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Journal of the Senate

________________

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Senate was called to order by the President.

Joint Assembly

At ten o’clock and thirty minutes in the forenoon, the hour having arrived for the meeting of the two Houses in Joint Assembly pursuant to:

J.R.S. 55.  Joint resolution providing for a Joint Assembly to vote on the retention of two Superior Judges, one Environmental Judge and three District Judges.

The Senate repaired to the hall of the House.

Having returned therefrom, at one o’clock and forty-five minutes, the President resumed the Chair.

Recess

On motion of Senator Shumlin the Senate recessed until 4:30 P.M.

Called to Order

At 4:30 P.M. the Senate was called to order by the President pro tempore.

Devotional Exercises

     A moment of silence was observed in lieu of devotions.

Message from the Governor

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

Mr. President:

I am directed by the Governor to inform the Senate that on the nineteenth day of March, 2008, he approved and signed a bill originating in the Senate of the following title:

S. 209.  An act relating to the Vermont energy efficiency and affordability act.

Message from the House No. 38

     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 bills of the following titles:

     H. 203.  An act relating to increasing the amount of an estate to which a surviving spouse is entitled when the deceased spouse dies without a will.

     H. 306.  An act relating to telemarketing.

     H. 331.  An act relating to financing the purchase of a mobile home.

     H. 588.  An act relating to property loaned to museums.

     H. 616.  An act relating to farm-fresh milk.

     H. 617.  An act relating to guardianships.

     H. 700.  An act relating to sale of bottles of wine at festivals.

     H. 704.  An act relating to notices of transfer by an insurer to an affiliate.

     H. 764.  An act relating to expanded eligibility for Vermont veterans’ medal.

     H. 776.  An act relating to computation of the basic needs budget and the livable wage.

     H. 777.  An act relating to the certificate of need program.

     H. 783.  An act relating to home improvement fraud.

     H. 809.  An act relating to requiring annual fire safety inspections for approved independent residential schools.

     H. 863.  An act relating to creation and preservation of affordable housing and smart growth development.

     H. 871.  An act relating to professional requirements for the deputy attorney general, assistant attorneys general, probate judges, deputy state’s attorneys, constables, and sheriffs.

     H. 879.  An act relating to the repeal of unnecessary, duplicative, and burdensome reports; the improved timeliness and efficiency of special education audits; and the simplification of union school district formation.

     H. 880.  An act relating to the Vermont pension investment committee.

     H. 881.  An act relating to the role of electric and gas utilities in facilitating the deployment of communications facilities throughout the state.

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

The Governor has informed the House of Representatives that on the nineteenth day of March, 2008, he approved and signed a bill originating in the House of the following title:

H. 580.  An act relating to terms of members of the Vermont tobacco evaluation and review board.

Bill Referred to Committee on Appropriations

S. 350.

Senate bill of the following title, appearing on the Calendar for notice and carrying an appropriation or requiring the expenditure of funds, under the rule was referred to the Committee on Appropriations:

An act relating to independence and economic prosperity.

Joint Resolution Adopted on the Part of the Senate

Joint Senate resolution of the following title was offered, read and adopted on the part of the Senate, and is as follows:

   By Senator Shumlin,

     J.R.S. 58.  Joint resolution relating to weekend adjournment.

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

That when the two Houses adjourn on Friday, March 21, 2008, it be to meet again no later than Tuesday, March 25, 2008.

Bills Referred

House bills of the following titles were severally read the first time and referred:

H. 203.

     An act relating to increasing the amount of an estate to which a surviving spouse is entitled when the deceased spouse dies without a will.

To the Committee on Judiciary.

H. 306.

An act relating to telemarketing.

To the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs.

H. 331.

An act relating to financing the purchase of a mobile home.

To the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs.

H. 588.

An act relating to property loaned to museums.

To the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs.

H. 616.

An act relating to farm-fresh milk.

To the Committee on Agriculture.

H. 617.

An act relating to guardianships.

To the Committee on Judiciary.

