, stored value card, and direct bank account withdrawals or transfers, as authorized by 32 V.S.A. § 583, and to add on and collect a processing charge in an amount approved by the court administrator.

Sec. 6.  23 V.S.A. § 305a is added to read:

§ 305a.  –WHEN NOT ISSUED

The commissioner shall not renew the registration of a person who is the sole registrant after receiving notice from the judicial bureau that the person has not paid a judgment for a traffic violation.

Sec. 7.  32 V.S.A. § 509a is added to read:

§ 509a.  Judiciary overpayment; refund

Notwithstanding the provisions of section 509 of this title, when a person who owes money to the judiciary makes an overpayment, the judiciary shall forthwith refund to that person the amount of such overpayment; however, there shall be no obligation to refund sums in the amount of $10.00 or less.  If a person is owed a refund of more than $10.00 and cannot be located by the judiciary, the refund shall be submitted to the abandoned property procedure.  For refunds of $10.00 or less which are not demanded by the person within a year after the payment, the refund shall revert to the state and be deposited into the revenue fund where the original payment was deposited. 

Sec. 8.  32 V.S.A. § 583 is amended to read:

§ 583.  Credit card payments

(a)  A statewide officer or secretary of a state agency, commissioner of a state department, or the court administrator may accept payment of taxes, registration fees, license fees, penalties, fines, interest, charges, surcharges, or any other fees or amounts due the state by means of credit cards, debit cards, charge cards, prepaid cards, stored value cards, and direct bank account withdrawals or transfers.

(b)  The court administrator may not accept credit cards, debit cards, charge cards, prepaid cards, stored value cards, and direct bank account withdrawals or transfers for payments of fines, penalties or surcharges assessed by a circuit of the district court.  However, the court administrator may accept credit cards, debit cards, charge cards, prepaid cards, stored value cards, and direct bank account withdrawals or transfers for any payments to the Chittenden, Essex, and Washington circuits of the district court.

(c)  The state treasurer shall negotiate and contract with banks and bank credit card companies or others to provide as a method of payment to state agencies, or departments, or the judiciary the use of credit card or debit card accounts or direct bank account withdrawals or transfers, and may agree to pay such bank or other company a fee or percentage of the amount collected and remitted to the state.  The court administrator may so contract for the judiciary with the approval of the state treasurer.  Notwithstanding section 502 of this title, an agency, a department, or the judiciary may charge against such collections the percentage or fee imposed.

(d)(c)  The state treasurer shall assist each statewide officer, secretary, commissioner, and court administrator who elects to accept payments, as authorized by this section, with establishing procedures for accepting those payments.

(e)(d)  A statewide officer or secretary of a state agency, a commissioner of a state department, or the court administrator who has authority to accept payment of fees, penalties, fines, charges, surcharges, or any other amounts due the state by a credit card, debit card, charge card, prepaid card, or stored value card shall not charge or collect any additional amounts for using such card to make the payment unless the agency develops a policy regarding additional charges.  Each policy and recommended charge, except that which is adopted and recommended by the court administrator, shall be approved by the secretary of administration prior to applying the charge.  Any such charge shall approximate the cost of providing the service. 

(f)(e)  By January 15 of each year, the treasurer, with the assistance of the court administrator, shall file a report with the general assembly and the joint fiscal committee which:

* * *

Sec. 9.  DEBT COLLECTION BY JUDICIARY

The court administrator is authorized to send a notice to defendants who have failed to pay judicial bureau and district court judgments issued prior to September 25, 2006 to inform them of the judiciary’s intent to collect the debt through any authorized means, and that the debt will be subject to procedures for tax setoffs under 32 V.S.A. § 5941.  Concurrent with providing the notice to the debtor, the judiciary shall assess a $10.00 collection fee which shall be added to the judgment amount and deposited in the court technology special fund established pursuant to 4 V.S.A. § 27.  If the defendant satisfies the judgment within 20 days, the fee shall be waived.  The court administrator may charge the cost of preparing and sending the notice against revenues collected in this effort.  This authorization shall expire on June 30, 2009.

Sec. 10.  REPEAL

12 V.S.A. § 5540 is repealed.

Sec. 11.  12 V.S.A. § 5540a is amended to read:

§ 5540a.  JURISDICTION OVER SMALL CLAIMS; ASSISTANT JUDGES; ADDISON, CHITTENDEN, FRANKLIN, GRAND ISLE, LAMOILLE, ORANGE, ORLEANS, WASHINGTON,    WINDHAM, AND WINDSOR COUNTIES

(a)(1)  Subject to the limitations in this section and notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, assistant judges of Essex, Caledonia, Rutland, and Bennington Counties sitting alone shall hear and decide small claims actions filed under this chapter with the Essex, Caledonia, Rutland, and Bennington superior courts.

(2)  Subject to the limitations in this section and notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, assistant judges of Addison, Chittenden, Franklin, Grand Isle, Lamoille, Orange, Orleans, Washington, Windham, and Windsor counties sitting alone shall hear and decide small claims actions filed under this chapter with the appropriate superior court if the assistant judges first elect to successfully complete the training required in subsection (b) of this section.

(b)  With the exception of assistant judges authorized to preside in small claims matters prior to the effective date of this act who have successfully completed the testing requirements established herein, an assistant judge hearing cases under this section shall have completed at least 100 hours of relevant training and testing, and observed 20 hours of small claims hearings in accordance with the protocol for said training and observation which shall be established by a majority of the assistant judges of the state, which shall include attendance at colleges or classes available in various locations in and outside the state to lay judges.  An assistant judge who hears cases under this section shall complete 16 hours of continuing education every year relating to jurisdiction exercised under this section and shall file a certificate to such effect with the court administrator.  Training shall be paid for on a per capita basis of those judges electing to take the training by the county, which expenditure is hereby authorized.  Law clerk assistance available to superior court judges shall be available to the assistant judges.

(c)  A decision of an assistant judge shall be entered as a small claims judgment and may be appealed pursuant to section 5538 of this title.  The appeal shall be decided by the presiding judge.

(d)  An assistant judge upon successful completion of the training under subsection (b) of this section, shall cause the superior court clerk to notify the court administrator of the assistant judge’s successful completion of training. Upon receipt of such notification, small claims cases which require a hearing shall first be set for hearing before an assistant judge in the superior court in the county and shall be heard by the assistant judge.  If the assistant judge is unavailable due to illness, vacation, administrative leave, disability, or disqualification, the administrative judge pursuant to section 22 of Title 4 may assign a judge, or appoint and assign a member of the Vermont bar to serve temporarily as an acting judge, to hear small claims cases in Addison, Chittenden, Franklin, Grand Isle, Lamoille, Orange, Orleans, Washington, Windham, and Windsor counties the county.  No action filed or pending shall be heard at or transferred to any other location unless agreed to by the parties.  If both assistant judges of the county elect to successfully complete training to hear these matters, the senior assistant judge shall make the assignment of cases to be heard by each assistant judge.  The assistant judges, once qualified to preside in these matters, shall work with the court administrator’s office and the administrative judge such that the scheduling of small claims cases before the assistant judges are at such times as to permit adequate current court personnel to be available when these cases are heard.

(e)  This section shall be repealed effective on July 1, 2008 July 1, 2012.

Sec. 12.  13 V.S.A. § 7043a is added to read:

§ 7043a.  Licenses or governmental contracts

(a)  As used in this section:

(1)  “License” means any license, certification, or registration issued by an agency to conduct a trade or business, including a license to practice a profession or occupation, or a license required to engage in recreational activities, including a license to hunt, fish, or trap.

(b)  Every applicant for a license shall sign a statement that the applicant is in good standing with respect to any restitution order.  A license may not be issued or renewed without such a statement.

(c)  For the purposes of this section, a person is in good standing with respect to any restitution order if:

(1)  60 days or fewer have elapsed since the date a restitution judgment was issued;

(2)  the person is in compliance with a repayment plan approved by the restitution unit; or

(3)  the person is in compliance with a court‑ordered restitution judgment order.

