Senate Committee on Judiciary

February 15, 2023

Sen Stubblefield: All right, if everybody will take their seats, I’m going to call this meeting of Judiciary to order. And the first order on the agenda is Senator Wallace with Senate Bill 204. Senator Wallace, you’re recognized.

Sen Wallace: Thank you, Mr. Chair. Mr. Chair, members, this is a bill that makes a bill that we did last session a little bit better. The only changes are on page 1, line 33, and page 2, lines 7 and 8. When we passed this bill last year and it passed overwhelmingly in the House, and in the Senate, we got immediate feedback from a lot of folks that were very grateful for this but it became very apparent shortly afterwards is that I should not have restricted the age to age 55. And I should have left it unlimited because I had folks at the age of 60, maybe a little bit older, age 57, 58, that pretty much said what about me? So all this bill does is it eliminates the age 55. It makes it all the way to the end of the lifespan. And it updates the dates on the back. And with that, I stand by for your questions.

Sen Stubblefield: Any question from the Committee? Senator Tucker, you’re recognized.

Sen Tucker: Thank you, Mr. Chair. The victims that we’re talking about here, were they children when they were victims of these crimes?

Sen Wallace: For the most part. All the ones that I’ve talked with were. And what studies have found out is when this happens, the folks aren’t really willing– they bury it and they’re not willing to come out and talk about it until much later, sometimes midlife.

Sen Tucker: Right, I totally understand that. I didn’t know if the crimes by definition were crimes against children or if it just happens to be that most of them were children when they were victims.

Sen Wallace: Yes, sir. And of course, this is not criminal, this is civil.

Sen Tucker: Right. I understand. Okay, thank you.

Sen Stubblefield: Is there a motion from the Committee? We have a motion from Senator Rice do pass. A second from Senator McKee. All those in favor say aye. All opposed? Congratulations, Senator Wallace, your bill passed.

Sen Wallace: Thank you, sir.

Sen Stubblefield: Next on the agenda, we have Representative Dalby with House Bill 1352. Representative Dalby, you’re recognized to present House Bill 1352. And if you have a fiscal impact with that bill you can go ahead and share that.

Rep Dalby: Thank you, Mr. Chair. I’m Carol Dalby, State Representative for District 100. There is a fiscal impact statement that has been made. And you’ll see that there is no resources, there’s no fiscal impact in regard to this bill. And with that, with the Chair’s permission, I’ll go ahead and present the bill.

Members, time gets away, it’s either last session or session before last, we passed a bill where we could seal, or records of felonies could be sealed fairly quickly. And what happened is it caught some unclassified felonies. And one of the unclassified felonies is DWI fourth, DWI fifth, those are unclassified felonies. So the practical effect of that bill was DWIs that are misdemeanor DWIs, they had to wait 10 years before their records could be sealed but if you had a DWI felony, like a felony fourth or a fifth, you could immediately seal that upon completion of your sentence.

So what this bill does, it closes that gap. It says that if you have a felony DWI, you too will have to wait the 10 years before you can seal your record. You can’t just seal it immediately. That’s simply all it’s doing is making a felony DWI follow the same rules as a misdemeanor DWI. And with that, I’ll be happy to answer any questions.

Sen Stubblefield: All right, Committee, you’ve heard an explanation of the bill, are there any questions? Senator Hester, you’re recognized.

Sen Hester: I’m just trying to understand like I know if it’s sealed, like a potential employer couldn’t see it or a licensing institution wouldn’t see it, is that correct?

Rep Dalby: That’s fair, yes.

Sen Hester: And how long would the– like say if somebody got a felony DWI today, how long until I would be eligible to seal it?

Rep Dalby: Ten years.

Sen Hester: Okay.

Rep Dalby: I mean, that’s what this bill would say, 10 years. If you got one today and you’ve completed your sentence a year from now and this bill’s not in place, you could seal that felony DWI then.

Sen Hester: I’m for that.

Sen Stubblefield: All right, any other question from Committee members? Senator Tucker?

Sen Tucker: Thank you, Mr. Chair. So is the 10-year look-back period in place because if you get another DWI during that period then you have an enhanced penalty?

Rep Dalby: Correct.

Sen Tucker: And so if under the current law or before with a motor vehicle before the previous law was passed you could get a DWI, conceivably get that sealed, then get another one and you’ll still have the penalty of a first-time offender even though it’s actually your second?

Rep Dalby: That’s exactly right.

Sen Tucker: Okay. So that’s what you’re addressing?

Rep Dalby: We’re trying to address that loophole.

Sen Tucker: Okay. Thank you.

Sen Stubblefield: All right, any other questions from members? Is there anyone in the audience that would like to speak for or against the bill? Seeing none. Representative– we have a question from Senator Clark.

Sen Clark: Representative, I understand the reasoning behind the bill but in doing this are we treating this sealing different than we do other felonies?

