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Introduced by   Representatives Seibert of Norwich and Head of S. Burlington

Referred to Committee on


Subject:  Commerce and trade; public accommodation; discrimination based on receipt of public assistance; prohibition

Statement of purpose:  This bill proposes to prohibit discrimination against an individual because the individual receives public assistance.


It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1.  9 V.S.A. § 4502 is amended to read:


(a)  An owner or operator of a place of public accommodation or an agent or employee of such owner or operator shall not, because of the race, creed, color, national origin, marital status, sex or sexual orientation of any person individual, or because an individual is a recipient of public assistance, refuse, withhold from, or deny to that person individual any of the accommodations, advantages, facilities, and privileges of the place of public accommodation.

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(d)  This section shall not prohibit an owner or operator of an inn, hotel, motel, or other establishment which that provides lodging to transient guests, and which that has five or fewer rooms for rent or hire, from restricting such accommodation on the basis of sex or marital status.

(e)  It is a violation of this section for a gas station or other facility which that sells gasoline or other motor vehicle fuel for sale to the public to fail to comply with the provisions of 9 V.S.A. § section 4110a of this title.

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(h)  This section shall not be construed to require a public accommodation to permit an individual to participate in or benefit from the services, facilities, goods, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of that public accommodation when that individual poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others.  A provider of public accommodation shall establish and enforce legitimate business practices necessary to comply with this subsection  provided the business practices and this subsection are not used as a pretext for discrimination in violation of this section.  For the purposes of this subsection, "direct threat" means a significant risk to the health or safety of others that cannot be eliminated by a modification of policies, practices or procedures or by the provision of auxiliary aids or services.  In determining whether an individual poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others, a public accommodation shall make an individualized assessment based on reasonable judgment that relies on current medical knowledge or on the best available objective evidence to ascertain:

(1)  the nature, duration, and severity of the risk; and   

(2)  the probability that the potential injury will actually occur; and

(3)  whether reasonable modifications of policies, practices or procedures will mitigate the risk.

(i)  Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit a public accommodation from excluding a person an individual engaged in disruptive behavior which that the place of public accommodation has reason to believe is the result of alcohol or illegal drug use.

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(l)  Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a provider of public accommodation may establish and enforce legitimate and necessary business practices, provided this subsection is not used as a pretext for discrimination in violation of this section.

Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont