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Journal of the Senate

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TUESDAY, April 8, 2008

The Senate was called to order by the President.

Devotional Exercises

Devotional exercises were conducted by the Reverend Mark Pitton of Montpelier.

Pledge of Allegiance

Pages Reilly Johnson and Eleanor Laukaitis then led the members of the Senate in the pledge of allegiance.

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 fourth day of April, 2008, he returned without signature and vetoed bills originating in the Senate of the following titles:

S. 108.  An act relating to the election of U.S. Representative and U.S. Senator by the instant runoff voting method.

S. 278.  An act relating to financing campaigns.

Text of Communications from Governor

“April 4, 2008

The Honorable David A. Gibson

Secretary of the Senate

State House

115 State St., Drawer 33

Montpelier, VT  05633

Dear Mr. Secretary:

     Pursuant to Chapter II, Section 11 of the Vermont Constitution, I am returning S. 108, An Act Relating to the Election of U.S. Representative and U.S. Senator by the Instant Runoff Voting Method, without my signature because of objections described herein.

There are serious flaws with this proposal to alter Vermont’s system of elections.  This system has served the people of Vermont well for more than 200 years and is one I had the privilege of administering for a dozen years as Secretary of State.

This bill circumvents the fundamental democratic principle of one person, one vote.  That is entirely unacceptable.  The authors of our Constitution applied this standard – compelling each voter to choose the candidate for each office that she or he deems most qualified – to ensure that elections are in fact a clear choice.

The Attorney General’s office has confirmed in a formal, written opinion that attempts to amend the law in order to apply the so-called Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) process to races for Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Treasurer would, in fact, be unconstitutional.  While S. 108 would apply to the election of our U.S. Representative and U.S. Senator, this does not render the attempt to legislatively impose IRV democratically sound. 

Our state Constitution provides a clear and effective mechanism for changes to its provisions.  Voter approval, through the process set forth in our Constitution for its amendment, necessitates a statewide ballot that includes the voices of all Vermonters.  If the Legislature proposes to fundamentally alter our election process, this is the procedure Vermont should follow.

Moreover, voters should not be asked to cast their ballots based on a wide range of hypothetical, theoretical or imaginary outcomes.  Elections have always been, and ought to remain, contests among individual candidates and their ideas.  Voters have always, and should continue to, cast their constitutionally protected vote for the individual for each office they believe would best serve Vermont. 

In addition, the process offered by this bill cannot result in a candidate being the top choice of a majority of voters.  It is mathematically impossible for the candidate chosen by the IRV process to receive a majority of first votes cast.  In other words, use of an IRV system requires a significant number of second and third choices – not the voter’s real choice – to be counted.  It is therefore not valid to conclude, as the advocates and special interest groups do, that the winner of an IRV election would receive a majority of the vote.

Finally, this system would undoubtedly lead to backroom deal-making between candidates who urge supporters to vote for or against a second choice candidate if no one receives a majority.  This would erode public confidence in the process.  

This proposal would cause a deterioration of our time-tested, democratic and egalitarian electoral process.  The current system has served the people of Vermont well for more than 200 years.  There is no basis to make the democratically unsound change this bill proposes.

Sincerely,

/s/James H. Douglas

James H. Douglas

Governor

JHD/jg”

Text of Communication from Governor

“April 4, 2008

The Honorable David A. Gibson

Secretary of the Senate

State House

115 State Street, Drawer 33

Montpelier, VT   05633

Dear Mr. Secretary:

     Pursuant to Chapter II, Section 11 of the Vermont Constitution, I am returning S. 278, An Act Relating to Financing Campaigns, without my signature because of objections described herein.

     I was optimistic that after last year’s veto we could come together to craft meaningful campaign finance legislation that establishes reasonable and responsible limits on contributions to candidates for public office – limits that do not favor incumbents whose advantage over challengers is undeniable.  It is with great disappointment that I am unable to support this legislation because it does not address the flaws contained in last year’s bill. 

I continue to support campaign finance laws that do not give an advantage to incumbents and that set reasonable contribution limits, establish timely and transparent reporting requirements, and reflect Vermont’s values and commitment to free speech.  This bill still contains among its flaws a provision that would restrict political party contributions and therefore allow our elections to be controlled by outside special interest groups.  I cannot allow that to happen.

After hearing from lawmakers that they wished to have my administration more directly involved during this session, I answered that request.  While I have expressed a number of concerns with this legislation, I focused on two of the most problematic provisions.  Unfortunately, the area of greatest concern – the limits on party contributions to candidates – was not addressed and remains at the core of my objection to this bill.

     The proposed party contribution limits extend unfair political protection to incumbents by establishing an obstacle for challengers. These limits would be of particular disadvantage to potential candidates of modest means who are unable to fund their own campaigns.  Vermonters want and expect real reforms that ensure a truly level playing field for incumbents and challengers alike – a fundamental component of democracy.  This bill falls short of meeting that goal.

I had the privilege to serve as Secretary of State – Vermont’s top election official – for 12 years and understand well the impacts of our election laws.  While this bill does not directly affect me as a candidate for Governor, it would have unfair consequences for other candidates, especially those for the Legislature.  Because of my continued commitment to protecting our election process, I cannot support this bill.

     I am proud that Vermonters run clean, honest and transparent elections.  This bill would undermine that tradition by limiting party involvement and encouraging the swift proliferation of special interest political action committees (PACs).  PACs, by design, represent special interests.  Political parties, however, are the very framework around which individuals of similar political beliefs can work together toward a common goal, a common good.  Unfortunately, this bill favors the special interest over the common good.  It has the regrettable distinction of being influenced by special interest groups with their own self-interest and not the public’s interest in mind. 

     One of the bill’s findings states that “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.”  The proposed limits on the activity of parties would not lessen the amount of money spent in a particular race.  Instead it would create a vacuum that candidates themselves would be unable to fill.  The result would be the empowerment of special interest groups who are poised to fill this void.  Their independent actions, fundraising and expenditures without the input, and worse, without the approval of the candidate, are unlimited.  This provision would ensure that these well-financed, often out-of-state, organizations to run more attack ads and make more independent expenditures than ever before.   

An election system once predominantly financed and organized by Vermonters would be influenced more significantly by special interest PACs.  No candidate should be at the mercy of these groups.  I do not believe that the voice of a candidate should be drowned out by the noise of special interests.  

     While I make no determination as to the constitutionality of S. 278, like the law rejected as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States, we can expect that it would be challenged.  In fact, the winning attorney in Randall v. Sorrell has testified that this bill contains provisions that – in his legal opinion – are most certainly unconstitutional and would result in a challenge.  The previous lawsuit took ten years to resolve in court and cost taxpayers nearly $1.5 million in fees to the prevailing attorneys alone.  It is only prudent that as we face challenging economic times we not ignore the possible fiscal impacts of legislation we consider.

I do not believe this is the direction Vermonters want to move in or what anyone except the special interests themselves would consider reform.  I again extend to the Legislature my commitment to establish campaign finance standards that are fair and enhance transparency.   

Sincerely,

/s/James H. Douglas

James H. Douglas

Governor

JHD/dc”

Rules Suspended; Bills Ordered to Lie

S. 108.

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

An act relating to the election of U.S. Representative and U.S. Senator by the instant runoff voting method.