H. 700.

An act relating to sale of bottles of wine at festivals.

To the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs.

H. 704.

An act relating to notices of transfer of policies to an affiliate provided by an insurer.

To the Committee on Finance.

H. 764.

An act relating to expanded eligibility for Vermont veterans’ medal.

To the Committee on Government Operations.

President Assumes the Chair

H. 776.

An act relating to computation of the basic needs budget and the livable wage.

To the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs.

H. 777.

An act relating to the certificate of need program.

To the Committee on Health and Welfare.

H. 783.

An act relating to home improvement fraud.

To the Committee on Judiciary.

H. 809.

An act relating to requiring annual fire safety inspections for approved independent residential schools.

To the Committee on Education.

H. 863.

An act relating to creation and preservation of affordable housing and smart growth development.

To the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs.

H. 871.

An act relating to professional requirements for the deputy attorney general, assistant attorneys general, probate judges, deputy state’s attorneys, constables, and sheriffs.

To the Committee on Judiciary.

H. 879.

An act relating to the repeal of unnecessary, duplicative, and burdensome reports; the improved timeliness and efficiency of special education audits; and the simplification of union school district formation.

To the Committee on Education.

H. 880.

An act relating to the Vermont pension investment committee.

To the Committee on Government Operations.

H. 881.

An act relating to the role of electric and gas utilities in facilitating the deployment of communications facilities throughout the state.

To the Committee on Finance.


Bills Passed

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

S. 26.

An act relating to electronic payment of wages.

S. 112.

An act relating to victims compensation.

S. 114.

An act relating to enhancing mental health parity.

S. 244.

An act relating to self-storage facilities.

Consideration Postponed

Senate bills entitled:

S. 117.

An act relating to a statewide school year calendar.

S. 201.

An act relating to state employee whistleblower protection.

S. 211.

An act relating to soliciting of architect proposals by a school district.

Were taken up.

Thereupon, without objection consideration of the bills was postponed until tomorrow.

Bill Amended; Third Reading Ordered; Rules Suspended; Bill Passed

S. 216.

Senator Collins, for the Committee on Education, to which was referred Senate bill entitled:

An act designating snowboarding as the Vermont state sport.

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

Sec. 1.  FINDINGS

In recognition of the importance that sports can play in the personal lives of Vermonters and in the economic well-being of the state, the general assembly finds:

(1)   The history of snowboarding and skiing is heavily linked to Vermont.

(2)  In 1934, the country’s first ski area opened near Woodstock when the first rope tow ski lift was installed on Clinton Gilbert’s farm.  This was followed by many other historical Vermont firsts in the ski industry, including the nation’s first ski race held on Mount Mansfield in 1934, the nation’s first
J-bar lift installed at Bromley Ski Area in 1936, the nation’s first ski patrol established at Stowe Ski Area in 1936, the nation’s first T-bar lift installed at Pico Peak Ski Area in 1937, and the nation’s first major chair lift installed at the Stowe Ski Area in 1940.

(3)  In 1938, C. Minot Dole founded the National Ski Patrol in Vermont.  Dole later used the National Ski Patrol model to convince the U.S. Army to activate a division of American mountain soldiers on skis, known as the 10th Mountain Division.  Approximately 240 Vermonters served in the famed winter warfare division during World War II, with a dozen killed in action in the battle against the Germans in the Italian Alps.

(4)  In 1952, Rutland’s Andrea Mead-Lawrence, whose parents ran Pico Mountain, became the first American woman to win two Olympic gold medals in skiing.  Stowe’s Billy Kidd won the silver medal at the 1964 Innsbruck Olympics and the gold and bronze medals at the 1970 World Championships.  The skiing Cochrans—Barbara Ann, Lindy, Marilyn, and Bobby—dominated the world racing scene in the 1960s and ’70s, with Barbara Ann winning the gold medal at the 1972 winter Olympics.  Nordic skier Bill Koch skied in four Olympics—1976, 1980, 1984, and 1992.  Koch won the 1976 silver medal, a first for an American Nordic skier. He won a bronze medal in the 1982 Federation Internationale de Ski Nordic World Championships and a bronze medal in the 1982 World Cup Championships.

