Bill Summary for S 594 (2013-2014)

Summary date: 

Jun 26 2014

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2013-2014 Session
Senate Bill 594 (Public) Filed Tuesday, April 2, 2013
AN ACT TO REMOVE PROHIBITIONS ON CARRYING CONCEALED FIREARMS BY ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGES, NORTH CAROLINA APPELLATE JUSTICES AND JUDGES, AND CERTAIN DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY EMPLOYEES; TO INCREASE THE PENALTY FOR CARRYING A CONCEALED FIREARM; TO INCREASE THE PENALTY FOR GIVING OR SELLING A CELL PHONE TO AN INMATE AND TO MAKE POSSESSION OF A CELL PHONE BY AN INMATE UNLAWFUL; TO AMEND THE OFFENSE OF MAKING THREATS AGAINST OR ASSAULTING LEGISLATIVE, EXECUTIVE, OR COURT OFFICERS; TO CREATE AN OFFENSE WHEN AN INMATE SOLICITS ANOTHER TO COMMIT A CRIMINAL OFFENSE; TO INCREASE PENALTIES FOR CERTAIN VIOLATIONS OF THE AMUSEMENT DEVICE SAFETY ACT; TO PROPERLY IMPLEMENT CURRENT EXPUNCTION PROVISIONS; TO ADD QUALIFIED RETIRED CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS TO OFFICERS EXEMPT FROM CONCEALED CARRY COURSE; TO CONFORM STATE LAW WITH THE UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT DECISION IN HALL V. FLORIDA; TO ADD THE UNFAIR USE OF CRIMINAL RECORD INFORMATION TO THE CONSUMER PROTECTION LAWS; TO DIRECT MERGERS AT THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY; AND TO AUTHORIZE REMOTE VIDEO TESTIMONY BY FORENSIC AND CHEMICAL ANALYSTS, AS RECOMMENDED BY THE LEGISLATIVE RESEARCH COMMISSION'S COMMITTEE ON JUDICIAL EFFICIENCY AND EFFECTIVE ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE.
Intro. by J. Davis.

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Bill summary

The House committee substitute to the 5th edition makes the following changes.

Deletes Part I of the act, Increase Penalty for Possession of Firearm by Felon. 

Makes a clarifying change to GS 14-269(c).

Amends GS 14-415.27 to add administrative law judges who have a valid concealed handgun permit to those individuals who may carry a concealed handgun in specified areas but prohibits carrying a concealed weapon while consuming alcohol or unlawful controlled substances or while those substances remain in the person's body. 

Makes the amendments to GS 14-269(b)(7) and GS 14-415.27 effective when the act becomes law (was, effective July 1, 2014).

Deletes the changes to GS 14-16.6 which increased the punishment levels for assault on executive, legislative, or court officers. Amends GS 14-16.7 to delete the changes that increased the penalties for threats against executive, legislative, or court officers. Deletes the proposed changes to GS 14-2.6, which provided that the categories of punishment for any person who is committed or confined in a state penal institution or local confinement facility and solicits another person to commit a felony outside the facility is guilty of a felony one class lower than the felony the person solicited the person to commit, provided that a solicitation to commit a Class A or Class B1 felony is a Class B2 felony, a solicitation to commit a Class B2 felony is a Class C felony, and a solicitation to commit a Class I felony is a Class 1 misdemeanor. 

Adds a new Part, Department of Public Safety Mergers, which provides as follows.

Transfers the State Bureau of Investigation to the Department of Public Safety as a new section in the Law Enforcement Division. Makes conforming statutory changes, recodifications, and repeals. Enacts new GS 143B-926 requiring the Director of the State Bureau of Investigation to be appointed by the Governor for an eight-year term, subject to General Assembly confirmation. If the Governor fails to submit a name for confirmation by the stated deadline, the President Pro Tem. of the Senate and the Speaker of the House are to jointly submit a name to the General Assembly. Specifies the grounds under which the Director may be removed from office and sets out procedures in the case of a vacancy. Despite these requirements, requires the Governor to appoint an acting Director who will serve until a new Director is appointed, by June 1, 2015, for a term ending June 30, 2023. Sets out provisions concerning the transfer of positions and expenditure of funds before the transfer, effective when the act becomes law. Enacts new GS 143B-927 allowing the Director of the State Bureau of Investigation to appoint a sufficient number of assistants; makes the Director responsible for all hiring and personnel decisions.

Relocates the Alcohol Law Enforcement Section as a branch under the State Bureau of Investigation. Makes conforming statutory changes.

Requires the Department of Public Safety (DPS) to consolidate ALE and SBI regions and regional offices, with the regional offices operational by October 1, 2014. Specifies three reports that DPS must make on progress in implementing the transfer. 

Unless otherwise indicated, these transfer provisions are effective July 1, 2014.

Deletes Part VII, Increase Judge Retirement Age.

Deletes Part X, Certain Postconviction Proceedings/Provide Files Required to Resolve Issues.

Deletes Part XI, Venus Flytrap Larceny/Felony.

Amends GS 14-127.1 (graffiti vandalism) to add that graffiti vandalism also includes performing the prohibited acts on cemetery tombstones and monuments.

Adds a new Part, Remote Video Testimony by Forensic and Chemical Analysts, which provides as follows. 

Enacts new GS 15A-1225.3 in Article 73 of GS Chapter 15A. Defines the following terms as they apply to this section: (1) criminal proceeding – any trial or hearing in a prosecution of a person charged with violating a criminal law of North Carolina and any hearing or proceeding under Subchapter II of GS Chapter 7B involving a juvenile alleged to have committed an offense that would be a criminal offense if committed by an adult and (2) remote testimony – a method by which a forensic analyst testifies outside the physical presence of the party or parties and from a location other than the location where the hearing or trial is being conducted.

Subsection (b) of new GS 15A-1225.3 provides criteria that must be met in order for remote testimony to be permitted in any criminal proceeding regarding the results of forensic testing admissible under GS 8-58.20. Requires that all of the following occur in order for remote testimony to be permitted: (1) the State must provide a copy of the forensics testing report to the attorney of record, or to the defendant if there is no attorney of record, as required by GS 8-85.20(d); (2) the state must notify the attorney of record or the defendant if the person has no attorney, at least 15 business days before the proceeding at which the evidence is to be used, of its intent to introduce the forensic evidence using remote testimony; and (3) the defendant’s attorney of record, or the defendant if that person has no attorney, fails to file a written objection to the introduction of remote testimony with the court, with a copy to the state at least five business days before the proceeding at which the testimony is to be presented.   Requires that the method for the remote testimony authorized under this section allow all parties and the trier of fact to observe the demeanor of the analyst as the analyst testifies. Requires the court to ensure that the defendant’s attorney, or the defendant if that person has no attorney, has a full and fair opportunity to examine and cross-examine the analyst. Specifies that nothing in this section infringes on any party’s right to call any witness.

Adds new subsection (c5) to GS 20-139.1 to permit remote testimony, as defined and specified in new GS 15A-1225.3, in all administrative hearings and in any court, regarding the results of a chemical analysis of blood or urine admissible under subsection (c1) of this section. Applies the same criteria to the permissibility of remote testimony under GS 20-139.1(c5) as under new GS 15A-1225.3.

Effective December 1, 2014, and applies to testimony admitted on or after that date.

Makes conforming changes to the act's title. 

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