Sec. 13.  REPORTS

(a)(1)  The commissioner of the department of fish and wildlife, in consultation with the court administrator, the office of child support, the center for crime victims services, the department of motor vehicles, and the department of information and innovation, shall develop a proposal for an automated system for the department of fish and wildlife to suspend a license to hunt, fish, or trap for a violation of:

(A)  4 V.S.A. § 1110, relating to any unpaid judgment issued by the judicial bureau or district court for fines or penalties for a criminal offense;

(B)  13 V.S.A. § 7043, relating to failure to comply with a restitution order; and

(C)  15 V.S.A. §§ 795 and 798, relating to failure to comply with a child support order.

(2)  The commissioner shall report to the house and senate committees on judiciary and to legislative council not later than December 1, 2007 regarding the proposed automated system and any costs associated with implementation.

(b)  The commissioner of the department of fish and wildlife shall report to the house and senate committees on judiciary not later than December 1, 2007 regarding the current policies and practices of the department for suspending licenses of persons to hunt, fish and trap who have failed to pay child support.  The report shall describe how the department receives notice from the office of child support that a licensee has failed to pay child support, the contents of the notice, the procedures that the department follows after receiving notice, data on how many and how frequently licenses are suspended after notice is received, and whether any changes in law would assist the department to effect license suspensions of licensees who fail to pay child support.  

(c)  The commissioner of the department of buildings and general services shall report to the house and senate committees on judiciary not later than December 1, 2007 regarding the feasibility, advisability, and likely effects of prohibiting a state agency from entering into, extending, or renewing a contract with a person unless the person submits a statement that the person is in good standing with respect to any unpaid judicial bureau judgments, district court fines, or restitution orders. 

(d)  The commissioner of the department of motor vehicles and the court administrator shall report to the senate and house committees on judiciary no later than December 1, 2007 on methods to protect the interests of innocent owners when suspending the registrations of motor vehicles titled to more than one person on account of the failure of one of the titleholders to pay to the judicial bureau judgments for traffic violations.

Sec. 14.  VICTIMS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT STUDY COMMITTEE

(a)  A committee is established to study certain issues related to victims of sexual assault.  The committee shall examine:

(1)  the financial cost of forensic sexual assault examination and other health care needs of sexual assault victims, including follow‑up care for victims undergoing PEP, best practices in other states, and whether the cost of forensic sexual assault examinations should be capped;

(2)  how forensic sexual assault examination kits are collected and transported by law enforcement and how the kits are received and processed by the Vermont Forensic Laboratory;

(3)  the currency of practice standards for sexual assault nurse examiners, oversight and enforcement of standards, and the training and certification opportunities available in Vermont;

(4)  the feasibility of instituting a pediatric sexual assault examination program in Vermont.  The committee shall review the study conducted by the Vermont children’s alliance and consult with other state and national organizations with expertise in pediatric sexual assault examiner programs;

(5)  whether a victim of sexual assault shall be considered eligible for the victims compensation program based solely on a report to a sexual assault nurse examiner;

(6)  the current funding sources for the sexual assault nurse examiner program and the need for additional resources.

(b)  The committee shall consist of the following members:

(1)  One member appointed by the Vermont center for crime victim services, who shall serve as co‑chair of the committee.

(2)  One member appointed by the Vermont center for the prevention and treatment of sexual abuse, who shall serve as co‑chair of the committee.

(3)  One member appointed by the Vermont hospital association.

(4)  One member appointed by the Vermont network against domestic and sexual violence.

(5)  A survivor of sexual assault appointed by the Vermont center for crime victim services.

(6)  One member appointed by the department of public safety.

(7)  The director of the Vermont forensic laboratory.

(8)  One member of the Vermont children’s alliance.

(9)  A pediatrician appointed by the Vermont medical society.

(10)  A sexual assault nurse examiner appointed by the sexual assault nurse examiner advisory board.

(11)  One member of the senate appointed by the committee on committees.

(12)  One member of the house appointed by the speaker of the house.   

(c)  The committee shall have the assistance and cooperation of all state and local agencies and departments.  The center for crime victims services shall convene the meetings and provide professional and administrative support for the committee.

(d)(1)  Members of the committee who are not state employees shall be entitled to per diem compensation and reimbursement for expenses through the center for crime victims services to the same extent that legislative members of committees are entitled to such compensation and reimbursement under 2 V.S.A. § 406. 

(2)  For attendance at a meeting when the general assembly is not in session, the legislative members of the committee shall be entitled to per diem compensation and reimbursement for expenses as provided by 2 V.S.A. § 406.

(e)  The committee shall present its findings and recommendations, including proposals for legislative action, to the general assembly no later than December 1, 2007.

Sec. 15.  Sec. 9 of No. 169 of the Acts of the 2005 Adj. Sess. (2006) is amended to read:

Sec. 9.  DISSEMINATION OF ELECTRONIC CASE RECORDS

The judiciary shall not permit public access via the internet to criminal case records or family court case records prior to June 1, 2007 July 1, 2008.  The court may permit criminal justice agencies, as defined in 20 V.S.A. § 2056a, internet access to criminal case records for criminal justice purposes, as defined in section 2056a. 


Sec. 16.  4 V.S.A. § 27 is added to read:

§ 27.  MUNICIPAL TICKET REPAYMENT REVOLVING FUND

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sec. 17.  23 V.S.A. § 1098 is added to read:

§ 1098.  DISPOSITION OF PENDING CASES

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

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

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

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

(b)  Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, with respect to any judgment entered pursuant to this section, the judicial bureau shall immediately seal the record and shall not report the judgment to the commissioner of motor vehicles.  Any funds received by the judicial bureau for judgments under this section shall be deposited in the court technology special fund up to $150,000.00, and the balance to be deposited to the municipal ticket repayment revolving fund defined in 4 V.S.A. § 27.

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

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

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

Sec. 18.  13 V.S.A. § 1028 is amended to read:

§ 1028.  ASSAULT OF LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER, FIREFIGHTER, OR EMERGENCY MEDICAL PERSONNEL member

A person convicted of a simple or aggravated assault against a law enforcement officer or, firefighter, or member of emergency services personnel as defined in subdivision 2651(6) of Title 24 while the officer or, firefighter, or emergency medical personnel member is performing a lawful duty, in addition to any other penalties imposed under sections 1023 and 1024 of this title, shall:

(1)  For the first offense, be imprisoned not more than one year;

(2)  For the second offense and subsequent offenses, be imprisoned not more than ten years.

Sec. 19.  4 V.S.A. § 1102(b) is amended to read:

(b)  The judicial bureau shall have jurisdiction of the following matters:

(1)  traffic Traffic violations alleged to have been committed on or after July 1, 1990;.

(2)  civil Civil ordinance violations alleged to have been committed on or after July 1, 1994;.

(3)  minor Minor fish and wildlife violations alleged to have been committed on or after September 1, 1996;.

(4)  violations Violations of subsection 1005(a) of Title 7, relating to possession of tobacco products by a person less than 18 years of age;.

(5)  violations Violations of 7 V.S.A. § 1007, relating to furnishing tobacco products to a person under the age of 18 years;.

(6)  violations Violations of 24 V.S.A. § 2201, relating to littering, burning of solid waste, and illegal dumping;.

(7)  violations Violations of subchapter 9 of chapter 1 of Title 16, relating to hazing;.

(8)  violations Violations of 20 V.S.A. §§ 2056a, 2056b, and 2056c, relating to unauthorized disclosure of criminal record information;.

(9)  violations Violations of 7 V.S.A. § 656, relating to illegal possession of alcoholic beverages;.

(10)  violations Violations under subdivision 658(c)(1) of Title 7, relating to an employee of a second class licensee selling alcohol to a minor during a compliance check;.

(11)  violations Violations of 18 V.S.A. § 4234b(b), relating to selling ephedrine base, pseudoephedrine base, or phenylpropanolamine base.

(12)  Violations of 13 V.S.A. § 352(3), (4), and (9), relating to cruelty to animals.

Sec. 20.  13 V.S.A. § 353 is amended to read:

§ 353.  DEGREE OF OFFENSE; SENTENCING UPON CONVICTION

(a)  Penalties.

(1)  Except as provided in subdivision (3) or (4) of this subsection, cruelty to animals under section 352 of this title shall be punishable by a sentence of imprisonment of not more than one year, or a fine of not more than $2,000.00, or both.  Second and subsequent convictions shall be punishable by a sentence of imprisonment of not more than two years or a fine of not more than $5,000.00, or both.

