HB599 (2017) Detail

Establishing the office of ombudsman in the department of state.


HB 599-FN - AS INTRODUCED

 

 

2017 SESSION

17-0317

05/01

 

HOUSE BILL 599-FN

 

AN ACT establishing the office of ombudsman in the department of state.

 

SPONSORS: Rep. Itse, Rock. 10; Rep. Hoell, Merr. 23; Rep. Spillane, Rock. 2; Rep. Burt, Hills. 39; Rep. True, Rock. 4

 

COMMITTEE: Executive Departments and Administration

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------

 

ANALYSIS

 

This bill establishes the office of ombudsman in the department of state.

 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

 

Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.

Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]

Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.

17-0317

05/01

 

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

 

In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Seventeen

 

AN ACT establishing the office of ombudsman in the department of state.

 

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

 

1  New Subdivision; Department of State; Office of Ombudsman.  Amend RSA 5 by inserting after section 51 the following new subdivision:

OFFICE OF OMBUDSMAN

5:52  Office of Ombudsman Established.

I.  There is hereby established in the department of state an independent office of ombudsman.  The secretary of state, with the approval of the house of representatives and the senate convened in joint session, shall appoint the ombudsman who shall serve for a term of 2 years.  Any vacancy in the position shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment for the unexpired term.

II.  The ombudsman shall:

(a)  Receive and investigate criminal complaints from the public or the New Hampshire general court against officers, employees, and contractors of the government of the state of New Hampshire and its political subdivisions and refer the results of investigations to the attorney general or, at the direction of the attorney general, to the appropriate county attorney.

(b)  Execute investigations requested by the house of representatives in support of bills of address and impeachment.

(c)  Request the house of representatives to subpoena such documents as may be necessary to conduct investigations.

III.  The ombudsman shall be available no less than 2 days per week at the state house to receive complaints.

IV.  The ombudsman shall receive an honorarium at the same rate as the members of the legislature and shall receive mileage compensation at the federal rate for travel to the state house and for investigations.

2  Effective Date.  This act shall take effect 60 days after its passage.

 

LBAO

17-0317

1/20/17

 

HB 599-FN- FISCAL NOTE

AS INTRODUCED

 

AN ACT establishing the office of ombudsman in the department of state.

 

FISCAL IMPACT:      [ X ] State              [ X ] County               [    ] Local              [    ] None

 

 

 

Estimated Increase / (Decrease)

STATE:

FY 2018

FY 2019

FY 2020

FY 2021

   Appropriation

$0

$0

$0

$0

   Revenue

$0

$0

$0

$0

   Expenditures

$5,550

$5,350

$5,550

$5,350

Funding Source:

  [ X ] General            [    ] Education            [    ] Highway           [    ] Other

 

 

 

 

 

COUNTY:

 

 

 

 

   Revenue

$0

$0

$0

$0

   Expenditures

Indeterminable Increase

Indeterminable Increase

Indeterminable Increase

Indeterminable Increase

 

 

 

 

 

METHODOLOGY:

This bill would create an Office of Ombudsman in the Department of State, which would investigate criminal complaints against officers, employees, and contractors of the State and its political subdivisions and refer the results for prosecution.  The Ombudsman would be appointed by the Secretary of State with the approval of the House and Senate, shall serve for a two year term, receive mileage reimbursement and an honorarium of the same amount as received by members of the legislature.  The Secretary of State estimated the annual costs for the Office of Ombudsman would be as follows:

 

 

FY  2018

FY 2019

FY 2020

FY 2021

Ombudsman Honorarium

 $200

$0

$200

$0

Mileage (10,000 miles @ $0.535 per mile)

$5,350

$5,350

$5,350

$5,350

Totals:

$5,550

$5,350

$5,550

$5,350

 

The New Hampshire Association of Counties assumes there could be an increase in county prosecution and incarceration expenditures related to criminal investigation results referred to the county attorneys.

 

The Department of Justice public integrity unit currently receives such complaints.  Staff in the unit is limited and only able to investigate a small portion of the complaints, referring some to law enforcement as appropriate and declining action on others.  The Department assumes it would continue to receive a similar volume of complaints, and those dissatisfied with the response would turn to the Office of Ombudsman.  The Department does not anticipate a decrease in work load or financial savings to result from this bill.

 

AGENCIES CONTACTED:

Department of State, Department of Justice and New Hampshire Association of Counties

 

 

Links

HB599 at GenCourtMobile

Action Dates

Date Body Type
Jan. 31, 2017 House Hearing
Feb. 23, 2017 House Exec Session
March 8, 2017 House Floor Vote

Bill Text Revisions

HB599 Revision: 243 Date: Jan. 25, 2017, 3:04 p.m.

Docket

Date Status
Jan. 5, 2017 Introduced 01/05/2017 and referred to Executive Departments and Administration HJ 3 P. 20
Jan. 31, 2017 Public Hearing: 01/31/2017 03:00 PM LOB 306
Feb. 23, 2017 Executive Session: 02/23/2017 02:30 PM LOB 305-307
March 8, 2017 Majority Committee Report: Inexpedient to Legislate for 03/08/2017 (Vote 12-8; RC)
Minority Committee Report: Ought to Pass
March 8, 2017 Lay on Table (Rep. Packard): MA VV 03/08/2017 HJ 9 P. 116
Died on Table