HB705 (2020) Detail

(New Title) relative to the rights of victims of crime, increasing the cap on assistance for victims of crime, and establishing a committee to study the needs of crime victims and enforcement of statutes governing crime victims’ rights.


HB 705-FN - AS AMENDED BY THE HOUSE

 

8Jan2020... 2806h

5Mar2020... 0048h

2019 SESSION

19-0074

04/05

 

HOUSE BILL 705-FN

 

AN ACT relative to the rights of victims of crime, increasing the cap on assistance for victims of crime, and establishing a committee to study the needs of crime victims and enforcement of statutes governing crime victims’ rights.

 

SPONSORS: Rep. Cushing, Rock. 21; Rep. T. Smith, Hills. 17; Rep. Sykes, Graf. 13

 

COMMITTEE: Criminal Justice and Public Safety

 

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AMENDED ANALYSIS

 

This bill increases the maximum recovery for crime victims from the victims' compensation fund; establishes confidentiality procedures for information used to support restitution to the victims' compensation fund; expands the offenses covered by the crime victims' bill of rights; expands the rights available to crime victims; requires the department of justice to develop a crime victims' rights card and establish professional guidelines for victims' assistance providers; and establishes a committee on the needs of crime victims and the enforcement of crime victims' rights.

 

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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Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.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... 2806h

5Mar2020... 0048h 19-0074

04/05

 

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

 

In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Nineteen

 

AN ACT relative to the rights of victims of crime, increasing the cap on assistance for victims of crime, and establishing a committee to study the needs of crime victims and enforcement of statutes governing crime victims’ rights.

 

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

 

1  Short Title.  This act shall be known as the Crime Victims' Rights Enhancement Act of 2020.

2  New Paragraphs; Department of Justice; Office of Victim/Witness Assistance.  Amend RSA 21-M:8-b by inserting after paragraph VII the following new paragraphs:

VIII.  The office of victim/witness assistance shall develop a crime victims’ rights card that describes in clear fashion a summary of the rights of crime victims under New Hampshire victims' rights laws and other information helpful to victims of crime.  The office shall oversee the printing and the distribution of the card to first responders to provide to victims as soon as practicable.

IX.  The office of victim/witness assistance shall develop and publish a set of professional guidelines for victims' assistance providers in the state of New Hampshire.

3  Department of Justice; Claimant Eligibility and Compensation.  Amend RSA 21-M:8-h, V to read as follows:

V.  The claimant may be reimbursed for reasonable out-of-pocket expenses, medical expenses, funeral expenses, counseling expenses, rehabilitative expenses, expenses associated with the victim's participation in post-conviction proceedings and victim-offender dialogue programs or other restorative justice programs, and lost wages directly resulting from the crime.  Claimants eligible under subparagraph I(a)(4) may be reimbursed for the costs of removing the tattoo with an identifying mark.  No reimbursement shall be paid unless the claimant has incurred reimbursable expenses of at least $100.  There shall be a [$30,000] $40,000 maximum recovery per claimant per incident.  If expenses paid through the victims' assistance program fund are later covered by insurance settlements, civil suit settlements, or restitution, or through any other source, the claimant shall reimburse the fund for the amount of expenses recovered.

4  Department of Justice; Claimant Eligibility and Compensation.  Amend RSA 21-M:8-h, VIII to read as follows:

VIII.  Any person who was a victim of a crime under investigation by the cold case homicide unit as established in [New Hampshire Laws 2009, 269:1] RSA 21-M:8-m shall be eligible for victim's compensation regardless of the date of the crime.  [Compensation under this paragraph shall be limited to counseling expenses and expenses associated with the victim's participation in pre- and post-conviction proceedings incurred after the effective date of this paragraph.]

5  New Paragraph; Department of Justice; Claimant Eligibility and Compensation.  Amend RSA 21-M:8-h by inserting after paragraph XI the following new paragraph:

XII.  Notwithstanding paragraph II, any person who was a child victim of physical or sexual abuse, or any person who was a child when a parent or sibling was a victim of homicide, shall be eligible for victims compensation regardless of the date of the crime.  Compensation under this paragraph shall be limited to counseling expenses and expenses associated with the victim's participation in pre- and post-conviction proceedings incurred after the effective date of this paragraph.

6  Department of Justice; Rights of Crime Victims.  Amend RSA 21-M:8-k to read as follows:

21-M:8-k  Rights of Crime Victims.  

I.  As used in this section:

(a)  "Victim" means a person who suffers direct or threatened physical, emotional, psychological or financial harm as a result of the commission or the attempted commission of a crime.  "Victim" also includes the immediate family of any victim who is a minor or who is incompetent, or the immediate family of a homicide victim, or the surviving partner in a civil union.

