House committee takes us police reform bills
A House Judiciary committee debates bills on police reforms and handgun purchases.
and recognizing our wonderful staff that we have the sergeant arms that are here to look after us and make sure everything is in order. We have with us today and with our much appreciation and thanks Marvin lee. The Marsh Burn Reggie seals and bill Riley for those of you on Webex. Please keep in mind that you need to mute your microphone. Unless you have been recognized to speak. If you wish to be recognized, please use the chat function to chat the committee clerk lisa Brown and she will share your request to be recognized with with the chair. Use only one device to access access the meeting. It is also important that everyone on call state their name for the record. Each time they speak, please remember that your on camera and this meeting is being recorded. If you have problems connecting on Webex, please contact 919715 7 8- five. That's 9 197157825. Thank you. We will first call his Representative Green is he's not present. So we represents. Okay, are you ready? We will call out of order a non Pcs. So without it before is properly his House bill 5 36 law enforcement duty to intervene. Representative Soak is presenting the bill. Thank you. Mr Chairman. Hopefully we'll do three bills in a row. 5 36 5 47 and 5 48. And I would just like to preface all three uh, with a few words, um, because there's a history on these bills and I think it's important for the public to know last summer and fall after the tragic murder of George Floyd and riots and protests broke out across our nation and state, and especially in Fayetteville. Um, I want to speak more and asked that he convened a committee to look into law enforcement and criminal justice issues. because at the root of every protest, there's a kernel of truth. Some might think that it's the whole truth. Some might think it's just a colonel. But in my opinion, we needed to find out uh could something like what happened in Minnesota happened here? Do we have laws against it? And how would we prepare law enforcement to properly deal with that? The speaker agreed and reform the House Select Committee on Community Relations, Law Enforcement Justice. This was a bipartisan committee that represented a cross section of our state, which included legislators from both parties. Law enforcement. Community leaders, attorneys, Criminal justice professionals, judges. The committee began its work in early september with the goal of creating a form where lawmakers could listen to diverse voices across the state, seek understanding on some of these very thorny issues and work towards changes. And during the committee process members heard from various stakeholders across north Carolina. We solicited recommendations not only from those committee members, but their task was to go back to the um there communities and solicit input from the public, which they did. Uh And we eventually voted on 13 recommendations. Uh the first three which we're going to talk about here. So the first one is House Bill 5 36 and represent baker. We want to come up now. We have two of the three primary sponsors here. I was honoured to chair the committee, co chair of the committee along with represented baker with Representative Howard Hunter. So, um house Bill 5 36. It's a duty to intervene. Uh what this does, it creates an affirmative duty on the part of north Carolina law enforcement officers to intervene and report excessive use of force used by another police officer. The officer is required to intervene when he or she observes another law enforcement officer used force that the observing officer reasonably believes to exceed the amount of force that is authorized in the situation. Observing officer must also ah Reasonably intervene if he or she can, and they have to report the unauthorized use of force to superior within 72 hours after observing it, even if that officer did not have an opportunity to intervene. Um, if anybody has been in the military of the United States is uh, subject to Geneva Convention, and I am a retired military officer, and in the Geneva Convention is a signatory. For example, you're not authorized to execute prisoners of war. If you take a prisoner of war, uh, you don't shoot them, you treat them as prisoners of war, with all the duties and responsibilities of Geneva Convention. Likewise, in the army, if you see someone abusing a prisoner of war, you have an affirmative duty to intervene. And that is what this law is based on. The House Bill 5 36 does have the support of the Sheriff's Association, the Police Chiefs Association and the Police Police Benevolent Association as well as the numerous members of the committee. So I'd ask for your support, Do all three bills. Well, what was he? One of the other thing. Hey, does anybody in the committee have a question? Representative john you recognize, I believe Representative Stephens Beach to that, but I'll let you do another one um represent McNeil. You recognize? Thank you. Mr chairman. And uh, I'm going to support the bill. I just want to Speak up for the 99.999 of law enforcement officers that this is not necessary for. But I understand that, that you know, there are bad actors in any profession and I get that, but I just don't want there to be any misconception today that there's this is widespread and the loss in the ranks of law enforcement. I did 32 year career in law enforcement and I didn't see any of this in my organization and I think in most organizations or not, but I understand in the political climate that we live today for the transparency that this is probably necessary. Thank you. Mr. Chair. And in my comments, I would certainly hope that I didn't offend Any law enforcement officers because that was certainly not the intent and I agree it's probably 99.99 and repeat that for the rest of the time we're in committee who do things. One of the um motivating reasons for this was larger police departments and many of the sheriff's departments already have a similar local policy in place, but every police department never, sheriff's department doesn't. So what this does, it clearly puts it into law so that people are aware of it in their training, so they know, so it's by no means any of these three bills is not meant to cast aspersions on any law enforcement whatsoever. It's just to make sure for two things, one that all law enforcement knows about it and they know it's in the law and to as a reassurance to the public that we, as the Legislature have acknowledged. Um, you know, that there are things that we need to make crystal clear and that by passing this law, we will make it certainly crystal clear any further discussion from the committee. There's any member of the public. I don't see anybody signed up for this, but an abundance of caution to anybody from the public. We should speak on this bill. If not, uh Co chair stevens. You recognize for emotions 54,410 till 5 30 €600 multiple. Any discussion on the motion, if not, I'll call for a vote. All those in favor of the co chairs motion signify by saying aye uh any opposition signified by saying no. Yeah, let's have