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VCDR Legislative Wrap-Up
The Legislature reconvened on Tuesday January 4th for the second year of the 2021-2022 Biennium. The session progressed with the House and Senate observing different rules for meeting remotely and in person. Committee meetings, floor action, caucuses, public hearings, and other meetings were accessible throughout the session remotely.
By the final few months of the session both the committee meetings and House and Senate floor action were meeting in person and members of the public, lobbyist, advocates, and others were in the Statehouse in person in increasing numbers.
There is expected to be a large turnover of persons in the Legislature after the elections in November. In addition to the statewide constitutional offices that are opening (incumbents not running), many longtime Representatives and Senators, including committee chairs are retiring or running for other offices.
The Legislature adjourned on May 12, 2022. There was a flurry of activity and compromises on legislation in the final hours. The Governor did sign the budget bill after negotiations to add some of the Governor’s request and remove some items that he objected to, in the hopes of avoiding a veto.
The Governor did veto the pension bill, Burlington’s “just cause” evictions charter change, and the clean heat standard legislation passed by the House and the Senate. The Legislature did override the governor’s veto on the pension bill; it passed unanimously. On both the Burlington charter change and the clean heat standard the Legislature failed to override the Governor’s veto by one vote in the House.
The legislature did make significant investments through the budget and use of federal COVID relief funds in affordable housing, broadband, climate initiatives, home weatherization, Vermont State Colleges System and increases in wages for frontline workers at community mental health and home health agencies.
They also enacted legislation related to truth and reconciliation, developmental disabilities, mental health, Reach-Up, environmental justice, workforce development, education financing and other.
VT Legislature – 2022 Act Summary Book
The Summary of the Acts of the 2022 General Assembly is now available.
Above is a complete list and summaries of legislation enacted in 2022. Below you will find specific summaries of VCDR legislation of interest.
Vermont Public Radio Legislative Summary: https://www.vermontpublic.org/vpr-news/2022-05-12/the-vermont-legislature-has-adjourned-it-did-a-lot-of-stuff-this-year
Affordable Housing initiatives as summarized by the Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition:
Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition – Legislative Wrap Up
***LEGISLATION of INTEREST***
The following legislation were VLIAC Priorities or followed by VLIAC that were passed in the 2022 Legislative session. You will find a link to the bill as enacted, and a link the act summary, as well as the summary if provided.
The Budget Bill
H.740 An act relation to making appropriations for the support of government
For act summary:
This is the budget bill. For more information, see the website of the Joint Fiscal Office at: https://ljfo.vermont.gov/subjects/appropriations-and-budget/fy2023
Multiple effective dates, beginning on July 1, 2021
The budget approved by lawmakers includes:
- $98 million for broadband buildout across the state
- $90 million for affordable housing
- $215 million for climate initiatives, including $80 million for home weatherization alone
- $60 million for the Vermont State Colleges System
- More than $40 million to boost wages for frontline workers at community mental health and home health agencies. (8% rate increase for designated and specialized service agencies)
H.740 Committee of Conference Budget Summary https://ljfo.vermont.gov/assets/Uploads/5b993e9fc9/COC_H740_FY23_Budget_Summary_-_House_version.pdf
- Community MH, DDS and Home Health Care providers rate increase of 8% ($26.6m total all funds)
- Direct Care workers Collective Bargaining Agreement funded ($4.5m all funds)
- Provides $15m in contingent funding for DCF emergency or transitional housing needs in event of federal fund shortfall
- SUD treatment/recovery bed capacity increase ($2m) and rate increase for preferred providers ($1.2M gross)
- New Jenna’s House program funded ($400k base, $100K one-time) and Recovery Centers base increase ($540k)
- Substance Misuse Prevention Coalitions ($4m GF and Tobacco funds)
- Chittenden County Treatment and Recovery for persons transitioning from incarceration ($150k), and Recovery Center embedded employment services pilot program ($345k)
- HIV/AIDs Orgs ($295k) for base services, UVMMC AIDS clinic ($50k base, $50K one-time)
- Prevention and needle exchange at organizations and Howard Center ($500k in GF and Tobacco funds onetime)
- Vermont Legal Aid and Health Care Advocate given base increase ($690k gross)
- Volunteer Income Tax Program at the Treasurer’s Office for CAPS ($400K)
- Adult Day operating support continued ($1.5m one-time)
- Creates separate appropriation for Justice Reinvestment in DOC so this $9.9m can be tracked over time
- Adds $100K GF for a grant to the Vermont Association of the Blind and Visually Impaired
H.96 (Act 128) An act relating to creating the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Development Task Force
This act establishes the Vermont Truth and Reconciliation Commission as an independent State body to examine institutional, structural, and systemic discrimination caused or permitted by State laws and policies that has been experienced by individuals who identify as Native American or Indigenous; individuals with a physical, psychiatric, or mental condition or disability and the families of individuals with a physical, psychiatric, or mental condition or disability; Black individuals and other individuals of color; and individuals with French Canadian, French-Indian, or other mixed ethnic or racial heritage.
