The Vermont Statutes Online

Title 18: Health

Chapter 107: DEATHS, BURIALS, AUTOPSIES

Sub-Chapter 001: General Requirements

18 V.S.A. § 5212b. Unmarked burial sites special fund; reporting of unmarked burial sites



§ 5212b. Unmarked burial sites special fund; reporting of unmarked burial sites

(a) The unmarked burial sites special fund is established in the state treasury for the purpose of protecting, preserving, moving, or reinterring human remains discovered in unmarked burial sites.

(b) The fund shall be comprised of any monies appropriated to the fund by the general assembly or received from any other source, private or public. Interest earned on the fund, and any balance remaining in the fund at the end of a fiscal year, shall be retained in the fund. This fund shall be maintained by the state treasurer, and shall be managed in accordance with 32 V.S.A. chapter 7, subchapter 5.

(c) The commissioner of economic, housing and community development may authorize disbursements from the fund for use in any municipality in which human remains are discovered in unmarked burial sites in accordance with a process approved by the commissioner. The commissioner may approve any process developed through consensus or agreement of the interested parties, including the municipality, a Native American group historically based in Vermont with a connection to the remains, owners of private property on which there are known or likely to be unmarked burial sites, and any other appropriate interested parties, provided the commissioner determines that the process is likely to be effective, and includes all the following:

(1) Methods for determining the presence of unmarked burial sites, including archaeological surveys and assessments and other nonintrusive techniques.

(2) Methods for handling development and excavation on property on which it is known that there is or is likely to be one or more unmarked burial sites.

(3) Options for owners of property on which human remains in unmarked burial sites are discovered or determined to be located.

(4) Procedures for protecting, preserving, or moving unmarked burial sites and human remains, subject, where applicable, to the permit requirement and penalties of this chapter.

(5) Procedures for resolving disputes.

(d) If unmarked burial sites and human remains are removed, consistent with the process set forth in this section and any permit required by this chapter, there shall be no criminal liability under 13 V.S.A. § 3761.

(e) The funds shall be used for the following purposes relating to unmarked burial sites:

(1) To monitor excavations.

(2) To protect, preserve, move, or reinter unmarked burial sites and human remains.

(3) To perform archaeological assessments and archaeological site or field investigations, including radar scanning and any other nonintrusive technology or technique designed to determine the presence of human remains.

(4) To provide mediation and other appropriate dispute resolution services.

(5) To acquire property or development rights, provided the commissioner of economic, housing and community development determines that disbursements for this purpose will not unduly burden the fund, and further provided the commissioner shall expend funds for this purpose only with the concurrence of the secretary of commerce and community development and after consultation with the legislative bodies of any affected municipality or municipalities.

(6) Any other appropriate purpose determined by the commissioner to be consistent with the purposes of this fund.

(f) When an unmarked burial site is first discovered, the discovery shall be reported immediately to a law enforcement agency. If, after completion of an investigation pursuant to section 5205 of this title, a law enforcement agency determines that the burial site does not constitute evidence of a crime, the law enforcement agency shall immediately notify the state archeologist who may authorize appropriate action regarding the unmarked burial site. (Added 2001, No. 149 (Adj. Sess.), § 57, eff. June 27, 2002; amended 2003, No. 63, § 36, eff. June 11, 2003; 2009, No. 135 (Adj. Sess.), § 10; 2009, No. 151 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. June 1, 2010.)