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House Calendar
Saturday, May 10, 2014
124th DAY OF THE ADJOURNED SESSION
House Convenes at 11:00 A.M.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Page No.
ACTION CALENDAR
Action Postponed Until May 10, 2014
Senate Proposal of Amendment
H. 645
Workers’ compensation ................................................................... 3685
Rep. Botzow et al Amendment .................................................................... 3692
NEW BUSINESS
Senate Proposal of Amendment
H. 596
The conversion of assets of a nonprofit hospital ............................. 3756
Committee of Conference Report
S. 220
An act relating to furthering economic development ....................... 3765
S. 252
An act relating to financing for Green Mountain Care .................... 3829
NOTICE CALENDAR
Senate Proposal of Amendment
H. 876
Making miscellaneous amendments and technical corrections to
education laws ............................................................................................. 3838
S. 269
An act relating to business consumer protection and data security
breaches ....................................................................................................... 3866
Committee of Conference Report
S. 299
An act relating to sampler flights ..................................................... 3867
Ordered to Lie
S. 91
An act relating to privatization of public schools .............................. 3867
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ORDERS OF THE DAY
ACTION CALENDAR
Action Postponed Until May 10, 2014
Senate Proposal of Amendment
H. 645
An act relating to workers’ compensation
The Senate proposes to the House to amend the bill by striking all after the
enacting clause and inserting in lieu thereof the following:
Sec. 1.
21 V.S.A. § 632 is amended to read:
§
632.
COMPENSATION
TO
DEPENDENTS; DEATH
BENEFITS
BURIAL AND FUNERAL EXPENSES
If death results from the injury, the employer shall pay to the persons
entitled to compensation or, if there is none, then to the personal representative
of the deceased employee, the actual burial and funeral expenses in the amount
of $5,500.00 not to exceed $10,000.00 and the actual expenses for out-of-state
transportation of the decedent to the place of burial not to exceed $1,000.00
$5,000.00.
Every two years, the Commissioner of Labor shall evaluate the
average burial and funeral expenses in the State and make a recommendation
to the House Committee on Commerce and Economic Development and the
Senate Committee on Finance as to whether an adjustment in compensation is
warranted.
The employer shall also pay to or for the benefit of the following
persons, for the periods prescribed in section 635 of this title, a weekly
compensation equal to the following percentages of the deceased employee’s
average weekly wages.
The weekly compensation payment herein allowed
shall not exceed the maximum weekly compensation or be lower than the
minimum weekly compensation:
* * *
Sec. 2.
21 V.S.A. § 639 is amended to read:
§ 639.
DEATH, PAYMENT TO DEPENDENTS
In cases of the death of a person from any cause other than the accident
during the period of payments for disability or for the permanent injury, the
remaining payments for disability then due or for the permanent injury shall be
made to the person’s dependents according to the provisions of sections 635
and 636 of this title, or if there are none, the remaining amount due, but not
exceeding $5,500.00 for burial and funeral expenses no more than the actual
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burial and funeral expenses not to exceed $10,000.00 and the actual expenses
for out-of-state transportation of the decedent to the place of burial not to
exceed $1,000.00 $5,000.00, shall be paid in a lump sum to the proper person.
Every two years, the Commissioner of Labor shall evaluate the average burial
and funeral expenses in the State and make a recommendation to the House
Committee
on
Commerce
and
Economic
Development
and
the
Senate
Committee on Finance as to whether an adjustment in compensation is
warranted.
Sec. 3.
21 V.S.A. § 640c is added to read:
§ 640c.
OPIOID USAGE DETERRENCE
(a)
In support of the State’s fundamental interest in ensuring the well-being
of employees and employers, it is the intent of the General Assembly to protect
employees from the dangers of prescription drug abuse while maintaining a
balance between the employee’s health and the employee’s expedient return to
work.
(b)
As it pertains to workers’ compensation claims, the Commissioner of
Labor,
in
consultation
with
the
Department
of
Health,
the
State
Pharmacologist, the Vermont Board of Medical Practice, and the Vermont
Medical Society, shall adopt rules consistent with the best practices governing
the prescription of opioids, including patient screening, drug screening, and
claim adjudication for patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain.
In adopting
rules, the Commissioner shall consider guidelines and standards such as the
Occupational
Medicine
Practice
Guidelines
published
by
the
American
College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine and other medical
authorities with expertise in the treatment of chronic pain.
The rules shall be
consistent with the standards and guidelines provided under 18 V.S.A. § 4289
and any rules adopted by the Department of Health pursuant to 18 V.S.A
§ 4289.
Sec. 4.
21 V.S.A. § 641 is amended to read:
§ 641.
VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION
* * *
(e)(1)
In support of the State’s fundamental interest in ensuring the
well-being of employees and employers, it is the intent of the General
Assembly that, following a workplace accident, an employee returns to work
as soon as possible but remains cognizant of the limitations imposed by his or
her medical condition.
(2)
The Commissioner shall adopt rules promoting development and
implementation of cost-effective, early return-to-work programs.
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Sec. 5.
21 V.S.A. § 643a is amended to read:
§ 643a.
DISCONTINUANCE OF BENEFITS
Unless an injured worker has successfully returned to work, an employer
shall notify both the Commissioner and the employee prior to terminating
benefits under either section 642 or 646 of this title.
The notice of intention to
discontinue payments shall be filed on forms prescribed by the Commissioner
and shall include the date of the proposed discontinuance, the reasons for it,
and, if the employee has been out of work for 90 days, a verification that the
employer offered vocational rehabilitation screening and services as required
under this chapter.
All relevant evidence, including evidence that does not
support discontinuance in the possession of the employer not already filed,
shall be filed with the notice shall be provided to the injured worker.
With the
notice of discontinuance, the employer shall file only evidence relevant to the
discontinuance, including evidence that does not support the discontinuance,
with the Commissioner.
The liability for the payments shall continue for seven
14 days after the notice is received by the commissioner Commissioner and the
employee.
If the claimant disputes the discontinuance, the claimant may file
with the Commissioner an objection to the discontinuance and seek an
extension of the 14-day limit.
The Commissioner may grant an extension up to
21 days.
The request for an extension shall be specific as to the number of
days needed and the reason for the extension and must be received by the
Commissioner prior to the end of the 14-day limit.
A copy of the request for
an extension shall be provided to the employer at the time the request is made
to the Commissioner.
Those payments shall be made without prejudice to the
employer and may be deducted from any amounts due pursuant to section 648
of this title if the Commissioner determines that the discontinuance is
warranted or if otherwise ordered by the Commissioner.
Every notice shall be
reviewed by the Commissioner to determine the sufficiency of the basis for the
proposed discontinuance.
If, after review of all the evidence in the file, the
Commissioner finds that a preponderance of all the evidence in the file does
not reasonably support the proposed discontinuance, the Commissioner shall
order that payments continue until a hearing is held and a decision is rendered.
Prior to a formal hearing, an injured worker may request reinstatement of
benefits
by
providing
additional
new evidence
to
the
Department
that
establishes that a preponderance of all evidence now supports the claim.
If the
Commissioner’s decision, after a hearing, is that the employee was not entitled
to any or all benefits paid between the discontinuance and the final decision,
upon request of the employer, the Commissioner may order that the employee
repay all benefits to which the employee was not entitled.
The employer may
enforce a repayment order in any court of law having jurisdiction.
Sec. 6.
21 V.S.A. § 696 is amended to read:
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§ 696.
CANCELLATION OF INSURANCE CONTRACTS
A policy or contract shall not be cancelled within the time limited specified
in the policy or contract for its expiration, until at least 45 days after a notice of
intention to cancel the policy or contract, on a date specified in the notice, has
been filed in the office of the commissioner Commissioner and provided to the
employer.
The notice shall be filed with the Commissioner in accordance with
rules adopted by the Commissioner and provided to the employer by certified
mail or certificate of mailing.
The cancellation shall not affect the liability of
an insurance carrier on account of an injury occurring prior to cancellation.
Sec. 7.
21 V.S.A. § 697 is amended to read:
§ 697.
NOTICE OF INTENT NOT TO RENEW POLICY
An insurance carrier who does not intend to renew a workers’ compensation
insurance policy of workers’ compensation insurance or guarantee contract
covering the liability of an employer under the provisions of this chapter, 45
days prior to the expiration of the policy or contract, shall give notice of the its
intention to the commissioner of labor Commissioner and to the covered
employer at least 45 days prior to the expiration date stated in the policy or
contract.
The notice shall be given to the employer by certified mail or
certificate of mailing.
An insurance carrier who fails to give notice shall
continue the policy or contract in force beyond its expiration date for 45 days
from the day the notice is received by the commissioner Commissioner and the
employer.
However, this latter provision shall not apply if, prior to such
expiration date, on or before the expiration of the existing insurance or
guarantee contract the insurance carrier has, by delivery of a renewal contract
or otherwise, offered to continue the insurance beyond the date by delivery of a
renewal contract or otherwise, or if the employer notifies the insurance carrier
in writing that the employer does not wish the insurance continued beyond the
expiration date, or if the employer complies with the provisions of section 687
of this title, on or before the expiration of the existing insurance or guarantee
contract then the policy will expire upon notice to the Commissioner.
Sec. 8.
2013 Acts and Resolves No. 75, Sec. 14 is amended as follows:
Sec.
14.
UNIFIED
PAIN
MANAGEMENT
SYSTEM
ADVISORY
COUNCIL
* * *
(b)
The Unified Pain Management System Advisory Council shall consist
of the following members:
* * *
(4)
the Commissioner of Labor or designee;
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(5)
the Director of the Blueprint for Health or designee;
(5)(6)
the Chair of the Board of Medical Practice or designee, who shall
be a clinician;
(6)(7)
a representative of the Vermont State Dental Society, who shall
be a dentist;
(7)(8)
a representative of the Vermont Board of Pharmacy, who shall be
a pharmacist;
(8)(9)
a faculty member of the academic detailing program at the
University of Vermont’s College of Medicine;
(9)(10)
a faculty member of the University of Vermont’s College of
Medicine
with
expertise
in
the
treatment
of
addiction
or
chronic
pain
management;
(10)(11)
a representative of the Vermont Medical Society, who shall be
a primary care clinician;
(11)(12)
a
representative
of
the
American
Academy
of
Family
Physicians, Vermont chapter, who shall be a primary care clinician;
(12)(13)
a representative from the Vermont Board of Osteopathic
Physicians, who shall be an osteopath;
(13)(14)
a representative of the Federally Qualified Health Centers, who
shall be a primary care clinician selected by the Bi-State Primary Care
Association;
(14)(15)
a representative of the Vermont Ethics Network;
(15)(16)
a representative of the Hospice and Palliative Care Council of
Vermont;
(16)(17)
a representative of the Office of the Health Care Ombudsman;
(17)(18)
the Medical Director for the Department of Vermont Health
Access;
(18)(19)
a clinician who works in the emergency department of a
hospital, to be selected by the Vermont Association of Hospitals and Health
Systems in consultation with any nonmember hospitals;
(19)(20)
a member of the Vermont Board of Nursing Subcommittee on
APRN Practice, who shall be an advanced practice registered nurse;
(20)(21)
a representative from the Vermont Assembly of Home Health
and Hospice Agencies;
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(21)(22)
a psychologist licensed pursuant to 26 V.S.A. chapter 55 who
has experience in treating chronic pain, to be selected by the Board of
Psychological Examiners;
(22)(23)
a drug and alcohol abuse counselor licensed pursuant to
33 V.S.A. chapter 8, to be selected by the Deputy Commissioner of Health for
Alcohol and Drug Abuse Programs;
(23)(24)
a retail pharmacist, to be selected by the Vermont Pharmacists
Association;
(24)(25)
an advanced practice registered nurse full-time faculty member
from the University of Vermont’s Department of Nursing; and
(25)(26)
a consumer representative who is either a consumer in recovery
from prescription drug abuse or a consumer receiving medical treatment for
chronic noncancer-related pain.;
(27)
a clinician who specializes in occupational medicine;
(28)
a clinician who specializes in physical medicine and rehabilitation;
and
(29)
a consumer representative who is or has been an injured worker and
has been prescribed opioids.
* * *
Sec. 9.
21 V.S.A. § 678 is amended to read:
§ 678.
COSTS; ATTORNEY FEES
(a)
Necessary costs of proceedings under this chapter, including deposition
expenses, subpoena fees, and expert witness fees, shall be assessed by the
commissioner
Commissioner
against
the
employer
or
its
workers’
compensation
carrier
when
the
claimant
prevails.
The commissioner
Commissioner may
allow
the
claimant
to
recover
reasonable attorney
attorney’s fees when the claimant prevails.
Costs shall not be taxed or allowed
either party except as provided in this section.
(b)
In appeals to the superior or supreme courts Superior or Supreme Court,
if the claimant prevails, he or she shall be entitled to reasonable attorney
attorney’s fees as approved by the court Court, necessary costs, including
deposition expenses, subpoena fees, and expert witness fees, and interest at the
rate of 12 percent per annum on that portion of any award the payment of
which is contested.
Interest shall be computed from the date of the award of
the commissioner Commissioner.
* * *
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Sec. 10.
21 V.S.A. § 655 is amended to read:
§ 655.
PROCEDURE
IN
OBTAINING
COMPENSATION;
MEDICAL
EXAMINATION; VIDEO AND AUDIO RECORDING
After an injury and during the period of disability, if so requested by his or
her employer, or ordered by the Commissioner, the employee shall submit to
examination, at reasonable times and places within a 50-mile radius of the
residence of the injured employee, by a duly licensed physician or surgeon
designated and paid by the employer.
The Commissioner may in his or her
discretion permit an examination outside the 50-mile radius if it is necessary to
obtain the services of a provider who specializes in the evaluation and
treatment specific to the nature and extent of the employee’s injury.
The
employee may make a video or audio recording of any examination performed
by the insurer’s physician or surgeon or have a licensed health care provider
designated and paid by the employee present at the examination.
The
employer may make an audio recording of the examination.
The right of the
employee to record the examination shall not be construed to deny to the
employer’s physician the right to visit the injured employee at all reasonable
times and under all reasonable conditions during total disability.
If an
employee refuses to submit to or in any way obstructs the examination, the
employee’s right to prosecute any proceeding under the provisions of this
chapter shall be suspended until the refusal or obstruction ceases, and
compensation shall not be payable for the period which the refusal or
obstruction continues.
Sec. 11.
21 V.S.A. § 624 is amended to read:
§ 624.
DUAL LIABILITY; CLAIMS, SETTLEMENT PROCEDURE
* * *
(e)(1)
In an action to enforce the liability of a third party, the injured
employee may recover any amount which the employee or the employee’s
personal representative would be entitled to recover in a civil action.
Any
recovery against the third party for damages resulting from personal injuries or
death only, after deducting expenses of recovery, shall first reimburse the
employer or its workers’ compensation insurance carrier for any amounts paid
or payable under this chapter to date of recovery, and the balance shall
forthwith be paid to the employee or the employee’s dependents or personal
representative and shall be treated as an advance payment by the employer on
account of any future payment of compensation benefits.
Reimbursement
required under this subsection, except to prevent double recovery, shall not
reduce the employee’s recovery of any benefit or payment provided by a plan
or policy that was privately purchased by the injured employee, including
- 3692 -
uninsured-under insured motorist coverage, or any other first party insurance
payments or benefits.
(2)
In an instance where the recovery amount is less than the full value
of the claim for personal injuries or death, the employer or its workers’
compensation insurance carrier shall be reimbursed less than the amount paid
or
payable
under this
chapter. Reimbursement
shall
be
limited
to the
proportion which the recovery allowed in the previous subsection bears to the
total recovery for all damages. In determining the full value of the claim for
personal injuries or death, the Commissioner shall make that administrative
determination by considering the same evidence that a Superior Court would
consider in determining damages in a personal injury or wrongful death action,
or the Commissioner may order that the valuation of the claim be determined
by
a
single
arbitrator,
which
shall
be
adopted
as
a
decision
of
the
Commissioner. An appeal from the Commissioner’s decision shall be made
pursuant to section 670 of this title, except that the action shall be tried to the
presiding judge of the Superior Court.
* * *
Sec. 12.
21 V.S.A. § 663b is added to read:
§ 663b.
FRAUD
(a)
Claims of fraud submitted by an employer or insurance carrier shall be
investigated by the Commissioner, and the Commissioner shall make a
decision on the claim within 30 days of receipt of the claim.
A party may
appeal the decision of the Commissioner.
(b)
An employee found to have committed fraud in order to receive
compensation under this chapter shall be ordered to repay all compensation
received.
The employer shall not be charged for these payments when the
employer’s experience rating is determined.
Sec. 13.
EFFECTIVE DATES
(a)
This section and Secs. 3, 4, and 9–12 shall take effect on passage.
(b)
Secs. 1, 2, and 5–8 shall take effect on July 1, 2014.
(For text see House Journal March 18 & 19, 2014 )
Amendment to be offered by Reps. Botzow of Pownal and Marcotte of
Coventry to H. 645
By striking out all after the enacting clause and inserting in lieu thereof the
following:
* * * One-Stop Business Support Services * * *
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Sec. 1.
ONE-STOP SHOP WEB PORTAL
(a) Purpose.
The State of Vermont seeks to simplify and expedite the
process for business creation and growth by providing:
(1)
a clear guide to resources and technical assistance for all phases of
business development;
(2)
a directory of financial assistance, including grants, funding capital,
tax credits, and incentives;
(3)
a
directory
of
workforce
development
assistance,
including
recruiting, job postings, and training;
(4)
a link to centralized business services available from the Secretary of
State, the Department of Labor, the Department of Taxes, and others; and
(5)
agency contacts and links for available services and resources.
(b)
Administration.
On or before June 30, 2015, the Secretary of State, the
Department of Taxes, the Department of Labor, the Vermont Attorney
General, the Agency of Commerce and Community Development, and the
Agency of Administration shall coordinate with other relevant agencies and
departments within State government and outside partners, including regional
development corporations, regional planning commissions, and small business
development centers, to provide comprehensive business services, regional
coaching teams, print materials, other outreach, and a “One-Stop Shop”
website.
(c)
On or before January 15, 2015, the Secretary of State and partners shall
report to the Senate Committee on Economic Development, Housing and
General Affairs and the House Committee on Commerce and Economic
Development to inform the committees of the status of the project and a
timeline for its completion.
Secs. 2–3. RESERVED
* * * Vermont Economic Development Authority * * *
Sec. 4.
10 V.S.A. chapter 12 is amended to read:
VERMONT ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
AUTHORITY
* * *
Subchapter 12.
Technology Loan Vermont Entrepreneurial Lending
Program
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§ 280aa.
FINDINGS AND PURPOSE
(a)(1)
Technology-based companies Vermont-based businesses in seed,
start-up, and growth stages are a vital source of innovation, employment, and
economic growth in Vermont.
The continued development and success of this
increasingly important sector of Vermont’s economy these businesses is
dependent upon the availability of flexible, risk-based capital.
(2)
Because
the
primary
assets
of technology-based
companies
sometimes Vermont-based businesses in seed, start-up, and growth stages often
consist almost entirely of intellectual property or insufficient tangible assets to
support conventional lending, such these companies frequently do may not
have access to conventional means of raising capital, such as asset-based bank
financing.
(b)
To support the growth of technology-based companies Vermont-based
businesses in seed, start-up, and growth stages and the resultant creation of
high-wage higher wage employment in Vermont, a technology loan program is
established under this subchapter the General Assembly hereby creates in this
subchapter the Vermont Entrepreneurial Lending Program.
§ 280bb.
TECHNOLOGY LOAN VERMONT ENTREPRENEURIAL
LENDING PROGRAM
(a)
There is created a technology (TECH) loan program the Vermont
Entrepreneurial Lending Program to be administered by the Vermont economic
development authority Economic Development Authority.
The program
Program shall seek to meet the working capital and capital-asset financing
needs of technology-based companies Vermont-based businesses in seed, start-
up, and growth stages.
The Program shall specifically seek to fulfill capital
requirement needs that are unmet in Vermont, including:
(1)
loans up to $100,000.00 to manufacturing businesses and software
developers with innovative products that typically reflect long-term, organic
growth;
(2)
loans up to $1,000,000.00 in growth-stage companies who do not
meet the underwriting criteria of other public and private entrepreneurial
financing sources; and
(3)
loans to businesses that are unable to access adequate capital
resources
because
the
primary
assets
of
these
businesses
are
typically
intellectual property or similar nontangible assets.
(b)
The economic development authority Authority shall establish such
adopt regulations, policies, and procedures for the program Program as are
necessary to carry out the purposes of this subchapter.
The authority’s lending
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criteria shall include consideration of in-state competition and whether a
company has made reasonable efforts to secure capital in the private sector
increase the amount of investment funds available to Vermont businesses
whose capital requirements are not being met by conventional lending sources.
(c)
When considering entrepreneurial lending through the Program, the
Authority shall give additional consideration and weight to an application of a
business whose business model and practices will have a demonstrable effect
in achieving other public policy goals of the State, including:
(1)
The business will create jobs in strategic sectors such as the
knowledge-based economy, renewable energy, advanced manufacturing, wood
products manufacturing, and value-added agricultural processing.
(2)
The business is located in a designated downtown, village center,
growth
center,
industrial
park,
or
other
significant
geographic
location
recognized by the State.
(3)
The business adopts energy and thermal efficiency practices in its
operations or otherwise operates in a way that reflects a commitment to green
energy principles.
(4)
The business will create jobs that pay a livable wage and significant
benefits to Vermont employees.
(d)
The Authority shall include provisions in the terms of an loan made
under the Program to ensure that a loan recipient shall maintain operations
within the State for a minimum of five years from the date on which the
recipient receives the loan funds from the Authority or shall otherwise be
required to repay the outstanding funds in full.
* * *
Sec. 5.
VERMONT ENTREPRENEURIAL LENDING PROGRAM; LOAN
LOSS RESERVE FUNDS; CAPITALIZATION
(a)
The Vermont Economic Development Authority shall capitalize loan
loss reserves for the Vermont Entrepreneurial Lending Program created in
10 V.S.A. § 280bb with the following funding from the following sources:
(1)
up to $1,000,000.00 from Authority funds or eligible federal funds
currently administered by the Authority; and
(2)
any fiscal year 2014 or fiscal year 2015 funds, or both, appropriated
or authorized by the General Assembly.
(b)
The Authority shall use the funds in subsection (a) of this section solely
for the purpose of establishing and maintaining loan loss reserves to guarantee
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loans made pursuant to 10 V.S.A. § 280bb.
Sec. 6.
10 V.S.A. chapter 16A is amended to read:
VERMONT AGRICULTURAL CREDIT PROGRAM
§ 374a.
CREATION OF THE VERMONT AGRICULTURAL CREDIT
PROGRAM
* * *
(b)
No borrower shall be approved for a loan from the corporation that
would result in the aggregate principal balances outstanding of all loans to that
borrower exceeding the then-current maximum Farm Service Agency loan
guarantee limits, or $2,000,000.00, whichever is greater.
§ 374b.
DEFINITIONS
As used in this chapter:
(1)
“Agricultural facility” means land and rights in land, buildings,
structures, machinery, and equipment which is used for, or will be used for
producing, processing, preparing, packaging, storing, distributing, marketing,
or transporting agricultural products which have been primarily produced in
this state State, and working capital reasonably required to operate an
agricultural facility.
(2)
“Agricultural
land”
means
real
estate
capable
of
supporting
commercial farming or forestry, or both.
(3)
“Agricultural products” mean crops, livestock, forest products, and
other farm or forest commodities produced as a result of farming or forestry
activities.
(4)
“Farm ownership loan” means a loan to acquire or enlarge a farm or
agricultural facility, to make capital improvements including construction,
purchase, and improvement of farm and agricultural facility buildings that can
be made fixtures to the real estate, to promote soil and water conservation and
protection, and to refinance indebtedness incurred for farm ownership or
operating loan purposes, or both.
(5)
“Authority” means the Vermont economic development authority
Economic Development Authority.
(6)
“Cash flow” means, on an annual basis, all income, receipts, and
revenues of the applicant or borrower from all sources and all expenses of the
applicant or borrower, including all debt service and other expenses.
(7)
“Farmer” means an individual directly engaged in the management
or operation of an agricultural facility or farm operation for whom the
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agricultural facility or farm operation constitutes two or more of the following:
(A)
is or is expected to become a significant source of the farmer’s
income;
(B)
the majority of the farmer’s assets; and
(C)
an occupation in which the farmer is actively engaged in, either
on a seasonal or year-round basis.
(8)
“Farm operation” shall mean the cultivation of land or other uses of
land for the production of food, fiber, horticultural, silvicultural, orchard,
maple syrup, Christmas trees, forest products, or forest crops; the raising,
boarding, and training of equines, and the raising of livestock; or any
combination of the foregoing activities.
Farm operation also includes the
storage, preparation, retail sale, and transportation of agricultural or forest
commodities accessory to the cultivation or use of such land.
* * *
* * * Connecting Capital Providers and Entrepreneurs * * *
Sec. 7.
NETWORKING INITIATIVES
(a)
The Agency of Commerce and Community Development shall support
networking events offered by one or more regional economic development
providers designed to connect capital providers with one another or with
Vermont entrepreneurs, or both, and shall take steps to facilitate outreach and
matchmaking opportunities between investors and entrepreneurs.
