The Vermont Statutes Online
- Subchapter 001: GENERAL PROVISIONS
§ 101. Commission; office
The Secretary of State shall be commissioned by the Governor and shall keep an office open for the transaction of business.
§ 102. Seal
The Secretary shall have a seal of office, with the same device as the State Seal, and around the Seal the words: SECRETARY OF STATE. VERMONT. Full faith and credit shall be given to certified copies and attestations under his or her Seal.
§ 102a. Facsimile signature of Secretary of State
A facsimile of the signature of the Secretary of State imprinted by or at his or her direction upon any certification issued under Title 11 or 11A, upon any attestation required of the Secretary by law or upon any certification of official documents or records of which the Secretary is custodian shall have the same validity as the Secretary of State's written signature. (Added 1993, No. 108 (Adj. Sess.), § 22, eff. Feb. 16, 1994.)
§ 103. Documents required to be filed
(a) All deeds, contracts of sale, leases, and other documents or copies of same conveying land or an interest therein to the State, except for transportation rights-of-way, leases, and conveyances, shall be filed in the Office of the Secretary of State.
(b) All deeds, contracts of sale, leases, and other documents conveying land or an interest in land from the State as grantor, except for transportation rights-of-way, leases, and conveyances, shall be made out in duplicate by the authorized agent of the State. The original shall be delivered to the grantee and the duplicate copy, so marked, shall be filed in the Office of the Secretary of State.
(c) The Secretary of State shall also record the State Treasurer's bonds and other documents required to be recorded in the Secretary of State's office and give copies of the same upon tender of the Secretary of State's legal fees. (Amended 2009, No. 123 (Adj. Sess.), § 31.)
§ 104. Preparation and publication of acts and resolutions
After an act or resolution has been passed by both Houses of the General Assembly, signed by the presiding officers of both Houses and by the Governor, it shall be delivered to the custody of the Secretary of State. The Secretary shall cause the act or resolution to be reproduced in form suitable to be submitted to the printer designated in 29 V.S.A. § 1115. Before submission to the printer, the Secretary shall correct obvious typographical errors and assign a public law number to each act or resolution. The Secretary shall cause a suitable index and reference tables to be prepared. (Amended 1969, No. 90, § 2.)
§ 105. Repealed. 1967, No. 257 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. Feb. 21, 1968.
§ 106. Acts and resolutions of the General Assembly
After the original acts and resolutions of the General Assembly are delivered to the Secretary pursuant to section 104 of this title, the Secretary shall then keep the originals on permanent file. (Added 1969, No. 90, § 3; amended 1995, No. 148 (Adj. Sess.), § 4(c)(2), eff. May 6, 1996; 2009, No. 91 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. May 6, 2010.)
§ 107. Legislative clerk
At the commencement of each session of the General Assembly, the Secretary of State shall appoint and set the compensation of a legislative clerk, subject to the approval of the Governor. The duties of the legislative clerk shall be as follows:
(1) to prepare a copy of the acts and resolutions for the printer designated by the Commissioner of Buildings and General Services;
(2) to prepare the joint assembly journals;
(3) to keep a register of lobbyists;
(4) to prepare and distribute certified copies of resolutions as directed by the General Assembly;
(5) to prepare index and tables of laws for the acts and resolves;
(6) such other legislative duties as the Secretary shall assign. (Added 1969, No. 90, § 4; amended 1995, No. 148 (Adj. Sess.), § 4(c)(2), eff. May 6, 1996.)
§ 108. Compilations, indices, bulletins, and circulars
The Secretary shall cause to be prepared and printed such compilations of the different chapters of the Vermont Statutes Annotated, and amendments thereto or laws affecting the subject matter thereof, as may be necessary for the purpose of distribution, exchange, or for the use of the respective State officers, commissioners, departments, and citizens of the State. The Secretary may cause such compilations to be provided with the proper indices. He or she shall also cause bulletins or circulars to be prepared and printed relating to statistical and other matters of public nature on file or recorded in his or her office, and may employ necessary assistance for the preparation of such compilations, indices, bulletins, and circulars. The expense of such preparation and publication of such compilations, indices, bulletins, and circulars shall be paid by the State, and the Commissioner of Finance and Management shall issue his or her warrants for such expenses when the accounts therefor have been duly approved by the Secretary. All accounts for printing shall also be approved by the Commissioner of Buildings and General Services before the Commissioner of Finance and Management issues such warrants. (Amended 1961, No. 30, eff. March 17, 1961; 1983, No. 195 (Adj. Sess.), § 5(b); 1995, No. 148 (Adj. Sess.), § 4(c)(2), eff. May 6, 1996.)
§ 109. Laws and journals
The Secretary shall procure one copy of the printed journal of each House of the General Assembly at each session thereof, one copy of the laws passed at such session, one copy of this and all subsequent revisions of the laws, immediately after the same are printed and published, and deposit the same in his or her office, which, with such laws and journals and revisions of the laws as are now in his or her office, shall be kept therein and shall not be taken therefrom unless by authority of law.
§ 110. Surveyor General's papers
All books, papers and records of the Surveyor General which are in the possession of the State or may come into its possession shall be in the custody of the Secretary of State, and copies thereof duly certified by such officer shall be evidence in court and have the same force as the original.
§ 111. Township charters
(a) The Secretary shall procure from the proper sources authenticated copies of such original charters of townships in this State as were not granted by the General Assembly.
(b) Copies of original charters of townships deposited in the Secretary of State's office shall be valid records of such charters, and such record or copies thereof duly certified by the Secretary of State shall be competent evidence of such original charters in Court.
§ 112. Statements and communications to General Assembly
The Secretary shall make such statements and communications to the General Assembly as may be required by it.
