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Searching 2021-2022 Session

The Vermont Statutes Online

 

Title 18: Health

Chapter 101: VITAL RECORDS GENERALLY

  • § 4999. Definitions

    As used in this part, unless the context requires otherwise:

    (1) "Issuing agent" means a town clerk or duly authorized representative of the State Registrar who issues certified and noncertified copies of birth and death certificates from the Statewide Registration System.

    (2) "Licensed health care professional" means a physician, a physician assistant, or an advanced practice registered nurse.

    (3) "Municipality" or "town" means a city, town, village, unorganized town or gore, or town or gore within the unified towns and gores of Essex County.

    (4) "Noncertified copy" means a copy of a vital event certificate issued by a public agency as defined in 1 V.S.A. § 317, other than a certified copy.

    (5) "Office of Vital Records" means an office of the Department of Health responsible for the Statewide Registration System and with the authority over vital records provided by law.

    (6) "Registrant" means the individual who is the subject of a vital event certificate.

    (7) "Statewide Registration System" or "System" means:

    (A) the sole official repository of data from birth and death certificates registered on or after January 1, 1909; and

    (B) such other data related to vital records as the State Registrar may prescribe.

    (8) "Town clerk" or "municipal clerk" or "clerk" means a town clerk, a city clerk, a county clerk acting on behalf of an unorganized town or gore, or the supervisor of the unified towns and gores of Essex County, or a town official or employee designated by the same to act on his or her behalf.

    (9) "Vital event certificate" means a birth, death, marriage, or civil union certificate or a report of divorce, annulment, or dissolution. "Vital event certificate" does not include any confidential portion of a report of birth or of death or of a marriage or civil union license or application therefor.

    (10) "Vital record" means:

    (A) a report of birth, death, fetal death, or induced termination of pregnancy or a preliminary report of death;

    (B) a vital event certificate;

    (C) a marriage or civil union license;

    (D) a burial-transit permit; and

    (E) any other records associated with the creation, registration, processing, modification, or disclosure of the records described in this subdivision (10). (Added 2017, No. 46, § 1, eff. July 1, 2019.)

  • § 5000. State Registrar; duties; authority; Statewide Registration System; issuing agents

    (a) The Commissioner shall designate a member of the Department as the State Registrar. The State Registrar shall head the Office of Vital Records and shall provide consultation to town clerks, hospital personnel, licensed health care professionals, midwives, funeral directors, clergy, probate judges, and all other persons involved in vital records for the purpose of promoting uniformity of procedures in order to promote the complete, accurate, timely, and lawful creation, registration, processing, modification, and disclosure of vital records.

    (b) The Commissioner may exercise any authority granted to or fulfill any duties conferred on the State Registrar under this part or any other provision of law related to vital records, and the State Registrar may delegate the exercise of his or her authority or the performance of his or her duties to a duly authorized representative.

    (c)(1) The State Registrar shall operate the Statewide Registration System, which shall be the sole official repository of data from birth and death certificates registered on or after January 1, 1909. However, nothing in this part shall be construed to preclude town clerks or other issuing agents from printing from the System and maintaining for public inspection noncertified copies of birth and death certificates. The State Registrar shall create and maintain an index which, at a minimum, will enable the public to search contents of the System by the name of the registrant and by the date of the vital event.

    (2) On and after July 1, 2019:

    (A) upon registration of a birth or death in the Statewide Registration System, the System shall automatically notify the town clerk of the town of occurrence and the town clerk of residence of the registrant;

    (B) upon the correction or amendment of a birth or death certificate registered in the System, or upon issuance of a new birth certificate to replace a birth certificate registered in the System, the System shall automatically notify the town clerk of the town of occurrence and the town clerk of residence of the registrant.

    (3) Birth and death certificates registered prior to January 1, 1909:

    (A) shall not be incorporated into the Statewide Registration System;

    (B) shall be maintained at the offices of town clerks as specified in section 5007 of this title; and

    (C) shall not be eligible for amendment under this part.

    (4) The State Registrar shall investigate and attempt to resolve any known discrepancy between the contents of a vital event certificate in the custody of the State Registrar and a vital event certificate maintained in the office of a town clerk. In addition, the State Registrar shall have the authority to change the contents of a birth or death certificate in the System in order to address a known error or to conform the certificate to the requirements of a court order. The State Registrar shall record and maintain in the System the nature and content of a change made in the System, the identity of the person making the change, and the date of the change.

