AN ACT TO ALLOW THE DEPARTMENT OF CULTURAL RESOURCES, OFFICE OF ARCHIVES AND HISTORY, TO USE THE NET PROCEEDS OF THE SALE OF ARTIFACTS FOR MAINTENANCE OR CONSERVATION OF OTHER ARTIFACTS; TO CLARIFY THE PROCESS FOR TRANSFERRING TITLE OF UNCLAIMED OR UNDOCUMENTED PROPERTY LOANED TO MUSEUMS AND HISTORICAL REPOSITORIES TO THOSE MUSEUMS AND HISTORICAL REPOSITORIES; TO SET A TIME LIMITATION ON CONFIDENTIALITY OF RECORDS; TO CLARIFY THAT PHOTOGRAPHS AND VIDEO RECORDINGS OF DERELICT VESSELS OR SHIPWRECKS ARE PUBLIC RECORDS WHEN IN THE CUSTODY OF NORTH CAROLINA AGENCIES; AND TO PROVIDE THAT CERTAIN MERCHANDISE CREDITS ARE NOT DEEMED ABANDONED PROPERTY.
Amends GS 121-7 (Historical museums) to allow the proceeds of an artifact sale to also be used for the maintenance or conservation of other artifacts in addition to the purchase of artifacts. Requires Department of Cultural Resources (DCR) to maintain and administer historic sites and museums (was, attractions). Allows DCR to place artifacts on loan (was, permanent loan) with approval of the North Carolina Historical Commission.
Deletes GS 121-7(c) and (d), concerning title of an artifact whose owner is unknown or cannot be found and filing a claim of title.
Creates new Article 5 (Museum and Archives Repository Property) in GS Chapter 121. Enacts new GS 121-50 (Legislative findings and declaration), declaring that the constant management of loaned and titled property is a hindrance to the operation of museums and archives. States that the purpose of new Article 5 is to terminate stale claims and fairly and reasonably allocate the determination of title and financial responsibility.
Creates new GS 121-51 (Definitions), providing the terms and definitionsto beused in this article, including address, archives repository,loan,museum,property, andvalid claim.
Creates new GS 121-52 (Acquisition of title to loaned property), providing that loaned property where the term has expired and at least seven years have passed without written or other contact or the term of the loan did not have an expiration date but at least seven years have passed without contact, the museum or archive may acquire title.
Provides the notice requirements and the process by which the museum or archive may acquire title under this sectionafter seven years of no contact between the lender and the museum or archives repository since the loan was made.
Creates new GS 121-53 (Disputed ownership), which provides that in cases where disputed ownership of loaned property arises, a museum or archive may retain possession of the loaned property and not be held liablefor refusing to surrender the loaned property except in reliance on a court order or judgment to release the property. Provides for appeals by a claimant. Prohibits construing that the provisions in this Article convert a loan into a bailment. Provides that all equitable and legal defenses are available to museums and archives repositories in the event of a dispute over ownership.
Enacts new GS 121-54 (Responsibilities of owners of loaned property; representation of ownership) providing that it is the responsibility of the owner of loaned property to notify, in writing, the museum or archives of the owner's identity and current address. Also requires all claimed owners to present evidence of ownership to the museum or archives after all changes in ownership, whether by sale, gift, devise, operation of law, or any other means. Provides additional requirements regarding the responsibilities of owners to provide notice of name and address to a museum or archive repository holding loaned property. Declares that a museum or archives repository is not liable for actions taken in reasonable reliance on the representation of the person who first transfers an item to the museum or archives that he or she is the true owner.
Creates new GS 121-55(Museum or archives repository's lien for expenses), providing that when the lender of loaned property is known, a museum or archive may charge expenses relating to the reasonable care of the loaned property. If the lender of loaned property is not known, a lien against the value of the property can be placed for reasonable expenses to protect the property.
Creates new GS 121-56 (Acquisition of undocumented property), providing that when a museum or archive is in possession of property and it does not know who the owner is and no one has claimed it within seven years, after the museum or archive follows the notification policy in GS 121-52, it is free and clear from all claims. However, if a museum or archive wishes to do this they still must provide public notice in the manner described in GS 121-52. Provides that the requirements of GS 121-52 and GS 121-53 apply to valid and disputed claims of ownership to undocumented property.
Enacts new GS 121-57 to provide that the provisions of this Article exclusively control the procedure and disposition of any property to which they apply.
Enacts new GS 132-11 to set a time limitation on the confidentiality of records. Provides that regardless of any other provision of law, all restrictions on access to public records expire 100 years after the creation of the record. However, also directs that nothing in this section is to be construed to authorize or require the opening of any record (1) ordered sealed by a state or federal court, except as provided by that court; (2) prohibited from being disclosed under deferral law; or (3) containing detailed plans and drawings of public buildings and infrastructure facilities.
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