§ 113. Record by photostatic or photographic method
The Secretary of State may record by photostatic or photographic method any instrument, paper or document required by law to be recorded by him or her, and he or her may give photostatic or photographic copies of the same, required by law to be filed or recorded with him or her, upon tender of his or her legal fees. Such copies, duly certified by him or her, shall be competent evidence in court and have the same force as the originals thereof would have had, if produced in court.
§§ 114-114a. Repealed. 1989, No. 250 (Adj. Sess.), § 92.
§ 115. Repealed. 1975, No. 118, § 101.
§ 116. Repealed. 1981, No. 217 (Adj. Sess.), § 11.
§ 117. Vermont State Archives and Records Administration
(a) As used in this chapter:
(1) "Records management" means the systematic identification and management of public records to assure their authenticity and accessibility from creation to ultimate disposition.
(2) "Archives" or "archival records" means public records which have continuing legal, administrative, or historic value.
(3) "Appraisal" means the identification, classification, and analysis of all public records, regardless of physical form or characteristics, to determine their value and ultimate disposition, based upon their:
(A) current administrative, legal, and fiscal use;
(B) evidential and informational content;
(C) arrangement and condition;
(D) intrinsic value; and
(E) relationship to other records.
(4) "Public record" or "public document" means all papers, documents, machine readable materials, or any other written or recorded matters, regardless of their physical form or characteristics, that are produced or acquired in the course of agency business. Individual salaries and benefits of and salary schedules relating to elected or appointed officials and employees of public agencies shall not be exempt from public inspection and copying.
(5) "Record schedule" means a manual, directive, or policy containing descriptions of and disposition instructions for retention, access, and management of all public records or public documents.
(b) There is created within the Office of the Secretary of State the Vermont State Archives and Records Administration which is charged with administering and implementing a records management program for State government in accordance with professional records and information management practices and principles which shall be styled "the State Archives and Records Administration Program."
(c) The Secretary shall adopt policies and procedures necessary to carry out the provisions of this section.
(d) The Secretary may appoint an advisory committee to provide assistance and support for the State Archives and Records Administration Program.
(e) The Secretary may adopt rules consistent with this section.
(f) There shall be a Director of the Vermont State Archives and Records Administration who shall have the title of "State Archivist," and who shall be qualified by education and professional experience to perform the duties of the office. The State Archivist shall be a classified position within the Office of Secretary of State.
(g) In fulfilling the duties of the State Archives and Records Administration Program, the State Archivist shall:
(1) establish and administer a records management program for the application of effective and efficient methods to the creation, utilization, maintenance, reformatting, retention, destruction, and preservation of public records;
(2) cooperate with the heads of State agencies or public bodies to establish and maintain a program for the appraisal and scheduling of public records;
(3) analyze, develop, establish, and coordinate standards, procedures, and techniques for the creation of, preservation of, and access to public records;
(4) take custody of archival records in accordance with record schedules approved by the State Archivist;
(5) maintain a record center to hold inactive records in accordance with records schedules approved by the State Archivist;
(6) arrange, describe, and preserve archival records, and promote their use by government officials and the public;
(7) permit the public to inspect, examine, and study the archives, provided that any record placed in the keeping of the Office of the Secretary of State under special terms or conditions of law restricting their use shall be made accessible only in accord with those terms and conditions;
(8) cooperate with and assist to the extent practicable State institutions, departments, agencies, municipalities, and other political subdivisions and individuals engaged in the activities in the field of public records, archives, manuscripts, and history;
(9) accept for filing copies of land records submitted in microfilm, electronic media, or similar compressed form by municipal or county clerks;
(10) receive grants, gifts, aid, or assistance, of any kind, from any source, public or private, for the purpose of managing or publishing public records; and
(11) serve on the Vermont Historical Records Advisory Board, as described in 44 U.S.C. § 2104, to encourage systematic documentation in Vermont and the collecting of archival records.
(i) All volumes printed under authority of this section shall be delivered to the State Librarian who shall deliver one copy to such elective and appointive State officers and such town and county clerks and such local historical societies and to each public high school and college library in the State, and to the library of each private school acting as a public high school as shall request it in writing for the permanent files of their offices. The State Librarian shall also furnish four copies to the Vermont Historical Society. The remaining volumes shall be disposed of by the State Librarian through liberal exchanges with other libraries and institutions or through sale at such prices as the State Librarian shall establish.
(k) There is hereby created a Public Records Special Fund. The Fund shall be administered as a special fund pursuant to 32 V.S.A. chapter 7, subchapter 5. The purpose of the Fund is to support improved management of public records by State agencies. The Fund shall consist of receipts from other government agencies for the provision of records management services by the Vermont State Archives and Records Administration in the Office of the Secretary of State. The Fund shall be available to the Office of the Secretary of State and shall be expended for the purposes of activities authorized by 3 V.S.A. § 117(g). (Added 1973, No. 32, § 1 eff. March 28, 1973; amended 1989, No. 186 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 1995, No. 148 (Adj. Sess.), § 4(c)(2), eff. May 6, 1996; 2003, No. 3, § 1; 2007, No. 96 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 2009, No. 91 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. May 6, 2010; 2011, No. 139 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. May 14, 2012; 2013, No. 1, § 77.)
§ 118. Collection and disposition of revenue
(a) There is hereby created a Secretary of State Services Fund. The Fund shall be used to provide appropriations for the operations of the Office of the Secretary of State, with the exception of those operations provided for in chapter 5, subchapter 3 of this title. The Fund shall be administered as a special fund pursuant to 32 V.S.A. chapter 7, subchapter 5. At the end of each fiscal year, the unobligated balance in this Fund shall be transferred to the General Fund.
