Bill Summary for H 988 (2019-2020)

Summary date: 

Apr 26 2019

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2019-2020 Session
House Bill 988 (Public) Filed Thursday, April 25, 2019
Intro. by Grange, R. Turner, Hardister, K. Hall.

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Bill summary

Part I.

Amends GS 20-24.1 (Revocation of driver's license for failure to appear or pay fine, penalty or costs for motor vehicle offenses) by adding to subdivision (a)(2) the requirement that before revoking a license upon failure to pay a fine, penalty, or court costs as ordered by the court, there must be a court finding at sentencing that the person is able to pay and the license should be suspended if the person fails to pay.  Modifies subsection (b) by removing costs from several subdivisions, and adding new subdivision (5) as one of several enumerated conditions, any one of which need to be met before a license may be restored; subdivision (5) adds that a license revoked for failure to pay a fine, penalty, or court costs under subdivision (a)(2) remains revoked until 12 months have passed since revocation.  Amends subsection (c) to exclude from the requirement of paying a restoration fee a person who is indigent.  Makes other minor, non-substantive changes, including making some language gender-neutral.  

Modifies GS 20-24.2 (Court to report failure to appear or pay fine, penalty, or costs) by making clarifying changes.

Effective December 1, 2019.

Part II.

Adds new Subpart D, Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act, in part 2 of Article 13 of GS Chapter 143B, providing as follows. Sets out the General Assembly's findings. Prohibits using the following types of restraints on a pregnant inmate upon notification or diagnosis of an inmate's pregnancy, for the duration of the pregnancy, and for 30 days following delivery: (1) leg restraints; (2) handcuffs or other wrist restraints, except to restrain the inmate's wrists in front of her; and (3) restraints connected to other inmates. Prohibits using restraints during labor or delivery. Includes an exception to these prohibitions for instances when a correctional facility employee has a reasonable belief that the inmate will harm herself, the fetus, or any other person, or poses a substantial flight risk. Prohibits conducting invasive body cavity searches of pregnant inmates unless the correctional facility employee has a reasonable belief that the inmate is concealing contraband. Requires the Department of Public Safety (DPS) to ensure that pregnant inmates are provided sufficient food and dietary supplements as ordered by a physician, a physician staff member, or a facility nutritionist. Prohibits placing a pregnant inmate, or any female inmate who has given birth within the previous 30 days, in restrictive housing unless a correctional facility employee has a reasonable belief that the inmate will harm herself, the fetus, or any other person, or pose a substantial flight risk. Prohibits assigning a pregnant inmate to any bed that is elevated more than 3 feet off of the floor. Requires the warden of the facility to compile a monthly summary of the written reports that are to be submitted when exceptions to the prohibitions above are made and to submit the summary to the Secretary of DPS.

Requires allowing the newborn to remain with the inmate for 72 hours following delivery unless doing so poses a health or safety risk to the newborn. Requires DPS to provide necessary nutritional and hygiene products to care for the newborn during the period of postpartum recovery; requires that such times be provided for free to indigent inmates. 

Requires DPS, to the greatest extent practicable, to place inmates who are parents of minor children within 250 miles of their permanent address of record. Requires adopting rules allowing visitation of inmates who are parents with low or minimum security classification by their children with the specified requirements, including eliminating restrictions on the number of children under age 18 who are allowed visitation privileges.

Requires limiting inspections by male correctional officers when a female inmate is in a state of undress. Requires specified reporting if a male correctional officer deems it appropriate to conduct an inspection or search while a female inmate is in a clear state of undress. 

Requires making sufficient menstrual products available; requires providing those items for free to indigent inmates.

Requires DPS to provide correctional facility employees and correctional officers who have contact with pregnant inmates with training related to the physical and mental health of pregnant inmates and fetuses, including the specified components. Also requires providing educational programming for pregnant inmates related to the specified topics. 

The above provisions are effective October 1, 2019.

Appropriates $3 million for 2019-20 from the General Fund to DPS, Division of Adult Correction, for implementing the statutory requirements above. Effective July 1, 2019.

Part III.

Requires the Secretary of Public Safety (Secretary) to place a prisoner in a facility as close as practicable to the prisoner's permanent residence, and to the extent practicable, in a facility within 125 driving miles of that residence, subject to seven specified factors, including bed availability, the prisoner's security designation, and other security concerns, and recommendations of the sentencing court. Requires the Secretary to, subject to those same seven factors and the prisoner's preference for staying or being transferred, to transfer prisoners to facilities closer to the primary residence even if the prisoner is already within 125 driving miles of the residence. Specifies that a designation of a place of imprisonment is not reviewable by any court. Effective October 1, 2019. 

Part IV.

Amends GS 153A-225 by adding the requirement that a local confinement facility transferring a prisoner to a State prison provide the receiving facility with the transferred prisoner's health information or medical records. Effective October 1, 2019.

Part V.

Requires the Secretary, in partnership with the Post-Release Supervision and Parole Commission, to do the following no later than one year from the date the act is enacted: (1) study the use of medical release for ill, disabled, and geriatric inmates over the previous five fiscal years, and extensions of the limits of confinement for permanently and totally disabled or terminally ill inmates over the previous five fiscal years and (2) report to the NCGA judiciary committees on seven specified topics related to inmate health, medical releases, extension of limits of confinement, and related recommendations and actions taken.

Part VI.

Appropriates $3.2 million for 2019-20 from the General Fund to the DPS, Division of Adult Correction, to provide inmates with access to telemedicine for mental health support during hours when no in-person specialist is available. Effective July 1, 2019. 

Part VII.

Appropriates $2.5 million for 2019-20 from the General Fund to the Administrative Office of the Courts to: (1) revise current citation and summons forms to include a notice on participation in court date notification systems, (2) improve existing court date notification systems, and (3) create court date reminder systems where they do not exist. Effective July 1, 2019.

Part VIII.

Appropriates $12 million from the General Fund to DPS, Division of Adult Correction, to hire staff to provide behavioral health and substance use treatment. Effective July 1, 2019. 

Part IX.

Appropriates $7.5 million from the General Fund to DPS, Division of Adult Correction, to establish a Day Treatment Program within the NC Correctional Institution for Women. Effective July 1, 2019. 

Part X.

Appropriates $2.8 million from the General Fund to DPS to fund Local Reentry Councils to fund housing support specialists and peer support counselors and to fund rental assistance programs and transportation assistance programs. Effective July 1, 2019. 

Part XI.

Effective when the act becomes law, unless otherwise indicated. 

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