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Legislative Notes for April 26, 2012

April 20, 2012

As we move toward adjournment the House continues to pass a multitude of bills while few seem to be returning from the Senate. The House took action on twenty-nine bills and twelve resolutions this week. I thought that bills H.761, H.777, S.237 and S.245 might be of interest to you and will discuss in this report.

H.761 executive branch fees, including motor vehicles, fish and wildlife was a bill that passed the House earlier in the session and returned from the Senate with a few modifications. The committee after reviewing it recommended that it be further modified by reducing several fees. The bill that passed on a voice vote will raise $10 million in additional revenue for the Department of Motor Vehicles. It will now cost you more to renew your driver’s license and register your car. The legislature continues to increase the cost to live and do business in Vermont without thoroughly exploring spending efficiencies. I cannot support increasing the cost to live, work and raise a family and thus did not support the bill.
H.777 licensed midwives and certified nurse midwives bill creates a two-year reprieve from purchasing medical malpractice insurance. Last session a law was passed which would require public and private insurance companies to cover midwife services. It was later determined that if midwives were to receive payment from insurance companies for their services than they would be required to carry malpractice insurance. This requirement led to the discovery that in general midwives do not generate enough business annually to make it financially feasible to purchase malpractice insurance. As a result, the supporters of the initial bill came back to the legislature to seek relieve from the malpractice insurance requirement. I could not support this bill because I understand that it unfairly transfers liability to doctors and hospitals if something were to go wrong during the delivery.
S.237 an act relating to genuine progress indicator (GPI) is to measure the State of Vermont’s economic, environmental and societal well-being as a supplement to the measurement derived from the gross state product and other statistical measurements. It was jokingly referred to as the “happy meter bill” and is defined as an estimate of the net contributions of economic activity to the well-being and long-term prosperity of the state’s citizens through adjustments to the gross state product that account for positive and negative economic, environmental and social attributes of economic development. I supported this bill because I think that it is important to track this information but, I do have some concern that this information may be utilized to distort economic indicators in a negative manner in the future.
S.245 an act relating to requiring cardiovascular (CPR) care instruction in public and independent schools passed on Tuesday afternoon. The bill requires schools to incorporate the instruction of AED use into their current health curriculum. This is another unfunded mandate but, we were given information stating that there was no financial impact on schools so, I supported the bill.
As your representative, I look forward to representing you and your concerns in Montpelier. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, comments or concerns. I am very interested in hearing from you. During the session, I can be reached at the Statehouse by calling 1-800-322-5616 or by cell at 373-5960. My email address is dturner@leg.state.vt.us. My web-site address is http://www.donturnerjr.com. Thank you and have a great week.

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