(5)  Vermont is home to many public schools, academies, and colleges that are world-class training grounds for snowboarding and skiing.

(6)  In 1982, the Suicide Six Resort in Pomfret was the first resort in the United States to allow snowboarding.  In 1985, when Stratton Mountain introduced snowboarding, only five percent of ski areas in the country permitted snowboarding.  Today, 97 percent of ski areas in the nation welcome snowboarders on their slopes.

(7)  In the 1980s, Vermont was the first state in the country to host what is now known as a snowboard park at the Sonnenberg Ski Area in Barnard.

(8)  The U.S. Open for Snowboarding is held in Vermont.  This event is the renowned first competition for snowboarding and offers an exciting opportunity to watch the world’s best snowboarders exhibiting their skills. 

(9)  Vermonters have won two gold medals in snowboarding in the last three winter Olympic games.

(10)  The United States Olympic Committee named Hannah Teter of Belmont the 2006 Sportwoman of the Year, the top honor conferred by the committee.

(11)  The United States Olympic Committee named former United States Halfpipe Head Coach Bud Keene of Stowe the 2006 National Coach of the Year.

(12)  In 1977, Vermonter Jake Burton Carpenter founded a snowboard company in his barn and perfected the technology to build snowboards.  Today, this Burlington-based company is the worldwide leader in the manufacture and sale of snowboards.  Jake and Donna Burton Carpenter were inducted into the United States National Ski and Snowboarding Hall of Fame in 2007.

(13)  There is an alarmingly high, and still rising, percentage of obese children in the United States.  The sports of snowboarding and skiing promote healthy outdoor exercise for children, their parents, and people of all ages.

(14)  Vermont historically ranks as the 3rd largest snowboard and ski state with over four million snowboarder and skier visits per year.

(15)  Snowboarding and skiing at Vermont’s ski areas are a critical part of the Vermont economy, heritage, and way of life.

(16)  Designating snowboarding and skiing as the Vermont state sports will encourage individuals to travel to Vermont to snowboard and ski, to patronize local hotels and restaurants, and to purchase Vermont products.

Sec. 2.  1 V.S.A. § 516 is added to read:

§ 516.  STATE SPORTS

The state sports shall be snowboarding and skiing.

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

AN ACT DESIGNATING SNOWBOARDING AND SKIING AS THE VERMONT STATE SPORTS.

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.

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

     Thereupon, the bill was read the third time and passed.

Rules Suspended; House Proposal of Amendment Concurred In

S. 278.

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

An act relating to financing campaigns.

Was taken up for immediate consideration.

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

Sec. 1.  FINDINGS

The general assembly finds 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, may 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)  In Vermont, lower contribution limits have not prevented challengers from maintaining robust and competitive campaigns.

(7)  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.

(8)  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.

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

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

(11)  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) ), and during the General Assembly’s consideration of S.164 during the 2007 legislative session.

(12)  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 totaling $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 paid for by an individual who volunteers personal services to a candidate, if the cumulative amount of these expenses does not exceed $1,000.00 per election;

(D)  unreimbursed campaign‑related travel expenses 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;

(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 paid for by an individual who volunteers personal services to a candidate, if the cumulative amount of these expenses does not exceed $1,000.00 per election;

(D)  unreimbursed campaign‑related travel expenses 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 or caucus selects 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 $1,000.00 from a single source, or political committee or political party in for any two‑year general election cycle.  A 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.

(b)(d)  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)(e)  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.

(f)  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)(g)  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)(h)  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)(i)  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, legal guardian, or former legal guardian.

(g)(j)  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)(k)  For purposes of this section, the term “candidate” includes the candidate’s political committee.

(l)  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.

(m)  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.

(n)  The following shall apply to independent candidates:

(1)  The limitations on contributions set forth in subsection (a), (b), or (c) of this section shall be doubled for independent candidates prior to the date of a primary election.