(b)  "Crime" means a violation of a penal law of this state for which the offender, upon conviction, may be punished by imprisonment for more than one year or an offense expressly designated by law to be a felony; a misdemeanor sexual offense; an offense listed in RSA 173-B:1, I; a violation of a protective order under RSA 458:16, III; or after arraignment, a violation of a protective order issued under RSA 173-B.

II.  To the extent that they can be reasonably guaranteed by the courts and by law enforcement and correctional authorities, and are not inconsistent with the constitutional or statutory rights of the accused, crime victims are entitled to the following rights:

(a)  The right to be treated with fairness and respect for [their] the victim's safety, dignity, and privacy throughout the criminal justice process.

(b)  The right to be informed about the criminal justice process and how it progresses.

(c)  The right to be free from intimidation and to be reasonably protected from the accused throughout the criminal justice process, including the right to relocate for the victim's safety.

(d)  The right to [be notified of all court proceedings] reasonable and timely notice of all court proceedings, including post-conviction proceedings, and administrative proceedings including parole and probation.

(e)  The right [to attend trial and all other court proceedings the accused has the right to attend] on the same basis as the accused to attend trial and all other court proceedings, including post-conviction proceedings.

(f)  The right to confer with the prosecution and to be consulted about the disposition of the case, including plea bargaining.

(g)  The right to have inconveniences associated with participation in the criminal justice process minimized.

(h)  The right to be notified if presence in court is not required.

(i)  The right to be informed about available resources, financial assistance, and social services.

(j)  The right to full and timely restitution, as granted under RSA 651:62-67 or any other applicable state law, or victim's compensation, under RSA 21-M:8-h or any other applicable state law, for their losses.

(k)  The right to be provided a secure, but not necessarily separate, waiting area during court proceedings.

(l)  The right to be advised of case progress and final disposition.

(m)  The right of confidentiality of the victim's address, place of employment, and other personal information.

(n)  The right to the prompt return of property when no longer needed as evidence.

(o)  The right to have input in the probation presentence report impact statement.

(p)  The right to appear and [make a written or oral victim impact statement at the sentencing of the defendant or, in the case of a plea bargain, prior to any plea bargain agreement.  No victim shall be subject to questioning by counsel when giving an impact statement] be heard at any disposition and any proceeding involving the release, plea, sentencing, or parole of the accused, including the right to be notified of, to attend, and to make a written or oral impact statement at the sentence review hearings and sentence reduction hearings.  No victim shall be subject to questioning by counsel when being heard.

(q)  The right to be notified of an appeal, an explanation of the appeal process, the time, place and result of the appeal, and the right to attend the appeal hearing.

(r)  The right to be notified of, to attend, and to make a written or oral victim impact statement at the sentence review hearings and sentence reduction hearings.  No victim shall be subject to questioning by counsel when giving an impact statement.

(s)  The right to be notified of any change of status such as prison release, permanent interstate transfer, or escape, and the date of the parole board hearing, when requested by the victim [through the victim advocate].

(t)  The right to address or submit a written statement for consideration by the parole board on the defendant's release and to be notified of the decision of the board, when requested by the victim [through the victim advocate].

(u)  The right to all federal and state constitutional rights guaranteed to all victims of crime on an equal basis, and notwithstanding the provisions of any laws on capital punishment, the right not to be discriminated against or have their rights as a victim denied, diminished, expanded, or enhanced on the basis of the victim's support for, opposition to, or neutrality on the death penalty.

(v)  The right to access to restorative justice programs, including victim-initiated victim-offender dialogue programs offered through the department of corrections.

(w)  The right to be informed of the filing of a petition for post-conviction DNA testing under RSA 651-D.

(x)  The right to have the prosecuting attorney notify the victim's employer, if requested by the victim, of the necessity of the victim's cooperation and testimony in a court proceeding that may necessitate the absence of the victim from work for good cause.

II-a.(a)  In any case where the victim informs the court that he or she requires assistance in making an oral or written impact statement permitted under this section, the court shall allow the victim to designate a representative to write or speak on the victim's behalf.

(b)  The victim's impact statement shall not be limited to the injuries, harm, or damages noted in the information or indictment, but may include all injuries, harm, and damages suffered as a result of the commission or attempted commission of the crime whether or not the injuries, harm, or damages were fully determined or discovered at the time the information or indictment was filed.

III.  Nothing in this section shall be construed as creating a cause of action against the state, a county or municipality, or any of their agencies, instrumentalities, or employees.  Nothing in this section shall be construed as creating any new cause of action or new remedy or right for a criminal defendant.

