Testing, testing. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Good morning everyone. Is the microphone working? Can you hear me in the back? I’m Senator Daniel and I’d like to welcome everybody to the Judiciary 2 committee meeting. It’s been a year since we met so it’s good to see the committee again. Before we get started, I’d like to introduce our very smart pages we have here serving us this week. If you would just raise your hand when I call your name. Dierdre Logan from Durham in the back, sponsored by Senator McKissick. Ariana Nicholson from Durham, also sponsored by Senator McKissick in the back. Sean is it Kurtz? In the back, sponsored by Senator Stein from Raleigh. Sarah Womack from Stanford, sponsored by Senator Rabin. Mackin Boylin from Raleigh sponsored by Senator Hunt, here in the front. Robert Edwards from Charlotte, sponsored by Senator Jenkins. The pages wrote these names so their handwriting dictates how I pronounce these. Chad Ciola? Cad Ciola from Troublefield, from Troy, in the back. Senator Bingham’s. Andrew Gaddy from Chapel Hill sponsored by Senator Berger. Matthew Stephens from Cornelius sponsored by Senator Ford and Lauren Payne from Lexington, sponsored by Senator Bingham. We certainly appreciate having you here this week and I think all the senators will agree that pages are an essential part of our personnel in any week here in the Senate. If you would, committee, look at your agenda. We’re not going to take these bills in the exact order as they’re listed. And just for your information, Committee, House Bill 698 for today will be for discussion only. But we’re going to start with House Bill 618 and I believe that bill has a PCS so if I could have a motion before the committee. Senator Clark moves that we consider the PCS. All in favor please indicate by saying aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Any opposed? And the PCS is before us. The bill has two sections. The original piece of the bill was offered by Representative Speciale, I’m not sure I’m pronouncing your name correctly. But I ask you sir, if you would come explain your portion of the bill and then we’ll have staff explain the second half. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Good morning. Thank you so much for taking this up. This bill was cast in the house the day before the end of session. So we were ?? The correct pronunciation for my name is Michael. [LAUGHTER] It’s Speciale, like Keep Speciale in Raleigh. That’s what my campaign was. Anyway this bill is very simple. It does not change the existing law. What this bill, prior to 1995 December 1, if you had a felony, if you had ten felonies, if they were nonviolent or violent, it didn’t matter. Once you served your time, your probation and your parole, you had to wait five years and you automatically got your gun rights back. That’s the way it was back then. A law was passed making it effective on December 1 1995 that now if you have felonies, if you have more than one felony you are no longer eligible to get your gun rights back. But if you only have one felony, once you serve your time, your probation, your parole, you have to wait 20 years, you pay $200 to go in front of a judge and then he will make the decision as to whether or not you get your rights back. Whether we agree with that or not, that’s the law now. This does not change it. But what they did do in 1995 on this bill, is they did not grandfather it for those who already had their rights back. There were a lot of folks that had their gun rights back, they waited their time, and all of those people were immediately stripped of their gun rights because of what they had done in the past, served their time on, got their rights back, and it wasn’t grandfathered. So basically all that this bill does is those that had their rights on December 1, or November 30 basically, that had their rights restored,that committed no felonies since then, this bill will automatically restore those rights. This is only going to apply to a very
small group of people. Those who have, if they’ve gone 19 years – we’re looking at 19 years now. They’ve gone 19 years, they certainly deserve their rights back and they never should have been taken in the first place. We do have one individual sitting out here in the crowd who this will affect. He had his rights back for several years and then had to give up his rights because they changed the law and did not grandfather him. So I ask for your support. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you sir. President?? cookbook?? could you tell me what your inquiry is. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I would like to move for a favorable report. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Let’s hold that for a moment. Mr. Pail could you explain the second portion of the bill that doesn’t deal with gun rights restoration. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Section 3 of the bill is to PCS, last session, the general assembly passed a bill allowing for the expunction of nonviolent misdemeanors and felonies, however that statute – there is a list of offenses that are excepted for which one cannot get an expunction. What this section three does, is amend that list, and if you look in the back of the bill, you’ll see on Line 15 7A the code provisions and the summary you will see under section three, the bulleted portions, the specific offenses which should one could committed one of those offenses, they would not be eligible for expunction. This was probably an oversight because these are – for the most part they are felonies under G, one of them isn’t G, but G’s are normally excepted – the other ones are H and I, so technically someone that had been convicted of an I offense that’s listed here and could have got – could get an expunction, this bill would prevent that. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Pail. Senator McKissick, Did you have a question? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, Al??, let me ask you this, Al?? we have expunging laws that basically say if you’re not guilty of something or the charge is dismissed, you can expunge it and we passed another one that says if you are, you’re still eligible under certain conditions. Now, I assume that this particular provision is amending the later, rather than the former, if you would correct my recollections, the conditions under which you would be eligible, even if you had committed such an offense. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, Mr. Pail, would you answer that question, please? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, this is in the section where you would actually be convicted? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Right. [SPEAKER CHANGES] You were convicted of the offense and would say these are adding to the list where after 15 years, is the waiting period for you would still be ineligible. You could not apply for expunction of these offenses. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yep, quick follow up here. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up. [SPEAKER CHANGES] And as I recall, that statute primarily related to non-violent offenses as well as ones that were not sexually orientated. Is that correct? [SPEAKER CHANGES] That’s right. The bottom of page one, there’s a definition of the purpose of this section – non-violent misdemeanors, non-violent felonies and then on page two, you’ll see all of one through currently eight, and I might add, in addition to adding those offenses, this provision also states that if you were convicted of an attempt of any of these offenses that are ineligible, you would also be ineligible. So if you were convicted of attempted housebreaking, or any of these other offenses, attempted one of the other sexual offenses, that you would not be eligible for expunction of the attempt. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Last follow up question. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Is this just a technical clarification [just really broadening sculpture by chance]??. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I wouldn’t deem it technical. I would deem it substantive. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Ok, I would too. [SPEAKER CHANGES] It’s not broadening. My understanding is that it’s narrowing. These are crimes that currently you could have expunged, that were breaking and enterings and we’re omitting these from the options under the expunction statute. [SPEAKER CHANGES] But only felonies, not … [SPEAKER CHANGES] Felony breaking and entering type offenses. [SPEAKER CHANGES] ?? wasn’t it one of your bills? [SPEAKER CHANGES] You’re testing my memory. It probably was. [SPEAKER CHANGES] ?? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Just cleaning up errors. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I hear you. I’ll review it more closely and if I have any more questions, I’ll get back to you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] That was the intent, is to remove those from the expunction statute. Any other questions from the committee? Senator Bingham. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Number five of these list that says felony offense ?? possession, etcetera, is
...such thing, such as misdemeanor offenses with these type of drugs. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I'll direct that to staff. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I'll have to check. I'm thinking not, but I'll have to check the specific statutes. My memory is not what it used to be. I'll check that [SPEAKER CHANGES] Any other questions from the committee? Seeing none, there is a motion before you, I believe the motion was Senator Cook, to move for a federal report as to the ?? as unfavorable as the original bill. All in favor please indicate by saying aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Aye [SPEAKER CHANGES] All opposed by ?? sign. And the bill receives a favorable report. The next bill on the calendar. I see we have an honorary member of the judiciary committee today, representative Tim Moore. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I was talking to Jim Jackson, he use to kick me around in court a lot, over in Gaston County when he was in the DA's office. [SPEAKER CHANGES] The bill that representative Moore is interested in is House Bill 183, and there is a PCS, is there a motion from the committee? Motion from Senator Randleman, adopt PCS for consideration. And I'll recognize representative Moore to explain the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. Chairman. Take care. I've got to win some cases in Gaston County now that senator Jackson is here. That's a good thing. We were there talking, and he was working very hard to come up with some diligent talking points about how good House Bill 183 was. I had to show him, we have actually hi-jacked that bill and used it for something different. But in Raleigh, hi-jacking is legal. Members, what this bill does, the original bill by the way is currently the law. We used the senate bill to pass that into law. We thank you all for sending that to us. What this bill will do is delay the sunset for the transfer for the Cleveland Country Correctional Facility to the Cleveland Community College. Back in 2008 2009, in the budget cycle, the prison in Cleveland County was closed. That prison is directly across the street from the community college, right near the DOT offices and the Cleveland Country Fair. What the community college wanted to do was use that building for the college. And the college already had classes that they were teaching to inmates at that time. So they already had things they had done, investments the college had made in the facility there. What's happened is there has been an issue with trying to get the transfer achieved prior to July 1 of this year. There is no way it can be completed by that date. To have all the stars align to make that happen. All this bill does is move that date from 2014 to 2016. Local delegation are all in agreement with it. I would ask the committees support. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you sir. Any questions from the committee? Seeing none, all in favor of approving the PCS and unfavorable as the original bill. Please indicate by saying aye [SPEAKER CHANGES] Aye [SPEAKER CHANGES] All opposed by like sign. Bill receives a favorable report. Thank you to our honorary member Mr. Moore. House Bill 1103, this is the original bill, representative Stevens is recognized to explain the bill [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. This is a bill recommended from the joint house and senate committee on abuse, neglect, and dependency. What came to our attention is the Supreme Court had made a ruling on a juvenile case. Once it got to the Supreme Court,they went back and said the original petition was not verified. Therefore, we do not have subject matter or jurisdiction and everything has to start all over again. All this bill does, is put into the existing law, that the district court judge when he is hearing a juvenile case will ensure that it has been verified. That's all it does. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Cook. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Move for a favorable report. [SPEAKER CHANGES] We have a motion. Senator Brian, did you have a question? Any questions from the Committee? Any comments from the public? All in favor for a favorable report for bill 1103, please indicate by saying aye [SPEAKER CHANGES] Aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Any opposed by like sign. And the bill passes. Thank you. Okay, let's...
Skip to House Bill 777 I think that one won't take very long with objects. This is a PCS observe motion. Senator Clark moves that we adopt the PCS for purposes of consideration. All in favor please indicate by saying, aye. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Aye [SPEAKER CHANGE] All opposed by like sign. The PCS bill is before you for House Bill 777. Representative Jackson is recognized to explain the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Thank you Mr. Chairman. I believe the PCS just changed the effective date from December of 2013 to December of this year. Under current law someone who's required to register as a sex offender is prohibited from living within 1,000 feet of a school or childcare center. This bill would amend the definition of childcare center to also include Boys & Girls Clubs of America who provide childcare services in the afternoons, summer camps and things of that nature. It said a response to one particular situation in the town of Thomasville. They'll be grandfathered in if you're already living there you're going to be grandfathered in. But of course you will not be able to move into a 1,000 feet zone of a Boys & Girls Club. It's 115 throughout the state and we project for Mr. Chairman and Mr. Baggett. Police Chief is here and indicated that he'd like to speak to his support or answer any questions. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Thank you Representative Jackson. Any...Senator Bryant. [SPEAKER CHANGE] I just have a motion to finish all the preliminary. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Can we have a motion? Are there any questions from the committee? Senator Davis and then Senator McKissick. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Thank you Mr. Chairman. Are there any other boys clubs or girls clubs that this bill would be applicable to other than the Boys Club and the Girls Club of America? [SPEAKER CHANGE] Yes sir, Senator. There's not originally when I got the bill I locked at them expanding it to Boys Scouts, Girl Scouts, where they often meet. There was some problems with that so we felt like limiting to address this particular situation would be the best first step and then if we wanted to come back an expanded it we could do it (?) [SPEAKER CHANGE] Let me ask a question first. Do YMCA's are they already covered under the statute? [SPEAKER CHANGE] I don't know if they are listed. Let me check the childcare. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Senator Kissick. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Yeah, the thing that I'm not seeing here is language that specifically talks about Boys & Girls Clubs, includes daycare centers. And the thing that I'm wondering is if there is a daycare center already there, a childcare center already there, wouldn't it be covered under existing law because we already have something that says childcare centers. Why does it have to spell out Boys & Girls Club of America? Because you could have childcare centers operated by anybody that would be covered. I'm trying to understand the clarity that you're seeking because if it was going beyond childcare then that makes it much, much, broader. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Senator would you like to object and explain that or would you rather have staff... [SPEAKER CHANGE] Brenda. [SPEAKER CHANGE] The existing definition of daycare center specifically excludes Boys & Girls Clubs. [SPEAKER CHANGE] It specifically excludes? [SPEAKER CHANGE] Yes. There's a list of exclusions to what constitutes a daycare center. So, this bill adopts the definition but makes it clear that they are excluded in the (??) [SPEAKER CHANGE] Quick follow up and I guess this goes back to what Senator Davis was also asking. Are there other entities, the YMCA, the YWCA, or other entities that provide childcare are they also excluded? What do we have today? [SPEAKER CHANGE] Brenda can you answer that question? [SPEAKER CHANGE] I never thought anybody could provide childcare. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Let's let while Ms. Carter's looking that up. Is anybody from the public, Mr. Backa, do you want to speak in regards to this bill? [SPEAKER CHANGE] Thank you Mr. Chairman. (??) I give counsel to the police chief. The police chief in a stage four drill in (??) public safety. I'll presume the answer is staff to your question Senator McKissick. But I believe YMCA, YWCA provide much broader range of services than you focused on on-site services at Boys & Girls Clubs. At any rate the police chief's in the state urge the bill thinking for your enhanced public safety. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Brenda, do you have an answer or are you still looking up. [SPEAKER CHANGE] No, no (??) [SPEAKER CHANGE] Senator Bryant, Senator Jackson. [SPEAKER CHANGE] I just wanted to say Chairman, the reason why this is feasible to me and it's certifiable at this point. Mr. Backa is that Boys & Girls Clubs generally have a nationally...
System is to have state locations very clearly determined, and that’s all they do. It’s very seldom that it’s done otherwise, whereas the Boy Scouts, the facilities that some of these other groups use are in many instances not specifically designated to them, of trademarked in a certain way that’s clear to the community where they are. To me this narrows it and designates it in a way that makes it fair and feasible for the application that we’re using versus something that would be brought and never created ??. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Cook, did you have a question? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes. It’s a silly question but I’m just curious if you build a Boys and Girls Club in the neighborhood, ?? sex offenders nearby that will? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Jackson can answer that question. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Cook, they would not have to move. However they would be prohibited from moving next door once the bill became effective. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Relocated. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Jackson, I have a question. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chair. Representative Jackson, I think this is a great bill. I prosecuted this issue numerous times. And Senator McKissick to your question, the operative language from memory if I’m right is that the child care facility has to be the primary purpose of that child care facility has to be caring for children. That’s important with churches. Because churches that also operate a day care aren’t covered, which allows sex offenders to go to church. Because otherwise they would be excluded from ever attending a church that also happened to have a day care. If Boys and Girls Clubs are specifically excluded then I think it’s good to make them specifically included. However Representative Jackson, hopefully you and I can find some time to work together on a more comprehensive reevaluation of this because I can tell everyone in the room, this issue is thoroughly litigated all the time. This is charged all the time and the defense is always the same. That well, that’s not for the primary purpose of child care. So Representative Jackson I look forward at some point when you and I both have time, to take a close look at this and give it more specific language to help the prosecution in this matter. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Brenda’s recognized to answer Senator McKissick’s prior question. Thank you for those comments, Senator Jackson. [SPEAKER CHANGES] The current definition of child care is program or arrangement with 3 or more children less than 13 years old who do not reside where the care is provided, receive care on a regular basis, of at least once per week for more than 4 hours but less than 24 hours a day from persons other than their guardians or full time custodians. And child care does not include the following. Arrangements operated in the home of any child receiving care if all the children in care are related to each other and no more than 2 additional children are in care, recreational programs operated for less than 4 consecutive months in a year, specialized activities or instructions such as athletics, dance, art, organized clubs for children such as Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Voyager Groups or Boys and Girls Clubs. And that’s ?? in that language. For purposes of the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Is that primary language? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up. [SPEAKER CHANGES] No. Not in that definition of child care. Child care facility, yes. A child care facility includes child care centers, family child homes and other child care arrangements not excluded that provide child care regardless of the time of day, where they’re operated, whether or not operated proper. The child care center is an arrangement where at any 1 time there are 3 or more children. I don’t see the primary language. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Any other questions from the committee? Senator Randleman. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chair. I question the effective date. You have December 1, 2014 and that implies offenses committed on or after that date. Is there some reason why we’re not making it effective when it becomes law? [SPEAKER CHANGES]?? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Generally criminal laws like this go into law on December first. There’s a couple of dates, they’re always toward the end of the year that we traditionally have set criminal laws effective at. That’s the only reason. It’s a matter of normal process, how we do it. [SPEAKER CHANGES]?? [SPEAKER CHANGES] So this would be a question for staff. So if that’s the case, anybody who moved within a thousand feet that they still would have up until November 30th to move within a thousand
Actually, the statute is written applies to, goes back to August of two thousand something. It's a different date that applies to it. To exceptions, but in this case the ???? to it, so yes. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Do you want to amend that on the floor? I'd be certainly okay with it....I have one vote....any other questions from the committee? Any comments from the public? Seeing none. I believe the motion from Senator Bryant? was favorable as to the PCS unfavorable as to the original bill. All in favor, please indicate by saying Aye. Aye. All opposed by like sign. And bill passes. Do you have a bill ???? Senator Jackson, do you wanna handle that bill? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I believe the last bill on our calendar today, house bill 698, background checks for firefighters has a PCS to have a motion removed. ..... Senator Davis moves to adopt the PCS for the purposes of consideration. All in favor please indicate by saying, Aye. Aye. All opposed by like sign. The PCS is before you. I guess for the committees purposes I would just comment, this bill, the original bill, 698 is included in the PCS really that bill pretty much remains the same with some technical changes. Combined with this bill is Senator Meredith's bill which I think the number was Senate Bill 854. It deals with urban search and rescue units so I'll let Representative Sang? he's recognized to explain the first portion of the bill that relates to the original bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. Chairman, thank you members of the Senate, members of the Committee. This bill is pretty straightforward, let me tell you how it came to me. I'm a volunteer firefighter some of you may know, the chief in my county and emergency management director had some issues where we had some folks with a criminal background history joining the force that we were not aware of. As you can imagine, wasn't mass, but we had a couple of incidents. The issue of course is that first responders end up in our homes and on accident scenes and those type of things. Better ?? on the front end that some one shouldn't be eligible to be a member of the department as we review their criminal background. But it also allows for review to go back and look at current roster as well. We may have some one that comes into the department, they seem fine, there's no criminal background or anything that red flags them from participating in the department or being a member of the department. However, maybe they go to Myrtle Beach and commit a crime over a weekend and it might take some time to find it out or you might not hear about it as you would in your local press. So that being the case it gives the fire chiefs and other administrators the opportunity to go back, review their membership, make sure everything's on the up and up and really protect the folks into whose homes we go and respond to on accident scenes and whatnot. That's the basis behind the first part of the bill, and then as Mr. Chairman indicated we've combined two other bills, a House bill, and a companion bill in the Senate that made sense on Urban Search and Rescue. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Tucker. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yeah. Just a couple quick questions. Who pays for the background check Representative Sang?. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Sang, do you have the answer to that? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Currently I don't know the answer for that except for we've had some discussion and probably the reason we're having the discussion today, we're trying to work out some of the concerns with the Department of Justice as to the cost involved as we run these checks. And it may specify, I don't think it does, we're trying to place where that would be so that they're not flooded with a mass of requests and overrun ? cost. So that's why we're discussing today and we're trying to work through that as we get back with the final product. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Hold on a second, let me ask, there might be a member or representative of the Fireman's Association that might know the answer to that question. If you would come forward sir and just stand at the edge of the table and identify yourself for the Committee and then if you can respond to that question. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. Chairman. I am Chip Bradley I'm Detective???? Fireman's Association in that instance it would be the applicant or the department itself.