(b) All revenues collected by the Secretary of State shall be deposited into the Secretary of State Services Fund except for the following revenues:
(1) any revenues collected by the Office of Professional Regulation set forth in chapter 5, subchapter 3 of this title; and
(2) any revenues collected pursuant to subsection 117(k) of this title. (Added 2013, No. 1, § 78.)
- Subchapter 003: PROFESSIONAL REGULATION
§ 121. Definitions
As used in this subchapter:
(1) "Director" means the Director of the Office of Professional Regulation.
(2) "Licensing board" or "board" refers to the boards, commissions, and professions listed in section 122 of this title and, in the case of disciplinary matters or denials of licensure, either an administrative law officer appointed under subsection 129(j) of this title or the Director in advisor professions. Notwithstanding statutory language to the contrary, this subchapter shall apply to all those boards.
(3) "License" includes certification or registration or a permit. "Licensee" includes registrants and holders of certificates or permits issued by a board or the Director.
(4) "Office" means the Office of Professional Regulation. (Added 1989, No. 250 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1997, No. 40, § 1; 2001, No. 132 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 2005, No. 148 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)
§ 122. Office of Professional Regulation
An Office of Professional Regulation is created within the Office of the Secretary of State. The Office shall have a Director who shall be appointed by the Secretary of State and shall be an exempt employee. The following boards or professions are attached to the Office of Professional Regulation:
(1) Board of Architects
(2) Board of Barbers and Cosmetology
(3) Board of Chiropractic
(4) Board of Allied Mental Health Practitioners
(5) Board of Dental Examiners
(6) Board of Funeral Service
(7) Board of Professional Engineering
(8) Board of Land Surveyors
(10) Board of Nursing
(11) Nursing Home Administrators
(13) Board of Optometry
(14) Board of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons
(15) Board of Pharmacy
(16) Physical Therapists
(17) Board of Radiologic Technology
(18) Board of Private Investigative and Security Services
(19) Board of Public Accountancy
(20) Board of Veterinary Medicine
(21) Motor Vehicle Racing
(23) Board of Psychological Examiners
(24) Real Estate Commission
(25) Clinical Social Workers
(27) Tattooists and Body Piercers
(28) Hearing Aid Dispensers
(29) Board of Real Estate Appraisers
(31) Occupational Therapists
(33) Respiratory Care Practitioners
(37) Naturopathic Physicians
(38) Athletic Trainers
(41) Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists
(42) Landscape Architects
(43) Property Inspectors
(44) Applied Behavior Analysts
(45) Alcohol and drug abuse counselors.
Subdivision (46) effective January 1, 2017.
(46) Potable water supply and wastewater system designers
Subdivision (47) effective January 1, 2017.
(47) Pollution abatement facility operators (Added 1989, No. 250 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1989, No. 264 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 1991, No. 167 (Adj. Sess.), § 61; 1991, No. 236 (Adj. Sess.), § 3 ; 1993, No. 102, § 2; 1993, No. 103, § 2; 1993, No. 222 (Adj. Sess.), § 18; 1995, No. 79 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 1995, No. 171 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; 1997, No. 40, § 76; 1997, No. 108 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. Jan. 1, 1999; 1999, No. 133 (Adj. Sess.), § 52; 2001, No. 132 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 2001, No. 151 (Adj. Sess.), § 49, eff. July 1, 2003; 2011, No. 116 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 2013, No. 136 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 2013, No. 138 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 2015, No. 38, § 45, eff. July 1, 2016; 2015, No. 156 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. Sept. 1, 2016; 2015, No. 156 (Adj. Sess.), § 10, eff. Jan. 1, 2017; 2015, No. 166 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)
§ 123. Duties of Office
(a) The Office shall provide administrative, secretarial, financial, investigatory, inspection, and legal services to the boards. The administrative services provided by the Office shall include:
(1) Sending, receiving, and processing applications for licenses.
(2) Issuing, recording, renewing, and reinstating all licenses as ordered by the boards, an appellate officer, the Director, an administrative law officer, or a court.
(3) Revoking or suspending licenses as ordered by the boards, the Director, an administrative law officer, or a court.
(4) Keeping all files and records of the boards, including minutes of meetings.
(5) Compiling and maintaining a current register of all licensees.
(6) Compiling and maintaining statistical information for each board including the number of applications received; the number of licenses, certificates, registrations, and permits issued, renewed, and reinstated; examination results; the number and disposition of inspections and complaints; and the number of board meetings.
(7) Collecting and depositing all fees into the Professional Regulatory Fee Fund.
(8) Arranging payment of all expenses incurred by the boards within the limits of the funds appropriated to them.
(9) Standardizing, to the extent feasible and with the advice of the boards, all applications, licenses, and other related forms.
(10) Notifying the public and board members of all meetings and examinations to be held by the boards and arranging for places for those meetings and examinations.
(11) Assisting the boards in adopting, amending, and repealing rules.
(12) With the assistance of the boards, establishing a schedule of license renewal and termination dates so as to distribute the renewal work in the Office as effectively as possible. Licenses may be issued and renewed according to that schedule for periods of up to two years with an appropriate pro rata adjustment of fees. A person whose initial license is issued within 90 days prior to the set renewal date shall not be required to renew the license until the end of the first full biennial licensing period following initial licensure.
(13) To the extent that resources permit, providing other administrative services which are necessary or desirable for the efficient operation of the boards.
(b) The Director shall consult with each board and prepare a consolidated budget for the Office. The consolidated budget shall also contain funds deemed to be required by the Director for the administration of this chapter. The Director shall submit the consolidated budget to the Secretary of State.
(c) The Director may purchase examination materials and contract with examination providers to administer examinations.
