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Journal of the Senate

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Friday, February 8, 2008

The Senate was called to order by the President.

Devotional Exercises

Devotional exercises were conducted by the Reverend John Sanderson of Barnet.

Message from the House No. 15

     A message was received from the House of Representatives by Ms. Wrask, its Second Assistant Clerk, as follows:

Mr. President:

I am directed to inform the Senate the House has passed a bill of the following title:

H. 750.  An act relating to prescription drug pricing and information.

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

The House has adopted joint resolutions of the following titles:

J.R.H. 50.  Joint resolution relating to hunger awareness.

J.R.H. 51.  Joint resolution supporting the Hanover High School Kids for a Cooler Planet reusable shopping bag campaign.

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

Message from the House No. 16

     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 adopted a joint resolution of the following title:

J.R.H.  44.  Joint resolution approving the Vermont Information Technology Leaders’ (VITL) health information technology plan as required by 22 V.S.A. § 903(g).

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

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

J.R.S. 50.  Joint resolution urging Congress to include transportation infrastructure projects in the federal economic stimulus package.

J.R.S. 51.  Joint resolution relating to weekend adjournment.

And has adopted the same in concurrence.

     The House has adopted concurrent resolutions of the following titles:

     H.C.R. 206.  Concurrent resolution congratulating the Vermont high schools honored in the 2007 U.S. News & World Report rankings.

     H.C.R. 207.  Concurrent resolution honoring Charlotte Morris for her diverse and much appreciated community service activities in the town of Fair Haven.

     H.C.R. 208.  Concurrent resolution honoring Nancy Freeze for her career of outstanding leadership in the nursing profession.

     H.C.R. 209.  Concurrent resolution congratulating Diane Bahrenburg of Colchester on being selected the 2008 Vermont Teacher of the Year.

     H.C.R. 210.  Concurrent resolution congratulating the Green Mountain Council Boy Scout Eagle Class of 2007.

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

     The House has on its part adopted concurrent resolutions originating in the Senate of the following titles:

     S.C.R. 30.  Concurrent resolution congratulating the 2007 Spaulding Union High School Crimson Tide Division II championship football team.

     S.C.R. 31.  Concurrent resolution congratulating the Montpelier High School Solons 2007 championship girls' soccer team.

Joint Resolution Referred

J.R.H. 44.

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

Joint resolution approving the Vermont information technology leaders’ (VITL) health information technology plan as required by 22 V.S.A. § 903(g).

Whereas, the Vermont Information Technology Leaders, Inc. (VITL) is a nonprofit, public-private partnership incorporated in Vermont, and

Whereas, VITL is an integral part of the development of health information technology in this state, and

Whereas, VITL has developed the Vermont health information technology plan pursuant to 22 V.S.A. § 903(b) and (c), and

Whereas, the Vermont health information technology plan outlines a vision for health information technology in Vermont that identifies key stakeholders, strategies, and objectives; provides standards for health information exchange that include the promotion of privacy and security; presents an overview of the technology architecture; and details the funding and governance of health information technology in this state, and

Whereas, the “Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information” established under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) and contained in 45 C.F.R., Parts 160 and 164, provide protections for the privacy of individually identifiable health information maintained or transmitted in connection with certain administrative and financial transactions, and

Whereas, the provisions of Vermont’s patients’ privilege statute in 12 V.S.A. § 1612, the mental health protections found in 18 V.S.A. § 7103, and the guidelines for privacy and security standards and protocols in 22 V.S.A. § 903(f) provide Vermonters with additional rights and protections regarding disclosure of their personal health information, and

Whereas, 22 V.S.A. § 903(g) allows the Vermont health information technology plan, upon recommendation of the commissioner of information and innovation and approval by the general assembly, to serve as the framework within which the commissioner reviews certificate of need applications for information technology, now therefore be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

That the General Assembly approves the Vermont health information technology plan, as submitted by VITL, to be implemented using HIPAA, 12 V.S.A. § 1612, 18 V.S.A. § 7103, and 22 V.S.A. § 903(f) as the minimum standards for the privacy and security of health information, and be it further

Resolved:  That VITL be directed to continue to update the health information technology plan to include state and national privacy and security policies and procedures as they become available to reflect industry best practices, and be it further

Resolved:  That the secretary of state be directed to send a copy of this resolution to the Vermont Information Technology Leaders, Inc.

