Bill Summary for S 80 (2023-2024)

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Summary date: 

Feb 7 2023

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2023-2024 Session
Senate Bill 80 (Public) Filed Tuesday, February 7, 2023
Intro. by Britt, Craven, Perry.

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Bill summary

Amends GS 147-64.6 (governing the duties and responsibilities of the State Auditor), as follows. When the Auditor has reason to believe that information received or collected may be evidence of criminal misconduct, requires the Auditor to report the information to the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) and the DA for the county where the alleged misconduct occurred (currently the Auditor can report to either the SBI or the county DA). Bars the Auditor from making any extrajudicial statements that have a likelihood of prejudicing a criminal investigation, an adjudicatory proceeding during a pending criminal investigation, or subsequent prosecution.   

Requires the Auditor to provide the complete file and other pertinent work papers and all supportive material related to an audit or investigation to any representatives of State or federal government who request those records in connection with a matter before them, including a criminal investigation (currently, the Auditor has the option to provide such materials). Specifies that providing these materials is in order to avoid duplicating investigative effort in addition to audit effort. Permits the Auditor to seek a protective order regarding the use and disclosure of all or part of a record upon receiving such request by filing a civil action in superior court in the county where jurisdiction over a related potential criminal action exists.  Requires the Auditor to demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that the order is either necessary to protect the confidential or privileged nature of all or part of the record or is required by other State or federal law.  Requires the Auditor to provide the requesting party 10 days’ notice. Requires the court to hold a hearing if requested by either party.

Designates audit work papers as confidential except as otherwise provided in GS 147-64.6 or to comply with a court order. "Court order" replaces more specific language requiring an order from the Wake County Superior Court issued after a hearing finding that access is necessary to the administration of justice.