Was taken up for immediate consideration.

Thereupon, pending the question, Shall the bill pass, notwithstanding the refusal of the Governor to approve it?, on motion of Senator Shumlin, the bill was ordered to lie.

S. 278.

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

An act relating to financing campaigns.

Was taken up for immediate consideration.

Thereupon, pending the question, Shall the bill pass, notwithstanding the refusal of the Governor to approve it?, on motion of Senator Shumlin, the bill was ordered to lie.


Proposal of Amendment; Third Reading Ordered

H. 859.

Senator Sears, for the Committee on Judiciary, to which was committed House bill entitled:

An act relating to increasing substance abuse treatment, vocational training and transitional housing for offenders in order to reduce recidivism, increase public safety, and reduce corrections costs.

     Reported recommending that the Senate propose to the House to amend the bill by striking out all after the enacting clause and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Sec. 1.  FINDINGS AND INTENT

(a)  The general assembly finds that:

(1)  Vermont’s incarcerated population is growing at an unsustainable rate.

(2)  Property and drug offenders are the fastest growing segment of the prison population.  Between 2000 and 2006, over half the increase in the felony prison population was due to property and substance abuse offenses.

(3)  Seventy-seven percent of those sentenced for a property or drug felony have a substance abuse disorder.  Two-thirds of them report having received mental health treatment in the past.  Fifty-five percent report being frequently unemployed prior to incarceration.

(4)  Of those incarcerated for a property or drug felony, only 13 percent are receiving treatment.

(b)  The general assembly further finds that:

(1)  Each month approximately 70 inmates meet the criteria for reentering the community under the supervision of the commissioner of corrections on conditional reentry status.  However, almost half are not released because of insufficient housing options.

(2)  Studies show that the length of sentences served by offenders does not affect their recidivism rates.  Therefore, current law authorizes the commissioner of corrections to release certain offenders on reintegration furlough 90 days prior to the minimum sentence date.  However, on average, eligible inmates serve only 53 days in reintegration furlough status.  If all those who are eligible serve the full 90 days of reintegration status, the result could be a savings of up to 90 corrections beds.

(c)  Therefore, in order to reduce recidivism, increase public safety, and reduce the cost to the state of incarcerating offenders, it is the intent of the general assembly to increase substance abuse treatment services, vocational training, and transitional housing available to offenders; and establish processes for reducing incarceration time when appropriate.

(d)  It is further the intent of the general assembly that the provisions of this act are a long-range plan to guide expenditures from additional corrections savings in future years.

(e)  The general assembly recognizes and values the dedication and experience of the classified state employees of the department of corrections, whose skill and expertise will continue to be needed as the department continues to pursue its goals and mission.

(f)  [RESERVED; STATE EMPLOYEES]

Sec. 2.  28 V.S.A. § 1(b) is amended to read:

(b)  The department shall formulate its programs and policies recognizing that almost all criminal offenders ultimately return to the community, and that the traditional institutional prisons fail to reform or rehabilitate, operating instead to increase the risk of continued criminal acts following release.  The department shall develop and implement a comprehensive program which will provide necessary closed custodial confinement of frequent, dangerous offenders, but which also will establish as its primary objective the disciplined preparation of offenders for their responsible roles in the open community.  The department shall ensure that the comprehensive program required by this subsection includes a process by which each offender sentenced to any term of imprisonment other than for life without parole, within 30 days after receiving his or her sentence, shall begin to develop and implement a plan preparing for return to the community.  The department shall assess each offender for substance abuse treatment needs using an assessment tool designed to assess the suitability of a broad range of treatment services and shall use the results of this assessment in preparing the reentry plan.  The department may assess an offender sentenced to a minimum term of more than five years later than 30 days after the offender receives the sentence but shall assess the offender at least within a year of the offender’s receiving the sentence.

Sec. 3.  28 V.S.A. § 102(b) is amended to read:

(b)  The commissioner is charged with the following powers:

* * *

(5)  To order the assignment and transfer of persons committed to the custody of the commissioner to correctional facilities, including out-of-state facilities.

* * *

Sec. 4.  28 V.S.A. § 202 is amended to read:

§ 202.  POWERS AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE COMMISSIONER REGARDING PROBATION

The commissioner shall be charged with the following powers and responsibilities regarding the administration of probation:

(1)  To maintain general supervision of persons placed on probation, and to prescribe rules and regulations, consistent with any orders of the court, governing the conduct of such persons;

(2)  To supervise the administration of probation services and establish policies and standards and make rules and regulations regarding probation investigation, supervision, case work and case loads, record keeping, and the qualification of probation officers.  The commissioner may use electronic monitoring equipment such as global position monitoring, automated voice recognition telephone equipment, and transdermal alcohol monitoring equipment to enable more effective or efficient supervision of individuals placed on probation.  Transdermal alcohol monitoring equipment shall be used for such purposes as preventing persons whose licenses have been suspended for DUI from operating motor vehicles on Vermont highways.  

Sec. 5.  28 V.S.A. § 205 is amended to read:

§ 205.  PROBATION

(a)(1)  After passing sentence, a court may suspend all or part of the sentence and place the person so sentenced in the care and custody of the commissioner upon such conditions and for such time as it may prescribe in accordance with law or until further order of court.

(2)  The term of probation for misdemeanors shall be for a specific term not to exceed two years unless the court, in its sole discretion, specifically finds that the interests of justice require a longer or an indefinite period of probation.

(3)(A)  The term of probation for nonviolent felonies shall not exceed the statutory maximum term of imprisonment for the offense unless the court, in its sole discretion, specifically finds that the interests of justice require a longer or an indefinite period of probation.

(B)  As used in this subdivision, "nonviolent felonies" means an offense which is not:

(i)  a listed crime as defined in subdivision 5301(7) of Title 13; or

(ii)  an offense involving sexual exploitation of children in violation of chapter 6 of Title 13.

(4)  Nothing in this subsection shall prevent the court from terminating the period of probation and discharging a person pursuant to section 251 of this title.

(5)  The probation officer of a person on probation for a specific term shall review the person's case file during probation and, not less than 45 days prior to the expiration of the probation term, may file a petition with the court requesting the court to extend the period of probation for a specific term not to exceed one year in order to provide the person the opportunity to complete programming consistent with special conditions of probation.  A hearing on the petition for an extension of probation under this subsection shall comply with the procedures set forth in Rule 32.1 of the Vermont Rules of Criminal Procedure.

(b)  The victim of a listed crime as defined in 13 V.S.A. § 5301(7) for which the offender has been placed on probation shall have the right to request, and receive from the department of corrections information regarding the offender's general compliance with the specific conditions of probation. Nothing in this section shall require the department of corrections to disclose any confidential information revealed by the offender in connection with participation in a treatment program.

(c)(1)  Unless the court in its discretion finds that the interests of justice require additional standard and special conditions of probation, when the court orders a specific term of probation for a qualifying offense, the only conditions of probation shall be that the probationer:

(A)  register with the department of corrections’ probation and parole office in his or her district;

(B)  notify the probation officer of his or her current address each month; and

(C)  not have probable cause found for a criminal offense during the term of probation.