    (5) Except as authorized under subdivision 5073(a)(3) of this title, and except for corrections, completions, or amendments to address known errors or omissions, the State Registrar shall deny any application under this part requesting a correction, completion, or amendment of a birth or death certificate in order to change a name, and shall change a name only in accordance with a court order.

    (d)(1) Except as provided in subdivision (2) of this subsection, town clerks in the State shall aid in the efficient administration of the Statewide Registration System and shall act as agents to issue copies of birth and death certificates from the Statewide Registration System in accordance with section 5016 of this title.

    (2) By filing a written notice with the State Registrar, a town clerk may opt out of serving as an issuing agent.

    (e) The State Registrar shall, consistent with the requirements of this part:

    (1) administer the Statewide Registration System and fulfill the duties assigned to him or her under this part;

    (2) provide for the preservation and security of the official records of the Office of Vital Records, and for the matching of birth and death records in order to prevent the fraudulent use of birth and death certificates of deceased persons;

    (3) promote uniformity of policy and procedures pertaining to vital records and vital statistics throughout the State;

    (4) prescribe the contents and form of vital record reports, vital event certificates, and related applications and documents; prescribe the contents and form of burial-transit permits; and distribute the same;

    (5) maintain a Vital Records Alert System in order to track and prevent misrepresentation, fraud, or illegal activities in connection with vital records;

    (6) implement audit and quality control procedures as necessary to ensure compliance with vital records filing and reporting requirements;

    (7) prescribe:

    (A) the contents and form of applications for a certified copy of a birth or death certificate after consultation with the Vermont Municipal Clerks' & Treasurers' Association;

    (B) the manner in which vital records required to be submitted to him or her shall be submitted;

    (C) physical requirements and security standards for storage of vital event certificates and related supplies, after consideration of best practices issued by state and federal law enforcement and public health organizations;

    (D) the manner in which the Department of Public Safety shall furnish lists of missing and kidnapped children to the State Registrar; and

    (E) procedures governing the public's inspection of birth and death certificates, if necessary to protect the integrity of the certificates or to deter fraud;

    (8) adopt rules governing:

    (A) acceptable content and limitations on the number of characters on a birth certificate;

    (B) acceptable forms of identification required in connection with applications for certified copies of birth and death certificates; and

    (C) the process for denying a certified copy of a birth or death certificate based on a Vital Records Alert System match or evidence of fraud or misrepresentation, notifying affected persons of the denial, and investigating and resolving the issue identified.

    (f) The State Registrar may adopt rules as may be necessary to carry out his or her duties under this part. (Added 1979, No. 142 (Adj. Sess.), § 23; amended 2017, No. 46, § 2, eff. July 1, 2019 and § 3, eff. May 22, 2017 and July 1, 2019.)

  • § 5001. Duties of custodians

    (a) Beginning on January 1, 2010, all certified copies of vital event certificates shall be issued on unique paper with antifraud features approved by the State Registrar and available from the Office of Vital Records.

    (b) Town custodians of vital event certificates shall ensure that the following are stored in a fireproof safe or vault:

    (1) blank copies of antifraud paper;

    (2) original vital event certificates; and

    (3) such other records or materials as the State Registrar may prescribe.

    (c)(1) The State Registrar may audit any municipal or county office that stores or issues vital records to determine its compliance with the requirements of this part and any rules adopted thereunder. The State Registrar may require an office that fails an audit to cease issuing vital records until it passes a new audit.

    (2) Following a failed audit, upon request, the State Registrar shall conduct a follow-up audit within 30 days of the request. (Amended 1959, No. 329 (Adj. Sess.), § 27, eff. March 1, 1961; 1965, No. 112, § 2, eff. Jan. 1, 1966; 1969, No. 265 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 1999, No. 91 (Adj. Sess.), § 6; 2007, No. 110 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 2017, No. 46, § 4, eff. July 1, 2019.)

