Bill Summary for S 424 (2021-2022)

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Summary date: 

Mar 31 2021

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2021
Senate Bill 424 (Public) Filed Wednesday, March 31, 2021
Intro. by Daniel.

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Bill summary

Amends GS 74C-3 to include the following in the term private protective services profession. Now includes close personal protection, defined to mean individuals and other entities that for valuable consideration provide or offer security measures to ensure the safety of business executives, public officials, celebrities, or other individuals with elevated personal risk, and electronic countermeasures profession, now defined to mean individuals or other entities discovering, locating, or disengaging devices intended to block the transmission of electronic signals for valuable consideration. Provides that detection of deception examiner is limited to those persons who provide the service for a fee or other valuable consideration. Removes contracts for the protection of individuals from serious bodily harm or death from the definition of private detective or private investigator. Adds digital forensics examination and defines the term to mean any individual or entity which, for a fee or other valuable consideration, provides or offers to provide examination of digitally stored data to recover, image, analyze, or examine the data by using software to determine responsibility or reconstruct usage of the data for use in court proceedings. Removes persons engaged in computer or digital forensic services from those excluded from private protective services, and adds to the exclusion for persons engaged in network or system vulnerability testing to include routine service or repair. Excludes persons under contract or employed by an occupational licensing board or State agency licensing board while performing an investigation solely for that board from the definition of private protective services. Modifies the exception regarding attorneys engaged in the practice of law to refer to the attorney's "employee" rather than "agent."

Amends GS 74C-5 to further authorize the Private Protective Services Board (Board) to do three additional listed actions, including conducting investigations regarding unlicensed activity and issuing cease and desist letters with the concurrence of the Secretary of Public Safety; acquiring and dealing with real property subject to the approval of the Governor and Council of State and collateral restrictions; and adopting rules establishing standards for the use of any firearm or other weapon approved by the Board.

Amends GS 74C-7 to authorize the Secretary of Public Safety to investigate complaints, allegations, or suspicions of wrongdoing or violations of GS Chapter 74C involving unlicensed individuals, licensed individuals, or individuals to be licensed (currently, only individuals licensed and to be licensed). Authorizes the Secretary to enforce GS Chapter 74C and impose any authorized penalty against any individual or entity under investigation for and charged with a violation of the Chapter.

Amends GS 74C-8 to extend the time period which a business entity has to find a replacement qualifying agent from 30 to 90 days, and authorizes the Board to extend the 90-day period for an additional 30 days upon the filing of a petition by the business entity and a hearing by the Board. Authorizes the Board to require a late fee of $100 for missing the deadline. Requires filing of a certificate of liability insurance with the Board to issue a license. Requires applicants to pay the initial license fee and make the required contribution to the Fund within 90 days of the date the applicant receives notice of pending licensure approval unless the Board extends the period by an additional 30 days upon the filing of a petition by the applicant and a hearing by the Board. Also amends the criminal record check requirements and qualifications, adding that conviction of any crime involving the illegal use, carrying, or possession of a firearm or other deadly weapon, and the conviction of a crime involving assault (was felonious assault) or an act of violence, are prima facie evidence that the applicant does not have good moral character or temperate habits as required by the statute. No longer includes offenses involving moral turpitude from convictions identified as prima facie evidence that the applicant does not have good moral character; makes conforming changes to licensee reporting requirements under GS 74C-12. 

Amends GS 74C-9 to cross-reference GS 74C-13 (concerning firearm registration permits for licensees) and to make conforming changes. Caps the late fee for entities or applicants subject to background check requirements at $100.

Amends GS 74C-10 to further require trainees supervised by licensees, carrying a firearm while engaged in private protective services activities, to obtain a liability insurance policy as specified. Authorizes a licensee to provide coverage for a trainee under the licensee's supervision, but failure to do so does not exempt the trainee from this statute. Makes technical and conforming changes. 

Amends GS 74C-11 to authorize the deployment of a properly registered or licensed armed security guard from another state by a licensee during a State of Disaster or a State of Emergency declared by the Governor upon satisfaction of specified requirements, including completion of the four-hour training course mandated by specified law and rule, qualification by the Board-certified firearms instructor based on the firearms the armed security guard intends to use, and approval of the employment by the Director of the Board. Deems such qualification valid for a period of 12 months. Prohibits the duration of deployment from exceeding the declared State of Emergency or Disaster.

Amends GS 74C-12 to apply that statute to trainees, and to further authorize the Board to deny, suspend, or revoke a certification under that statute. Revises and adds to the grounds for disciplinary action to include knowingly permitting any employee to engage in a private protective services profession when not properly licensed or registered, and violation of any State or federal firearms laws. Authorizes the Board to also take the disciplinary actions for fraudulently holding oneself out as employed or licensed by the Department of Public Safety (was, State Bureau of Investigation).

Amends GS 74C-13 to require proprietary employers to register individuals carrying a firearm within 30 days of employment. Defines armed armored car guard. Directs a proprietary security organization employing an armed security guard to submit to the Board an application for license, and to renew its license every two years. Authorizes the Director of the Board to summarily suspend a firearm registration permit pending resolution of charges for any offenses set out in GS 74C-12, or any crime set forth in GS 74C-8(d), as amended (previously, only for charges involving the illegal use, carrying, or possession of a firearm). Authorizes the Board to suspend, revoke, or deny a firearm registration permit if the holder has been convicted of any crime set forth in GS 74C-8(d), as amended (previously limited to crimes involving moral turpitude and crimes involving deadly weapons). Requires the firearms training program under subsection (h) to cover legal limitations on the use of, and range firing and safety procedures for, firearms (was, hand guns). Makes conforming changes.

Enacts new GS 74C-13.1. Exempts four listed classes of persons from the firearms training requirements of GS 74C-13, including persons who have successfully completed the North Carolina Basic Law Enforcement Training and completed the first year of probationary employment. Requires specified documentation from applicants claiming one of the exceptions. Directs the Board to deny exemptions if the applicant fails to provide documentation. Requires exempted applicants to qualify within the first three attempts on the required firearm qualification course. Failure to qualify on both courses requires the applicant to undergo the entire 20-hour course of instruction. Applicants claiming an exemption must still complete the legal instruction required in GS 74C-13(h)(1).

Amends GS 74C-17 to apply the civil penalty limit of $2,000 as a limit on each individual violation, instead of as a general limit. 

Amends GS 74C-23 to require companies, firms, or corporations licensed under this Chapter to provide the Director with notice of change of ownership within 10 days (was, 60 days) prior to the effective date of the transaction a list of all registrants and licensees affected by the transaction. Requires notice to the Director within 60 days from the effective date of the transaction, written confirmation of the completion of any necessary changes for the acquiring party to comply with this Chapter and applicable Board rules.

Makes language gender neutral throughout the GS Chapter.

Makes the above changes effective October 1, 2021.

Enacts subsection (c) to GS 74C-3, as amended, effective January 1, 2022, permitting a licensed private investigator or permitted trainee to continue to provide services for the protection of individuals from serious bodily harm and exempt from the close personal protection provisions if licensed or permitted on or before December 31, 2021. Requires the exception to be indicated by an endorsement on the existing license or permit. Applies to licensed and permits granted on or after January 1, 2022.

Amends GS 14-269.3, regarding carrying weapons into assemblies and establishments serving alcoholic beverages, to provide that the statute does not apply to persons registered as a security guard, or hired by the owner, lessee, or person or organization sponsoring the event or a person employed by an entity licensed under GS 74C-2 who is hired by the owner, lessee, or person or organization sponsoring the event. Applies to offenses committed on or after December 1, 2021.