The Commission will consist of three full-time commissioners, staff, and committee members appointed by the commissioners to assist in examining discrimination caused or permitted by State laws and policies. The Commission will produce, on or before June 15, 2026, a final report regarding its findings and recommendations for actions that can be taken to eliminate ongoing instances of institutional, structural, and systemic discrimination and to address the harm caused by historic instances of institutional, structural, and systemic discrimination. Effective Date: May 24, 2022
This act specifies that it is the intent of the General Assembly that:
• individuals who qualify for developmental services and who meet a funding priority as outlined in the State system of care plan for developmental services receive full and complete information in plain language regarding their options and services; and
• individuals with developmental disabilities, their family members, allies, and advocates be respected and active participants in systems change activities, including payment reform, development of resources to comply with the federal home- and community-based services regulations, and development of additional residential service options. This act amends the existing system of care plan by removing the requirement that a portion of the plan go through rulemaking. It further sets forth a process for the Department of Disabilities, Aging, and Independent Living (Department) to request an extension for the completion of subsequent system of care plans.
Sec. 3 of this act requires the Department to submit a report to the General Assembly by November 15, 2022, regarding the oversight of services for individuals with developmental disabilities. It also requires that the Department submit a report to the General Assembly on January 15, 2023, that includes an implementation plan addressing the fiscal and workforce requirements needed to conduct a minimum of at least one annual on-site quality assurance and improvement visit by the Department to the designated and specialized service agencies and other providers serving individuals with developmental disabilities.
This act creates a limited-service position of the Residential Program Developer within the Department and allocates funds for this purpose. It also directs the Department to develop housing and residential service pilot planning grants in at least three regions of the State, in partnership with the designated and specialized services agencies, for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. The work of the Department in developing and selecting pilot planning grants is to be guided by the steering committee.
Sec. 6 of this act addresses legislative input pertaining to system-wide payment reform and the conflict-free case management system impacting individuals with developmental disabilities. Due to a typographical error, this section diverges from legislative intent, and the General Assembly is expected to address the discrepancy during the 2023 session. Multiple effective dates, beginning on June 9, 2022
H. 716 (Act 175) – An act relating to making miscellaneous changes in education law
This act allows a supervisory union to choose whether to use fiscal years 2018–2020 or fiscal years 2019–2021 in calculating its special education census grant funding for fiscal year 2023. This act requires the Agency of Education to submit a report in January 2023 to the Senate and House Committees on Education on the status of Holocaust education in public schools.
This act delays the implementation of rules 2362 and 2362.2.5 of the State Board of Education special education 2360 rule series until July 1, 2023. This act creates an income-based education tax legislative study committee to study and make recommendations regarding the creation and implementation of an income-based education tax system to replace the homestead property tax system for education funding (Eff. Date July1)
H.628 (Act 88) – An act relating to amending a birth certificate to reflect gender identity (S.273)
This act requires the Department of Health to adopt rules to allow an individual to amend the gender marker on the individual’s birth certificate through means such as self-attestation. This act also permits the Department of Health to adopt rules that add gender pronouns to the list of authorized markers on a birth certificate. Effective Date: July 1,2022
H. 266 (Act 108) – An act relating to health insurance coverage for hearing aids
This act requires large group health insurance plans to cover hearing aids and related services beginning in plan year 2024. It also codifies the requirement that Vermont Medicaid cover hearing aids and related services and requires the Departments of Vermont Health Access and of Financial Regulation to report by November 1, 2022 on the status of the State’s application to the federal government to modify the essential health benefits in Vermont’s benchmark plan to include coverage of hearing aids and related services in individual and small group health insurance plans beginning in plan year 2024.
