Bill Summary for H 560 (2021-2022)

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Summary date: 

Apr 14 2021

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2021
House Bill 560 (Public) Filed Wednesday, April 14, 2021
Intro. by Boles, A. Jones, Logan, McNeill.

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Bill summary

Section 1

Amends Section 36.15, SL 2013-360 to allow employees of a State agency or institution to perform work involving installation, construction, maintenance, or repair of buildings, wiring, piping, devices, appliances, or equipment located in or constituting improvements located on State-owned land without the requirement of licensure for contractors under GS Chapter 87 if the work is performed by an employee who is employed by the State agency or institution and either the work is valued at less than $100,000 or all work is performed as force-account work otherwise authorized by law up to the value authorized (previously, worded to require all three criteria to be met). 

Section 2

Amends GS 14-258.4 to sentence any prisoner who knowingly and willfully exposes genitalia to an employee while the employee is performing the employee's duties to a minimum term of six months and a maximum of 12 months in prison; maintains that the offense is punishable as a Class I felony. Clarifies that sentences imposed under the statute run consecutively to and commence at the expiration of any sentence being served for an offense by the person sentenced. Applies to offenses committed on or after December 1, 2021.

Section 3

Amends GS 14-258 to require that any prisoner possessing a letter, weapon, tool, good, article of clothing, device, or instrument to effect an escape or aid in an assault or insurrection must be sentenced to a minimum term of 12 months and a maximum of 24 months in prison. Provides for punishment as a Class H felon (technical change; the offense is currently a Class H felony). Makes organizational changes. 

Amends GS 15A-1368.1 by making conforming changes to specify that Article 84A (Post-Release Supervision) of GS Chapter 15A is applicable to felons sentenced to an active punishment under GS 14-258 (providing forbidden articles or tools for escape), and GS 14-258.4 (malicious conduct by prisoner). Makes organizational changes.

Applies to offenses committed on or after December 1, 2021.

Section 4

Enacts GS 143-18.2 to prohibit the personal property of an inmate in the custody of the Division of Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice (Division), Department of Public Safety (DPS) from exceeding a total value of $250. Requires DPS to reimburse an inmate for the value of an item or provide replacement for an item, when DPS’s Administrative Remedies Procedures results in such a recommendation, when the inmate’s personal property is lost, destroyed or damaged through the negligent maintenance of the correctional facility or the negligence of the correctional facility’s employees. Establishes this remedy as the sole remedy for inmate personal property loss, damage, or destruction. Limits reimbursement from exceeding $250 per incident. Prohibits reimbursement of an inmate for lost, damaged, or destroyed State-issued property. 

Enacts GS 143-295.2 to establish that an inmate has no recourse against the Division through Article 31, Tort Claims against State Departments and Agencies, for property lost, stolen, or otherwise damaged through the negligent handling of its correctional facility or staff members, but instead requires reimbursement or replacement of the item pursuant to new GS 148-18.2.

Enacts GS 143-291(e). Establishes that the Industrial Commission (Commission) has no jurisdiction over any claim brought by an inmate in the custody of the Division unless the inmate has exhausted DPS’s Administrative Remedy Procedure set out in GS 148-118.2. Makes conforming changes to GS 148-118.2. Eliminates the provision which allowed a court to waive the exhaustion requirement if it finds waiver to be in the interest of justice. 

Amends GS 143-291.2 to specify that the Commission can tax costs against the losing party in the same amount and manner as costs are taxed in the Superior Court Division of the General Court of Justice (previously, did not specify costs and manner of superior court). Adds an explicit prohibition against the Commission taxing the cost against the prevailing party. Additionally establishes a new disqualification for an inmate seeking indigent status. Prohibits granting indigent status to a currently incarcerated inmate who is the claimant under Article 31 if, while incarcerated or detained in any State facility, the inmate has on three or more prior occasions brought an action or appeal before the Commission that was dismissed on the grounds that it was either frivolous, malicious, not within the statute of limitations, exceeding the exclusive jurisdiction of the Commission, or failing to state a claim upon which relief can by granted. 

Amends GS 143-295 to authorize claims to be settled upon agreement between the various departments, institutions, and agencies of the State and the claimant without approval of the Commission for any amount not to exceed $25,000 (previously, this authority was limited to settlement between the claimant and the Attorney General). Makes conforming changes.