(b)
The Agency shall submit to the House Committee on Commerce and
Economic
Development
and
to
the
Senate
Committee
on
Economic
Development, Housing and General Affairs a report on or before January 15,
2015 concerning the structure of networking initiatives, the relevant provisions
of
governing
performance
contracts,
the
benchmarks
and
measures
of
performance, and the outcomes of and further recommendations for the
program.
* * * Downtown Tax Credits * * *
Sec. 8.
32 V.S.A. § 5930aa(3) is amended to read:
(3)
“Qualified code or technology improvement project” means a
project:
(A)(i)
To to install or improve platform lifts suitable for transporting
personal
mobility
devices,
elevators,
sprinkler
systems,
and
capital
improvements in a qualified building, and the installations or improvements
are
required
to
bring
the
building
into
compliance
with
the
statutory
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requirements and rules regarding fire prevention, life safety, and electrical,
plumbing, and accessibility codes as determined by the department of public
safety. Department of Public Safety; or
(ii)
to install or improve data or network wiring, or heating,
ventilating,
or
cooling
systems
reasonably
related
to
data
or
network
installations
or
improvements,
in
a
qualified
building,
provided
that
a
professional engineer licensed under 26 V.S.A. chapter 20 certifies as to the
fact and cost of the installation or improvement;
(B)
To to abate lead paint conditions or other substances hazardous to
human health or safety in a qualified building.; or
(C)
To to redevelop a contaminated property in a designated
downtown or village center under a plan approved by the Secretary of Natural
Resources pursuant to 10 V.S.A. § 6615a.
Sec. 9.
32 V.S.A. § 5930aa(7) is amended to read:
(7)
“Qualified
project”
means
a
qualified
code
or
technology
improvement,
qualified
façade
improvement,
qualified
technology
infrastructure project, or qualified historic rehabilitation project as defined by
this subchapter.
Sec. 10.
32 V.S.A. § 5930bb is amended to read:
§ 5930bb.
ELIGIBILITY AND ADMINISTRATION
(a)
Qualified applicants may apply to the State Board to obtain the tax
credits provided by this subchapter for qualified code improvement, façade
improvement, or historic rehabilitation projects a qualified project at any time
before one year after completion of the qualified project.
* * *
Sec. 11.
32 V.S.A. § 5930cc(c) is amended to read:
(c)
Code or technology improvement tax credit.
The qualified applicant of
a qualified code or technology improvement project shall be entitled, upon the
approval of the State Board, to claim against the taxpayer’s State individual
income tax, State corporate income tax, or bank franchise or insurance
premiums tax liability a credit of 50 percent of qualified expenditures up to a
maximum tax credit of $12,000.00 for installation or improvement of a
platform
lift,
a
maximum
tax
credit
of
$50,000.00
for
installation
or
improvement
of
an
elevator,
a
maximum
tax
credit
of
$50,000.00
for
installation or improvement of a sprinkler system, a maximum tax credit of
$30,000.00 for the combined costs of installation or improvement of data or
network wiring or a heating, ventilating, or cooling system, and a maximum
- 3699 -
tax credit of $25,000.00 for the combined costs of all other qualified code
improvements.
Sec. 12.
30 V.S.A. § 218e is added to read:
§ 218e.
IMPLEMENTING
STATE
ENERGY
POLICY;
MANUFACTURING
To give effect to the policies of section 202a of this title to provide reliable
and affordable energy and assure the State’s economic vitality, it is critical to
retain and recruit manufacturing and other businesses and to consider the
impact on manufacturing and other businesses when issuing orders, adopting
rules, and making other decisions affecting the cost and reliability of electricity
and other fuels.
Implementation of the State’s energy policy should:
(1)
encourage
recruitment
and
retention
of
employers
providing
high-quality jobs and related economic investment and support the State’s
economic welfare; and
(2)
appropriately balance the objectives of this section with the other
policy goals and criteria established in this title.
Sec. 13.
INVESTIGATION; ELECTRICITY COSTS; MANUFACTURING
(a)
The Commissioner of Public Service and the Secretary of Commerce
and Community Development, in consultation with the Public Service Board, a
private
organization
that
represents
the
interests
of
manufacturers,
a
cooperative electric company, an efficiency
utility, a shareholder-owned
utility, the Vermont Public Power Supply Authority (VPPSA), a municipal
utility that is not a member of VPPSA, and the Vermont Electric Power
Company (VELCO), shall conduct an investigation of how best to advance the
public good through consideration of the competitiveness of Vermont’s
industrial or manufacturing businesses with regard to electricity costs.
(b)
In
conducting the
investigation
required
by
this
section,
the
Commissioner and Secretary shall consider:
(1)
how best to incorporate into rate design proceedings the impact of
electricity costs on business competitiveness and the identification of the costs
of service incurred by businesses;
(2)
with regard to the energy efficiency programs established under
30 V.S.A. § 209, potential changes to their delivery, funding, financing, and
participation requirements;
(3)
the history and outcome of any evaluations of the Energy Savings
Account or Customer Credit programs, as well as best practices for customer
self-directed energy efficiency programs;
- 3700 -
(4)
the history and outcome of any evaluations of retail choice programs
or policies, as related to business competitiveness, that have been undertaken
in Vermont and in other jurisdictions;
(5)
any other programs or policies the Commissioner and the Secretary
deem relevant;
(6)
whether and to what extent any programs or policies considered by
the Commissioner and the Secretary under this section would impose cost
shifts onto other customers, result in stranded costs (costs that cannot be
recovered by a regulated utility due to a change in regulatory structure or
policy), or conflict with renewable energy requirements in Vermont and, if so,
whether such programs or policies would nonetheless promote the public good;
(7)
whether and to what extent costs have shifted to residential and
business ratepayers following the loss of large utility users, and potential
scenarios for additional cost shifts of this type; and
(8)
the potential benefits and potential cost shift to residential and
business ratepayers if a large utility user undertakes efficiency measures and
thereby reduces its share of fixed utility costs.
(c)
In
conducting
the
investigation
required
by
this
section,
the
Commissioner and Secretary shall provide the following persons and entities
an opportunity for written and oral comments:
(1)
consumer and business advocacy groups;
(2)
regional
development
corporations
and
regional
planning
commissions; and
(3)
any other person or entity as determined by the Commissioner and
Secretary.
(d)
On or before December 15, 2014, the Commissioner and Secretary shall
provide
a
status
report
to
the
General
Assembly
of
its
findings
and
recommendations regarding regulatory or statutory changes that would reduce
energy costs for Vermont businesses and promote the public good.
On or
before December 15, 2015, the Commissioner and Secretary shall provide a
final report to the General Assembly of such findings and recommendations.
* * * Domestic Export Program * * *
Sec. 14.
DOMESTIC MARKET ACCESS PROGRAM FOR VERMONT
AGRICULTURE AND FOREST PRODUCTS
(a)
The Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets, in collaboration with
the Agency of Commerce and Community Development and the Chief
- 3701 -
Marketing Officer, shall, subject to available funding, create a Domestic
Export Program Pilot Project within the “Made in Vermont” designation
program, the purpose of which shall be to:
(1)
connect Vermont producers with brokers, buyers, and distributors in
other U.S. state and regional markets;
(2)
provide technical and marketing assistance to Vermont producers to
convert these connections into increased sales and sustainable commercial
relationships; and
(3)
provide one-time matching grants of up to $2,000.00 per business to
attend trade shows and similar events to expand producers’ market presence in
other U.S. states, subject to available funding.
(b)
The Secretary shall collect data on the activities and outcomes of the
pilot project authorized under this section and shall report his or her findings
and recommendations for further action on or before January 15, 2015, to the
House Committees on Agriculture and Forest Products and on Commerce and
Economic Development and to the Senate Committees on Agriculture and on
Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs.
* * * Criminal Penalties for Computer Crimes * * *
Sec. 15.
13 V.S.A. chapter 87 is amended to read:
COMPUTER CRIMES
* * *
§ 4104.
ALTERATION, DAMAGE, OR INTERFERENCE
(a)
A person shall not intentionally and without lawful authority, alter,
damage, or interfere with the operation of any computer, computer system,
computer network, computer software, computer program, or data contained in
such computer, computer system, computer program, or computer network.
(b)
Penalties.
A person convicted of violating this section shall be:
(1)
if the damage or loss does not exceed $500.00 for a first offense,
imprisoned not more than one year or fined not more than $500.00 $5,000.00,
or both;
(2)
if the damage or loss does not exceed $500.00 for a second or
subsequent offense, imprisoned not more than two years or fined not more than
$1,000.00 $10,000.00, or both; or
(3)
if the damage or loss exceeds $500.00, imprisoned not more than
10 years or fined not more than $10,000.00 $25,000.00, or both.
- 3702 -
§ 4105.
THEFT OR DESTRUCTION
(a)(1)
A person shall not intentionally and without claim of right deprive
the owner of possession, take, transfer, copy, conceal, or retain possession of,
or intentionally and without lawful authority, destroy any computer system,
computer network, computer software, computer program, or data contained in
such computer, computer system, computer program, or computer network.
(2)
Copying a commercially available computer program or computer
software is not a crime under this section, provided that the computer program
and computer software has a retail value of $500.00 or less and is not copied
for resale.
(b)
Penalties.
A person convicted of violating this section shall be:
(1)
if the damage or loss does not exceed $500.00 for a first offense,
imprisoned not more than one year or fined not more than $500.00 $5,000.00,
or both;
(2)
if the damage or loss does not exceed $500.00 for a second or
subsequent offense, imprisoned not more than two years or fined not more than
$1,000.00 $10,000.00, or both; or
(3)
if the damage or loss exceeds $500.00, imprisoned not more than
10 years or fined not more than $10,000.00 $25,000.00, or both.
§ 4106.
CIVIL LIABILITY
A person damaged as a result of a violation of this chapter may bring a civil
action against the violator for damages, costs, and fees, including reasonable
attorney’s fees, and such other relief as the court deems appropriate.
* * *
* * * Statute of Limitations to Commence Action
for Misappropriation of Trade Secrets * * *
Sec. 16.
12 V.S.A. § 523 is amended to read:
§ 523.
TRADE SECRETS
An action for misappropriation of trade secrets under 9 V.S.A. chapter 143
of Title 9 shall be commenced within three six years after the cause of action
accrues, and not after.
The cause of action shall be deemed to accrue as of the
date the misappropriation was discovered or reasonably should have been
discovered.
* * * Protection of Trade Secrets * * *
Sec. 17.
9 V.S.A. chapter 143 is amended to read:
- 3703 -
TRADE SECRETS
§ 4601.
DEFINITIONS
As used in this chapter:
(1)
“Improper means” includes theft, bribery, misrepresentation, breach
or inducement of a breach of a duty to maintain secrecy, or espionage through
electronic or other means.
(2)
“Misappropriation” means:
(A)
acquisition of a trade secret of another by a person who knows or
has reason to know that the trade secret was acquired by improper means; or
(B)
disclosure or use of a trade secret of another without express or
implied consent by a person who:
(i)
used improper means to acquire knowledge of the trade
secret; or
(ii)
at the time of disclosure or use, knew or had reason to know
that his or her knowledge of the trade secret was:
(I)
derived from or through a person who had utilized improper
means to acquire it;
(II)
acquired under circumstances giving rise to a duty to
maintain its secrecy or limit its use; or
(III)
derived from or through a person who owed a duty to the
person seeking relief to maintain its secrecy or limit its use; or
(iii)
before a material change of his or her position, knew or had
reason to know that it was a trade secret and that knowledge of it had been
acquired by accident or mistake.
(3)
“Trade secret” means information, including a formula, pattern,
compilation, program, device, method, technique, or process, that:
(A)
derives independent economic value, actual or potential, from
not being generally known to, and not being readily ascertainable by proper
means by, other persons who can obtain economic value from its disclosure or
use; and
(B)
is
the
subject
of
efforts
that
are
reasonable
under
the
circumstances to maintain its secrecy.
§ 4602.
INJUNCTIVE RELIEF
(a)
Actual A court may enjoin actual or threatened misappropriation may
- 3704 -
be enjoined of a trade secret.
Upon application to the court, an injunction shall
be terminated when the trade secret has ceased to exist, but the injunction may
be continued for an additional reasonable period of time in order to eliminate
commercial
advantage
that
otherwise
would
be
derived
from
the
misappropriation.
(b)
In exceptional circumstances, an injunction may condition future use
upon payment of a reasonable royalty for no longer than the period of time for
which use could have been prohibited.
Exceptional circumstances include, but
are not limited to, a material and prejudicial change of position prior to
acquiring knowledge or reason to know of misappropriation that renders a
prohibitive injunction inequitable.
(c)
In appropriate circumstances, affirmative acts to protect a trade secret
may be compelled by court order.
§ 4603.
DAMAGES
(a)(1)
Except to the extent that a material and prejudicial change of position
prior to acquiring knowledge or reason to know of misappropriation renders a
monetary recovery inequitable, a complainant is entitled to recover damages
for misappropriation.
(2)
Damages
can
include
both
the
actual
loss
caused
by
misappropriation and the unjust enrichment caused by misappropriation that is
not taken into account in computing actual loss.
(3)
In lieu of damages measured by any other methods, the damages
caused by misappropriation may be measured by imposition of liability for a
reasonable royalty for a misappropriator’s unauthorized disclosure or use of a
trade secret.
(4)
A court shall award a substantially prevailing party his or her costs
and fees, including reasonable attorney’s fees, in an action brought pursuant to
this chapter.
(b)
If malicious misappropriation exists, the court may award punitive
damages.
§ 4605.
PRESERVATION OF SECRECY
In an action under this chapter, a court shall preserve the secrecy of an
alleged
trade
secret
by
reasonable
means,
which
may
include
granting
protective orders in connection with discovery proceedings, holding in-camera
hearings, sealing the records of the action, and ordering any person involved in
the litigation not to disclose an alleged trade secret without prior court
approval.
- 3705 -
§ 4607.
EFFECT ON OTHER LAW
(a)
Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, this chapter
displaces conflicting tort, restitutionary, and any other law of this state State
providing civil remedies for misappropriation of a trade secret.
(b)
This chapter does not affect:
(1)
contractual remedies, whether or not based upon misappropriation of
a trade secret;
(2)
other civil remedies that are not based upon misappropriation of a
trade secret; or
(3)
criminal remedies, whether or not based upon misappropriation of a
trade secret.
* * *
* * * Intellectual Property; Businesses and Government Contracting * * *
Sec. 18.
3 V.S.A. § 346 is added to read:
§
346.
STATE
CONTRACTING;
INTELLECTUAL
PROPERTY,
SOFTWARE DESIGN, AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
(a)
The Secretary of Administration shall include in Administrative
Bulletin 3.5 a policy direction applicable to State procurement contracts that
include services for the development of software applications, computer
coding, or other intellectual property, which would allow the State of Vermont
to grant permission to the contractor to use or own the intellectual property
created under the contract for the contractor’s commercial purposes.
(b)
The Secretary may recommend contract provisions that authorize the
State to negotiate with a contractor to secure license terms and license fees,
royalty rights, or other payment mechanism for the contractor’s commercial
use of intellectual property developed under a State contract.
(c)
If the Secretary authorizes a contractor to own intellectual property
developed under a State contract, the Secretary may recommend language to
ensure the State retains a perpetual, irrevocable, royalty-free, and fully paid
right to continue to use the intellectual property.
* * * Department of Financial Regulation * * *
Sec. 19.
SMALL BUSINESS ACCESS TO CAPITAL
(a)
Crowdfunding study.
The Department of Financial Regulation shall
study the opportunities and limitations for crowdfunding to increase access to
capital for Vermont’s small businesses.
On or before January 15, 2015, the
- 3706 -
Department shall report its findings and recommendations to the House
Committee
on
Commerce
and
Economic
Development
and
the
Senate
Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs.
(b)
Small business issuer education and outreach.
On or before January 15,
2015, the Department of Financial Regulation shall conduct at least two
educational
events
to
inform
the
legal,
small
business,
and
investor
communities and other interested parties, of opportunities for small businesses
to access capital in Vermont, including, the Vermont Small Business Offering
Exemption regulation and other securities registration exemptions.
(c)
Vermont Small Business Offering Exemption.
The Commissioner of
Financial Regulation shall exercise his or her rulemaking authority under
9 V.S.A. chapter 150 to review and revise the Vermont Small Business
Offering Exemption and any other state securities exemptions, specifically
including those designed to complement exemptions from federal registration
requirements available under Regulation D, in order to recognize and reflect
the evolution of capital markets and to ensure that Vermont remains current
and competitive in its securities regulations, particularly with respect to access
to capital for small businesses.
Sec. 20.
STUDY; DEPARTMENT OF FINANCIAL REGULATION;
LICENSED LENDER REQUIREMENTS; COMMERCIAL
LENDERS
On or before January 15, 2015, the Department of Financial Regulation
shall solicit public comment on, evaluate, and report to the House Committee
on Commerce and Economic Development and to the Senate Committees on
Finance and on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs any
statutory and regulatory changes to the State’s licensed lender requirements
that are necessary to open private capital markets and remove unnecessary
barriers to business investment in Vermont.
* * * Licensed Lender Requirements; Exemption for De Minimis
Lending Activity * * *
Sec. 21.
8 V.S.A. § 2201 is amended to read:
2201.
LICENSES REQUIRED
(a)
No person shall without first obtaining a license under this chapter from
the commissioner Commissioner:
(1)
engage in the business of making loans of money, credit, goods, or
things in action and charge, contract for, or receive on any such loan interest, a
finance charge, discount, or consideration therefore therefor;
- 3707 -
(2)
act as a mortgage broker;
(3)
engage in the business of a mortgage loan originator; or
(4)
act as a sales finance company.
(b)
Each licensed mortgage loan originator must register with and maintain
a valid unique identifier with the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and
Registry and must be either:
(1)
an An employee actively employed at a licensed location of, and
supervised and sponsored by, only one licensed lender or licensed mortgage
broker operating in this state; State.
(2)
an An individual sole proprietor who is also a licensed lender or
licensed mortgage broker; or.
(3)
an An employee engaged in loan modifications employed at a
licensed location of, and supervised and sponsored by, only one third-party
loan servicer licensed to operate in this state State pursuant to chapter 85 of
this title.
For purposes of As used in this subsection, “loan modification”
means an adjustment or compromise of an existing residential mortgage loan.
The term “loan modification” does not include a refinancing transaction.
(c)
A person licensed pursuant to subdivision (a)(1) of this section may
engage in mortgage brokerage and sales finance if such person informs the
commissioner Commissioner in advance that he or she intends to engage in
sales
finance
and
mortgage
brokerage.
Such
person
shall
inform
the
commissioner Commissioner of his or her intention on the original license
application under section 2202 of this title, any renewal application under
section 2209 of this title, or pursuant to section 2208 of this title, and shall pay
the applicable fees required by subsection 2202(b) of this title for a mortgage
broker license or sales finance company license.
(d)
No lender license, mortgage broker license, or sales finance company
license shall be required of:
(1)
a
state State agency,
political
subdivision,
or
other
public
instrumentality of the state; State.
(2)
a A federal agency or other public instrumentality of the United
States;.
(3)
a A gas or electric utility subject to the jurisdiction of the public
service board Public Service Board engaging in energy conservation or safety
loans;.
(4)
a A depository institution or a financial institution as defined in
- 3708 -
(5)
a A pawnbroker;.
(6)
an An insurance company;.
(7)
a A seller of goods or services that finances the sale of such goods or
services, other than a residential mortgage loan;.
(8)
any Any individual who offers or negotiates the terms of a
residential mortgage loan secured by a dwelling that served as the individual’s
residence, including a vacation home, or inherited property that served as the
deceased’s dwelling, provided that the individual does not act as a mortgage
loan originator or provide financing for such sales so frequently and under
such circumstances that it constitutes a habitual activity and acting in a
commercial context;.
(9)
lenders Lenders that conduct their lending activities, other than
residential mortgage loan activities, through revolving loan funds, that are
nonprofit organizations exempt from taxation under Section 501(c) of the
Internal Revenue Code, 26 U.S.C. § 501(c), and that register with the
commissioner
of
economic
development
Commissioner
of
Economic
Development under 10 V.S.A. § 690a;.
(10)
persons Persons who lend, other than residential mortgage loans, an
aggregate of less than $75,000.00 in any one year at rates of interest of no
more than 12 percent per annum;.
(11)
a A seller who, pursuant to 9 V.S.A. § 2355(f)(1)(D), includes the
amount paid or to be paid by the seller to discharge a security interest, lien
interest, or lease interest on the traded-in motor vehicle in a motor vehicle
retail installment sales contract, provided that the contract is purchased,
assigned, or otherwise acquired by a sales finance company licensed pursuant
to this title to purchase motor vehicle retail installment sales contracts or a
depository institution;.
(12)(A)
a A person making an unsecured commercial loan, which loan
is expressly subordinate to the prior payment of all senior indebtedness of the
commercial borrower regardless of whether such senior indebtedness exists at
the time of the loan or arises thereafter.
The loan may or may not include the
right to convert all or a portion of the amount due on the loan to an equity
interest in the commercial borrower;.
(B)
for purposes of As used in this subdivision (12), “senior
indebtedness” means:
(i)
all indebtedness of the commercial borrower for money
borrowed from depository institutions, trust companies, insurance companies,
and licensed lenders, and any guarantee thereof; and
- 3709 -
(ii)
any other indebtedness of the commercial borrower that the
lender
and
the
commercial
borrower
agree
shall
constitute
senior
indebtedness;.
(13)
nonprofit Nonprofit organizations established under testamentary
instruments, exempt from taxation under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal
Revenue
Code,
26
U.S.C.
§
501(c)(3),
and
which
make
loans for
postsecondary educational costs to students and their parents, provided that the
organizations provide annual accountings to the Probate Division of the
Superior Court;.
(14)
any Any individual who offers or negotiates terms of a residential
mortgage loan with or on behalf of an immediate family member of the
individual;.
(15)
a A housing finance agency.
(16)
A person who makes no more than three mortgage loans in any
consecutive three-year period beginning on or after July 1, 2011.
(e)
No mortgage loan originator license shall be required of:
(1)
Registered mortgage loan originators, when employed by and acting
for an entity described in subdivision 2200(22) of this chapter.
(2)
Any individual who offers or negotiates terms of a residential
mortgage loan with or on behalf of an immediate family member of the
individual.
(3)
Any individual who offers or negotiates terms of a residential
mortgage loan secured by a dwelling that served as the individual’s residence,
including a vacation home, or inherited property that served as the deceased’s
dwelling, provided that the individual does not act as a mortgage loan
originator or provide financing for such sales so frequently and under such
circumstances that it constitutes a habitual activity and acting in a commercial
context.
(4)
An individual who is an employee of a federal, state State, or local
government agency, or an employee of a housing finance agency, who acts as a
mortgage loan originator only pursuant to his or her official duties as an
employee of the federal, state State, or local government agency or housing
finance agency.
(5)
A licensed attorney who negotiates the terms of a residential
mortgage loan on behalf of a client as an ancillary matter to the attorney’s
representation of the client, unless the attorney is compensated by a lender, a
mortgage broker, or other mortgage loan originator or by any agent of such
lender, mortgage broker, or other mortgage loan originator.
To the extent an
- 3710 -
attorney licensed in this State undertakes activities that are covered by the
definition of a mortgage loan originator, such activities do not constitute
engaging in the business of a mortgage loan originator, provided that:
(A)
such activities are considered by the State governing body
responsible for regulating the practice of law to be part of the authorized
practice of law within this State;
(B)
such
activities
are
carried
out
within
an
attorney-client
relationship; and
(C)
the attorney carries them out in compliance with all applicable
laws, rules, ethics, and standards.
(6)
A person who makes no more than three mortgage loans in any
consecutive three-year period beginning on or after July 1, 2011.
(f)
If a person who offers or negotiates the terms of a mortgage loan is
exempt from licensure pursuant to subdivision (d)(16) or (e)(6) of this section,
there is a rebuttable presumption that he or she is not engaged in the business
of making loans or being a mortgage loan originator.
(g)
Independent contractor loan processors or underwriters.
A loan
processor or underwriter who is an independent contractor may not engage in
the activities of a loan processor or underwriter unless such independent
contractor loan processor or underwriter obtains and maintains a mortgage loan
originator license.
Each independent contractor loan processor or underwriter
licensed as a mortgage loan originator must have and maintain a valid unique
identifier issued by the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry.
(g)(h)
This chapter shall not apply to commercial loans of $1,000,000.00 or
more.
* * * Vermont State Treasurer; Credit Facilities; 10 Percent for Vermont * * *
Sec. 22.
2013 Acts and Resolves No. 87, Sec. 8 is amended to read:
Sec. 8.
INVESTMENT OF STATE MONIES
The Treasurer is hereby authorized to establish a short-term credit facility
for the benefit of the Vermont Economic Development Authority in an amount
of up to $10,000,000.00.
Sec. 23.
VERMONT STATE TREASURER; CREDIT FACILITY FOR
LOCAL INVESTMENTS
(a)
Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, the
Vermont State Treasurer shall have the authority to establish a credit facility of
up to 10 percent of the State’s average cash balance on terms acceptable to the
- 3711 -
Treasurer consistent with the provisions of the Uniform Prudent Investor Act,
14A V.S.A. chapter 9.