(2)  The following shall apply to an independent candidate who certifies to the secretary of state that he or she will not accept contributions from any political party:

(A)  The candidate may accept contributions from one political committee, designated by the candidate, up to the limitations set forth in subsection (e) of this section for political party contributions; and

(B)  For the purposes of this chapter, “contribution” shall not include:

(i)  Compensation paid by one political committee, designated by the candidate, to its employees;

(ii)  Costs paid for by one political committee, designated by the candidate, in connection with a campaign event.

(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 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 candidate’s position on issues of concern to the organization, if all of the following apply:

(A)  the organization was not created for the major purpose of influencing elections;

(B)  the 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;

(C)  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  otherwise is susceptible of no reasonable interpretation other than as an appeal to vote for or against a candidate or candidates;

(D)  the voter guide does not contain photographs or messages provided by a candidate or his or her political committee or agents other than responses to a general questionnaire submitted to all candidates.

* * *

Sec. 7.  17 V.S.A. § 2891 is amended to read:

§ 2891.  DEFINITIONS

As used in this chapter, “electioneering communication”:

(1)  means any communication, including communications published in any newspaper or periodical or broadcast on radio or television or over any public address system, placed on any billboards, outdoor facilities, buttons or printed material attached to motor vehicles, window displays, posters, cards, pamphlets, leaflets, flyers, or other circulars, or in any direct mailing, robotic phone calls, or mass e-mails 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, regardless of whether the communication expressly advocates a vote for or against a candidate. 

(2)  does not mean disseminating a nonpartisan voter guide that qualifies as an exemption from the definition of “coordinated campaign expenditure made on the candidate’s behalf” under subdivision 2809(d)(3) of this title.

Sec. 8.  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. 9.  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. 10.  SECRETARY OF STATE;

(a)  The secretary of state shall recommend a plan for improving and upgrading:

(1)  the ability of candidates to file and report electronically information required by chapter 55 of Title 17; and

(2)  internet access by the public of information required to be reported under chapter 55 of Title 17.

(b)  The secretary of state shall submit a report of the recommendations required by subsection (a) of this section to the general assembly by February 16, 2009 that shall include cost estimates of the recommendations.

Sec. 11.  REPEAL

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

Sec. 12.  EFFECTIVE DATE

This act shall take effect upon passage.

Senator White, for the Committee on Government Operations, to which the House Proposal of amendment was referred, reported recommending that the Senate concur in the House proposal of amendment.

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

Bill Amended; Third Reading Ordered

S. 354.

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

An act relating to public agency deferred compensation.

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

Sec. 1.  3 V.S.A. § 650 is amended to read:

§ 650. DEFINITIONS

The following definitions shall apply throughout this chapter unless the context requires otherwise:

(1) "Board" means the Vermont state retirement board.

(2) "Deferred compensation agreement" means any agreement authorized by this chapter entered into between a public agency and an employee of that agency providing for a reduction in the employee's compensation in return for the agency's promise to make deferred payments in the future.

(3)(2) "Employee" means any employee of a public agency whether appointed, elected or under contract to whom compensation is paid.

(3) “Other public agency” means a public agency described in subdivision (4)(B) or (C) of this section.

(4) "Public agency" means:

(A) the state, acting as a single unit employer on behalf of the general assembly and state agencies, departments, boards or commissions;

(B) any a county or municipality as defined in section subdivision 4303(4) of Title 24; and

(C) any a school district as defined in section subdivision 11(a)(10) of Title 16 or a supervisory union as defined in subdivision 11(a)(23) of Title 16.

(5)  “State board” means the Vermont state retirement board.

(6)  “Teachers’ board” means the Vermont state teachers’ retirement board.

Sec. 2.  3 V.S.A. § 651 is amended to read:

§ 651. DEFERRED COMPENSATION PLANS AUTHORIZED

(a) Subject to collective bargaining rights of state employees involved, the state or any county, municipality, or school district, or supervisory union may, through any public agency, enter into a contractual agreement with any employee of that agency to defer, in whole or in part, that employee's compensation. Payroll reductions shall be made, in each instance, by the appropriate payroll officer.