H. 464 (Act 133) – An act relating to miscellaneous changes to the Reach Up Program
This act makes a variety of changes to the Reach Up program. First, it amends the definition of “dependent child” to mean an individual 18 years of age or older who is a full-time student and expected to complete an educational program before reaching 22 years of age (versus 19 years of age) or who is not expected to complete a program before reaching 22 years of age (versus 19 years of age) due to a documented disability. This act increases the amount of income disregarded for Reach Up participants from $250.00 to $350.00 and increases the monthly amount of child support payments that a participating family may receive from $50.00 to $100.00. This act requires case managers to utilize a universal engagement model and amends existing law to employ a collaborative and empowering tone with regard to family development and engagement. It replaces work requirements with requirements on employment preparation, readiness, and participation.
This act removes the requirement that a deferral or modification of the work requirement due to the existence of illness or disability be confirmed through an independent medical review. It amends the postsecondary education program to enable both parents in a two-parent family to simultaneously participate in the program. Lastly, this act appropriates $500,000.00 to the Department for Children and Families in fiscal year 2023 to make improvements to the Department’s information technology systems that are necessary to perform the Department’s duties under the act. Multiple effective dates, beginning on July 1, 2022
S. 100 (Act 151) – An act relating to universal school breakfast and the creation of the Task Force on Universal School Lunch
This act creates a one-year universal school meals program that provides free breakfast and lunch to all public school students. Approved independent schools physically located in Vermont may also participate in the one-year universal school meals program for those students who attend on public tuition. Schools that participate in the universal meals program are required to maximize access to federal funds. This act also creates a one-year moratorium on the ability of a school district to ask for an exemption from participation in a school meals program under 16 V.S.A. § 1265.
This act requires the Agency of Education to report to the Senate and House Committees on Education and on Appropriations, the House Committee on Ways and Means, and the Senate Committee on Finance on the impact and status of this act. This act also requires the Joint Fiscal Office to prepare a report examining possible revenue sources not ordinarily used for General Fund purposes. Effective Date: July 1, 2022
S. 226 (Act 182) – An act relating to expanding access to safe and affordable housing
Act summary: https://legislature.vermont.gov/Documents/2022/Docs/ACTS/ACT182/ACT182%20Act %20Summary.pdf
This act includes program changes and funding to promote access to safe and
affordable housing, including:
• Authorization and funding for VHFA to provide grants to first generation homebuyers
• Funding for manufactured home repair and replacement.
• Funding for a Community Partnership for Neighborhood Development
• Funding for a Missing Middle-Income Homeownership Development
• Registration of residential construction contractors
• Prohibition on tax sale of a residence while a Vermont Homeowner
Assistance Program application is pending.
This act amends the Downtown and Village Center Tax Credit Program by
creating a new type of tax credit for flood mitigation projects and to allow tax
credits to be awarded to projects in neighborhood development areas.
This act amends provisions of the Vermont Fair Housing and Public
Accommodations Act to provide general legislative intent and statutory direction
on the interpretation of the fair housing laws with regard to harassment and
discrimination of members of protected classes and OTHER Provisions
S.210 (act 181) An act relating to rental housing health and safety and affordable housing
As enacted: https://legislature.vermont.gov/Documents/2022/Docs/ACTS/ACT181/ACT181%20As%20Enacted.pdf
Secs. 1–4 of this act govern the transition of authority for rental housing health and safety to the Department of Public Safety. Secs. 5–7 relate to the creation of a Vermont Rental Housing Improvement Program. Sec. 8 appropriates funding for these purposes. Effective Date: June 7, 2022. (The controversial rental registry was taken out to prevent a veto from the Governor)
H.708 – Charter of the City of Burlington – Tenants Just Cause (Passed both Houses, Vetoed by Governor, Legislature failed to override)
As passed by the House and Senate: https://legislature.vermont.gov/Documents/2022/Docs/BILLS/H-0708/H- 0708%20As%20Passed%20by%20Both%20House%20and%20Senate%20Unofficial.pdf.
This bill would have approved the creation of an ordinance to provide protections for residential tenants, as defined in 9 V.S.A. chapter 137, from eviction without “just cause” in the City of Burlington.