(b)
The amount authorized in subsection (a) of this section shall include all
credit facilities authorized by the General Assembly and established by the
Treasurer prior to or subsequent to the effective date of this section, and the
renewal or replacement of those credit facilities.
Sec. 24.
TREASURER’S LOCAL INVESTMENT ADVISORY
COMMITTEE; REPORT
(a)
Creation of committee.
The Treasurer’s Local Investment Advisory
Committee is established to advise the Treasurer on funding priorities and
address other mechanisms to increase local investment.
(b)
Membership.
(1)
The Advisory Committee shall be composed of six members as
follows:
(A)
the State Treasurer or designee;
(B)
the
Chief
Executive
Officer
of
the
Vermont
Economic
Development Authority or designee;
(C)
the Chief Executive Officer of the Vermont Student Assistance
Corporation or designee;
(D)
the Executive Director of the Vermont Housing Finance Agency
or designee;
(E)
the Director of the Municipal Bond Bank or designee; and
(F)
the Director of Efficiency Vermont or designee.
(2)
The State Treasurer shall be the Chair of the Advisory Committee
and shall appoint a vice chair and secretary.
The appointed members of the
Advisory Committee shall be appointed for terms of six years and shall serve
until their successors are appointed and qualified.
(c)
Powers and duties.
The Advisory Committee shall:
(1)
meet regularly to review and make recommendations to the State
Treasurer on funding priorities and using other mechanisms to increase local
investment in the State of Vermont;
(2)
invite regularly State organizations, citizens groups, and members of
the public to Advisory Committee meetings to present information on needs
for local investment, capital gaps, and proposals for financing; and
- 3712 -
(3)
consult with constituents and review feedback on changes and needs
in the local and State investment and financing environments.
(d)
Meetings.
(1)
Meetings of the Advisory Committee shall occur at the call of the
Treasurer.
(2)
A majority of the members of the Advisory Committee who are
physically present at the same location or available electronically shall
constitute a quorum, and a member may participate and vote electronically.
(3)
To be effective, action of the Advisory Committee shall be taken by
majority vote of the members at a meeting in which a quorum is present.
(e)
Report.
On or before January 15, 2015, and annually thereafter, the
Advisory Committee shall submit a report to the Senate Committees on
Appropriations, on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs, on
Finance, and on Government Operations and the House Committees on
Appropriations, on Commerce and Economic Development, on Ways and
Means,
and
on
Government
Operations.
The
report
shall
include
the
following:
(1)
the amount of the subsidies associated with lending through each
credit facility authorized by the General Assembly and established by the
Treasurer;
(2)
a description of the Advisory Committee’s activities; and
(3)
any information gathered by the Advisory Committee on the State’s
unmet capital needs, and other opportunities for State support for local
investment and the community.
Sec. 25.
SUNSET
Secs. 23–24 of this act shall be repealed on July 1, 2015.
Sec. 26.
9 V.S.A. § 2481w is amended to read:
§ 2481w.
UNLICENSED LOAN TRANSACTIONS
(a)
In this subchapter:
(1)
“Financial account” means a checking, savings, share, stored value,
prepaid, payroll card, or other depository account.
(2)
“Lender” means a person engaged in the business of making loans of
money, credit, goods, or things in action and charging, contracting for, or
receiving
on
any
such
loan
interest,
a
finance
charge,
a
discount,
or
consideration.
- 3713 -
(3)
“Process” or “processing” includes printing a check, draft, or other
form of negotiable instrument drawn on or debited against a consumer’s
financial account, formatting or transferring data for use in connection with the
debiting of a consumer’s financial account by means of such an instrument or
an electronic funds transfer, or arranging for such services to be provided to a
lender.
(4)
“Processor” means a person who engages in processing, as defined
in subdivision (3) of this subsection.
In this section, “processor” does not
include an interbank clearinghouse.
(5)
“Interbank clearinghouse” means a person that operates an exchange
of automated clearinghouse items, checks, or check images solely between
insured depository institutions.
(b)
It is an unfair and deceptive act and practice in commerce for a lender
directly or through an agent to solicit or make a loan to a consumer by any
means unless the lender is in compliance with all provisions of 8 V.S.A.
or
is
otherwise
exempt
from
the
requirements
of
8 V.S.A.
(c)
It is an unfair and deceptive act and practice in commerce for a
processor, other than a federally insured depository institution, to process a
check, draft, other form of negotiable instrument, or an electronic funds
transfer from a consumer’s financial account in connection with a loan
solicited or made by any means to a consumer unless the lender is in
compliance with all provisions of 8 V.S.A. chapter 73 or is otherwise exempt
from the requirements of 8 V.S.A. chapter 73.
(d)
It is an unfair and deceptive act and practice in commerce for any
person, including the lender’s financial institution as defined in 8 V.S.A.
§ 10202(5), but not including the consumer’s financial institution as defined in
8 V.S.A. § 10202(5) or an interbank clearinghouse as defined in subsection (a)
of this section, to provide substantial assistance to a lender or processor when
the person or the person’s authorized agent receives notice from a regulatory,
law enforcement, or similar governmental authority, or knows from its normal
monitoring and compliance systems, or consciously avoids knowing that the
lender or processor is in violation of subsection (b) or (c) of this section, or is
engaging in an unfair or deceptive act or practice in commerce.
Sec. 27.
30 V.S.A. § 248a is amended to read:
§ 248a.
CERTIFICATE OF PUBLIC GOOD FOR COMMUNICATIONS
FACILITIES
* * *
- 3714 -
(b)
Definitions.
For the purposes of As used in this section:
* * *
(4)
“Telecommunications facility” means a communications facility that
transmits and receives signals to and from a local, State, national, or
international
network
used
primarily
for
two-way
communications
for
commercial,
industrial,
municipal,
county,
or
State
purposes
and
any
associated support structure that is proposed for construction or installation
which
is
primarily
for
communications
purposes,
and
any
ancillary
improvements that are proposed for construction or installation and are
primarily intended to serve the communications facilities or support structure.
An
applicant
may
seek
approval
of
construction
or
installation
of
a
telecommunications facility whether or not the telecommunications facility is
attached to an existing structure.
(5)
“Wireless service” means any commercial mobile radio service,
wireless service, common carrier wireless exchange service, cellular service,
personal communications service (PCS), specialized mobile radio service,
paging service, wireless data service, or public or private radio dispatch
service.
* * *
(c)
Findings.
Before the Public Service Board issues a certificate of public
good under this section, it shall find that:
(1)
The proposed facility will not have an undue adverse effect on
aesthetics, historic sites, air and water purity, the natural environment, and the
public health and safety, and the public’s use and enjoyment of the I-89 and
I-91 scenic corridors or of any highway that has been designated as a scenic
road pursuant to 19 V.S.A. § 2501 or a scenic byway pursuant to 23 U.S.C.
§ 162, with due consideration having been given to the relevant criteria
specified in 10 V.S.A. §§ 1424a(d) and 6086(a)(1) through (8) and (9)(K).
However, with respect to telecommunications facilities of limited size and
scope, the Board shall waive all criteria of this subdivision other than
10 V.S.A. § 6086(a)(1)(D)(floodways) and (a)(8)(aesthetics, scenic beauty,
historic
sites,
rare
and
irreplaceable
natural
areas;
endangered
species;
necessary wildlife habitat).
Such waiver shall be on condition that:
(A)
The the Board may determine, pursuant to the procedures
described in subdivision (j)(2)(A) of this section, that a petition raises a
significant issue with respect to any criterion of this subdivision; and
(B)
A a telecommunications facility of limited size and scope shall
comply, at a minimum, with the requirements of the Low Risk Site Handbook
- 3715 -
for Erosion Prevention and Sediment Control issued by the Department of
Environmental Conservation, regardless of any provisions in that handbook
that limit its applicability.
(2)
Unless there is good cause to find otherwise, substantial deference
has been given to the land conservation measures in the plans of the affected
municipalities and the recommendations of the municipal legislative bodies
and the municipal and regional planning commissions regarding the municipal
and regional plans, respectively.
Nothing in this section or other provision of
law shall prevent a municipal body from basing its recommendations on an
ordinance adopted under 24 V.S.A. § 2291(19) or bylaw adopted under
24 V.S.A. chapter 117 by the municipality in which the facility is located.
A rebuttable presumption respecting compliance with the applicable plan shall
be created by a letter from an affected municipal legislative body or municipal
planning commission concerning compliance with the municipal plan and by a
letter from a regional planning commission concerning compliance with the
regional plan.
(3)
If the proposed facility relates to the provision of wireless service,
the proposed facility reasonably cannot be collocated on or at an existing
telecommunications facility, or such collocation would cause an undue adverse
effect on aesthetics.
* * *
(e)
Notice.
No less than 45 days prior to filing an application for a
certificate of public good under this section, the applicant shall serve written
notice of an application to be filed with the Board pursuant to this section to
the legislative bodies and municipal and regional planning commissions in the
communities in which the applicant proposes to construct or install facilities;
the Secretary of Natural Resources; the Secretary of Transportation; the
Division for Historic Preservation; the Commissioner of Public Service and its
Director for Public Advocacy; the Natural Resources Board if the application
concerns a telecommunications facility for which a permit previously has been
issued under 10 V.S.A. chapter 151; and the landowners of record of property
adjoining the project sites.
In addition, at least one copy of each application
shall be filed with each of these municipal and regional planning commissions.
(1)
Upon motion or otherwise, the Public Service Board shall direct that
further public or personal notice be provided if the Board finds that such
further notice will not unduly delay consideration of the merits and that
additional notice is necessary for fair consideration of the application.
(2)
On the request of the municipal legislative body or the planning
commission, the applicant shall attend a public meeting with the municipal
- 3716 -
legislative body or planning commission, or both, within the 45-day notice
period before filing an application for a certificate of public good.
The
Department of Public Service shall attend the public meeting on the request of
the municipality.
The Department shall consider the comments made and
information obtained at the meeting in making recommendations to the Board
on the application and in determining whether to retain additional personnel
under subsection (o) of this section.
* * *
(i)
Sunset of Board authority.
Effective on July 1, 2014 2017, no new
applications
for
certificates
of
public
good
under
this
section
may
be
considered by the Board.
* * *
(m) Municipal bodies; participation. The legislative body and the planning
commission for the municipality in which a telecommunications facility is
located shall have the right to appear and participate on any application under
this section seeking a certificate of public good for the facility.
(n)
Municipal recommendations.
The Board shall consider the comments
and
recommendations
submitted
by
the
municipal
legislative
body
and
planning commission.
The Board’s decision to issue or deny a certificate of
public good shall include a detailed written response to each recommendation
of the municipal legislative body and planning commission.
(o)
Retention; experts.
The Department of Public Service may retain
experts and other personnel as identified in section 20 of this title to provide
information essential to a full consideration of an application for a certificate
of public good under this section.
The Department may allocate the expenses
incurred in retaining these personnel to the applicant in accordance with
section 21 of this title.
The Department may commence retention of these
personnel once the applicant has filed the 45-day notice under subsection (e) of
this section.
A municipal legislative body or planning commission may
request that the Department retain these personnel.
Granting such a request
shall not oblige the Department or the personnel it retains to agree with the
position of the municipality.
(p)
Review process; guide.
The Department of Public Service, in
consultation with the Board, shall create, maintain, and make available to the
public a guide to the process of reviewing telecommunications facilities under
this section for use by local governments and regional planning commissions
and members of the public who seek to participate in the process. On or before
September 1, 2014, the Department shall complete the creation of this guide
and make it publically available.
- 3717 -
Sec. 28.
PUBLIC SERVICE BOARD; ORDER REVISION
The Public Service Board (the Board) shall define the terms “good cause”
and “substantial deference” for the purpose of 30 V.S.A. § 248a(c)(2) in
accordance with the following process:
(1)
Within 30 days of the effective date of this section, the Board shall
provide
direct
notice
to
each
municipal
legislative
body
and
planning
commission, the Vermont League of Cities and Towns, the Department of
Public Service, and such other persons as the Board considers appropriate, that
it will be amending its procedures order issued under 30 V.S.A. § 248a(1) to
include definitions of these terms.
The notice shall provide an opportunity for
submission of comments and recommendations and include the date and time
of the workshop to be held.
(2)
Within 60 days of giving notice under subdivision (1) of this section,
the Board shall amend its procedures order to include definitions of these
terms.
Sec. 29.
REPORT; TELECOMMUNICATIONS FACILITY REVIEW
PROCESS
On or before October 1, 2015, the Department of Public Service shall
submit to the House Committee on Commerce and Economic Development
and
the
Senate
Committee
on
Finance
a
report
assessing
the
telecommunications facility review process under 30 V.S.A § 248a.
The report
shall include the number of applications for the construction or installation of
telecommunications facilities filed with the Board, the number of applications
for which a certificate of public good was granted, the number of applications
for which notice was filed but were then withdrawn, and the number of times
the Department used its authority under 30 V.S.A. § 248(o) to allocate
expenses incurred in retaining expert personnel to the applicant, during the
year ending August 31, 2015.
Sec. 30.
10 V.S.A. § 1264(j) is amended to read:
(j)
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, if an application to
discharge stormwater runoff pertains to a telecommunications facility as
defined in 30 V.S.A. § 248a and is filed before July 1, 2014 2017 and the
discharge will be to a water that is not principally impaired by stormwater
runoff:
(1)
The Secretary shall issue a decision on the application within
40 days of the date the Secretary determines the application to be complete, if
the application seeks authorization under a general permit.
(2)
The Secretary shall issue a decision on the application within
- 3718 -
60 days of the date the Secretary determines the application to be complete, if
the application seeks or requires authorization under an individual permit.
Sec. 31.
10 V.S.A. § 8506 is amended to read:
§ 8506.
RENEWABLE ENERGY PLANT; TELECOMMUNICATIONS
FACILITY; APPEALS
(a)
Within 30 days of the date of the act or decision, any person aggrieved
by an act or decision of the secretary Secretary, under the provisions of law
listed in section 8503 of this title, or any party by right may appeal to the
public service board Public Service Board if the act or decision concerns a
renewable energy plant for which a certificate of public good is required under
30 V.S.A. § 248 or a telecommunications facility for which the applicant has
applied or has served notice under 30 V.S.A. § 248a(e) that it will apply for
approval under 30 V.S.A. § 248a.
This section shall not apply to a facility that
is subject to section 1004 (dams before the Federal Energy Regulatory
Commission) or 1006 (certification of hydroelectric projects) or chapter 43
(dams) of this title.
This section shall not apply to an appeal of an act or
decision of the secretary regarding a telecommunications facility made on or
after July 1, 2014 2017.
* * *
Sec. 32.
REPEAL
2011 Acts and Resolves No. 53, Sec. 14d (repeal of limitations on
municipal
bylaws;
municipal
ordinances;
wireless
telecommunications
facilities) is repealed.
Sec. 33.
3 V.S.A. § 2809 is amended to read:
§ 2809.
REIMBURSEMENT OF AGENCY COSTS
(a)(1)
The Secretary may require an applicant for a permit, license,
certification, or order issued under a program that the Secretary enforces under
10 V.S.A. § 8003(a) to pay for the cost of research, scientific, programmatic,
or engineering expertise provided by the Agency of Natural Resources,
provided that the following apply:
(A)
the The Secretary does not have such expertise or services and
such expertise is required for the processing of the application for the permit,
license, certification, or order; or.
(B)
the The Secretary does have such expertise but has made a
determination that it is beyond the agency’s Agency’s internal capacity to
effectively utilize that expertise to process the application for the permit,
license, certification, or order.
In addition, the Secretary shall determine that
- 3719 -
such expertise is required for the processing of the application for the permit,
license, certification, or order.
(2)
The Secretary may require an applicant under 10 V.S.A. chapter 151
to pay for the time of Agency of Natural Resources personnel providing
research, scientific, or engineering services or for the cost of expert witnesses
when agency Agency personnel or expert witnesses are required for the
processing of the permit application.
(3)
In addition to the authority set forth under 10 V.S.A. chapters 59 and
159 and § section 1283, the Secretary may require a person who caused the
agency Agency to incur expenditures or a person in violation of a permit,
license, certification, or order issued by the Secretary to pay for the time of
agency Agency personnel
or
the
cost
of
other
research,
scientific,
or
engineering services incurred by the agency Agency in response to a threat to
public health or the environment presented by an emergency or exigent
circumstance.
* * *
(g)
Concerning an application for a permit to discharge stormwater runoff
from a telecommunications facility as defined in 30 V.S.A. § 248a that is filed
before July 1, 2014 2017:
(1)
Under subdivision (a)(1) of this section, the agency Agency shall not
require an applicant to pay more than $10,000.00 with respect to a facility.
(2)
The provisions of subsection (c) (mandatory meeting) of this section
shall not apply.
Sec. 34.
JFO ACCD DEMOGRAPHIC STUDY
The Agency of Commerce and Community Development, with consultation
and review by the legislative economist and the Joint Fiscal Office, shall
conduct an economic impact analysis, including study of demographic and
infrastructure
impacts
associated
with
recently
announced
development
projects in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, and shall submit its findings to
the House Committee on Commerce and Economic Development, the Senate
Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs, and the
Joint Fiscal Committee on or before December 1, 2014.
* * * Tourism Funding; Study * * *
Sec. 35.
TOURISM FUNDING; PILOT PROJECT STUDY
On or before January 15, 2015, the Secretary of Commerce and Community
Development shall submit to the House Committees on Appropriations and on
Commerce
and
Economic
Development
and
the
Senate
Committees
on
- 3720 -
Appropriations and on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs a
report that analyzes the results of the performance-based funding pilot project
for the Department of Tourism and Marketing and recommends appropriate
legislative or administrative changes to the funding mechanism for tourism and
marketing programs.
* * * Land Use; Housing; Industrial Development * * *
Sec. 36.
10 V.S.A. chapter 12 is amended to read:
VERMONT ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY
* * *
§ 212.
DEFINITIONS
As used in this chapter:
* * *
(6)
“Eligible facility” or “eligible project” means any industrial,
commercial, or agricultural enterprise or endeavor approved by the authority
that meets the criteria established in the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Strategy
adopted by the Governor under section 280b of this title, including land and
rights in land, air, or water, buildings, structures, machinery, and equipment of
such eligible facilities or eligible projects, except that an eligible facility or
project shall not include the portion of an enterprise or endeavor relating to the
sale of goods at retail where such goods are manufactured primarily out of
state, and except further that an eligible facility or project shall not include the
portion of an enterprise or endeavor relating to housing.
Such enterprises or
endeavors may include:
* * *
(M)
Sustainably Priced Energy Enterprise Development (SPEED)
resources, as defined in 30 V.S.A. § 8002; or
(N)
any combination of the foregoing activities, uses, or purposes.
An eligible facility may include structures, appurtenances incidental to the
foregoing such as utility lines, storage accommodations, offices, dependent
care facilities, or transportation facilities; or
(O)
industrial park planning, development, or improvement.
* * *
§ 261.
ADDITIONAL POWERS
In
addition
to
powers
enumerated
elsewhere
in
this
chapter,
the
authority may:
- 3721 -
* * *
(6)
provide loans and assistance under this subchapter for the planning,
development, or improvement of an industrial park or an eligible project within
an industrial park.
Sec. 37.
10 V.S.A. § 6001(35) is added to read:
(35)
“Industrial park” means an area of land permitted under this chapter
that is planned, designed, and zoned as a location for one or more industrial
buildings, that includes adequate access roads, utilities, water, sewer, and other
services necessary for the uses of the industrial buildings, and includes no
retail use except that which is incidental to an industrial use, and no office use
except that which is incidental or secondary to an industrial use.
Sec. 38.
REVIEW OF MASTER PLAN POLICY
On or before January 1, 2015, the Natural Resources Board shall review its
master plan policy and commence the policy’s adoption as a rule.
The
proposed rule shall include provisions for efficient master plan permitting and
master plan permit amendments for industrial parks.
The Board shall consult
with affected parties when developing the proposed rule.
* * * Primary Agricultural Soils; Industrial Parks * * *
Sec. 39.
10 V.S.A. § 6093(a)(4) is amended to read:
(4)
Industrial parks.
(A)
Notwithstanding any provision of this chapter to the contrary, a
conversion of primary agricultural soils located in an industrial park as defined
in subdivision 212(7) of this title and permitted under this chapter and in
existence as of January 1, 2006, shall be allowed to pay a mitigation fee
computed according to the provisions of subdivision (1) of this subsection,
except that it shall be entitled to a ratio of 1:1, protected acres to acres of
affected primary agricultural soil.
If an industrial park is developed to the
fullest extent before any expansion, this ratio shall apply to any contiguous
expansion of such an industrial park that totals no more than 25 percent of the
area of the park or no more than 10 acres, whichever is larger; provided any
expansion based on percentage does not exceed 50 acres.
Any expansion
larger than that described in this subdivision shall be subject to the mitigation
provisions of this subsection at ratios that depend upon the location of the
expansion.
(B)
In any application to a district commission for expansion of
District Commission to amend a permit for an existing industrial park, compact
development patterns shall be encouraged that assure the most efficient and
full use of land and the realization of maximum economic development
- 3722 -
potential through appropriate densities shall be allowed consistent with all
applicable
criteria
of
subsection
6086(a)
of
this
title.
Industrial
park
expansions and industrial park infill shall not be subject to requirements
established in subdivision 6086(a)(9)(B)(iii) of this title, nor to requirements
established in subdivision 6086(a)(9)(C)(iii).
Sec. 40.
RESERVED
* * * Workforce Education and Training * * *
Sec. 41.
10 V.S.A. chapter 22A is amended to read:
WORKFORCE EDUCATION AND TRAINING
§ 540.
WORKFORCE EDUCATION AND TRAINING LEADER
The Commissioner of Labor shall be the leader of workforce education and
training in the State, and shall have the authority and responsibility for the
coordination of workforce education and training within State government,
including the following duties:
(1)
Perform
the
following
duties
in
consultation
with
the
State
Workforce Investment Board:
(A)
advise the Governor on the establishment of an integrated system
of workforce education and training for Vermont;
(B)
create and maintain an inventory of all existing workforce
education and training programs and activities in the State;
(C)
use data to ensure that State workforce education and training
activities are aligned with the needs of the available workforce, the current and
future job opportunities in the State, and the specific credentials needed to
achieve employment in those jobs;
(D)
develop a State plan, as required by federal law, to ensure that
workforce education and training programs and activities in the State serve
Vermont citizens and businesses to the maximum extent possible;
(E)
ensure coordination and non-duplication of workforce education
and training activities;
(F)
identify best practices and gaps in the delivery of workforce
education and training programs;
(G)
design and implement criteria and performance measures for
workforce education and training activities; and
(H)
establish goals for the integrated workforce education and
training system.
- 3723 -
(2)
Require from each business, training provider, or program that
receives State funding to conduct workforce education and training a report
that evaluates the results of the training.
Each recipient shall submit its report
on a schedule determined by the Commissioner and shall include at least the
following information:
(A)
name of the person who receives funding;
(B)
amount of funding;
(C)
activities and training provided;
(D)
number of trainees and their general description;
(E)
employment status of trainees; and
(F)
future needs for resources.
(3)
Review reports submitted by each recipient of workforce education
and training funding.
(4)
Issue an annual report to the Governor and the General Assembly on
or
before
December
1
that
includes
a
systematic
evaluation
of
the
accomplishments
of
the
State
workforce
investment
system
and
the
performance of participating agencies and institutions.
(5)
Coordinate public and private workforce programs to assure that
information is easily accessible to students, employees, and employers, and
that all information and necessary counseling is available through one contact.
(6)
Facilitate effective communication between the business community
and public and private educational institutions.
(7)
Notwithstanding any provision of State law to the contrary, and to
the fullest extent allowed under federal law, ensure that in each State and
State-funded
workforce
education
and
training
program,
the
program
administrator collects and reports data and outcomes at the individual level by
Social Security Number or an equivalent.
§ 541.
WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL; STATE WORKFORCE
INVESTMENT BOARD; MEMBERS, TERMS
(a)
The Workforce education and training Council is created as the
successor to and the continuation of the Governor’s Human Resources
Investment Council and shall be the State Workforce Investment Board under
Public Law 105-220, the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, and any
reauthorization of that act.
The Council shall consist of the members required
under the federal act and the following: the President of the University of
Vermont or designee; the Chancellor of the Vermont State Colleges or
- 3724 -
designee; the President of the Vermont Student Assistance corporation or
designee; the President of the Association of Vermont Independent Colleges or
designee; a representative of the Abenaki Self Help Organization; at least two
representatives of labor appointed by the Governor in addition to the two
required under the federal act, who shall be chosen from a list of names
submitted by Vermont AFL-CIO, Vermont NEA, and the Vermont State
Employees Association; one representative of the low income community
appointed by the Governor; two members of the Senate appointed by the
Senate Committee on Committees; and two members of the house appointed
by the speaker. In addition, the Governor shall appoint enough other members
who are representatives of business or employers so that one-half plus one of
the members of the council are representatives of business or employers.
At
least one-third of those appointed by the Governor as representatives of
business or employers shall be chosen from a list of names submitted by the
regional technical centers.
As used in this section, “representative of business”
means a business owner, a chief executive operating officer, or other business
executive, and “employer” means an individual with policy-making or hiring
authority, including a public school superintendent or school board member
and representatives from the nonprofit, social services, and health sectors of
the economy.