* * *

(4)(A)  Except as provided in subdivision (B) of this subdivision (4), a person found in violation of subdivision 352(3), (4), or (9) of this title pursuant to this subdivision shall be imprisoned not more than one year or fined not more than $2,000.00, or both.  Second and subsequent convictions shall be punishable by a sentence of imprisonment of not more than two years or a fine of not more than $5,000.00, or both.

(B)  A law enforcement officer shall issue a civil citation to a person who violates subdivision 352(3), (4), or (9) of this title if the person has not been previously adjudicated in violation of this chapter.  A person adjudicated in violation of subdivision 352(3), (4), or (9) of this title pursuant to this subdivision shall be assessed a civil penalty of not more than $500.00.  At any time prior to the person admitting the violation and paying the assessed penalty, the state’s attorney may withdraw the complaint filed with the judicial bureau and file an information charging a violation of subdivision 352(3), (4), or (9) of this title in district court.   

* * *

Sec. 21.  13 V.S.A. § 7251(d) is added to read:

(d)  Fines, forfeitures, and penalties imposed by the judicial bureau for violations of subdivisions 352(3),(4), and (9) of this title, relating to animal cruelty that result from the enforcement by villages, towns, and cities within their jurisdiction shall be paid to the respective village, town, or city, except for a $12.50 administrative charge for each violation which shall be retained by the state.  The enforcement by villages, towns, and cities shall be by a local law enforcement officer or a law enforcement officer by contract with the village, town, or city.  Such law enforcement officer shall be certified according to the provisions of 20 V.S.A. § 2358.

Sec. 22.  EFFECTIVE DATES

(a)  In Sec. 5 of this act, 23 V.S.A. § 2307(b), the provisions relating to the denial of a motor vehicle registration, and Sec. 6 in its entirety shall take effect January 1, 2010. 

(b)  Secs. 3 and 12 shall take effect January 1, 2008.

(c)  Sec. 15 shall take effect on passage.

(d)  All other sections shall take effect July 1, 2007.

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

     AN ACT RELATING TO THE ADMINISTRATION AND ENFORCEMENT OF JUDICIAL FINES, JURISDICTION OF ASSISTANT JUDGES OVER SMALL CLAIMS, ENHANCED PENALTIES FOR ASSAULTS ON EMERGENCY MEDICAL PERSONNEL, AND CIVIL VIOLATIONS FOR ANIMAL CRUELTY.


                                                                        RICHARD W. SEARS, JR.

                                                                        JOHN F. CAMPBELL

                                                                        ANN E. CUMMINGS

                                                                 Committee on the part of the Senate

                                                                        WILLIAM J. LIPPERT, JR.

                                                                        MAXINE GRAD

                                                                        MARGARET K. FLORY

                                                                 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. 294; H. 313.

Recess

On motion of Senator Shumlin the Senate recessed until 8:15 P.M.

Called to Order

At 10:00 P.M. the Senate was called to order by the President.

Message from the House No. 91

     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 Speaker has replaced members of the Committee of Conference on House bill of the following title:

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

So that Rep. Minter of Waterbury has replaced Rep. Audette of South Burlington and Rep. Potter of Clarendon has replaced Rep. Corcoran of Bennington.

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

S. 6.  An act relating to preventing conviction of innocent persons.

S. 7.  An act relating to the compassionate use of marijuana for medical purposes.

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

And has adopted the same on its part.

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. 148.  An act relating to child abuse registry

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

H. 313.  An act relating to the administration and enforcement of fines within the judicial bureau.

And has adopted the same on its part.

Message from the House No. 92

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

S. 77.  An act relating to transferring title to a motor vehicle to a surviving spouse.

And has adopted the same on its part.

Message from the House No. 93

     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. 92.  An act relating to groundwater mapping.

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 joint house resolution of the following title:

J.R.H.  37.  Joint resolution authorizing the commissioner of forests, parks and recreation to enter into land exchanges and for the commissioner of fish and wildlife to accept a Labrador retriever for law enforcement purposes.

And has concurred therein.

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

H. 429.  An act relating to underground and aboveground storage tanks.

     The House has adopted concurrent resolutions of the following titles:

     H.C.R. 142.  Concurrent resolution thanking the utility crews, municipal employees, community organizations, and volunteers who assisted Rutland County in its storm-recovery effort.

     H.C.R. 143.  Concurrent resolution honoring girl scouting in Vermont on the 95thanniversary of Girl Scouts U.S.A.

     H.C.R. 144.  Concurrent resolution in memory of John Dostal of Bennington.

     H.C.R. 145.  Concurrent resolution congratulating Southern Vermont College on its 80th anniversary.

     H.C.R. 146.  Concurrent resolution congratulating the Destination Imagination teams from Randolph.

     H.C.R. 147.  Concurrent resolution congratulating Nathaniel Alexander Soares on being named the Vermont state winner of the 2007 AXA Achievement Scholarship.

     H.C.R. 148.  Concurrent resolution in memory of Gary Rosen.

     H.C.R. 149.  Concurrent resolution honoring John and Joyce Miner for their devoted service on behalf of Vermont’s veterans.

     H.C.R. 150.  Concurrent resolution honoring retiring town manager Jerome Mann Remillard for his many years of public service in the town of Brattleboro.

     H.C.R. 151.  Concurrent resolution congratulating Hannah McMeekin and Garrett Bauman on their commendable service as United States Senate pages.

     H.C.R. 152.  Concurrent resolution congratulating the 2007 Lamoille Union High School Lady Lancers Division II championship girls’ basketball team.

     H.C.R. 153.  Concurrent resolution congratulating the American Cancer Society on the construction of the outstanding new Hope Lodge in Burlington.

     H.C.R. 154.  Concurrent resolution honoring Brattleboro Fire Chief David J. Emery.

     H.C.R. 155.  Concurrent resolution congratulating Dorothy McGuire of Shaftsbury on her 100th birthday.

     H.C.R. 156.  Concurrent resolution honoring Jane Altobell for her outstanding 35‑year career as the Shaftsbury School nurse.

     H.C.R. 157.  Concurrent resolution honoring Richford assistant town clerk Joyce Wetherby.

     H.C.R. 158.  Concurrent resolution honoring Roger Gendron for his public service on behalf of the citizens of Richford.

     H.C.R. 159.  Concurrent resolution congratulating Gordon DeLong on the completion of his exemplary career as Pittsford town clerk-treasurer.

     H.C.R. 160.  Concurrent resolution in memory of William H. Leach.

     H.C.R. 161.  Concurrent resolution honoring Margaret Larivee for her dedicated public service on behalf of the town of Richford.

     H.C.R. 162.  Concurrent resolution commemorating the proud history of the Catamount Elementary School in Bennington.

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

     The House has considered concurrent resolutions originating in the Senate of the following titles:

     S.C.R. 23.  Concurrent resolution congratulating Morgan Lilly and Ethan Verberg for their prize-winning performances at the Vermont State Skills U.S.A. Diesel Competition.

     S.C.R. 24. Concurrent resolution recognizing the role of former commissioner of banking and insurance George Chaffee in helping to establish the captive insurance industry in Vermont.

     And has adopted the same in concurrence.

Rules Suspended; Senate Resolution Amended; Third Reading Ordered; Rules Suspended; Senate Resolution Adopted

S.R. 20.

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

Senate resolution supporting the importance of fishing in Lake Champlain and the urgency of eliminating sea lampreys and cormorants from the lake.

Was taken up for immediate consideration.

Senator Hartwell, for the Committee on Natural Resources and Energy, to which the resolution was referred, reported recommending that the resolution be amended as follows:

First:  By striking out the last Whereas clause and inserting in lieu thereof a new Whereas clause to read as follows:

Whereas, threats to Lake Champlain’s economy, and its fishing industry, demand timely action, now therefore be it

Second:  By striking out the first Resolved clause and inserting in lieu thereof a new Resolved clause to read as follows:

Resolved:  That the Senate of the State of Vermont urges the Agency of Natural Resources and the Department of Fish and Wildlife to proceed to eliminate threats posed by sea lampreys and double-crested cormorants, and be it further

And that when so amended the resolution be adopted.