(2)  As used in this subsection, “qualifying offense” means:

(A)  Unlawful mischief under 13 V.S.A. § 3701.

(B)  Retail theft under 13 V.S.A. §§ 2575 and 2577.

(C)  Operating after suspension or revocation of license under 23 V.S.A. § 674(a).

(D)  Bad checks under 13 V.S.A. § 2022.

(E)  Theft of services under 13 V.S.A. § 2582.

(F)  Disorderly conduct under 13 V.S.A. § 1026, unless the original charge was a listed offense as defined in 13 V.S.A. § 5301(7).

(G)  Theft of rented property under 13 V.S.A. § 2591.

(H)  Operation without consent of owner under 23 V.S.A. § 1094(a).

(I)  Petit larceny under 13 V.S.A. § 2502.

(J)  Negligent operation of a motor vehicle under 23 V.S.A.

§ 1091(a).

(K)  False reports to law enforcement under 13 V.S.A. § 1754.

(L)  Setting fires under 13 V.S.A. § 508.

(M)  A first offense of a minor’s misrepresenting age, procuring, possessing, or consuming liquors under 7 V.S.A. § 657.

(N)  Simple assault by mutual consent under 13 V.S.A. § 1023(b).

(O)  Unlawful trespass under 13 V.S.A. § 3705(a).

(P)  A first offense of possession under 18 V.S.A. § 4230(a)(1).

Sec. 6.  28 V.S.A. § 252(b) is amended and (d) is added to read:

(b)  When imposing a sentence of probation, the court may, as a condition of probation, require that the offender:

* * *

(16)  Satisfy any other conditions reasonably related to his or her rehabilitation.  The court shall not impose a condition prohibiting the offender from engaging in any legal behavior unless the condition is reasonably related to the offender’s rehabilitation.

(d)  The commissioner shall review the record of each probationer serving a specified term during the month prior to the midpoint of that probationer’s specified term and may file a motion requesting the sentencing court to dismiss the probationer from probation or deduct a portion of the specified term from the period of probation if the offender has successfully completed a program or has attained a goal or goals specified by the conditions of probation.  The commissioner may include in the motion a request that the court deduct a portion of the specified term for each condition completed or goal attained. Any motion under this section shall be made at the sole discretion of the commissioner pursuant to a rule adopted by the commissioner under 3 V.S.A. chapter 25.

Sec. 7.  28 V.S.A. § 256 is added to read:

§ 256.  CASELOAD CAPACITY; HIGH RISK OFFENDERS

(a)  Probation officers designated to work exclusively with offenders 21 years of age and younger shall have caseloads of no more than 25 youths.

(b)  The department shall review the severity of offenses and assess the risk to reoffend of all offenders older than 21 years of age under its jurisdiction in the community and assign one of the following levels of supervision to each offender: 

(1)  Risk management supervision, which shall mean supervision at a level of intensity that includes case planning and measures to reduce risk of reoffense.

(2)  Response supervision, which shall mean monitoring of the offender’s compliance with conditions of probation or parole, including staff responding to violation behavior.

(3)  Administrative supervision, which shall mean monitoring of the offender’s address and compliance with the law. 

(c)  An offender may be reassigned to a lower supervision level after a reassessment of the offender’s risk.

(d)  The department shall establish the following probation officer caseload ranges for offender profiles:

(1)  All listed offenders requiring risk management shall be supervised at no more than 45 offenders per probation officer.

(2)  All nonlisted offenders requiring risk management shall be supervised at no more than 60 offenders per probation officer.

(3)  All offenders requiring response supervision shall be supervised at no more than 150 offenders per probation officer.

(4)  All offenders requiring administrative supervision may be supervised on caseloads consistent with the capacity of automated status reporting systems as established by the department.

(5)  When there is a mixed profile caseload in which a single probation officer supervises offenders with different supervision levels and at least

one-third of the offenders require a more intensive supervision demand than the other offenders, the caseload shall be supervised at the lowest level of offender-to-staff ratio. 

(e)  If the caseloads established in subsection (d) of this section are exceeded for longer than 120 days, the commissioner shall be authorized to designate community correctional officers to partially augment staffing caseloads.  If such designation does not remedy the excess caseloads:

(1)  The commissioner shall report to the joint corrections oversight committee the causes for the excess and proposals for addressing them.

(2)  The department shall have the authority, if the commissioner believes that the excess will not be eliminated within 60 days, to hire persons from the states position vacancy pool as limited service employees for an initial period of up to one year.  The initial period may be extended for up to two more years if the department deems it necessary.

(f)  Each time a position is established under subdivision (e)(2) of this section, the commissioner shall report it at the next meeting of the joint corrections oversight committee.  The costs for each position shall be presented in the department’s budget adjustment proposal and, if the positions are necessary for an ongoing period, in the department’s annual budget request.

Sec. 8.  28 V.S.A. § 403(1) is amended to read:

(1)  To supervise and control persons placed on parole, subject to the rules and orders of the parole board as to the conditions of parole.  The commissioner may use electronic monitoring equipment such as global position monitoring, automated voice recognition telephone equipment, and transdermal alcohol monitoring equipment to enable more effective or efficient supervision of individuals placed on parole.  Transdermal alcohol monitoring equipment shall be used for such purposes as preventing persons whose licenses have been suspended for DUI from operating motor vehicles on Vermont highways;

Sec. 9.  28 V.S.A. § 723(c) is added to read:

(c)  Prior to release under this section, the department shall screen and, if appropriate, assess each felony drug and property offender for substance abuse treatment needs using an assessment tool designed to assess the suitability of a broad range of treatment services, and it shall use the results of this assessment in preparing a reentry plan.  The department shall attempt to identify all necessary services in the reentry plan and work with the offender to make connections to necessary services prior to release so that the offender can begin receiving services immediately upon release. 

Sec. 10.  28 V.S.A. § 808(a)(8) is amended to read:

(8)  To prepare for reentry into the community.

* * *

(E)  An offender incarcerated for driving while under the influence of alcohol under 13 V.S.A. § 1210(d) or (e) may be furloughed to the community up to 180 days prior to completion of the minimum sentence at the commissioner’s discretion and in accordance with rules adopted pursuant to subdivision (C) of this subdivision (8), provided that an offender sentenced to a minimum term of fewer than 270 days shall not be eligible for furlough under this subdivision until the offender has served at least 90 days of his or her minimum term of incarceration and provided that the commissioner uses electronic equipment to monitor continually the offender’s location and blood alcohol level.

(F)  Prior to release under this subdivision (8), the department shall screen, and if appropriate, assess each felony drug and property offender for substance abuse treatment needs using an assessment tool designed to assess the suitability of a broad range of treatment services, and it shall use the results of this assessment in preparing a reentry plan.  The department shall attempt to identify all necessary services in the reentry plan and work with the offender to make connections to necessary services prior to release so that the offender can begin receiving services immediately upon release. 

Sec. 11.  28 V.S.A. § 808(b) is amended to read:

(b)  An inmate granted a furlough pursuant to this section may be accompanied by an employee of the department, in the discretion of the commissioner, during the period of the inmate's furlough.  The department may use electronic monitoring equipment such as global position monitoring, automated voice recognition telephone equipment and transdermal alcohol monitoring equipment to enable more effective or efficient supervision of individuals placed on furlough.

