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Substitute House Bill No. 5875

Public Act No. 08-67

AN ACT CONCERNING THE PROTECTION OF FAMILY VIOLENCE VICTIMS IN FAMILY RELATIONS MATTERS AND THE NOTIFICATION OF A FAMILY OR HOUSEHOLD MEMBER AFTER A MOTOR VEHICLE FATALITY.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2008) (a) In any court proceeding in a family relations matter, as defined in section 46b-1 of the general statutes, the court may, within available resources, upon motion of the attorney for any party, order that the testimony of a party or a child who is a subject of the proceeding be taken outside the physical presence of any other party if a protective order, restraining order or standing criminal restraining order has been issued on behalf of the party or child, and the other party is subject to the protective order or restraining order. Such order may provide for the use of alternative means to obtain the testimony of any party or child, including, but not limited to, the use of a secure video connection for the purpose of conducting hearings by videoconference. Such testimony may be taken in a room other than the courtroom or at another location outside the courthouse or outside the state. The court shall provide for the administration of an oath to such party or child prior to the taking of such testimony in accordance with the rules of the superior court.

(b) Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit any party's right to cross-examine a witness whose testimony is taken in a room other than the courtroom pursuant to an order under this section.

(c) An order under this section may remain in effect during the pendency of the proceedings in the family relations matter.

Sec. 2. Section 14-108a of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2008):

(a) (1) The Commissioner of Transportation shall prescribe for the Division of State Police within the Department of Public Safety and for each police department and officer and other suitable agencies or individuals a uniform investigation of accident report, in such form as the commissioner shall prescribe, which form shall be followed in filing all such reports.

[(b)] (2) In each motor vehicle accident in which any person is killed or injured or in which damage to the property of any one individual, including the operator, in excess of one thousand dollars is sustained, the police officer, agency or individual who, in the regular course of duty, investigates such accident, either at the time of or at the scene of the accident or thereafter, by interviewing the participants or witnesses, shall, within five days after completing such investigation, complete and forward one copy of such report to the Commissioner of Transportation. Such report shall call for and contain all available detailed information to disclose the location and cause of the accident, the conditions then existing, the persons and vehicles involved and the names of the insurance companies issuing their automobile liability policies, as well as the enforcement action taken. The Commissioner of Transportation shall forward to the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles one copy of each report of any accident involving a school bus. The Commissioner of Motor Vehicles may inquire into or investigate any accident reported pursuant to this subsection and may request the assistance of the Division of State Police within the Department of Public Safety for such purposes.

(b) (1) In each motor vehicle accident in which any person is killed, the police officer, agency or individual who, in the regular course of duty, investigates such accident shall use reasonable efforts to identify and notify a member of the person's family or household of the fatality as soon as practicable after the accident. Such notification shall (A) indicate that the person was killed in a motor vehicle accident, the location of the accident and the location of the person's body, and (B) on and after the date the applicable police department, agency or individual adopts a policy under subdivision (3) of this subsection, be made in accordance with such policy.

(2) Not later than October 1, 2008, the Police Officer Standards and Training Council established under section 7-294b shall establish a uniform policy for identifying and notifying a member of a person's family or household with respect to any motor vehicle accident in which a person is killed. The council shall make the uniform policy available to each police department, agency or individual required to adopt a policy pursuant to subdivision (3) of this subsection. The council shall design the uniform policy to ensure that such notification is made promptly in a manner appropriate for the identified member of the person's family or household.

(3) Not later than January 1, 2009, each police department, agency or individual that, in the regular course of duty, has responsibility for investigating motor vehicle accidents shall consider the provisions of the uniform policy established by the Police Officer Standards and Training Council pursuant to subdivision (2) of this subsection and adopt a policy for identifying and notifying a member of a person's family or household with respect to any motor vehicle accident in which a person is killed. Each such police department, agency or individual shall design its policy to ensure that such notification is made promptly in a manner appropriate for the identified member of the person's family or household.

(4) Policies established or adopted pursuant to this subsection shall not be considered regulations under section 4-166.

(5) For the purposes of this subsection, "police department" includes, but is not limited to, the Division of State Police within the Department of Public Safety.

Approved May 12, 2008