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

Thereupon, on motion of Senator Shumlin, the rules were suspended and the resolution was placed on all remaining stages of its adoption forthwith.

Thereupon, the resolution was read the third time and adopted.

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

S. 6.

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 preventing conviction of innocent persons.

Was taken up for immediate consideration.

Senator Sears, 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. 6.  An act relating to preventing conviction of innocent persons.

Respectfully reports that it has met and considered the same and recommends that the House 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.  13 V.S.A. chapter 182 is added to read:

CHAPTER 182.  INNOCENCE PROTECTION

Subchapter 1.  Postconviction DNA Testing

§ 5561.  PETITION FOR POSTCONVICTION DNA TESTING

(a)  A person convicted of a qualifying crime may at any time file a petition requesting forensic DNA testing of any evidence which may contain biological evidence that was obtained during the investigation or prosecution of the crime.  The petition shall:

(1)  specifically identify the crime for which the petitioner asserts that he or she is innocent and the evidence which the petitioner seeks to have subjected to DNA testing;

(2)  contain the petitioner’s certification, under oath, that the petitioner did not commit the crime for which he or she was convicted;

(3)  contain the petitioner’s certification, under oath, that the petition is true and accurate; and

(4)  allege facts showing that DNA testing may be material to the petitioner’s claim of innocence.

(b)  As used in this section:

(1)  “Biological evidence” means:

(A)  a sexual assault forensic examination kit; or

(B)  semen, blood, saliva, hair, skin tissue, or other identified biological material.

(2)  “Person convicted of a qualifying crime” means a person convicted of:

(A)  one of the following crimes as defined in this title:

(1)  arson causing death, § 501;

(2)  assault and robbery with a dangerous weapon, § 608(b);

(3)  assault and robbery causing bodily injury, § 608(c);

(4)  aggravated assault, § 1024;

(5)  murder, § 2301;

(6)  manslaughter, § 2304;

(7)  aggravated murder, § 2311;

(8)  kidnapping, § 2405;

(9)  unlawful restraint, §§ 2406 and 2407;

(10)  maiming, § 2701;

(11)  sexual assault, § 3252;

(12)  aggravated sexual assault, § 3253;

(13)  burglary into an occupied dwelling, § 1201(c); or

(14)  lewd and lascivious conduct with a child, § 2602.

(B)  any felony not listed in subdivision (b)(1) of this section, if the petition is filed within 30 months after the conviction becomes final, the person presents specific facts demonstrating that DNA evidence will provide substantial evidence of the person’s innocence, and the court finds that the interests of justice would be served by permitting the petition.   

(c)(1)  The petition shall be filed in the superior court of the county where the conviction was imposed, and shall not be heard by a judge who presided over the trial, sentencing, or any motion hearing related to evidence to be admitted at the trial. 

(2)(A)  Unless subdivision (B) of this subdivision (2) applies, the petitioner shall provide copies of the petition to the attorney general and to the state’s attorney in the district where the conviction was obtained. 

(B)  If the petitioner is not represented by counsel, the court shall provide copies of the petition to the attorney general and to the state’s attorney in the district where the conviction was obtained.

(3)  Within 30 days after it receives the petition, the state shall agree to perform the requested DNA testing in a timely manner or file a response to the petition.  The petitioner may file a reply to the state’s response only within 30 days after the response is filed. 

(4)  The court shall schedule a hearing on the petition within 90 days after the state’s response is filed unless the state notifies the court that it has agreed to provide the testing in a timely manner or the court dismisses the petition pursuant to subsection (c) of this section. 

(5)  Time limits under this subsection may be extended for good cause shown or by consent of the parties.

(c)  The court shall dismiss the petition without a hearing if it determines that:

(1)  the petition, response, reply if any, files, and records conclusively establish that the petitioner is entitled to no relief; or

(2)  the petition was not made to demonstrate innocence or the appropriateness of a lesser sentence and will unreasonably delay the execution of sentence or administration of justice.

(d)  No person shall file a petition requesting forensic DNA testing pursuant to this chapter if the person’s conviction resulted from a plea agreement until after July 1, 2008.  

§ 5562.  ASSIGNMENT OF COUNSEL

The court may appoint counsel if the petitioner is unable financially to employ counsel and may order that all necessary costs and expenses incident to the matter, including but not limited to court costs, stenographic services, printing, and reasonable compensation for legal services, be paid by the state from the appropriation to the defender general.  On appeal, the supreme court may make a similar order.

§ 5563.  VICTIM NOTIFICATION

(a)  If the address of a victim of the crime which the petitioner claims to be innocent of in the petition is known, the state’s attorney or attorney general shall give written notice of a petition under this section to the victim upon the victim’s request.  If the victim’s current address is not known, the state’s attorney or the attorney general shall consult with the department of corrections victim services division to verify the victim’s last known address.  The notice shall be by any reasonable means to the victim’s last known address and shall indicate whether the petitioner is represented by public or private counsel.  Upon the victim’s request, the state’s attorney or attorney general shall give the victim notice of the time and place of any hearing on the petition and shall inform the victim of the disposition of the petition and the outcome of any hearing.  If DNA testing is ordered, the state’s attorney or the attorney general shall inform the victim whether the test results require further court hearings, the time and place of any hearings, and the outcome of the hearings.

(b)  The rights of victims contained in this section do not entitle a victim to be a party in any proceeding, or to any procedural rights which are not specifically provided for in this section, including any right to request a delay or rescheduling of any proceeding. 

§ 5564.  DISCOVERY

(a)  Upon motion by the petitioner or the state, and after providing the nonmovant with reasonable opportunity to respond to the motion, the court may permit reasonable discovery and the right to depose witnesses.  The court in its discretion may delay ruling on any discovery motions until after it has determined whether to dismiss the petition pursuant to subsection 5561(c) of this section.  

(b)  A discovery order issued pursuant to this section may include the following:

(1)  The court may order the state to locate and provide the petitioner with any documents, notes, logs, or reports relating to items of physical evidence collected in connection with the case or to help the petitioner locate items of biological evidence that the state contends have been lost or destroyed.  The court may further order the state to take reasonable measures to locate biological evidence that may be in its custody or to help the petitioner locate evidence that may be in the custody of a public or private hospital, public or private laboratory, or other facility.

(2)  If evidence has previously been subjected to DNA testing, the court may order production of laboratory reports prepared in connection with the testing and may order production of the underlying data and the laboratory notes.

(3)  If any DNA or other biological evidence testing was previously conducted by either the prosecution or the defense without knowledge of the other party, the court may order that the previous testing be disclosed.

(4)  If the court orders DNA testing under this subchapter, the court shall order the production of any laboratory reports prepared in connection with the testing and may order production of the underlying data, bench notes, or other laboratory notes.

§ 5565.  [RESERVED]

§ 5566.  ORDER; NECESSARY FINDINGS; CONFIDENTIALITY

(a)  The court shall grant the petition and order DNA testing if it makes all of the following findings:

(1)  A reasonable probability exists that the petitioner would not have been convicted or would have received a lesser sentence for the crime which the petitioner claims to be innocent of in the petition if the results of the requested DNA testing had been available to the trier of fact at the time of the original prosecution.

(2)  One or more of the items of evidence that the petitioner seeks to have tested is still in existence.

(3)  The evidence to be tested was obtained in connection with the offense that is the basis of the challenged conviction and:

(A)  was not previously subjected to DNA testing; or

(B)  although previously subjected to DNA testing, can be subjected to additional DNA testing that provides a reasonable likelihood of significantly more probative results.

(4)(A)(i)  The chain of custody of the evidence to be tested establishes that the evidence has not been tampered with, replaced, or altered in any material respect; or

(ii)  If the chain of custody does not establish the integrity of the evidence, the testing itself has the potential to establish the integrity of the evidence.

(B)  For purposes of this subchapter, evidence that has been in the custody of a law enforcement agency, a governmental body, or a public or private hospital shall be presumed to satisfy the chain-of-custody requirement of this subdivision.

