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2018 Legislative Overview

Legislative Overview – 2018

 

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, 2018 effective dates. The summary includes the bill designation, act number (if assigned), 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. The postings are searchable and can be reviewed at http://vbaconnect.vtbar.org.  A link to each bill is included with each summary.

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.  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 any of the legislation.

 

H. 300 (Act 117) “Notice of Tax Sale” bill (an act relating to the statute of limitations for recovery and possession of property actions against the grantee of a tax collector’s deed); signed by Governor Scott on May 2, 2018; effective on July 1, 2018. (VBA Connect Municipal Law Community and Real Property Law Community)

https://legislature.vermont.gov/assets/Documents/2018/Docs/ACTS/ACT117/ACT117%20As%20Enacted.pdf

 

  • Period during which a tax sale can be challenged as a fraudulent conveyance reduced from four years to two years; runs concurrently with Federal Bankruptcy Code provision regarding fraudulent conveyances
  • The statute of limitations for challenging a tax sale is reduced from three years to one year after tax collector’s deed delivered to successful bidder
  • Service requirements generally modified; if certified mail process fails, first class mail or option for personal service

 

H. 526 (Act 160) “Notary Public” bill (an act related to regulating notary publics); signed by Governor Scott on May 22, 2018, effective on July 1, 2019 (except commission requirements take effect on December 1, 2018, and exam and education requirements take effect on Feb. 1, 2021) (VBA Connect Real Property Community)

https://legislature.vermont.gov/assets/Documents/2018/Docs/ACTS/ACT160/ACT160%20As%20Enacted.pdf

 

  • Secretary of State will have notary public commissioning authority beginning with the February 10, 2019 term; applications will be on-line
  • Two-year term instead of four; $15 application fee each term
  • Attorneys are exempt from new exam and education requirements that commence with February 2021 term
  • Codifies content of notary acknowledgements; specifies methods of verifying identification
  • Option of stamp, seal or notary commission number
  • Remote notarizations not allowed – personal appearance required
  • Two notary advisors for rule-making process – VBA representative to be one of the two

 

H. 562 (Act 162) “Parentage” bill (an act related to parentage proceedings); signed by Governor Scott on May 22, 2018, effective on July 1, 2018. (VBA Connect Family Law Community)

https://legislature.vermont.gov/assets/Documents/2018/Docs/ACTS/ACT162/ACT162%20As%20Enacted.pdf

 

  • Expands definition of parent to potentially include birth parent, adoptive parent, acknowledged parent, adjudicated parent, presumed parent, and de facto parent
  • Sets forth criteria to meet each expanded definition
  • Sets forth criteria regarding genetic parentage
  • Sets forth criteria regarding gestational carrier agreements
  • Also applies to a pending proceeding to adjudicate parentage commenced before July 1, 2018 for an issue on which a judgment has not been rendered.

 

H. 707 (Act 183) “Sexual Harassment” bill (an act related to the prevention of sexual harassment); signed by Governor Scott on May 28, 2018, effective on July 1, 2018, except Section 5 effective on passage.

https://legislature.vermont.gov/assets/Documents/2018/Docs/ACTS/ACT183/ACT183%20As%20Enacted.pdf

 

  • Numerous changes to Vermont’s laws related to sexual harassment
  • Prohibitions regarding certain provisions in employment contracts
  • Requirements regarding certain provisions in settlements of claims for sexual harassment
  • Notice requirements for claims of sexual harassment

 

H. 859 (Act 152) “Lease lands” bill (an act related to requiring municipal corporations to affirmatively vote to retain ownership of lease lands); signed by Governor Scott on May 21, 2018, effective on July 1, 2018.  (VBA Connect Municipal Law Community and Property Law Community)

https://legislature.vermont.gov/assets/Documents/2018/Docs/ACTS/ACT152/ACT152%20As%20Enacted.pdf

 