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

Joint Resolutions Placed on Calendar

J.R.H. 50.

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

Joint resolution relating to hunger awareness.

Whereas, 19,000 of Vermont’s children lack consistent access to nutritionally adequate foods due to economic hardship and lack of resources, and

Whereas, the general assembly’s joint fiscal office has determined that families earning up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level have trouble meeting their basic needs, representing approximately 42,000 Vermont children, and

Whereas, according to the U.S. Census, rates of poverty and food insecurity

among both children and households in Vermont are on the rise, and

Whereas, children living with food insecurity are at a significantly greater risk for illness, nutrient deficiency, delayed development, obesity, behavioral problems, educational challenges, abuse, and neglect, and 

Whereas, hunger and malnutrition in Vermont strain our state’s financial and medical resources, act as barriers to the growth of healthy communities, and threaten our investments in education, and

Whereas, increasing participation in the federal nutrition programs provides an effective, consistent, and dignified means for reducing hunger and food insecurity in Vermont, and

Whereas, the federal nutrition programs bring over $80 million into the state each year, stimulating Vermont’s economy and supporting local business and farmers, and

Whereas, children participating in the federal nutrition programs, including school breakfast and child care meals, have lower rates of tardiness and absenteeism and higher academic performance, face fewer cognitive and behavioral challenges, and are in better health, and

Whereas, the federal nutrition programs are underutilized in Vermont, especially the school breakfast program and the child and adult care food programs, with Vermont being ranked 23rd and 49th in the nation, respectively, and

Whereas, families struggling to put food on the table need and deserve the support of their community, and the state of Vermont, now therefore be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

     That the general assembly recognizes that hunger is a social, political, and public health issue that must be addressed through state supported improvements to federal nutrition program accessibility and the expansion of outreach efforts aimed at reducing common barriers to participation.

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

J.R.H. 51.

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

Joint resolution supporting the Hanover High School Kids for a Cooler Planet reusable shopping bag campaign.

Whereas, Kids for a Cooler Planet is a group of environmentally concerned and savvy students at Hanover High School (whose student body includes Vermonters from Norwich and other Windsor and Orange County communities) who have started an ingenious campaign to encourage and promote the use of reusable shopping bags, and

Whereas, the environmental cost of using nonreusable shopping bags, either plastic or paper, is staggering, and

Whereas, the average American family uses approximately 1,000 disposable bags per year, and in 2005, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimated that only five percent of plastic bags and 10 percent of paper bags are recycled in the United States, and

Whereas, on an annual basis, United States consumers use approximately 100 billion plastic bags whose contents contain the equivalent of 12 barrels of oil, and

Whereas, plastic bags are not biodegradable but are rather photodegradable because they break up into smaller pieces that can release harmful toxins into the soil and water, and they often end up as litter, causing havoc for humans and for wildlife, especially on Lake Champlain and on the state’s many lakes, rivers, and other bodies of water in Vermont, and

Whereas, as detrimental as plastic bags are to our environment, paper bags, despite the widely held belief that they are far more ecologically friendly, are perhaps even worse environmental culprits, generating 70 percent more air and 50 times more water pollutants, and they consume 14 million trees annually, and

Whereas, the Kids for a Cooler Planet’s reusable shopping bag campaign does not involve any government funding or regulation, and it is designed both to educate consumers about the problems associated with nondisposable bags and to use market incentives to encourage the use of more environmentally compatible reusable shopping bags, and

Whereas, this reusable shopping bag campaign was first implemented in Hanover where the students raised money through corporate sponsors to pay for advertisements, posters, and flyers, and

Whereas, in return for a promotional fee, a sponsor’s corporate logo was placed on the first production run of the new bags, and

Whereas, the Hanover Selectboard endorsed the project, including authorizing the stringing of a huge banner over Main Street that generated publicity for the endeavor and goodwill for the town, and

