The VBA followed a number of bills affecting the bar and the courts during this unusual “hybrid” legislative session. Below is a brief summary of those that have been enacted to date in act number order, followed by other bills of interest. Please note that a number of the bills have July 1, 2022 effective dates. The summary includes the act number (if assigned), bill designation, 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 included with each summary.
Many thanks to the numerous lawyers who testified so capably, when needed. Please contact Teri Corsones at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about this overview. Thank you very much!
Legislative overviews from past years (2017 to 2021) can be viewed HERE.
Act 100 – H.629 “Adoption Records” bill (an act relating to access to adoption records) Signed by Governor Scott on May 3, 2022; effective date sections 1, 8 and 8a upon passage; sections 2-7 July 1, 2023. (VBA Probate Law Section)
- Permits adopted person 18 or older to obtain certified copy of original birth certificate regardless of whether former parent has consented.
- Unless former parent has filed request for nondisclosure, identifying information about former parent shall be disclosed to eligible persons upon request.
- Former parent has until 7-1-23 to file a request for non-disclosure of identifying information.
- Former parent may file a “contact preference form” with the Registry.
Act 102 – S.171 “State Code of Ethics” bill (an act relating to adoption of a state code of ethics) Signed by Governor Scott on May 3; effective date of July 1, 2022.
- Applies to elected and appointed state officials, state employees and those appointed to state boards and commissions – “public servants”.
- Act doesn’t require lawyers or judicial officers to violate respective codes of professional conduct.
- Act doesn’t abrogate Supreme Court’s constitutional authority to discipline attorneys and judicial officers.
- Public servants who are licensed attorneys shall comply with Vermont Rules of Professional Conduct re conflicts of interest if conflict falls under both Vermont Rules of Professional Conduct and Code of Ethics.
- Mandatory training re Code of Ethics for public servants.
Act 143– H.551 “Restrictive Covenants in Deeds” bill (an act relating to prohibiting racially and religiously restrictive covenants in deeds) Signed by Governor Scott on May 27, 2022; effective date of July 1, 2022. (VBA Municipal Law Section and VBA Property Law Section)
- Deed, mortgage, plat or other recorded device recorded on or after July 1, 2022 shall not contain provision purporting to restrict ownership or use of real property on basis of race or religion.
- Provisions purporting to restrict ownership or use of real property on basis of religion executed at any time void and unenforceable.
- Racially and religiously restrictive covenants shall remain in land records to preserve the historical record.
Act 147 – H.729 “Miscellaneous Judiciary” bill (an act relating to miscellaneous judiciary procedures) Signed by Governor Scott on June 1, 2022; effective on passage.
- Petitioner’s affidavit for emergency relief can be sworn to or affirmed by administration of oath over the telephone.
- Title of “Administrative Judge” corrected to “Chief Superior Judge” whenever term appears in statute.
- Fee for serving civil process increased from $50 to $75.
- Fingerprint fee increased fr0m $25 – $35.
- Actions for discrimination in public accommodation or housing or employment discrimination shall be commenced within 6 years after cause of action accrues and not after.
Act 171 – H.512 “Land Records” bill (an act relating to modernizing land records and notarial acts) Signed by Governor Scott on June 2, 2022; Sections 4 and 6 effective on passage and Sections 1-3 and 5 effective date of July 1, 2022. (VBA Property Law Section)
- Enacts Uniform Real Property Electronic Recording Act (URPERA) in Vermont to allow recording offices to accept deeds and other property records in electronic form and to provide electronic access to recordings.
- Requires VSARA to adopt standards and best practices before URPERA is implemented and requires recorders to comply with standards and best practices for paper and electronic records.
- Requires VSARA to report on process of implementing URPERA on or before January 15, 2024 with interim report due on or before January 15, 2023.
- VSARA to consult with representatives from the bar, banking, title insurance and real estate while preparing the report.
- Enacts Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts (RULONA) in Vermont regarding electronic recordings and remote notarial acts.
Act __ – S.11 “Workforce Development” bill (an act relating to economic and workforce development) Signed by Governor Scott on June 8, 2022; general effective date of July 1, 2022 with varying effective dates for various sections. (VBA Workforce Development Committee)
- Expands opportunities in general for workforce education, training and development for Vermonters.
- Establishes forgivable loan program of $5,000 per recent college graduate who commits to work in Vermont for two years after graduation.
- Establishes Regional Workforce Expansion System for workforce development partners.
- Establishes work-based learning and training program to list internships state-wide for all employers.
- Awards incentive grants of $5,000 – $7,500 to relocating workers who meet certain criteria.
Other bills of note:
S.234 – (act relating to changes to Act 250) delivered to Governor Scott on May 27, 2022 and vetoed on June 1, 2022
H.536 – (act relating to the Vermont Uniform Power of Attorney Act) House Judiciary requested further study; representatives of the Probate and Trust Section, Property Law Section, Elder Law Section and Vermont Bankers Association are forming a sub-committee to review the bill prior to the next session.