(b) The state board may establish and administer a plan that conforms with Section 457 of the Internal Revenue Code for the purpose of providing a deferred compensation program for state employees, including members of the general assembly, and for the employees of other public agencies that elect to participate in the state plan.

(c) Other public agencies may establish and administer a plan for the purpose of providing a deferred compensation program for their employees.

(d) The state board and other public agencies, which have or will establish a defined contribution deferred compensation plan, shall create a trust to conform with Section 457 the appropriate sections of the Internal Revenue Code.  The teachers’ board may create an investment program that will provide public agencies set forth in subdivision 650(4)(C) of this title operating plans under Subsection 403(b) of the Internal Revenue Code with investment options.

(e) All assets and income which have been or shall be withheld or deferred  deposited pursuant to this chapter by the state of Vermont or its political subdivisions other public agencies shall be held in trust in any funding vehicle permitted by Subsection 403(b) and Section 457 of the Internal Revenue Code for the exclusive benefit of the plan's plans’ participants and their beneficiaries until such time as the funds are distributed to the participant or the beneficiary of the participant in accordance with the terms of the deferred compensation plan.

(f) For state employees, including members of the general assembly, the state board shall be the trustees of the deferred compensation plan that conforms to Section 457 of the Internal Revenue Code, and the state treasurer shall be the custodian of the funds in the trust. All payments from such the funds shall be made by the state treasurer or the treasurer's authorized agent.  An investment program established by the teachers’ board shall be optional for public agencies set forth in subdivision 650(4)(C) of this title who shall be the trustees of their respective plans created under Subsection 403(b) of the Internal Revenue Code.

(g) Any political subdivision administering a plan as a trust shall be required to name one or more persons as trustees of such plan, and to establish provisions relating to the removal or resignation of a trustee, the appointment of a successor and the methods by which the trustee may take necessary action as required under the plan.

Sec. 3.  EFFECTIVE DATE

This act shall take effect upon passage.

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.


Third Reading Ordered

S. 270.

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

An act relating to the agreement among the states to elect the president by national popular vote.

Reported that the bill ought to pass.

Thereupon, the bill was read the second time by title only pursuant to Rule 43, and third reading of the bill was ordered by a division of the Senate, Yeas 20, Nays 7.

Bill Amended; Third Reading Ordered

S. 152.

Senator McCormack, for the Committee on Natural Resources and Energy, to which was referred Senate bill entitled:

An act relating to prevention of lead poisoning by exposure to lead in consumer products.

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

Sec. 1.  FINDINGS

The general assembly finds that:

(1)  Lead is highly toxic to humans, particularly to young children.

(2)  Exposure to lead can cause irreversible damage that results in

long-lasting, permanent neurological damage, such as decreases in I.Q.

(3)  Lead exposure has also been shown to be associated with school failure, delinquency, and criminal behavior.

(4)  There is no safe level of lead for humans.  The effects of lead exposure are cumulative, and exposure to a very small amount of lead dust over time can cause a serious increase in lead levels in blood.

(5)  There are multiple sources of lead exposure, including lead-based paint; soil; certain children’s products; water fixtures; and certain occupational environments.

(6)  There is no reason for children’s products made with lead to be sold or marketed in Vermont, or for not taking reasonable steps to reduce lead in all consumer products.

Sec. 2.  9 V.S.A. chapter 63, subchapter 1C is added to read:

Subchapter 1C.  Lead in Consumer Products

§ 2470e.  DEFINITIONS

As used in this subchapter:

(1)  “Children’s product” means any consumer product marketed for use by children under the age of 12, or whose substantial use or handling by children under 12 years of age is reasonably foreseeable, including toys, furniture, jewelry, vitamins and other supplements, personal care products, clothing, food, and food containers and packaging.