(b)  The court may designate in its order:

(1)  the type of DNA analysis to be used;

(2)  the testing procedures to be followed;

(3)  the preservation of some portion of the sample for replicating the testing;

(4)  additional DNA testing, if the results of the initial testing are inconclusive or otherwise merit additional scientific analysis.

(c)  DNA profile information from biological samples taken from any person pursuant to a petition under this subchapter shall be confidential except for use and dissemination consistent with this chapter and chapter 113 of Title 20, and shall be exempt from any law requiring disclosure of information to the public.

§ 5567.  APPEALS

An order entered on the petition may be appealed to the Vermont supreme court pursuant to the Rules of Appellate Procedure.


§ 5568.  CHOICE OF LABORATORY; PAYMENT

(a)  If the court orders DNA testing under this subchapter, the testing shall be conducted at a facility mutually agreed upon by the petitioner and the state and approved by the court.  If the parties are unable to agree, the court shall designate the testing facility and provide the parties with a reasonable opportunity to be heard on the issue.

(b)  The court shall impose reasonable conditions on the testing to protect the parties’ interests in the integrity of the evidence and the testing process.

(c)(1)  The state shall bear the costs of testing performed at the state crime laboratory.

(2)  Except as provided in subdivision (3) of this subsection, the court may require the petitioner or the state or both to pay for testing performed at a private laboratory.

(3)  If the state crime laboratory does not have the ability or resources to conduct the type of DNA testing to be performed, the state shall bear the costs of testing at a private laboratory which does have such capabilities or resources.

§ 5569.  PROCEDURE AFTER TEST RESULTS OBTAINED

(a)  The results of any postconviction DNA testing conducted pursuant to this subchapter shall be disclosed to the state’s attorney, the attorney general, the department of corrections if the petitioner is under the department’s custody or supervision, the petitioner, and the court.

(b)  If the results of forensic DNA testing ordered under this subchapter support the facts alleged in the petition, the court shall schedule a hearing as soon as practicable after the results are received to determine the appropriate relief to be granted.  The petitioner and the state shall be permitted to submit motions and be heard at the hearing.

(c)  At or subsequent to the hearing, the court may issue an order including but not limited to the following:

(1)  setting aside or vacating the petitioner’s judgment of conviction;

(2)  granting the petitioner a new trial;

(3)  granting the petitioner a new sentencing hearing;

(4)  discharging the petitioner from custody;

(5)  specifying the disposition of any evidence that remains after the completion of the testing;

(6)  granting the petitioner additional discovery on matters related to DNA test results or the conviction or sentence under attack, including documents pertaining to the original criminal investigation and the identities of other suspects; or

(7)  providing such other relief as the court deems appropriate.

(d)  If, as a result of DNA evidence, the person’s conviction for an offense is reversed or vacated, the information or indictment is dismissed, the person is acquitted after a second or subsequent trial, or the person is pardoned:

(1)  The court shall order the removal and destruction of the person’s name and any information about that conviction from the sex offender registry established under section 5402 of this title, the child abuse registry established under section 4916 of Title 33, the vulnerable adult registry established under section 6911 of Title 33, and any other registry on which the person’s name appears solely because of his or her conviction of that offense.  If the person has more than one entry on a registry, only the entry related to the offense for which, as a result of DNA evidence, the person’s conviction was reversed or vacated, the information or indictment was dismissed, the person was acquitted after a second or subsequent trial, or the person received a pardon shall be removed and destroyed.

(2)  It shall not be a violation of Vermont law for the person to respond, when asked, that he or she has never previously been convicted of a crime, and that his or her innocence of the crime charged has been established.  This subdivision shall not apply if the person has been convicted of a crime other than the one for which, as a result of DNA evidence, the person’s conviction was reversed, the information or indictment was dismissed, the person was acquitted after a second or subsequent trial, or the person was pardoned.   

(e)  An order issued under this section may be appealed to the Vermont supreme court pursuant to the Rules of Appellate Procedure. 

§ 5570.  SUCCESSIVE PETITIONS

(a)  The court shall not be required to entertain a second or successive petition for similar relief on behalf of the same petitioner unless it appears the petition will be assisted by the availability of more advanced DNA technology.

(b)  The court may entertain a second or successive petition if it determines that doing so would serve the interests of justice.


Subchapter 2.  Compensation for Wrongful Convictions

§ 5572.  RIGHT OF ACTION; PROCEDURE

(a)  A person convicted and imprisoned for a crime of which the person was exonerated pursuant to subchapter 1 of this chapter shall have a cause of action for damages against the state.

(b)  An action brought under this subchapter shall be filed in Washington County superior court.  Notice of the action shall be served upon the attorney general.

(c)  The Vermont Rules of Civil Procedure shall apply to actions brought under this subchapter, and the plaintiff shall have a right to trial by jury.  The Vermont Rules of Appellate Procedure shall apply to appeals from orders and judgments issued under this subchapter.

(d)  The attorney general may consider, adjust, determine, and settle any claim for damages brought against the state of Vermont under this subchapter.

§ 5573.  COMPLAINT

(a)  A complaint filed under this subchapter shall be supported by facts and shall allege that:

(1)  the complainant has been convicted of a crime, been sentenced to a term of imprisonment, and served all or any part of the sentence; and

(2)  the complainant was exonerated pursuant to subchapter 1 of this chapter through the complainant’s conviction being reversed or vacated, the information or indictment being dismissed, the complainant being acquitted after a second or subsequent trial,  or the granting of a pardon. 

(b)  The court may dismiss the complaint, upon its own motion or upon motion of the state, if it determines that the complaint does not state a claim for which relief may be granted.

§ 5574.  BURDEN OF PROOF; JUDGMENT; DAMAGES 

(a)  A claimant shall be entitled to judgment in an action under this subchapter if the claimant establishes each of the following by a preponderance of the evidence:

(1)  The complainant was convicted of a crime, was sentenced to a term of imprisonment, and served all or any part of the sentence.

(2)  As a result of DNA evidence:

(A)  The complainant’s conviction was reversed or vacated, the complainant’s information or indictment was dismissed, or the complainant was acquitted after a second or subsequent trial; or

(B)  The complainant was pardoned for the crime for which he or she was sentenced.

(3)  DNA evidence establishes that the complainant did not commit the crime for which he or she was sentenced.

(4)  The complainant did not fabricate evidence or commit or suborn perjury during any proceedings related to the crime with which he or she was charged.

(b)  A claimant awarded judgment in an action under this subchapter shall be entitled to damages in an amount to be determined by the trier of fact for each year the claimant was incarcerated, provided that the amount of damages shall not be less than $30,000.00 nor greater than $60,000.00 for each year the claimant was incarcerated, adjusted proportionally for partial years served.  The damage award may also include:

(1)  Economic damages, including lost wages and costs incurred by the claimant for his or her criminal defense and for efforts to prove his or her innocence.

(2)  Notwithstanding the income eligibility requirements of the Vermont Health Access Plan in section 1973 of Title 33, and notwithstanding the requirement that the individual be uninsured, up to ten years of eligibility for the Vermont Health Access Plan using state-only funds.

(3)  Compensation for any reasonable reintegrative services and mental and physical health care costs incurred by the claimant for the time period between his or her release from mistaken incarceration and the date of the award.

(4)  Reasonable attorney’s fees and costs for the action brought under this subchapter.  

(c)  Damages awarded under this section:

(1)  shall not be subject to any state taxes, except for the portion of the judgment awarded as attorney’s fees; and

(2)  shall not be offset by any services awarded to the claimant pursuant to this section or by any expenses incurred by the state or any political subdivision of the state, including expenses incurred to secure or maintain the claimant’s custody or to feed, clothe, or provide medical services for the claimant.

(d)  The claimant’s acceptance of a damages award, compromise, or settlement as a result of a claim under this subchapter shall be in writing and, except when procured by fraud, shall be final and conclusive on the claimant, and constitute a complete release by the claimant of any claim against the state and a complete bar to any action by the claimant against the state with respect to the same subject matter. 

(e)  A claimant shall be entitled to compensation under this subchapter only for the years in which he or she would not otherwise have been incarcerated for another sentence.  

§ 5575.  PAYMENT

(a)  Any award made or compromise or settlement against the state of Vermont agreed upon by the attorney general in response to an action brought under this subchapter shall be paid by the state treasurer out of the treasury, and the emergency board shall reimburse the state treasurer therefor from time to time.

