HB513 (2020) Detail

(New Title) relative to allowing the use of facility dogs for therapeutic purposes in proceedings involving children or certain other persons.


HB 513 - AS AMENDED BY THE HOUSE

 

8Jan2020... 2710h

2019 SESSION

19-0219

08/05

 

HOUSE BILL 513

 

AN ACT relative to allowing the use of facility dogs for therapeutic purposes in proceedings involving children or certain other persons.

 

SPONSORS: Rep. Rogers, Merr. 28; Rep. Tanner, Sull. 9; Rep. Schultz, Merr. 18; Rep. MacKay, Merr. 14; Rep. Bartlett, Merr. 19; Rep. Lane, Merr. 12; Rep. Berrien, Rock. 18; Rep. Buchanan, Merr. 15; Sen. Chandley, Dist 11; Sen. Hennessey, Dist 5

 

COMMITTEE: Judiciary

 

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AMENDED ANALYSIS

 

This bill defines and allows the use of facility dogs in certain court proceedings involving children or certain other persons.

 

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Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.

8Jan2020... 2710h 19-0219

08/05

 

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

 

In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Nineteen

 

AN ACT relative to allowing the use of facility dogs for therapeutic purposes in proceedings involving children or certain other persons.

 

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

 

1  New Section; Facility Dogs; Victim and Witness Testimony.  Amend RSA 516 by inserting after section 7-a the following new section:

516:7-b  Facility Dogs; Victim and Witness Testimony.

I.  In this section:

(a)  "Facility dog" means a dog that has:

(1)  Graduated from a program offered by an assistance dog organization that is a member of Assistance Dogs International or a similar nonprofit organization that sets the highest standard of training for dogs for the purpose of reducing stress in a victim or witness under the age of 18, a person who has an intellectual disability, a victim of a sexual offense, or a witness to a sexual offense, by enhancing the ability of such victim or witness to speak in a judicial proceeding by providing emotional comfort in a high stress environment; and

(2)  Received training from an organization described in subparagraph (1).

(b)  "Certified handler" means a person who has received training from an organization accredited by Assistance Dogs International, the American Kennel Club, Therapy Dogs, Incorporated, or an equivalent organization which offers the person's animal for assistance purpose and has received additional training on the protocols and policies of courts, the expected roles of the person's animal assistance team, and the expected interaction so as not to interfere with the collection of evidence or the effective administration of justice.

II.  When taking the testimony of a victim or witness under the age of 18, a person who has an intellectual disability, a victim of a sexual offense, or a witness to a sexual offense, the court may allow the use of a facility dog in any proceeding involving a sexual offense, child abuse, abandonment, or neglect.  When considering whether to allow a victim or witness under the age of 18, a person who has intellectual disability, a victim of a sexual offense, or a witness to a sexual offense to testify with the assistance of a facility dog, the court shall consider the current age of the victim or witness, the age of the victim or witness when the offense occurred, the interests of the victim or witness, the rights of the parties to the litigation, and any other factor the court deems relevant to the issue of whether the victim or witness should be afforded access to a therapy or facility dog when testifying.  

III.  Subject to the New Hampshire rules of civil procedure, New Hampshire rules of evidence, or other rule of the supreme court, if requested by either party in a criminal trial or hearing and if a facility dog is available within the jurisdiction of the judicial district in which the criminal case is being adjudicated, a victim or witness under the age of 18, a person who has an intellectual disability, a victim of a sexual offense, or a witness to a sexual offense, shall be afforded the opportunity to have a facility dog accompany him or her while testifying in court.

IV.  Before the introduction of a facility dog into the courtroom and outside the presence of the jury, the party desiring to utilize a facility dog shall file a motion certifying to the court the following information:

(a)  The credentials of the facility dog;

(b)  That the facility dog is adequately insured;

(c)  That a relationship has been established between the victim or witness under the age of 18, a person who has an intellectual disability, a victim of a sexual offense, or a witness to a sexual offense, and the facility dog in anticipation of testimony; and

(d)  That the presence of the facility dog may reduce anxiety experienced by the victim or witness under the age of 18, a person who has an intellectual disability, a victim of a sexual offense, or a witness to a sexual offense, while testifying in the criminal trial or hearing.

V.(a)  If the court grants the motion under paragraph IV, the facility dog shall be accompanied by the certified handler of the facility dog to the witness stand with the witness in the absence of the jury.

(b)  The jury shall be seated subsequent to the witness and facility dog taking their places in the witness stand.

(c)  In the course of jury selection, with the court’s approval under rules of the New Hampshire rules of criminal procedure, either party may voir dire prospective jury members on whether the presence of a facility dog to assist a victim or witness under the age of 18, a person who has an intellectual disability, a victim of a sexual offense, or a witness to a sexual offense, would create undo sympathy for the child witness or in any way serve as a prejudice to the defendant.

(d)  In a criminal trial involving a jury in which the facility dog is utilized, the court shall present appropriate jury instructions that are designed to prevent prejudice for or against any party.  

2  Effective Date.  This act shall take effect upon its passage.

Links

HB513 at GenCourtMobile
HB513 Discussion

Action Dates

Date Body Type
Jan. 29, 2019 House Hearing
Feb. 26, 2019 House Exec Session
Oct. 29, 2019 House Exec Session
House Floor Vote

Bill Text Revisions

HB513 Revision: 7912 Date: Jan. 9, 2020, 11:41 a.m.
HB513 Revision: 7382 Date: Jan. 15, 2019, 11:45 a.m.

Docket

Date Status
Jan. 3, 2019 Introduced 01/03/2019 and referred to Judiciary HJ 3 P. 18
Jan. 29, 2019 Public Hearing: 01/29/2019 02:00 pm LOB 208
Feb. 26, 2019 Executive Session: 02/26/2019 02:30 pm LOB 208
Retained in Committee
June 25, 2019 Subcommittee Work Session: 06/25/2019 09:15 am LOB 208
Aug. 27, 2019 Subcommittee Work Session: 08/27/2019 10:00 am LOB 301
Sept. 24, 2019 Subcommittee Work Session: 09/24/2019 10:00 am LOB 208
Oct. 29, 2019 Executive Session: 10/29/2019 11:00 am LOB 208
Majority Committee Report: Ought to Pass with Amendment # 2019-2710h (NT) (Vote 9-7; RC) HC 50 P. 25
Minority Committee Report: Inexpedient to Legislate
Jan. 8, 2020 Amendment # 2019-2710h (NT): AA VV 01/08/2020 HJ 1 P. 130
Jan. 8, 2020 Ought to Pass with Amendment 2019-2710h (NT): MA VV 01/08/2020 HJ 1 P. 130
March 11, 2020 Introduced 03/11/2020 and Referred to Judiciary; SJ 7
June 16, 2020 Vacated from Committee and Laid on Table, MA, VV; 06/16/2020 SJ 8
June 16, 2020 No Pending Motion; 06/16/2020 SJ 8
June 16, 2020 No Pending Motion; 06/16/2020 SJ 8