Senate Passes Freedom of Expression Bill for Students

Front Page / Feb. 16, 2017 9:58am EST

Capitol Journal

Legislative work through Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017.

Bills Passed

• H.14, an act relating to automatic external defibrillators, was passed by the House on Wednesday, Feb. 8. The bill proposes to clarify that nonprofit donations of automated external defibrillators are not subject to liability under the immunity provisions of Vermont’s AED statute. H.14 has been read for the first time in the Senate and referred to the Committee on Judiciary.

• H.143 was passed on Friday, Feb. 10. The bill proposes to establish automobile insurance requirements applicable to transportation network companies (such as Uber or Lyft) that operate in Vermont.

• S.8, An act relating to establishing a State Ethics Commission and standards of governmental ethical conduct, was passed by the Senate on Thursday, Feb. 9 and now resides in the House Committee on Government Operations.

• H.125, which was passed in the House on January 27, was amended and passed in the Senate on Friday, Feb. 10. The bill makes budget adjustments to the state’s 2017 fiscal year budget.

• S.33 amends requirements of the Rozo McLaughlin Farm-to-School program and was passed by the Senate on Tuesday, Feb. 14.

• S.60 proposes to repeal the law permitting the Commissioner of Labor to suspend certain child labor laws while the United States is at war. That bill passed the Senate on Tuesday, Feb. 14.

• S.10, an act relating to liability for the contamination of potable water supplies, was passed by the Senate on Tuesday, Feb. 14.

• S.18, which proposes to ensure that students are afforded freedom of expression within public schools, independent schools, and postsecondary schools in the state, was passed by the Senate on Tuesday, Feb. 14.

Senate Bills

• S.77 would require a presidential candidate to disclose federal tax returns in order to be placed on the presidential primary and general election ballots in Vermont. That bill, co-sponsored by Sen. Alison Clarkson (D, Windsor), was referred to the Committee on Government Operations.

• S.79 proposes to promote public safety by protecting Vermont residents from compulsory collection of personally identifying information, or dissemination of that information for purposes of establishing a mandatory federal registry or database. It was Referred to Committee on Judiciary.

• S.81, supported by Sen. Clarkson and Sen. Mark MacDonald (D, Orange), proposes to impose an additional $2 per night on each occupancy in the State and allocate the receipts to the Workforce and Supportive Housing Fund for affordable and workforce housing projects. It was referred to the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs.

• S.82 was supported by Sen. Clarkson. This bill proposes to create a Family Leave Insurance Program within the Department of Labor that will provide employees with weeks of paid family leave and that will be funded by contributions from employers and employees. This bill also proposes to amend Vermont’s existing family leave law to extend coverage to additional employees, to clarify certain provisions, and to create an exemption from the law’s rehiring requirements for employers that employ the equivalent of four or fewer full-time employees. The bill was referred to the Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs.

• S.83 proposes to change the name of the legal holiday from Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day. It was supported by Sen. Dick McCormack (D, Windsor) and referred to the Committee on Government Operations.

House Bills

• H.212, similar to S.67, proposes to increase the penalties for the intentional killing of a dog that is performing its official duties under the supervision of a law enforcement officer. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Ben Jickling (I, Orange-Washington Addison) and supported by Rep. Jay Hooper (D, Orange-Washington Addison). It was referred to the Committee on Agriculture & Forestry.

• H.213, an act relating to establishing statewide access to drug and DUI treatment courts was supported by Rep. Sandy Haas (P, Windsor-Rutland). The bill proposes to bring treatment courts in line with national best practice standards by 2022. It was referred to the Committee on Judiciary.

• H.217, similar to S.81, proposes to impose an additional $2 per night on each occupancy in the State and allocate the receipts to the Workforce and Supportive Housing Fund for affordable and workforce housing projects. Supported by Reps. Tim Briglin (D, Windsor-Orange-2), Susan Buckholz (D, Windsor-4-1), and Jim Masland (D, Windsor-Orange-2), the bill was referred to the Committee on General, Housing and Military Affairs.

