SCS/HCS/HB 362 - This act modifies provisions regarding the Sunshine Law and access to public records.
This act creates the "Government Lending Transparency Act". This act requires each administering agency, as defined in the act, to report to the State Auditor not later than August 30 of each year the following information:
· The name and statutory authority for each lending program and credit support program administered by the agency;
· For the immediately preceding fiscal year, the total dollar amount of all lending for each lending program administered by the agency and the total amount of debt supported by each credit support program administered by the agency; and
· For the immediately preceding fiscal year, the reasonable estimates of the costs of likely defaults for each lending program and credit support program administered by the agency, using private sector accounting standards to evaluate the likelihood and costs of defaults.
The State Auditor is required to make an annual report compiling all of the data received from administering agencies under this act and submit it to the General Assembly not later than December 15 of each year.
Intentional or knowing failure to comply with any reporting requirement contained in this act is punishable by a fine of up to two thousand dollars.
This provision is similar to SB 605 (2021) and HB 1177 (2021).
Under this act, the Office of Child Advocate shall create a safety reporting system in which employees of the Children's Division may report information regarding the safety of those served by the Division and of the Division's employees. The identity of any individual who reports to or participates in the reporting system shall be confidential as described in the act. Any criminal act reported into the reporting system shall be disclosed by the Office to the appropriate law enforcement agency. In child abuse and neglect investigations, this act provides that nothing shall preclude the Office from releasing findings regarding the professional performance of multidisciplinary team members.
Under this act, in a municipal ordinance violation proceeding before a municipal court where the charge carries a possibility of fifteen or more days in jail or confinement, a defendant shall not be charged any fee for obtaining a police report, probable cause statement, or any relevant video.
These provisions are identical to HB 177 (2021).
A public governmental body is authorized to close records and meetings related to evacuation and lockdown procedures on property owned or leased by the body. Information submitted by software or surveillance companies that secure access to buildings of the body may also be closed.
A public governmental body is authorized to close records that are related to email addresses and telephone numbers submitted to a public governmental body by individuals or entities for the sole purpose of receiving electronic or other communications. The public body may also close records of utility usage and bill records for customers of public utilities unless the customer requests them or authorizes their release.
Finally, this act states that a request for public records to a public governmental body shall be considered withdrawn if the requester fails to remit all fees within thirty days of a request for payment of the fees by the public governmental body. If the same or a substantially similar request for records is made within six months of the expiration of the thirty day period, then the public body can request payment of fees made for the original request.
This act is similar to HB 657 (2021) and HB 2603 (2020).