Bill Summary for H 226 (2019-2020)

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Summary date: 

Jun 26 2019

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2019-2020 Session
House Bill 226 (Public) Filed Wednesday, February 27, 2019
Intro. by R. Turner.

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Bill summary

Senate committee substitute makes the following changes to the 3rd edition.

Makes organizational changes throughout.

Part I

Modifies the proposed changes to GS 7A-52 to maintain that an emergency judge can be assigned in the event of a disability of a sitting judge. Adds to the permitted instances in which an emergency judge can be assigned: (1) assignment by the Chief Justice of a Rule 2.1 exceptional case to an emergency judge and (2) court coverage needed by holdover sessions, administrative responsibilities of the chief district court judge, or cases in which a judge has a conflict or judicial educational responsibilities (was, general conflict of a sitting judge). Makes organizational changes to the proposed disaster declaration circumstance, no longer specifically requiring the declaration to be made within a judicial district. 

Enacts GS 7A-98 to provide for unsworn written declarations under penalty of perjury to have the same force and effect as sworn declarations in all court proceedings or pursuant to any rule, regulation, order, or requirement requiring or permitting matters to be supported or proved in writing by oath or affirmation. Excludes oral testimony; oaths of office; and any statement under oath or affirmation required to be taken before a specified official other than a notary public. Sets forth the form for sufficient declarations under the statute. Provides for electronic declaration if the Supreme Court promulgates rules authorizing filing and electronic signatures in any court proceeding. Amends GS 14-209, which sets forth the offense of perjury as a Class F felony, to include the willful and corrupt commission of perjury in any unsworn declaration in the form prescribed by new GS 7A-98. Enacts GS 1-148.1 and GS 15A-101.2 to provide for unsworn declarations in civil pleadings and criminal actions. Effective 30 days after the Director of the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) certifies to the NC Supreme Court that the AOC is ready to begin implementation of an integrated case management system adopted pursuant to the e-Courts initiative. 

Amends GS 7A-308 to exempt attorneys filing secured leave documents pursuant to Supreme Court rules from specified clerk fees. 

No longer deletes the language in GS 7A-346.2(c) that required the Administrative Office of the Courts to report to the specified NCGA entities on remanded cases in which the defendant withdraws an appeal for trial de novo in superior court and the superior court judge has signed an order remanding the case to the district court. 

No longer deletes the language in GS 7A-350 that required the Administrative Office of the Courts to report to specified NCGA entities on judicially granted waivers of criminal court costs. 

Eliminates the proposed changes to GS 105A-8 in Part III of the act, which required a request for a hearing on a contested claim of the Judicial Department to be filed within 60 days of the Department mailing the debtor notice of the proposed setoff and deemed a judicial official's order prima facie evidence that an issue has been litigated. Instead, amends GS 105A-8 to require contested claim hearings for any unit of the Judicial Branch to be conducted in accordance with the administrative procedures approved by the AOC Director and the Director of Indigent Defense Services. Establishes original jurisdiction for clerks of superior court where a judgement has been docketed to hear a contested claim and not transfer the matter to district or superior court. Establishes original jurisdiction for the AOC Director to hear contested claims of the Judicial Branch not arising out of a docketed judgement. Amends GS 105A-9 to entitle a party to appeal to superior court for a hearing de novo within 10 days of an order of the clerk of superior court, the AOC Director, or a designee. Provides for filing of the appeal. Makes conforming changes to GS 7A-498.6 to require the Director of Indigent Defense Services to collaborate with the AOC Director in developing administrative procedures regarding Judicial Branch contested claim hearings. Applies to notices issued on or after January 1, 2020.

Part II

Amends GS 44A-4, which allows a lienor to institute a special proceeding to sell a vehicle which has a fair market value of less than $800 in cases in which the certified mail notice is returned undeliverable or if the legal title holder cannot be reasonably ascertained. Limits the special proceeding to one vehicle (previously, allowed for the special proceeding to include more than one vehicle so long as the proceeds of each sale were only subject to valid claims). Applies to applications filed on or after December 1, 2019.

Part III

Further amends GS 7A-20 to make the language gender-neutral.

Clarifies that the proposed changes to Section 8.2 of SL 2018-40, effective January 1, 2019, are effective retroactively. 

Eliminates the provisions regarding the legislative intent of the act's headings.