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Legislative Overview

Legislative Overview – 2017

 

The VBA followed a number of bills affecting the bar and the courts this legislative session. Below is a brief summary of those that have been enacted to date; please note that a number of them have July 1, 2017 effective dates. The summary includes the bill designation, act number, title, date signed by Governor Scott, effective date, and an indication of any VBA Connect Communities where information about the bill was posted during the legislative session. A link to each bill is at the end of each summary. For your information, the “Notary Public” bill that’s been mentioned the last couple of sessions passed the House as H. 526, but didn’t get to the Senate. We’ve been asked to meet with the Secretary of State’s Office over the summer, in the hopes of arriving at an acceptable version of the bill before the start of the next legislative session.

Many thanks to VBA Government Relations Coordinator Bob Paolini for so ably tracking these and a variety of other bills affecting the bar, and for making sure that testimony was provided when needed. Many thanks, also, to the numerous lawyers who testified so capably, when needed.   Please contact Teri Corsones at tcorsones@vtbar.org if you have any questions about this overview. Thank you very much!

 

H. 4 (Act 11) “Day is a Day” bill (an act related to calculating time periods in court proceedings); signed by Governor Scott on May 1, 2017, effective July 1, 2017. (VBA Connect Practice & Procedure Community) http://legislature.vermont.gov/assets/Documents/2018/Docs/ACTS/ACT011/ACT011%20As%20Enacted.pdf

·       Statutory changes to comport with recommended VRCP 6 rule changes to simplify computation of time periods

·       If number of days is 10, changed to 14 days

·       If number of days fewer than 10, "business days" added

H. 35 (Act 20) “Voidable Transactions” bill (an act adopting the Uniform Voidable Transactions Act); signed by Governor Scott on May 4, 2017, effective July 1, 2017. (VBA Connect Business Association Law Community) http://legislature.vermont.gov/assets/Documents/2018/Docs/ACTS/ACT020/ACT020%20As%20Enacted.pdf

·       Adopts most recent revisions to Uniform Voidable Transactions Act

·       “Fraudulent Transfers” now referred to as “Voidable Transactions”

·       Provisions of Act apply to transfers made or obligations incurred after 7/1/17

 

H. 152 (Act 13) “Digital Assets” bill (an act adopting the Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act); signed by Governor Scott on May 1, 2017, effective July 1, 2017.  (VBA Connect Probate and Trust Community) http://legislature.vermont.gov/assets/Documents/2018/Docs/ACTS/ACT013/ACT013%20As%20Enacted.pdf

·       Adopts Vermont Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act

·       Extends fiduciary’s authority to manage digital assets

·       Includes on-line bank accounts, retirement accounts, e-mail and social media accounts

H. 171 (Act 57) “Expungement” bill (an act relating to expungement); signed by Governor Scott on June 5, 2017; effective July 1, 2017 - except for section 3(E) effective January 1, 2018. (VBA Connect Criminal Law Community) http://legislature.vermont.gov/assets/Documents/2018/Docs/BILLS/H-0171/H-0171%20As%20Passed%20by%20Both%20House%20and%20Senate%20Unofficial.pdf

·       Amends Uniform Collateral Consequences of Conviction Act to require notice of availability of expungement process at entry of guilty plea, upon release from DOC custody, and when penalty is fine only

·       Adds violation of 18 VSA §4223 (fraud or deceit) to list of eligible felonies as of 1/1/18

·       Reduces waiting periods to seek or re-file after denial of expungement petition

·       Presumption that expungement is in best interest if underlying conduct no longer designated a criminal offense

·       Clarifies effect of expungement covers arrest, citation, investigation, charge, adjudication, criminal proceedings and probation records

·       Secretary of State and AG directed to evaluate compliance with expungement chapter and report to confirm compliance

H. 265 (Act 23) “Vulnerable Adult” bill (an act creating a private cause of action for a vulnerable adult who’s been financially exploited); signed by Governor Scott on May 4, 2017; effective on passage. (VBA Connect Property Law Community – discussion under H. 283 reference) http://legislature.vermont.gov/assets/Documents/2018/Docs/ACTS/ACT023/ACT023%20As%20Enacted.pdf

·       Creates private cause of action for vulnerable adult who's been financially exploited