If there is a dispute as to who is to represent an interest as
required under the federal law, the Governor shall decide who shall be the
member of the Council.
(b)
Appointed members, except legislative appointees, shall be appointed
for three-year terms and serve at the pleasure of the Governor.
(c)
A vacancy shall be filled for the unexpired term in the same manner as
the initial appointment.
(d)
The Governor shall appoint one of the business or employer members
to chair the council for a term of two years.
A member shall not serve more
than three consecutive terms as chair.
(e)
Legislative members shall be entitled to compensation and expenses as
provided
in
2
V.S.A.
§
406,
and
other
members
shall
be
entitled
to
compensation and expenses as provided in 32 V.S.A. § 1010.
(f)
The Department of Labor shall provide the Council with administrative
support.
(g)
The Workforce education and training Council shall be subject to
1 V.S.A. chapter 5, subchapters 2 and 3, relating to public meetings and access
to public records.
(h)
[Repealed.]
- 3725 -
(i)
The Workforce education and training Council shall:
(1)
Advise the Governor on the establishment of an integrated network
of workforce education and training for Vermont.
(2)
Coordinate planning and services for an integrated network of
workforce education and training and oversee its implementation at State and
regional levels.
(3)
Establish goals for and coordinate the State’s workforce education
and training policies.
(4)
Speak for the workforce needs of employers.
(5)
Negotiate memoranda of understanding between the Council and
agencies
and
institutions
involved
in
Vermont’s
integrated
network
of
workforce education and training in order to ensure that each is working to
achieve annual objectives developed by the Council.
(6)
Carry out the duties assigned to the State Workforce Investment
Board, as required for a single-service delivery state, under P.L. 105-220, the
Workforce Investment Act of 1998, and any amendments that may be made to
it.
[Repealed.]
§ 541a.
STATE WORKFORCE INVESTMENT BOARD
(a)
Board established; duties.
Pursuant to the requirements of 29 U.S.C.
§ 2821, the Governor shall establish a State Workforce Investment Board to
assist the Governor in the execution of his or her duties under the Workforce
Investment Act of 1998 and to assist the Commissioner of Labor as specified
in section 540 of this title.
(b)
Additional
duties;
planning;
process.
In
order
to
inform
its
decision-making and to provide effective assistance under subsection (a) of
this section, the Board shall:
(1)
conduct an ongoing public engagement process throughout the State
that brings together employers and potential employees, including students, the
unemployed, and incumbent employees seeking further training, to provide
feedback and information concerning their workforce education and training
needs; and
(2)
maintain familiarity with the federal Comprehensive Economic
Development Strategy (CEDS) and other economic development planning
processes, and coordinate workforce and education activities in the State,
including the development and implementation of the State plan required under
the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, with economic development planning
processes occurring in the State, as appropriate.
- 3726 -
(c)
Membership.
The Board shall consist of the Governor and the
following members who are appointed by the Governor and serve at his or her
pleasure, unless otherwise indicated:
(1)
two Members of the Vermont House of Representatives appointed
by the Speaker of the House;
(2)
two Members of the Vermont Senate appointed by the Senate
Committee on Committees;
(3) the President of the University of Vermont or designee;
(4)
the Chancellor of the Vermont State Colleges or designee;
(5)
the President of the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation or
designee;
(6)
a representative of an independent Vermont college or university;
(7)
the Secretary of Education or designee;
(8)
a director of a regional technical center;
(9)
a principal of a Vermont high school;
(10)
two
representatives
of
labor
organizations
who
have
been
nominated by State labor federations;
(11)
two representatives of individuals and organizations who have
experience with respect to youth activities, as defined in 29 U.S.C. § 2801(52);
(12)
two representatives of individuals and organizations who have
experience in the delivery of workforce investment activities, as defined in
(13)
the lead State agency officials with responsibility for the programs
and activities carried out by one-stop partners, as described in 29 U.S.C.
§ 2841(b), or if no official has that responsibility, a representative in the State
with expertise relating to these programs and activities;
(14)
the Commissioner of Economic Development;
(15)
the Commissioner of Labor;
(16)
the Secretary of Human Services or designee;
(17)
two individuals who have experience in, and can speak for, the
training needs of underemployed and unemployed Vermonters; and
(18)
a number of appointees sufficient to constitute a majority of the
Board who:
(A)
are owners, chief executives, or operating officers of businesses,
- 3727 -
and other business executives or employers with optimum policymaking or
hiring authority;
(B)
represent businesses with employment opportunities that reflect
the employment opportunities of the State; and
(C)
are appointed from among individuals nominated by State
business organizations and business trade associations.
(d)
Operation of Board.
(1)
Member representation.
(A)
Members of the State Board who represent organizations,
agencies, or other entities shall be individuals with optimum policymaking
authority within the organizations, agencies, or entities.
(B)
The members of the Board shall represent diverse regions of the
State, including urban, rural, and suburban areas.
(2)
Chair.
The Governor shall select a chair for the Board from among
the business representatives appointed pursuant to subdivision (c)(18) of this
section.
(3)
Meetings.
The Board shall meet at least three times annually and
shall hold additional meetings upon call of the Chair.
(4)
Work groups; task forces.
The Chair, in consultation with the
Commissioner of Labor, may:
(A)
assign one or more members to work groups to carry out the
work of the Board; and
(B)
appoint one or more members of the Board, or nonmembers of
the Board, or both, to one or more task forces for a discrete purpose and
duration.
(5)
Quorum; meetings; voting.
(A)
A majority of the sitting members of the Board shall constitute a
quorum, and to be valid any action taken by the Board shall be authorized by a
majority of the members present and voting at any regular or special meeting at
which a quorum is present.
(B)
The Board may permit one or more members to participate in a
regular or special meeting by, or conduct the meeting through the use of, any
means of communication, including an electronic, telecommunications, and
video- or audio-conferencing conference telephone call, by which all members
participating may simultaneously or sequentially communicate with each other
during the meeting.
A member participating in a meeting by this means is
- 3728 -
deemed to be present in person at the meeting.
(C)
The Board shall deliver electronically the minutes for each of its
meetings to each member of the Board and to the Chairs of the House
Committees on Education and on Commerce and Economic Development, and
to the Senate Committees on Education and on Economic Development,
Housing and General Affairs.
(6)
Reimbursement.
(A)
Legislative
members
of
the
Board
shall
be
entitled
to
compensation and expenses as provided in 2 V.S.A. § 406.
(B)
Unless otherwise compensated by his or her employer for
performance of his or her duties on the Board, a nonlegislative member of the
Board shall be eligible for per diem compensation of $50.00 per day for
attendance at a meeting of the Board, and for reimbursement of his or her
necessary expenses, which shall be paid by the Department of Labor solely
from funds available for that purpose under the Workforce Investment Act
of 1998.
(7)
Conflict of interest.
A member of the Board shall not:
(A)
vote on a matter under consideration by the Board:
(i)
regarding the provision of services by the member, or by an
entity that the member represents; or
(ii)
that would provide direct financial benefit to the member or
the immediate family of the member; or
(B)
engage in any activity that the Governor determines constitutes a
conflict of interest as specified in the State Plan required under 29 U.S.C.
§ 2822.
(8)
Sunshine provision.
The Board shall make available to the public,
on a regular basis through open meetings, information regarding the activities
of
the
Board,
including
information
regarding
the
State
Plan
adopted
pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 2822 and prior to submission of the State Plan to the
U.S. Secretary of Labor, information regarding membership, and, on request,
minutes of formal meetings of the Board.
§ 541b.
WORKFORCE EDUCATION AND TRAINING; DUTIES OF
OTHER STATE AGENCIES, DEPARTMENTS, AND PRIVATE
PARTNERS
(a)
To ensure the Workforce Investment Board and the Commissioner of
Labor are able to fully perform their duties under this chapter, each agency and
- 3729 -
department within State government, and each person who receives funding
from the State, shall comply within a reasonable period of time with a request
for data and information made by
the
Board or the Commissioner in
furtherance of their duties under this chapter.
(b)
The
Agency
of
Commerce
and
Community
Development
shall
coordinate its work in adopting a statewide economic development plan with
the activities of the Board and the Commissioner of Labor, including the
development and implementation of the state plan for workforce education and
training required under the Workforce Investment Act of 1998.
§ 542.
REGIONAL WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT EDUCATION AND
TRAINING
(a)
The Commissioner of Labor, in coordination with the Secretary of
Commerce
and
Community
Development,
and
in
consultation
with
the
Workforce education and training Council Investment Board, is authorized to
issue performance grants to one or more persons to perform workforce
education and training activities in a region.
(b)
Each grant shall specify the scope of the workforce education and
training activities to be performed and the geographic region to be served, and
shall include outcomes and measures to evaluate the grantee’s performance.
(c)
The Commissioner of Labor and the Secretary of Commerce and
Community Development shall jointly develop a grant process and eligibility
criteria, as well as an outreach process for notifying potential participants of
the grant program.
The Commissioner of Labor shall have final authority to
approve each grant.
§ 543.
WORKFORCE EDUCATION AND TRAINING FUND; GRANT
PROGRAMS
(a)
Creation.
There is created a Workforce Education and Training Fund in
the department of labor Department of Labor to be managed in accordance
with 32 V.S.A. chapter 7, subchapter 5.
(b)
Purposes.
The Fund shall be used exclusively for the following two
purposes:
(1)
training to improve the skills of for Vermont workers, including
those who are unemployed, underemployed, or in transition from one job or
career to another; and
(2)
internships
to
provide
students
with
work-based
learning
opportunities with Vermont employers; and
- 3730 -
(3)
apprenticeship-related instruction.
(c)
Administrative Support.
Administrative support for the grant award
process shall be provided by the Departments Department of Labor and of
Economic
Development.
Technical, administrative,
financial,
and
other
support
shall
be
provided
whenever
appropriate
and
reasonable
by
the
Workforce Development Council Investment Board and all other public
entities involved in Economic Development, workforce development and
training, and education economic development and workforce education and
training.
(d)
Eligible Activities.
Awards from the Fund shall be made to employers
and entities that offer programs that require collaboration between employees
and businesses, including private, public, and nonprofit entities, institutions of
higher education, high schools, technical centers, and workforce education and
training programs.
Funding shall be for training programs and student
internship programs that offer education, training, apprenticeship, mentoring,
or work-based learning activities, or any combination; that employ innovative
intensive student-oriented competency-based or collaborative approaches to
workforce education and training; and that link workforce education and
economic development
strategies.
Training
programs
or
projects
that
demonstrate actual increased income and economic opportunity for employees
and employers may be funded for more than one year.
Student internships and
training programs that involve the same employer may be funded multiple
times, provided that new students participate.
(e)
Award Criteria and Process.
The Workforce education and training
Council, in consultation with the Commissioners of Labor and of Economic
Development and the Secretary of Education, shall develop criteria consistent
with subsection (d) of this section for making awards under this section.
The
Commissioners of Labor and of Economic Development and the Secretary of
Education, shall develop a process for making awards. [Repealed].
(f)
Awards.
Based on guidelines set by the council, the The Commissioner
of labor, and the Secretary of Education Labor, in consultation with the
Workforce Investment Board, shall jointly develop award criteria and may
make awards to the following:
(1)
Training Programs.
(A)
Public, private, and nonprofit entities for existing or new
innovative training programs.
Awards may be made to programs that retrain
incumbent workers that enhance the skills of Vermont workers and:
(i)
train workers for trades or occupations that are expected to lead
to jobs paying at least 200 percent of the current minimum wage or at least
- 3731 -
150 percent if benefits are included; this requirement may be waived when
warranted based on regional or occupational wages or economic reality;
(ii)
do not duplicate, supplant, or replace other available programs
funded with public money;
(iii)
articulate clear goals and demonstrate readily accountable,
reportable, and measurable results; and
(iv)
demonstrate an integrated connection between training and
specific new or continuing employment opportunities.
(B)
Awards under this subdivision shall be made to programs or
projects that do all the following:
(A)(i)
offer innovative programs of intensive, student-centric,
competency-based
education,
training,
apprenticeship,
mentoring,
or
any
combination of these;
(B)(ii)
address the needs of workers who are unemployed,
underemployed, or are at risk of becoming unemployed due to changing
workplace demands by increasing productivity and developing new skills for
incumbent workers; or
(iii)
in the discretion of the Commissioner, otherwise serve the
purposes of this chapter.
(C)
train workers for trades or occupations that are expected to lead
to jobs paying at least 200 percent of the current minimum wage or at least 150
percent if benefits are included; this requirement may be waived when
warranted based on regional or occupational wages or economic reality;
(D)
do not duplicate, supplant, or replace other available programs
funded with public money;
(E)
articulate clear goals and demonstrate readily accountable,
reportable, and measurable results;
(F)
demonstrate an integrated connection between training and
specific employment opportunities, including an effort and consideration by
participating employers to hire those who successfully complete a training
program; and
(2)
Vermont Career Internship Program.
Funding for eligible internship
programs
and
activities
under
the
Vermont
Career
Internship
Program
established in section 544 of this title.
(3)
Apprenticeship Program.
The Vermont Apprenticeship Program
established under 21 V.S.A. chapter 13.
Awards under this subdivision may be
- 3732 -
used to fund the cost of apprenticeship-related instruction provided by the
Department of Labor.
(g)
[Repealed.]
§ 544.
VERMONT CAREER INTERNSHIP PROGRAM
(a)(1)
The Department of Labor, in consultation with the Agency of
Education,
shall
develop
and
implement
a
statewide
Vermont
Career
Internship Program for Vermonters who are in high school or in college and
for those who are recent graduates of 24 months or less.
(2)
The Department of Labor shall coordinate and provide funding to
public and private entities for internship programs that match Vermont
employers with students from public and private secondary schools, regional
technical centers, the Community High School of Vermont, colleges, and
recent graduates of 24 months or less.
(3)
Funding awarded through the Vermont Career Internship Program
may be used to administer an internship program and to provide participants
with a stipend during the internship, based on need.
Funds may be made only
to programs or projects that do all the following:
(A)
do not replace or supplant existing positions;
(B)
create real workplace expectations and consequences;
(C)
provide a process that measures progress toward mastery of
skills, attitude, behavior, and sense of responsibility required for success in that
workplace;
(D)
are
designed
to
motivate
and
educate
secondary
and
postsecondary students and recent graduates through work-based learning
opportunities
with
Vermont
employers
that
are
likely
to
lead
to
real
employment;
(E)
include mechanisms that promote employer involvement with
secondary and postsecondary students and curriculum and the delivery of
education at the participating schools; and
(F)
offer participants a continuum of learning, experience, and
relationships with employers that
will make
it financially possible
and
attractive for graduates to continue to work and live in Vermont.
(4)
For the purposes of As used in this section, “internship” means a
learning experience working with an employer where the intern may, but does
not necessarily, receive academic credit, financial remuneration, a stipend, or
any combination of these.
- 3733 -
(b)
The Department of Labor, in collaboration with the Agencies of
Agriculture, Food and Markets and of Education, state-funded State-funded
postsecondary educational institutions, the Workforce Development Council
Investment Board, and other state State agencies and departments that have
workforce education and training and training monies, shall:
(1)
identify new and existing funding sources that may be allocated to
the Vermont Career Internship Program;
(2)
collect
data
and
establish
program
goals
and
quantifiable
performance measures for internship programs funded through the Vermont
Career Internship Program;
(3)
develop or enhance a website that will connect students and
graduates with internship opportunities with Vermont employers;
(4)
engage appropriate agencies and departments of the State in the
Internship Program to expand internship opportunities with State government
and with entities awarded State contracts; and
(5)
work with other public and private entities to develop and enhance
internship programs, opportunities, and activities throughout the State.
Sec. 42.
10 V.S.A. chapter 22 is amended to read:
EMPLOYMENT THE VERMONT
TRAINING PROGRAM
§ 531.
EMPLOYMENT THE VERMONT TRAINING PROGRAM
(a)(1)
The Secretary of Commerce and Community Development may, in
consultation with the Workforce Investment Board, shall have the authority to
design and implement a Vermont Training Program, the purpose of which shall
be
to issue
performance-based
grants to
any
employer,
consortium
of
employers, or providers of training, either individuals or organizations, as
necessary,
to
conduct
training
under
the
following
circumstances:
to
employers and to education and training providers to increase employment
opportunities in Vermont consistent with this chapter.
(2)
The Secretary shall structure the Vermont Training Program to serve
as a flexible, nimble, and strategic resource for Vermont businesses and
workers across all sectors of the economy.
(1)
when issuing grants to an employer or consortium of employers, the
employer promises as a condition of the grant to
where eligible facility is
defined as in subdivision 212(6) of this title relating to the Vermont Economic
Development Authority, or the employer or consortium of employers promises
to open an eligible facility within the State which will employ persons,
- 3734 -
provided that for the purposes of this section, eligible facility may be broadly
interpreted to include employers in sectors other than manufacturing; and
(2)
training is required for potential employees, new employees, or long-
standing employees in the methods, either singularly or in combination relating
to
pre-employment
training,
on-the-job
training,
upgrade
training,
and
crossover training, or specialized instruction, either in-plant or through a
training provider.
(b)
Eligibility for grant.
The Secretary of Commerce and Community
Development may award a grant to an employer if:
(1)
the employer’s new or expanded initiative will enhance employment
opportunities for Vermont residents; the training is for preemployment, new
employees, or incumbent employees in the methods, either singularly or in
combination, relating to preemployment training, on-the-job training, upgrade
training, crossover training, or specialized instruction, either on-site or through
a training provider;
(2)
the employer provides its employees with at least three of the
following:
(A)
health care benefits with 50 percent or more of the premium paid
by the employer;
(B)
dental assistance;
(C)
paid vacation and;
(D)
paid holidays;
(D)(E)
child care;
(E)(F)
other extraordinary employee benefits;
(F)(G)
retirement benefits; and
(H)
other paid time off, including paid sick days;
(3)
the training is directly related to the employment responsibilities of
the trainee; and
(4)
compensation for each trainee at the completion of the training
program equals or exceeds the livable wage as defined in 2 V.S.A. § 505,
provided that the Secretary shall have the authority to modify this requirement
if he or she determines that the employer offers compensation or benefits, the
value of which exceeds the compensation and benefit assumptions in the basic
needs budget and livable wage calculated pursuant to 2 V.S.A. § 505.
(c)
The employer promises as a condition of the grant to:
- 3735 -
(1) employ new persons at a wage which, at the completion of the
training program, is two times the prevailing state or federal minimum wage,
whichever is greater, reduced by the value of any existing health benefit
package up to a limit of 30 percent of the gross program wage, or for existing
employees, to increase the wage to two times the prevailing state and federal
minimum wage, whichever is greater, reduced by the value of any existing
health benefit package up to a limit of 20 percent of the gross program wage,
upon completion of training; provided, however, that in areas defined by the
Secretary of Commerce and Community Development in which the Secretary
finds that the rate of unemployment is 50 percent greater than the average for
the State, the wage rate under this subsection may be set by the Secretary at a
rate no less than one and one-half times the federal or state minimum wage,
whichever is greater;
(2)
employ persons who have completed the training provided for them
and
nominated
as
qualified
for
a
reasonable
period
at
the
wages
and
occupations described in the contract, unless the employer reasonably finds the
nominee is not qualified;
(3)
provide its employees with at least three of the following:
(A)
health care benefits with 50 percent or more of the premium paid
by the employer;
(B)
dental assistance;
(C)
paid vacation and holidays;
(D)
child care;
(E)
other extraordinary employee benefits; and
(F)
retirement benefits.
(4)
submit a customer satisfaction report to the Secretary of Commerce
and Community Development, on a form prepared by the Secretary for that
purpose, no more than 30 days from the last day of the training program.
In the case of a grant to a training provider, the Secretary shall require as a
condition of the grant that the provider shall disclose to the Secretary the name
of the employer and the number of employees trained prior to final payment
for the training.
(d)
In order to avoid duplication of programs or services and to provide the
greatest return on investment from training provided under this section, the
Secretary of Commerce and Community Development shall:
(1)
first consult with the Commissioner of Labor regarding whether the
grantee has accessed, or is eligible to access, other workforce education and
- 3736 -
training resources offered by public or private workforce education and
training partners;
(2)
disburse grant funds only for training hours that have been
successfully completed by employees; provided that a grant for on-the-job
training shall either provide not more than 50 percent of wages for each
employee in training, or not more than 50 percent of trainer expense, but not
both, and further provided that training shall be performed in accordance with
a training plan that defines the subject of the training, the number of training
hours, and how the effectiveness of the training will be evaluated; and
(3)
use funds under this section only to supplement training efforts of
employers and not to replace or supplant training efforts of employers.
(e)
The Secretary of Commerce and Community Development shall
administer all training programs under this section, may select and use
providers of training as appropriate, and shall adopt rules and may accept
services, money, or property donated for the purposes of this section.
The
Secretary may promote awareness of, and may give priority to, training that
enhances critical skills, productivity, innovation, quality, or competitiveness,
such
as
training
in
Innovation
Engineering,
“Lean”
systems,
and
ISO
certification for expansion into new markets.
[Repealed.]
(f)
Upon completion of the training program for any individual, the
secretary of Commerce and Community Development shall review the records
and shall award to the trainee, if appropriate, a certificate of completion for the
training.
(g)
None of the criteria in subdivision (a)(1) of this section shall apply to a
designated job development zone under chapter 29, subchapter 2 of this title.
[Repealed.]
(h)
The
Secretary
may
designate
the
Commissioner
of
Economic
Development to carry out his or her powers and duties under this chapter.
[Repealed.]
(i)
Program Outcomes.
(1)
On or before September 1, 2011, the Agency of Commerce and
Community Development, in coordination with the department of labor, and in
consultation with the Workforce education and training Council and the
legislative Joint Fiscal Office, shall develop, to the extent appropriate, a
common set of benchmarks and performance measures for the training
program established in this section and the Workforce Education and Training
Fund established in section 543 of this title, and shall collect employee-specific
data on training outcomes regarding the performance measures; provided,
- 3737 -
however, that the Secretary shall redact personal identifying information from
such data.
(2)
On or before January 15, 2013, the Joint Fiscal Office shall prepare a
performance report using the benchmarks and performance measures created
pursuant to subdivision (1) of this subsection.
The Joint Fiscal Office shall
submit its report to the Senate Committee on Economic Development, Housing
and General Affairs and the House Committee on Commerce and Economic
Development.
(3)
The Secretary shall use information gathered pursuant to this
subsection and customer satisfaction reports submitted pursuant to subdivision
(c)(4) of this section to evaluate the program and make necessary changes that
fall within the Secretary’s authority or, if beyond the scope of the Secretary’s
authority, to recommend necessary changes to the appropriate committees of
the General Assembly.
[Repealed.]
(j)
Consistent with the training program’s goal of providing specialized
training
and
increased
employment
opportunities
for
Vermonters,
and
notwithstanding provisions of this section to the contrary, the Secretary shall
canvas apprenticeship sponsors to determine demand for various levels of
training and classes and shall transfer up to $250,000.00 annually to the
regional technical
centers to
fund or provide supplemental
funding for
apprenticeship training programs leading up to certification or licensing as
journeyman or master electricians or plumbers.
The Secretary shall seek to
provide these funds equitably throughout Vermont; however, the Secretary
shall give priority to regions not currently served by apprenticeship programs
offered through the Vermont Department of Labor pursuant to 21 V.S.A.
[Repealed].
(k)
Annually on or before January 15, the Secretary shall submit a report to
the House Committee on Commerce and Economic Development and the
Senate Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs
summarizing.
In addition to the reporting requirements under section 540 of
this title, the report shall identify:
(1)
all active and completed contracts and grants,;
(2)
the types of training activities provided, from among the following,
the category the training addressed:
(A)
preemployment training or other training for a new employee to
begin a newly created position with the employer;
(B)
preemployment training or other training for a new employee to
begin in an existing position with the employer;
- 3738 -
(C)
training for an incumbent employee who, upon completion of
training, assumes a newly created position with the employer;
(D)
training for an incumbent employee who upon completion of
training assumes a different position with the employer;
(E)
training for an incumbent employee to upgrade skills;
(3)
for the training identified in subdivision whether the training is
onsite or classroom-based;
(4)
the number of employees served, and ;
(5)
the average wage by employer, and addressing;
(6)
any waivers granted;
(7)
the identity of the employer, or, if unknown at the time of the report,
the category of employer;
(8)
the identity of each training provider; and
(9)
whether training results in a wage increase for a trainee, and the
amount of increase.
Sec. 43.
REPEAL
2007 Acts and Resolves No. 46, Sec. 6(a), as amended by 2009 Acts and
Resolves No. 54, Sec. 8 (workforce education and training leader) and 2013
Acts and Resolves No. 81, Sec. 2, is repealed.
Sec. 44.
DEPARTMENT OF LABOR; AGENCY OF COMMERCE AND
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT; STATUTORY PROPOSALS
On or before November 1, 2014:
(1)
The Commissioner of Labor shall submit to the House Committee on
Commerce
and
Economic
Development
and
the
Senate
Committee
on
Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs a proposal to amend the
language of 10 V.S.A. § 543 to reflect best practices and improve clarity in the
administration of, and for applicants to, the grant program from the Workforce
Education and Training Fund under that section.
