Bill Summary for H 698 (2013-2014)

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Summary date: 

Jun 10 2014

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2013-2014 Session
House Bill 698 (Public) Filed Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Intro. by Saine, Ramsey, Boles.

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Bill summary

Senate committee substitute makes the following changes to the the 1st edition:

Changes the long title.

Amends GS 114-19.12 concerning criminal history checks of applicants and current members of fire departments to provide that a local fire chief of a rated fire department can request criminal history checks of fire department applicants or current members (previously, allowed local fire chiefs, even if not of a rated fire department, to order criminal history).

Amends GS 114-19.12(g) to provide that a local fire chief is defined as a fire chief of any bona fide fire department certified to the Commissioner of Insurance with at least a Class 9S rating for insurance grading purposes.

Provides that Section 1 of the act, pertaining to criminal record checks, will become effective October 1, 2014 (was, October 1, 2013).

Directs the Joint Oversight Committee on Justice and Public Safety to study the feasibilty of having the Department of Insurance providing the request for the criminal checks and any required identifying information to the Department of Justice.  Findings of the study are to be submitted to the 2015 General Assembly when it convenes. Effective when the act becomes law.

Amends GS 166A-19.12 to expand the powers of the Division of Emergency Management as delegated by the Governor and the Secretary of Public Safety to include the maintenance of an effective statewide urban search and rescue program. Effective when the act becomes law.

Enacts a new Article 6, Urban Search and Rescue, to GS Chapter 166A, effective July 1, 2014. Defines the following terms as they apply in this Article: (1) urban search and rescue team, (2) specialty rescue team, (3) incident support team, and (4) contract response team. Identifies "Secretary" as referring to the Secretary of the Department of Public Safety.

Directs the Secretary to adopt rules establishing a program for urban search and rescue that relies on contracts with contract response teams and directs the Division of Emergency Management (DEM) to administer this program. Requires to the extent possible that the program be coordinated with other emergency planning activities of the state. Requires the program to include contract response teams that are available to provide 24-hour dispatch from the Division of Emergency Management Operations Center. Lists rules that the program must include. Directs that the DEM spend the necessary funds for training, equipment, and other necessary items within available appropriations to support the operations of contract response teams. Additionally provides that the DEM may administer any grants of other funds made available for contract response teams, under rules and regulations approved by the Director of the State Budget.

Directs the Secretary to consult with the Urban Search and Rescue Team Advisory Committee established under new GS 166A-69 in developing the Urban Search and Rescue Program and adopting the rules required by this section.

Provides that the Secretary may contract with any unit or units of local government for the provision of a contract response team to implement the Urban Search and Rescue Program. Requires that contracts are to be let consistent with bidding and contract standards and procedures adopted under GS 166A-66(a)(7) and GS 166A-66(a)(8). Provides additional specifics to which the Secretary may agree upon entering into contracts with units of local government. Prohibits the Secretary from agreeing to provide reimbursement for standby time. Requires that any contract entered into between the Secretary and a unit of local government to provide a contract response team must specify that the members of the contract response team, when performing under the contract, are not employees of the state and are not entitled to benefits under the Teachers' and State Employees' Retirement System or for the payment by the state of federal Social Security, employment insurance, or workers' compensation. Additionally provides criteria as to when it's permissible for a contract response team to use a state vehicle for local purposes.

Enacts new GS 166A-68 regarding the immunity of contract response personnel under GS 166A-19.60(a).

Enacts new GS 166A-69 to create the Urban Search and Rescue Team Advisory Committee (Committee). Directs the Secretary to appoint the members of the Committee with one representative from each division or association as designated in this act, and to designate the Director or Deputy Director of the North Carolina Division of Emergency Management as the Chair. Provides additional criteria regarding calling meetings; directs the Department of Public Safety to provide space for the Committee to meet and to provide the Committee with necessary support staff and supplies to carry out its duties in an effective manner. Provides that Committee members are to serve without pay but are to receive a travel allowance, lodging, subsistence, and per diem. Provides that the Contract Response Team Advisory Committee is to advise the Secretary on the establishment of the Urban Search and Rescue Program.

Unless otherwise indicated, the above provisions are effective July 1, 2014.