(b)  If the state elects to self‑insure for liability as defined in section 5601 of Title 12, any award, compromise, or settlement against the state of Vermont agreed to by the attorney general shall be paid by the treasurer from the liability self-insurance fund.

(c)  To the extent that an award, settlement, or compromise is covered by a policy of liability insurance, payment will be governed by the terms of the policy.

§ 5576.  LIMITATIONS

(a)  Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, an action for compensation under this subchapter shall be commenced within three years after the person is exonerated pursuant to subchapter 1 of this chapter through the person’s conviction being reversed or vacated, the information or indictment being dismissed, the person being acquitted after a second or subsequent trial, or through the granting of a pardon.

(b)(1)  If the state challenges the exoneration of a person entitled to bring an action under this subchapter, the limitations period shall not commence until the challenge is finally resolved.

(2)  If a person entitled to bring an action under this subchapter is not provided the notice required by section 5586 of this title, the person shall have an additional year within which to bring the action.     

§ 5577.  NOTICE OF RIGHT OF ACTION

(a)  A copy of this subchapter shall be provided to a person by a court:

(1)  exonerating a person pursuant to subchapter 1 of this chapter  through vacating or reversing the person’s conviction, dismissing the information or indictment, entering judgment on an acquittal after a second or subsequent trial; or

(2)  receiving notice of a pardon.

(b)  A person receiving a copy of this subchapter pursuant to subsection (a) of this section shall be required to acknowledge its receipt in writing on a form established by the court administrator.  The acknowledgement shall be entered on the docket by the court and shall be admissible in an action filed under this subchapter.

Sec. 2.  PRESERVATION OF EVIDENCE STUDY COMMITTEE

(a)  A committee is established for the purpose of studying issues related to the preservation of evidence in criminal cases.

(b)  The committee shall consist of the following members:

(1)  the executive director of the department of state’s attorneys and sheriffs, who shall be the chair of the committee; 

(2)  the attorney general or designee;

(3)  one state’s attorney appointed by the executive director of the department of state’s attorneys and sheriffs;

(4)  one district court clerk appointed by the court administrator;

(5)  one member appointed by the Vermont chiefs of police association;

(6)  the captain of the bureau of criminal investigations or designee;

(7)  one member appointed by the Vermont criminal justice training council;

(8)  the commissioner of public safety or designee;

(9)  the director of the Vermont crime laboratory or designee;

(10)  the defender general or designee;

(11)  an investigator appointed by the defender general;

(12)  a staff public defender appointed by the defender general;

(13)  one member appointed by the Vermont sheriffs’ association;

(14)  one member appointed by the Vermont center for crime victims services;

(15)  one member appointed by the Vermont police association; and

(16)  the commissioner of the department of buildings and general services, or designee.

(c)  The committee shall consider the following:

(1)  Current statewide policies regarding the preservation of evidence in criminal cases, and whether a statewide policy should be adopted.

(2)  Current policies in local jurisdictions regarding the preservation of evidence in criminal cases, and whether these policies are consistent with one another and with relevant statewide policies.

(3)  Best practices regarding the preservation of evidence in criminal cases.

(4)  The appropriate duration for preservation of evidence, with specific consideration of whether evidence should be preserved while a convicted person is incarcerated or while the person is under other forms of state supervision.

(5)  Whether and how advances in DNA testing technology should affect policies concerning preservation of evidence.

(6)  If the committee determines that a statewide policy should be adopted regarding the preservation of evidence in criminal cases, the committee shall recommend a policy and a timeline for its adoption. 

(7)  Whether current facilities provide enough space to preserve the evidence that needs to be preserved.   

(8)  Whether there should be one central, statewide repository for evidence collected in criminal cases.

(d)  The committee shall have the assistance and cooperation of all state and local agencies and departments.  The committee shall consult with the Innocence Project.  The department of public safety shall provide professional and administrative support for the committee. 

(e)  The committee shall report its findings and recommendations, including proposals for legislative action, to the senate and house committees on judiciary no later than December 15, 2007 whereupon the committee shall cease to exist.

Sec. 3.  EYEWITNESS IDENTIFICATION AND CUSTODIAL  INTERROGATION RECORDING STUDY COMMITTEE

(a)  A committee is established for the purpose of studying issues related to best practices regarding eyewitness identification procedures and audio and audiovisual recording of custodial interrogations.  The committee shall:

(1)  Study and analyze federal and state models and develop best practices regarding:

(A)  audio and audiovisual recording of any custodial interrogations of suspects during the course of felony investigations; and

(B)  eyewitness identification procedures for conducting photo lineups and live lineups.

(2)  Study current statewide policies regarding eyewitness identification procedures for conducting photo lineups and live lineups and audio and

audio-visual recording of custodial interrogations, and whether statewide policies on these issues should be adopted.

(3)  Study current policies in local jurisdictions regarding eyewitness identification procedures for conducting photo lineups and live lineups and audio and audiovisual recording of custodial interrogations, and whether these policies are consistent with one another and with relevant statewide policies.

(b)  The committee shall consist of the following members:

(1)  one member appointed by the executive director of the department of state’s attorneys and sheriffs, who shall be the chair of the committee;

(2)  the attorney general or designee;

(3)  one member appointed by the Vermont chiefs of police association;

(4)  the captain of the bureau of criminal investigations or designee;

(5)  one member appointed by the Vermont criminal justice training council;

(6)  the commissioner of public safety or designee;

(7)  the defender general or designee;

(8)  an investigator appointed by the defender general;

(9)  a staff public defender appointed by the defender general;

(10)  one member appointed by the Vermont sheriffs’ association;

(11)  one member appointed by the Vermont center for crime victims services; and

(12)  one member appointed by the Vermont bar association.

(c)  The committee shall have the assistance and cooperation of all state and local agencies and departments.  The committee shall consult with the Innocence Project and with the law enforcement advisory board.  The department of public safety shall provide professional and administrative support for the committee.    

(d)  The committee shall report its findings and recommendations, including proposals for legislative action, to the senate and house committees on judiciary no later than December 15, 2007, whereupon the committee shall cease to exist.

                                                                 RICHARD W. SEARS, JR.

                                                                 ALICE W. NITKA

                                                                 JOHN F. CAMPBELL

                                                      Committee on the part of the Senate

                                                                 WILLIAM J. LIPPERT, JR.

                                                                 MARGARET K. FLORY

                                                                 ALISON H. CLARKSON

                                                      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.

S. 7.

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 the compassionate use of marijuana for medical purposes.

Was taken up for immediate consideration.

Senator Sears, 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. 7.  An act relating to the compassionate use of marijuana for medical purposes.

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

In Sec. 1, 18 V.S.A. § 4472(5), defining “Possession limit,” by striking out the word “four” and inserting in lieu thereof the word seven


                                                                 JOHN F. CAMPBELL

                                                                 KEVIN J. MULLIN

                                                                 RICHARD W. SEARS, JR.

                                                      Committee on the part of the Senate

                                                                 ANN D. PUGH

                                                                 WILLIAM R. FRANK

                                                                 WILLEM W. JEWETT

                                                      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.

S. 77.

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 transferring title to a motor vehicle to a surviving spouse.

Was taken up for immediate consideration.

Senator Mullin, 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. 77.  An act relating to transferring title to a motor vehicle to a surviving spouse.

Respectfully reports that it has met and considered the same and recommends that the House 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.  23 V.S.A. § 2023(e) is amended to read:

(e)(1)  Notwithstanding other provisions of the law, and except as provided in subdivision (2) of this subsection, whenever the estate of an individual who dies intestate consists principally of an automobile in whole or in part of a motor vehicle, and the person’s will or other testamentary document does not specifically address disposition of motor vehicles, the surviving spouse shall be deemed to be the owner of the motor vehicle and title to the same motor vehicle shall automatically and by virtue hereof pass to said the surviving spouse.  Registration and title of the motor vehicle in the name of the surviving spouse shall be effected by payment of a transfer fee of $7.00.  This transaction is exempt from the provisions of the purchase and use tax on motor vehicles.