  • Unless municipality votes to retain all or portion of lease lands by January 1, 2020, lease lands revert to titled lessee
  • UVM and State Agricultural lease lands are exempt
  • Municipality can release lease lands prior to January 1, 2020

 

H. 899 (Act 155) “Town Clerk Recording Fees” bill (an act relating to a town fee report and request); signed by Governor Scott on May 21, 2018; effective on July 1, 2018 . (VBA Connect Municipal Law Community and Real Property Law Community)

https://legislature.vermont.gov/assets/Documents/2018/Docs/ACTS/ACT155/ACT155%20As%20Enacted.pdf

 

  • Amount of recording fees unchanged for now but can request recording fee increase every three years, starting January 2019
  • Requirement for towns to provide consolidated town fee report every three years, starting in January 2019

 

H. 910 (Act 166) “Open Meeting” bill (an act relating to the open meeting law and the public records act); signed by Governor Scott on May 22, 2018; effective on July 1, 2018 (except Section 3 effective on January 1, 2019). (VBA Connect Municipal Law Community – discussion under H. 700 reference)

https://legislature.vermont.gov/assets/Documents/2018/Docs/ACTS/ACT166/ACT166%20As%20Enacted.pdf

 

  • “Meeting” shall not mean occasions when a quorum of a public body attends social gatherings, conventions, conferences, training programs, press conferences, media events, or otherwise gathers, provided that the public body does not discuss specific business of the public body that, at the time of the exchange, the participating members expect to be business of the public body at a later time.
  •  Public Records provisions modified generally
  • Requires head of a state agency or department to designate a person accountable for overseeing PRA requests, and to post contact info for that person on applicable website

 

S. 29 (Act 195) “Probate” bill (an act related to decedents’ estates); signed by Governor Scott on May 30, 2018; effective on July 1, 2018 (applies to wills executed or offered for admission on or after July 1, 2018) (VBA Connect Probate Law Community)

https://legislature.vermont.gov/assets/Documents/2018/Docs/ACTS/ACT195/ACT195%20As%20Enacted.pdf

 

  • Updates Vermont law regarding wills and decedents’ estates generally
  • Allows self-proving wills
  • Modifies statute of limitations for claims against estates
  • Terminology modernized generally

S. 128 (Act 95) “Executive Session” bill (an act relating to executive sessions under the Open Meeting Law); signed by Governor Scott on April 11, 2018; effective on passage. (VBA Connect Municipal Law Community)

http://legislature.vermont.gov/assets/Documents/2018/Docs/ACTS/ACT060/ACT060%20As%20Enacted.pdf

 

  • Allows public body to go into executive session to discuss security or emergency responses measures, the disclosure of which could jeopardize public safety

 

S. 244  “Spousal Support” bill (an act related to extending the repeal date for the guidelines for spousal maintenance awards); signed by Governor Scott on May 30, 2018; effective on passage. (VBA Connect Family Law Community)

https://legislature.vermont.gov/assets/Documents/2018/Docs/BILLS/S-0244/S-0244%20House%20Proposal%20of%20Amendment%20Unofficial.pdf

 

  • Spousal support guidelines repeal date extended to July 1, 2021
  • Provision calling for new summer study committee removed

 

S. 269 “Blockchain” bill (an act relating to blockchain business development); signed by Governor Scott on May 30, 2018; effective on July 1, 2018. (VBA Connect Property Law Community)

https://legislature.vermont.gov/assets/Documents/2018/Docs/BILLS/S-0269/S-0269%20As%20Passed%20by%20Both%20House%20and%20Senate%20Unofficial.pdf

 

  • DFR directed to prepare a report on how block chain might be implemented in insurance and banking areas

 

  • Agency of Commerce and Community Development directed to incorporate promotion of blockchain and fintech development into programs, including    education and workforce trainings

 

  • New type of limited liability company authorized – Blockchain Based Limited Liability Company (BBLLC) – special roles for participants outlined