Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

 

Substitute Bill No. 5366

    February Session, 2016

 

*_____HB05366JUD___031416____*

AN ACT CONCERNING COURT OPERATIONS.

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

Section 1. Subsection (k) of section 17a-112 of the 2016 supplement to the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(k) Except in the case where termination of parental rights is based on consent, in determining whether to terminate parental rights under this section, the court shall consider and shall make written findings regarding: (1) The timeliness, nature and extent of services offered, provided and made available to the parent and the child by an agency to facilitate the reunion of the child with the parent; (2) whether the Department of Children and Families has made reasonable efforts to reunite the family pursuant to the federal [Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980, as amended] Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997, as amended from time to time; (3) the terms of any applicable court order entered into and agreed upon by any individual or agency and the parent, and the extent to which all parties have fulfilled their obligations under such order; (4) the feelings and emotional ties of the child with respect to the child's parents, any guardian of such child's person and any person who has exercised physical care, custody or control of the child for at least one year and with whom the child has developed significant emotional ties; (5) the age of the child; (6) the efforts the parent has made to adjust such parent's circumstances, conduct, or conditions to make it in the best interest of the child to return such child home in the foreseeable future, including, but not limited to, (A) the extent to which the parent has maintained contact with the child as part of an effort to reunite the child with the parent, provided the court may give weight to incidental visitations, communications or contributions, and (B) the maintenance of regular contact or communication with the guardian or other custodian of the child; and (7) the extent to which a parent has been prevented from maintaining a meaningful relationship with the child by the unreasonable act or conduct of the other parent of the child, or the unreasonable act of any other person or by the economic circumstances of the parent.

Sec. 2. Subsection (o) of section 17a-112 of the 2016 supplement to the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(o) In the case where termination of parental rights is granted, the guardian of the person or statutory parent shall report to the court not later than thirty days after the date judgment is entered on a case plan, as defined by the federal [Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980] Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997, as amended from time to time, for the child which shall include measurable objectives and time schedules. At least every three months thereafter, such guardian or statutory parent shall make a report to the court on the progress made on implementation of the plan. The court may convene a hearing upon the filing of a report and shall convene and conduct a permanency hearing pursuant to subsection (k) of section 46b-129 for the purpose of reviewing the permanency plan for the child [no] not more than twelve months from the date judgment is entered or from the date of the last permanency hearing held pursuant to subsection (k) of section 46b-129, whichever is earlier, and at least once a year thereafter while the child remains in the custody of the Commissioner of Children and Families. For children where the commissioner has determined that adoption is appropriate, the report on the implementation of the plan shall include a description of the reasonable efforts the department is taking to promote and expedite the adoptive placement and to finalize the adoption of the child, including documentation of child specific recruitment efforts. At such hearing, the court shall determine whether the department has made reasonable efforts to achieve the permanency plan. If the court determines that the department has not made reasonable efforts to place a child in an adoptive placement or that reasonable efforts have not resulted in the placement of the child, the court may order the Department of Children and Families, within available appropriations, to contract with a child-placing agency to arrange for the adoption of the child. The department, as statutory parent, shall continue to provide care and services for the child while a child-placing agency is arranging for the adoption of the child.

Sec. 3. Subsections (a) and (b) of section 46b-15 of the general statutes are repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2016):

(a) Any family or household member, as defined in section 46b-38a, who has been subjected to a continuous threat of present physical pain or physical injury, stalking or a pattern of threatening, including, but not limited to, a pattern of threatening, as described in section 53a-62, by another family or household member may make an application to the Superior Court for relief under this section. If the applicant is under eighteen years of age, the application shall be made on the applicant's behalf by a parent or guardian or a responsible adult as next friend.