(d) The Director may adopt procedures for the effective administration of this section.
(e) The Secretary of State shall contract with and appoint one or more attorneys licensed to practice in this State to serve as administrative law officers under subsection 129(j) of this title or appellate officers under section 130a of this title.
(f) Classified State employees who are employed as investigators by the Secretary of State who have successfully met the standards of training for a Level III law enforcement officer under 20 V.S.A. chapter 151 shall have the same powers as sheriffs in criminal matters and the enforcement of the law and in serving criminal process, and shall have all the immunities and matters of defense now available or hereafter made available to sheriffs in a suit brought against them in consequence for acts done in the course of their employment.
(g) The Office of Professional Regulation shall create a process for:
(1) accepting education, training, or service completed by a member of the U.S. Armed Forces toward the requirements of professional licensure or certification;
(2) creating a process for educational institutions under the supervision of a licensing board to award educational credits to a member of the U.S. Armed Forces for courses taken as part of the member's military training or service that meet the standards of the American Council on Education; and
(3) expediting the issuance of a professional license to a person:
(A) who is certified or licensed in another state;
(B) whose spouse is a member of the U.S. Armed Forces and who has been subject to a military transfer to Vermont; and
(C) who left employment to accompany his or her spouse to Vermont. (Added 1989, No. 250 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1997, No. 40, § 2; 1999, No. 133 (Adj. Sess.), § 51; 2003, No. 122 (Adj. Sess.), § 78g; 2005, No. 27, § 1; 2007, No. 163 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 2009, No. 33, § 4; 2009, No. 103 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 2011, No. 116 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 2013, No. 27, § 1; 2013, No. 138 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 2013, No. 141 (Adj. Sess.), § 11, eff. July 1, 2015.)
§ 124. Professional Regulatory Fee Fund
(a) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (b) of this section, it is the policy of this State that:
(1) the cost of regulating a profession attached to the Office of Professional Regulation should be borne by the profession; and
(2) one profession should not subsidize the cost of regulating another profession.
(b) Professions regulated by the Director in consultation with advisor appointees shall share the cost of regulating those professions.
(c) A Professional Regulatory Fee Fund is created. All revenues received by the office shall be deposited into the Fund, credited to the appropriate board or to the professions regulated by the Director as a group, as appropriate, shall be used to offset up to two years of the costs incurred by that board or that group and shall not be used for any purpose other than professional regulation.
(d) To ensure that revenues derived by the Office are adequate to offset the cost of regulation, the Secretary of State shall review fees from time to time, and present proposed fee changes to the General Assembly. (Added 1989, No. 250 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1991, No. 167 (Adj. Sess.), § 62; 1997, No. 59, § 44, eff. June 30, 1997; 1999, No. 52, § 1; 2007, No. 163 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.)
§ 125. Fees
(a) In addition to the fees otherwise authorized by law, a board may charge the following fees:
(1) Verification of license, $20.00.
(2) An examination fee established by the Secretary, which shall be no greater than the costs associated with examinations.
(3) Reinstatement fees for expired licenses pursuant to section 127 (unauthorized practice) of this title.
(b) Unless otherwise provided by law, the following fees shall apply to all professions regulated by the Director in consultation with advisor appointees under Title 26:
(1) Application for registration, $75.00.
(2) Application for licensure or certification, $100.00.
(3) Optician trainee registration, $50.00.
(4) Biennial renewal, $200.00, except:
(A) Biennial renewal for clinical social workers, $150.00.
(B) Biennial renewal for occupational therapists and assistants, $150.00.
(C) Biennial renewal for physical therapists and assistants, $100.00.
(D) Biennial renewal for optician trainees, $100.00.
(5) Limited temporary license or work permit, $50.00.
(c) Notwithstanding any provisions of law to the contrary, a board shall not require payment of renewal fees for years during which a license was lapsed. (Added 1989, No. 250 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1997, No. 40, § 3; 1997, No. 59, § 45, eff. June 30, 1997; 1997, No. 145 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 1999, No. 133 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 1, 45; 2001, No. 143 (Adj. Sess.), § 17, eff. June 21, 2002; 2005, No. 27, § 2; 2005, No. 72, § 7; 2009, No. 103 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 2011, No. 116 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 2015, No. 38, § 1, eff. May 28, 2015.)
§ 126. Agent for process; nonresident licensees
Whenever a person practicing a profession attached to the Office resides outside the borders of the State and fails to appoint an agent for process, the Secretary of State shall be an agent of that person, upon whom any process, notice, or demand may be served. In the event any process, notice, or demand is served on the Secretary of State, the Secretary shall immediately cause one of the copies thereof to be forwarded by certified mail, addressed to the person at its registered Office. (Added 1989, No. 250 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)
§ 127. Unauthorized practice
(a) When the Office receives a complaint of unauthorized practice, the Director shall refer the complaint to the appropriate board for investigation.
(b) A person practicing a regulated profession without authority may, upon the complaint of the Attorney General or a State's Attorney or an attorney assigned by the Office of Professional Regulation, be enjoined there from by the Superior Court where the violation occurred or the Washington County Superior Court and may be assessed a civil penalty of not more than $1,000.00. The Attorney General or an attorney assigned by the Office of Professional Regulation may elect to bring an action seeking only a civil penalty of not more than $1,000.00 for practicing a regulated profession without authority before the board having regulatory authority over the profession. Hearings shall be conducted in the same manner as disciplinary hearings. A civil penalty imposed by a board or administrative law officer under this subsection shall be deposited in the Professional Regulatory Fee Fund established in section 124 of this title for the purpose of providing education and training for board members and advisor appointees. The Director shall detail in the annual report receipts and expenses from these civil penalties.