Sec. 12.  33 V.S.A. § 708 is amended to read:

§ 708.  TREATMENT AND SERVICES

* * *

(d)  A person judged by a law enforcement officer to be incapacitated, and who has not been charged with a crime, may be lodged in protective custody in a lockup or community correctional center secure facility not operated by the department of corrections for up to 24 hours or until judged by the person in charge of the facility to be no longer incapacitated, if and only if:

(1)  The person refuses to be transported to an appropriate facility for treatment, or if once there, refuses treatment or leaves the facility before he or she is considered by the responsible staff of that facility to be no longer incapacitated; or

(2)  No approved substance abuse treatment program with detoxification capabilities and no staff physician or other medical professional at the nearest licensed general hospital can be found who will accept the person for treatment.

(e)  No person shall be lodged in a lockup or community correctional center secure facility not operated by the department of corrections under subsection (d) of this section without first being evaluated by a substance abuse crisis team, a designated substance abuse counselor, a clinical staff person of an approved substance abuse treatment program with detoxification capabilities or a professional medical staff person at a licensed general hospital emergency room and found to be indeed incapacitated.

(f)  No lockup or community correctional center secure facility not operated by the department of corrections shall refuse to admit an incapacitated person in protective custody whose admission is requested by a law enforcement officer, in compliance with the conditions of this section.

(g)  Notwithstanding subsection (d) of this section, a person under 18 years of age who is judged by a law enforcement officer to be incapacitated and who has not been charged with a crime shall not be held at a lockup or community correctional center. If needed treatment is not readily available the person shall be released to his or her parent or guardian.  If the person has no parent or guardian in the area, arrangements shall be made to house him or her according to the provisions of chapter 55 of this title.  The official in charge of an adult jail or lockup shall notify the director of the office of drug and alcohol abuse of any person under the age of 18 brought to an adult jail or lockup pursuant to this chapter.

(h)  If an incapacitated person in protective custody is lodged in a lockup or community correctional center secure facility not operated by the department of corrections, his or her family or next of kin shall be notified as promptly as possible.  If the person is an adult and requests that there be no notification, his or her request shall be respected.

(i)  A taking into protective custody under this section is not an arrest.

(j)  Law enforcement officers or persons responsible for supervision in a lockup or community correctional center secure facility not operated by the department of corrections or members of a substance abuse crisis team or designated substance abuse counselors who act under the authority of this section are acting in the course of their official duty and are not criminally or civilly liable therefor, unless for gross negligence or willful or wanton injury.

Sec. 13.  33 V.S.A. § 708a is added to read:

§ 708a.  INCARCERATION FOR INEBRIATION PROHIBITED

No person who has not been charged with a crime shall be incarcerated in a facility operated by the department of corrections on account of the person’s inebriation.

Sec. 14.  TRANSITION UNITS

(a)  The general assembly intends in this act to provide the opportunity for a successful transition to offenders who are eligible for release into the community.

(b)  The department of corrections shall establish a transition unit within the Northwest State Correctional Facility which enables inmates to work in the community while residing in the facility.  The unit shall be modeled on the transition unit at the Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility.

(c)  The department shall make every effort to incorporate a transition unit into any facility where renovations are necessary to implement the provisions of this act.

(d)  The department shall report to the corrections oversight committee on or before September 30, 2008, on the implementation of this section, including a plan for establishing transition units at all state correctional facilities.   

Sec. 15.  BUDGETARY SAVINGS ALLOCATIONS IN FISCAL YEARS 2009 AND 2010

(a)  Findings.  Department of corrections expenditures on correctional services including out-of-state beds grew from $93,255,650.00 in fiscal year 2004 to $120,533,309.00 in fiscal year 2008.  The amount of funding proposed for fiscal year 2009 is $123,589,833.00.  This rate of increase has been and remains unsustainable.

(b)  Action.  In order to reduce the unsustainable increases in the expenditures of the department of corrections, the following action shall be taken by the executive branch:

(1)  In fiscal year 2009, the Dale Correctional Facility in Waterbury shall be closed.

(2)  In fiscal year 2009, the mission of the Southeast State Correctional Facility in Windsor shall change to be a therapeutic community in a work camp model, consistent with any further directive set forth in the 2008 Capital Construction Act, S.365.

(3)  In fiscal year 2009, sections of the Northwest State Correctional Facility in Swanton shall be closed and the facility otherwise configured to house and program women consistent with any further directive set forth in the 2008 Capital Construction Act, S.365.

(c)  Goal; fiscal year 2009.  It is the goal of the general assembly to achieve in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2009 approximately $600,000.00 in savings in the department of corrections budget, which will be reinvested in substance abuse screening, assessment, treatment, and reentry support, the goal of which is to reduce recidivism for the target group indentified in Sec. 1(a) of this act.

(d)  Goal; fiscal year 2010.  It is the goal of the general assembly to achieve in fiscal year 2010 approximately $3,044,949 in savings in the department of corrections budget, some of which will be reinvested in a variety of effective programs to further reduce recidivism for the target group indentified in

Sec. 1(a) of this act. 

Sec. 16b.  ANTICIPATED BUDGETARY SAVINGS ALLOCATIONS IN FISCAL YEAR 2009 

(a)  In the last quarter of fiscal year 2009, from within the amounts appropriated to the department of corrections from the general fund, the department shall reinvest $600,000.00 as follows:

(1)  the amount of $150,000.00 shall be used to fund substance abuse programs and vocational training in a state work camp facility;

(2)  the amount of $450,000.00 shall be transferred to the secretary of human services and used to fund the following activities:

(A)  $200,000.00 shall be used to expand the capacity of community alcohol and substance abuse prevention and treatment providers to provide services, including services to public inebriates; and

(B)  $250,000.00 shall be used to expand the availability of public inebriate beds outside the department of corrections.

(b)  The joint fiscal office shall track and report to the joint fiscal committee in January and July of 2009 savings in the corrections budget resulting from the provisions of this act.

Sec. 17.  ANTICIPATED BUDGETARY SAVINGS ALLOCATIONS IN FISCAL YEAR 2010

In fiscal  year 2010, from within the amounts appropriated to the department of corrections from the general fund, the department shall reinvest a portion of the savings identified by either the commissioner of corrections or the corrections oversight committee as follows:

(1)  $150,000.00 to increase the capacity of the department of corrections’ intensive substance abuse program (ISAP), which provides services on an intensive out-patient basis;

(2)  $150,000.00 to expand the ISAP program to include a community based residential substance abuse treatment component for those who have been furloughed to the community pursuant to 28 V.S.A. § 808(a)(7);

(3)  $150,000.00 to enter into contracts with several community-based substance abuse treatment providers in different geographic regions of the state and to provide the substance abuse treatment services to persons on conditional reentry status pursuant to subchapter 1A of chapter 11 of Title 28;

(4)  $650,000.00 to provide vocational training and residential substance abuse programs in one or more state-owned and -operated work camps;

(5)  $1,200,000.00 to provide grants to community providers to increase by 60 the number of beds available for at least 120 offenders who will be staying in the transitional housing for three to six months before reentering the community on furlough pursuant to 28 V.S.A. § 808 or conditional reentry, pursuant to subchapter 1A of chapter 11 of Title 28, provided that the new transitional housing shall include a range from lightly supervised with no treatment programs to heavily supervised with wrap-around treatment programs and provided that $200,000.00 of the amount shall be used to provide life skills services programming; and

(6)  $211,000.00 to purchase electronic monitoring equipment, including automated voice recognition telephone equipment, global position monitoring system bracelets, and transdermal alcohol monitoring equipment; the commissioner shall use the equipment to augment supervision of offenders on probation, parole, or furlough and to enhance the capacity of field staff to monitor and control offenders who would otherwise be incarcerated;  

(7)  $110,000.00 for recovery centers; and

(8)(A)  $200,000.00 shall be transferred to the secretary of human services to expand the capacity of community alcohol and substance abuse prevention and treatment providers to provide services, including services to public inebriates.