(2)  This subsection shall apply to no more than two motor vehicles, and shall not apply if the motor vehicle is titled in the name of one or more persons other than the decedent and the surviving spouse.

Sec. 2.  REPORT

The department of motor vehicles shall report to the house and senate committees on judiciary on the advisability and feasibility of adding a transfer on death provision to motor vehicle titles and registrations.

Sec. 3.  12 V.S.A. § 5531 is amended to read:

§ 5531.  RULES GOVERNING PROCEDURE

(a)  The supreme court, pursuant to section 1 of this title, shall make rules under this chapter applicable to such court providing for a simple, informal, and inexpensive procedure for the determination, according to the rules of substantive law, of actions of a civil nature of which they have jurisdiction, other than actions for slander or libel and in which the plaintiff does not claim as debt or damage more than $3,500.00 $5,000.00.  Small claims proceedings shall be limited in accord with this chapter and the procedures made available under those rulesThe procedure shall not be exclusive, but shall be alternative to the formal procedure begun by the filing of a complaint.

(b)  Parties may not request claims for relief other than money damages under this chapter.  Nor may parties split a claim in excess of $5,000.00 into two or more claims under this chapter.

(c)  In small claims actions where the plaintiff makes a claim for relief greater than $3,500.00, the defendant shall have the right to request a special assignment of a judicial officer.  Upon making this request, a superior judge, a district judge, or a member of the Vermont bar appointed pursuant to 4 V.S.A. § 22(b) shall be assigned to hear the action.

(b)(d)  Venue in small claims actions shall be governed by section 402 of this title.

Sec. 4.  Rule 2 of the Vermont Rules of Small Claims Procedure is amended to read:

RULE 2.  JURISDICTION PLACE OF SUIT; FILING FEE

(a)  Jurisdiction.  Actions on claims for money damages not exceeding $3,500.00 $5,000.00 may be brought under these rules, except claims based on defamation.  Claims for relief other than money damages may not be brought under these rules.  A claim in excess of $3,500.00 $5,000.00 may not be split into two or more claims under these rules.

Sec. 5.  12 V.S.A. § 5537 is amended to read:

§ 5537.  PAYMENT OF JUDGMENTS

* * *

(c)  Rights granted in this section to judgment creditors are supplemental to other rights and procedures created by other statutes and rules.

Sec. 6.  12 V.S.A. § 2681 is amended to read:

§ 2681.  EXECUTIONS IN SUPREME AND SUPERIOR COURTS; TIME

(a)  The supreme and superior courts may issue executions on final judgments rendered by them, which shall be made returnable within 60 days from the date thereof.  Such executions may be issued so long as the judgment remains unsatisfied, but not after eight years from the date of rendition of the judgment, except as provided in subsection (b) of this section.

(b)  Executions on small claims court judgments may be made so long as the judgment remains unsatisfied, but not after eight years from the date of rendition of the judgment.  Actions to renew small claims court judgments shall be brought by filing a complaint in small claims court prior to the expiration of the judgment, and may be made for the amount of the judgment and any postjudgment costs, fees, and interest allowed by law.

Sec. 7.  CASH PAYMENT OF PROPERTY TAX ADJUSTMENTS FOR  2007 REAL ESTATE CLOSINGS

For 2007 only, notwithstanding any other provision of law, for a residence transferred after March 31 and before June 21, 2007, if the transferor notifies the commissioner of taxes of the transfer, in writing, no later than 4:30 p.m. on June 20, 2007, and includes with the notice a copy of the property transfer tax return and proof of payment of the property transfer tax, the transferor's Social Security number, the property's school parcel account number, and any additional information which the commissioner may request the commissioner shall not notify the municipality of a property tax adjustment amount for the property, and the commissioner shall pay the property tax adjustment amount to the transferor by July 15, 2007.

Sec. 8.  EFFECTIVE DATE

Sec. 7 of this act shall take effect upon passage and apply to property transfers after March 31 and before June 21, 2007.

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

AN ACT RELATING TO CASH PAYMENT OF PROPERTY TAX ADJUSTMENTS, TO SMALL CLAIMS COURT, AND TO TRANSFERRING TITLE TO A MOTOR VEHICLE TO A SURVIVING SPOUSE.

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

S. 143.

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 authorizing the use of racing fuel containing the additive MTBE or other gasoline ether.

Was taken up for immediate consideration.

Senator Kitchel, 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. 143.  An act relating to authorizing the use of racing fuel containing the additive MTBE or other gasoline ether.

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

First:  By striking out all after Sec. 1 and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Sec. 2.  10 V.S.A. § 579 is added to read:

§ 579.  VEHICLE EMISSIONS LABELING PROGRAM FOR NEW MOTOR VEHICLES

(a)  The secretary of natural resources, in consultation with the commissioner of motor vehicles, shall establish, by rule, a vehicle emissions labeling program for new motor vehicles sold or leased in the state with a model year of 2010 or later.  The rules adopted under this section shall require automobile manufacturers to install the labels.

(b)  Vehicle emissions labels under this program shall include the vehicle's emissions score.  The label required by subsection (a) of this section and the vehicle score included in the label shall be consistent with the labels and information required by other states, including the California motor vehicle greenhouse gas and smog index label and any revisions thereto.  A label that complies with the requirements of the California vehicle labeling program shall be deemed to meet the requirements of this section and the rules adopted thereunder for the content of labels.

(c)  The vehicle emissions label shall be affixed to the vehicle in a clearly visible location, as set forth by the secretary of natural resources in rule.

(d)  On or after the effective date of the rules adopted under subsection (a) of this section, no new motor vehicle shall be sold or leased in the state unless a vehicle emissions label that meets the requirements of this section and the rules adopted thereunder is affixed to the vehicle except in the case of a trade of a new motor vehicle by a Vermont dealer, as that term is defined in 23 V.S.A. § 4(8), with a dealer from another state that does not have a similar labeling law, provided that the motor vehicle involved in the trade is sold within 30 days of the trade.

(e)  As used in this section, "motor vehicle" means all passenger cars, light duty trucks with a gross vehicle weight of 8500 pounds or less, and medium duty passenger vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of less than 10,000 pounds that are designed primarily for the transportation of persons. 

Sec. 3.  EFFECTIVE DATE

(a)  This section and Secs. 1 (MTBE in racing fuel) and 2 (vehicle emissions labeling program) of this act shall take effect upon passage.

(b)  The rules required by 10 V.S.A. § 579 shall take effect for new motor vehicles with model year 2010 or at such time as the California motor vehicle greenhouse gas labeling specifications are implemented, whichever is later.

                                                                        M. JANE KITCHEL

                                                                        DONALD E. COLLINS

                                                                        RICHARD T. MAZZA

                                                                 Committee on the part of the Senate

                                                                        SUE MINTER

                                                                        DAVID L. DEEN

                                                                        RICHARD A. WESTMAN

                                                                 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. 521.

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

An act relating to miscellaneous substantive tax amendments.

Was taken up for immediate consideration.

Senator Cummings, 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. 521.  An act relating to miscellaneous substantive tax amendments.

Respectfully reports that it has met and considered the same and recommends that they have met and considered the same and recommend that

The Senate recede from its  Second (grandfathering),

                                         Fifth (Act 185/proration rules),

                                              Eighth (local option taxes),

                             and           Ninth (tax increment financing) proposals of

                                                           amendment;

The House accede to the        First (affordable housing valuation),

                                         Third (VEGI),

                                         Fourth ("Downtown" credits),

                                         Sixth (aircraft parts),

                                         Seventh (affordable housing land gains

                                                       exemption),

                    and                Tenth (effective dates) proposals of amendment;

and that the bill be further amended as follows:

* * *Appraisal of Affordable Housing Rental Property

Limitation to the Portion of the Property which is Subsidized Housing***

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

Sec. 1a.  EFFECTIVE DATE

     Sec. 1 of this act (grand list valuation of affordable rental housing) shall apply to grand lists of April 1, 2007, and after.


* * *Grandfathering Limited to § 3483 Properties;

Exemption Study* * *

Second:  By adding Sec. 11 to read as follows:

Sec. 11.  EXEMPTION FROM EDUCATION PROPERTY TAX THROUGH JUNE 30, 2008

Property tax exemptions authorized under the provisions of 32 V.S.A. § 3843 before July 1, 1997, and still in effect on June 30, 2007, shall be deemed to be exemptions affecting the education property tax grand list through June 30, 2008.