it. The bill is passed, Representative. So can you recognize now to do Yeah. PCS without objection. We'll hear the PCS on 547. Use the law enforcement Index clarifying a P. A. Representative. So can you recognize? Thank you, Mr. Chair. Uh This is a recommendation, a bill that's acting on recognition to from the speakers select committing in this bill um mandates both the Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission, the Sheriff's Education and Training Standards Commission to use the National decertification Index is maintained by the International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards and training. This is aimed at those uh one in a million officer who may have done something uh in a department in the East part of the state and they quit voluntarily, uh and they moved to an apartment in the west part of the state and uh theoretically they could get hired without disclosing that. So what this does, it mandates the use of this decertification index. Um And it's one of those things kind of closes the loophole for one of those bad apples who might want to do something like this. So this bill is also support by the Sheriff's Association and the Chiefs Association. And I ask for your support any questions from the committee. You know, there's anybody in the general public wish to speak on this bill. If not, the chair will entertain a motion Co chair stevens you recognize for emotions would report. He's Uh huh. House Bill 5 47 emotion is recognized any discussion on the motion. All right. I'll call for a vote. All those in favor of co chair stevens. Motion signify by saying aye any oppositions signify by saying no, you guys appeared to have it. You guys do have it. The emotion is passed House Bill five, it's a House Bill 5 48 duty to report giga giglio information. I should know that word. Thank you. Mr Chair. I heard I had to learn a lot then. It is a little intimidating believe it, even though I've been up here a while to be presenting bills and J committee in front of all the attorneys. But uh this uh this bill moves on likewise in the in the context of preventing that one bad apple from moving from one law enforcement agency to another. Uh Most of our attorneys, so you probably know where the gig leo letter is. Uh I didn't before I chaired this committee last year, but I know what it is now. So for those of you who might not know if an officer of the law enforcement officers caught lying under oath in court or falsifying evidence, prosecutors or judges can discreetly ban them from testifying again in the future without taking the additional step of charging them with perjury, contempt of court or some other crime. Instead of doing that, the D. A. or judge sends the officer what's known as a gig leo letter and that's named after 1972 Supreme Court case. And these letters can also apply to broader issues with their credibility as witness, like a history of racial bias. Um however, currently neither the center of the letter nor the receiver of the letter of the officer is required to report that's letters existence to the state. So this bill changes that and it requires that any officer that received the giggly a letter from a court or D. A. must report and provide copy of that notification to the commission within 30 days of receiving the notification. The officer must also report the letter to the to their agency head. And it also requires that a judge or prosecutor that notifies an officer that they've been gig leotard must also report to the commission's that they have notified an officer is such within 30 days. So it's kind of an error trapping situation if you will, the officer who receives a gigolo letter has to report it as well as the D. A. Or the judge who issued the giglio letter. So the commissions are then uh, they know who actually received one right now. The commission's don't. So using my example, someone works in law enforcement agency in the eastern part of the state. They receive a giglio letter, they may resign whatever go be employed somewhere else in the state. Without this bill, then no one would know that they had problems in another part of the state. So, um, and I would make a note that none of these reports or notification are considered public records over the commissions are required to report annually to the General assembly. The number of individual officers with all the personal identifying information removed have received these types of letters. And that is to allow us to keep track of this and see how big of a problem. If there even is a problem that we have in this state. So it kind of, it's an error trapping thing. Again, that we recognize we might have a problem with this. Keep that one in a million officer from bouncing around the state to different law enforcement agencies. And we actually track and report this report back to the General assembly, um how many of these things are going on? And this bill has also worked down by the Sheriff's Association Police Chiefs Conference, the D. A. S. And the P. B. A. Uh and uh I think everybody is in support of this one as well. So I ask for your support on this bill. Any questions from the committee represent McNeil, you recognize? Thank you. I just want to make sure you said that these reports are going to redact the names. Yes, sir. That is correct. That it would just be the number of incidents. All the personal identifying information would in fact be redacted. Thank you. Uh And I just have a comment to and I'm in favour of this. This is it's good that we're gonna start tracking these. I'm very familiar with gigolo letters this letter you don't want to get uh for sure. But there is another issue with gigolo letters. There's no there's no appeal and that's an issue. It's been going around for a while once you get rid, you know, for law enforcement officer gets a gigolo letter is basically a, you know, an end of their career and they have no right of appeal from that. And so as we go forward, if we're going to look into the g Cleo issue uh with these reports, I think looking at maybe some type of appeal process to an administrative law judge or something might be might be good at some point in the process. Thank Mr Yes. And I agree with that. And we're still in negotiations with uh different organizations about that very issue. But I asked for the bill to be heard because I think it's important we move things forward and we have cross overcoming. I wouldn't want but I consider an important piece of legislation to be lost, not acted on and we'll have plenty of time to work on. Any refinements to this or any other bill that meets crossover. Mhm. Very good point represent McNeil fundamental fairness. This is just that any other questions or comments by the committee. Does anyone in the audience which comment on this bill? The chair will entertain a motion represented john, would you like them represented john ST motion moving favorite report on House Bill 45 48 with the serial referral to rule. Okay. You've representing john's motion. Does anybody have questions or a discussion of the motion hearing? None. I'll call for a vote. All those in favor of represented john's motion to to um