IV.  The attorney general shall annually provide copies of current crime victims statutes, if available as a single publication from a commercial publisher, without charge only upon request of the members of the house criminal justice and public safety committee and senate judiciary committee.

7  Department of Justice; Restitution to the Victims' Assistance Fund.  RSA 21-M:8-l is repealed and reenacted to read as follows:

21-M:8-l  Restitution to the Victims' Assistance Fund.  

I.  Notwithstanding RSA 651:63, a court may order restitution to the victims' assistance fund as part of a sentence, to the extent that moneys were awarded to the victim of the crime from the victims' assistance fund, if the court finds that:

(a)  Restitution shall replenish the victims' assistance fund.

(b)  The victims' assistance fund has not been reimbursed for the moneys expended from another source.

II.  If restitution to the fund is ordered, the amount of assistance provided by the fund shall be established by copies of bills submitted to the victims' assistance commission reflecting the amount paid from the fund and stating that the services for which payment was made were for uninsured pecuniary losses.

III.(a)  The victim's residential address, telephone number, and other contact information, and the victim's Social Security number shall be confidential and shall be redacted by the victims' assistance commission from any document used to establish the amount paid from the fund for the purpose of restitution.

(b)  In cases involving stalking, sexual offenses, domestic violence, and homicide, in addition to the information listed in subparagraph (a), the victim's employer's name, telephone number, address, and other contact information; and the victim's medical or mental health provider's name, telephone number, address, and other contact information shall be confidential and shall not be disclosed for any purpose, absent a court order.

8  Committee on the Needs of Victims of Crime and the Enforcement of Crime Victims' Rights Established.  

I.  There is established a committee on the needs of crime victims and the enforcement of crime victims rights.  The members of the committee shall be as follows:

(a)  Five members of the house of representatives, appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives.

(b)  Two member of the senate, appointed by the senate president.

II.  The committee shall:

(a)  Review the needs and services for victims of crime, and provide recommendations concerning addressing needs and enhancing services for victims of crime.   

(b)  Review the existing mechanisms and resources for the enforcement of the rights of victims of crimes and provide recommendations on enhancing enforcement of the rights of victims' rights.

(c)  Solicit testimony and input from the victims of crime and members of the general public.

(d)  Study other matters related to the needs of victims of crime as the committee may determine.

III.  Members of the committee shall receive mileage at the legislative rate when attending to the duties of the committee.  The members of the committee shall elect a chairperson from among the members.  The first meeting of the committee shall be called by the first named house member.  The first meeting of the committee shall be held within 45 days of the effective date of this section.  Three members of the committee shall constitute a quorum.

IV.  The committee shall report its findings and any recommendations for proposed legislation to the speaker of the house of representatives, the president of the senate, the house clerk, the senate house clerk, the governor, and the state library on or before November 1, 2020.

9  Crime Victim Employment Leave Act; Right to Leave Work.  Amend RSA 275:62, I to read as follows:

I.  Pursuant to the rights of crime victims under RSA 21-M:8-k, II(e), an employer shall permit an employee who is a victim of a crime to leave work so that the employee may attend court or other legal or investigative proceedings associated with the prosecution of the crime.

10  Unemployment Compensation; Disqualification for Benefits.  Amend RSA 282-A:32, I(a)(3) to read as follows:

(3)  Pursuant to the rights of crime victims under RSA 21-M:8-k, II(c), the individual reasonably believes that separation from employment is necessary to protect himself or herself or any member of his or her immediate family from domestic abuse, as defined in RSA 173-B:1.  The existence of domestic abuse shall be verified by the department, through reasonable documentation, and the department shall keep such information confidential;

11  Effective Date.

I.  Sections 2-7 and sections 9-10 of this act shall take effect 60 days after its passage.

II.  The remainder of this act shall take effect upon its passage.

 

LBAO

19-0074

Amended 3/6/20

 

HB 705-FN- FISCAL NOTE

AS AMENDED BY THE HOUSE (AMENDMENT #2020-0048h)

 

AN ACT relative to the rights of victims of crime, increasing the cap on assistance for victims of crime, and establishing a committee to study the needs of crime victims and enforcement of statutes governing crime victims’ rights.