(2)
The Secretary of Commerce and Community Development shall
submit to the House Committee on Commerce and Economic Development
and the Senate Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General
Affairs a proposal to amend the language of 10 V.S.A. § 531 to reflect best
practices and improve clarity in the administration of, and for applicants to, the
Vermont Training Program under that section.
- 3739 -
Sec. 45.
INTERNSHIP OPPORTUNITIES FOR YOUNG PERSONS
On or before January 15, 2015, the Commissioner of Labor shall submit to
the House Committee on Commerce and Economic Development and the
Senate Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs a
report that details the internship opportunities available to Vermonters between
15 and 18 years of age and recommends one or more means to expand these
opportunities through the Vermont Career Internship Program, 10 V.S.A.
§ 544, or through other appropriate mechanisms.
* * * Vermont Strong Scholars Program * * *
Sec. 46.
16 V.S.A. chapter 90 is redesignated to read:
CHAPTER 90.
FUNDING OF POSTSECONDARY INSTITUTIONS
EDUCATION
Sec. 47.
16 V.S.A. § 2888 is added to read:
§ 2888.
VERMONT STRONG SCHOLARS AND INTERNSHIP
INITIATIVE
(a)
Creation.
(1)
There is created a postsecondary loan forgiveness and internship
initiative designed to forgive a portion of Vermont Student Assistance
Corporation loans of students employed in economic sectors identified as
important to Vermont’s economy and to build internship opportunities for
students to gain work experience with Vermont employers.
(2)
The initiative shall be known as the Vermont Strong Scholars and
Internship Initiative and is designed to:
(A)
encourage students to:
(i)
consider jobs in economic sectors that are critical to the
Vermont economy;
(ii)
enroll and remain enrolled in a Vermont postsecondary
institution; and
(iii)
live in Vermont upon graduation;
(B)
reduce student loan debt for postsecondary education in targeted
fields;
(C)
provide experiential learning through internship opportunities
with Vermont employers; and
(D)
support a pipeline of qualified talent for employment with
- 3740 -
Vermont’s employers.
(b)
Vermont Strong Loan Forgiveness Program.
(1)
Economic sectors; projections.
(A)
Annually, on or before November 15, the Secretary of Commerce
and Community Development and the Commissioner of Labor, in consultation
with the Vermont State Colleges, the University of Vermont, the Vermont
Student Assistance Corporation, the Secretary of Human Services, and the
Secretary of Education, shall identify economic sectors, projecting at least four
years into the future, that are or will be critical to the Vermont economy.
(B)
Based upon the identified economic sectors and the number of
students anticipated to qualify for loan forgiveness under this section, the
Secretary of Commerce and Community Development shall annually provide
the General Assembly with the estimated cost of the Vermont Student
Assistance Corporation’s loan forgiveness awards under the loan forgiveness
program during the then-current fiscal year and each of the four following
fiscal years.
(2)
Eligibility.
A graduate of a public or private Vermont postsecondary
institution shall be eligible for forgiveness of a portion of his or her Vermont
Student Assistance Corporation postsecondary education loans under this
section if he or she:
(A)
was a Vermont resident, as defined in 16 V.S.A. § 2822(7), at the
time he or she was graduated;
(B)
enrolled in a postsecondary institution on or after July 1, 2015
and completed an associate’s degree within three years, or a bachelor’s degree
within six years;
(C)
becomes employed in Vermont within 12 months of graduation
in an economic sector identified by the Secretary and Commissioner under
subdivision (1) of this subsection;
(D)
remains employed in Vermont throughout the period of loan
forgiveness
in
an
economic
sector
identified
by
the
Secretary
and
Commissioner under subdivision (1) of this subsection; and
(E)
remains a Vermont resident throughout the period of loan
forgiveness.
(3)
Loan forgiveness.
An eligible individual shall have a portion of his
or her Vermont Student Assistance Corporation loan forgiven as follows:
(A)
for an individual awarded an associate’s degree, in an amount
equal to the comprehensive in-state tuition rate for 15 credits at the Vermont
- 3741 -
State Colleges during the individual’s final semester of enrollment, to be
prorated over the three years following graduation; and
(B)
for an individual awarded a bachelor’s degree, in an amount
equal to the comprehensive in-state tuition rate for 30 credits at the Vermont
State Colleges during the individual’s final year of enrollment, to be prorated
over the five years following graduation.
(C)
Loan forgiveness may be awarded on a prorated basis to an
otherwise eligible Vermont resident who transfers to and is graduated from a
Vermont postsecondary institution.
(4)
Management.
(A)
The Secretary of Commerce and Community Development shall
develop all organizational details of the loan forgiveness program consistent
with the purposes and requirements of this section.
(B)
The Secretary shall enter into a memorandum of understanding
with the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation for management of the loan
forgiveness program.
(C)
The Secretary may adopt rules pursuant to 3 V.S.A. chapter 25
necessary to implement the Program.
(c)
Vermont Strong Internship Program.
(1)
Internship program management.
(A) The Commissioner of Labor and the Secretary of Commerce and
Community
Development
shall
jointly
develop
and
implement
the
organizational details of the internship program consistent with the purposes
and requirements of this section and may adopt rules pursuant to 3 V.S.A.
chapter 25 necessary to implement the internship program.
(B)
The Commissioner, in consultation with the Secretary, shall issue
a request for proposals for a person to serve as an Internship Program
Intermediary, who shall perform the duties and responsibilities pursuant to the
terms of a performance contract negotiated by the Commissioner and the
Intermediary.
(C)
The Department of Labor, the Agency of Commerce and
Community Development, the regional development corporations, and the
Intermediary, shall have responsibility for building connections within the
business community to ensure broad private sector participation in the
internship program.
(D)
The Program Intermediary shall:
- 3742 -
(i)
identify and foster postsecondary internships that are rigorous,
productive, well-managed, and mentored;
(ii)
cultivate relationships with employers, employer-focused
organizations, and state and regional government bodies;
(iii)
build relationships with Vermont postsecondary institutions
and facilitate recruitment of students to apply for available internships;
(iv)
create and maintain a registry of participating employers and
associated internship opportunities;
(v)
coordinate and provide support to the participating student, the
employer, and the student’s postsecondary institution;
(vi)
develop and oversee a participation contract between each
student and employer, including terms governing the expectations for the
internship, a work plan, mentoring and supervision of the student, reporting by
the employer and student, and compensation terms; and
(vii)
carry out any additional activities and duties as directed by
the Commissioner.
(2)
Qualifying internships.
(A)
Criteria.
To qualify for participation in the internship program an
internship shall at minimum:
(i)
be with a Vermont employer as approved by the Intermediary
in consultation with the Commissioner and Secretary;
(ii)
pay compensation to an intern of at least the prevailing
minimum wage; and
(iii)
meet the quality standards and expectations as established by
the Intermediary.
(B)
Employment of interns.
Interns shall be employed by the
sponsoring employer except, with the approval of the Commissioner on a
case-by-case basis, interns may be employed by the Intermediary and assigned
to work with a participating Vermont employer, in which case the sponsoring
employer shall contribute funds as determined by the Commissioner.
(3)
Student eligibility.
To participate in the internship program an
individual shall be:
(A)
a Vermont resident enrolled in a post-secondary institution in or
outside Vermont;
(B)
a student who graduated from a postsecondary institution within
- 3743 -
24 months of entering the program who was classified as a Vermont resident
during that schooling or who is a student who attended a post-secondary
institution in Vermont; or
(C)
a student enrolled in a Vermont post-secondary institution.
(d)
Funding.
(1)
Loan forgiveness program.
(A)
Loan forgiveness; State funding.
(i)
There is created a special fund to be known as the Vermont
Strong Scholars Fund pursuant to 32 V.S.A. chapter 7, subchapter 5, which
shall be used and administered by the Secretary of Commerce and Community
Development solely for the purposes of loan forgiveness pursuant to this
section.
(ii)
The Fund shall consist of sums to be identified by the
Secretary from any source accepted for the benefit of the Fund and interest
earned from the investment of Fund balances.
(iii)
Any interest earned and any remaining balance at the end of
the fiscal year shall be carried forward in the Fund.
(iv)
The availability and payment of loan forgiveness awards
under this subdivision is subject to State funding available for the awards.
(B)
Loan forgiveness; Vermont Student Assistance Corporation.
The Vermont Student Assistance Corporation shall have the authority to grant
loan forgiveness pursuant to this section by using the private loan forgiveness
capacity associated with bonds issued by the Corporation to raise funds for
private loans that are eligible for forgiveness under this section, if available.
(2)
Internship program.
Notwithstanding any provision of law to the
contrary, the Commissioner of Labor shall have the authority to use funds
allocated to the Workforce Education and Training Fund established in
10 V.S.A. § 543 to implement the internship program created in this section.
Sec. 48.
VERMONT STRONG INTERIM REPORT
On
or
before
November
1,
2014,
the
Secretary
of
Commerce
and
Community Development shall report to the Joint Fiscal Committee on the
organizational and economic details of the Vermont Strong Scholars Initiative,
including:
(1)
the economic sectors selected for loan forgiveness;
(2)
the projected annual cost of the Initiative,
- 3744 -
(3)
the proposed funding sources;
(4)
programmatic proposals and economic projections on the feasibility
and impacts of expanding eligibility for the loan forgiveness program to
include Vermont residents who attend postsecondary institutions outside
Vermont
and
out-of-state
residents
who
attend
Vermont
postsecondary
institutions; and
(5)
the projected balance of the Vermont Strong Scholars Fund for each
fiscal year through fiscal year 2018.
Sec. 49.
VERMONT PRODUCTS PROGRAM; STUDY; REPORT
(a)
On or before September 1, 2016, the Agency of Commerce and
Community Development, after consulting with appropriate stakeholders, shall
report to the Senate Committee on Economic Development, Housing and
General Affairs and the House Committee on Commerce and Economic
Development on creating a Vermont Products Program for the purpose of
providing Vermont businesses with a means of promoting and marketing
products
and
services
that
are
manufactured,
designed,
engineered,
or
formulated in Vermont and avoiding confusion by consumers when the
Vermont brand is used in marketing products or services.
(b)
The report required by this section shall describe the method,
feasibility, and cost of creating a Vermont Products Program that includes the
following elements:
(1)
The program shall include a licensing system that enables qualifying
persons to make marketing claims concerning significant business activities
occurring in Vermont, and to self-certify products and services that are
manufactured, designed, engineered, or formulated in Vermont.
Under this
system,
the
Secretary
shall
identify
and
craft
branding
and
marketing
guidelines that concern whether and how qualifying products or services
manufactured, designed, engineered, or formulated in Vermont can be properly
claimed so as to be licensed.
The licensing system shall permit an applicant to
self-certify compliance with designated criteria and attest to the accuracy of
claims authorized by the Secretary in order to obtain a license to advertise and
promote a product or service using the licensed materials.
(2)
The program may charge an annual fee for the issuance of the
license.
(3)
The program shall include an on-line application process that
permits an applicant to obtain the license if he or she certifies compliance with
criteria designated by the Secretary, attests to the accuracy of statements
designated by the Secretary, and pays the required fee.
- 3745 -
(4)
Licenses issued under the program shall include a provision
requiring that disputes regarding the license be resolved by alternative dispute
resolution.
A person who objects to the issuance of a license may file a
complaint with the Secretary, who shall refer it for alternative dispute
resolution as provided in the license.
(5)
A special fund, comprising license fees and any monies appropriated
by
the
General
Assembly,
may
be
created
for
the
administration
and
advertising of the program.
(c)
The report required by this section shall include a recommendation as to
whether the Vermont Products Program should replace the rules regarding
Vermont Origin adopted by the Attorney General.
(d)
On or before February 1, 2015, the Secretary of Commerce and
Community Development shall deliver testimony to the Senate Committee on
Economic
Development,
Housing
and
General
Affairs
and
the
House
Committee on Commerce and Economic Development on the status of the
Vermont Products Program pursuant to this section.
* * * Workers’ Compensation * * *
Sec. 50.
21 V.S.A. § 632 is amended to read:
§
632.
COMPENSATION
TO
DEPENDENTS; DEATH
BENEFITS
BURIAL AND FUNERAL EXPENSES
If death results from the injury, the employer shall pay to the persons
entitled to compensation or, if there is none, then to the personal representative
of the deceased employee, the actual burial and funeral expenses in the amount
of $5,500.00 not to exceed $10,000.00 and the actual expenses for out-of-state
transportation of the decedent to the place of burial not to exceed $1,000.00
$5,000.00.
Every two years, the Commissioner of Labor shall evaluate the
average burial and funeral expenses in the State and make a recommendation
to the House Committee on Commerce and Economic Development and the
Senate Committee on Finance as to whether an adjustment in compensation is
warranted.
The employer shall also pay to or for the benefit of the following
persons, for the periods prescribed in section 635 of this title, a weekly
compensation equal to the following percentages of the deceased employee’s
average weekly wages.
The weekly compensation payment herein allowed
shall not exceed the maximum weekly compensation or be lower than the
minimum weekly compensation:
* * *
Sec. 51.
21 V.S.A. § 639 is amended to read:
§ 639.
DEATH, PAYMENT TO DEPENDENTS
- 3746 -
In cases of the death of a person from any cause other than the accident
during the period of payments for disability or for the permanent injury, the
remaining payments for disability then due or for the permanent injury shall be
made to the person’s dependents according to the provisions of sections 635
and 636 of this title, or if there are none, the remaining amount due, but not
exceeding $5,500.00 for burial and funeral expenses no more than the actual
burial and funeral expenses not to exceed $10,000.00 and the actual expenses
for out-of-state transportation of the decedent to the place of burial not to
exceed $1,000.00 $5,000.00, shall be paid in a lump sum to the proper person.
Every two years, the Commissioner of Labor shall evaluate the average burial
and funeral expenses in the State and make a recommendation to the House
Committee
on
Commerce
and
Economic Development
and
the
Senate
Committee on Finance as to whether an adjustment in compensation is
warranted.
Sec. 52.
21 V.S.A. § 640c is added to read:
§ 640c.
OPIOID USAGE DETERRENCE
(a)
In support of the State’s fundamental interest in ensuring the well-being
of employees and employers, it is the intent of the General Assembly to protect
employees from the dangers of prescription drug abuse while maintaining a
balance between the employee’s health and the employee’s expedient return to
work.
(b)
As it pertains to workers’ compensation claims, the Commissioner of
Labor,
in
consultation
with
the
Department
of
Health,
the
State
Pharmacologist, the Vermont Board of Medical Practice, and the Vermont
Medical Society, shall adopt rules consistent with the best practices governing
the prescription of opioids, including patient screening, drug screening, and
claim adjudication for patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain.
In adopting
rules, the Commissioner shall consider guidelines and standards such as the
Occupational
Medicine
Practice
Guidelines
published
by
the
American
College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine and other medical
authorities with expertise in the treatment of chronic pain.
The rules shall be
consistent with the standards and guidelines under 18 V.S.A. § 4289 and any
rules adopted by the Department of Health pursuant to 18 V.S.A § 4289.
Sec. 53.
21 V.S.A. § 641 is amended to read:
§ 641.
VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION
* * *
(e)(1)
In support of the State’s fundamental interest in ensuring the
well-being of employees and employers, it is the intent of the General
- 3747 -
Assembly that, following a workplace accident, an employee return to work as
soon as possible but remain cognizant of the limitations imposed by his or her
medical condition.
(2)
The Commissioner shall adopt rules promoting development and
implementation of cost-effective, early return-to-work programs.
Sec. 54.
21 V.S.A. § 643a is amended to read:
§ 643a.
DISCONTINUANCE OF BENEFITS
Unless an injured worker has successfully returned to work, an employer
shall first notify both the Commissioner and the employee prior to terminating
benefits under either section 642 or 646 of this title the employee at least seven
days prior to providing to the Commissioner a notice of discontinuance of
benefits under either section 642 or 646 of this title.
The notice to the
employee shall include a specific explanation of the basis for discontinuance,
including any independent medical examination report, the claimant’s right to
object to the discontinuance, and the phone number and website address for the
Department.
The notice notices to the employee and the Commissioner of an
intention to discontinue payments shall be filed on forms prescribed by the
Commissioner and shall include the date of the proposed discontinuance, the
reasons for it, and, if the employee has been out of work for 90 days, a
verification that the employer offered vocational rehabilitation screening and
services as required under this chapter.
All relevant evidence, including
evidence that does not support discontinuance in the possession of the
employer not already filed, shall be filed with the notice shall be provided to
the injured worker.
With the notice of discontinuance, the employer shall file
with the Commissioner only evidence specific to the discontinuance, including
evidence that does not support the discontinuance.
The liability for the
payments shall continue for seven days after the notice is received by the
Commissioner and the employee.
If the claimant disputes the discontinuance,
the
claimant
may
file
with
the
Commissioner
an
objection
to
the
discontinuance and seek an extension of an additional seven days.
The
objection to the discontinuance shall be specific as to the reasons and include
supporting evidence.
A copy of the objection shall be provided to the
employer at the time the request is made to the Commissioner.
Those
payments shall be made without prejudice to the employer and may be
deducted from any amounts due pursuant to section 648 of this title if the
Commissioner determines that the discontinuance is warranted or if otherwise
ordered by the Commissioner.
Every notice shall be reviewed by the
Commissioner to determine the sufficiency of the basis for the proposed
discontinuance.
If,
after
review
of
all
the
evidence
in
the
file,
the
Commissioner finds that a preponderance of all the evidence in the file does
- 3748 -
not reasonably support the proposed discontinuance, the Commissioner shall
order that payments continue until a hearing is held and a decision is rendered.
Prior to a formal hearing, an injured worker may request reinstatement of
benefits
by
providing
additional
new
evidence
to
the
Department
that
establishes that a preponderance of all evidence now supports the claim.
If the
Commissioner’s decision, after a hearing, is that the employee was not entitled
to any or all benefits paid between the discontinuance and the final decision,
upon request of the employer, the Commissioner may order that the employee
repay all benefits to which the employee was not entitled.
The employer may
enforce a repayment order in any court of law having jurisdiction.
Sec. 54a.
REPEAL
21 V.S.A. § 643a shall be repealed on July 1, 2016.
Sec. 54b.
STUDY; REPORT; DISCONTINUANCE OF BENEFITS
The Commissioner of Labor shall assess the financial and administrative
impacts of the statutory revisions to 21 V.S.A. § 643a, as amended by this act,
and shall submit to the House Committee on Commerce and Economic
Development and the Senate Committee on Economic Development, Housing
and General Affairs on or before January 15, 2016, a report addressing:
(1)
whether the statutory revisions expedited the discontinuance process;
(2)
whether the statutory revisions impacted workers’ compensation
insurance rates;
(3)
how many requests to discontinue benefits were received, acted on,
the time required for action, and whether there was a subsequent order for
reinstatement of benefits; and
(4)
any other matters deemed relevant by the Commissioner.
Sec. 55.
21 V.S.A. § 691a is added to read:
§ 691a.
POSTING OF SAFETY RECORDS
(a)
In support of the State’s fundamental interest in ensuring the well-being
of employees and employers, it is the intent of the General Assembly to
improve the safety experience in the workplace.
(b)
An employer subject to the provisions of this chapter shall post a notice
in the employer’s place of business to advise employees of where they may
review the employer’s record of workplace safety, including workplace injury
and illness data, in accordance with rules adopted by the Commissioner.
The
employer’s record of workplace safety, including workplace injury and illness
data, shall be available for review by employees at the employer’s place of
business and the Commissioner, but shall not otherwise be public information.
- 3749 -
The posting shall be in a format approved by the Commissioner.
The posting
may be in a format provided by the Commissioner.
Sec. 56.
21 V.S.A. § 696 is amended to read:
§ 696.
CANCELLATION OF INSURANCE CONTRACTS
A policy or contract shall not be cancelled within the time limited specified
in the policy or contract for its expiration, until at least 45 days after a notice of
intention to cancel the policy or contract, on a date specified in the notice, has
been filed in the office of the commissioner Commissioner and provided to the
employer.
The notice shall be filed with the Commissioner in accordance with
rules adopted by the Commissioner and provided to the employer by certified
mail or certificate of mailing.
The cancellation shall not affect the liability of
an insurance carrier on account of an injury occurring prior to cancellation.
Sec. 57.
21 V.S.A. § 697 is amended to read:
§ 697.
NOTICE OF INTENT NOT TO RENEW POLICY
An insurance carrier who does not intend to renew a workers’ compensation
insurance policy of workers’ compensation insurance or guarantee contract
covering the liability of an employer under the provisions of this chapter, 45
days prior to the expiration of the policy or contract, shall give notice of the its
intention to the commissioner of labor Commissioner and to the covered
employer at least 45 days prior to the expiration date stated in the policy or
contract.
The notice shall be given to the employer by certified mail or
certificate of mailing. An insurance carrier who fails to give notice shall
continue the policy or contract in force beyond its expiration date for 45 days
from the day the notice is received by the commissioner Commissioner and the
employer.
However, this latter provision shall not apply if, prior to such
expiration date, on or before the expiration of the existing insurance or
guarantee contract the insurance carrier has, by delivery of a renewal contract
or otherwise, offered to continue the insurance beyond the date by delivery of a
renewal contract or otherwise, or if the employer notifies the insurance carrier
in writing that the employer does not wish the insurance continued beyond the
expiration date, or if the employer complies with the provisions of section 687
of this title, on or before the expiration of the existing insurance or guarantee
contract then the policy will expire upon notice to the Commissioner.
Sec. 58.
ROBERT H. WOOD CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND FIRE SERVICE
TRAINING CENTER STUDY
The
Department
of
Labor
and
the
Office
of
Risk
Management,
in
consultation with the Vermont League of Cities and Towns and any other
interested parties, shall conduct a study, to be submitted to the House
- 3750 -
Committee
on
Commerce
and
Economic
Development
and
the
Senate
Committee on Finance on or before January 15, 2015, to:
(1)
analyze existing and frequently occurring injuries suffered by
individuals while attending the Robert H. Wood Criminal Justice and Fire
Service Training Center;
(2)
analyze preventive measures to avoid injuries;
(3)
recommend who should bear the financial burden of the workers’
compensation premiums; and
(4)
recommend preventive measures necessary to reduce injuries.
Sec. 59.
WORKPLACE SAFETY RANKING STUDY
The Department of Labor and the Department of Financial Regulation, in
consultation with the
National Council on Compensation Insurance
, shall
study whether information may be made available to employers to allow an
employer
to
compare
its
workplace
safety
and
workers’
compensation
experience with that of employers in similar industries or
North American
Industry Classification System
codes.
Sec. 60.
2013 Acts and Resolves No. 75, Sec. 14 is amended as follows:
Sec.
14.
UNIFIED
PAIN
MANAGEMENT
SYSTEM
ADVISORY
COUNCIL
* * *
(b)
The Unified Pain Management System Advisory Council shall consist
of the following members:
* * *
(4)
the Commissioner of Labor or designee;
(5)
the Director of the Blueprint for Health or designee;
(5)(6)
the Chair of the Board of Medical Practice or designee, who shall
be a clinician;
(6)(7)
a representative of the Vermont State Dental Society, who shall
be a dentist;
(7)(8)
a representative of the Vermont Board of Pharmacy, who shall be
a pharmacist;
(8)(9)
a faculty member of the academic detailing program at the
University of Vermont’s College of Medicine;
(9)(10)
a faculty member of the University of Vermont’s College of
- 3751 -
Medicine
with
expertise
in
the
treatment
of
addiction
or
chronic
pain
management;
(10)(11)
a representative of the Vermont Medical Society, who shall be
a primary care clinician;
(11)(12)
a
representative
of
the
American
Academy
of
Family
Physicians, Vermont chapter, who shall be a primary care clinician;
(12)(13)
a representative from the Vermont Board of Osteopathic
Physicians, who shall be an osteopath;
(13)(14)
a representative of the Federally Qualified Health Centers, who
shall be a primary care clinician selected by the Bi-State Primary Care
Association;
(14)(15)
a representative of the Vermont Ethics Network;
(15)(16)
a representative of the Hospice and Palliative Care Council of
Vermont;
(16)(17)
a representative of the Office of the Health Care Ombudsman;
(17)(18)
the Medical Director for the Department of Vermont Health
Access;
(18)(19)
a clinician who works in the emergency department of a
hospital, to be selected by the Vermont Association of Hospitals and Health
Systems in consultation with any nonmember hospitals;
(19)(20)
a member of the Vermont Board of Nursing Subcommittee on
APRN Practice, who shall be an advanced practice registered nurse;
(20)(21)
a representative from the Vermont Assembly of Home Health
and Hospice Agencies;
(21)(22)
a psychologist licensed pursuant to 26 V.S.A. chapter 55 who
has experience in treating chronic pain, to be selected by the Board of
Psychological Examiners;
(22)(23)
a drug and alcohol abuse counselor licensed pursuant to
33 V.S.A. chapter 8, to be selected by the Deputy Commissioner of Health for
Alcohol and Drug Abuse Programs;
(23)(24)
a retail pharmacist, to be selected by the Vermont Pharmacists
Association;
(24)(25)
an advanced practice registered nurse full-time faculty member
from the University of Vermont’s Department of Nursing; and
(25)(26)
a consumer representative who is either a consumer in recovery
- 3752 -
from prescription drug abuse or a consumer receiving medical treatment for
chronic noncancer-related pain;
(27)
a clinician who specializes in occupational medicine;
(28)
a
clinician
who
specializes
in
physical
medicine
and
rehabilitation; and
(29)
a consumer representative who is or has been an injured worker and
has been prescribed opioids.