give a favorable report to um House Bill 5 48 with a referral to rules signify by saying, aye uh any opposition say no Hearing none. The chair calls it for the passage of the House Bill 5 48 and with a referral to rules um representing bowls are something. Yeah. And we do one more before we come again. Okay, I'll promise not to take that long. Okay. He's done a good job. He does a really good job For the record. The chair is exercises scratching is going to pull house Bill 6 72. We got some work to do on that. And I'm calling house Bill 6 73 later for discussion only. Um call it this time. Um uh without objection to a committee substitute for house Bill 6 74 here. I will relinquish the chair for that represented um represented is going to do the presentation and members of the committee, I have not had a stroke, I kept the face man has gone, I had a root canal this morning and the numbing has not worn off. Um So the committee will call before it. The proposed committee substitute for House Bill 6 74 without objection. That committee substitute will be before us and uh recognize representatives out to speak on the bill. Thank you madam chair. This is my last one, hopefully for the rest of this session in front of J committee. Um This bill, uh it's a Cumberland County bill that because we've identified some issues down there that our District Attorney, Billy West and our local police chiefs and sheriffs departments about a number of cold cases, rape, cold cases were recently solved in Fayetteville. Um and how some of them could possibly have been prevented. In north Carolina, defendants charged with certain felonies and misdemeanors are required to upload a DNA sample Dakota's, which is a national database of DNA collected by law enforcement. How a list of felonies and misdemeanors does not currently include domestic violence related charges despite evidence compelling evidence, I might add of a trend between domestic violence and called case rapes. This bill would expand the list of charge crimes required. A DNA profile will be uploaded to the CODIS database, expands the list of offenses that would require perpetrators to submit their DNA decoders to include assault on a female, Assault on a child under the age of 12 In violation of a 50 be protective order. This would apply to anyone arrested on or after July one of this year. Uh fables saw 51 cold case rapes. Are those 51, There were 28 suspects, nearly half that had prior domestic violent arrests. Of the 28 suspects, one was charged with six rapes and another 11 rapes. However, both had domestic violence charges after their second rate. If their DNA had been collected after their domestic violence charges, it would have possibly prevented 13 other rapes. This bill will protect communities across our state by requiring those charged with domestic violence related crimes to submit a sample to the CODIS database. And if we can stop any rapes, I think that's a good thing. I failed to mention that the primary on this is represented. Richardson also from the Cumberland kind delegation represented wheatley. Um so I know that there's a few experts in the room. If there are any technical law enforcement and crime lab specific questions uh Redirect those to those folks. Uh I know of absolutely no opposition to this bill and Madam chair. There is a member of the public would like to speak to those. Um Thank you and I want to see if your co chair has had any comments. I want to thank you both for being here. No further comments. Um Do you want we can have committee discussion first or their questions represented. McNeil or emotion. Alright. Uh I believe we have linda and the last name has been marked off who would like to speak on behalf of this field. We have somebody named linda. Uh If you would come to a microphone and give us your last name please. I'm a victim survivor. I don't think I need to give you my last name. We we keep this for the record. But let me check with staff and steve just for official records. But apparently we have some discretion. So we do not have to publicize your last night. Thank you. I experienced your terror and evil on September 25 1992, I was raped and left for dead by three men. I survived to tell the story of God's grace and purpose in my life. North Carolina needs to accept responsibility, but for what should have happened years ago. One of my perpetrators was not caught until 2020. The other two have not been identified. Had DNA been collected and 2013 When one of my perpetrators was arrested for assault on a female. My case would have been solved years earlier. My perpetrator is a violent predator that hunts his prey and his neck next victim might not survive to walk away by enacting this bill. It may possibly solve old crimes. You now have the ability to affect generations that come after us. It is the right time for north Carolina to stay, take a stand against domestic domestic violence and make predators responsible for their acts of violence against women and Children. Thank you. Thank you for your comments. Other comments from members of the community member of the committee. Representative john your main sponsor. You yield for a question. Absolute. Representatives Oka, I certainly favored this bill. I just call your attention to the second page of the bill. Page 11 section applies to a person arrested providing any any violating any of one of the offense is found in GS 50 B dash 4.1. I'm sorry, I don't have that in front of me. I looked at looked at it last night and the statute doesn't clearly identify specific offenses. It seems to me that wording Of that uh of that section might be more appropriately uh might more appropriately read violating any of the provisions found in 54.1. I don't think we need to worry about that at this point. But I suggest that to you as as this bill moves along. Thank you, madam chair. Thank you very much. I certainly see your point on that and we will certainly be open to that suggestion. Thank you. Further committee discussion of questions thing represented. McNeil. You recognised promotion favourable to the PCS for 6 74 and faithful to the original. Where the referral to appropriation. Mhm. Rules how does save appropriations? Seems a stretch. Uh huh. Has had officially been, has the referral to appropriations been stricken confirming the staff? It has been stricken? Okay. So we modify that to refer to the rules. Thank you for the motion before us. Is the uh favorable to house bills Pcs for House bill 6 74 unfavorable to the original With the serial referral to rules. Everybody understands emotions, any questions or comments on the motion seeing none those in favor will say I uh those those opposed will say no. Yeah, I have it. And house Bill 6 74 will be recorded. Its favorable. Thank you. Members. Thank you. I'll turn it back over to Chairman. Richardson represented bolts. You're recognized for House Bill 5 6. We can continue. Yeah. Okay. To influence possible. Yes. Uh without objection. And we'll put the Pcs before the committee represented bulbs you recognized. Thank you, sir. Mhm. Yeah. Good afternoon. Uh Thank you. Committee thinking that the chair what I had for