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Searching 2021-2022 Session

The Vermont Statutes Online


Title 6 : Agriculture


(Cite as: 6 V.S.A. § 3318)
  • § 3318. Investigation; record keeping

    (a) The Secretary shall also have power:

    (1) To gather and compile information and to investigate the organization, business, conduct, practices, and management of any person engaged in intrastate commerce, and the relationship to other persons.

    (2) To require, by general or special orders, persons engaged in intrastate commerce to file with the Secretary, in the form that the Secretary may prescribe, annual or special reports or answers in writing to specific questions. The person filing the reports or answers shall furnish the Secretary with any information he or she may require as to the organization, business, conduct, practices, management, and relation to other persons. The reports and answers shall be made under oath, or otherwise, as the Secretary may prescribe, and shall be filed with the Secretary within a reasonable period as the Secretary may prescribe, unless additional time is granted by the Secretary.

    (b) For the purpose of this chapter, the Secretary shall at all reasonable times have access to and the right to copy any documentary evidence of any person being investigated or proceeded against. The Secretary may subpoena the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production of all documentary evidence of any person relating to any matter under investigation or subject to administrative hearing. The Secretary or his or her designee may sign subpoenas and may administer oaths and affirmations, examine witnesses, and receive evidence.

    (1) The attendance of witnesses and the production of documentary evidence may be required at any designated place of hearing. In case of disobedience to a subpoena the Secretary may invoke the aid of any district or Superior Court in requiring the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production of documentary evidence.

    (2) Any district or Superior Court within the jurisdiction in which an inquiry is carried on may, in case of resistance or refusal to obey a subpoena issued to any person, issue an order requiring the person to appear before the Secretary or to produce documentary evidence or to give evidence touching the matter in question. Any failure to obey an order of the court may be punished by the court as a contempt.

    (3) Upon the application of the Attorney General of this State at the request of the Secretary, the Superior Courts shall have jurisdiction to issue preliminary or permanent injunctions commanding any person to comply with the provisions of this chapter or any order of the Secretary made pursuant to this chapter.

    (4) The Secretary may order testimony to be taken by deposition in any proceeding or investigation pending under this chapter at any stage of the proceeding or investigation. The depositions may be taken before any person designated by the Secretary who has the power to administer oaths. The testimony shall be reduced to writing by the person taking the deposition, or under his or her direction, and shall be subscribed by the deponent. Any person may be compelled to appear and depose and to produce documentary evidence in the same manner as witnesses may be compelled to appear and testify and produce documentary evidence before the Secretary as provided in this chapter.

    (5) Witnesses summoned before the Secretary shall be paid the same fees and mileage that are paid witnesses in the courts of this State. Witnesses whose depositions are taken and the persons taking the same shall each be entitled to the same fees as are paid for like services in the courts.

    (6) No person shall be excused from attending and testifying or from producing books, papers, schedules of charges, contracts, agreements, or other documentary evidence before the Secretary. No person shall be excused from obeying a subpoena of the Secretary, whether the subpoena is signed or issued by him or her or his or her designee, or in any proceeding, criminal or otherwise, based upon any alleged violation of this chapter on the ground that the testimony or evidence, documentary or otherwise, required of him or her or by the subpoena may tend to incriminate him or her or subject him or her or it to a penalty or forfeiture. No individual shall be prosecuted or subjected to a penalty or forfeiture for any transaction, matter, or thing concerning which he or she is compelled, after having claimed his or her privilege against self-incrimination, to testify or produce evidence, documentary or otherwise, except that any individual so testifying shall not be exempt from prosecution and punishment for perjury committed in testifying.

    (c) Any person who neglects or refuses to attend and testify or to answer any lawful inquiry, or to produce documentary evidence, if in his or her power to do so, in obedience to the subpoena or lawful requirement of the Secretary or his or her designee shall upon conviction be punished by a fine of not less than $1,000.00 nor more than $5,000.00, or by imprisonment for not more than one year, or both.

    (d) Any person who willfully makes, or causes to be made, any false entry or statement of fact or who willfully fails to make correct entries in any report, account, record, or memorandum kept by any person which is required by or subject to this chapter or who willfully removes out of the jurisdiction of this State, or willfully mutilates, alters, or by any other means falsifies any documentary evidence of any person subject to this chapter or who willfully refuses to submit to the Secretary or to any of his or her authorized agents, for the purpose of inspection and taking copies, any documentary evidence of any person subject to this chapter in his or her possession or within his or her control, shall upon conviction be subject to a fine of not less than $1,000.00 nor more than $5,000.00, or to imprisonment for not more than three years, or both.

    (e) If any person required by this chapter fails to file any annual or special report within the time fixed by the Secretary, and the failure continues for 30 days after notice of default, the person shall forfeit $100.00 after notice to the State for each day. The forfeiture shall be payable into the Treasury of this State, and shall be recoverable in a civil suit in the name of the State brought in the county where the person has his or her or its principal office or in Washington Superior Court. (Added 1985, No. 226 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. June 2, 1986; amended 2003, No. 42, § 2, eff. May 27, 2003; 2017, No. 113 (Adj. Sess.), § 33.)