* * *
Sec. 61.
21 V.S.A. § 602 is amended to read:
§ 602.
PROCESS AND PROCEDURE
* * *
(c)
Any communication from an employer or an insurer to a claimant that
is not otherwise required to be provided on a form prescribed by the
Commissioner must include a statement advising the claimant immediately to
contact the Vermont Department of Labor’s Workers’ Compensation Division
to determine a right to object or appeal, as provided by law, and to seek
information from the Department on the process and procedures.
Sec. 62.
21 V.S.A. § 655 is amended to read:
§ 655.
PROCEDURE
IN
OBTAINING
COMPENSATION;
MEDICAL
EXAMINATION; VIDEO AND AUDIO RECORDING
After an injury and during the period of disability, if so requested by his or
her employer, or ordered by the Commissioner, the employee shall submit to
examination, at reasonable times and places within a two-hour driving radius
of the residence of the injured employee, by a duly licensed physician or
surgeon designated and paid by the employer.
The Commissioner may in his
or her discretion permit an examination outside the two-hour driving radius if
it is necessary to obtain the services of a provider who specializes in the
evaluation and treatment specific to the nature and extent of the employee’s
injury.
The
employee
may
make
a
video
or
audio
recording
of
any
examination performed by the insurer’s physician or surgeon or have a
licensed health care provider designated and paid by the employee present at
the examination.
The employer may make an audio recording of the
examination.
The right of the employee to record the examination shall not be
construed to deny to the employer’s physician the right to visit the injured
employee at all reasonable times and under all reasonable conditions during
total disability.
If an employee refuses to submit to or in any way obstructs the
examination, the employee’s right to prosecute any proceeding under the
- 3753 -
provisions of this chapter shall be suspended until the refusal or obstruction
ceases, and compensation shall not be payable for the period which the refusal
or obstruction continues.
Sec. 63.
21 V.S.A. § 663b is added to read:
§ 663b.
FRAUD
(a)
Any claims of fraud submitted to the Department shall require action by
the Commissioner to determine if further investigation is warranted.
The
Commissioner shall order the insurer to investigate specific allegations of
claimant fraud and submit a written report to the Department.
Once the
insurer’s report is received, the Commissioner shall afford the claimant an
opportunity
to
respond
in
person
or
in
writing
within
30
days.
The
Commissioner
may
order
additional
information
to
be
provided
to
the
Department from the insurer or the claimant.
The Department shall issue a
determination
on
the
fraud
allegation,
including
penalties
and
any
reimbursement as provided under section 708 of this title.
The party may
appeal
the
decision
of
the
Commissioner
as
provided
under 3
V.S.A.
(b)
An employee found to have committed fraud in order to receive
compensation under this chapter shall be ordered to repay all compensation
fraudulently received in addition to other administrative penalties ordered by
the Department.
These payments shall not be charged to the employer for
purposes of calculating its experience rating.
Sec. 64.
FRAUD STUDY AND REPORT
The Department shall initiate a study of the best practices to detect and
deter workers’ compensation fraud by employees, employers, and other
persons involved with the workers’ compensation system.
The study shall
include investigation procedures, penalties, and recapture of fraudulently
obtained payments in a timely and cost-effective manner.
On or before
January
15,
2015,
the
Department
shall
report
its
findings
and
recommendations to the House Committee on Commerce and Economic
Development and the Senate Committee on Economic Development, Housing
and General Affairs.
Sec. 65.
21 V.S.A. § 624(e) is amended to read:
(e)(1)
In an action to enforce the liability of a third party, the injured
employee may recover any amount which the employee or the employee’s
personal representative would be entitled to recover in a civil action.
Any
recovery against the third party for damages resulting from personal injuries or
death only, after deducting expenses of recovery, shall first reimburse the
- 3754 -
employer or its workers’ compensation insurance carrier for any amounts paid
or payable under this chapter to date of recovery, and the balance shall
forthwith be paid to the employee or the employee’s dependents or personal
representative and shall be treated as an advance payment by the employer on
account of any future payment of compensation benefits.
Reimbursement
required under this subsection, except to prevent double recovery, shall not
reduce the employee’s recovery of any benefit or payment provided by a plan
or policy that was privately purchased by the injured employee, including
uninsured-under insured uninsured-underinsured motorist coverage, or any
other first party insurance payments or benefits.
(2)
Should the recovery against the third party for damages resulting
from personal injuries or death only, after deducting expenses of recovery, be
less than the full value of the claim for personal injuries or death, the
reimbursement to the employer or workers’ compensation insurance carrier
shall be limited to that portion of the recovery allocated for damages covered
by the Workers’ Compensation Act.
If a court has not allocated or the parties
cannot agree to the allocation of the recovered damages, either party may
request that the Commissioner make an administrative determination.
Upon
receiving a request, the Commissioner shall order mediation with a mediator
selected from
a
list
approved
by
the
Commissioner.
If
mediation
is
unsuccessful, the Commissioner may adjudicate the dispute or refer the dispute
to an arbitrator approved by the Commissioner.
The determination of the
Commissioner or of an arbitrator approved by the Commissioner shall be final.
The cost of any mediation or arbitration shall be split equally by the parties.
Sec. 66.
21 V.S.A. § 678 is amended to read:
§ 678.
COSTS; ATTORNEY ATTORNEY’S FEES
(a)
Necessary costs of proceedings under this chapter, including deposition
expenses, subpoena fees, and expert witness fees, shall be assessed by the
commissioner
Commissioner
against
the
employer
or
its
workers’
compensation
carrier
when
the
claimant
prevails.
The commissioner
Commissioner may
allow
the
claimant
to
recover
reasonable attorney
attorney’s fees when the claimant prevails.
Costs shall not be taxed or allowed
either party except as provided in this section.
(b)
In appeals to the superior or supreme courts Superior or Supreme Court,
if the claimant prevails, he or she shall be entitled to reasonable attorney
attorney’s fees as approved by the court Court, necessary costs, including
deposition expenses, subpoena fees, and expert witness fees, and interest at the
rate of 12 percent per annum on that portion of any award the payment of
which is contested.
Interest shall be computed from the date of the award of
the commissioner Commissioner.
- 3755 -
* * *
* * * Notice of Data Security Breach * * *
Sec. 67.
9 V.S.A. § 2435(b)(4) is amended to read:
(4)(A) The notice to a consumer required by this subsection shall be
delayed upon request of a law enforcement agency.
A law enforcement agency
may request the delay if it believes that notification may impede a law
enforcement investigation, or a national or Homeland Security investigation or
jeopardize public safety or national or Homeland Security interests.
In the
event law enforcement makes the request for a delay in a manner other than in
writing, the data collector shall document such request contemporaneously in
writing, including the name of the law enforcement officer making the request
and the officer’s law enforcement agency engaged in the investigation.
A law
enforcement agency shall promptly notify the data collector in writing when
the law enforcement agency no longer believes that notification may impede a
law
enforcement
investigation,
or
a
national
or
Homeland
Security
investigation or jeopardize public safety or national or Homeland Security
interests.
The data collector shall provide notice required by this section
without unreasonable delay upon receipt of a written communication, which
includes facsimile or electronic communication, from the law enforcement
agency withdrawing its request for delay.
(B)
A Vermont law enforcement agency with a reasonable belief that
a security breach has or may have occurred at a specific business shall notify
the business in writing of its belief.
The agency shall also notify the business
that additional information on the security breach may need to be furnished to
the Office of the Attorney General or the Department of Financial Regulation
and shall include the website and telephone number for the Office and the
Department in the notice required by this subdivision.
Nothing in this
subdivision shall alter the responsibilities of a data collector under this section
or provide a cause of action against a law enforcement agency that fails,
without bad faith, to provide the notice required by this subdivision.
* * * Insurance; Form of Notice * * *
Sec. 68. 8 V.S.A. § 3666 is added to read:
§ 3666.
RULES; METHODS OF NOTICE
Notwithstanding the requirements under sections 3883, 4226, and 4714 of
this
title,
the
Commissioner
of
Financial
Regulation
shall
adopt
rules
specifying the methods by which a notice to a party required under section
3880, 3881, 4224, 4225, 4712, or 4713 of this title shall be given.
* * * Effective Dates * * *
- 3756 -
Sec. 69.
EFFECTIVE DATES
(a)
This section, Secs. 28 (Public Service Board; order revision), 52, 53,
54a, 54b, and 58–66 (certain workers’ compensation provisions) shall take
effect on passage.
(b)
16 V.S.A. § 2888(b)(3) (Vermont Strong loan forgiveness) in Sec. 47
shall take effect on July 1, 2015.
(c)
Sec. 54 (discontinuance of benefits) shall take effect September 1, 2014.
(d)
10 V.S.A. § 531(c) in Sec. 42 shall take effect July 2, 2014.
(e)
The remainder of this act shall take effect on July 1, 2014.
NEW BUSINESS
Senate Proposal of Amendment
H. 596
An act relating to the conversion of assets of a nonprofit hospital
The Senate proposes to the House to amend the bill by striking all after the
enacting clause and inserting in lieu thereof the following:
* * * Principles * * *
Sec. 1.
PRINCIPLES FOR HEALTH CARE FINANCING
The
General
Assembly
adopts
the
following
principles
to
guide
the
financing of health care in Vermont:
(1)
All Vermont residents have the right to high-quality health care.
(2)
To the extent that Green Mountain Care is financed through taxes
including mandatory premiums, the taxes shall be levied equitably, taking into
account an individual’s ability to pay and the value of the health benefits
provided.
(3)
As provided in 33 V.S.A. § 1827, Green Mountain Care shall be the
payer of last resort for Vermont residents who continue to receive health care
through plans provided by an employer, by another state, by a foreign
government, or as a retirement benefit.
(4)
Vermont’s system for financing health care shall raise revenue
sufficient to provide medically necessary health care services to all enrolled
Vermont residents, including maternity and newborn care, pediatric care,
vision and dental care for children, surgery and hospital care, emergency care,
outpatient care, treatment for mental health conditions, and prescription drugs.
* * * Vermont Health Benefit Exchange * * *
- 3757 -
Sec. 2.
33 V.S.A. § 1803 is amended to read:
§ 1803.
VERMONT HEALTH BENEFIT EXCHANGE
* * *
(b)(1)(A)
The Vermont Health Benefit Exchange shall provide qualified
individuals and qualified employers with qualified health benefit plans,
including the multistate plans required by the Affordable Care Act, with
effective dates beginning on or before January 1, 2014.
The Vermont Health
Benefit
Exchange
may
contract
with
qualified
entities
or
enter
into
intergovernmental agreements to facilitate the functions provided by the
Vermont Health Benefit Exchange.
* * *
(4)
To the extent permitted by the U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services, the Vermont Health Benefit Exchange shall permit qualified
employers to purchase qualified health benefit plans through the Exchange
website, through navigators, by telephone, or directly from a health insurer
under contract with the Vermont Health Benefit Exchange.
* * *
Sec. 3.
33 V.S.A. § 1811(b) is amended to read:
(b)(1)
No person may provide a health benefit plan to an individual or
small employer unless the plan is offered through the Vermont Health Benefit
Exchange and complies with the provisions of this subchapter.
(2)
To the extent permitted by the U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services, a small employer or an employee of a small employer may
purchase
a
health
benefit
plan
through
the
Exchange
website,
through
navigators, by telephone, or directly from a health insurer under contract with
the Vermont Health Benefit Exchange.
(3)
No person may provide a health benefit plan to an individual or
small employer unless the plan complies with the provisions of this subchapter.
Sec. 4.
PURCHASE OF SMALL GROUP PLANS DIRECTLY FROM
CARRIERS
To the extent permitted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services and notwithstanding any provision of State law to the contrary, the
Department of Vermont Health Access shall permit employers purchasing
qualified health benefit plans on the Vermont Health Benefit Exchange to
purchase the plans through the Exchange website, through navigators, by
telephone, or directly from a health insurer under contract with the Vermont
Health Benefit Exchange.
- 3758 -
* * * Health Insurance Rate Review * * *
Sec. 5.
8 V.S.A. § 4062(h) is amended to read:
(h)(1)
This The authority of the Board under this section shall apply only to
the rate review process for policies for major medical insurance coverage and
shall not apply to the policy forms for major medical insurance coverage or to
the rate and policy form review process for policies for specific disease,
accident, injury, hospital indemnity, dental care, vision care, disability income,
long-term care, student health insurance coverage, or other limited benefit
coverage; to Medicare supplemental insurance;, or to benefit plans that are
paid directly to an individual insured or to his or her assigns and for which the
amount of the benefit is not based on potential medical costs or actual costs
incurred.
(2)
The policy forms for major medical insurance coverage, as well as
the policy forms, premium rates, and rules for the classification of risk for the
other lines of insurance described in subdivision (1) of this subsection shall be
reviewed and approved or disapproved by the Commissioner.
In making his or
her determination, the Commissioner shall consider whether a policy form,
premium rate, or rule is affordable and is not unjust, unfair, inequitable,
misleading, or contrary to the laws of this State.
The Commissioner shall
make his or her determination within 30 days after the date the insurer filed the
policy form, premium rate, or rule with the Department.
At the expiration of
the 30-day period, the form, premium rate, or rule shall be deemed approved
unless prior to then it has been affirmatively approved or disapproved by the
Commissioner or found to be incomplete.
The Commissioner shall notify an
insurer in writing if the insurer files any form, premium rate, or rule containing
a provision that does not meet the standards expressed in this subsection.
In
such notice, the Commissioner shall state that a hearing will be granted within
20 days upon the insurer’s written request.
(3)
Medicare supplemental insurance policies shall be exempt only from
the requirement in subdivisions (a)(1) and (2) of this section for the Green
Mountain Care Board’s approval on rate requests and shall be subject to the
remaining provisions of this section.
* * * Green Mountain Care * * *
Sec. 6.
33 V.S.A. § 1827 is amended to read:
§ 1827.
ADMINISTRATION; ENROLLMENT
* * *
(e)
[Repealed.]
(f)
Green Mountain Care shall be the secondary payer of last resort with
- 3759 -
respect to any health service that may be covered in whole or in part by any
other health benefit plan, including Medicare, private health insurance, retiree
health benefits, or federal health benefit plans offered by the Veterans’
Administration, by the military, or to federal employees.
* * *
Sec. 7.
CONTRACT FOR ADMINISTRATION OF CERTAIN ELEMENTS
OF GREEN MOUNTAIN CARE; REPORT
On or before January 15, 2015, the Secretary of Human Services shall
report to the General Assembly the elements of Green Mountain Care, such as
claims administration and provider relations, for which the Agency plans to
solicit bids for administration pursuant to 33 V.S.A. § 1827(a), as well as the
dates by which the Agency will solicit bids for administration of those
elements and by which it will award the contracts.
Sec. 8.
CONCEPTUAL WAIVER APPLICATION
On or before November 15, 2014, the Secretary of Administration or
designee shall submit to the federal Center for Consumer Information and
Insurance Oversight a conceptual waiver application expressing the intent of
the State of Vermont to pursue a Waiver for State Innovation pursuant to
Sec. 1332
of
the
Patient
Protection
and
Affordable
Care
Act,
Pub.
L.
No. 111-148, as amended by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act
of 2010, Pub. L. No. 111-152, and the State’s interest in commencing the
application process.
* * * Green Mountain Care Board * * *
Sec. 9.
2000 Acts and Resolves No. 152, Sec. 117b, as amended by 2013 Acts
and Resolves No. 79, Sec, 42, is further amended to read:
Sec. 117b.
MEDICAID COST SHIFT REPORTING
* * *
(b)
Notwithstanding
2
V.S.A.
§ 20(d),
annually
on
or
before
December January 15, the chair Chair of the Green Mountain Care Board, the
Commissioner of Vermont Health Access, and each acute care hospital shall
file with the Joint Fiscal Committee, the House Committee on Health Care,
and the Senate Committee on Health and Welfare, in the manner required by
the Joint Fiscal Committee, such information as is necessary to carry out the
purposes of this section.
Such information shall pertain to the provider
delivery system to the extent it is available.
The Green Mountain Care Board
may satisfy its obligations under this section by including the information
required by this section in the annual report required by 18 V.S.A. § 9375(d).
- 3760 -
* * *
Sec. 10.
2013 Acts and Resolves No. 79, Sec. 5b is amended to read:
Sec. 5b.
STANDARDIZED HEALTH INSURANCE CLAIMS AND
EDITS
(a)(1)
As part of moving away from fee-for-service and toward other models
of payment for health care services in Vermont, the Green Mountain Care Board,
in consultation with the Department of Vermont Health Access, health care
providers, health insurers, and other interested stakeholders, shall develop a
complete set of standardized edits and payment rules based on Medicare or on
another set of standardized edits and payment rules appropriate for use in
Vermont.
The Board and the Department shall adopt by rule the standards and
payment rules that health care providers, health insurers, and other payers shall
use beginning on January 1, 2015 2016 and that Medicaid shall use beginning on
January 1, 2017.
* * *
* * * Non-Emergency Walk-In Centers * * *
Sec. 11.
18 V.S.A. § 9492 is added to read:
§ 9492.
NON-EMERGENCY
WALK-IN
CENTERS;
NONDISCRIMINATION
(a)
A non-emergency walk-in center shall accept patients of all ages for
diagnosis and treatment of illness, injury, and disease during all hours that the
center is open to see patients.
A non-emergency walk-in center shall not
discriminate against any patient or prospective patient on the basis of insurance
status or type of health coverage.
(b)
As used in this section, “non-emergency walk-in center” means an
outpatient or ambulatory diagnostic or treatment center at which a patient
without making an appointment may receive medical care that is not of an
emergency, life threatening nature.
The term includes facilities that are self-
described as urgent care centers, retail health clinics, and convenient care
clinics.
* * * Pharmacy Benefit Managers * * *
Sec. 12.
18 V.S.A. § 9472 is amended to read:
§ 9472.
PHARMACY BENEFIT MANAGERS; REQUIRED PRACTICES
WITH RESPECT TO HEALTH INSURERS
(c)
Unless the contract provides otherwise, a A pharmacy benefit manager
that provides pharmacy benefit management for a health plan shall:
- 3761 -
* * *
(4)
If Unless the contract provides otherwise, if the pharmacy benefit
manager derives any payment or benefit for the dispensation of prescription
drugs within the state State based on volume of sales for certain prescription
drugs or classes or brands of drugs within the state State, pass that payment or
benefit on in full to the health insurer.
* * *
(d)
At least annually, a pharmacy benefit manager that provides pharmacy
benefit management for a health plan shall disclose to the health insurer, the
Department of Financial Regulation, and the Green Mountain Care Board the
aggregate amount the pharmacy benefit manager retained on all claims charged
to the health insurer for prescriptions filled during the preceding calendar year
in excess of the amount the pharmacy benefit manager reimbursed pharmacies.
(e)
Compliance with the requirements of this section is required for
pharmacy benefit managers entering into contracts with a health insurer in this
state State for pharmacy benefit management in this state State.
Sec. 13.
18 V.S.A. § 9473 is redesignated to read:
§ 9473 9474.
ENFORCEMENT
Sec. 14.
18 V.S.A. § 9473 is added to read:
§ 9473.
PHARMACY BENEFIT MANAGERS; REQUIRED PRACTICES
WITH RESPECT TO PHARMACIES
(a)
Within 14 calendar days following receipt of a pharmacy claim, a
pharmacy benefit manager or other entity paying pharmacy claims shall do one
of the following:
(1)
Pay or reimburse the claim.
(2)
Notify the pharmacy in writing that the claim is contested or denied.
The notice shall include specific reasons supporting the contest or denial and a
description of any additional information required for the pharmacy benefit
manager or other payer to determine liability for the claim.
(b)
A pharmacy benefit manager or other entity paying pharmacy claims
shall not:
(1)
impose a higher co-payment for a prescription drug than the
co-payment applicable to the type of drug purchased under the insured’s health
plan;
(2)
impose a higher co-payment for a prescription drug than the
maximum allowable cost for the drug; or
- 3762 -
(3)
require a pharmacy to pass through any portion of the insured’s
co-payment to the pharmacy benefit manager or other payer.
Sec. 15.
9 V.S.A. § 2466a is amended to read:
§ 2466a.
CONSUMER PROTECTIONS; PRESCRIPTION DRUGS
(a)
A violation of 18 V.S.A. § 4631 shall be considered a prohibited
practice under section 2453 of this title.
(b)
As provided in 18 V.S.A. § 9473 9474, a violation of 18 V.S.A. § 9472
or 9473 shall be considered a prohibited practice under section 2453 of this
title.
* * *
* * * Adverse Childhood Experiences * * *
Sec. 16.
ADVERSE CHILDHOOD EXPERIENCES; REPORT
On or before January 15, 2015, the Director of the Blueprint for Health and
the Chair of the Green Mountain Care Board or their designees shall review
evidence-based materials on the relationship
between adverse
childhood
experiences (ACEs) and population health and recommend to the General
Assembly whether, how, and at what expense ACE-informed medical practice
should be integrated into Blueprint practices and community health teams.
The Director and the Chair or their designees shall also develop a methodology
by which the Blueprint will evaluate emerging health care delivery quality
initiatives to determine whether, how, and to what extent they should be
integrated into the Blueprint for Health.
* * * Reports * * *
Sec. 17.
CHRONIC CARE MANAGEMENT; BLUEPRINT; REPORT
On or before October 1, 2014, the Secretary of Administration or designee
shall recommend to the House Committees on Health Care and on Human
Services and the Senate Committees on Health and Welfare and on Finance
whether and to what extent to increase payments to health care providers and
community health teams for their participation in the Blueprint for Health and
whether to expand the Blueprint to include additional services or chronic
conditions such as obesity, mental conditions, and oral health.
Sec. 18.
HEALTH INSURER SURPLUS; LEGAL CONSIDERATIONS;
REPORT
The Department of Financial Regulation, in consultation with the Office of
the Attorney General, shall identify the legal and financial considerations
involved in the event that a private health insurer offering major medical
- 3763 -
insurance plans, whether for-profit or nonprofit, ceases doing business in this
State, including appropriate disposition of the insurer’s surplus funds.
On or
before July 15, 2014, the Department shall report its findings to the House
Committees on Health Care, on Commerce, and on Ways and Means and the
Senate Committees on Health and Welfare and on Finance.
Sec. 19.
INDEPENDENT PHYSICIAN PRACTICES; REPORT
On or before December 1, 2014, the Secretary of Administration or
designee shall recommend to the House Committee on Health Care and the
Senate Committees on Health and Welfare and on Finance whether the State
should prohibit health insurers from reimbursing physicians in independent
practices at lower rates than those at which they reimburse physicians in
hospital-owned practices for providing the same services.
Sec. 20.
INCREASING MEDICAID RATES; REPORT
On or before January 15, 2015, the Secretary of Administration or designee,
in consultation with the Green Mountain Care Board, shall report to the House
Committees on Health Care and on Ways
and Means and the Senate
Committees on Health and Welfare and on Finance regarding the impact of
increasing Medicaid reimbursement rates to providers to match Medicare rates.
The issues to be addressed in the report shall include:
(1)
the amount of State funds needed to effect the increase;
(2)
the
projected
impact
of
the
increase
on health
insurance
premiums; and
(3)
to the extent that premium reductions would likely result in a
decrease in the aggregate amount of federal premium tax credits for which
Vermont residents would be eligible, whether there are specific timing
considerations for the increase as it relates to Vermont’s application for a
Waiver for State Innovation pursuant to Section 1332 of the Patient Protection
and Affordable Care Act.
Sec.
21.
HEALTH
INFORMATION
TECHNOLOGY
AND
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY; REPORT
On or before October 1, 2014, the Office of the Attorney General, in
consultation with the Vermont Information Technology Leaders, shall report to
the
House
Committees
on
Health
Care,
on
Commerce
and
Economic
Development, and on Ways and Means and the Senate Committees on Health
and Welfare, on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs, and on
Finance regarding the need for intellectual property protection with respect to
Vermont’s
Health
Information
Exchange
and
other
health
information
technology initiatives, including the potential for receiving patent, copyright,
- 3764 -
or trademark protection for health information technology functions, the
estimated costs of obtaining intellectual property protection, and projected
revenues to the State from protecting intellectual property assets or licensing
protected interests to third parties.
* * * Health Care Workforce Symposium * * *
Sec. 22.
HEALTH CARE WORKFORCE SYMPOSIUM
On or before January 15, 2015, the Secretary of Administration or designee,
in collaboration with the Vermont Medical Society, the Vermont Association
of Hospitals and Health Systems, and the Vermont Assembly of Home Health
and Hospice Agencies, shall organize and conduct a symposium to address the
impacts of moving toward universal health care coverage on Vermont’s health
care workforce and on its projected workforce needs.
* * * Global Hospital Budgets * * *
Sec. 23.
GREEN MOUNTAIN CARE BOARD; GLOBAL HOSPITAL
PILOT PROJECTS
(a)
The Green Mountain Care Board may develop and implement global
budgeting pilot projects involving multiple payers at up to two hospitals in this
State.
The Board shall ensure that a hospital’s existing or pending contracts
with accountable care organizations and any shared savings or other financial
arrangements related to such contracts are accurately accounted for when
establishing global hospital budgets pursuant to this section.