Rep Dalby: No.

Sen Clark: Okay. Thank you.

Sen Stubblefield: All right seeing no other question from Committee or anyone else, Chair would entertain a motion. We have a motion. Senator Dalby, are you closed for your bill?

Rep Dalby: I am closed. And appreciate a good vote.

Sen Stubblefield: Okay. Senator Gilmore, I have a motion do pass, second from Senator Hester. All those in favor say aye. All opposed? Your bill passes, Representative Dalby.

Rep Dalby: Thank you, Mr. Chair. Thank you, members of the Committee. 

Sen Stubblefield: Senator Clark, are you– or Senator Tucker, you’re going to present House Bill 1278 today? Okay, you’re recognized to present House Bill 1278.

Sen Tucker: Thank you, Mr. Chair. And I’m going to invite Matthew Miller to sit with me at the end of the table. As most of the members are aware, the Code Revision Commission exists to clarify inconsistencies that come about as a result of multiple bills passing during the legislative session. 

They make no substantive changes to the law, only technical corrections to the law. And during the course of the interim period the Code Revision Commission will have a number of revisions that they make, again all technical corrections, and then when the session arrives there’s one bill for each title of the code which the Code Revision Commission recommends changes to. There’s going to be 20-some-odd technical corrections bills coming through the process. This is the first batch of four. There will be more, quite a few more, most likely at our next meeting but we’ll see if and when they get through the House but this is just the first batch of four.

So with that preamble, Mr. Chair, I’ll turn the Committee’s attention to House Bill 1278. This is the technical corrections to Title 4 of the code and the language in this bill just creates consistency by amending language to conform to the current usage of terminology, certificate of organization, instead of articles of organization through a law that we passed last session. And that’s really it for House Bill 1278. And I’m happy to answer any questions but that’s what Mr. Miller is here for as well because he’s well capable of answering any questions as well.

Sen Stubblefield: All right, Committee, you’ve heard an explanation of the bill, is there any question from Committee members? Anyone in the audience that wishes to speak for or against the bill? All right, seeing none. We have a motion from Senator Gilmore do pass, second from Senator Hester. Any discussion? All those in favor say aye. All opposed? The bill passes, Senator Tucker.

Sen Tucker: Thank you, Mr. Chair. Thank you, members. Next one on the agenda is House Bill 1280, which deals with the technical corrections to Title 6 of the code. In Section 1 we’re just conforming to code style to say Grade 6. In Section 2, we’re correcting the name of an entity. In Section 3, we’re adding an internal reference to another code section for clarity. And then in Sections 4 and 5, once again we’re correcting the name of an entity in the state government. That’s it for House Bill 1280.

Sen Stubblefield: All right, you’ve heard an explanation of the bill.  Any question from members? Anyone in the audience who wishes to speak for or against the bill? Seeing none. Do we have a motion? We have a motion from Senator Hester, do pass, and we have a second from Senator Tucker. Any discussion? All those in favor say aye. All opposed? Congratulations, Senator Tucker, your bill passes. 

Sen Tucker: Thank you, Mr. Chair. Thank you, members.

Sen Stubblefield: House Bill 1281. You’re recognized.

Sen Tucker: Thank you, Mr. Chair. House Bill 1281 deals with the technical corrections to Title 8 of the code. Section 1 replaces an obsolete reference to a repealed law concerning occupational licensing of veterans and their spouses to the current law that exists. Section 2 deletes a definition that’s no longer used in the law. And then Section 3 just clarifies that the report is monthly. That’s it for House Bill 1281.

Sen Stubblefield: All right, you’ve heard an explanation of the bill. Any questions from members? Anyone in the audience that wishes to speak for or against the bill? Seeing none, the Chair would entertain a motion. We have a motion do pass from Senator Tucker, second from Senator Hester. Any discussion? All those in favor of the motion say aye. All opposed? Congratulations, Senator Tucker, your bill passes. 

Sen Tucker: Thank you, Mr. Chair. Thank you, members.

Sen Stubblefield: 1282. You’re recognized, House Bill 1282.

Sen Tucker: Thank you, Mr. Chair. This is the last one for today. It deals with the technical corrections to Title 9 of the code. All it does is add an order of protection to clarify the type of petition being filed. That’s it for House Bill 1282.

Sen Stubblefield: All right. Committee, you’ve heard an explanation of the bill. Is there any questions? Anyone in the audience that wishes to speak for or against the bill? Seeing none, the Chair would entertain a motion. We have a motion from Senator McKee to do pass and a second from Senator Tucker. Any discussion? All those in favor say aye. All opposed? Congratulations, Senator Tucker, your bill passes.

Sen Tucker: Thank you, Mr. Chair. Thank you, members.

Sen Stubblefield: Seeing no other business on the agenda today we are adjourned.