Thank you, sir. Senator, do you have a follow up? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, just a follow up. This search and rescue piece of this bill, most of the bill ?? involved dogs. Are they going to be using dogs here in search and rescue as well? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Can we hold that? I want to try and divorce this bill into two pieces, so we can just sort of get the first piece. Thank you, Chief. Any other questions about the criminal background piece? We’ve got Senator Bingham and then Senator Bryant. [SPEAKER CHANGES] First off, Mr. Chairman, does the fire associate favor this? What is their position on this? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Chief Bradley? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Tim Bradley. Yes, the state fireman’s association supports this bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, if I may Mr. Chairman. There’s all types of criminal background checks. How extensive is this and what will it cost? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Do you want to that? I’ll have the Chief to answer that. Chief Bradley do you want to answer? [SPEAKER CHANGES] It’s the full background check with fingerprints through the department of justice, and so it’s a complete background check. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I’m sorry Mr. Chairman, and how expensive is this? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I believe the current cost is $55, Senator. [SPEAKER CHANGES] The reason I ask this question, I know in some of the volunteer firemen and volunteer fire departments in rural areas, they have young boys who have gotten in trouble and then 5 years later, even though they may have a misdemeanor or some type of criminal offense with etc., they become responsible citizens, they get jobs and become a very good fireman. Will this allow the board to make this decision or will this, are we given a ?? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Stam can answer that. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you very much. Chief, can you stand by just to make sure? The intent is to give the administrators of the fire apparatus, the fire departments, the option to review and look at and make a decision. In your scenario where the young man might have had a misdemeanor, the board or the Chief or whoever does the hiring or allowing them to come onto the department can make a decision as to whether or not, use their good judgment to decide if this person is worthy or not to serve on the department. Would you concur with that, Chief? Chief Bradley? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, the bill specifically states that the, no specific background check designation or findings would prohibit someone from serving. It would just be used to conduct with other information, the severity of the incident, when it occurred, how long ago. So those incidents as someone young could maybe done something they shouldn’t have when they were young and impulsive and have now matured, that would be considered by the department. [SPEAKER CHANGES] May I just, [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up, Senator Bingham. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I’d just like to make sure of this. What the concern I have is, this would be up to the local board and/or Chief of that department. Not here in Raleigh, is that correct? [SPEAKER CHANGES] That is correct. [SPEAKER CHANGES] And where is that in this bill? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Page 2. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Miss Gardner, can you answer that question? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I simply wanted to point out that this criminal history check is already placed in the statute, or bill, that has allowed them to administer the background checks of current employees, in addition to the applicants. So the ground rules for how the criminal background check is used is already in place in the statutes. [SPEAKER CHANGES] And one follow up and I’m through. Does this allow the fire department to share this information or is there some type of confidentiality to protect the firemen, if they find something? It wouldn’t be in the newspaper, etc. Because I know several good firemen that have had problems at an early age and they are very loyal and dedicated firemen. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Who do you want to direct that question to? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Whoever can answer it. I don’t know. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Chief Bradley do you have an answer? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Sure. Yes sir I think the bill specifically mentions confidentiality in the report. ?? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Okay, Brenda if you can check on the confidentiality issue. And while we’re doing that, Senator Bryant had a question. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, ?? caucus over here with Senator Bingham. [LAUGHTER]