(2)(A)  Contain or containing lead," unaccompanied by a specific standard, means containing or having a surface coating containing the following amount of lead by weight of lead or lead compound, unless the commissioner of health, in consultation with the attorney general by rule, reduces this percentage generally or with respect to specific products:

(i)  0.06 percent as of July 1, 2008;

(ii)  0.03 percent as of January 1, 2009; and

(iii)  0.01 percent as of July 1, 2010.

(B)  If the standard set under this subsection is preempted by a federal standard as to any class of products, then “contain (or containing ) lead,” unaccompanied by a specific standard, means the lowest such federal standards applicable to such a class of products.

§ 2470f.  PROHIBITION OF LEAD IN CHILDREN’S PRODUCTS

Except to the extent specifically preempted by federal law, no person shall manufacture for sale, offer for sale, or distribute in commerce in, or import into Vermont any children’s product any component part of which contains lead.  This prohibition shall not apply to any component part of a children's product that is not accessible to a child through normal and reasonably foreseeable use and abuse of such product.  A component part is not accessible under this section if such component part is not physically exposed by reason of a sealed covering or casing and does not become physically exposed through reasonably foreseeable use and abuse of the product.


§ 2470g.  PROHIBITION OF LEAD IN JEWELRY

No person shall manufacture for sale, offer for sale, or distribute in commerce in, or import into Vermont any article of jewelry or other metal decorative item containing lead, where the article, or any detachable part of the article, is the size of a small part as defined by the Consumer Product Safety Commission in 16 C.F.R. part 1501, unless the article is:

(1)  expressly and prominently advertised as adult jewelry;

(2)  not commonly understood to be an article for use by a child under age 12; and

(3)  accompanied by a point-of-sale disclosure prescribed by the attorney general to the effect that the article may contain lead at or above the prevailing legal limit for lead in children's products, if that is true.

§ 2470h.  CONSUMER WARNINGS; NOTIFICATION; PHASE-OUTS

Except to the extent specifically preempted by federal law:

(1)  Wheel weights.  Beginning January 1, 2010, the state of Vermont shall ensure that no vehicles that are in the state fleet, whether purchased or leased, use wheel weights containing lead.  Beginning September 1, 2011, no person shall sell or offer for sale in or into the state of Vermont a new motor vehicle with wheel weights containing lead.

(2)  Plumbing fixtures and related supplies.  As prescribed by the attorney general, beginning January 1, 2009, and ending December 31, 2009, any person who sells or offers for sale in or into the state of Vermont solder or flux containing more than 0.2 percent lead, or plumbing fixtures whose wetted surfaces contain more than a weighted average of 0.25 percent lead, shall clearly and conspicuously post a warning at the point of sale, stating that these products contain lead and shall also provide to each buyer prior to sale information on the risks of lead exposure.  Beginning January 1, 2010, no person shall sell or offer for sale in or into the state of Vermont, or use in the state of Vermont, solder or flux for plumbing containing more than 0.2 percent lead, or plumbing fixtures whose wetted surfaces contain more than a weighted average of 0.25 percent lead.  For the purpose of this subdivision, the term “plumbing fixtures” means pipes, pipe and plumbing fittings, and fixtures used to convey or dispense water for human consumption; and the “weighted average” lead content shall be calculated by multiplying the percentage of lead content within each component that comes into contact with water by the percent of the total wetted surface of the entire pipe and pipe fittings, plumbing fittings, and fixtures, and adding all of the percentages.  In the event that the attorney general determines that any combination of the northeastern states with an aggregate population of at least ten million people has enacted a restriction or prohibition with respect to lead in solder or flux for plumbing or in plumbing fixtures that is more stringent than set out in this subdivision, that restriction or prohibition shall become effective in Vermont 180 days following the effective date of the attorney general’s determination.  For purposes of this subdivision, northeastern states include the six New England states, Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey. 

