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Searching 2023-2024 Session

The Vermont Statutes Online

The Vermont Statutes Online have been updated to include the actions of the 2023 session of the General Assembly.

NOTE: The Vermont Statutes Online is an unofficial copy of the Vermont Statutes Annotated that is provided as a convenience.

Title 3 : Executive

Chapter 005 : Secretary of State

Subchapter 003 : Professional Regulation

(Cite as: 3 V.S.A. § 123)
  • § 123. Duties of Office

    (a) The Office shall provide administrative, secretarial, financial, investigatory, inspection, and legal services to the boards. The 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 and procedures, and adopting uniform procedural rules governing the investigatory and disciplinary process for all boards set forth in section 122 of this chapter.

    (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 developing rules consistent with the principles set forth in 26 V.S.A. chapter 57. Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, the Secretary of State shall serve as the adopting authority for those 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.

    (A) Licenses may be issued and renewed according to that schedule for periods of up to two years.

    (B) 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 that 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)(1) The Office shall establish uniform procedures applicable to all of the professions and boards set forth in section 122 of this chapter, providing for:

    (A) appropriate recognition of education, training, or service completed by a member of the U.S. Armed Forces toward the requirements of professional licensure; and

    (B) expedited issuance of a professional license to a person who is licensed in good standing in another regulatory jurisdiction; and

    (i) whose spouse is a member of the U.S. Armed Forces and who has been subject to a military transfer to Vermont; and

    (ii) who left employment to accompany his or her spouse to Vermont.

    (2) The Director may evaluate specific military credentials to determine equivalency to credentials required for professions attached to the Office. The determinations shall be adopted through written policy that shall be posted on the Office’s website.

    (3) The Director may evaluate apprenticeship programs recognized or administered by the Vermont Department of Labor, Agency of Education, or U.S. Department of Labor to determine equivalency to credentials required for professions attached to the Office. The determinations shall be adopted through written policy that shall be posted on the Office’s website.

    (h) Notwithstanding any provision of Title 26 of the Vermont Statutes Annotated to the contrary, the Office, on behalf of the Director or a board, may use electronic mail to send notices and reminders that would otherwise be sent by mail, except certified mail, and may use online services to elicit information and sworn attestations that would otherwise be obtained on a paper form.

    (i)(1) The Director shall actively monitor the actions of boards attached to the Office and shall ensure that all board actions pursued or decided are lawful, consistent with State policy, reasonably calculated to protect the public, and not an undue restraint of trade.

    (2) If the Director finds an exercise of board authority or discretion does not meet those standards, the Director may, except in the case of disciplinary actions:

    (A) provide written notice to the board explaining the perceived inconsistency, which notice shall have the effect of staying that action and implementing any alternative prescribed by the Director;

    (B) schedule a public meeting with the board to resolve questions about the action and explore alternatives; and

    (C) within 60 days following that meeting, issue a written directive finding that:

    (i) the exercise of board authority or discretion is consistent with State policy, in which case the action shall be reinstated;

    (ii) the exercise of board authority or discretion is inconsistent with State policy in form, but may be modified to achieve consistency, in which case the board may issue a modified action consistent with the Director’s recommendation; or

    (iii) the exercise of board authority or discretion is inconsistent with State policy in purpose, in which case any alternative prescribed by the Director shall stand as the regulatory policy of the State.

    (j)(1) The Office may inquire into the criminal background histories of applicants for initial licensure and for license renewal of any Office-issued credential, including a license, certification, registration, or specialty designation for the following professions:

    (A) licensed nursing assistants, licensed practical nurses, registered nurses, and advanced practice registered nurses licensed under 26 V.S.A. chapter 28;

    (B) private investigators, security guards, and other persons licensed under 26 V.S.A. chapter 59;

    (C) real estate appraisers and other persons or business entities licensed under 26 V.S.A. chapter 69;

    (D) osteopathic physicians licensed under 26 V.S.A. chapter 33;

    (E) physical therapists and physical therapist assistants licensed under 26 V.S.A. chapter 38;

    (F) licensed clinical mental health counselors licensed under 26 V.S.A. chapter 65;

    (G) audiologists licensed under 26 V.S.A. chapter 67;

    (H) licensed marriage and family therapists licensed under 26 V.S.A. chapter 76;

    (I) speech-language pathologists licensed under 26 V.S.A. chapter 87; and

    (J) individuals registered on the roster of psychotherapists who are nonlicensed and noncertified.

    (2) Prior to acting on an initial or renewal application, the Office may obtain with respect to the applicant a Vermont criminal history record, an out-of-state criminal history record, and a criminal history record from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Federal Bureau of Investigation background checks shall be fingerprint-supported, and fingerprints so obtained may be retained on file and used to notify the Office of future triggering events. Each applicant shall consent to the release of criminal history records to the Office on forms developed by the Vermont Crime Information Center.

    (3) Applicants subject to background checks shall be notified that a check is required, if fingerprints will be retained on file, and that criminal convictions are not an absolute bar to licensure, and shall be provided such other information as may be required by federal law or regulation.

    (k) For any profession attached to it, the Office shall provide a pre-application determination of an individual’s criminal background. This determination shall not be binding on the Office in a future application if the individual violates probation or parole or is convicted of another crime following the determination.

    (1) The Office shall initiate this determination upon an individual’s “second chance” determination request. This request shall provide documentation related to the individual’s conviction or convictions, evidence of rehabilitation, and identification of the profession or professions for which the individual seeks licensure.

    (2) The individual shall submit this request online, accompanied by the fee for preapplication determinations set forth in section 125 of this subchapter. If the individual thereafter applies for licensure, this preapplication fee shall be deducted from that license application fee.

    (3) The Office shall:

    (A) process a request within 30 days of receiving a complete request;

    (B) assess the nature of the underlying conviction or convictions, the nexus to the profession or professions for which the individual seeks licensure, and the provided evidence of rehabilitation; and

    (C) respond to the individual’s request in writing.

    (l) When, by reason of disqualification, resignation, vacancy, or necessary absence, a board is unable to form a quorum or assign one or more members to assist in the investigation and prosecution of complaints or license applications, or to adjudicate a contested case, the Secretary of State may appoint ad hoc members, either as voting members to establish a quorum at a specific meeting or as nonvoting members to assist Office investigators and prosecutors. (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; 2017, No. 48, § 1; 2017, No. 115 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. Jan. 1, 2020; 2017, No. 144 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 2019, No. 152 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. April 1, 2021; 2019, No. 178 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. Oct. 1, 2020; 2021, No. 69, § 2; 2023, No. 34, § 2, eff. July 1, 2023; 2023, No. 35, § 2, eff. July 1, 2023; 2023, No. 36, § 4, eff. July 1, 2023.)