|BILL AS INTRODUCED||2007-2008|
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
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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the attorney general or a state’s attorney has reason to believe that a
facility required by the commissioner to be licensed
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.
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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.
The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street