(B)   $200,000.00 shall be transferred to the secretary of human services to fund the establishment of a pilot program at a location approved by the court administrator to:

(i)  conduct a voluntary and confidential screening and assessment, when screening indicates that an assessment is appropriate, for substance abuse and mental health treatment needs at the time of arraignment of individuals charged with felony property, drug, or fraud offenses;

(ii)  conduct a mandatory screening and assessment, when screening indicates that an assessment is appropriate, for substance abuse and mental health treatment needs following adjudication and prior to sentencing of individuals found guilty of felony property, drug, or fraud offenses;

(iii)  provide the results of any screening and assessment conducted under this section to the judge following adjudication and prior to sentencing so that the judge can use the information to determine the level of treatment to be provided while the individual is in the custody of the commissioner of corrections; and

(iv)  enable the commissioner to gather data regarding the prevalence of co-occurring substance abuse and mental health disorders.

Sec. 18.  STATEWIDE DRUG COURT STUDY

The court administrator, the defender general, the executive director of the department of state’s attorneys and sheriffs, the deputy commissioner of the department of health in charge of the alcohol and drug abuse, and the commissioner of mental health shall report to the house and senate committees on judiciary by December 15, 2008, on the advisability and feasibility of expanding the drug court program to every county in the state.  The report shall address:

(1)  the financial costs of expanding the drug court program statewide;

(2)  the workforce impact which a statewide expansion of the program would have and whether new staff would be required;

(3)  whether current state facilities have the capacity to support statewide expansion and whether and where any new facilities would be required; and

(4)  any other matter deemed relevant to the issue of statewide drug court expansion.    

Sec. 19.  PUBLIC INEBRIATES TASK FORCE

(a)  A public inebriates task force is established.  The task force shall consist of the following members:

(1)  Two members employed by the office of alcohol and drug abuse appointed by the commissioner of the department of health.

(2)  Two substance abuse treatment providers appointed by the substance abuse treatment providers association.

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

(4)  One member appointed by the Vermont police association.

(5)  One member appointed by the Vermont League of Cities and Towns.

(6)  Two members appointed by the Vermont medical society who shall be hospital emergency room personnel.

(7)  Two members appointed by the Vermont recovery network.

(8)  Two employees of the department of corrections appointed by the commissioner of the department of corrections.

(b)  The task force shall report to the senate and house committees on judiciary, institutions, and appropriations no later than January 1, 2009 with a plan to ensure that public inebriates are given appropriate care rather than incarcerated.  The plan shall ensure the regional availability of supportive voluntary and secured accommodations for public inebriates by January 1, 2010, and shall include a timetable for providing reimbursement of expenses to programs that house and maintain public inebriates.

Sec. 20.  ACCOUNTABILITY; REPORTS

(a)  On or before January 15, 2010, the commissioner of corrections shall report to the senate committee on judiciary, the house committee on institutions and corrections, and the house committee on judiciary on:

(1)  the prevalence of co-occurring mental health and substance abuse disorders among those committed to the custody of the commissioner of corrections;

(2)  the success of and problems encountered in:

(A)  expanding the ISAP program pursuant to Sec. 6(c)(1) of this act:

(B)  implementing the pilot program authorized and funded in Sec. 6(c)(3) of this act, as well as recommendations for continuing the program or expanding the program or both; and

(C)  developing reentry plans which identify services needed upon release and in working with community providers to ensure that each offender receives those services immediately upon release;

(3)  the progress made since passage of this act in establishing a comprehensive system of community substance abuse treatment services which is coordinated with corrections services;

(4)  the first 50 people who received administrative probation under subsection 2059(c) of Title 28, including tracking each such person for two years after the sentence is imposed and reporting whether the person committed further offenses and the nature of those offenses; and

(5)  a proposal to increase the furlough days for nonlisted offenders from the existing average of 53 to a target of 75. 

(b)  The department of corrections shall upon passage of this act manage  existing furlough procedures to create the same amount of financial savings that the department would have realized had this act made it mandatory to furlough offenders 90 days prior to completion of the offenders’ minimum sentence.

(c)  On or before January 15, 2011, the commissioner of corrections shall report to the senate committee on judiciary, the house committee on institutions and corrections, and the house committee on judiciary on the successes of and problems encountered in working to meet the following goals with the funds provided and through the programs established in this act:

(1)  increase by at least 30 the number of offenders with sentences of one or more years placed in the department of corrections’ intensive substance abuse program (ISAP) pursuant to 28 V.S.A. § 808(a)(7);

(2)  move at least 10 offenders who are in the intensive phase of receiving ISAP services under 28 V.S.A. § 808(a)(7) and who are unsuccessful and would otherwise be reincarcerated to a community-based residential substance abuse treatment program which may be a component of ISAP;

(3)  incarcerate no more than 20 percent of offenders who are receiving substance abuse treatment services under 28 V.S.A. § 808(a)(7); 

(4)  reduce by 10 percent the number of reincarcerations of those on conditional reentry with a high need for substance abuse treatment;

(5)  increase the number of inmates released on furlough, pursuant to 28 V.S.A. § 808, by 25 individuals per month; and

(6)  increase the average number of days released on reintegration furlough pursuant to 28 V.S.A. § 808(a)(8) prior to the minimum sentence to as close to 90 days as possible. 

(d)  Until the corrections oversight committee informs the commissioner that it no longer requires the information, the commissioner of corrections shall include in monthly reports to the committee:

(1)  the number of inmates eligible for furlough under 28 V.S.A. § 808 and considered appropriate for release by the commissioner but who have not been released because the commissioner is unable to find appropriate housing, employment, treatment, or other services;

(2)  which treatment or other services would have been necessary and in which geographic region the services would have been needed, to enable release; and

(3)  the number of days of incarceration that could have been avoided if the community resources had been available and these offenders had been released.

(e)  On or before January 15, 2011, the court administrator's office, in consultation with the office of alcohol and drug abuse programs in the Vermont department of health, the department of corrections, the defender general, and the executive director of the department of state’s attorneys and sheriffs shall report to the senate and house committees on judiciary on the costs, cost savings, and effectiveness of the pilot project established pursuant to Sec. 17(a)(8)(B) of this act and shall make a recommendation as to the continuation of the pilot project and its expansion to other counties.