Mainly, I just have a couple concerns. Let me ask my question then my concerns. What is section G about? Maybe that’s unrelated about the bona fide certified as a class 9 rating? Is that something? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I think Chief Bradley can probably answer that question. In section G, where it includes the language that’s the fire chief of the bona fide fire department certified to the commissioner insurance with at least a class 9S rating. Can you explain what that means? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, sir. The commissioner of insurance is responsible for the initial certification of fire department and rating it for actually class ?? class 1, which is the best. This requires a bona fide fire performance, this is class 9, which means it’s rated for insurance purposes and is eligible for all the other benefits associated with the ??. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. Does that answer your question? [SPEAKER CHANGES] No. Why do we need that? I’m confused. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up. [SPEAKER CHANGES] What is the purpose of the language. [SPEAKER CHANGES] What is the purpose of the language? [SPEAKER CHANGES] That language is to consistent with all the other languages to ensure that it is a recognized fire performance. For example, a fire brigade in an industry or someone who just can’t say they’re fire performance. In North Carolina, you have to be certified by Commission of Insurance and rated as class 9. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Do you have another question? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Recognized for a comment. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. I’m just a little bit concerned and maybe I do have a question. Is there some incidental reason why we now want to go back and check these current members? Is there somebody we want to get rid of that we can’t get rid of? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Bill sponsor would like to answer that question. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yeah, thanks Senator. Going back to my county where this originated. We had someone on a department that had been there, seemed fine, no problem at all. But then turns out they were in a middle of a, they were accused of murder and later convicted of it. So that was the issue. They did not know, of course, when they let the young man into the department. Obviously not somebody they wanted to be in their department. And another instance, a few other instances of theft and things of that nature, that would have said to achieve making this decision that this is probably someone we wouldn’t want around expensive equipment and things of that nature that could walk off. So that’s the background that’s there to as much to protect the members of the department and their integrity as well as the the tax payers who are funding it. [SPEAKER CHANGES] My statement is that I understand that. However, I’m concerned that we would give blanket authority to dismiss a person with any conviction. Not felony, not stealing, with no limited language like we do in the permissive section saying that we in some nexus between the criminal conduct and what they’re doing. That we give basically blanket approval for that. And I worry that, while it might be soundly administered in some places, it could be arbitrary in others. And so we could have some fire departments where a traffic, I don’t even know if a traffic ticket is considered under this definition a criminal conviction, where a minor offense of some sort, is automatic grounds for dismissal. Other people weigh these factors. It just seems like we’re putting a lot of arbitrariness on this sort of industry of folks who have volunteered and have sort of strong traditional service. And it troubles me a little bit that, in addition to the fact we know that people of color and men of color in particular are disproportionally likely to have criminal convictions compared to their counter parts in the same situations. And we are already underrepresented as people of color in the fire service. So this may be a double whammy in that respect and kicking out people and some fire brigades may see this as a mandate to now go clean out these people. And it just worries me that it’s so broad in this respect. And I have concerns. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Saine recognized for a comment. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator, I appreciate your concern. I certainly do. And I understand what you’re saying but this is not the intent of the bill obviously, it’s not eliminating anyone other than someone that would be a detriment to the department. I, as a fellow firefighter, doesn’t matter to me what color you are, just that you’re of good, sound character and that you’re going to back me up as we go in. And I think most fire departments operate that way. What would happen, in the scenario that you suggest, I would find very rare..
and probably non-existent in the North Carolina Fire Service. However, I think that would bring up a lot of other issues that would need to be dealt with by that particular department. But I don’t believe that the men and women that I serve with would necessarily be called into that type of question. I think they certainly appreciate everyone who is willing to serve and volunteer or paid otherwise. But I appreciate that concern and I do certainly take that into consideration. I understand where you’re coming from. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Miss Carter, do you have a comment to that? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I have a final comment. The statute – the entire statute – is not set out in the bill. There’s a provision that defines criminal history and it defines it as a state or federal history of conviction of a crime, whether a misdemeanor or a felony that bears upon a covered person’s fitness for holding a paid or volunteer position with the fire department. And then the crimes include but are not limited to criminal offenses that are set forth in the following articles and it lists things like counterfeiting, endangering executive or legislative officers, homicide, rape and other sex offenses, kidnapping, and abduction. So, there are guidelines that deal with what is a crime. [SPEAKER CHANGES] At this time, let’s move on to the second half of the bill. Senator Meredith, if you would like to come up. And, I believe, Chief Grayson is here from Greensboro. Chief, if you would, I will let you explain the USAR part