• H.220, supported by Rep. Masland, proposes to prohibit the importation, sale, offer for sale, purchase, barter, or possession with intent to sell of any ivory, ivory product, rhinoceros horn, or rhinoceros horn product in Vermont. It was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources, Fish & Wildlife.

• H.229 proposes to require the Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets to adopt best management practices, standards, procedures, and requirements relating to the sale, use, storage, or disposal of treated articles that will have a hazardous or long-term deleterious effect on the environment, present a likely risk to human health, or are dangerous. The bill would require that the rules be based, in part, on the recommendation of the State Pollinator Protection Committee. Supported by Rep. Rodney Graham (R, Orange-1), the bill was referred to the Committee on Agriculture & Forestry.

• H.230 proposes to allow minors to consent to mental health treatment for any condition related to the minor’s sexual orientation or gender identity and was supported by Rep. Masland. It was referred to the Committee on Health Care.

• H.232, supported by Reps. David Ainsworth (R, Windsor-Orange-1), Bob Frenier (Orange-1), Haas, and Hooper, proposes to provide that a motor vehicle shall not fail an annual inspection solely because of the illumination of a malfunction indicator light through the vehicle’s on-board diagnostic system, unless the illumination indicates a malfunction related to vehicle safety. The bill was referred to the Committee on Transportation.

• H.235 proposes to exempt from the requirements of Vermont’s Open Meeting Law a discussion or communications among members of a public body to formulate recommendations, if the public body has no authority to take a binding action or adopt law or policy. It was referred to the Committee on Government Operations.

• H.237 proposes to allow law enforcement to use saliva testing on operators of motor vehicles reasonably suspected to be drug-impaired. It was referred to the Committee on Transportation.

• H.241 proposes to approve amendments to the charter of the Central Vermont Solid Waste Management District, which includes Chelsea, Tunbridge, and Williamstown. It was referred to the Committee on Government Operations.

• H.243, an act relating to requiring a presidential candidate to disclose federal tax returns in order to be placed on the presidential primary and general election ballots, similar to S.77, was supported by Reps. Briglin,

Buckholz, Hooper, and Jickling. It was referred to the Committee on Government Operations.

• H.247, supported by Rep. Masland, proposes to require the Department of Health to submit an annual report to the General Assembly regarding adverse reactions reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System. The bill was referred to the Committee on Health Care.

• H.248, an act proposing to establish a universal, publicly financed primary care system beginning in 2019 was supported by Reps. Briglin, Buckholz, and Haas. It was referred to the Committee on Health Care.

• H.251, supported by Rep. Graham, proposes to require that a certificate of public good may be issued for a wind generation facility exceeding 500 kilowatts only if the applicant demonstrates the proposed location does not drain into waters that provide habitat for native eastern brook trout or are managed as fisheries for wild brown trout. It was referred to the Committee on Energy and Technology.

• H.253, relating to whistleblower protections for employees, was referred to the Committee on General, Housing and Military Affairs.

• H.256, supported by Rep. Masland, proposes, among other measures, to revise the purpose and procedures of the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Board; to require all critical access hospitals to provide patients with care from a paid employee who is also a certified sexual assault nurse examiner or have access to a shared regional staffing pool that includes certified sexual assault nurse examiners. It was referred to the Committee on Judiciary.

• H.257 proposes to require that the Secretary of State notify the regional development corporations and regional planning commissions when a new business registers with the Office. Supported by Reps. Hooper and Jickling, the bill was referred to the Committee on Government Operations.

• H.265, supported by Rep. Haas, proposes to update the Long-Term Care Ombudsman statutes to conform to the federal Older Americans Act and related regulations. It was referred to the Committee on Human Services.

• H.270 proposes to create an Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELOs) Grant Program developed and administered by an ELO Review Committee to support and encourage increased student participation in and access to ELO programs offered outside school hours and during the summer throughout Vermont. It was supported by Reps. Hooper and Masland and referred to the Committee on Education.

For more information, or to read the language of a proposed or passed bill, visit legislature. vermont.gov/bill or contact your representative.

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