four years, House Bill 5 60 which is a D. P. S. Uh omnibus agency bill. And with the chairs of discretion that I have DPS here to speak. And also we may refer to the staff. Okay. All right. Uh We're gonna handle this one or two ways. I can start reading and read every section. Uh Uh huh. Okay. I think I have a motion before me. So if at this time I'll just open it up for questions but we can go through section by section if you like. Uh and DPS is here to answer the questions we have with us too. I have with us today. Chief Deputy Secretary tim moose. Uh Todd ishii uh Assistant Commissioner of corrections. Assistant commissioner Harris Director of health and wellness. Uh john Calvin and other uh Of course we have Susanna the Davis team here. So with that said we'll start out with questions or I'm gonna start reading represent my right. Yeah. Question or motion or I have a series of questions about bill. I think it's complicated has a lot of sections in it. So if we could absolutely through some questions if we're not going to go through the bill, absolutely. You recognize for a series of questions. Thank you. And I guess some of these questions would be best answered by the department. Starting on section two. I notice uh, any prisoner who knowingly willfully exposes genitalia to an employee called employment employees working in their duties is guilty of a class I felony. Uh, if there's a conviction, uh, there's a mandate and acts of punishment with a minimum of six months. So I'd like to ask the bill sponsor or someone from the department, what is it currently, is it infraction And now the proposals to make this section, the class I felony um, have respect somewhat. Okay status. The missiles you recognize to provide an answer to represent. It is currently a classic mm penalty itself has not been saying. Okay. It is only mandating resulted minimal torque six months, but it was see rebel. Yeah. Okay. So it follow up, You're recognized for a series of questions. So basically this provision would just make it if someone is convicted of this. It is no discretion of a judicial official. It's a six month term running consecutive to their current term. What? Be a minimum of six months. But then to be populated The maximum under the car. Okay. That's a minimum under the chart. six months at least the Senate's run consecutively to whatever sentence. Okay, so this would tack on. Do we know how many, uh, incarcerated people receive this charge per year? Are we talking about? A great number? Mr moose too. You, can you assist us with that, sir? Chief Secretary, Hold on my second, identify yourself again tim moose. Chief Deputy Secretary of public safety, adult corrections. Um I have several staff here today from prisons, including one of our legal counsel, jodi Harrison. So I'll ask them if they could respond Harrison or harass Harrison. MS Harrison. You recognize to answer the question if you would state your name, your position for the record? Yes, my name is Jody Harrison. I am Deputy general Counsel for the north Carolina Department of Public Safety. And unfortunately, I don't have an answer to that question today. My apologies for that, but we certainly can get that information for the committee representative. You have further questions. Yes sir. Go right ahead. Thank you. Going into section three, possessing tools for escape. Uh I take it the current language. Any prisoner who possesses a letter weapon, tool, article of clothing. And now we're changing the language effect an escape Or eight in an assault. Once again we're changing it to I guess a class a felony once again with a mandated active minimum punishment of 12 months and that would run consecutive to there offense for which they are incarcerated. Miss Harris, you wish to inside our staff. Can you furthermore it? Again? That is already a classic language of the examples about this change problem From page two, lines 45 where crumbling is it has been moved up to the body and care about. But they obviously change. There's again with the mandating lack of sentence minimum term. Okay. And just for your frame of reference to boxes for our 875-6 funds. See, I really questions Yes, sir. I appreciate it because I think it's a complicated bill with a lot of different provisions in it. One thing I'm a bit concerned about is The in section four is changing the way inmates or incarcerated people can seek redress if their property has been lost or destroyed or damaged by GPS, that currently I think they can go through the Industrial Commission and it looks as though that is being changed or eliminated. And I just like someone to go through what is the change in this and what is the reason for this? MS Harrison, Can you have an answer for that, please? Mhm. Can you hear me? There we go. Sorry. Yes, ma'am. I'm happy to provide a response to that. Would you identify yourself again every time you speak, if you would identify yourself in your position? Thank you. Yes of course. First of all, would it be okay if I approach the table so I could set some of these. Absolutely, please do something and yeah they need to spend that money. Okay and MS Harrison, we really appreciate you taking the time to answer these questions for us. Uh huh. Yes. Thank you hear me? Okay thank you so much for allowing me to do so. Like many of the people in this room. I am an eternity. So if I'm going to cut off the microphones but I like it. Um So for the prisoner property claims, just to give you a little bit of of some background on that. Currently the Department of Public Safety has pending before the Industrial Commission 1334 pros say inmate tort claims Those uh start at $8 for lost stinks. And so what we are finding is that the offenders have an issue with how the property is handled, where they alleged negligence regarding the handling or the loss of property. They're bringing tort claims against the agency as opposed to utilizing the internal administrative procedure in order to have those those issues addressed um for pro se cases alone. Um This is just pro se inmate property clinics. They are not represented cases For pro se cases alone. The Industrial Commission currently here is approximately 312 full hearings per year And holds between 624 and 780 motions hearings here. And and the way that we're coming up with those numbers is that we we we being general counsel's office with the assistance of our facilities. We assist in pros say inmate tort claims for two solid days and weeks. We run motion hearings on Tuesdays and full commission hearings on thursday weekend. Week out for the entire year for every full hearing in which the department, public safety appears against that was brought before by an offender. We are assessed $120 court costs and that doesn't matter whether we win or lose whether we brought the case or not. For every motions hearing, we are assessed $60 and it doesn't matter whether or not we brought the case or not. And so again, some of these cases are things like you lost my tennis shoes, uh you you misplaced $8 worth of my stamps. You seize commissary items and you need to give them back to me um In addition to the, to the cost of the agency cases