(c) In addition to other provisions of law, unauthorized practice shall be punishable by a fine of not more than $5,000.00 or imprisonment for not more than one year, or both. Prosecution may occur upon the complaint of the Attorney General or a State's Attorney or an attorney assigned by the Office of Professional Regulation under this section and shall not act as a bar to civil or administrative proceedings involving the same conduct.
(d)(1) A person whose license has expired for not more than one biennial period may reinstate the license by meeting renewal requirements for the profession, paying the profession's renewal fee, and paying the following nondisciplinary reinstatement penalty:
(A) if reinstatement occurs within 30 days after the expiration date, $100.00; or
(B) if reinstatement occurs more than 30 days after the expiration date, an amount equal to the renewal fee increased by $40.00 for every additional month or fraction of a month, provided the total penalty shall not exceed $1,500.00.
(2) Fees assessed under this subsection shall be deposited into the Regulatory Fee Fund and credited to the appropriate fund for the profession of the reinstating licensee.
(3) A licensee seeking reinstatement may submit a petition for relief from the reinstatement penalty, which a board may grant only upon a finding of exceptional circumstances or extreme hardship to the licensee.
(4) Practice by a licensee with an expired license that continues for more than two years, or practicing at any time when the licensee knew or should have known the license was expired, may be prosecuted by the State as unauthorized practice under this section or as unprofessional conduct pursuant to subdivision 129a(a)(3) of this title.
(e) A person practicing a licensed profession without authority shall not institute any proceedings in this State for the enforcement of any right or obligation if at the time of the creation of the right or obligation the unlicensed person was acting without authority.
(f) The provisions of this section shall be in addition to any other remedies or penalties for unauthorized practice established by law. (Added 1989, No. 250 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1995, No. 138 (Adj. Sess.), § 12, eff. May 1, 1996; 1995, No. 171 (Adj. Sess.), § 8, eff. May 15, 1996; 2003, No. 60, § 1; No. 66, § 84; 2005, No. 27, § 3; 2005, No. 148 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 2015, No. 38, § 2, eff. May 28, 2015.)
§ 128. Disciplinary action to be reported to the board
(a) Any hospital, clinic, community mental health center, or other health care institution in which a licensee performs professional services shall report to the appropriate board, along with supporting information and evidence, any disciplinary action taken by it or its staff, after an initial investigation or hearing in which the licensee has been afforded the opportunity to participate, which limits or conditions the licensee's privilege to practice or leads to suspension or expulsion from the institution. The report shall be made within 10 days of the date the disciplinary action was taken, regardless of whether the action is the subject of a pending appeal, and in the case of a licensee who is employed by, or under contract with, a community mental health center, a copy of the report shall also be sent to the Commissioners of Mental Health and of Disabilities, Aging, and Independent Living. This section shall not apply to cases of resignation, separation from service, or changes in privileges which are unrelated to:
(1) a disciplinary or adverse action;
(2) an adverse action report to the National Practitioner Data Bank;
(3) an unexpected adverse outcome in the care or treatment of a patient;
(4) misconduct or allegations of misconduct;
(5) the initiation or process of an action to limit, condition, or suspend a licensee's privilege to practice in an institution;
(6) an action to expel the licensee from an institution; or
(7) any other action which could lead to an outcome described in subdivisions (1) through (6) of this subsection.
(b) Within 30 days of any judgment or settlements involving a claim of professional negligence by a licensee, any insurer of the licensee shall report such information to the appropriate board, regardless of whether the action is the subject of a pending appeal.
(c) Information provided to a board under this section shall be confidential unless the board decides to treat the report as a complaint in which case the provisions of section 131 of this title shall apply.
(d) A person who acts in good faith in accord with the provisions of this section shall not be liable for damages in any civil action.
(e) A person who violates this section shall be subject to a civil penalty of not more than $1,000.00. (Added 1989, No. 250 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 1995, No. 126 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 2001, No. 129 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. June 13, 2002; 2011, No. 66, § 1, eff. June 1, 2011; 2013, No. 96 (Adj. Sess.), § 5; 2013, No. 138 (Adj. Sess.), § 3.)
§ 129. Powers of Boards; discipline process
(a) In addition to any other provisions of law, a board may exercise the following powers:
(1) Adopt procedural rules governing the investigatory and disciplinary process.
(2) Issue subpoenas and administer oaths in connection with any authorized hearing, investigation, or disciplinary proceeding. Subpoenas may be issued ex parte by the chair of the board, the Director, or any attorney representing a party. Depositions may be taken after charges upon due notice to all parties without specific authorization by the board.
(3) Issue warnings or reprimands, suspend, revoke, limit, condition, deny, or prevent renewal of licenses, after disciplinary hearings or, in cases requiring emergency action, immediately suspend, as provided by section 814 of this title. In a case involving noncompliance with a statute or rule relating to administrative duties not related to patient, client, or customer care, a board or hearing officer may determine that ordering a monetary civil penalty does not constitute a finding of unprofessional conduct.
(4) Reinstate or deny reinstatement of a license which has been revoked, suspended, limited, or conditioned.
(5) Discipline any licensee or refuse to license any person who has had a license application denied or a license revoked, suspended, limited, conditioned, or otherwise disciplined by a licensing agency in another jurisdiction for conduct which would constitute unprofessional conduct in this State, or has surrendered a license while under investigation for unprofessional conduct.
(6) Notify relevant State, federal, and local agencies and appropriate bodies in other states of the status of any disciplinary case against an applicant or licensee, provided the board has taken disciplinary action or has served a notice of charges against the person.
(7) Refuse to accept the return of a license tendered by the subject of a disciplinary investigation or refuse to allow an applicant who is the subject of a disciplinary investigation to withdraw his or her application without permission of the board.
