The Vermont Statutes Online
Title 20: Internal Security and Public Safety
Chapter 201: PUBLIC ASSEMBLIES
§ 4501. Definitions
As used in this chapter:
(1) “Permit” means a written statement, issued by the Commissioner of Public Safety or his or her designee, authorizing the holding of a commercial public assembly under stated conditions as to time, place, and manner.
(2) “Permit officer” means the Commissioner of Public Safety or officer designated by him or her to issue permits.
(3) “Person” means an individual, corporation, government, governmental subdivision or agency, business trust, estate, trust, partnership or association, or any other legal entity.
(4) “Political subdivision” means a city, town, village, gore, or other incorporated place.
(5) “Commercial public assembly” or “assembly” means a gathering of 2,000 or more individuals in a public place that the general public is permitted or invited to attend, conducted or promoted for profit, whether or not a profit is actually returned, where persons are admitted on payment of cash, entry fees, advance subscriptions, or donations, or any thing of value.
(6) “Promotional activity” means purchasing paid advertisements in any media of communication or circulation of printed material advertising the assembly.
(7) “Public place” means an open area where patrons cannot be accommodated inside a permanent building, other than a stadium used for sporting events, or a fairground having permanent seats for patrons, with respect to which a private person permits use by the general public. (Added 1973, No. 181 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. March 30, 1974.)
§ 4502. Permit; when to obtain
Any person who intends to hold or organizes or promotes a commercial public assembly shall obtain a permit to do so. (Added 1973, No. 181 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. March 30, 1974.)
§ 4503. To whom application made; time
An application for a permit to hold an assembly shall be filed with the permit officer not less than 30 days before the date of the assembly. The permit officer may act on an application not filed in time if the public health and safety will not be jeopardized by such action. (Added 1973, No. 181 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. March 30, 1974.)
§ 4504. Contents of application
(a) An application for a permit to hold an assembly shall be in writing and signed by an individual authorized to act for the person sponsoring it.
(b) The application shall state:
(1) the date and hours the assembly is to be held;
(2) the name, residence address, and the telephone number of the applicant, the principal officers of the applicant, the individual making the application, and any other individual authorized to represent the applicant in applying for the permit;
(3) the designation and location of the public place where the assembly is to be held;
(4) that the requested use by the applicant of the designated place has been granted by the person having authority to grant the use of the public place;
(5) the estimated number of persons expected to participate in or attend the public assembly;
(6) a schedule and copies of all promotional activity the applicant has engaged in or intends to engage in;
(7) the general nature of the assembly and the arrangements made to protect the public health and safety during the conduct of the assembly, including arrangements with respect to traffic direction, crowd control, and sanitation facilities; and
(8) any additional information the applicant wishes to furnish. (Added 1973, No. 181 (Adj. Sess.), § 4, eff. March 30, 1974; amended 2021, No. 105 (Adj. Sess.), § 405, eff. July 1, 2022.)
§ 4505. Receipt of application
Upon receipt of an application for a permit to hold an assembly, the permit officer shall note the time of filing on the application and shall promptly mail or otherwise deliver a copy of the application to the principal officers of the applicant named in the application, to the Attorney General, the State’s Attorney having jurisdiction, and the clerk of the political subdivision in which the assembly is to be held. (Added 1973, No. 181 (Adj. Sess.), § 5, eff. March 30, 1974; amended 2021, No. 20, § 211.)
§ 4506. Action on application
(a) The permit officer shall:
(1) issue the permit as requested; or
(2) issue the permit subject to any conditions authorized in section 4507 of this title, which he or she deems necessary to protect the public health and safety; or
(3) apply to the Superior Court for an order enjoining the holding of the public assembly if conditions cannot be imposed that will protect the public health and safety. If the permit officer fails to act on the application within ten days of the assembly, he or she is deemed to have granted the permit as requested.
(b) The permit officer shall give the applicant immediate notice in writing of his or her action on the application.
(c) By agreement in writing the applicant and the permit officer may modify the time requirements of section 4503 of this title. (Added 1973, No. 181 (Adj. Sess.), § 6, eff. March 30, 1974; amended 1973, No. 193 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. April 9, 1974.)
§ 4507. Criteria for imposing conditions on permit
(a) If there is a reasonable likelihood that an assembly will substantially harm the public health or safety, the permit officer shall grant the permit upon conditions reasonably necessary to avoid substantial harm to the public health or safety.
(b) The permit officer may impose conditions to ensure that:
(1) public sanitation, food, water, and emergency medical facilities are adequate;
(2) the time, place, and duration of the assembly is suitable in view of the number of persons expected to attend;
(3) measures for controlling the crowd and managing the assembly are adequate;
(4) the assembly will not substantially impair the provision of fire and police protection and medical and other essential public services;
(5) the assembly will not unreasonably interfere with the quiet enjoyment of a residential community;
(6) litter incidental to the assembly will be removed and disposed of;
(7) the person holding the public assembly furnishes an adequate bond or arranges other financial security in a reasonable amount to ensure reimbursement of a political subdivision, the State of Vermont, or any police agency, for the cost of additional law enforcement officers required to meet any other condition. (Added 1973, No. 181 (Adj. Sess.), § 7, eff. March 30, 1974; amended 2021, No. 20, § 212.)
§ 4508. Judicial review
(a) If there is a reasonable likelihood that an assembly will substantially harm the public health or safety and this cannot be avoided by imposition of conditions, or if no permit for such an assembly has been applied for, the permit officer shall apply without delay to the Superior Court for an order enjoining the applicant, other interested persons, or those persons the permit officer believes intend to hold an assembly without a permit, from holding the assembly.
(b) An applicant may petition the Superior Court for review of the reasonableness of any conditions imposed in a permit. A person who desires to organize or promote any outdoor public gathering may also petition the court for an order declaring that the gathering is not subject to this chapter. The petition shall contain a copy of the application, a copy of the permit, if any, and state the grounds for the decision requested. (Added 1973, No. 181 (Adj. Sess.), § 8, eff. March 30, 1974; amended 2021, No. 20, § 213.)
§ 4509. Judicial order relating to an assembly
When a permit officer applies to the Superior Court for a restraining order, injunctive relief, or other order, or a person applies for judicial review under subsection 4508(b) of this title, the Court shall expedite the proceedings to afford timely relief, cause appropriate notice to be given, and hear the case without a jury. Evidence commonly relied upon by prudent individuals in the conduct of their affairs may be received. Upon a hearing, the Court may enter an order declaring no permit is required, grant the permit as requested, grant a permit upon specified conditions, or enjoin the holding of the assembly if there is a reasonable likelihood that the assembly will substantially harm public health or safety and this cannot be avoided by the imposition of conditions on the permit. (Added 1973, No. 181 (Adj. Sess.), § 9, eff. March 30, 1974.)
§ 4510. Appeals
A party may obtain a review of a final judgment of the Superior Court by appeal to the Supreme Court. The appeal shall be taken as in other civil cases. The taking of an appeal does not operate to stay the order of the Superior Court, but the Supreme Court may stay the order pending determination of the appeal. (Added 1973, No. 181 (Adj. Sess.), § 10, eff. March 30, 1974.)
§ 4511. Penalties
A person who intentionally:
(1) violates a condition imposed in a permit to hold an assembly with knowledge of the provision; or
(2) conducts, organizes, or promotes an assembly without applying for a permit, may be fined not more than $2,000.00 or imprisoned for not more than two years, or both. (Added 1973, No. 181 (Adj. Sess.), § 11, eff. March 30, 1974; amended 2021, No. 20, § 214.)