of the bill and why it’s necessary. If you want to come up to the podium and just speak from here, sir. If you would, Chief, if you would just identify yourself for the Committee record and explain the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you very much. My name is Greg Grayson, I’m the Fire Chief in Greensboro. I represent North Carolina Fire Chiefs and Emergency Response Commission, as well. The urban search and rescue is provided by – currently by – 7 local governments here in North Carolina and the state is divided into geographical areas. That program has been in existence since prior to September 11, 2001. That program is managed through the Department of Public Safety and each of those providers have a region to serve. For example, Greensboro serves a 14 county area, Asheville-Buncombe a 21 county area. This particular bill is an enabling legislation which parallels a program that’s been in existence in North Carolina since 1992 for hazardous material regional response. It’s worked very well for many years. We do not have such a parallel program at this point for the urban search and rescue. Urban search and rescue is for building collapses, hurricanes, tornadoes, trench collapses - any type of emergency that occurs that requires specialized equipment, specialized trained personnel. Manmade disasters or natural disasters that could occur anywhere within our state. So this is enabling legislation to support your 7 urban search and rescue teams in North Carolina that are currently in place. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Chief Grayson. Are there any comments or questions from the Committee? Senator McKissick. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Sure, and I guess being Chief you can see the merit. Okay. And that’ s simply this, in terms of the additional capacity that it enables – you’re basically dealing with these collapsed structures and trench excavating and all that type of thing. Is that what you’re really trying to broaden it to cover? And is that something that the Department wants to cover? Does it have the support of the agency? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Chief Grayson, can you answer that question? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Certainly. Me and my colleagues have met with Secretary Perry. We began discussions with the Department of Public Safety back in 2012. In meeting the Secretary, has indicated he supports this effort, supports the use of our team, and supports the legislation. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Is there anybody from the Department here today that – from the Department of Public Safety – that would like to speak to the bill? Senator Bingham, you had a question. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I was just going to ask – is there anybody that objects to this? Anybody foresee any objection at all? Then I move for favorable report. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I think we’re just going to have this for discussion only today. I think we’re going to bring it back on Thursday probably. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I did have one - [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator McKissick. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Quick follow up – Chief, perhaps you can help with this. When I think of trench collapses, I think the implication by OSHA where they come in quite frequently and investigate these circumstances and conditions. I take it there would be some coordination to make certain that
(recording begins) ...whatever efforts departments like [??] moving into this that they would be OSHA compliant-[??] [Speaker Changes] (speaking over previous speaker) Yes, our part is the emergency response part. You may have construction workers in a trench, it could collapse, it takes specialized equipment and personnel to get them out. OSHA comes in at that point and determines the investigation. My colleagues in Charlotte, as an example, responded in Lincoln county when a child was trapped after walls collapsed where a house was being built. Our part is to get that person out and affect the rescue portion. And then we collaborate and coordinate with OSHA as appropriate. [Speaker Changes] Thank you, and last [??]... chair. To add simply this: Is there additional funding that's going to be provided to the agency to carry this out? I mean right now, we're this assembly enabling legislation to allow the authority but is there an effort being made through justice public safety? [Speaker Changes] I would have to defer to Department of Public Safety for that funding case. [Speaker Changes] [??]... Senator [??], do you know... [Speaker Changes] [??]... this for discussion only so I can follow up with you on a later date. [Speaker Changes] If you could. [Speaker Changes] Yes sir, I will. [Speaker Changes] Thank you. [Speaker Changes] Thank you. (pause) [Speaker Changes] We may have a change of plans but before that, are there any other questions from the committee? Staff has brought it to my attention, and I had just forgotten that we will- most of us will be attending the funeral of Senator Harris Blake on Thursday [??]. Therefore we will not be able to have another committee meeting this Thursday, so we're going to go ahead and vote the bill. So if- Before is there anybody from the public who wanted to speak for or against this bill? Seeing not any other questions from the committee, seeing none, do I have a motion from Senator Bingham for a favorable report as for the PCS, unfavorable as to the original bill, all in favor please indicate by saying "Aye". [Speaker Changes] (many) Aye. [Speaker Changes] All opposed by [??], bill passes. And that concludes our business for today, thank you. [Speaker Changes] [??] (indistinguishable chatter ) (recording ends)