(b)
The Green Mountain Care Board may take such steps as are necessary
to include all payers in the global hospital budget pilot projects, including
negotiating with the federal Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation to
involve Medicare and Medicaid.
(c)
In the event that at least one pilot project authorized under this section
is being developed or implemented on or before January 15, 2015, on that date
and quarterly thereafter through January 2017, the Green Mountain Care Board
shall provide updates to the House Committee on Health Care, the Senate
Committees on Health and Welfare and on Finance, and the Health Care
Oversight Committee regarding the development and implementation of the
global hospital budget pilot projects authorized by this section, including any
effect on hospital budget growth, any impact on care delivery and patient
outcomes, and recommendations about whether to continue global hospital
budgets at the participating hospital or hospitals and whether to implement
global hospital budgets for other Vermont hospitals.
* * * Repeal * * *
Sec. 24.
REPEAL
- 3765 -
3 V.S.A. § 635a (legislators and session-only legislative employees eligible
to purchase State Employees Health Benefit Plan at full cost) is repealed.
* * * Effective Dates * * *
Sec. 25.
EFFECTIVE DATES
This act shall take effect on passage, except that:
(1)
notwithstanding 1 V.S.A. § 214, Sec. 24 (repeal of legislator
eligibility to purchase State Employees Health Benefit Plan) shall take effect
on passage and shall apply retroactively to January 1, 2014, except that
members and session-only employees of the General Assembly who were
enrolled in the State Employees Health Benefit Plan on January 1, 2014 may
continue to receive coverage under the plan through the remainder of the 2014
plan year; and
(2)
Sec. 14 (18 V.S.A. § 9473; pharmacy benefit managers) shall take
effect on July 1, 2014 and shall apply to contracts entered into or renewed on
or after that date.
And that after passage the title of the bill be amended to read: “An act
relating to miscellaneous amendments to health care laws”.
(For text see House Journal January 23, 2014 )
Committee of Conference Report
S. 220
An act relating to furthering economic development
TO THE SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:
The Committee of Conference to which were referred the disagreeing votes
of the two Houses upon Senate Bill entitled:
S. 220
An act relating to furthering economic development
Respectfully report that they have met and considered the same and
recommend that the bill be amended by striking all after the enacting clause
and inserting in lieu thereof the following:
* * * One-Stop Business Support Services * * *
Sec. 1.
ONE-STOP SHOP WEB PORTAL
(a)
Purpose.
The State of Vermont seeks to simplify and expedite the
process for business creation and growth by providing:
(1)
a clear guide to resources and technical assistance for all phases of
business development;
- 3766 -
(2)
a directory of financial assistance, including grants, funding capital,
tax credits, and incentives;
(3)
a
directory
of
workforce
development
assistance,
including
recruiting, job postings, and training;
(4)
a link to centralized business services available from the Secretary of
State, the Department of Labor, the Department of Taxes, and others; and
(5)
agency contacts and links for available services and resources.
(b)
Administration.
On or before June 30, 2015, the Secretary of State, the
Department of Taxes, the Department of Labor, the Vermont Attorney
General, the Agency of Commerce and Community Development, and the
Agency of Administration shall coordinate with other relevant agencies and
departments within State government and outside partners, including regional
development corporations, regional planning commissions, and small business
development centers, to provide comprehensive business services, regional
coaching teams, print materials, other outreach, and a “One-Stop Shop”
website.
(c)
On or before January 15, 2015, the Secretary of State and partners shall
report to the Senate Committee on Economic Development, Housing and
General Affairs and the House Committee on Commerce and Economic
Development to inform the committees of the status of the project and a
timeline for its completion.
Secs. 2–3. RESERVED
* * * Vermont Economic Development Authority * * *
Sec. 4.
10 V.S.A. chapter 12 is amended to read:
VERMONT ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
AUTHORITY
* * *
Subchapter 12.
Technology Loan Vermont Entrepreneurial Lending
Program
§ 280aa.
FINDINGS AND PURPOSE
(a)(1)
Technology-based companies Vermont-based businesses in seed,
start-up, and growth stages are a vital source of innovation, employment, and
economic growth in Vermont.
The continued development and success of this
increasingly important sector of Vermont’s economy these businesses is
dependent upon the availability of flexible, risk-based capital.
- 3767 -
(2)
Because
the
primary
assets
of technology-based
companies
sometimes Vermont-based businesses in seed, start-up, and growth stages often
consist almost entirely of intellectual property or insufficient tangible assets to
support conventional lending, such these companies frequently do may not
have access to conventional means of raising capital, such as asset-based bank
financing.
(b)
To support the growth of technology-based companies Vermont-based
businesses in seed, start-up, and growth stages and the resultant creation of
high-wage higher wage employment in Vermont, a technology loan program is
established under this subchapter the General Assembly hereby creates in this
subchapter the Vermont Entrepreneurial Lending Program.
§ 280bb.
TECHNOLOGY LOAN VERMONT ENTREPRENEURIAL
LENDING PROGRAM
(a)
There is created a technology (TECH) loan program the Vermont
Entrepreneurial Lending Program to be administered by the Vermont economic
development authority Economic Development Authority.
The program
Program shall seek to meet the working capital and capital-asset financing
needs of technology-based companies start-up, early stage, and growth-stage
businesses in Vermont.
The Program shall specifically seek to fulfill capital
requirement needs that are unmet in Vermont, including:
(1)
loans up to $100,000.00 to manufacturing businesses and software
developers with innovative products that typically reflect long-term, organic
growth;
(2)
loans up to $1,000,000.00 in growth-stage companies who do not
meet the underwriting criteria of other public and private entrepreneurial
financing sources; and
(3)
loans to businesses that are unable to access adequate capital
resources
because
the
primary
assets
of
these
businesses
are
typically
intellectual property or similar nontangible assets.
(b)
The economic development authority Authority shall establish such
adopt regulations, policies, and procedures for the program Program as are
necessary to carry out the purposes of this subchapter.
The authority’s lending
criteria shall include consideration of in-state competition and whether a
company has made reasonable efforts to secure capital in the private sector
increase the amount of investment funds available to Vermont businesses
whose capital requirements are not being met by conventional lending sources.
(c)
When considering entrepreneurial lending through the Program, the
Authority shall give additional consideration and weight to an application of a
- 3768 -
business whose business model and practices will have a demonstrable effect
in achieving other public policy goals of the State, including:
(1)
The business will create jobs in strategic sectors such as the
knowledge-based economy, renewable energy, advanced manufacturing, wood
products manufacturing, and value-added agricultural processing.
(2)
The business is located in a designated downtown, village center,
growth
center,
industrial
park,
or
other
significant
geographic
location
recognized by the State.
(3)
The business adopts energy and thermal efficiency practices in its
operations or otherwise operates in a way that reflects a commitment to green
energy principles.
(4)
The business will create jobs that pay a livable wage and significant
benefits to Vermont employees.
(d)
The Authority shall include provisions in the terms of an loan made
under the Program to ensure that a loan recipient shall maintain operations
within the State for a minimum of five years from the date on which the
recipient receives the loan funds from the Authority or shall otherwise be
required to repay the outstanding funds in full.
* * *
Sec. 5.
VERMONT ENTREPRENEURIAL LENDING PROGRAM; LOAN
LOSS RESERVE FUNDS; CAPITALIZATION
(a)
The Vermont Economic Development Authority shall capitalize loan
loss reserves for the Vermont Entrepreneurial Lending Program created in
10 V.S.A. § 280bb with the following funding from the following sources:
(1)
up to $1,000,000.00 from Authority funds or eligible federal funds
currently administered by the Authority; and
(2)
any fiscal year 2014 or fiscal year 2015 funds, or both, appropriated
or authorized by the General Assembly.
(b)
The Authority shall use the funds in subsection (a) of this section solely
for the purpose of establishing and maintaining loan loss reserves to guarantee
loans made pursuant to 10 V.S.A. § 280bb.
Sec. 6.
10 V.S.A. chapter 16A is amended to read:
VERMONT AGRICULTURAL CREDIT PROGRAM
§ 374a.
CREATION OF THE VERMONT AGRICULTURAL CREDIT
PROGRAM
- 3769 -
* * *
(b)
No borrower shall be approved for a loan from the corporation that
would result in the aggregate principal balances outstanding of all loans to that
borrower exceeding the then-current maximum Farm Service Agency loan
guarantee limits, or $2,000,000.00, whichever is greater.
§ 374b.
DEFINITIONS
As used in this chapter:
(1)
“Agricultural facility” means land and rights in land, buildings,
structures, machinery, and equipment which is used for, or will be used for
producing, processing, preparing, packaging, storing, distributing, marketing,
or transporting agricultural products which have been primarily produced in
this state State, and working capital reasonably required to operate an
agricultural facility.
(2)
“Agricultural
land”
means
real
estate
capable
of
supporting
commercial farming or forestry, or both.
(3)
“Agricultural products” mean crops, livestock, forest products, and
other farm or forest commodities produced as a result of farming or forestry
activities.
(4)
“Farm ownership loan” means a loan to acquire or enlarge a farm or
agricultural facility, to make capital improvements including construction,
purchase, and improvement of farm and agricultural facility buildings that can
be made fixtures to the real estate, to promote soil and water conservation and
protection, and to refinance indebtedness incurred for farm ownership or
operating loan purposes, or both.
(5)
“Authority” means the Vermont economic development authority
Economic Development Authority.
(6)
“Cash flow” means, on an annual basis, all income, receipts, and
revenues of the applicant or borrower from all sources and all expenses of the
applicant or borrower, including all debt service and other expenses.
(7)
“Farmer” means an individual directly engaged in the management
or operation of an agricultural facility or farm operation for whom the
agricultural facility or farm operation constitutes two or more of the following:
(A)
is or is expected to become a significant source of the farmer’s
income;
(B)
the majority of the farmer’s assets; and
(C)
an occupation in which the farmer is actively engaged in, either
- 3770 -
on a seasonal or year-round basis.
(8)
“Farm operation” shall mean the cultivation of land or other uses of
land for the production of food, fiber, horticultural, silvicultural, orchard,
maple syrup, Christmas trees, forest products, or forest crops; the raising,
boarding, and training of equines, and the raising of livestock; or any
combination of the foregoing activities.
Farm operation also includes the
storage, preparation, retail sale, and transportation of agricultural or forest
commodities accessory to the cultivation or use of such land.
* * *
* * * Connecting Capital Providers and Entrepreneurs * * *
Sec. 7.
NETWORKING INITIATIVES
(a)
The Agency of Commerce and Community Development shall support
networking events offered by one or more regional economic development
providers designed to connect capital providers with one another or with
Vermont entrepreneurs, or both, and shall take steps to facilitate outreach and
matchmaking opportunities between investors and entrepreneurs.
(b)
The Agency shall submit to the House Committee on Commerce and
Economic
Development
and
to
the
Senate
Committee
on
Economic
Development, Housing and General Affairs a report on or before January 15,
2015 concerning the structure of networking initiatives, the relevant provisions
of
governing
performance
contracts,
the
benchmarks
and
measures
of
performance, and the outcomes of and further recommendations for the
program.
* * * Downtown Tax Credits * * *
Sec. 8.
32 V.S.A. § 5930aa(3) is amended to read:
(3)
“Qualified code or technology improvement project” means a
project:
(A)(i)
To to install or improve platform lifts suitable for transporting
personal
mobility
devices,
elevators,
sprinkler
systems,
and
capital
improvements in a qualified building, and the installations or improvements
are
required
to
bring
the
building
into
compliance
with
the
statutory
requirements and rules regarding fire prevention, life safety, and electrical,
plumbing, and accessibility codes as determined by the department of public
safety. Department of Public Safety; or
(ii)
to install or improve data or network wiring, or heating,
ventilating,
or
cooling
systems
reasonably
related
to
data
or
network
installations
or
improvements,
in
a
qualified
building,
provided
that
a
- 3771 -
professional engineer licensed under 26 V.S.A. chapter 20 certifies as to the
fact and cost of the installation or improvement;
(B)
To to abate lead paint conditions or other substances hazardous to
human health or safety in a qualified building.; or
(C)
To to redevelop a contaminated property in a designated
downtown or village center under a plan approved by the Secretary of Natural
Resources pursuant to 10 V.S.A. § 6615a.
Sec. 9.
32 V.S.A. § 5930aa(7) is amended to read:
(7)
“Qualified
project”
means
a
qualified
code
or
technology
improvement,
qualified
façade
improvement,
qualified
technology
infrastructure project, or qualified historic rehabilitation project as defined by
this subchapter.
Sec. 10.
32 V.S.A. § 5930bb is amended to read:
§ 5930bb.
ELIGIBILITY AND ADMINISTRATION
(a)
Qualified applicants may apply to the State Board to obtain the tax
credits provided by this subchapter for qualified code improvement, façade
improvement, or historic rehabilitation projects a qualified project at any time
before one year after completion of the qualified project.
* * *
Sec. 11.
32 V.S.A. § 5930cc(c) is amended to read:
(c)
Code or technology improvement tax credit.
The qualified applicant of
a qualified code or technology improvement project shall be entitled, upon the
approval of the State Board, to claim against the taxpayer’s State individual
income tax, State corporate income tax, or bank franchise or insurance
premiums tax liability a credit of 50 percent of qualified expenditures up to a
maximum tax credit of $12,000.00 for installation or improvement of a
platform
lift,
a
maximum
tax
credit
of
$50,000.00
for
installation
or
improvement
of
an
elevator,
a
maximum
tax
credit
of
$50,000.00
for
installation or improvement of a sprinkler system, a maximum tax credit of
$30,000.00 for the combined costs of installation or improvement of data or
network wiring or a heating, ventilating, or cooling system, and a maximum
tax credit of $25,000.00 for the combined costs of all other qualified code
improvements.
Sec. 12.
30 V.S.A. § 218e is added to read:
§ 218e.
IMPLEMENTING
STATE
ENERGY
POLICY;
MANUFACTURING
- 3772 -
To give effect to the policies of section 202a of this title to provide reliable
and affordable energy and assure the State’s economic vitality, it is critical to
retain and recruit manufacturing and other businesses and to consider the
impact on manufacturing and other businesses when issuing orders, adopting
rules, and making other decisions affecting the cost and reliability of electricity
and other fuels.
Implementation of the State’s energy policy should:
(1)
encourage
recruitment
and
retention
of
employers
providing
high-quality jobs and related economic investment and support the State’s
economic welfare; and
(2)
appropriately balance the objectives of this section with the other
policy goals and criteria established in this title.
Sec. 13.
INVESTIGATION; ELECTRICITY COSTS; MANUFACTURING
(a)
The Commissioner of Public Service and the Secretary of Commerce
and Community Development, in consultation with the Public Service Board, a
private
organization
that
represents
the
interests
of
manufacturers,
a
cooperative electric company, an efficiency
utility, a shareholder-owned
utility, the Vermont Public Power Supply Authority (VPPSA), a municipal
utility that is not a member of VPPSA, and the Vermont Electric Power
Company (VELCO), shall conduct an investigation of how best to advance the
public good through consideration of the competitiveness of Vermont’s
industrial or manufacturing businesses with regard to electricity costs.
(b)
In
conducting
the
investigation
required
by
this
section,
the
Commissioner and Secretary shall consider:
(1)
how best to incorporate into rate design proceedings the impact of
electricity costs on business competitiveness and the identification of the costs
of service incurred by businesses;
(2)
with regard to the energy efficiency programs established under
30 V.S.A. § 209, potential changes to their delivery, funding, financing, and
participation requirements;
(3)
the history and outcome of any evaluations of the Energy Savings
Account or Customer Credit programs, as well as best practices for customer
self-directed energy efficiency programs;
(4)
the history and outcome of any evaluations of retail choice programs
or policies, as related to business competitiveness, that have been undertaken
in Vermont and in other jurisdictions;
(5)
any other programs or policies the Commissioner and the Secretary
deem relevant;
- 3773 -
(6)
whether and to what extent any programs or policies considered by
the Commissioner and the Secretary under this section would impose cost
shifts onto other customers, result in stranded costs (costs that cannot be
recovered by a regulated utility due to a change in regulatory structure or
policy), or conflict with renewable energy requirements in Vermont and, if so,
whether such programs or policies would nonetheless promote the public good;
(7)
whether and to what extent costs have shifted to residential and
business ratepayers following the loss of large utility users, and potential
scenarios for additional cost shifts of this type; and
(8)
the potential benefits and potential cost shift to residential and
business ratepayers if a large utility user undertakes efficiency measures and
thereby reduces its share of fixed utility costs.
(c)
In
conducting
the
investigation
required
by
this
section,
the
Commissioner and Secretary shall provide the following persons and entities
an opportunity for written and oral comments:
(1)
consumer and business advocacy groups;
(2)
regional
development
corporations
and
regional
planning
commissions; and
(3)
any other person or entity as determined by the Commissioner and
Secretary.
(d)
On or before December 15, 2014, the Commissioner and Secretary shall
provide
a
status
report
to
the
General
Assembly
of
its
findings
and
recommendations regarding regulatory or statutory changes that would reduce
energy costs for Vermont businesses and promote the public good.
On or
before December 15, 2015, the Commissioner and Secretary shall provide a
final report to the General Assembly of such findings and recommendations.
* * * Domestic Export Program * * *
Sec. 14.
DOMESTIC MARKET ACCESS PROGRAM FOR VERMONT
AGRICULTURE AND FOREST PRODUCTS
(a) The Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets, in collaboration with
the Agency of Commerce and Community Development and the Chief
Marketing Officer, shall, subject to available funding, create a Domestic
Export Program Pilot Project within the “Made in Vermont” designation
program, the purpose of which shall be to:
(1)
connect Vermont producers with brokers, buyers, and distributors in
other U.S. state and regional markets;
- 3774 -
(2)
provide technical and marketing assistance to Vermont producers to
convert these connections into increased sales and sustainable commercial
relationships; and
(3)
provide one-time matching grants of up to $2,000.00 per business to
attend trade shows and similar events to expand producers’ market presence in
other U.S. states, subject to available funding.
(b)
The Secretary shall collect data on the activities and outcomes of the
pilot project authorized under this section and shall report his or her findings
and recommendations for further action on or before January 15, 2015, to the
House Committees on Agriculture and Forest Products and on Commerce and
Economic Development and to the Senate Committees on Agriculture and on
Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs.
* * * Criminal Penalties for Computer Crimes * * *
Sec. 15.
13 V.S.A. chapter 87 is amended to read:
COMPUTER CRIMES
* * *
§ 4104.
ALTERATION, DAMAGE, OR INTERFERENCE
(a)
A person shall not intentionally and without lawful authority, alter,
damage, or interfere with the operation of any computer, computer system,
computer network, computer software, computer program, or data contained in
such computer, computer system, computer program, or computer network.
(b)
Penalties.
A person convicted of violating this section shall be:
(1)
if the damage or loss does not exceed $500.00 for a first offense,
imprisoned not more than one year or fined not more than $500.00 $5,000.00,
or both;
(2)
if the damage or loss does not exceed $500.00 for a second or
subsequent offense, imprisoned not more than two years or fined not more than
$1,000.00 $10,000.00, or both; or
(3)
if the damage or loss exceeds $500.00, imprisoned not more than
10 years or fined not more than $10,000.00 $25,000.00, or both.
§ 4105.
THEFT OR DESTRUCTION
(a)(1)
A person shall not intentionally and without claim of right deprive
the owner of possession, take, transfer, copy, conceal, or retain possession of,
or intentionally and without lawful authority, destroy any computer system,
computer network, computer software, computer program, or data contained in
such computer, computer system, computer program, or computer network.
- 3775 -
(2)
Copying a commercially available computer program or computer
software is not a crime under this section, provided that the computer program
and computer software has a retail value of $500.00 or less and is not copied
for resale.
(b)
Penalties.
A person convicted of violating this section shall be:
(1)
if the damage or loss does not exceed $500.00 for a first offense,
imprisoned not more than one year or fined not more than $500.00 $5,000.00,
or both;
(2)
if the damage or loss does not exceed $500.00 for a second or
subsequent offense, imprisoned not more than two years or fined not more than
$1,000.00 $10,000.00, or both; or
(3)
if the damage or loss exceeds $500.00, imprisoned not more than
10 years or fined not more than $10,000.00 $25,000.00, or both.
§ 4106.
CIVIL LIABILITY
A person damaged as a result of a violation of this chapter may bring a civil
action against the violator for damages, costs, and fees, including reasonable
attorney’s fees, and such other relief as the court deems appropriate.
* * *
* * * Statute of Limitations to Commence Action
for Misappropriation of Trade Secrets * * *
Sec. 16.
12 V.S.A. § 523 is amended to read:
§ 523.
TRADE SECRETS
An action for misappropriation of trade secrets under 9 V.S.A. chapter 143
of Title 9 shall be commenced within three six years after the cause of action
accrues, and not after.
The cause of action shall be deemed to accrue as of the
date the misappropriation was discovered or reasonably should have been
discovered.
* * * Protection of Trade Secrets * * *
Sec. 17.
9 V.S.A. chapter 143 is amended to read:
TRADE SECRETS
§ 4601.
DEFINITIONS
As used in this chapter:
(1)
“Improper means” includes theft, bribery, misrepresentation, breach
or inducement of a breach of a duty to maintain secrecy, or espionage through
- 3776 -
electronic or other means.
(2)
“Misappropriation” means:
(A)
acquisition of a trade secret of another by a person who knows or
has reason to know that the trade secret was acquired by improper means; or
(B)
disclosure or use of a trade secret of another without express or
implied consent by a person who:
(i)
used improper means to acquire knowledge of the trade
secret; or
(ii)
at the time of disclosure or use, knew or had reason to know
that his or her knowledge of the trade secret was:
(I)
derived from or through a person who had utilized improper
means to acquire it;
(II)
acquired under circumstances giving rise to a duty to
maintain its secrecy or limit its use; or
(III)
derived from or through a person who owed a duty to the
person seeking relief to maintain its secrecy or limit its use; or
(iii)
before a material change of his or her position, knew or had
reason to know that it was a trade secret and that knowledge of it had been
acquired by accident or mistake.
(3)
“Trade secret” means information, including a formula, pattern,
compilation, program, device, method, technique, or process, that:
(A)
derives independent economic value, actual or potential, from
not being generally known to, and not being readily ascertainable by proper
means by, other persons who can obtain economic value from its disclosure or
use; and
(B)
is
the
subject
of
efforts
that
are reasonable
under
the
circumstances to maintain its secrecy.
§ 4602.
INJUNCTIVE RELIEF
(a)
Actual A court may enjoin actual or threatened misappropriation may
be enjoined of a trade secret.
Upon application to the court, an injunction shall
be terminated when the trade secret has ceased to exist, but the injunction may
be continued for an additional reasonable period of time in order to eliminate
commercial
advantage
that
otherwise
would
be
derived
from
the
misappropriation.
(b)
In exceptional circumstances, an injunction may condition future use
- 3777 -
upon payment of a reasonable royalty for no longer than the period of time for
which use could have been prohibited.
Exceptional circumstances include, but
are not limited to, a material and prejudicial change of position prior to
acquiring knowledge or reason to know of misappropriation that renders a
prohibitive injunction inequitable.
(c)
In appropriate circumstances, affirmative acts to protect a trade secret
may be compelled by court order.
§ 4603.
DAMAGES
(a)(1)
Except to the extent that a material and prejudicial change of position
prior to acquiring knowledge or reason to know of misappropriation renders a
monetary recovery inequitable, a complainant is entitled to recover damages
for misappropriation.
(2)
Damages
can
include
both
the
actual
loss
caused
by
misappropriation and the unjust enrichment caused by misappropriation that is
not taken into account in computing actual loss.
(3)
In lieu of damages measured by any other methods, the damages
caused by misappropriation may be measured by imposition of liability for a
reasonable royalty for a misappropriator’s unauthorized disclosure or use of a
trade secret.
(4)
A court shall award a substantially prevailing party his or her costs
and fees, including reasonable attorney’s fees, in an action brought pursuant to
this chapter.
(b)
If malicious misappropriation exists, the court may award punitive
damages.
§ 4605.
PRESERVATION OF SECRECY
In an action under this chapter, a court shall preserve the secrecy of an
alleged
trade
secret
by
reasonable
means,
which
may
include
granting
protective orders in connection with discovery proceedings, holding in-camera
hearings, sealing the records of the action, and ordering any person involved in
the litigation not to disclose an alleged trade secret without prior court
approval.
§ 4607.
EFFECT ON OTHER LAW
(a)
Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, this chapter
displaces conflicting tort, restitutionary, and any other law of this state State
providing civil remedies for misappropriation of a trade secret.
(b)
This chapter does not affect:
- 3778 -
(1)
contractual remedies, whether or not based upon misappropriation of
a trade secret;
(2)
other civil remedies that are not based upon misappropriation of a
trade secret; or
(3)
criminal remedies, whether or not based upon misappropriation of a
trade secret.
* * *
* * * Intellectual Property; Businesses and Government Contracting * * *
Sec. 18.
3 V.S.A. § 346 is added to read:
§
346.
STATE
CONTRACTING;
INTELLECTUAL
PROPERTY,
SOFTWARE DESIGN, AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
(a)
The Secretary of Administration shall include in Administrative
Bulletin 3.5 a policy direction applicable to State procurement contracts that
include services for the development of software applications, computer
coding, or other intellectual property, which would allow the State of Vermont
to grant permission to the contractor to use or own the intellectual property
created under the contract for the contractor’s commercial purposes.
