Bill Summary for H 116 (2023-2024)

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Summary date: 

Mar 1 2023

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2023-2024 Session
House Bill 116 (Public) Filed Tuesday, February 14, 2023
Intro. by Stevens.

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Bill summary

House committee substitute to the 1st edition makes the following changes. Amends GS 7A-413 (pertaining to the powers of the Conference of District Attorneys’ [Conference]) as follows. Authorize the Conference to provide legal counsel and advice to the district attorneys and their staff related to the performance of their duties through attorneys employed by the  Conference. Specifies that advice or counsel provided by the Conference is confidential and privileged, including any documents or communications made or used in connection with that legal counsel or advice. Specifies that those communications or documents are not public records under State law (GS 132-1) and are not available for inspection or copying except as provided for by GS 132-1.4(g) (pertaining to exemption and disclosures of criminal investigation records).

Amends GS 74-414 (pertaining to executive director of the Conference) as follows. Requires the conference to employ an Executive Director, who must be an attorney licensed and eligible to practice law in North Carolina at the time of appointment and while serving as Executive Director. (Currently, just authorized to employ an executive secretary, who does not have to be a North Carolina licensed attorney.) Makes conforming changes to the section’s title. Provides for longevity pay to Executive Director instead of merit and other increment raises starting after five years of service as Executive Director, including any service as a public defender, appellate defender, assistant public or appellate defender, district attorney, assistant  district attorney, resource prosecutor, justice or judge of the General Court of Justice, or clerk of superior court. Sets forth formula to establish rates of longevity pay which increases every five years.

Amends GS 7A-314 (pertaining to uniform fees for witnesses and experts) as follows. Allows witnesses who are entitled to a fee under State law and law enforcement officers who qualify as a witness to be paid either an allowance or reimbursement for meals and lodging, and travel expenses. (Currently, just reimbursement.) Specifies that those individuals who are required to appear for more than one day are entitled to an allowance or reimbursement for expenses. (Currently, just reimbursement for actual expenses.) Makes conforming changes to indicate option for allowances in addition to reimbursement. 

Amends GS 7A-38.7 (pertaining to dispute resolution fees for cases referred to mediation) to allow for the court, upon a motion by the district attorney, to waive or reduce a dispute resolution fee for criminal cases referred to the community mediation center, as applied to an entire class of criminal cases by administrative order or otherwise, when the court finds that a mediation program exists in the judicial district that operates in compliance with state law and such fee prevents access  to a community mediation center. Deletes requirement that requires the court to set forth findings of fact and conclusions of law when issuing any other order waiving or reducing community mediation fees. Amends GS 7A-38.3D(m) (pertaining to mediation as part of a criminal case) to allow for dispute resolution fees for mediation to be waived in part or in its entirety pursuant to the court orders issued under GS 7A-38.7, discussed above. Effective October 1, 2023 and applies to proceedings on or after that date.

Makes conforming changes to the effective dates. 

Deletes proposed amendments to GS 132-1.1(a).  Makes organizational changes.