(8) Adopt rules governing the issuance of licenses to practice, to persons licensed and in good standing to practice in another jurisdiction, that authorize the holder of the license to practice in this State for no more than 10 days or 80 hours in any calendar year upon payment of the required fee.
(9) For good cause shown, waive fees when a license is required to provide services on a pro bono basis or in accordance with standards established by the board by rule.
(10) Issue temporary licenses during a declared state of emergency. The person to be issued a temporary license must be currently licensed, in good standing, and not subject to disciplinary proceedings in any other jurisdiction. The temporary license shall authorize the holder to practice in Vermont until the termination of the declared state of emergency or 90 days, whichever occurs first, as long as the licensee remains in good standing. Fees shall be waived when a license is required to provide services under this subdivision.
(11) Treat as incomplete any license application submitted with a check subsequently returned for insufficient funds.
(12) Waive or modify continuing education requirements for persons on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces.
(13) Administer a Vermont statutes and rules examination as a condition of licensure, renewal, or reinstatement.
(14) Grant an honorary license to those individuals having demonstrated outstanding service to a profession, at the discretion of the board. An honorary license shall not confer the right or privilege to practice the profession in this State.
(b) A board or the director, in the case of professions which have advisor appointees, shall receive complaints from any source, or may investigate without receiving a complaint.
(c) A board may assign one or more members of the board to investigate complaints and license applications. These members shall have the assistance of an investigator for the Office and an attorney assigned by the Office of Professional Regulation who shall be responsible for prosecuting disciplinary and licensing cases before the board. In the case of professions which have advisor appointees, the Secretary may designate one or more of the advisor appointees or other licensed or certified members of the profession to assist in the investigation. While acting in this capacity, a board member or advisor appointee shall not sit in adjudication of the case and shall not participate in ex parte communications with other board members regarding the case. A board member whose term of office expires while an investigation is pending may continue through the completion of the case. When a board is unable to assign one or more members to investigate complaints or license applications by reason of disqualification, resignation, vacancy, or necessary absence, the Secretary of State may, at the request of the board, appoint ad hoc members to serve on the board for investigation of that matter only. Ad hoc members shall have the same qualifications as required by law for the absent members.
(d) A board shall notify parties, in writing, of their right to appeal final decisions of the board. A board or the Director shall also notify complainants in writing of the result of any disciplinary investigation made with reference to a complaint brought by them to the board or Director. When a disciplinary investigation results in a stipulation filed with the board, the board or the Director shall provide the complainant with a copy of the stipulation and notice of the stipulation review scheduled before the board. The complainant shall have the right to be heard at the stipulation review.
(e) When a board or the Director, in the case of professions which have advisor appointees, intends to deny an application for a license, the board or Director shall send the applicant written notice of the decision by certified mail. The notice shall include a statement of the reasons for the action and shall advise the applicant that the applicant may file a petition within 30 days of the date on which the notice is mailed with the board or the director for review of its or his or her preliminary decision. At the hearing, the applicant shall bear the burden of proving that the preliminary denial should be reversed and that the license should be granted. After the hearing, the board or Director shall affirm or reverse the preliminary denial, explaining the reasons therefor in writing.
(f)(1) A board may appoint a hearing officer, who shall be an attorney admitted to practice in this State, to conduct a hearing that would otherwise be heard by the board. A hearing officer appointed under this subsection may administer oaths and exercise the powers of the board properly incidental to the conduct of the hearing.
(2) When a hearing is conducted by a hearing officer, the officer shall report findings of fact and conclusions of law to the board. The report shall be made within 60 days of the conclusion of the hearing unless the board grants an extension. The provisions of section 811 of this title regarding proposals for decision shall not apply to the hearing officer report.
(3) The board may take additional evidence and may accept, reject, or modify the findings and conclusions of the hearing officer. Judgment on the findings shall be rendered by the board.
(g) A board may authorize any of the following:
(1) Its chair or legal counsel to grant continuances of scheduled hearings.
(2) Its chair to grant or deny stays pending appeal.
(3) Its chair or legal counsel to convene and conduct prehearing conferences.
(4) Its legal counsel to preside at hearings for the purpose of making procedural and evidentiary rulings. The board may overrule a ruling by legal counsel under this subdivision.
(h) A board member, hearing officer, or administrative law officer having a personal or pecuniary interest or the appearance of a personal or pecuniary interest in the outcome of any board decision shall not participate in deciding the matter. A board member, hearing officer, or administrative law officer whose disqualification is sought shall either disqualify himself or herself or, without ruling on the request for disqualification, refer the request to the Secretary of State, who shall rule on the request. The ruling of the Secretary of State on a request for disqualification shall be final and shall be subject to review only upon appeal of a final order of a board under section 130a of this title or of an administrative law officer under subsection (j) of this section. When a board is unable to convene a quorum by reason of disqualification, resignation, vacancy, or necessary absence, the Secretary of State shall appoint ad hoc members to serve on the board for that matter only, after consulting with the chair of the board involved. Ad hoc members shall have the same qualifications as required by law for the absent members.
(i) A board may consult with the Attorney General or an attorney assigned by the Office of Professional Regulation for the proper conduct of its affairs.
(j) Notwithstanding the provisions of section 130a of this title, hearings involving denials of licensure or disciplinary matters concerning persons in professions that have advisor appointees shall be heard by an administrative law officer appointed by the Secretary of State. A party aggrieved by a final decision of an administrative law officer may appeal to the Superior Court in Washington County which shall review the matter on the basis of the record created before the administrative law officer.
(k) Whenever completion of certain continuing education requirements is a condition of renewal, the board may require the applicant to develop and complete a specific corrective action plan, to be completed within 90 days.
