CSG Committee on Suggested State Legislation

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This Act creates an evidentiary privilege against disclosing confidential communications between veterans or members of the military and veteran mentors. The privilege may be claimed by veterans or members of the military who make the communications, their representatives under certain circumstances, or by veteran mentors. 
The Act defines veteran mentor as an individual who is a veteran, is authorized by a circuit court judge to provide assistance and advice in a veterans mentoring program, has successfully completed judicially approved training, and has completed a background information form approved by a circuit court judge. Veterans mentoring programs are programs approved by a circuit court judge to provide assistance and advice about court related matters to veterans and current members of the Armed Forces. 
 

This Act authorizes creating special zones where schools are granted the flexibility to try innovative strategies to improve school performance. The Act establishes a process to create such zones. 

Given the dire situation of many government budgets, governments at all levels are looking for innovative alternatives to provide services, maintain existing infrastructure, and finance new public works. Puerto Rico’s Public-Partnerships Act of 2009 offers a recent framework to do that. This Act authorizes all departments, agencies, public corporations, and instrumentalities, and the legislative and judicial branches of the Government of Puerto Rico to establish Public-Private Partnerships. Such partnerships couple the resources and efforts of the public sector with resources of the private sector by means of a joint investment that results in the benefit of both parties. 
This Act generally defines Public-Private Partnerships as contracts between a government entity and one or more people to delegate operations, functions, services, or responsibilities of any government entity, or to design, develop, finance, maintain or operate one or more facilities, or any combination thereof. It spells out the criteria to set up Public-Private Partnerships and defines the terms of Public-Private Partnership contracts. For example, the Act sanctions the following contract arrangements: design / build, design / build / operate, design / build / finance / operate, design / build / transfer / operate, design / build / operate / transfer, turnkey contract, long-term lease contract, surface right contract, administrative grant contract, joint venture contract, long-term administration and operation contract, and any other kind of contract that separates or combines the design, building, financing, operation or maintenance phases of a project.
 

This Act establishes a process to enable a mutual insurer to convert to a stock insurer in a manner consistent with the manner in which a mutual savings institution converts from mutual to a stock form under federal law and regulation. The purpose of the Act is to help facilitate the recapitalization of insurance industry by establishing a method of capital formation for insurers that elect to domicile in the state. 

This Act requires the state controller to contract with one or more private consultants to conduct recovery audits of state agencies for three past fiscal years. It directs the controller to provide to an auditing consultant any confidential information necessary for the conduct of an audit to the extent not prohibited by law or an agreement. It requires the controller to provide copies of all reports received from recovery audit consultants to the governor, the state auditor, and the legislative audit and joint budget committees of the legislature within 7 days of receipt, and to issue a report to the legislature summarizing the contents of all reports received from recovery audit consultants. 
The state controller may, subject to review and approval by the legislative audit and joint budget committees of the legislature, exempt a state agency from recovery audits if the state controller determines that subjecting the state agency to a recovery audit is not likely to yield significant net benefits to the state or that the state agency is already subjected to recovery audits under any federal law or regulation or state law, rule, or policy. The state controller must provide the committees with a report detailing any proposed exemptions, and the committees may veto any proposed exemption. 
The controller can make rules to establish additional specific criteria for exempting state agencies from recovery audits and retain a portion of any amount recovered due to a recovery audit in order to defray the reasonable and necessary administrative costs in contracting for and providing oversight of the recovery audit, including costs incurred by other state agencies in relation to the recovery audit. 
 

This Act defines cyberbullying and establishes prison sentences and fines for people who commit cyberbullying. 

This Act directs that certain criminal case restitution orders include restitution from the offender to the state Medical Assistance Program to pay expenses their victims charged to the program because of the offender’s crime against them. 

This Act generally defines cyberbullying as bullying by using an electronic communication device. It incorporates cyberbullying into a general definition of bullying, and it directs local school boards to adopt plans to prohibit and address bullying on school grounds and in school vehicles. 

 

This Act requires the department of natural resources and the state historic preservation agency offer to lease to any interested unit of local government, non-profit organization, or public or private college or university, the operation and maintenance of any closed state park or historic site. It provides that the leasing entity shall retain all revenues generated by such operation during the term of the lease. The bill requires the state to reimburse a leasing entity for part of improvements to a property made or paid for by the entity at the end of a lease. 

The Act defines harassment as creating a hostile environment that unreasonably and substantially interferes with a student’s educational performance, opportunities or benefits, or mental, emotional or physical well-being, or conduct, verbal threats, intimidation or abuse that reasonably causes or would reasonably be expected to cause a student to fear for their physical safety. 
The bill prohibits harassment and discrimination of students with respect to certain non-exclusive protected classes, including, but not limited to, a student’s actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender or sex. 
This Act requires school districts to adopt policies to create a school environment free from harassment and discrimination. School districts must also adopt guidelines for school training programs that raise awareness and sensitivity of school employees to these issues and enables them to respond appropriately. Schools must designate at least one staff member in each school to be trained in non-discriminatory instructional and counseling. 
 

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