  • § 5002. Report of vital statistics; preservation of records; authority to issue

    The State Registrar shall prepare an annual vital statistics report summarizing reports or returns of births, marriages, deaths, fetal deaths, divorces, annulments, and dissolutions received in the prior calendar year. The State Registrar shall periodically transmit original returns of marriages, divorces, annulments, and dissolutions to the State Archivist, who shall keep the returns on file for use by the public. The State Registrar and the State Archivist shall each, independently of the other, have power to issue certified copies of vital event certificates in their custody. (Amended 1959, No. 329 (Adj. Sess.), § 27, eff. March 1, 1961; 1969, No. 265 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; 1979, No. 56, § 7; 1999, No. 91 (Adj. Sess.), § 7; 2007, No. 96 (Adj. Sess.), § 7; 2017, No. 46, § 5, eff. July 1, 2019.)

  • § 5003. Materials for issuing agents

    The State Registrar shall procure and send to issuing agents materials as may be necessary for the issuance of vital event certificates. (Amended 2017, No. 46, § 6, eff. July 1, 2019.)

  • § 5004. Family Division of the Superior Court; divorce and dissolution returns

    The Family Division of the Superior Court shall send to the State Registrar, before the 10th day of each month, by county, a report of the number of divorces and dissolutions that became absolute during the preceding month, showing as to each the names of the parties, date of civil marriage or civil union, number of children, grounds for divorce or dissolution, and such other statistical information available from the Family Division as may be required by the State Registrar. (Amended 1965, No. 112, § 3, eff. Jan. 1, 1966; 1966, No. 3 (Sp. Sess.); 1979, No. 142 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 1999, No. 91 (Adj. Sess.), § 8; 2009, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 238; 2017, No. 46, § 19, eff. July 1, 2019.)

  • § 5005. Unorganized towns and gores

    The county clerk of a county where an unorganized town or gore is situated shall have the authority, perform the duties, and be subject to the penalties prescribed in this part in relation to vital records with respect to residents of the unorganized town or gore. (Amended 1999, No. 91 (Adj. Sess.), § 9; 2017, No. 46, § 7, eff. July 1, 2019.)

  • § 5006. Vital event information published in town reports

    Town clerks or auditors may publish in the annual town report nonconfidential information and statistics concerning births, marriages, and deaths of residents during the preceding calendar year. Upon request, the State Registrar shall furnish a town clerk such information and statistics. (Amended 1959, No. 329 (Adj. Sess.), § 27, eff. March 1, 1961; 1979, No. 142 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 1999, No. 91 (Adj. Sess.), § 10; 2017, No. 46, § 8, eff. July 1, 2019.)

  • § 5007. Preservation of records

    A town clerk shall receive, number, and file for record certificates of marriages and burial-transit permits returned to the clerk. A town clerk shall permanently preserve at the office of the clerk birth and death certificates registered prior to July 1, 2019 and marriage and civil union certificates. (Amended 1969, No. 265 (Adj. Sess.), § 5; 1979, No. 142 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 1999, No. 91 (Adj. Sess.), § 11; 2017, No. 46, § 9, eff. July 1, 2018; 2018, No. 11 (Sp. Sess.), § I.4, eff. July 1, 2019.)

  • § 5008. Town clerk; recording and indexing procedures

    A town clerk shall file for record and index in volumes all marriage certificates and burial-transit permits received by the town. Each volume or series shall contain an alphabetical index. Civil marriage certificates shall be filed for record in one volume or series, civil union certificates kept in another, and burial-transit permits in another, except that in a town having less than 500 inhabitants, the town clerk may cause civil marriage, civil union, and burial-transit permits to be filed for record in one volume. (Amended 1969, No. 265 (Adj. Sess.), § 6; 1979, No. 142 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; 1999, No. 91 (Adj. Sess.), § 12; 2007, No. 96 (Adj. Sess.), § 8; 2009, No. 91 (Adj. Sess.), § 16, eff. May 6, 2010; 2017, No. 46, § 10, eff. July 1, 2019.)

  • § 5009. Certified copies to town of residence

    On the first day of each month, the town clerk shall make a certified copy of each original, corrected, or amended civil marriage certificate or amended civil union certificate filed in the clerk's office during the preceding month, whenever a party to a civil marriage or a civil union was a resident in any other Vermont town at the time of the civil marriage or civil union, and shall transmit the certified copy to the clerk of the other Vermont town, who shall file the same. (Amended 1979, No. 142 (Adj. Sess.), § 5; 1999, No. 91 (Adj. Sess.), § 13; 2017, No. 46, § 11, eff. July 1, 2019.)