·       Cause of action does not limit right, title or interest of good faith purchasers  

·       Updates “Long Term Care Ombudsman” statutes to conform to federal law and regulations

H. 290 (Act 24) “Title Clarifications” bill (an act related to clarifying ambiguities relating to real estate titles and conveyances); signed by Governor Scott on May 4, 2017; effective on passage. (VBA Connect Property Law Community) http://legislature.vermont.gov/assets/Documents/2018/Docs/ACTS/ACT024/ACT024%20As%20Enacted.pdf

·       Clarifications regarding mortgage discharges by attorney affidavit

·       Requirements for abandonment of oil and gas deposit leases clarified

·       Notice or memorandum of lease recorded in land records need not be witnessed

·       Failure to record condo floor plan not a title defect, if declaration recorded more than 15 years ago

·       Clarifies ambiguity re foreign guardian's authority to convey real property in Vermont

·       Certain powers of attorney exempt from requirement that agent accept appointment

H. 424 (Act 47) “Act 250” bill (an act relating to the Commission on Act 250); signed by Governor Scott on May 23, 2017; effective on passage (VBA Connect Environmental Law Community) http://legislature.vermont.gov/assets/Documents/2018/Docs/ACTS/ACT047/ACT047%20As%20Enacted.pdf

·       Legislative Commission on Act 250 – "The Next 50 Years" established

·       Advisory Council to Commission also established – Gerry Tarrant as chair of VBA Environmental Section appointed to Advisory Council

·       Series of public hearings about criteria and effectiveness of Act 250 processes to be scheduled around the state; report due 12/15/18

 

H. 502 (Act 31) “Parentage” bill (an act related to modernizing Vermont’s parentage laws); signed by Governor Scott on May 10, 2017; effective on passage. (VBA Connect Family Law Community) http://legislature.vermont.gov/assets/Documents/2018/Docs/ACTS/ACT031/ACT031%20As%20Enacted.pdf

·       Parentage Study Committee created to make recommendations to modernize parentage laws in light of changing nature of the family

·       Committee to include two attorneys experienced in parentage issues related to reproductive technology and surrogacy, to be appointed by VBA (Kurt Hughes and Susan Murray appointed)

·       Recommendations due 10/1/17

S. 8 (Act 79) “Ethics” bill (an act related to establishing the Ethics Commission and standards of government ethical conduct); signed by Governor Scott on June 14, 2017; variety of effective dates. http://legislature.vermont.gov/assets/Documents/2018/Docs/BILLS/S-0008/S-0008%20As%20Passed%20by%20Both%20House%20and%20Senate%20Unofficial.pdf

·       Five-person Ethics Commission created to accept, review, make referrals and track compliance re alleged violations of governmental conduct

·       Commission to include a VBA member; applications to be solicited soon

·       Post-public employment restrictions for legislators and executive officers

·       Financial disclosure requirements for legislative or state office candidates

·       Campaign contribution restrictions re sole source (no bid) contracts

·       Addresses municipal conflict of interest and ethics policies

S. 112 (Act 60) “Alimony Reform” bill (an act relating to creating a Spousal Support and Maintenance Task Force); signed by Governor Scott on June 5, 2017; effective on passage. (VBA Connect Family Law Community) http://legislature.vermont.gov/assets/Documents/2018/Docs/ACTS/ACT060/ACT060%20As%20Enacted.pdf

·       Creates a Spousal Support and Maintenance Task Force to review and make legislative recommendations concerning spousal support and maintenance

·       Task Force to include two experienced family law attorneys (Emily Davis and Priscilla Dube appointed)

·       Recommendations due 12/1/17

·       Alimony guidelines added to 15 VSA §752

 

S. 136 (Act 70) “Consumer Credit” bill (an act related to miscellaneous consumer protection provisions); signed by Governor Scott on June 8, 2017; multiple effective dates.  http://legislature.vermont.gov/assets/Documents/2018/Docs/BILLS/S-0136/S-0136%20As%20Passed%20by%20Both%20House%20and%20Senate%20Unofficial.pdf

·       Requirements for residential home improvement contract provisions

·       Home loan escrow account re-calculation required if tax bill revised

·       Regulation of fantasy sports contests