Nitka’s notes from the State House

Sen. Alice Nitka

This session there were two Uniform Act bills that wound up in the Senate Judiciary Committee and were presented on the floor this week.

House bill H.152, the Vermont Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (sounds like instant sleep for those having to listen to the presentation), turned out to be a little more interesting in that it deals with the content of electronic communications. This includes e-mail, the cloud, on line banking, bitcoin and other technologies for electronic storage and not readily accessible to the public.

This law can apply when someone dies, has dementia or has a guardian appointed and their executor, administrator, personal representative or agent needs to deal

with their assets or liabilities.  This law outlines how all of this will work and has been passed by 22 states and is pending before 16 legislatures this year.

This law came before the National Uniform Commission in 2014 but was objected to by Google. There are a lot of privacy issues here. Since then the kinks have been worked out and it is supported by Google, Facebook, AARP, the American Bar Association, the National Elder Law Association and others. The Vermont House and Senate have both passed this bill and it will next go the governor.

House bill H.35, relating to adopting the Uniform Voidable Transactions  Act, was a bill I presented on the floor and another potential sleep-inducer. It also passed, without a single question, and addresses the issue of a person transferring assets to a relative or third party by a debtor to avoid having a creditor gain access to what is owed to them.

This updates and clarifies the 1984 law. It was originally instituted in Vermont in 1918 but had its roots in England in 1575. Clearly this has been a problem through the ages. Forty five states have adopted the revised law, while a few are still operating on the 1918 law.  Clarification was one of the goals of the bills and it also dealt with “Series Organizations” of limited liability corporations, something I had never heard of before and not something Vermont has. However, other states have them and they operate here, so needed addressing. I don¹t think anyone cared what I was talking about  when I got to this part.

House bill H.290, relating to clarifying ambiguities regarding real estate titles and conveyances, also made it through the Senate. This takes care of title issues concerning older condominiums that don’t have floor plans recorded in the land records, when servicers and banks fail to sign off on mortgages that are paid and some other pet peeves of persons who have to deal with these issues. Clear titles are the goal.

Speaking of titles, the   Vince Lombardi Trophy that the New England Patriots won

will be on display at the State House for a few hours on April 7th. Some days here are more interesting than others!

Visit the State House, have lunch in the cafeteria and listen to testimony in the committees on many of the bills.  Contact me at home at 802-228-8432 or I am able to read all of your e-mails and appreciate you sending them; however the volume received makes it impossible to respond to all of them.

Senator Alice Nitka

Montpelier, Vt.


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