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H.347

Introduced by   Representatives Kennedy of Chelsea, Adams of Hartland, Allaire of Rutland City, Allard of St. Albans Town, Audette of S. Burlington, Branagan of Georgia, Brennan of Colchester, Clark of St. Johnsbury, Donaghy of Poultney, Dunsmore of Georgia, Edwards of Brattleboro, French of Randolph, Gervais of Enosburg, Green of Berlin, Hudson of Lyndon, Larocque of Barnet, LaVoie of Swanton, Livingston of Manchester, Marcotte of Coventry, McAllister of Highgate, Molloy of Arlington, Myers of Essex, Niquette of Colchester, Otterman of Topsham, Schiavone of Shelburne, Valliere of Barre City, Winters of Swanton, Winters of Williamstown and Wright of Burlington

Referred to Committee on

Date:

Subject:  Crimes; arson; reporting of burns

Statement of purpose:  This bill proposes to require physicians and health care institutions to report the treatment of serious burns and firearm injuries to state officials for the purpose of assisting investigations of arson, identifying victims of assault, and promoting public safety.  Reporting of gunshot wounds already is currently required by law.  The bill recodifies the gunshot wound law and adds an immunity provision for reporting in good faith.

AN ACT RELATING TO REPORTING TREATMENT OF SERIOUS BURNS AND FIREARM INJURIES

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

Sec. 1.  13 V.S.A. chapter 169 is added to read:

Chapter 169.  Reports of Injuries

§ 5451.  REPORTING TREATMENT OF SERIOUS BURNS

(a)  A physician shall report to the state fire marshal’s office his or her treatment of:

(1)  a second or third degree burn;

(2)  a burn to the upper respiratory tract;

(3)  laryngeal edema due to the inhalation of superheated air;

(4)  a case of a burn injury which is likely to or may result in death; and

(5)  a burn not consistent with the explanation given by the burn victim.

(b)  Whenever a serious burn is required to be reported pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, and the burn is treated in a hospital, sanitarium, or other institution, the manager, superintendent, or other person in charge shall report in lieu of the physician. 

(c)  The report of the burn shall be made within 48 hours, in writing, on forms provided by the fire marshal’s office.  The fire marshal’s office shall compile the information and provide access to such information, upon request, to authorized law enforcement and fire investigation officials.

(d)  This section shall not apply to burns received by a member of the armed forces of the United States or the state of Vermont while engaged in the actual performance of his or her duty.

(e)  A physician who, acting in good faith in reporting under this section or participating in a related investigation or proceeding, makes a report pursuant to this section shall be immune from civil or criminal liability for the act of reporting or participating in a related investigation or proceeding.  Good faith does not include instances when a false report is made, and the person knows the report is false.  Nothing in this section shall be construed to bar criminal or civil action regarding perjury.  In a proceeding regarding immunity from liability, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that a report made under subsection (a) or (b) of this section was made in good faith.

(f)  A person who violates subsection (a) or (b) of this section shall be fined not more than $100.00.

§ 5452.  REPORTING TREATMENT OF FIREARM INJURIES

(a)  A physician attending or treating a case of bullet wound, gunshot wound, powder burn, or any other injury arising from or caused by the discharge of a gun, pistol, or other firearm, or, whenever such case is treated in a hospital, sanitarium, or other institution, the manager, superintendent or other person in charge shall report such case at once to local law enforcement officials or the state police.

(b)  This section shall not apply to wounds, burns, or injuries received by a member of the armed forces of the United States or the state of Vermont while engaged in the actual performance of his or her duty.

(c)  A physician who, acting in good faith in reporting under this section or participating in a related investigation or proceeding, makes a report pursuant to this section shall be immune from civil or criminal liability for the act of reporting or participating in a related investigation or proceeding.  Good faith does not include instances when a false report is made, and the person knows the report is false.  Nothing in this section shall be construed to bar criminal or civil action regarding perjury.  In a proceeding regarding immunity from liability, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that a report made under subsection (a) of this section was made in good faith.

(d)  A person who violates subsection (a) of this section shall be fined not more than $100.00.

Sec. 2.  REPEAL

13 V.S.A. § 4012 (reporting treatment of firearm wounds) is repealed.



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us