(f)  The joint fiscal office and office of finance and management shall jointly document the impact of the policies and provisions of this act on corrections costs and shall report their findings to the general assembly on or before January 15, 2010, and in January of each year for five years thereafter.

Sec.21.  EFFECTIVE DATE

This act shall take effect on July 1, 2008, except for Secs. 12, 13, and 14, which shall take effect on July 1, 2010.

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

Senator Sears, for the Committee on Appropriations, to which the bill was referred, reported recommending that the Senate propose to the House to amend the bill as recommended by the Committee on Judiciary with the following amendments thereto:

First:  In Sec. 1, (Findings) by adding a new subsection (f) to read as follows:

(f)  The general assembly intends the following results from the restructuring necessary to achieve the cost savings required for this act:

(1)  The incumbents in the five classified positions that will be eliminated at Northwest State Correctional Facility shall continue to be employed at that facility in classified positions that are vacant, unless the incumbents voluntarily seek employment in other state positions or leave state service.

(2)  The temporary and exempt superintendent positions at the Dale facility shall be eliminated.

(3)  An incumbent in a classified position that will be eliminated at the Dale facility who does not accept any existing vacant classified position and who exercises the contractual right to fill an existing temporary position at any department facility shall receive his or her classified position base salary and the benefits of the bargaining unit to which that temporary position would be assigned if permanent, with the exceptions of scheduling days of work, shift assignment, and post assignment. The rights established by this subdivision shall be available until January 1, 2011, or until an affected employee accepts an existing classified position, whichever occurs first.

(4)  Except as otherwise provided in this section, all existing state employee contract provisions and protections shall remain fully in force for any affected corrections employee covered by the contract.

Second:  In Sec. 17, (Budgetary Savings) by striking out subdivision (5) in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new subdivision (5) to read as follows:

(5)(A)  $1,200,000.00 to provide grants to community providers to increase by 60 the number of beds available for at least 120 offenders who will be staying in the transitional housing for three to six months before reentering the community on furlough pursuant to 28 V.S.A. § 808 or conditional reentry, pursuant to subchapter 1A of chapter 11 of Title 28, provided that the new transitional housing shall include a range from lightly supervised with no treatment programs to heavily supervised with wrap-around treatment programs, and that $200,000.00 of this amount shall be used to provide life skills programming. 

(B)  To the extent that the purposes identified in subdivision (A) of this subdivision (5) can be accomplished without using all of the funds appropriated in that subdivision, the department may use up to $200,000.00 of the appropriation to expand housing readiness, search, and retention services, housing assistance funding which may be granted to housing authorities and other community agencies in response to requests for proposals or memorandums of understanding entered into in accordance with department policy and directives; and

Third:  In Sec. 20, (Reports) subsection (a), by striking out subdivision (4) in its entirety and renumbering the remaining subdivisions to be numerically correct.

Fourth:  In Sec. 20, (Reports) by adding a new subsection (g) to read as follows:

(g) The Vermont center for justice research shall study and evaluate the effectiveness of the system of administrative probation established by subsection 2059(c) of Title 28, including whether the people who receive such probation commit further offenses, and the nature of those offenses.  The center shall report its evaluation of administrative probation to the senate and house committees on judiciary on or before December 15, 2011.

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, and the recommendation of amendment of the Committee on Judiciary was amended as recommended by the Committee on Appropriations.

Thereupon, pending the question, Shall the Senate propose to the House to amend bill as recommended by the Committee on Judiciary, as amended?, Senator Sears, on behalf of the Committee on Judiciary, moved to amend the proposal of amendment of the Committee on Judiciary, as amended, in Sec. 20 (Reports), subsection (d), by adding a new subdivision (4) to read as follows:

(4)  a detailed description of the progress made on increasing the use of electronic monitoring as authorized by 28 V.S.A. §202, 28 V.S.A. §403(1) and 28 V.S.A. §808(b).

Which was agreed to.

Thereupon, pending the question, Shall the Senate propose to the House to amend bill as recommended by the Committee on Judiciary, as amended?, Senator Collins moved to amend the proposal of amendment as follows:

First: In Sec. 1 (Findings), subsection (f), by striking out subdivision (1) in its entirety and adding a new subdivision (1) to read as follows:

(1)  The incumbents in the five classified positions that will be eliminated at Northwest State Correctional Facility shall continue to be employed at that facility in classified positions that are vacant, or shall be assigned to another correctional facility in Franklin County that houses male inmates, unless the incumbents voluntarily seek employment in other state positions or leave state service.

Second:  In Sec. 15 (Budgetary Savings), subsection (b), by striking out subdivision (3) in its entirety and adding a new subdivision (3) to read as follows:

(3)  In fiscal year 2009, sections of the Northwest State Correctional Facility in Swanton shall be closed and the facility otherwise configured to house and program women, with consideration given to housing male detainees, consistent with any further directive set forth in the 2008 Capital Construction Act, S.365.

Thereupon, pending the question, Shall the recommendation of amendment of the Committee on Judiciary, as amended, be amended as recommended by Senator Collins?, Senator Collins requested and was granted leave to withdraw the first proposal of amendment.

Thereupon, the question, Shall the recommendation of amendment of the Committee on Judiciary, as amended, be amended as recommended by Senator Collins in the second proposal of amendment?, was agreed to.

Thereupon, the pending question, Shall the Senate propose to the House to amend bill as recommended by the Committee on Judiciary, as amended?, was decided in the affirmative.

Thereupon, third reading of the bill was ordered.

Bill Amended; Bill Passed

S. 350.

Senate bill entitled:

An act relating to energy independence and economic prosperity.

Was taken up.

Thereupon, pending third reading of the bill, Senators Nitka, Bartlett, Campbell, Collins, Condos, Coppenrath, Doyle, Giard, Kitchel, Kittell, Mazza, and Mullin, moved to amend the bill in Sec. 4, 10 V.S.A. § 580(b), in the second sentence, after the words “yield information with regard to all” by inserting the word: significant

Which was agreed to.

Thereupon, pending third reading of the bill, Senator Illuzzi moved to amend the bill as follows:

     First:  In Sec. 4, subsection (a) by striking out the following: “The initial version of this inventory shall be published by no later than July 1, 2009, and updates shall be published triennially thereafter.

     Second:  In Sec. 4, subsection (b) by striking out the following: “By no later than January 15, 2009” and inserting in lieu thereof the following: In conjunction with other states or a regional consortium,

     Third:  In Sec. 4 by adding a new subsection (e) to read as follows:

     (e)  Effective date.  The rules adopted pursuant to subsection (d) of this section shall become effective six months after the Secretary certifies that substantially similar rules have been adopted in four of the five remaining New England states and the State of New York.

Which was disagreed to on a roll call, Yeas 11, Nays 18.

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

Roll Call

Those Senators who voted in the affirmative were: Carris, Coppenrath, Doyle, Illuzzi, Kitchel, Maynard, Mazza, Mullin, Scott, Snelling, Starr.

Those Senators who voted in the negative were: Ayer, Bartlett, Collins, Condos, Cummings, Flanagan, Giard, Hartwell, Kittell, Lyons, MacDonald, McCormack, Miller, Nitka, Racine, Sears, Shumlin, White.

The Senator absent and  not voting were: Campbell.

     Thereupon, pending third reading of the bill, Senator Kitchel, on behalf of the Committee on Transportations, moved to amend the bill by striking out Secs. 7 through 10 there entirety and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Sec. 7.  19 V.S.A. § 10b is amended to read:

§ 10b.  STATEMENT OF POLICY; GENERAL

(a)  The agency shall be the responsible agency of the state for the development of transportation policy.  It shall develop a mission statement to reflect state transportation policy encompassing all modes of transportation, the need for transportation projects that will improve the state’s economic infrastructure, as well as the use of resources in efficient, coordinated, cost effective, and environmentally sound ways.  The agency shall coordinate education efforts with those of the Vermont resource trust established under 30 V.S.A. § 236 and those of local and regional planning entities to address conservation and efficiency opportunities and practices in local and regional transportation, and to support employer or local or regional government-led conservation, efficiency, rideshare, and bicycle programs and other innovative transportation advances, especially employer-based incentives.

(b)  In developing the state’s annual transportation program, the agency shall, consistent with the planning goals listed in 24 V.S.A. § 4302 as amended by No. 200 of the Acts of the 1987 Adj. Sess. (1988) and with appropriate consideration to local, regional, and state agency plans:

(1)  Develop or incorporate designs that provide safe and efficient transportation and promote economic opportunities for Vermonters and the best use of the state’s environmental and historic resources. 

(2)  Manage available funding to:

(A)  give priority to preserving the functionality of the existing transportation infrastructure; and

(B)  adhere to credible project delivery schedules.

* * *

Sec. 8.  19 V.S.A. § 10e is amended to read:

§ 10e.  STATEMENT OF POLICY; RAILROADS

(a)  The general assembly recognizes that rail service, both passenger and freight, is an integral part of the state’s transportation network. Accordingly, it is hereby declared to be the policy of the state of Vermont:

(1)  to To provide opportunities for rail passenger services by cooperating with the federal government, other states, and providers of those services, with priority to be given to the services likely to complement Vermont’s economic development efforts and meet the needs of the traveling public;.  Goals to increase passenger rail use will be in accordance with the agency’s rail plan.

(2)  to To preserve and modernize for continued freight railroad service those railroad lines, both within the state of Vermont and extending into adjoining states, which directly affect the economy of the state or provide connections to other railroad lines which directly affect the economy of the state;.  Goals to increase freight rail use will be in accordance with the agency’s rail plan.

(3)  in In those cases where continuation of freight railroad service is not economically feasible under present conditions, to preserve established railroad rights-of-way for future reactivation of railroad service, trail corridors, and other public purposes not inconsistent with future reactivation of railroad service; and.

(4)  to To seek federal aid for rail projects that implement this section’s policy goals.

(5)  To maintain and improve intercity bus and rail and freight and commuter rail services, and the necessary intermodal connections, and to increase the efficiency of equipment and the extent to which equipment selection and operation can limit or avoid the emission of greenhouse gases.

(6)  To plan for increased ridership with city‑to‑city and commuter rail service.

(b)  To complement the regular maintenance efforts of the lessee/operators of state-owned railroads, taking into account each line’s long-term importance to the state’s transportation network, economic development, the resources available to the lessee/operator and relevant provisions of leases and other agreements, the agency may develop programs to assist in major rehabilitation or replacement of obsolete bridges, structures, rails, and other fixtures. 

Sec. 9.  19 V.S.A. § 10f is amended to read:

§ 10f.  STATEMENT OF POLICY; PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

(a)  It shall be the state’s policy to make maximum use of available federal funds for the support of public transportation.  State operating support funds shall be included in agency operating budgets to the extent that funds are available. It shall be the state’s policy to support the maintenance of existing public transportation services and the creation of new service that is accessible and affordable to those who use these services.

(b)  The agency of transportation shall develop and periodically update a plan for investment in public transportation services and infrastructure as part of an integrated transportation system consistent with the goals established in 24 V.S.A. § 5083, and regional transportation development plan proposals and regional plans as required by 24 V.S.A. § 5089.

(1)  The plan shall include components that shall coordinate rideshare, public transit, park and ride, interstate, and bicycle and pedestrian planning and investment at the state, regional, and local levels, and create or expand regional connections within the state, in order to maximize interregional ridesharing and access to public transit.

(2)  The agency shall develop and make available to the traveling public a statewide online service that coordinates transportation options and provides web-based access to information for alternative transportation modes.

Sec. 10.  19 V.S.A. § 2310 is amended to read:

§ 2310.  PAVEMENT OF HIGHWAY SHOULDERS

(a)  Notwithstanding the provisions of section 10c of this title, it is the policy of the state to provide paved shoulders on major state highways with the intent to develop an integrated bicycle route system and make the shoulders safer for pedestrian traffic.  This shall not apply to the interstate highway and certain other limited access highways.

(b)  Any construction, or reconstruction, including upgrading and resurfacing projects on these highways, shall include paved shoulders unless the agency deems certain sections to be cost prohibitive maintain or improve existing access and road surface conditions for bicycles and pedestrians along the shoulders of these highways, unless the agency deems it to be cost prohibitive.

Which was agreed to.

     Thereupon, pending third reading of the bill, Senator Scott moved to amend the bill in Sec. 1, 3 V.S.A. § 2291(c), by striking out subdivision (7) in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new subdivision (7) to read as follows:

(7)  to provide, where feasible, for the installation of renewable energy systems including solar energy equipment, which shall include equipment for limiting solar gain, as part of the new construction or major renovation of any state building.  The cost of implementation and installation will be identified as part of the budget process presented to the general assembly.

Which was agreed to.

Thereupon, pending third reading of the bill, Senator Coppenrath moved to amend the bill in Sec. 3a, 10 V.S.A. § 578(c), by striking out the following: “These rules shall be designed to” and by inserting in lieu thereof the following: These rules, which shall take effect only upon being approved by joint rule of the senate and house, shall be designed to

Which was disagreed to on a roll call, Yeas 2, Nays 27.

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: Coppenrath, Maynard.

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

The Senator absent and not voting were: Campbell.

Thereupon, the bill was read the third time and passed on a roll call, Yeas 25, Nays 4.

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, Carris, Collins, Condos, Cummings, Doyle, Flanagan, Giard, Hartwell, Kitchel, Kittell, Lyons, MacDonald, Mazza, McCormack, Miller, Mullin, Nitka, Racine, Scott, Sears, Shumlin, Snelling, White.

Those Senators who voted in the negative were: Coppenrath, Illuzzi, Maynard, Starr.

The Senator absent and not voting was: Campbell.

House Proposal of Amendment Concurred In

S. 280.

House proposal of amendment to Senate bill entitled:

An act relating to prosthetic parity.

Was taken up.

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. 8 V.S.A. § 4088f is added to read:

§ 4088f.  PROSTHETIC PARITY

(a)  As used in this section:

(1)  “Health insurance plan” means any health insurance policy or health benefit plan offered by a health insurer, as defined in 18 V.S.A. § 9402, as well as Medicaid, the Vermont health access plan, and any other public health care assistance program offered or administered by the state or by any subdivision or instrumentality of the state.  The term shall not include policies or plans providing coverage for specific disease or other limited benefit coverage.

