Bill Summary for H 971 (2023-2024)

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Summary date: 

May 22 2024

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2023-2024 Session
House Bill 971 (Public) Filed Wednesday, May 1, 2024
AN ACT DIRECTING THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES TO DEVELOP HUMAN TRAFFICKING AWARENESS TRAINING, REQUIRING LODGING ESTABLISHMENTS, ACCOMMODATION FACILITATORS, AND LANDLORDS OR REAL ESTATE BROKERS FOR VACATION RENTALS TO IMPLEMENT HUMAN TRAFFICKING AWARENESS TRAINING, AND INCREASING THE PUNISHMENT FOR A FIRST OFFENSE OF SOLICITING A PROSTITUTE.
Intro. by Crutchfield, Reeder, Arp, Sasser.

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Bill summary

House committee substitute to the 1st edition makes the following changes.

Amends proposed GS 130A-511, concerning the required human trafficking awareness training, as follows. Requires that the training be available electronically for free to those individuals who are required to complete the training, but that it not be readily accessible to the public (was, must be accessible on the Department of Health and Human Services’ (DHHS) website to individuals with login credentials). Expands upon those who the lodging establishment must ensure receive the training, to include employees who provide food or beverage services. Adds the requirement that a third-party contractor, as defined, ensure that their employees who perform housekeeping services at the lodging establishment, provide food or beverage services on site at the lodging establishment, or provide check-in and check-out services at the lodging establishment receive human trafficking awareness training. Requires that employees beginning employment on or after January 1, 2025, complete the training before performing any of their duties, and every two years thereafter; those employed before that date must complete the training by December 31, 2026, and every two years thereafter.

Amends proposed GS 42A-39, concerning human trafficking awareness reporting and training requirements for accommodation facilitators, by expanding upon those who fall under the statute to also include landlords, real estate brokers, and third-party contractors, and amend the statute to now provide as follows. Adds definitions for vacation rental, employee, landlord, real estate broker, and third-party contractor. Requires a landlord, before initially listing a vacation rental, either directly by the landlord, through a real estate broker, or through an accommodation facilitation, to implement a procedure for reporting suspected human trafficking occurring at vacation rentals to the specified hotline or to a local law enforcement agency. Requires the following to complete human trafficking awareness training, for any vacation rental offered for lease: (1) the landlord, or if the landlord is a partnership, corporation, sole proprietorship, or limited liability company, the employee or third-party contractor who oversees the supervision or maintenance of the vacation rental on the landlord’s behalf; (2) the landlord's employees who perform housekeeping services at the vacation rental or provide check-in and check-out services for the vacation rental; (3) any third-party contractor or employee of a third-party contractor who performs housekeeping services at the vacation rental or provides check-in and check-out services for the vacation rental; and (4) any real estate broker and any employee of the real estate broker that performs housekeeping services at the vacation rental or provides check-in and check-out services for the vacation rental. Requires training to be completed every two years and sets out deadlines for initial completion depending on the date the vacation rental is offered for lease. Requires an accommodation facilitator to do the following, if the vacation rental is listed through an accommodation facilitator: (1) notify the landlord or any real estate broker providing the listing of the training requirements; (2) certify that training has been completed by the specified dates, depending on when the vacation rental was initially listed with the accommodation facilitator; and (3) report annually to the Department of Health and Human Services starting January 1, 2026, on the methods used to notify landlords and real estate brokers of the requirements of this statute, and to verify compliance with those requirements by landlords and real estate brokers using their services. Allows penalties for violations of this statute in the amount of $500 for the first violation, $1,000 for a second violation, and $2,000 for the third and subsequent violations; penalty proceeds are to be remitted to the Civil Penalty and Forfeiture Fund. Makes it an unfair trade practice for a vacation rental provider to intentionally make a material misstatement in an acknowledgement of human trafficking awareness training completion. Specifies that this statute does not: (1) create a private cause of action against an accommodation facilitator, or its employees, for any act or omission arising out of the requirements of this section or (2) limit or impair the rights or remedies otherwise available to a victim of human trafficking under any other law.

Requires DHHS to develop or identify a human trafficking awareness training program that complies with this act and make the training available electronically by January 1, 2025.

Further amends GS 14-205.41 to specify that the penalties for soliciting another person for the purpose of prostitution does not apply to the person engaging in prostitution.

Amends the allowable uses of the $500,000 appropriated to the Administrative Office of the Courts to also include an awareness campaign and other efforts to raise awareness on this act’s provisions.

Pushes back the effective date of new GS 130A-511 and GS 42A-39 from October 1, 2024, to January 1, 2025.

Amends the act's long title.