Bill Summary for S 303 (2023-2024)

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Summary date: 

Jun 5 2024

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2023-2024 Session
Senate Bill 303 (Public) Filed Monday, March 13, 2023
Intro. by Britt, Sanderson, McInnis.

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Bill summary

House committee substitute to the 4th edition makes the following changes.

Section 3

Increases the way a complex business case may be heard outside its county of origin under GS 1-81.2 to include on motion of a party or the judge and an order finding that the convenience of witnesses and the ends of justice would be promoted by the change.  Allows for pretrial proceedings to be conducted remotely or outside the county of origin. 

Section 13

Makes the following changes to new Article 5B, “Safe Babies Court,” in GS Chapter 7B. Amends the Article’s purpose so that it is now to establish the safe babies court to improve the long-term well-being of parents, children, and families involved in department of social services and the juvenile court (was, the child welfare court system) by providing them with trauma-informed support and services, and to achieve timely permanence, reduce generational trauma, and eliminate maltreatment. Specifies that new Article 5B does not confer a right or an expectation of a right of participation in safe babies court to a party involved in an abuse, neglect, or dependency proceeding (was, within the child welfare court system). Specifies that participation is voluntary. Removes court’s ability to terminate a party’s participation in safe babies court.  Removes provision specifying that new Article 5B does not limit the court's authority to conduct a review or permanency planning hearing pursuant to GS 7B-906.1, but still specifies that the Article does not alter any requirements or limit the court's authority to conduct hearings under Subchapter I (Abuse, Neglect, Dependency).

Amends the definitions of terms safe babies court (the innovative court program implementing a community engagement and systems change initiative focused on improving how the courts, department of social services [was, child welfare agencies], and related child-serving organizations work together to improve and expedite services for young families with at least one child who is no more than three years of age [was, foster children] in juvenile actions alleging abuse, neglect, or dependency) and record. Makes clarifying, conforming, technical, and organizational changes. Amends the safe baby coordinator testimonial privilege by designating those coordinators as not competent to testify in the juvenile proceeding. Includes GS 108A-102 (duty to report under the disabled adults act) and GS 110-105.4 (duty to report child maltreatment in child care facilities) as statutes whose reporting requirements are not abrogated by the coordinator privilege. 

Section 15

Removes provision in GS 122C-54(d) (pertaining to court files in an involuntary commitment proceeding) preventing counsel for the respondent from sharing the petition initiating a proceeding under GS Chapter 122, Article 5, without first obtaining a court order.  

Section 19

Makes clarifying and organizational changes to GS 7A-171.2(b) (pertaining to qualifications for nomination as a magistrate).

Section 28

Changes the sunset date of Section 1 of SL 2022-47, as amended (concerning mandatory AOC pause on expungements by operation of law) from July 1, 2024, to July 1, 2025.

Makes organizational changes.