(2)  “Prosthetic device” means an artificial limb device to replace, in whole or in part, an arm or a leg.

(b)  A health insurance plan shall provide coverage for prosthetic devices in all health plans at least equivalent to that provided by the federal Medicare program.  Coverage may be limited to the prosthetic device that is the most appropriate model that is medically necessary to meet the patient’s medical needs.  Any dispute between the insured and the carrier concerning coverage and the application of this section shall be subject to independent external review under section 4089f of this title.

(c)  A health insurance plan may require prior authorization for prosthetic devices in the same manner and to the same extent as prior authorization is required for any other covered benefit.

(d)  A health insurance plan shall provide coverage under this section for the medically necessary repair or replacement of a prosthetic device.

(e)  A health insurance plan shall not impose any annual or lifetime dollar maximum on coverage for prosthetics that is less than the annual or lifetime dollar maximum that applies generally to all terms and services covered under the plan.

(f)  The coverage required may not be subject to a deductible, co-payment, or coinsurance provision that is less favorable to a covered individual than the deductible, co-payment, or coinsurance provisions that apply generally to other non-primary care items and services under the health plan. 

Sec. 2.  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.

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

Rules Suspended; Bill Passed in Concurrence with Proposal of Amendment; Bill Messaged

H. 859.

Pending entry on the Calendar for action tomorrow, on motion of Senator Shumlin, the rules were suspended and House bill entitled:

An act relating to increasing substance abuse treatment, vocational training and transitional housing for offenders in order to reduce recidivism, increase public safety, and reduce corrections costs.

Was placed on all remaining stages of its passage in concurrence with proposal of amendment forthwith.

Thereupon, the bill was read the third time and passed in concurrence with proposal of amendment on a roll call, Yeas 29, Nays 0.

Senator Sears 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, Carris, Collins, Condos, Coppenrath, Cummings, Doyle, Flanagan, Giard, Hartwell, Illuzzi, Kitchel, Kittell, Lyons, MacDonald, Maynard, Mazza, McCormack, Miller, Mullin, Nitka, Racine, Scott, Sears, Shumlin, Snelling, Starr, White.

Those Senators who voted in the negative were: None.

The Senator absent and not voting was: Campbell.

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

Rules Suspended; Proposal of Amendment; Third Reading Ordered

H. 616.

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

An act relating to farm-fresh milk.

Was taken up for immediate consideration.

     Senator Kittell, for the Committee on Agriculture, to which the bill was referred, reported recommending that the Senate propose to the House to amend the bill by adding two new sections, to be numbered Secs. 2 and 3 to read as follows:

Sec. 2.  6 V.S.A. § 2672(26) and (27) are added to read:

(26)  “Vermont fresh milk” means milk consisting entirely of fresh milk produced in Vermont.

(27)  “Northeastern fresh milk” means milk consisting entirely of fresh milk produced in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, or Maine.

Sec. 3.  6 V.S.A. § 2680 is added to read:

§ 2680.  LABELING MILK AS FRESH

Milk shall not be labeled as “fresh milk,” “Vermont fresh milk,” or “northeastern fresh milk” unless the milk meets the definitions in section 2672 of this chapter.

     And by renumbering the remaining section to be numerically correct

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

     AN ACT RELATING TO FARM‑FRESH RAW MILK.

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

Bill Passed

S. 371.

Senate bill entitled:

An act relating to the creation of an agency of education and the elimination of the state board of education.

Was taken up.

Thereupon, pending third reading of the bill, Senator Illuzzi moved to amend the bill by striking out all after the enacting clause and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Sec. 1. 16 V.S.A. §211(a) is amended to read:

(a)  Subject to the approval of the governor, the state board shall employ a competent executive officer who shall have had special training and experience in educational work. He shall be the chief executive officer of the board and its secretary and shall be called the commissioner of education. The commissioner shall be appointed for an indefinite term and shall be subject to removal upon the majority vote of the entire board.  The governor shall employ a competent executive officer who shall have had special training and experience in educational work. He shall be the chief executive officer of the board and its secretary and shall be called the commissioner of education. The commissioner shall be appointed for a two year term commencing February 1, 2009.

* * *

Which was disagreed to on a roll call, Yeas 11, Nays 18.

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

Roll Call

Those Senators who voted in the affirmative were: Cummings, Doyle, Flanagan, Hartwell, Illuzzi, Mazza, McCormack, Miller, Scott, Sears, White.

Those Senators who voted in the negative were: Ayer, Bartlett, Carris, Collins, Condos, Coppenrath, Giard, Kitchel, Kittell, Lyons, MacDonald, Maynard, Mullin, Nitka, Racine, Shumlin, Snelling, Starr.

The Senator absent and not voting was: Campbell.

Thereupon, pending the question, Shall the bill be read a third time, Senator Illuzzi moved that the bill be ordered to lie, which was disagreed to on a division of the Senate, Yeas 12, Nays 17.

Thereupon, the bill was read the third time and passed on a roll call, Yeas 17, Nays 12.

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

Roll Call

Those Senators who voted in the affirmative were: Bartlett, Carris, Collins, Condos, Coppenrath, Giard, Kitchel, Kittell, Lyons, Maynard, Mazza, Mullin, Racine, Scott, Shumlin, Snelling, Starr.

Those Senators who voted in the negative were: Ayer, Cummings, Doyle, Flanagan, Hartwell, Illuzzi, MacDonald, McCormack, Miller, Nitka, Sears, White.

The Senator absent and not voting was: Campbell.

Rules Suspended; Bills Messaged

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

S. 350, S. 371.

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. 280.

Rules Suspended; Committee Relieved of Further Consideration; Bill Committed

H. 867.

On motion of Senator Shumlin, the rules were suspended, and H. 867 was taken up for immediate consideration, for the purpose of relieving the Committee on Finance from further consideration of the bill. Thereupon, on motion of Senator Shumlin, the Committee on Finance was relieved of House bill entitled:

An act relating to health insurance plan coverage for athletic trainer services,

and the bill was committed to the Committee on Government Operations.

Message from the House No. 47

     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. 545.  An act relating to the Agency of Human Services.

H. 876.  An act relating to approval of amendment to the charter of the town of Middlebury.

     H. 889.  An act relating to the State’s transportation program.

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

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

S. 45.  An act relating to the right to attend town meeting.

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 adopted a joint resolution of the following title:

J.R.H. 55.  Joint resolution requesting the public service department to adopt a revised state energy plan with new implementation recommendations in accordance with 30 V.S.A. § 202b(C).

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

The House has considered Senate proposal of amendment to 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).

And has concurred therein.

The Governor has informed the House of Representatives that on the fourth day of April, 2008, he approved and signed bills originating in the House of the following titles:

H. 557.  An act relating to postponing the sunset of the fish and wildlife board’s authority to adopt rules regulating the deer herd.

H. 788.  An act relating to awarding moose permits to Vermont veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Adjournment

On motion of Senator Shumlin, the Senate adjourned until one o’clock and thirty minutes in the afternoon on Wednesday, April 9, 2008.



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us