Proposition 2 Prop 2 is a constitutional amendment clarifying the prohibition on slavery and indentured servitude.
The amendment adopted by the House and Senate: https://legislature.vermont.gov/Documents/2022/Docs/BILLS/PR0002/PR0002%20As%20ado pted%20by%20the%20Senate%20and%20the%20House%20Unofficial.pdf
As passed by both House and Senate: https://legislature.vermont.gov/Documents/2022/Docs/BILLS/S-0210/S-0210%20As%20Passed%20by%20Both%20House%20and%20Senate%20Unofficial.pdf
S.148 (Act 154) – An act relating to environmental justice in Vermont.
As enacted: https://legislature.vermont.gov/Documents/2022/Docs/ACTS/ACT154/ACT154%20Act%20Summary.pdf
This act establishes an environmental justice policy for the State of Vermont and requires the State agencies to incorporate environmental justice into their work, rules, and procedures. It establishes the Environmental Justice Advisory Council and the Interagency Environmental Justice Committee to advise the State on environmental justice issues. It also requires the creation of an environmental justice mapping tool. Effective Date: May 31, 2022
H. 546 (Act 142) – An act relating to racial justice statistics
This act creates the Division of Racial Justice Statistics within the Office of Racial Equity to collect and analyze data related to systemic racial bias and disparities within the criminal and juvenile justice systems. The act also creates the Racial Justice Statistics Advisory Council within the Office of Racial Equity to serve in an advisory capacity to the Division of Racial Justice Statistics, evaluate the data and analyses received from the Division, and make recommendations to the Division as a result of the evaluations. Effective Date: July 1, 2022
S.287 (Act 127) – An act relating to improving student equity by adjusting the school funding formula and providing education quality and funding oversight
Act 127 – As enacted: https://legislature.vermont.gov/Documents/2022/Docs/ACTS/ACT127/ACT127%20As%20Enacted.pdf
• Updates pupil weights and limits the degree to which homestead property tax rates can increase over fiscal years 2025–2029;
• Suspends the excess spending penalty during fiscal years 2024–2029 and the hold harmless provision and ballot language requirements during fiscal years 2025–2029;
• Requires the Agency of Education to implement the universal income declaration form for the 2023–24 school year;
• Sets out required English learner services to be offered by school districts and provides categorical aid for English learner services to districts with 25 or fewer English learners; • creates new positions at the Agency of Education;
• Amends the education quality standards; • requires an evaluation of the act in achieving the act’s goals;
• Requires the Joint Fiscal Office to contract for services to review CTE funding and governance structures; and
• requires the Department of Taxes to make recommendations regarding the implementation of an income-based education tax system to replace the homestead property tax system.
H. 661 (Act 117) – An act relating to licensure of mental health professionals As enacted: https://legislature.vermont.gov/Documents/2022/Docs/ACTS/ACT117/ACT117%20As%20Enacted.pdf
This act makes miscellaneous changes to the licensure and regulation of mental health professionals. Secs. 1–7 amend continuing education unit requirements for the following mental health professions regulated by the Office of Professional Regulation in Title 26: psychologists, social workers, alcohol and drug abuse counselors, clinical mental health counselors, marriage and family therapists, psychoanalysts, and applied behavior analysts.
Sec. 8 requires the Office of Professional Regulation to complete a study relating to streamlining the licensure of mental health professionals and other topics relating to the licensure and regulation of mental health professions. Sec. 9 requires the Office of Professional Regulation to maintain a registry of mental health professionals who are available to serve as supervisors for mental health professionals in training. Sec. 10 creates one new classified Licensing Board Administrator position in the Office of Professional Regulation. Sec. 11 states that the effective date for the act shall be July 1, 2022, except that Secs. 1–7 (continuing education units) shall take effect on July 1, 2023. Multiple effective dates, beginning on July 1, 2022
S.197 (Act 112) – An act relating to the provision of mental health supports
Sec. 1 of this act requires the Department of Mental Health, in consultation with the Agencies of Education and of Human services, to submit its federally required Mobile Crisis Needs Assessment to the House Committee on HealthCare and to the Senate Committee on Health and Welfare by January 15, 2023. Sec. 2 directs the Agency of Education, in consultation with the Department of Mental Health, to contract with one or more organizations to provide COVID-19 recovery supports for educators and school staff in fiscal year 2023. The recovery supports shall be provided by mental health clinicians.
