Bill Summary for S 678 (2021-2022)

Summary date: 

Apr 8 2021

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2021
Senate Bill 678 (Public) Filed Wednesday, April 7, 2021
AN ACT TO CLARIFY LEGISLATORS' AND LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEES' ACCESS TO CERTAIN CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION.
Intro. by Edwards.

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Bill summary

Expands GS 120-19 to include political subdivisions of the State within the State officers and entities that are required to give all information and all data within their possession or ascertainable from their records to any committee of either NCGA house, or any committee or commission whose funds are appropriated or transferred to the NCGA or to the Legislative Services Commission. Makes the statute's requirement applicable to all information or data regardless of whether the information or data is public record or confidential, except as provided in GS 105-259 (regarding prohibited disclosure of tax information by State officers and employees). Makes clarifying changes.

Amends GS 120-19.1 to authorize legislative committees to issue subpoenas for testimony or documents. Bars a witness from refusing to testify, produce a document, or both, based on the claim that the information, document, or both, is confidential. Allows for legislative committees to meet in closed session to receive testimony or review documents containing confidential information at the chair's discretion. Requires committee members to attend closed session, and allows legislative employees to attend at the discretion of the chair. Directs the Legislative Services Officer to provide a method by which documents and testimony received by a committee containing confidential information is kept confidential and accessible only upon request by committee members. Allows legislative employee access at the chair's discretion. Requires maintaining confidentiality and bars disclosure of confidential information and documents obtained by committee members and legislative employees.

Amends GS 120-19.2 to authorize legislative committees to require the production of documents by subpoena duces tecum through the chairman of the committee, subject to authorization of the Speaker of the House or Speaker Pro Tempore, or the President of the Senate or President Pro Tempore, as appropriate per committee, and majority vote of the committee. Provides the same authority for joint committee by joint action of the co-chairs, upon authorization from either the Speaker, Speaker Pro Tempore, the President, or the President Pro Tempore, and majority vote of the committee. Requires the subpoena duces tecum to be signed by the committee chairman and the authorizing house leader. Makes some language gender neutral. 

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