* * *Act 185/Real Estate Closing Adjustments* * *

     Third:  By adding Sec. 24 to read as follows:

Sec. 24.  CASH PAYMENT OF PROPERTY TAX ADJUSTMENTS FOR 2007 REAL ESTATE CLOSINGS

For 2007 only, notwithstanding any other provision of law, for a residence transferred after March 31 and before June 21, 2007, if the transferor notifies the commissioner of taxes of the transfer, in writing, no later than 4:30 p.m. on June 20, 2007, and includes with the notice a copy of the property transfer tax return and proof of payment of the property transfer tax, the transferor's Social Security number, the property's school parcel account number, and any additional information which the commissioner may request the commissioner shall not notify the municipality of a property tax adjustment amount for the property, and the commissioner shall pay the property tax adjustment amount to the transferor by July 15, 2007.

* * *Aircraft Parts/Education, Sunset, Study; Sales Tax Included* * *

     Fourth:  In Sec. 7, in the last line of 32 V.S.A. § 9741(29), by striking out the word "an" and inserting in lieu thereof the word any and by adding Secs. 7a and 7b to read as follows:

Sec. 7a.  32 V.S.A. § 9741(29) is amended to read:

(29)  Aircraft sold to a person which holds itself out to the general public as engaging in air commerce, for use primarily in the carriage of persons or property for compensation or hire; and parts, machinery, and equipment to be installed in any such aircraft.

Sec. 7b.  EFFECTIVE DATE

     Sec. 7a of this act (amendment of sales tax exemption for aircraft parts) shall take effect July 1, 2011.


* * *Affordable Housing Land Gains/

Limited to Affordable Housing* * *

Fifth:  In Sec. 26, in the first paragraph of subsection §10002(o), after the following "within 12 months of the transfer to the organization to a buyer", by inserting the following: , qualified under an affordable housing program, and in subdivisions (o)(1) and (o)(2), before the first instance of the word "buyer" in each subdivision, by inserting the word qualified

     Sixth:  In Sec. 9, by striking out the following: "as provided in Secs. 22, 28 and 38" and inserting in lieu thereof the following: as provided in Secs. 1a, 7b, 22 and 28

Signed this 11th day of May, 2007, by:

                                                                        ANN E. CUMMINS

                                                                        JAMES C. CONDOS

                                                                 Committee on the part of the Senate

                                                                        MARY PETERSON

                                                                        MICHAEL J. OBUCHOWSKI

                                                                 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; Bill Messaged

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

H. 521.

Rules Suspended; Bills Delivered

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

S. 6; S. 7; S. 77; S. 143.

Senate Concurrent Resolutions

     The following joint concurrent resolutions, having been placed on the consent calendar on the preceding legislative day, and no Senator having requested floor consideration as provided by the Joint Rules of the Senate and House of Representatives, are hereby adopted on the part of the Senate:


   By Senators Giard and Ayer,

     S.C.R. 23.  Senate concurrent resolution congratulating Morgan Lilly and Ethan Verberg for their prize-winning performances at the Vermont State Skills U.S.A. Diesel Competition.

     By Senators Maynard, Coppenrath, Doyle and Illuzzi,

     S.C.R. 24.  Senate concurrent resolution recognizing the role of former commissioner of banking and insurance George Chaffee in helping to establish the captive insurance industry in Vermont.

     [The full text of the Senate concurrent resolutions appeared in the Senate calendar addendum for Thursday, May 10, 2007, and, if adopted in concurrence by the House, will appear in the volume of the Public Acts and Resolves to be published for this session of the sixty-ninth biennial session of the Vermont General Assembly.]

House Concurrent Resolutions

     The following joint concurrent resolutions having been placed on the consent calendar on the preceding legislative day, and no Senator having requested floor consideration as provided by the Joint Rules of the Senate and House of Representatives, are hereby adopted in concurrence:

H.C.R.  142

House concurrent resolution thanking the utility crews, municipal employees, community organizations, and volunteers who assisted Rutland County in its storm-recovery effort

Offered by:  Representative McCormack and others

     Offered by:  Senators Carris, Maynard and Mullin

H.C.R.  143

     House concurrent resolution honoring girl scouting in Vermont on the 95th anniversary of Girl Scouts U.S.A.

Offered by:  Representative Morrissey and others

Offered by:  Senators 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 and White


H.C.R.  144

House concurrent resolution in memory of John Dostal of Bennington

Offered by:  Representative Morrissey and others

Offered by:  Senators Hartwell and Sears

H.C.R.  145

House concurrent resolution congratulating Southern Vermont College on its 80th anniversary

Offered by:  Representative Morrissey and others

Offered by:  Senators Hartwell and Sears

H.C.R. 146

House concurrent resolution congratulating the Destination Imagination teams from Randolph

Offered by:  Representative French and others

H.C.R.  147

House concurrent resolution congratulating Nathaniel Alexander Soares on being named the Vermont state winner of the 2007 AXA Achievement Scholarship

Offered by:  Representative French and others

H.C.R.  148

House concurrent resolution in memory of Gary Rosen

Offered by:  Representative Mrowicki and others

Offered by:  Senator White

H.C.R. 149

House concurrent resolution honoring John and Joyce Miner for their devoted service on behalf of Vermont’s veterans

Offered by:  Representative Morrissey and others

H.C.R. 150

House concurrent resolution honoring retiring town manager Jerome Mann Remillard for his many years of public service in the town of Brattleboro

Offered by:  Representative Pillsbury and others


H.C.R. 151

House concurrent resolution congratulating Hannah McMeekin and Garrett Bauman on their commendable service as United States Senate pages

Offered by:  Representative French and others

H.C.R.  152

House concurrent resolution congratulating the 2007 Lamoille Union High School Lady Lancers Division II championship girls’ basketball team

Offered by:  Representative Nease and others

Offered by:  Senator Bartlett

H.C.R. 153

House concurrent resolution congratulating the American Cancer Society on the construction of the outstanding new Hope Lodge in Burlington

Offered by:  Representative Pugh and others

H.C.R.  154

House concurrent resolution honoring Brattleboro Fire Chief David J. Emery

Offered by:  Representative Pillsbury and others

H.C.R.  155

House concurrent resolution congratulating Dorothy McGuire of Shaftsbury on her 100th birthday

Offered by:  Representative Miller and others

Offered by:  Senators Hartwell and Sears

H.C.R.  156

House concurrent resolution honoring Jane Altobell for her outstanding 35‑year career as the Shaftsbury School nurse

Offered by:  Representative Miller

Offered by:  Senators Hartwell and Sears


H.C.R. 157

House concurrent resolution honoring Richford assistant town clerk Joyce Wetherby

Offered by:  Representative Perry and others

Offered by:  Senators Illuzzi and Starr

H.C.R.  158

House concurrent resolution honoring Roger Gendron for his public service on behalf of the citizens of Richford

Offered by:  Representative Perry and others

Offered by:  Senators Illuzzi and Starr

H.C.R.  159

House concurrent resolution congratulating Gordon DeLong on the completion of his exemplary career as Pittsford town clerk-treasurer

Offered by:  Representative Flory and others

Offered by:  Senators Carris, Maynard and Mullin

H.C.R.  160

House concurrent resolution in memory of William H. Leach

Offered by:  Representative Heath and others

Offered by:  Senators Condos, Flanagan, Lyons, Mazza, Miller, Racine, Snelling

H.C.R.  161

House concurrent resolution honoring Margaret Larivee for her dedicated public service on behalf of the town of Richford

Offered by:  Representative Perry and others

Offered by:  Senators Illuzzi and Starr

H.C.R.  162

House concurrent resolution commemorating the proud history of the Catamount Elementary School in Bennington

Offered by:  Representative Morrissey


     [The full text of the House concurrent resolutions appeared in the Senate calendar addendum for Thursday, May 10, 2007, and will appear in the volume of the Public Acts and Resolves to be published for this session of the sixty-ninth biennial session of the Vermont General Assembly.]

Adjournment

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

 



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us