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Journal of the Senate

________________

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Senate was called to order by the President.

Devotional Exercises

Devotional exercises were conducted by the Reverend Wendy Manley of Montpelier.

Bill Referred

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

H. 267.

An act relating to industrial hemp.

To the Committee on Agriculture.

Consideration Postponed

S. 358.

Senate bill entitled:

An act relating to enhanced driver licenses.

Was taken up.

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

Bills Passed

Senate bills of the following titles were severally read the third time and passed:

S. 241.

An act relating to the special veteran and gold star registration plates.

S. 313.

An act relating to a license to store and ship wine.


Bill Passed in Concurrence

H. 665.

House bill of the following title was read the third time and passed in concurrence:

An act relating to political party state committee membership.

Consideration Postponed

Senate bill entitled:

S. 200.

An act relating to establishing a construction trust fund.

Was taken up.

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

Bill Amended; Third Reading Ordered

S. 232.

Senator Flanagan, for the Committee on Government Operations, to which was referred Senate bill entitled:

An act relating to mobile polling stations.

Reported recommending that the bill be amended by adding a new Sec. 2 to read as follows:

Sec. 2.  REPEAL

17 V.S.A. § 2532a (mobile polling stations) shall be repealed on July 1, 2009.

And that when so amended the bill ought to pass.

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

Proposal of Amendment; Bill Passed in Concurrence with Proposals of Amendment

H. 737.

House bill entitled:

An act relating to fiscal year 2008 budget adjustments.

Was taken up.

Thereupon, pending third reading of the bill, Senator Bartlett, on behalf of the Committee on Appropriations, moved to amend the Senate proposal of amendment as follows:

     First:  In Sec. 75(c), by striking out the figure “$1,568,787” and inserting in lieu thereof the figure $1,718,787 and at the end of the first sentence by striking out the words “with the exception of $150,000

     Second:  After Sec. 78, by adding a new section to be numbered Sec. 78a to read as follows:

Sec. 78a.  Sec. 279(b) of No. 65 of the Acts of 2007 is amended to read:

     (b)  In accordance with Notwithstanding 19 V.S.A. § 13(c), the amount of $900,000 is transferred from the transportation fund to the central garage fund created in 19 V.S.A. § 13.

     Third:  By striking out Sec. 83a in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 83a to read as follows:

Sec. 83a.  MUNICIPAL TICKET REPAYMENT; NOTWITHSTANDING

     (a)  Notwithstanding the provisions of 4 V.S.A. § 28(a)(2), the town of Newport may receive such additional loans from the fund between June 30, 2001 and June 30, 2004 in an amount not to exceed $55,000. 

Which was agreed to.

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

Bill Amended; Third Reading Ordered

S. 238.

Senator Sears, for the Committee on Judiciary, to which was referred Senate bill entitled:

An act relating to penalties for possession or sale of marijuana.

Reported recommending that the bill be amended by striking out all after the enacting clause and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Sec. 1.  18 V.S.A. § 4230 is amended to read:

§ 4230.  MARIJUANA

(a)  Possession and cultivation.

(1)(A)  A person knowingly and unlawfully possessing marijuana shall be imprisoned not more than six months or fined not more than $500.00, or both in an amount consisting of one or more preparations, compounds, mixtures, or substances of an aggregate weight of one ounce or less shall be fined not more than $500.00 for a first offense and $750.00 for a second offense, and shall be imprisoned not more than six months and fined not more than $750.00, or both, for a third or subsequent offense.  Notwithstanding any provision to the contrary, a person charged under this subdivision (1)(A) for a first or second offense shall have the option of participating in a diversion program subject to approval of the diversion board.   If a person has completed diversion pursuant to this subdivision on two prior occasions the person may participate in diversion a third or subsequent time only upon referral by the state’s attorney.

(B)  A person convicted of a second or subsequent offense under this subdivision knowingly and unlawfully possessing marijuana in an amount consisting of one or more preparations, compounds, mixtures, or substances of an aggregate weight of more than one ounce but less than two ounces shall be imprisoned not more than two years or fined not more than $2,000.00, or both.  Upon an adjudication of guilt for a first offense under this subdivision, the court may defer sentencing as provided in section 7041 of Title 13 except that the court may in its discretion defer sentence without the filing of a presentence investigation report and except that sentence may be imposed at any time within two years from and after the date of entry of deferment.  The court may prior to sentencing, order that the defendant submit to a drug assessment screening which may be considered at sentencing in the same manner as a presentence report.

(2)  A person knowingly and unlawfully possessing marijuana in an amount consisting of one or more preparations, compounds, mixtures, or substances, of an aggregate weight of two ounces or more containing any marijuana or knowingly and unlawfully cultivating more than three plants of marijuana shall be imprisoned not more than three years or fined not more than $10,000.00, or both.

* * *

Sec. 2.  SENTENCING COMMISSION

The Vermont sentencing commission shall review current sentencing practices for drug possession pursuant to sections 4230–4235a of Title 18 and determine whether current sentencing is consistent with best practices.  The commission shall report to the senate and house committees on judiciary on its findings and any recommended changes to the drug possession statutes no later than December 1, 2008.

After passage, the title of the bill is to be amended to read:

     AN ACT RELATING TO PENALTIES FOR POSSESSION OF MARIJUANA.

And that when so amended the bill ought to pass.

Thereupon, the bill was read the second time by title only pursuant to Rule 43, the recommendation of amendment was agreed to, and third reading of the bill was ordered on a roll call, Yeas 22, Nays 7.

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

Roll Call

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

Those Senators who voted in the negative were: Collins, Coppenrath, Illuzzi, Maynard, Mazza, Nitka, Scott.

The Senator absent and not voting was: Snelling.

Bill Amended; Third Reading Ordered

S. 340.

Senator Ayer, for the Committee on Finance, to which was referred Senate bill entitled:

An act relating to mammography patient cost containment.

Reported recommending that the bill be amended by striking out all after the enacting clause and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Sec. 1.  8 V.S.A. § 4100a(a) is amended to read:

(a)  Insurers shall provide coverage for screening by low-dose mammography for the presence of occult breast cancer, as provided by this subchapter.  Benefits provided shall be at least as favorable as coverage for other radiological examinations and subject to the same dollar limits, deductibles, and coinsurance factors within the provisions of the policy cover the full cost of the mammography service, subject to a co-payment no greater than the co-payment applicable to care or services provided by a primary care physician under the insured’s policy, provided that no co-payment shall exceed $25.00.  Mammography services shall not be subject to deductible or coinsurance requirements.


Sec. 2.  APPLICABILITY AND EFFECTIVE DATE

This act shall take effect on October 1, 2008 and shall apply to all health benefit plans on and after October 1, 2008 on such date as a health insurer offers, issues, or renews the health benefit plan, but in no event later than October 1, 2009.

And that when so amended the bill ought to pass.

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

Adjournment

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

 



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us