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BILL AS INTRODUCED 2007-2008

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H.278

Introduced by Representatives Hosford of Waitsfield, Clark of Vergennes, Lorber of Burlington, Marek of Newfane, Martin of Springfield, Nuovo of Middlebury, Sweaney of Windsor and Trombley of Grand Isle

Referred to Committee on

Date:

Subject:  Child care facilities; enforcement actions

Statement of purpose:  This bill proposes to provide specific protection for good faith reports of consumer concerns related to child care facilities, clarify access to certain child care facility licensing information and records, provide criminal sanctions for the knowing operation of a child care facility without a license or registration or other legal authority, and align the current authority for seeking civil enforcement against illegal child care facilities and their operators with other regulated professions.

AN ACT RELATING TO REGULATION OF CHILD CARE FACILITIES

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


Sec. 1.  33 V.S.A. § 306(b) is amended to read:

(b)  This subsection shall apply to all licenses, registrations, and applications for licenses and registrations which the commissioner or the department may issue or grant, unless otherwise specifically provided.

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(5)  Whenever the attorney general or a state’s attorney has reason to believe that a facility required by the commissioner to be licensed or registered, registered, certified, or otherwise authorized is being operated without such license or registration, registration, certification, or other authorization, the attorney general or a state’s attorney may bring an action for equitable relief in the name of the state against the operator of such facility to restrain such operation and may seek an assessed civil penalty of not more than $1,000.00.  The action may be brought in the superior court of the county in which the facility is located or in the Washington superior court.  Said courts are authorized to grant equitable relief to restrain and prevent such operation.  Any civil penalty assessed under this subsection shall be deposited in the building bright futures facilities fund set forth in section 3531 of this title.

(6)  Any person who violates the terms of an injunction or restraining order issued under section 306(b) subdivision (5) of this subsection shall forfeit and pay to the state a civil penalty of not more than $100.00 $250.00 for each violation.  In such cases, the attorney general or a state’s attorney acting in the name of the state may petition for recovery of such penalty or a penalty assessed under subdivision (5) of this subsection in the superior court that issued the injunction or restraining order.  Any fine assessed under this subsection shall be deposited in the building bright futures facilities fund set forth in section 3531 of this title.

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(8)  Complaints or concerns received by the department about child care facilities, as well as the department’s licensing investigative files, shall remain confidential unless disclosure is authorized or warranted as part of a judicial, quasi-judicial, or administrative proceeding.  If, as the result of an inquiry into the concern or complaint, the department determines that a regulatory violation has occurred, the department shall make available to the facility’s owner and to the public the result of its determination, including a short and plain statement of the facts relied upon in making the regulatory determination.

(9)  An applicant or holder of a child care facility license, registration, certification, or approval may inspect and copy all information in the possession of the department related to the application, license, registration, certification, or approval, except:

(A)  information that is otherwise confidential by law or regulation; or

(B)  the names of or identifying information about the reporters of concerns or complaints unless disclosure is warranted or authorized as part of a judicial, quasi-judicial, or other administrative proceeding.

(10)  Any person who in good faith reports a concern to the department about a child care facility shall be immune from any civil liability which might otherwise be incurred or imposed as a result of making the report.

(11)  An employer or supervisor shall not discharge; demote; transfer; reduce pay, benefits, or work privileges; prepare a negative work performance evaluation or take any other action detrimental to any employee because that employee in good faith reported a concern about a child care facility.  Any person making a good faith report about a child care facility shall have a civil cause of action for appropriate compensatory and punitive damages against any person who causes detrimental changes in the employment status of the reporting party by reason of making the report.

(12)  In addition to other provisions of law, any person who knowingly operates a child care facility without a required license, registration, certificate, or approval may be punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000.00 or imprisonment for not more than one year, or both.  Prosecution may occur upon an information, supported by an affidavit, filed by the attorney general or a state’s attorney and shall not act as a bar to civil or administrative


proceedings involving the same conduct.  Any fine assessed under this subsection shall be deposited into the building bright futures facilities fund set forth in section 3531 of this title.



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us