 

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

 

 

 

Estimated Increase / (Decrease)

STATE:

FY 2020

FY 2021

FY 2022

FY 2023

   Appropriation

$0

$0

$0

$0

   Revenue

$0

Indeterminable

Indeterminable

Indeterminable

   Expenditures

$0

Indeterminable Increase

Indeterminable Increase

Indeterminable Increase

Funding Source:

  [ X ] General            [    ] Education            [    ] Highway           [ X ] Other - Victim's Assistance Fund

 

 

 

 

 

METHODOLOGY:

This bill would amend the Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights and the Victim’s Compensation Program statutes.  The amendment to the Bill of Rights would update and clarify the language used.  The Department of Justice will be required to provide copies of current crime victim statutes to the legislature upon request.  The bill also establishes a committee on the needs of crime victims and enforcement of crime victims' rights.  The Department of Justice indicates these amendments, particularly the production of crime victim statutes, would lead to a minor increase in costs to the Department.  The bill would also increase the maximum recovery per claimant from Victim Assistance Fund from $30,000 to $40,000.  The Department of Justice administers victim claimant eligibility for certain crime related reimbursements from the Victim’s Assistance Fund.  Pursuant RSA 106-L:10, the Victim’s Assistance Fund receives 16.67% of penalty assessment funds collected.  The Department is not able to predict the amount of penalty assessment revenue or the number of cases that will be brought before the Victim’s Compensation Board.  Therefore, the overall fiscal impact is indeterminable.  Below is a five-year average of revenue received and funds paid from the fund  out at the current $30,000 cap.  Funds remaining at the end of a fiscal year are carried forward into the next fiscal year.  

 

5 Year Average SFY 2015-SFY 2019:

Revenue:                                    $715,525

Expenditures:                       $668,160

Remaining Funds Available:          $47,365

 

AGENCIES CONTACTED:

Department of Justice

 

Links

HB705 at GenCourtMobile
HB705 Discussion

Action Dates

Date Body Type
Feb. 20, 2019 House Hearing
Feb. 21, 2019 House Exec Session
Oct. 30, 2019 House Exec Session
House Floor Vote
Feb. 5, 2020 House Exec Session
Feb. 19, 2020 House Floor Vote
Feb. 20, 2020 House Floor Vote

Bill Text Revisions

HB705 Revision: 8237 Date: March 9, 2020, 1:48 p.m.
HB705 Revision: 7890 Date: Jan. 23, 2020, 3:16 p.m.
HB705 Revision: 7439 Date: Feb. 1, 2019, 1:13 p.m.

Docket

Date Status
Jan. 3, 2019 Introduced 01/03/2019 and referred to Criminal Justice and Public Safety HJ 3 P. 27
Feb. 20, 2019 Public Hearing: 02/20/2019 01:30 pm LOB 204
Feb. 21, 2019 ==TIME CHANGE== Executive Session: 02/21/2019 11:00 am LOB 204
Retained in Committee
June 26, 2019 Subcommittee Work Session: 06/26/2019 10:00 am LOB 204
Sept. 11, 2019 Subcommittee Work Session: 09/11/2019 10:00 am LOB 204
Sept. 18, 2019 ==CANCELLED== Subcommittee Work Session: 09/18/2019 10:00 am LOB 204
Sept. 24, 2019 Subcommittee Work Session: 09/24/2019 09:00 am LOB 204
Oct. 2, 2019 Subcommittee Work Session: 10/02/2019 10:00 am LOB 204
Oct. 16, 2019 Subcommittee Work Session: 10/16/2019 10:00 am LOB 204
Oct. 23, 2019 Full Committee Work Session: 10/23/2019 10:00 am LOB 204
Oct. 30, 2019 Executive Session: 10/30/2019 10:00 am LOB 202-204
Committee Report: Ought to Pass with Amendment # 2019-2806h (NT) (Vote 17-3; RC) HC 50 P. 19
Jan. 8, 2020 Amendment # 2019-2806h (NT): AA VV 01/08/2020 HJ 1 P. 79
Jan. 8, 2020 Ought to Pass with Amendment 2019-2806h (NT): MA VV 01/08/2020 HJ 1 P. 79
Jan. 8, 2020 Referred to Finance 01/08/2020 HJ 1 P. 79
Jan. 21, 2020 Division I Work Session: 01/21/2020 02:30 pm LOB 212
Feb. 5, 2020 Executive Session: 02/05/2020 10:00 am LOB 210-211
Feb. 19, 2020 Committee Report: Ought to Pass with Amendment # 2020-0048h (NT) for 02/19/2020 (Vote 21-0; RC) HC 7 P. 31
Committee Report: Ought to Pass with Amendment # 2020-0048h (Vote 21-0; RC)
Feb. 20, 2020 Special Order to regular place in next calendar (Rep. Ley): MA VV 02/20/2020
March 5, 2020 Amendment # 2020-0048h (NT): AA VV 03/05/2020
March 5, 2020 Ought to Pass with Amendment 2020-0048h (NT): MA VV 03/05/2020