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This act extends certain basic labor rights and protections to domestic workers. Specifically, this measure prohibits an employer from discharging or discriminating against an individual employed as a domestic in compensation or in terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because of that individual's race, sex including gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age, religion, color, ancestry, disability, or marital status; applies the wage and hour laws to domestic workers except for individuals employed in domestic services on a casual basis and individuals providing companionship services for the aged or infirm; and adds definitions of “casual basis”, “companionship services for the aged or infirm”, and “domestic service” to the state’s wage and hour laws.

With passage of this Act, Vermont enacted what observers believe is the first state anti-patent “troll” legislation in the country. Though the law still provides for legitimate claims of patent infringement in accordance with federal law, it will, however, require more detailed allegations in licensing demand letters and it increases the potential cost of making a baseless claim. Under the new law, demand letters must include detailed information about how the Vermont product, service or technology infringes on an existing patent. The demand letter must also allow for a reasonable amount of time for the licensing fee to be paid. The penalty for a bad faith claim is a bond equal to the cost of litigating the claim for the Vermont company. Violators risk being brought into court in violation of state law and the attorney general can also file suit against patent trolls who target Vermont companies without legitimate claims.

This act requires that economic development tax incentives undergo regular and rigorous evaluations including details on the scope, quality and frequency of those reviews and how evaluations should be linked to budget decisions.

This joint resolution makes permanent the Oklahoma Construction Industries Board’s rule that all home inspectors must make a written notation if they see yellow corrugated stainless steel tubing (CSST) during the course of their inspection. The home inspector is required to notify the homeowner in writing that only a licensed electrical contractor can determine if the yellow CSST is properly bonded and grounded per the current National Fuel Gas Code and as required by the manufacturer’s installation instructions. Bonding is provided primarily to prevent a possible electric shock to people who come in contact with the gas piping and other metal objects connected to the grounding system.

This act enacts the Green Tariff Shared Renewables program. It requires a participating utility, defined as an electrical corporation with 100,000 or more customers in California, to file with the commission an application requesting approval of a green tariff shared renewables program to implement a program enabling ratepayers to participate directly in offsite electrical generation facilities that use eligible renewable energy resources, consistent with certain legislative findings and statements of intent. The act requires the commission to issue a decision concerning the participating utility’s application, determining whether to approve or disapprove the application, with or without modifications. It also requires the commission, after notice and opportunity for public comment, to approve the application if the commission determines that the proposed program is reasonable and consistent with the legislative findings and statements of intent.

This act creates tax incentives to encourage the collection and use of natural gas that would otherwise be flared. The act: Expands a sales tax exemption to include tangible personal property used to construct or expand gas collection systems; creates a gross production tax exemption for certain gas collected and used at the well site; and creates an oil extraction tax exemption for the liquids produced in association with a collection system.

This act allows retail electric suppliers to create a new class of retail customer for those who install distributed power generation, on-site electricity generation that is connected to the grid. The act allows electric utilities to apply to the Oklahoma Corporation Commission to establish a higher base customer charge for users of rooftop solar or small wind turbines. The higher fixed charge would be used to recover infrastructure costs to send excess electricity back to the grid.

The act authorizes the utilization of “graywater”, which is wastewater from a building’s showers or hand washing sinks or washing machines, by cities and counties for nondrinking water purposes like irrigation or to flush toilets. The Colorado Water Control Commission is directed to create statewide standards for gray water systems that protect public health and water quality. The Commission will not allow the use of graywater systems unless a local city, county, or municipality has approved an ordinance or resolution.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has not yet finalized rules governing “general solicitation” for the purpose of equity crowdfunding. As such, several states have implemented their own regulatory guidelines governing intrastate crowdfunding.

The Act requires a phase out, and ultimately, a ban on the manufacture and sale of personal care products that contain plastic synthetic microbeads. The Act bans the manufacture of personal care products containing plastic synthetic microbeads by the end of 2017, the sale of such personal care products and the manufacture of over-the-counter drugs containing the beads by the end of 2018, and the sale of over-the-counter drugs with microbeads by the end of 2019. Synthetic plastic microbeads are used in personal care products because of their exfoliating properties and excellent safety profile, but there are concerns about the potential environmental impact as microbeads may not be captured by wastewater treatment facilities. This Act was passed unanimously in the Legislature, and received the support of industry.

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