  • § 5010. Transmittal of marriage certificates

    The town clerk of each town shall each week transmit to the State Registrar copies, duly certified, of each marriage certificate filed in the town in the preceding week. (Amended 1969, No. 265 (Adj. Sess.), § 7; 1979, No. 142 (Adj. Sess.), § 6; 1999, No. 91 (Adj. Sess.), § 14; 2017, No. 46, § 12, eff. July 1, 2019.)

  • § 5011. Penalty

    (a) A town clerk who fails to transmit copies of marriage certificates as provided in section 5010 of this title shall be fined not more than $100.00.

    (b) The Commissioner or a hearing officer designated by the Commissioner may, after notice and an opportunity for a hearing, impose a civil administrative penalty of not more than $250.00 against a person who fails to perform a duty imposed or violates a prohibition under this part. A hearing under this subsection shall be a contested case subject to the provisions of 3 V.S.A. chapter 25, and the provisions of 3 V.S.A. §§ 809(h), 809a, and 809b related to subpoenas shall extend to the Commissioner, a hearing officer appointed by the Commissioner, and licensed attorneys representing a party. (Amended 1969, No. 265 (Adj. Sess.), § 8; 1999, No. 91 (Adj. Sess.), § 15; 2017, No. 46, § 13, eff. July 1, 2019.)

  • § 5012. Town clerk to provide general index; marriages and civil unions

    Except as provided by 24 V.S.A. § 1153, town and county clerks shall prepare and keep a general index to the marriage and civil union records, in alphabetical order and in the following forms, respectively:

    Book  Page    Groom to Bride           Date  Book  Page  Bride to Groom  Date

      1           1            A. to B.                              1          1            B. to A.

    Book  Page    Party to Party                          Date  Book  Page  Party to Party  Date

      1           1            A. to B.                              1          1            B. to A.

    (Amended 1999, No. 91 (Adj. Sess.), § 16.)

  • § 5013. Repealed. 2017, No. 46, § 14, eff. July 1, 2019. (Added 1951, No. 170, § 223; repealed 2017, No. 46, § 14, eff. July 1, 2019.)

  • § 5014. Confidentiality

    (a)(1) A vital record, or information therein, that by law is designated confidential or by a similar term, that by law may only be disclosed to specifically designated persons, or that by law is not a public record, is exempt from inspection and copying under the Public Records Act and shall be kept confidential to the extent provided by law.

    (2) Records or information described in subdivision (1) of this subsection may be disclosed:

    (A) for public health or research purposes in accordance with law;

    (B) to a regulatory or law enforcement agency for enforcement purposes, if the agency has agreed to accept the terms of an agreement with the Office of Vital Records governing use and confidentiality of the information;

    (C) to the vital records office of another state, if the subject of the vital record was a resident of the other state at the time of the vital event that led to creation of the record; or

    (D) in a summary, statistical, or other format in which particular individuals are not identified directly or indirectly.

    (b)(1) Except as otherwise provided in subdivision (a)(2) of this section and subdivision (2) of this subsection, the following information is exempt from public inspection and copying under the Public Records Act, shall be kept confidential, and, in any civil action, shall not be subject to discovery or subpoena or be admissible:

    (A) Social Security information and information collected only for medical and health purposes in reports of birth;

    (B) Social Security numbers in reports of death or in preliminary reports of death;

    (C) prior marriage and legal guardianship information and elections to dissolve a civil union in a marriage or civil union license or license application;

    (D) such other information contained in a vital record as the State Registrar may designate through a rule adopted pursuant to 3 V.S.A. chapter 25, but only if the designation is necessary to protect the privacy of an individual.

    (2) The person who is the subject of the record or his or her authorized representative shall be entitled to obtain a copy of the information.

    (c) Information in or received from the Vital Records Alert System is exempt from public inspection and copying under the Public Records Act and shall be kept confidential, except that, in addition to the exceptions to confidentiality provided in subdivision (a)(2) of this section, such information may be shared with an issuing agent in order to correct and prevent mistakes and criminal activity. (Added 2017, No. 46, § 15, eff. July 1, 2019.)

  • § 5015. Repealed 2017, No. 46, § 16, eff. July 1, 2019. (Repealed 2017, No. 46, § 16, eff. July 1, 2019.)