(3)  Nonresidential paints and primers.  As prescribed by the attorney general, beginning January 1, 2009, and ending December 31, 2010, any person who sells or offers for sale in or into the state of Vermont nonresidential paints and primers containing lead shall clearly and conspicuously post a warning at the point of sale, stating that these products contain lead and shall also provide to each buyer prior to sale information on the risks of lead exposure.  Beginning January 1, 2011, no person shall sell or offer for sale in or into the state of Vermont nonresidential paints or primers containing lead.  Beginning January 1, 2012, no person shall use nonresidential paints or primers containing lead in the state of Vermont.

(4)  Salvage building materials.  As prescribed by the attorney general, beginning January 1, 2009, any person who sells or offers for sale in or into the state of Vermont salvage building materials made prior to 1978 shall clearly and conspicuously post a warning at the point of sale, stating that these products may contain lead and shall also provide to each buyer prior to sale information on the risks of lead exposure. 

(5)  Motor vehicle batteries.  In the event that the attorney general determines that any combination of the northeastern states with an aggregate population of at least ten million people has enacted a restriction or prohibition on the sale or offer for sale of motor vehicle batteries containing lead, that restriction or prohibition shall become effective in Vermont 180 days following the effective date of the attorney general’s determination.  For purposes of this subsection, northeastern states include the six New England states, Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey. 

(6)  Other.  The attorney general, in consultation with the commissioner of health, may by rule require warnings, notifications, or a combination of these relating to other products containing lead.

§ 2470i.  PROHIBITION ON REMOVAL OF LABELS

No person shall remove from a consumer product any warning label affixed to it that relates in whole or part to lead or lead hazards and which label is required by this state, the federal government, or any other state or country.

§ 2470j.  PROHIBITION ON PROVIDING SUBSTANTIAL ASSISTANCE

No person shall provide substantial assistance to a person in violation of section 2470f, 2470g, 2470h, or 2470i of this section with knowledge or reason to know of the violation. 

§ 2470k.  VIOLATIONS

(a)  A violation of this subchapter is deemed to be a violation of section 2453 of this title.

(b)  The attorney general has the same authority to make rules, conduct civil investigations, enter into assurances of discontinuance, and bring civil actions, and private parties have the same rights and remedies, as provided under subchapter 1 of this chapter.

§ 2470l.  SCOPE

(a)  Nothing in this act shall be construed to regulate firearms, ammunition, lead pellets from air rifles, shooting ranges or circumstances resulting from shooting, handling, storing, casting, or reloading ammunition.

(b)  Nothing in this act shall be construed to alter the existing authority of the agency of natural resources to regulate the lead content of products used in connection with fishing and hunting.

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.

President Pro Tempore Assumes the Chair

Third Reading Ordered

S. 373.

Senate committee bill entitled:

An act relating to full funding of decommissioning costs of a nuclear plant..

Having appeared on the Calendar for notice for one day, was taken up.

Thereupon, pending second reading of the bill, Senator Mullin moved that the bill be ordered to lie, which was disagreed to on a division of the Senate, Yeas 7, Nays 19.

Thereupon, the bill was read the second time by title only pursuant to Rule 43.

Senator Mazza Assumes the Chair

President Assumes the Chair

Thereupon, third reading of the bill was ordered, on a roll call, Yeas 22, Nays 7.

Senator Shumlin 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, Cummings, Flanagan, Giard, Hartwell, Illuzzi, Kitchel, Kittell, Lyons, MacDonald, McCormack, Nitka, Racine, Sears, Shumlin, *Snelling, White.

Those Senators who voted in the negative were: Coppenrath, Doyle, Maynard, Mazza, Mullin, Scott, Starr.

The Senator absent and not voting was: Miller.

     *Senator Snelling explained her vote as follows:

     “I have struggled to make this vote.  I have read the new language, ‘the finding that the acquisition will promote the public good shall include a determination.’  I have listened carefully to the debate and decided to err for the good on behalf of the people of Vermont and not to my understanding or misunderstanding of the legislation.  Thank you.”

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. 26; S. 112; S. 114, S. 216 and S. 244.

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. 278.

Adjournment

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

 



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us