at this point are presenting a significant logistical burden to our facilities. Are facilities provide the videoconferencing that's necessary for the motions hearings and for the hearings have no cost to the Industrial Commission. We also are responsible for issuing the subpoenas for all of the offenders and staff who are called hearing despite the fact that these are not our witnesses. These are the offenders witnesses. We handle the subpoenas for those people on behalf of the Industrial Commission. Mhm. And we are required to then produce the offenders as the claimants and also produce the witnesses if they are our staff or incarcerated offenders to participate in these hearings, either at the motion hearing order, the whole hearing. Um So what this is intended to do is to shift away the low dollar property claims that currently are under the jurisdiction of the Industrial Commission and place them under the discretion of the Inmate Grievance Resident board, which is an independent board, doesn't answer to the Department of Public Safety. It is a dotted line to the Department of Public Safety for purposes of administrative support, but they don't answer to us. It's an independent board and we would like to see the inmate grievance resolution board vested with authority to hear these low dollar property claims and then simply to direct that if they are found to have merit that the that the department be directed to either inverse reimburse the offender for the amount of the property or to replace the item inquest. Some of the things that we are now seeing which we would like to see less of is having the offenders be awarded money to reimburse them for property that actually belongs to us. So if, for example, they are state issued choose or it is a medical device such as the pain or a CPAP machine that actually belongs to us. We are seeing in some cases an award that is given to the offender for the loss of that property. We're looking specifically to spend less of our correctional officer and administrator time dealing with. I need $10 worth of Doritos that you guys took for me, you lost $8 worth of my stance, you lost my during my transfer, you lost my tennis shoes. I am not saying that those claims are not don't do not have necessarily have merit and I can assure you that they are very important to the offenders in question. This property is not unimportant to the offenders, but the agency feels that at this point we need to find a way to manage these claims that does not involve every single one of them, essentially being heard as a lawsuit before the Industrial Commission and that is what the intent of this language is intended to accomplish. It is not too not allow the offenders to have recourse, it is to try to move that recourse away from a formal legal proceeding before the Industrial Commission. Thank you so much that answer your question. Yes. What is the inmate grievance Resolution board? Independent. What does independent mean? Who would that be? So? The inmate grievance resolution board is a statutorily created board. It has, I believe five members who are appointed by the governor. Um It also has uh unemployed executive director. Her name is Kimberly Brandy, she is also an attorney. Um The inmate grievance Resolution board employs a number of um case examiners who go out into the field and investigate grievances and then provide a response to the offender regarding the grievances. If I made the grievance process to do this is if I, as an offender incarcerated offender have a grievance, I submit that at the, at the facility level of a grievance officer at the facility level for step one gives me response. If I don't agree with that response, I can then appeal that to the warden of the facility and that is step two. And if I still don't agree with that response, I then may appeal it to the inmate, move its resolution board, which then makes a decision. What the grievance board does not presently have is the authority to direct our department to actually do a certain thing in order to resolve the grievance. They can say we think the screenings has mirrored, but all they can then do is refer it back to prisons to or whatever action prisons would undertake. And in the meantime, these offenders, rather than utilizing that process for these property claims, they are filing tort claims and said, thank you. Any further questions represented, john, are you done represent? Yeah. Oh, I just want to just keep things in sequence right represented, john, you recognize either to the, to the witness or two staff. Where is the authority of the Industrial Commission to tax costs against the department? The prevailing party in many of these cases that which is what's complained of? Would you stay tuned? No, no. You're asking it to be changed. But where, where, where, where does it say? It says in the same manner, may tax the costs against the losing party in the same amount and in the same manner as the cost of taxing the Spirit Court division. That I don't read that to say you can tax the cost against the prevailing party. And I'm wondering where, where the authority uh, where the Industrial Commission finds the authority to tax costs against the prevailing parties. You recognize this is not my arab expertise. I don't mind a place where they have that authority. So it is my opinion that this language that's being added is simply clearly stating that they do not have that Mr Ryan, you recognize, I was just putting on that. Okay, anybody have any answers to the representatives question? Any follow any further questions. Does that more? All right. As I said, it's a lot of information in here going down to Section four limited liability for claims against GPS, and it looks like it's changing uh, from negligence, uh, to gross negligence. Can we uh, have a reason why we're changing that standard of liability from negligence to gross negligence, city? Yes. Okay. State your name again for the record. I apologize. I'll get the hang of this. Okay, My name is Jody Harrison, I'm deputy general Counsel for the Department of Public Safety. I think the intention to move from negligence to gross negligence is intended to reflect the reality of managing offenders and the facility, which is we are seeing in the tort claims um things like uh the offender was transported by vehicle and he didn't have a seat belt on um and and we could build the offender in and the offender takes the seat belt off. And yet we are found to be negative that we did not ensure for the entire trip, that the offender has the seat belt on um miners and falls within the facility. Uh If the Afinitor slips and falls in a shower because the shower is wet, as in my experience showers frequently are, that then has been found to be negligence against the department because we did not ensure that the offender would not fall in the shower. So my understanding of this is it is intended to um to to not to remove all negligence from culpability for the department to make sort of simple negligence. Uh that cannot be avoided in a correctional setting, would not then be the basis for them suing our department and receiving um receiving an award for