Sec. 3 requires the Agency of Education to work with the Department of Mental Health in establishing and administering a two-year program utilizing a tiered-support approach to ensure continuous support to children and youth in a variety of settings, including supervisory union and district-wide, in-school, community technical education centers, and afterschool settings. Grants issued pursuant to this section shall seek to expand existing school-based counseling services in the State or develop either school-based or community-based afterschool programs that support the mental health and wellness needs of students, families, and staff. On or before January 15, 2025, the Agency shall submit a report to various committees of the General Assembly summarizing the programs to which grants were awarded and recommending a model for the integration of mental health and in-school and afterschool programming.
Sec. 4 specifies that funding for the initiatives in Secs. 2 and 3 shall be allocated from among the ESSER III funds previously appropriated pursuant to 2021 Acts and Resolves No. 74, Sec. E.501.3. Sec. 5 directs the existing Vermont Interagency Afterschool Youth Task Force to submit its bimonthly reports to the House committees on Education and on Human Services and to the Senate Committees on Education and on Health and Welfare. It further requires the Task Force to provide advice and recommendations to the General Assembly upon request. Effective Date: July 1, 2022
S.254 (Act 126) – An act relating to recovering damages for Article 11 violations by law enforcement and a report on qualified immunity
As enacted: https://legislature.vermont.gov/Documents/2022/Docs/ACTS/ACT126/ACT126%20As%20Enacted.pdf
This act mandates each law enforcement agency to maintain a record of all final judgments and settlements paid for claims related to violations of Vermont constitutional rights. The records are subject to disclosure pursuant to the Vermont Public Records Act, and any disclosed record must include the name of the law enforcement agency and the amount paid. The act also requires that, on or before November 15, 2022, the Office of Legislative Counsel submit a written legal analysis on qualified immunity to the Senate S.254 continued…
and House Committees on Judiciary and the Joint Legislative Justice Oversight Committee. The submission will analyze various topics concerning the impact of the doctrine of qualified immunity on access to civil justice remedies in Vermont and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Effective Date: July 1, 2022
S.91 (Act 150) An act related to the Parent Child Center Network
This act establishes the Parent Child Center Network, which is defined as “an Agency of Human Services’ community partner composed of authorized parent child centers that ensures accountability and collaboration among authorized parent child centers.”
The bill amends the criteria that the Secretary of Human Services (Secretary) must use to determine whether a new parent child center shall be authorized and whether an existing parent child center shall be reauthorized. This act also requires the Secretary to conduct a reauthorization review of each parent child center at least every six years. This act directs the Secretary to disperse a joint allocation for all parent child center services to the Parent Child Center Network, which in turn is required to distribute funding to each authorized parent child center. It further requires the Parent Child Center Network and authorized parent child centers to provide any previously agreed upon information to enable the Secretary to evaluate the services provided through grant funds, the effect of services on consumers, and an accounting of the expenditure of grant funds. Multiple effective dates, beginning on July 1, 2022
S.11 – An act related to Economic and Workforce Development – Includes H.703 An act related to workforce development
As enacted: https://legislature.vermont.gov/Documents/2022/Docs/ACTS/ACT183/ACT183%20As%20Enacted.pdf
Act Summary: https://legislature.vermont.gov/Documents/2022/Docs/ACTS/ACT183/ACT183%20Act%20Summary.pdf
This act adopts various provisions across a multitude of subject areas to promote workforce development and economic development. The act provides funding and creates program language for a forgivable loan program to retain recent college graduates, a skilled meat cutter training facility at VTC, recruiting and retaining recent immigrants, business coaching for BIPOC-owned businesses, an assessment of the workforce development system and a regional workforce expansion pilot project to provide additional regional workforce support services; a workforce development pilot project for incarcerated individuals, studies on correctional officer recruiting, a work-based learning and training program at DOL for internships and returnships, a secondary-student industry-recognized pilot project to allow students to take an adult CTE course, a Vermont trades scholarship program to increase workers in the trades, and a CTE construction and rehabilitation experiential learning program to allow CTE students to work on community construction and rehabilitation projects.