(b)
The Secretary may recommend contract provisions that authorize the
State to negotiate with a contractor to secure license terms and license fees,
royalty rights, or other payment mechanism for the contractor’s commercial
use of intellectual property developed under a State contract.
(c)
If the Secretary authorizes a contractor to own intellectual property
developed under a State contract, the Secretary may recommend language to
ensure the State retains a perpetual, irrevocable, royalty-free, and fully paid
right to continue to use the intellectual property.
* * * Department of Financial Regulation * * *
Sec. 19.
SMALL BUSINESS ACCESS TO CAPITAL
(a)
Crowdfunding study.
The Department of Financial Regulation shall
study the opportunities and limitations for crowdfunding to increase access to
capital for Vermont’s small businesses.
On or before January 15, 2015, the
Department shall report its findings and recommendations to the House
Committee
on
Commerce
and
Economic
Development
and
the
Senate
Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs.
(b)
Small business issuer education and outreach.
On or before January 15,
2015, the Department of Financial Regulation shall conduct at least two
educational
events
to
inform
the
legal,
small
business,
and
investor
- 3779 -
communities and other interested parties, of opportunities for small businesses
to access capital in Vermont, including, the Vermont Small Business Offering
Exemption regulation and other securities registration exemptions.
(c)
Vermont Small Business Offering Exemption.
The Commissioner of
Financial Regulation shall exercise his or her rulemaking authority under
9 V.S.A. chapter 150 to review and revise the Vermont Small Business
Offering Exemption and any other state securities exemptions, specifically
including those designed to complement exemptions from federal registration
requirements available under Regulation D, in order to recognize and reflect
the evolution of capital markets and to ensure that Vermont remains current
and competitive in its securities regulations, particularly with respect to access
to capital for small businesses.
Sec. 20.
STUDY; DEPARTMENT OF FINANCIAL REGULATION;
LICENSED LENDER REQUIREMENTS; COMMERCIAL
LENDERS
On or before January 15, 2015, the Department of Financial Regulation
shall solicit public comment on, evaluate, and report to the House Committee
on Commerce and Economic Development and to the Senate Committees on
Finance and on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs any
statutory and regulatory changes to the State’s licensed lender requirements
that are necessary to open private capital markets and remove unnecessary
barriers to business investment in Vermont.
* * * Licensed Lender Requirements; Exemption for De Minimis
Lending Activity * * *
Sec. 21.
8 V.S.A. § 2201 is amended to read:
2201.
LICENSES REQUIRED
(a)
No person shall without first obtaining a license under this chapter from
the commissioner Commissioner:
(1)
engage in the business of making loans of money, credit, goods, or
things in action and charge, contract for, or receive on any such loan interest, a
finance charge, discount, or consideration therefore therefor;
(2)
act as a mortgage broker;
(3)
engage in the business of a mortgage loan originator; or
(4)
act as a sales finance company.
(b)
Each licensed mortgage loan originator must register with and maintain
a valid unique identifier with the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and
- 3780 -
Registry and must be either:
(1)
an An employee actively employed at a licensed location of, and
supervised and sponsored by, only one licensed lender or licensed mortgage
broker operating in this state; State.
(2)
an An individual sole proprietor who is also a licensed lender or
licensed mortgage broker; or.
(3)
an An employee engaged in loan modifications employed at a
licensed location of, and supervised and sponsored by, only one third-party
loan servicer licensed to operate in this state State pursuant to chapter 85 of
this title.
For purposes of As used in this subsection, “loan modification”
means an adjustment or compromise of an existing residential mortgage loan.
The term “loan modification” does not include a refinancing transaction.
(c)
A person licensed pursuant to subdivision (a)(1) of this section may
engage in mortgage brokerage and sales finance if such person informs the
commissioner Commissioner in advance that he or she intends to engage in
sales
finance
and
mortgage
brokerage.
Such
person
shall
inform
the
commissioner Commissioner of his or her intention on the original license
application under section 2202 of this title, any renewal application under
section 2209 of this title, or pursuant to section 2208 of this title, and shall pay
the applicable fees required by subsection 2202(b) of this title for a mortgage
broker license or sales finance company license.
(d)
No lender license, mortgage broker license, or sales finance company
license shall be required of:
(1)
a
state State agency,
political
subdivision,
or other
public
instrumentality of the state; State.
(2)
a A federal agency or other public instrumentality of the United
States;.
(3)
a A gas or electric utility subject to the jurisdiction of the public
service board Public Service Board engaging in energy conservation or safety
loans;.
(4)
a A depository institution or a financial institution as defined in
(5)
a A pawnbroker;.
(6)
an An insurance company;.
(7)
a A seller of goods or services that finances the sale of such goods or
services, other than a residential mortgage loan;.
- 3781 -
(8)
any Any individual who offers or negotiates the terms of a
residential mortgage loan secured by a dwelling that served as the individual’s
residence, including a vacation home, or inherited property that served as the
deceased’s dwelling, provided that the individual does not act as a mortgage
loan originator or provide financing for such sales so frequently and under
such circumstances that it constitutes a habitual activity and acting in a
commercial context;.
(9)
lenders Lenders that conduct their lending activities, other than
residential mortgage loan activities, through revolving loan funds, that are
nonprofit organizations exempt from taxation under Section 501(c) of the
Internal Revenue Code, 26 U.S.C. § 501(c), and that register with the
commissioner
of
economic
development
Commissioner
of
Economic
Development under 10 V.S.A. § 690a;.
(10)
persons Persons who lend, other than residential mortgage loans, an
aggregate of less than $75,000.00 in any one year at rates of interest of no
more than 12 percent per annum;.
(11)
a A seller who, pursuant to 9 V.S.A. § 2355(f)(1)(D), includes the
amount paid or to be paid by the seller to discharge a security interest, lien
interest, or lease interest on the traded-in motor vehicle in a motor vehicle
retail installment sales contract, provided that the contract is purchased,
assigned, or otherwise acquired by a sales finance company licensed pursuant
to this title to purchase motor vehicle retail installment sales contracts or a
depository institution;.
(12)(A)
a A person making an unsecured commercial loan, which loan
is expressly subordinate to the prior payment of all senior indebtedness of the
commercial borrower regardless of whether such senior indebtedness exists at
the time of the loan or arises thereafter.
The loan may or may not include the
right to convert all or a portion of the amount due on the loan to an equity
interest in the commercial borrower;.
(B)
for purposes of As used in this subdivision (12), “senior
indebtedness” means:
(i)
all indebtedness of the commercial borrower for money
borrowed from depository institutions, trust companies, insurance companies,
and licensed lenders, and any guarantee thereof; and
(ii)
any other indebtedness of the commercial borrower that the
lender
and
the
commercial
borrower
agree
shall
constitute
senior
indebtedness;.
(13)
nonprofit Nonprofit organizations established under testamentary
- 3782 -
instruments, exempt from taxation under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal
Revenue
Code,
26
U.S.C.
§
501(c)(3),
and
which
make
loans
for
postsecondary educational costs to students and their parents, provided that the
organizations provide annual accountings to the Probate Division of the
Superior Court;.
(14)
any Any individual who offers or negotiates terms of a residential
mortgage loan with or on behalf of an immediate family member of the
individual;.
(15)
a A housing finance agency.
(16)
A person who makes no more than three mortgage loans in any
consecutive three-year period beginning on or after July 1, 2011.
(e)
No mortgage loan originator license shall be required of:
(1)
Registered mortgage loan originators, when employed by and acting
for an entity described in subdivision 2200(22) of this chapter.
(2)
Any individual who offers or negotiates terms of a residential
mortgage loan with or on behalf of an immediate family member of the
individual.
(3)
Any individual who offers or negotiates terms of a residential
mortgage loan secured by a dwelling that served as the individual’s residence,
including a vacation home, or inherited property that served as the deceased’s
dwelling, provided that the individual does not act as a mortgage loan
originator or provide financing for such sales so frequently and under such
circumstances that it constitutes a habitual activity and acting in a commercial
context.
(4)
An individual who is an employee of a federal, state State, or local
government agency, or an employee of a housing finance agency, who acts as a
mortgage loan originator only pursuant to his or her official duties as an
employee of the federal, state State, or local government agency or housing
finance agency.
(5)
A licensed attorney who negotiates the terms of a residential
mortgage loan on behalf of a client as an ancillary matter to the attorney’s
representation of the client, unless the attorney is compensated by a lender, a
mortgage broker, or other mortgage loan originator or by any agent of such
lender, mortgage broker, or other mortgage loan originator.
To the extent an
attorney licensed in this State undertakes activities that are covered by the
definition of a mortgage loan originator, such activities do not constitute
engaging in the business of a mortgage loan originator, provided that:
(A)
such activities are considered by the State governing body
- 3783 -
responsible for regulating the practice of law to be part of the authorized
practice of law within this State;
(B)
such
activities
are
carried
out
within
an
attorney-client
relationship; and
(C)
the attorney carries them out in compliance with all applicable
laws, rules, ethics, and standards.
(6)
A person who makes no more than three mortgage loans in any
consecutive three-year period beginning on or after July 1, 2011.
(f)
If a person who offers or negotiates the terms of a mortgage loan is
exempt from licensure pursuant to subdivision (d)(16) or (e)(6) of this section,
there is a rebuttable presumption that he or she is not engaged in the business
of making loans or being a mortgage loan originator.
(g)
Independent contractor loan processors or underwriters.
A loan
processor or underwriter who is an independent contractor may not engage in
the activities of a loan processor or underwriter unless such independent
contractor loan processor or underwriter obtains and maintains a mortgage loan
originator license.
Each independent contractor loan processor or underwriter
licensed as a mortgage loan originator must have and maintain a valid unique
identifier issued by the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry.
(g)(h)
This chapter shall not apply to commercial loans of $1,000,000.00 or
more.
* * * Vermont State Treasurer; Credit Facilities; 10 Percent for Vermont * * *
Sec. 22.
2013 Acts and Resolves No. 87, Sec. 8 is amended to read:
Sec. 8.
INVESTMENT OF STATE MONIES
The Treasurer is hereby authorized to establish a short-term credit facility
for the benefit of the Vermont Economic Development Authority in an amount
of up to $10,000,000.00.
Sec. 23.
VERMONT STATE TREASURER; CREDIT FACILITY FOR
LOCAL INVESTMENTS
(a)
Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, the
Vermont State Treasurer shall have the authority to establish a credit facility of
up to 10 percent of the State’s average cash balance on terms acceptable to the
Treasurer consistent with the provisions of the Uniform Prudent Investor Act,
14A V.S.A. chapter 9.
(b)
The amount authorized in subsection (a) of this section shall include all
credit facilities authorized by the General Assembly and established by the
- 3784 -
Treasurer prior to or subsequent to the effective date of this section, and the
renewal or replacement of those credit facilities.
Sec. 24.
TREASURER’S LOCAL INVESTMENT ADVISORY
COMMITTEE; REPORT
(a)
Creation of committee.
The Treasurer’s Local Investment Advisory
Committee is established to advise the Treasurer on funding priorities and
address other mechanisms to increase local investment.
(b)
Membership.
(1)
The Advisory Committee shall be composed of six members as
follows:
(A)
the State Treasurer or designee;
(B)
the
Chief
Executive
Officer
of
the
Vermont
Economic
Development Authority or designee;
(C)
the Chief Executive Officer of the Vermont Student Assistance
Corporation or designee;
(D)
the Executive Director of the Vermont Housing Finance Agency
or designee;
(E)
the Director of the Municipal Bond Bank or designee; and
(F)
the Director of Efficiency Vermont or designee.
(2)
The State Treasurer shall be the Chair of the Advisory Committee
and shall appoint a vice chair and secretary.
The appointed members of the
Advisory Committee shall be appointed for terms of six years and shall serve
until their successors are appointed and qualified.
(c)
Powers and duties.
The Advisory Committee shall:
(1)
meet regularly to review and make recommendations to the State
Treasurer on funding priorities and using other mechanisms to increase local
investment in the State of Vermont;
(2)
invite regularly State organizations, citizens groups, and members of
the public to Advisory Committee meetings to present information on needs
for local investment, capital gaps, and proposals for financing; and
(3)
consult with constituents and review feedback on changes and needs
in the local and State investment and financing environments.
(d)
Meetings.
(1)
Meetings of the Advisory Committee shall occur at the call of the
- 3785 -
Treasurer.
(2)
A majority of the members of the Advisory Committee who are
physically present at the same location or available electronically shall
constitute a quorum, and a member may participate and vote electronically.
(3)
To be effective, action of the Advisory Committee shall be taken by
majority vote of the members at a meeting in which a quorum is present.
(e)
Report.
On or before January 15, 2015, and annually thereafter, the
Advisory Committee shall submit a report to the Senate Committees on
Appropriations, on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs, on
Finance, and on Government Operations and the House Committees on
Appropriations, on Commerce and Economic Development, on Ways and
Means,
and
on
Government
Operations.
The
report
shall
include
the
following:
(1)
the amount of the subsidies associated with lending through each
credit facility authorized by the General Assembly and established by the
Treasurer;
(2)
a description of the Advisory Committee’s activities; and
(3)
any information gathered by the Advisory Committee on the State’s
unmet capital needs, and other opportunities for State support for local
investment and the community.
Sec. 25.
SUNSET
Secs. 23–24 of this act shall be repealed on July 1, 2015.
Sec. 26.
9 V.S.A. § 2481w is amended to read:
§ 2481w.
UNLICENSED LOAN TRANSACTIONS
(a)
In this subchapter:
(1)
“Financial account” means a checking, savings, share, stored value,
prepaid, payroll card, or other depository account.
(2)
“Lender” means a person engaged in the business of making loans of
money, credit, goods, or things in action and charging, contracting for, or
receiving
on
any
such
loan
interest,
a
finance
charge,
a
discount,
or
consideration.
(3)
“Process” or “processing” includes printing a check, draft, or other
form of negotiable instrument drawn on or debited against a consumer’s
financial account, formatting or transferring data for use in connection with the
debiting of a consumer’s financial account by means of such an instrument or
an electronic funds transfer, or arranging for such services to be provided to a
- 3786 -
lender.
(4)
“Processor” means a person who engages in processing, as defined
in subdivision (3) of this subsection.
In this section, “processor” does not
include an interbank clearinghouse.
(5)
“Interbank clearinghouse” means a person that operates an exchange
of automated clearinghouse items, checks, or check images solely between
insured depository institutions.
(b)
It is an unfair and deceptive act and practice in commerce for a lender
directly or through an agent to solicit or make a loan to a consumer by any
means unless the lender is in compliance with all provisions of 8 V.S.A.
or
is
otherwise
exempt
from
the
requirements
of
8 V.S.A.
(c)
It is an unfair and deceptive act and practice in commerce for a
processor, other than a federally insured depository institution, to process a
check, draft, other form of negotiable instrument, or an electronic funds
transfer from a consumer’s financial account in connection with a loan
solicited or made by any means to a consumer unless the lender is in
compliance with all provisions of 8 V.S.A. chapter 73 or is otherwise exempt
from the requirements of 8 V.S.A. chapter 73.
(d)
It is an unfair and deceptive act and practice in commerce for any
person, including the lender’s financial institution as defined in 8 V.S.A.
§ 10202(5), but not including the consumer’s financial institution as defined in
8 V.S.A. § 10202(5) or an interbank clearinghouse as defined in subsection (a)
of this section, to provide substantial assistance to a lender or processor when
the person or the person’s authorized agent receives notice from a regulatory,
law enforcement, or similar governmental authority, or knows from its normal
monitoring and compliance systems, or consciously avoids knowing that the
lender or processor is in violation of subsection (b) or (c) of this section, or is
engaging in an unfair or deceptive act or practice in commerce.
Sec. 27.
30 V.S.A. § 248a is amended to read:
§ 248a.
CERTIFICATE OF PUBLIC GOOD FOR COMMUNICATIONS
FACILITIES
* * *
(b)
Definitions.
For the purposes of As used in this section:
* * *
(4)
“Telecommunications facility” means a communications facility that
transmits and receives signals to and from a local, State, national, or
- 3787 -
international
network
used
primarily
for
two-way
communications
for
commercial,
industrial,
municipal,
county, or
State
purposes
and
any
associated support structure that is proposed for construction or installation
which
is
primarily
for
communications
purposes,
and
any
ancillary
improvements that are proposed for construction or installation and are
primarily intended to serve the communications facilities or support structure.
An
applicant
may
seek
approval
of
construction
or
installation
of
a
telecommunications facility whether or not the telecommunications facility is
attached to an existing structure.
(5)
“Wireless service” means any commercial mobile radio service,
wireless service, common carrier wireless exchange service, cellular service,
personal communications service (PCS), specialized mobile radio service,
paging service, wireless data service, or public or private radio dispatch
service.
* * *
(c)
Findings.
Before the Public Service Board issues a certificate of public
good under this section, it shall find that:
(1)
The proposed facility will not have an undue adverse effect on
aesthetics, historic sites, air and water purity, the natural environment, and the
public health and safety, and the public’s use and enjoyment of the I-89 and
I-91 scenic corridors or of any highway that has been designated as a scenic
road pursuant to 19 V.S.A. § 2501 or a scenic byway pursuant to 23 U.S.C.
§ 162, with due consideration having been given to the relevant criteria
specified in 10 V.S.A. §§ 1424a(d) and 6086(a)(1) through (8) and (9)(K).
However, with respect to telecommunications facilities of limited size and
scope, the Board shall waive all criteria of this subdivision other than
10 V.S.A. § 6086(a)(1)(D)(floodways) and (a)(8)(aesthetics, scenic beauty,
historic
sites,
rare
and
irreplaceable
natural
areas;
endangered
species;
necessary wildlife habitat).
Such waiver shall be on condition that:
(A)
The the Board may determine, pursuant to the procedures
described in subdivision (j)(2)(A) of this section, that a petition raises a
significant issue with respect to any criterion of this subdivision; and
(B)
A a telecommunications facility of limited size and scope shall
comply, at a minimum, with the requirements of the Low Risk Site Handbook
for Erosion Prevention and Sediment Control issued by the Department of
Environmental Conservation, regardless of any provisions in that handbook
that limit its applicability.
(2)
Unless there is good cause to find otherwise, substantial deference
has been given to the land conservation measures in the plans of the affected
- 3788 -
municipalities and the recommendations of the municipal legislative bodies
and the municipal and regional planning commissions regarding the municipal
and regional plans, respectively.
Nothing in this section or other provision of
law shall prevent a municipal body from basing its recommendations on an
ordinance adopted under 24 V.S.A. § 2291(19) or bylaw adopted under
24 V.S.A. chapter 117 by the municipality in which the facility is located.
A rebuttable presumption respecting compliance with the applicable plan shall
be created by a letter from an affected municipal legislative body or municipal
planning commission concerning compliance with the municipal plan and by a
letter from a regional planning commission concerning compliance with the
regional plan.
(3)
If the proposed facility relates to the provision of wireless service,
the proposed facility reasonably cannot be collocated on or at an existing
telecommunications facility, or such collocation would cause an undue adverse
effect on aesthetics.
* * *
(e)
Notice.
No less than 45 days prior to filing an application for a
certificate of public good under this section, the applicant shall serve written
notice of an application to be filed with the Board pursuant to this section to
the legislative bodies and municipal and regional planning commissions in the
communities in which the applicant proposes to construct or install facilities;
the Secretary of Natural Resources; the Secretary of Transportation; the
Division for Historic Preservation; the Commissioner of Public Service and its
Director for Public Advocacy; the Natural Resources Board if the application
concerns a telecommunications facility for which a permit previously has been
issued under 10 V.S.A. chapter 151; and the landowners of record of property
adjoining the project sites.
In addition, at least one copy of each application
shall be filed with each of these municipal and regional planning commissions.
(1)
Upon motion or otherwise, the Public Service Board shall direct that
further public or personal notice be provided if the Board finds that such
further notice will not unduly delay consideration of the merits and that
additional notice is necessary for fair consideration of the application.
(2)
On the request of the municipal legislative body or the planning
commission, the applicant shall attend a public meeting with the municipal
legislative body or planning commission, or both, within the 45-day notice
period before filing an application for a certificate of public good.
The
Department of Public Service shall attend the public meeting on the request of
the municipality.
The Department shall consider the comments made and
information obtained at the meeting in making recommendations to the Board
on the application and in determining whether to retain additional personnel
- 3789 -
under subsection (o) of this section.
* * *
(i)
Sunset of Board authority.
Effective on July 1, 2014 2017, no new
applications
for
certificates
of
public
good
under
this
section
may
be
considered by the Board.
* * *
(m) Municipal bodies; participation. The legislative body and the planning
commission for the municipality in which a telecommunications facility is
located shall have the right to appear and participate on any application under
this section seeking a certificate of public good for the facility.
(n)
Municipal recommendations.
The Board shall consider the comments
and
recommendations
submitted
by
the
municipal
legislative
body
and
planning commission.
The Board’s decision to issue or deny a certificate of
public good shall include a detailed written response to each recommendation
of the municipal legislative body and planning commission.
(o)
Retention; experts.
The Department of Public Service may retain
experts and other personnel as identified in section 20 of this title to provide
information essential to a full consideration of an application for a certificate
of public good under this section.
The Department may allocate the expenses
incurred in retaining these personnel to the applicant in accordance with
section 21 of this title.
The Department may commence retention of these
personnel once the applicant has filed the 45-day notice under subsection (e) of
this section.
A municipal legislative body or planning commission may
request that the Department retain these personnel.
Granting such a request
shall not oblige the Department or the personnel it retains to agree with the
position of the municipality.
(p)
Review process; guide.
The Department of Public Service, in
consultation with the Board, shall create, maintain, and make available to the
public a guide to the process of reviewing telecommunications facilities under
this section for use by local governments and regional planning commissions
and members of the public who seek to participate in the process. On or before
September 1, 2014, the Department shall complete the creation of this guide
and make it publically available.
Sec. 28.
PUBLIC SERVICE BOARD; ORDER REVISION
The Public Service Board (the Board) shall define the terms “good cause”
and “substantial deference” for the purpose of 30 V.S.A. § 248a(c)(2) in
accordance with the following process:
(1)
Within 30 days of the effective date of this section, the Board shall
- 3790 -
provide
direct
notice
to
each
municipal
legislative
body
and
planning
commission, the Vermont League of Cities and Towns, the Department of
Public Service, and such other persons as the Board considers appropriate, that
it will be amending its procedures order issued under 30 V.S.A. § 248a(1) to
include definitions of these terms.
The notice shall provide an opportunity for
submission of comments and recommendations and include the date and time
of the workshop to be held.
(2)
Within 60 days of giving notice under subdivision (1) of this section,
the Board shall amend its procedures order to include definitions of these
terms.
Sec. 29.
REPORT; TELECOMMUNICATIONS FACILITY REVIEW
PROCESS
On or before October 1, 2015, the Department of Public Service shall
submit to the House Committee on Commerce and Economic Development
and
the
Senate
Committee
on
Finance
a
report
assessing
the
telecommunications facility review process under 30 V.S.A § 248a.
The report
shall include the number of applications for the construction or installation of
telecommunications facilities filed with the Board, the number of applications
for which a certificate of public good was granted, the number of applications
for which notice was filed but were then withdrawn, and the number of times
the Department used its authority under 30 V.S.A. § 248(o) to allocate
expenses incurred in retaining expert personnel to the applicant, during the
year ending August 31, 2015.
Sec. 30.
10 V.S.A. § 1264(j) is amended to read:
(j)
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, if an application to
discharge stormwater runoff pertains to a telecommunications facility as
defined in 30 V.S.A. § 248a and is filed before July 1, 2014 2017 and the
discharge will be to a water that is not principally impaired by stormwater
runoff:
(1)
The Secretary shall issue a decision on the application within
40 days of the date the Secretary determines the application to be complete, if
the application seeks authorization under a general permit.
(2)
The Secretary shall issue a decision on the application within
60 days of the date the Secretary determines the application to be complete, if
the application seeks or requires authorization under an individual permit.
Sec. 31.
10 V.S.A. § 8506 is amended to read:
§ 8506.
RENEWABLE ENERGY PLANT; TELECOMMUNICATIONS
FACILITY; APPEALS
- 3791 -
(a)
Within 30 days of the date of the act or decision, any person aggrieved
by an act or decision of the secretary Secretary, under the provisions of law
listed in section 8503 of this title, or any party by right may appeal to the
public service board Public Service Board if the act or decision concerns a
renewable energy plant for which a certificate of public good is required under
30 V.S.A. § 248 or a telecommunications facility for which the applicant has
applied or has served notice under 30 V.S.A. § 248a(e) that it will apply for
approval under 30 V.S.A. § 248a.
This section shall not apply to a facility that
is subject to section 1004 (dams before the Federal Energy Regulatory
Commission) or 1006 (certification of hydroelectric projects) or chapter 43
(dams) of this title.
This section shall not apply to an appeal of an act or
decision of the secretary regarding a telecommunications facility made on or
after July 1, 2014 2017.
* * *
Sec. 32.
REPEAL
2011 Acts and Resolves No. 53, Sec. 14d (repeal of limitations on
municipal
bylaws;
municipal