  • § 5016. Birth and death certificates; copies; inspection

    (a) Access and issuance generally.

    (1) Except as provided in subdivisions (2) and (3) of this subsection:

    (A) only the State Registrar and issuing agents may issue certified copies of birth and death certificates registered before July 1, 2019, and such certificates shall only be issued from the Statewide Registration System; and

    (B) only the State Registrar and issuing agents may issue certified or noncertified copies of birth and death certificates registered on or after July 1, 2019, and such certificates shall only be issued from the Statewide Registration System.

    (2) Copies of birth and death certificates registered prior to January 1, 1909 shall not be issued from the Statewide Registration System. Any town clerk may issue a certified copy of a pre-1909 birth or death certificate, provided he or she fulfills the requirements of subsection (b) of this section and such additional requirements as the State Registrar may prescribe as necessary to track antifraud paper used to produce such copies.

    (3) A certified or noncertified birth or death certificate shall only be issued as authorized and prescribed in this section, except that in either of the following circumstances, a public agency may issue a noncertified copy even if it does not follow the requirements of this section governing noncertified copies:

    (A) if the public agency is an agency other than the Office of Vital Records, the Vermont State Archives and Records Administration, or the office of a town or county, and the public agency has custody of a birth or death certificate acquired in the course of its business; or

    (B) if the birth or death certificate was filed in the records of a town or county office, such as land records, for a reason unrelated to its official role under law as a repository of registered birth or death certificates.

    (4) The word "illegitimate" shall be redacted from any certified or noncertified copy of a birth certificate.

    (5) If necessary to prevent fraud, the State Registrar may limit the issuance of a certified or noncertified copy of a certificate of live birth for a foreign born child in the same manner as copies of birth certificates are limited under this section.

    (b) Certified copies.

    (1) The State Registrar and issuing agents may issue certified copies of birth and death certificates only upon receipt of a complete application accompanied by a form of identification prescribed in rules adopted by the State Registrar. The State Registrar and issuing agents shall record in a database maintained by the State Registrar any application received.

    (2) Only the following persons shall be eligible for a certified copy of a birth or death certificate:

    (A) the registrant or his or her spouse, child, parent, sibling, grandparent, or guardian; a person petitioning to open a decedent's estate; a court-appointed executor or administrator; or the legal representative of any of these;

    (B) a specific person pursuant to a court order finding that a noncertified copy is not sufficient for the applicant's legal purpose and that a certified copy of the birth or death certificate is needed for the determination or protection of a person's right; or

    (C) in the case of a death certificate only, additionally to:

    (i) the individual with authority for final disposition as provided in section 5227 of this title or a funeral home or crematorium acting on the individual's behalf;

    (ii) the Social Security Administration;

    (iii) the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs; or

    (iv) the deceased's insurance carrier, if such carrier provides benefits to the decedent's survivors or beneficiaries.

    (3) Certified copies of birth and death certificates shall be issued only on unique paper with antifraud features approved by the State Registrar.

    (4) A certified copy of a birth or death certificate shall be prima facie evidence of the facts stated therein.

    (c) Noncertified copies.

    (1) Form. A noncertified copy of a birth or death certificate issued from the Statewide Registration System shall indicate the term "Noncertified" on its face and shall not be issued on antifraud paper.

    (2) Legal effect. A noncertified copy of a birth or death certificate shall not serve as prima facie evidence of the facts stated therein, except that it may be recorded in the land records of a municipality to establish the date of birth or death of a person with an ownership interest in property.

    (d) Inspection. In addition to the provisions of the Public Records Act, the State Registrar may prescribe procedures governing the inspection of birth and death certificates if necessary to protect the integrity of the certificates or to prevent fraud. (Added 2018, No. 11 (Sp. Sess.), § I.5, eff. July 1, 2019.)

  • § 5017. Fees for copies

    For a certified copy of a vital event certificate, the fee shall be $10.00. (Added 2017, No. 46, § 18, eff. July 1, 2019.)

  • § 5018. Repealed. 1979, No. 142 (Adj. Sess.), § 26.

  • § 5019. Repealed. 1973, No. 249 (Adj. Sess.), § 111, eff. April 9, 1974.

  • § 5020. Recodified. 2017, No. 46, § 2, effective July 1, 2018.