simple negligence um when the offender is being managed by any number of correctional officers, you know, the correctional facility and the correctional atmosphere is to a certain extent, uh You know, things move very fast, parts of it are not 100%, you know, we can't wrap everything involved and so what we're finding is again, what we consider to be minor claims and I recognize them would state that the offenders almost certainly feel differently. But what we consider to be minor clients that are not within our ability to 100% present prevent rather are again being brought to the Industrial Commission. And we're seeing awards against the department for very simple negligence, things like very simple slip and falls, things like unintentional loss of property. These are the sorts of claims that we would like. It would be very helpful to us to see this. Do we know how many claims were brought and successful and the regular negligence allegations? Again, I'm happy to get that information for you, representative. I don't have it split out between the property claims and other what we would consider general negligence. There also would be potentially on the margins of debate as to what constitutes gross negligence versus what constitutes simple negligence. I will say that certainly does my impressive impression is the person who manages these claims for the General Counsel's office that the vast majority of them are what I would consider it. But I can I get you numbers again. What I would say is we've got 1,344 offender from say, offender qualities that are currently pending. So it is difficult for us track out of the basis for every single one of working. Thank you. One last I hope uh follow up. I don't think there is a term simple negligence. It's negligence going to gross negligence, right? Is a section five. We're really looking at duties of probation parole officers. It appears on page four, starting in b the underlying sections through the granting probation officers, parole officers, similar duties to law important announcement officers. And I guess this pertains to if they are transporting a prisoner or a person within the facility or on the facilities property, that they will have expanded duties similar to law enforcement. Can you just explain the expansion of these duties or authority for probation officers? So you recognize in state your name for the record in your position and then answer the question police and those teeth having second period. I would say the the no Okay protection to our prevention for all staff across the state and the performance of big that they already this is the process whereby. Thank you. The member of Congress actually happened. Father? Yes, information control officer. three different locations across the state will provide support assistants come on back from Todd's phablet encounter the the there is mm four small fire security that happens today so far has been membership and it's been stated here in boston Hertz and see me last weekend. We had getting prevention officers than inconsistent across the stage. Still my friend support for farmers clock intended to deep okay or take away anything sheriff's on another long across the state. But it is too, how to make sure that we're clear on what the officers clean all of the additional roles that the young supervisor fabulous out in our communities that okay follow up. I'm just confused by what you said. Is it expanding their official duties and authority or it's not okay. Representative smith you recognized while representing mores on number five. But we'll keep it chronological like the judge said. Um, if you don't mind a question for um, the department, sure. Hey, I guess you said it clarifies things to me, it kind of muddies them up because now I think, I think you actually are expanding I think in some ways and to say, well sometimes in some situations they have the power of law enforcement officer, but others they don't um I don't disagree that maybe something needs to be done. I don't necessarily think this is the best way to do it. This just kind of makes it again, makes it money to me. Uh One thing I just thought of House Bill 5 36 we just passed out of here, law enforcement duty to intervene. This would not pertain to probation officers. So, um I think Mr chair, I'll just that that wasn't a question, I guess, because I never got to him, and I just say, uh I do have concerns about this. I think uh I think some wording baby can help them out some ways. I think this actually muddies things up a little worse though. It turned from a question to a comment. Thank you, reverend this myth. Would you be willing to help with this between now and rules? Oh, if I can get the mic working, I certainly would. Thank you. Any further comments and questions from the committee representing Horace. Do you recognize just you recognize for emotion? All right. Uh Perfect. Alright. Mr. Chair. This is a P. C. S, correct? That's correct. Ok, So mr Chair move for a favorable report to the PCS for House Bill 5 60 unfavorable to the original for the referral to rules, calendar and operations of the house. Everyone's heard emotions any further discussion on the bill? Yes. Represented morning. I just think this is a bill that has a live in it and it's a lot of diverse uh sections in it. I'm concerned about increasing penalties for inmates who exposed genitalia to adding on six more months on their prison term. I mean, I'm not sure where the harm is unless it's a female employee and their, uh, embarrassed by it. It doesn't seem to be threatening behavior and maybe inappropriate. We're talking about prisons. I'm worried about adding on another one year mandatory consecutive sentence. Uh, if someone possesses a letter weapon tool to effect or aid and escape, um, we have laws against it. We have punishment for it. I'm worried about inmates or incarcerated people losing some of their rights to make appeals for their loss of property. $8 in stamps, too many of them. That's their only way to communicate with the outside world than $8 in stamps could be a big deal. And now it has to be gross negligence by anyone within the DPS instead of negligence. So I think we're making major changes here that a lot of us probably don't quite understand. I'm sorry. I asked so many questions, but I just wanted to thorough interpretation by the department, which I really appreciate it. But I would ask that this not be for a vote and just have a little more time to hear from the department and look into it more. Never apologize for asking questions. That's your duty and your job and you're right. Uh represent. I mean, Mr Kerr. Well, he he wanted to comment. He would state your name for the record and what you do and make your comment. Thank you. Mr Chairman and members of the committee. I made a caldwell with north Carolina Sheriff's Association and the Association of the Sheriffs have consensual for the record. Eddie caldwell with the north Carolina Sheriff's Association. Thank you for the opportunity to speak briefly. The sheriffs have significant concerns and are opposed to section five of the bill because we believe it does expand the law