( l ) A board may grant a temporary renewal license pending the completion of the required continuing education.
(m) In any proceeding under this section which addresses an applicant's or licensee's alleged sexual misconduct, evidence of the sexual history of the victim of the alleged sexual misconduct shall neither be subject to discovery nor be admitted into evidence. Neither opinion evidence of nor evidence of the reputation of the victim's sexual conduct shall be admitted. (Added 1989, No. 250 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1991, No. 167 (Adj. Sess.), § 63; 1993, No. 102, § 3; 1993, No. 103, § 3; 1993, No. 222 (Adj. Sess.), § 19; 1995, No. 126 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 1995, No. 138 (Adj. Sess.), § 13, eff. May 1, 1996; 1995, No. 171 (Adj. Sess.), § 9, eff. May 15, 1996; 1997, No. 40, § 4; 1997, No. 145 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 1999, No. 52, § 2; 1999, No. 133 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 2001, No. 129 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. June 13, 2002; 2001, No. 151 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. June 27, 2002; 2003, No. 66, § 85; 2005, No. 27, § 4; 2005, No. 148 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 2007, No. 29, § 1; 2007, No. 163 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 2009, No. 35, § 1; 2009, No. 103 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 2011, No. 66, § 2, eff. June 1, 2011; 2011, No. 116 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; 2015, No. 38, § 3, eff. May 28, 2015.)
§ 129a. Unprofessional conduct
(a) In addition to any other provision of law, the following conduct by a licensee constitutes unprofessional conduct. When that conduct is by an applicant or person who later becomes an applicant, it may constitute grounds for denial of a license or other disciplinary action. Any one of the following items, or any combination of items, whether or not the conduct at issue was committed within or outside the State, shall constitute unprofessional conduct:
(1) Fraudulent or deceptive procurement or use of a license.
(2) Advertising that is intended or has a tendency to deceive.
(3) Failing to comply with provisions of federal or State statutes or rules governing the practice of the profession.
(4) Failing to comply with an order of the board or violating any term or condition of a license restricted by the board.
(5) Practicing the profession when medically or psychologically unfit to do so.
(6) Delegating professional responsibilities to a person whom the licensed professional knows, or has reason to know, is not qualified by training, experience, education, or licensing credentials to perform them, or knowingly providing professional supervision or serving as a preceptor to a person who has not been licensed or registered as required by the laws of that person's profession.
(7) Wilfully making or filing false reports or records in the practice of the profession; wilfully impeding or obstructing the proper making or filing of reports or records or wilfully failing to file the proper reports or records.
(8) Failing to make available promptly to a person using professional health care services, that person's representative, or succeeding health care professionals or institutions, upon written request and direction of the person using professional health care services, copies of that person's records in the possession or under the control of the licensed practitioner, or failing to notify patients or clients how to obtain their records when a practice closes.
(9) Failing to retain client records for a period of seven years, unless laws specific to the profession allow for a shorter retention period. When other laws or agency rules require retention for a longer period of time, the longer retention period shall apply.
(10) Conviction of a crime related to the practice of the profession or conviction of a felony, whether or not related to the practice of the profession.
(11) Failing to report to the Office a conviction of any felony or any offense related to the practice of the profession in a Vermont District Court, a Vermont Superior Court, a federal court, or a court outside Vermont within 30 days.
(12) Exercising undue influence on or taking improper advantage of a person using professional services, or promoting the sale of services or goods in a manner which exploits a person for the financial gain of the practitioner or a third party.
(13) Performing treatments or providing services which the licensee is not qualified to perform or which are beyond the scope of the licensee's education, training, capabilities, experience, or scope of practice.
(14) Failing to report to the Office within 30 days a change of name or address.
(15) Failing to exercise independent professional judgment in the performance of licensed activities when that judgment is necessary to avoid action repugnant to the obligations of the profession.
(b) Failure to practice competently by reason of any cause on a single occasion or on multiple occasions may constitute unprofessional conduct, whether actual injury to a client, patient, or customer has occurred. Failure to practice competently includes:
(1) performance of unsafe or unacceptable patient or client care; or
(2) failure to conform to the essential standards of acceptable and prevailing practice.
(c) The burden of proof in a disciplinary action shall be on the State to show by a preponderance of the evidence that the person has engaged in unprofessional conduct.
(d) After hearing, and upon a finding of unprofessional conduct, a board or an administrative law officer may take disciplinary action against a licensee or applicant, including imposing an administrative penalty not to exceed $1,000.00 for each unprofessional conduct violation. Any money received under this subsection shall be deposited in the Professional Regulatory Fee Fund established in section 124 of this title for the purpose of providing education and training for board members and advisor appointees. The Director shall detail in the annual report receipts and expenses from money received under this subsection.
(e) In the case where a standard of unprofessional conduct as set forth in this section conflicts with a standard set forth in a specific board's statute or rule, the standard that is most protective of the public shall govern. (Added 1997, No. 40, § 5; amended 2001, No. 151 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. June 27, 2002; 2003, No. 60, § 2; 2005, No. 27, § 5; 2005, No. 148 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; 2009, No. 35, § 2; 2011, No. 66, § 3, eff. June 1, 2011; 2011, No. 116 (Adj. Sess.), § 5.)
§ 129b. Board member and advisor appointments
(a) Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary relating to terms of office and appointments for members of boards attached to the Office of Professional Regulation, all board members appointed by the Governor shall be appointed for staggered five-year terms and shall serve at the pleasure of the Governor. Appointments under this section shall not be subject to the advice and consent of the Senate. The Governor may remove any member of a board as provided in section 2004 of this title. Vacancies created other than by expiration of a term shall be filled in the same manner that the initial appointment was made for the unexpired portion of the term. Terms shall begin on January 1 of the year of appointment and run through December 31 of the last year of the term. The Governor may request nominations from any source but shall not be bound to select board members from among the persons nominated. As provided in section 2004 of this title, board members shall hold office and serve until a successor has been appointed.