This is the economic and workforce development bill. The compromise bill included some of the Governor’s proposed programs, including money to subsidize training for Vermonters as they change careers or enter new ones. The Conference Committee also maintained the nursing programs recommended by the House Health Care and Senate Health & Welfare Committees. There is a COVID Paid Leave Grant Program (Sec. 51a) that appropriates $15,180,000 for employees to receive 100% wage replacement up to $21.25/hr for 40 hours of leave.
S.11 Fiscal Note – Bill Summary https://legislature.vermont.gov/Documents/2022/WorkGroups/House%20Com merce/Bills/S.11/Committee%20of%20Conference/S.11~Patrick%20Titterton~ Conference%20Report%20Fiscal%20Note~5-10-2022.pdf
Acted on but not passed
S.195 An act relating to certification of mental health peer support specialists (and S.194)
House proposal of amendment: https://legislature.vermont.gov/Documents/2022/Docs/BILLS/S-0195/S- 0195%20House%20Proposal%20of%20Amendment%20Unofficial.pdf
As passed by the Senate:
This bill proposed to require the State Agency of Human Services (AHS) to establish, no later than January 1, 2023, a statewide mental health peer support specialist certification program, as a part of the state’s comprehensive mental health system and Medicaid program.
S.195 was a bill advanced by the leaders of Vermont peer-led organizations. The bill as proposed, would have created a statewide, mental health peer specialist certification program. The bill included safeguards to ensure the certification program adhered to peer support values.
S.194, also a bill advanced by leaders of Vermont peer-led organizations, would have created seven, new geographically dispersed peer respites. Following hearings in the Senate Committee on Health and Welfare, S.194 was incorporated in S.195.
The Senate Appropriations committee took the funding out of the bill but left the unfunded, statewide mental health peer support certification program.
House Health Care wanted to strip “peers” from participating in the credentialing and turn it over to the Office of Professional Regulation, but with objections from advocates they amended it to require DMH to begin a credentialing process and prepare a report.
In the end when it was clear that key elements of the bill were taken out by the House committee, and the Senate Appropriations committee stripped the funding, the advocates putting forth the legislation asked Senate Health and Welfare to pull the bill. In the interim, MadFreedom has worked out a deal with DMH to begin the credentialing process with “peers” leading the effort. Sen. Sanders will ask the Federal government to earmark $336,000 for the process.
S. 247 – An act relating to prohibiting discrimination based on genetic information (Bill ordered to lie)
This bill proposed to prohibit discrimination based on an individual’s genetic information in relation to insurance coverage and the provision of social and medical services.
As recommended by the House Committee on Health Care:
Introduced but not acted on
S.147 An act relating to language access plans https://legislature.vermont.gov/Documents/2022/Docs/BILLS/S-0147/S- 0147%20As%20Introduced.pdf
This bill proposes to require State agencies to create language access plans and to require the Agency of Administration to complete an evaluation of the sufficiency of agencies’ provision of translated materials and interpretation services.
H.506 – An act relating to preserving the rights of a parent with a disability
This bill proposes to prohibit using a person’s disability as a reason to deny or restrict the rights of a parent, prospective parent, foster parent, or guardian unless doing so is in the best interests of the child
H. 329 – An act relating to amending the prohibitions against discrimination. https://legislature.vermont.gov/Documents/2022/Docs/BILLS/H-0329/H- 0329%20As%20Introduced.pdf
This bill proposes to amend the laws prohibiting discrimination in employment, education, public accommodations, and housing to provide that harassment need not be severe and pervasive to constitute unlawful discrimination and to establish a uniform six-year statute of limitations for claims of discrimination in employment, public accommodations, and
housing. This bill also proposes to amend the law prohibiting employment discrimination to provide that an employee need not pursue an internal grievance process prior to filing a claim and shall not be required to demonstrate that a comparable employee was treated differently to prove that discrimination occurred.
S. 52 – An act relating to increasing the minimum wage to $15.00 per hour by 2025 https://legislature.vermont.gov/Documents/2022/Docs/BILLS/S-0052/S- 0052%20As%20Introduced.pdf
S. 65 – An act relating to paid family leave https://legislature.vermont.gov/Documents/2022/Docs/BILLS/S-0065/S- 0065%20As%20Introduced.pdf