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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 025 : Administrative Procedure

Subchapter 001 : General Provisions

(Cite as: 3 V.S.A. § 801)
  • § 801. Short title and definitions

    (a) This chapter may be cited as the “Vermont Administrative Procedure Act.”

    (b) As used in this chapter:

    (1) “Agency” means a State board, commission, department, agency, or other entity or officer of State government, other than the Legislature, the courts, the Commander in Chief, and the Military Department, authorized by law to make rules or to determine contested cases.

    (2) “Contested case” means a proceeding, including but not restricted to rate-making and licensing, in which the legal rights, duties, or privileges of a party are required by law to be determined by an agency after an opportunity for hearing.

    (3) “License” includes the whole or part of any agency permit, certificate, approval, registration, charter, or similar form of permission required by law.

    (4) “Licensing” includes the agency process respecting the grant, denial, renewal, revocation, suspension, annulment, withdrawal, or amendment of a license.

    (5) “Party” means each person or agency named or admitted as a party, or properly seeking and entitled as of right to be admitted as a party.

    (6) “Person” means any individual, partnership, corporation, association, governmental subdivision, or public or private organization of any character other than an agency.

    (7) “Practice” means a substantive or procedural requirement of an agency, affecting one or more persons who are not employees of the agency, that is used by the agency in the discharge of its powers and duties. The term includes all such requirements, regardless of whether they are stated in writing.

    (8) “Procedure” means a practice that has been adopted in writing, either at the election of the agency or as the result of a request under subsection 831(b) of this title. The term includes any practice of any agency that has been adopted in writing, whether or not labeled as a procedure, except for each of the following:

    (A) a rule adopted under sections 836-844 of this title;

    (B) a written document issued in a contested case that imposes substantive or procedural requirements on the parties to the case;

    (C) a statement that concerns only:

    (i) the internal management of an agency and does not affect private rights or procedures available to the public;

    (ii) the internal management of facilities that are secured for the safety of the public and the individuals residing within them; or

    (iii) guidance regarding the safety or security of the staff of an agency or its designated service providers or of individuals being provided services by the agency or such a provider;

    (D) an intergovernmental or interagency memorandum, directive, or communication that does not affect private rights or procedures available to the public;

    (E) an opinion of the Attorney General; or

    (F) a statement that establishes criteria or guidelines to be used by the staff of an agency in performing audits, investigations, or inspections, in settling commercial disputes or negotiating commercial arrangements, or in the defense, prosecution, or settlement of cases, if disclosure of the criteria or guidelines would compromise an investigation or the health and safety of an employee or member of the public, enable law violators to avoid detection, facilitate disregard of requirements imposed by law, or give a clearly improper advantage to persons that are in an adverse position to the State.

    (9) “Rule” means each agency statement of general applicability that implements, interprets, or prescribes law or policy and that has been adopted in the manner provided by sections 836-844 of this title.

    (10) “Incorporation by reference” means the use of language in the text of a regulation that expressly refers to a document other than the regulation itself.

    (11) “Adopting authority” means, for agencies that are attached to the Agencies of Administration, of Commerce and Community Development, of Natural Resources, of Human Services, and of Transportation, or any of their components, the secretaries of those agencies; for agencies attached to other departments or any of their components, the commissioners of those departments; and for other agencies, the chief officer of the agency. However, for the procedural rules of boards with quasi-judicial powers, for the Transportation Board, for the Vermont Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery Advisory Board, and for the Fish and Wildlife Board, the chair or executive secretary of the board shall be the adopting authority. The Secretary of State shall be the adopting authority for the Office of Professional Regulation.

    (12) “Small business” means a business employing no more than 20 full-time employees.

    (13)(A) “Arbitrary,” when applied to an agency rule or action, means that one or more of the following apply:

    (i) There is no factual basis for the decision made by the agency.

    (ii) The decision made by the agency is not rationally connected to the factual basis asserted for the decision.

    (iii) The decision made by the agency would not make sense to a reasonable person.

    (B) The General Assembly intends that this definition be applied in accordance with the Vermont Supreme Court’s application of “arbitrary” in Beyers v. Water Resources Board, 2006 VT 65, and In re Town of Sherburne, 154 Vt. 596 (1990).

    (14) “Guidance document” means a written record that has not been adopted in accordance with sections 836-844 of this title and that is issued by an agency to assist the public by providing an agency’s current approach to or interpretation of law or describing how and when an agency will exercise discretionary functions. The term does not include the documents described in subdivisions (8)(A) through (F) of this section.

    (15) “Index” means a searchable list of entries that contains subjects and titles with page numbers, hyperlinks, or other connections that link each entry to the text or document to which it refers. (Added 1967, No. 360 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. July 1, 1969; amended 1981, No. 82, § 1; 1983, No. 158 (Adj. Sess.), eff. April 13, 1984; 1985, No. 56, § 1; 1985, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; 1987, No. 76, § 18; 1989, No. 69, § 2, eff. May 27, 1989; 1989, No. 250 (Adj. Sess.), § 88; 2001, No. 149 (Adj. Sess.), § 46, eff. June 27, 2002; 2017, No. 113 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 2017, No. 156 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.)