enforcement authority of probation and parole officers significantly. We've talked to Deputy Secretary moves about that. We've talked to the bill's sponsor about that. The bill sponsor has asked us to continue working with him on that, which we're glad to do. But we do. The sheriff's do oppose it in its current form. Co chair. I'm open to suggestions, not checking. Right, right. This is the, these little guys, even some ability click to the section didn't say, you know, officers. Certainly I'll together seem to be very efficient. Animal positions are filled. He knows you let your proof, right? MS. Moment. Do you wish to speak state your name and your but for the record in your position and you have two minutes Christine mama with the north Carolina Center on actual innocence. Um, I first want to point out that I've worked with this Harrison quite a bit and she is incredibly helpful, um, and a great uh person to help with issues we have in the, in the, within the prison system. Um, I work with a lot of incarcerated individuals and I would agree with the judge that $8 Macy minimal twosome. I would also say for as many cases as we can cite on trivial complaints. I could give you examples of non trivial uh, family bibles that have been lost, all of their possessions that have been lost. Um Sometimes people just need a voice and to feel like they're heard. And what we did years back was take funding away from prisoner legal services who could have prevented some of these trivial complaints from going forward and provided the inmates with with someone to give an ear and to weed out the pro se complaints. What we really need to do is put the funding back and prisoner legal services so the other agencies don't have to bear the brunt of the pro se claims. Thank you ma'am. Any further discussion on the bill. If not I will call for a vote. All those in favor of it was represented. Harvester right represented harder is in motion who? House bill 5 60 signify by saying Aye. Hi any opposition say no no The eyes appear to have it. The eyes do have it. House Bill 5 6 years past with a referral to rules thing I asked I couldn't say it any better. Can I bring her on the floor with I think with thank you all very much for your input for everyone's input. Thank you. Um Yeah I care Green let's do your bill now if we can Calling House Bill 5 61 Local Confinement Facility Inspection Appeals. Yeah. Thank you. Mr. Chairman. Thank you. Members of the committee. Um House Bill 5 61 um in Acts and Acts, a procedure whereby sheriff's and county governments can have an appeals process on uh regular jail inspection reports that are generated by the Department of Health and Human Services. You may or may not know jails are some of the most inspected facilities in the state. They are inspected by health departments, fire marshal, grand juries. Uh There may be some others that I'm overlooking, but they also get inspected annually or possibly twice annually by the Department of Health and Human Services and when health and human services comes in there. Um They are looking for violations of administrative code as it relates to uh we're compliance or violations of administrative code as it pertains to operations at the jail. Um One problem with this particular inspection process is that it can often be subject to the interpretation of an individual inspector and I can cite several examples. I'll give one, I think um Representative Miller might be able to give one is a retired sheriff. Um I could get into probably more, but I'm going to limit it to one. Um but oftentimes these can result in either extraordinary costs of the county or unnecessary risk the jail staff and a job that's dangerous enough already or exposure to increase liability in the event it related incident occurred. Now the example that I have is we had, Uh and as you know, I'm a retired sheriff with share for 10 years and operated to jail. We had a procedure whereby the code said we needed to directly observe an inmate periodically. At that point it was twice an hour. And for years we had stood and watched inmate through the window and that was sufficient to be compliant If we could see the inmate and see what he was doing, he or she, um, that was that was in compliance and their jail was built in such a way to take that into account for the officer's safety. But, uh, somewhere down the line and new inspector came in and made the decision that, um, basically was asking us to put a staff member intermingled in a cellblock With about 50 or 60 inmates on a regular basis, which exposed them to unnecessary risk. We felt like we raise those issues of concerns and it and it basically fell on deaf years, um, and the measures should be whether we were complying with the code, um, as a matter of fact in this example, um, the rule had never changed, but the inspectors had and basically acknowledged that we might be technically in compliance, but in compliance, but the new procedure was his preference. Um We had no recourse, although the measure should be what the code says, not what the individual inspectors preferences. So it provides a procedure to appeal a finding of um one of these inspections to an administrative law judge before requiring adverse um action to avoid either being shown out of compliance with the code or putting staff at risk or subject in the county to additional expense, um to to bring the facility and the compliance. Um It has support of the North Carolina Sheriff's Association. They have put it down as a supportive high priority. I don't know if Mr CAldwell or somebody from the Sheriff's Association would want to speaking just a moment, but at any rate, I would appreciate your consideration on this bill. Um Sheriffs in north Carolina work hard to try to make sure that they're running their jails responsibly and I think, uh, they need to be able to be heard outside the DHHS, um, uh huh procedure, uh, if they have, if they believe they are in compliance and being told they're not. Thank you and I'll be available for any questions. Any questions for the bill sponsors. Where is that more? You're recognized. Thank you, representing Green. If I could ask you a few questions please. Yes, ma'am. Um, you said you wanted to have the right to recourse to appeal. Isn't that right already there? If there's a finding of a violation and that could affect the safety of, uh, incarcerated people that you, there is an appeal process to the office of straight up hearings recognizing response Yes, ma'am. There is, but not too until it rises to the level of a closure order order of closure for a jail, which almost never occurs. Um uh that that is at the time when the process kicks in. This is just allowing it to kick in a little bit sooner. Is my understanding of it. Thank you. So I think there is the right to appeal and then there's a further right to appeal to a Superior Court Judge in the county is the basis change of this bill is to add sheriffs to contest any of the findings and request a hearing. I mean, currently that ability is with your county commissioners, is that right? And this bill is adding in the sheriff who's jail is inspected where there is a violation. This