Amends GS 143-299.1A, regarding when the public duty doctrine can be used as an affirmative defense. Establishes that the provisions which specify when the doctrine cannot be used do not limit the application of the public duty doctrine in cases where the claimant is an inmate in the Division’s custody unless the injury arises from the gross negligence of DPS or its staff. 

Enacts GS 143-299.5 to establish limited liability for the Division for damages under Article 31 for acts or omissions of its employees tasked with the supervision, protection, control, confinement, or custody of the State’s inmate population. Excepts gross negligence from the immunity provided.

Applies to property held and actions or claims brought after October 1, 2021. 

Section 5

Amends the powers of a probation officer under GS 15-205 by giving probation officers the authority to serve any warrant or other process issuing from any of the State courts having criminal jurisdiction. Removes the same right to execute process as that given to sheriffs. Gives probation officers authority to assist law enforcement officers in making arrests and preventing escapes from custody when requested or when, in the judgment of the probation officer, such assistance may be necessary. Gives probation officers the authority of peace officers on prison property for the purpose of protecting life and property, for the purpose of transferring prisoners from place to place, and for apprehending, arresting, and returning to prison escaped prisoners. Gives probation officers the authority of peace officers when responding to active assailant incidents and civil disturbances or when assigned to perform additional duties during times of disasters. Effective October 1, 2021.

Section 6

Amends GS 143B-720 to give the Post-Release Supervision and Parole Commission authority to issue orders of temporary or conditional revocation of post-release supervision and parole subjecting supervisees and parolees to arrest by a law enforcement officer or a post-release supervision and parole officer. Requires such orders to be entered into CJLEADS. Effective October 1, 2021.

Section 7

Enacts GS 143B-603A, establishing the Continuously Operating Reference Station Fund (Fund) for the operation, maintenance, and expansion of the NC Continuously Operating Reference Station (CORS)/Real Time Network (RTN) by the NC Geodetic Survey. Provides for funds in the Fund, including legislative appropriations, donations and monies contributed by State and non-State entities. Restricts use of funds to costs associated with CORS/RTN operations, maintenance, and expansion. Effective July 1, 2021.

Section 8

Expands GS 166A-19.21 to require the Secretary of DPS to provide the Governor and the NCGA with a preliminary damage assessment as soon as available when a state of emergency is declared by a municipality or county under GS 166A-19.22 as well as when a state of emergency is declared by the Governor or NCGA under GS 166A-19.20.

Section 9

Amends GS 8-53.10 concerning peer support group counselors. Defines emergency personnel officer as firefighting, search and rescue, or emergency medical service personnel, or any employee of any duly accredited State or local government agency possessing authority to enforce the criminal laws of the State who is (1) actively serving in a position with assigned primary duties and responsibilities for prevention and detection of crime or the general enforcement of the criminal laws of the State and (2) possesses the power of arrest by virtue of an oath administered under the authority of the State. Adds emergency personnel officers to the definition of peer counselor under the statute, subject to the training and designation criteria specified therein. Expands peer counselor to include both active or retired law enforcement officers. Makes conforming changes to the definition of privileged communication

Section 10

Amends GS 86A-14 to exempt inmates under the jurisdiction of DPS from the licensing requirements for barbers under GS Chapter 86A.

Section 11

Amends GS 15B-2 by amending the definition of allowable expense under Article 1, GS Chapter 15B (Crime Victims Compensation Act) to include a total charge of up to $8,000 (was, $5,000) for expenses related to funeral, cremation, and burial, excluding flowers, gravestone, and other funeral service items. Applies to expenses incurred on or after July 1, 2021. 

Section 12

Revises the controlling conditions of post-release supervision which can result in revocation of post-release supervision under GS 15A-1368.4(e) to include warrantless searches by the post-release supervision officer of the supervisee's person and of the supervisee's vehicle and premises while the supervisee is present for purposes reasonably related to the post-release supervision, at reasonable times (previously, only provided for searches of the supervisee's person, and did not specify that the searches do not require a warrant). 

Section 13

Makes the act effective on the date the act becomes law unless otherwise provided.