(b) Board members shall not serve more than two consecutive terms. Members appointed to fill a vacancy created before the end of a term shall not be deemed to have served a term for purposes of this section.
(c) Boards shall meet annually, in September or the first meeting scheduled thereafter, to elect a chair, vice chair, and secretary.
(d) Meetings may be called by the chair or shall be called upon the request of any other two board members.
(e) Meetings shall be warned and conducted in accordance with 1 V.S.A. chapter 5, the open meeting law.
(f) Notwithstanding any provisions of law to the contrary, board members and advisors for all professions attached to the Office of Professional Regulation shall be entitled to compensation, at a rate provided in 32 V.S.A. § 1010 , for performance of official duties and other duties directly related to the efficient conduct of necessary business of a board or the Office.
(g) For advisor professions, advisors shall be appointed by the Secretary of State and shall serve at the pleasure of the Secretary of State. Advisor appointments shall be subject to the same conditions as those for board members under this section. (Added 1997, No. 40, § 6; amended 1997, No. 145 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 3, 5; 2005, No. 27, § 6; 2007, No. 29, § 2.)
§ 130. Repealed. 1989, No. 250 (Adj. Sess.), § 91(a).
§ 130a. Appeals from board decisions
(a) A party aggrieved by a final decision of a board may, within 30 days of the decision, appeal that decision by filing a notice of appeal with the Director who shall assign the case to an appellate officer. The review shall be conducted on the basis of the record created before the board. In cases of alleged irregularities in procedure before the board, not shown in the record, proof on that issue may be taken by the appellate officer.
(b) The appellate officer shall not substitute his or her judgment for that of the board as to the weight of the evidence on questions of fact. The appellate officer may affirm the decision, or may reverse and remand the matter with recommendations if substantial rights of the appellant have been prejudiced because the board's finding, inferences, conclusions, or decisions are:
(1) in violation of constitutional or statutory provisions;
(2) in excess of the statutory authority of the board;
(3) made upon unlawful procedure;
(4) affected by other error of law;
(5) clearly erroneous in view of the evidence on the record as a whole;
(6) arbitrary or capricious; or
(7) characterized by abuse of discretion or clearly unwarranted exercise of discretion.
(c) A party aggrieved by a decision of the appellate officer may appeal to the Supreme Court, which shall review the matter on the basis of the records created before the board and the appellate officer. (Added 1993, No. 108 (Adj. Sess.), § 23, eff. Feb. 16, 1994; amended 2015, No. 167 (Adj. Sess.), § 5.)
§ 131. Accessibility and confidentiality of disciplinary matters
(a) It is the purpose of this section both to protect the reputation of licensees from public disclosure of unwarranted complaints against them, and to fulfill the public's right to know of any action taken against a licensee when that action is based on a determination of unprofessional conduct.
(b) All meetings and hearings of boards shall be subject to the Open Meeting Law.
(c) The Secretary of State, through the Office of Professional Regulation, shall prepare and maintain a register of all complaints, which shall be a public record and which shall show:
(1) with respect to all complaints, the following information:
(A) the date and the nature of the complaint, but not including the identity of the licensee; and
(B) a summary of the completed investigation; and
(2) only with respect to complaints resulting in filing of disciplinary charges or stipulations or the taking of disciplinary action, the following additional information:
(A) the name and business addresses of the licensee and complainant;
(B) formal charges, provided that they have been served or a reasonable effort to serve them has been made;
(C) the findings, conclusions, and order of the board;
(D) the transcript of the hearing, if one has been made, and exhibits admitted at the hearing;
(E) stipulations filed with the board; and
(F) final disposition of the matter by the appellate officer or the courts.
(d) Neither the Secretary nor the Office shall make public any other information regarding unprofessional conduct complaints, investigations, proceedings, and related records except the information required to be released under this section.
(e) The discovery rules for conduct complaints shall apply to and govern the provision of investigatory files to those charged with unprofessional conduct.
(f) As used in this section, "disciplinary action" means an action based on a finding of unprofessional conduct that suspends, revokes, limits, or conditions a license in any way, including administrative penalties, warnings, and reprimands.
(g) Nothing in this section shall prohibit the disclosure of any information regarding unprofessional conduct complaints pursuant to an order from a court of competent jurisdiction, or to State or federal law enforcement agencies, the Department of Health, the Department of Disabilities, Aging, and Independent Living, or the Department of Financial Regulation in the course of their investigations, provided the agency or department agrees to maintain the confidentiality and privileged status of the information as provided in subsection (d) of this section. (Added 1989, No. 250 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1997, No. 40, § 8; 1999, No. 52, § 3; 2001, No. 151 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. June 27, 2002; 2003, No. 60, § 3; 2005, No. 174 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 2011, No. 78 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. April 2, 2012; 2015, No. 38, § 4, eff. May 28, 2015.)
§ 132. Board quorums
Except as otherwise provided by law, a majority of the members of a board constitutes a quorum for transacting business, and all action shall be taken upon a majority vote of board members present and voting. (Added 2005, No. 27, § 8.)
§ 133. Business registration
When professional services are required by law to be performed in or by a business entity registered with the Office, the business entity shall:
(1) register with the Corporations Division of the Office of the Secretary of State, if required by law; and
(2) separately register with the Office each name under which the business entity will conduct business, register licensees, and advertise in Vermont. (Added 2015, No. 38, § 5, eff. May 28, 2015.)