bill is now saying let the sheriff instead of the county commissioner or in addition to the county commissioners contest the inspection report. Let me say that I I appreciate the sheriff's associations uh consultation with me on this this bill and and and and and helping me in and get it together. Mr caldwell or legislative staff may have some additional information. Mr Carville, can you help with this answer that question. Police Eddie caldwell with the north Carolina Sheriff's Association. And yes, it is my understanding that it makes it clear that the sheriff can file the appeal in these uh preliminary determinations that are made by the inspector. Mr Chairman. If I could just elaborate a little bit after the comma there. Um And part of the reason for that represented moray is that uh what may seem seem trivial to the county commissioners may not seem trivial to the sheriff. And so or what may not seem worthy of an appeal. And so uh as Representative Green said, the current appeal only applies when the jail is being threatened with being shut down. And in my career I've never heard of a jail being threatened with being shut down. They just get these reports that say that something is deficient. And if the sheriff disagrees, they have no recourse whatsoever to challenge that. And this bill would just authorize them to have a hearing if they think it's uh if they disagree and it's a fundamental disagreement. I think the the instances where this would be used would be extremely rare but extremely important represents. Do you have a follow up comment whenever appropriate, represents stevens? You're recognized? Thank you. I'm also a co sponsor of the bill and I want to talk with the sheriff's last time when something's came up. What happens though is if they showed them is out of compliance and they have no ability to appeal, then you set up perhaps some civil liability then it because then then the lawsuit comes and then that's when you have the problem. Whereas they could resolve these administratively to begin with. If an administrative agency says, hey you're wrong, you're in compliance. The sheriff's got to do it. But if you never get the chance to resolve that issue before, then you're stuck in the middle of a lawsuit that may or may not be valid. You know I am. Yeah Thank you. Mr Chair. I just have a brief comment. Being the chief deputy in bronze. Like a couple of years ago we had a jail inspector tell us that we had to put stainless steel inserts in all of our showers to the tune of about $850,000. Well after we completed the project we had a new jail inspector and he want to know why we put stainless steel inserts in our showers after the previous um Inspector had told us to do that. So we've run into stuff like that before where it may one may say we need new fencing and the other one come back and say well why did you put the new fencing up? So it's a monetary thing and it's and it's huge. It was a huge project for us that we Immediately implemented and spent $850,000. And then the new journal inspector come in and say why did you do that? You didn't have to so we need that process in place to be able to appeal. Thank you any further questions represented Horace do you recognize represent me Neil sorry yeah I'll defer represent McNeil you recognised promotion. Yes sir. My motion is gonna be a little bit different. I want to make a motion for a favor report. The House Bill 5 61 and that we add the comedian at a referral that a recommendation. Excuse me. That will make a recommendation that the referral to state government be stricken. Yeah. We have a motion on the floor that by represent McNeil, that house Bill 561 receive a favor report and that a recommendation that the referral to state government be stricken. Um Any further discussion from the committee purpose anymore. Just for a comment recognize our current uh statutes address these issues. The county commissioners have the right to appeal if we need to get better inspectors and consistent inspectors. That's probably something that would be wise to do to avoid unnecessary expenses. We've had a huge increase in jail suicides in serious injury to some people in our jails and many times Durham had won, a teenage girl died unnecessarily of a suicide. That could have been prevented. No one likes inspectors, but it is for the safety of the staff. It is for the safety of the inmates and it's to protect liability on county commissions that can be sued because the jail is not in compliance. I think the law as it is right now is adequate giving the sheriff's, it's like guarding the hen out if their jail fails an inspection and there's a recommendation to change something right now. County commissioners can appeal that by conferring with their sheriffs, but this tells this would allow the sheriff to immediately contest it and stop anything toward the resolution of safety and better inspections, better minimum standards. So I appreciate the bill. I just have some concerns with it. Thank you. Any further discussion on represent McNeil's motion. If not, I'll call for a vote. All those in favor of representing McNeil's motion on House Bill 5 61 signified by saying I all those posts a no, no, the eyes appear to have it. The eyes do have it. House Bill 561 has passed with a recommendation that the referral to state government be stricken. Uh huh. You have one more called the concern is that a committee substitute? It is without objection. We will call hospital Senate committee substitute for hospital 4 83. Representative Green. You're recognized? Yes, sir. And thank you again, uh Mr chairman and members of the community. This um this bill has has it's kind of been working progress as this session is going on. Um It started as a essentially requests from the Sheriff's Association um to seek a little bit of an expedited process with regard to pistol purchase permit applications. We're in it was um um making it essentially automatic when someone was applying for a a pistol purchase permit uh that they were certifying that they essentially understood that a mental health uh check would be uh completed rather than having to come in and make a separate trip in whether they were applying online or not and give a notarized release to that effect, uh in order to essentially make it a smoother process in the application process. Uh So that is where the bill originally started. However, as most of, you know, there have been some bills filed a bill or two filed uh to repeal the pistol purchase permit uh provision in our statutes. So as this bill has gone on and was heard in the um health committee, and afterwards we realized that rather whether or not the repeal of the pistol purchase permit occurs that a big part of that and a big part of the argument about um pistol purchase permits no longer being necessary involving what's called a knicks check, which is a check of the national incident criminal background check system would would cover all the necessary background checks, uh that would be required to issue a permit anyway, um although it does not take into account local information about calls not rising to the level of a criminal charge um.