AN ACT TO REQUIRE A CANDIDATE OR APPOINTEE FOR THE OFFICE OF SHERIFF TO DISCLOSE ALL FELONY CONVICTIONS, INCLUDING ANY EXPUNGED CONVICTIONS.
Amends GS 162-2 to add to the disqualifications from holding the office of sheriff conviction of any felony or not being a qualified voter of the county in which the candidate is chosen, in addition to the existing age restriction (previously disqualified if not a resident in the county in which chosen for one year immediately preceding election to office). Establishes a new requirement for any candidate or selected appointee to provide a statement of disclosure pursuant to Article 3, as enacted, GS Chapter 17E.
Amends GS 163A-972 to require any candidate for sheriff to file a valid disclosure statement at the time of filing a notice of candidacy in accordance with new GS 17E-20 verifying that the individual has no prior felony convictions or expungements of felony convictions (under Section 2 of Article VII of the Constitution, any felony conviction makes the individual ineligible to hold the office of sheriff, regardless of whether rights have been restored or the conviction has been expunged). Failure to file the disclosure statement renders candidacy filing incomplete.
Makes organizational changes to GS Chapter 17E to separate the existing statutes into Articles. Authorizes the Revisor of Statutes to make necessary changes.
Amends GS 17E-4 to add to the duties of the North Carolina Sheriffs' Education and Training Standards Commission (Commission) the duty to prepare disclosure statements for candidates and potential appointees for the office of sheriff with respect to felony convictions and expunctions. Allows the Commission to charge a fee to cover the cost of any criminal history check. Amends GS 17E-11 to limit the scope of its provisions, which provide guidance for application and construction, to apply to Article 2 (as enacted, holding existing GS 17E-7 through 17E-19, except for GS 17E-10) rather than the entire Chapter.
Enacts Article 3 to provide for the process for an individual intending to file a notice of candidacy for election or an individual prior to appointment to the office of sheriff to request the Commission to prepare a disclosure statement verifying that the individual has no prior felony convictions or expungements of felony convictions. Requires the individual to provide necessary information for completion, including any evidence that the individual has been granted an unconditional pardon of innocence for a felony and any fee to cover the cost of the background check. Details requirements of the statement. Requires that the Commission conduct a criminal history check in the state and national databases, contact the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) and request confirmation of whether the individual has received an expunction for a felony record, and determine if the individual has ever been convicted of a felony in violation of the Constitution. Deems any request for a disclosure statement, any supporting documentation used in preparation of a disclosure statement, and any disclosure statement prepared by the Commission confidential and not public record. Authorizes the Commission to access an individual's felony conviction records, including the confidential files for expunctions held by the AOC. Deems valid any disclosure statement prepared by the Commission for purposes of filing in accordance with specified election laws for 90 days after issuance.
Makes conforming changes to GS 15A-151, GS 15A-153, GS 15A-145.4, GS 15A-145.5, and GS 15A-145.6, regarding disclosure of felony expunctions.
Amends GS 162-5 and GS 162-5.1 to prohibit a county board of commissioners, subject to the respective statute, from making an appointment to fill a vacancy in the office of sheriff without first being presented with a valid disclosure statement prepared by the Commission and issued within 90 days prior to the appointment in accordance with new Article 3, GS Chapter 17E. Makes clarifying changes to the statute.
Enacts GS 143B-972 to authorize the Department of Public Safety (DPS) to provide a criminal history check from state and national databases to the Commission for any person filing a notice of candidacy or any potential appointee to to the office of sheriff. Requires the Commission to provide the individual's fingerprints and consent with its request. Requires the criminal history report to be kept confidential and deems the report not public record.
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