Shea noted yesterday that the General Assembly has begun its 2014 session, and she summarized one of the bills that the legislature may take up. This post notes several other significant bills under consideration.
Background. In even-numbered years, the legislature has a “short session” during which only certain matters may be considered. The most important categories of legislation that may be advanced are (1) budgetary adjustments and (2) bills that passed “crossover” in the previous session, meaning that they were approved by one chamber but not yet approved or rejected by the other. A complete explanation of the rules, and a list of all the bills that passed crossover in 2013, is here.
Bills related to criminal law. Some of the bills of interest that the General Assembly may consider are:
- H31, which would amend habitual DWI so that any prior conviction of habitual DWI, regardless of how long ago it took place, would render a new DWI a habitual DWI.
- H40, which would amend habitual DWI so that two, rather than three, previous DWI convictions are needed to trigger the offense.
- H183, which would allow public and private hospitals to conduct chemical analyses of blood or urine in DWI cases.
- H217, which would, among other things, make transfer to superior court mandatory in certain serious sex crime cases involving older juveniles.
- H888, which would authorize the Legislative Research Commission to study the criminal laws concerning the possession and distribution of prescription opiates.
- H908, which would expand the use of investigative grand juries, currently authorized only in drug trafficking cases, to certain fraud and white collar investigations.
There are a few other criminal law bills that passed crossover, but they look like pretty small potatoes.
New bills may crop up. Every short session, new bills get introduced that didn’t pass crossover the previous session and that have nothing to do with the budget. There are a variety of legislative rules that permit that. For example, a new bill may be introduced if two-thirds of the members of each chamber sign on to a joint resolution authorizing its introduction. So the list above certainly does not represent the entire universe of criminal law bills that will be considered this session. Stay tuned for future developments.