Whereas, the project’s success in Hanover has been amazing as all 8,000 of the initially ordered bags were sold in one week, and thousands more have been reordered, but the local stores still have trouble keeping the bags in stock, and

Whereas, EPA estimates that reusing a bag only 11 times has a net positive effect on the environment, and

Whereas, the students hope to expand their reusable shopping bag campaign throughout Vermont and New Hampshire, and a similar project in Australia, where plastic bag use was reduced 60 percent in three years, without any government regulation, inspires them to proceed, and

Whereas, one of the students’ goals is to introduce, in several Vermont and New Hampshire school districts, a pilot high school study unit that will educate students, and in turn, their parents about the importance of purchasing reusable bags, and a Dartmouth College professor is assisting in this effort, and

Whereas, with the support of the “Change the World Kids,” a 501(c)(3) tax‑exempt nonprofit organization, the Hanover High School students hope to air public service announcements on radio and television promoting their reusable shopping bag campaign, and

Whereas, the Kids for a Cooler Planet’s reusable shopping bag campaign is an admirable endeavor worthy of a broader audience, now therefore be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

That the General Assembly expresses its support of the Hanover High School Kids for a Cooler Planet’s reusable shopping bag campaign, and be it further

Resolved:  That the secretary of state be directed to send a copy of this resolution to Kids for a Cooler Planet at Hanover High School.

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

Message from the Governor

Appointments Referred

     A message was received from the Governor, by Dennise R. Casey, Secretary of Civil and Military Affairs, submitting the following appointments, which were referred to committees as indicated:

     John Nicholls of Barre - Member of the Natural Resources Board, Water Resources Board, - from February 13, 2006, to January 31, 2010.

     To the Committee on Natural Resources and Energy.

     Alice Olenick of Waitsfield - Member of the Natural Resources Board, Land Use Panel, - from February 13, 2006, to January 31, 2010.

     To the Committee on Natural Resources and Energy.

     John Ewing of Burlington - Member of the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, - from February 4, 2008, to January 31, 2011.

     To the Committee on Economic Development Housing and General Affairs.

     John W. Valente of Rutland - Director of the Vermont Municipal Bond Bank, - from February 4, 2008, to January 31, 2010.

     To the Committee on Finance.

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 Doyle, Cummings and Scott,

     By Representative Koch and others,

S.C.R. 30.

     Senate concurrent resolution congratulating the 2007 Spaulding Union High School Crimson Tide Division II championship football team.

By Senators Doyle, Cummings and Scott,

     By Representatives Anderson and Kitzmiller,

S.C.R. 31.

Senate concurrent resolution congratulating the Montpelier High School Solons 2007 championship girls' soccer team.

     [The full text of the Senate concurrent resolutions appeared in the Senate calendar addendum for Thursday, February 8, 2008, 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. 206

House concurrent resolution congratulating the Vermont high schools honored in the 2007 U.S. News & World Report rankings

Offered by:  Representative Kitzmiller and others

Offered by:  Senators Doyle, Cummings, Scott, Bartlett, Coppenrath, Hartwell, Kitchel, MacDonald and Sears

H.C.R. 207

House concurrent resolution honoring Charlotte Morris for her diverse and much appreciated community service activities in the town of Fair Haven

Offered by:  Representative Canfield and others

Offered by:  Senators Carris, Doyle, Maynard and Mullin

H.C.R. 208

House concurrent resolution honoring Nancy Freeze for her career of outstanding leadership in the nursing profession

Offered by:  Representatives Donahue and Grad

Offered by:  Senators Cummings, Doyle and Scott


H.C.R. 209

House concurrent resolution congratulating Diane Bahrenburg of Colchester on being selected the 2008 Vermont Teacher of the Year

Offered by:  Representative Condon and others

Offered by:  Senator Mazza

H.C.R. 210

House concurrent resolution congratulating the Green Mountain Council Boy Scout Eagle Class of 2007

Offered by:  Representative Koch and others

     [The full text of the House concurrent resolutions appeared in the Senate calendar addendum for Thursday, February 8, 2008, 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 Mazza, the Senate adjourned, to reconvene on Tuesday, February 12, 2008, at ten o’clock in the forenoon pursuant to J.R.S. 51.

 



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us