(b) The application form shall allow the applicant, at the applicant's option, to indicate whether the respondent holds a permit to carry a pistol or revolver or possesses one or more firearms or ammunition. The application shall be accompanied by an affidavit made under oath which includes a brief statement of the conditions from which relief is sought. Such affidavit shall be made personally by the applicant, except that if the applicant is under eighteen years of age, or otherwise incompetent, such affidavit may be made on the applicant's behalf by a parent, guardian or a responsible adult as next friend who has personal knowledge of the conditions from which relief is sought. Upon receipt of the application the court shall order that a hearing on the application be held not later than fourteen days from the date of the order. The court, in its discretion, may make such orders as it deems appropriate for the protection of the applicant and such dependent children or other persons as the court sees fit. In making such orders ex parte, the court, in its discretion, may consider relevant court records if the records are available to the public from a clerk of the Superior Court or on the Judicial Branch's Internet web site. In addition, at the time of the hearing, the court, in its discretion, may also consider a report prepared by the family services unit of the Judicial Branch that may include, as available: Any existing or prior orders of protection obtained from the protection order registry; information on any pending or past criminal case in which the respondent was charged with or convicted of a violent crime; any outstanding arrest warrant for the respondent; and the respondent's level of risk based on a risk assessment tool utilized by the Court Support Services Division. The report may also include information pertaining to any pending or disposed family matters case involving the applicant and respondent. Any report provided by the Court Support Services Division to the court shall also be provided to the applicant and respondent. Such orders may include temporary child custody or visitation rights, and such relief may include, but is not limited to, an order enjoining the respondent from (1) imposing any restraint upon the person or liberty of the applicant; (2) threatening, harassing, assaulting, molesting, sexually assaulting or attacking the applicant; or (3) entering the family dwelling or the dwelling of the applicant. Such order may include provisions necessary to protect any animal owned or kept by the applicant including, but not limited to, an order enjoining the respondent from injuring or threatening to injure such animal. If an applicant alleges an immediate and present physical danger to the applicant, the court may issue an ex parte order granting such relief as it deems appropriate. If a postponement of a hearing on the application is requested by either party and granted, the ex parte order shall not be continued except upon agreement of the parties or by order of the court for good cause shown. If a hearing on the application is scheduled or an ex parte order is granted and the court is closed on the scheduled hearing date, the hearing shall be held on the next day the court is open and any such ex parte order shall remain in effect until the date of such hearing. If the applicant is under eighteen years of age, a parent, guardian or responsible adult who brings the application as next friend of the applicant may not speak on the applicant's behalf at such hearing unless there is good cause shown as to why the applicant is unable to speak on his or her own behalf. If a respondent is under eighteen years of age and appears for such hearing without a parent or guardian, the court may appoint a responsible adult as next friend. As used in this subsection "violent crime" includes: (A) An incident resulting in physical harm, bodily injury or assault; (B) an act of threatened violence that constitutes fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury or assault, including, but not limited to, stalking or a pattern of threatening; (C) verbal abuse or argument if there is a present danger and likelihood that physical violence will occur; and (D) cruelty to animals as set forth in section 53-247.

Sec. 4. Subsections (a) and (b) of section 46b-16a of the general statutes are repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2016):

(a) Any person who has been the victim of sexual abuse, sexual assault or stalking, as described in sections 53a-181c, 53a-181d and 53a-181e, may make an application to the Superior Court for relief under this section, provided such person has not obtained any other court order of protection arising out of such abuse, assault or stalking and does not qualify to seek relief under section 46b-15, as amended by this act. If the applicant is under eighteen years of age, the application shall be made on the applicant's behalf by a parent or guardian or a responsible adult as next friend.

(b) The application shall be accompanied by an affidavit made by the applicant under oath that includes a statement of the specific facts that form the basis for relief. Such affidavit shall be made personally by the applicant, except that if the applicant is under eighteen years of age, or otherwise incompetent, such affidavit may be made on the applicant's behalf by a parent, guardian or a responsible adult as next friend who has personal knowledge of the conditions from which relief is sought. Upon receipt of the application, if the allegations set forth in the affidavit meet the requirements of subsection (a) of this section, the court shall schedule a hearing not later than fourteen days from the date of the application. If a postponement of a hearing on the application is requested by either party, no ex parte order shall be continued except upon agreement of the parties or by order of the court for good cause shown. If the court is closed on the scheduled hearing date, the hearing shall be held on the next day the court is open and any ex parte order that was issued shall remain in effect until the date of such hearing. If the applicant is under eighteen years of age, a parent, guardian or responsible adult who brings the application as next friend of the applicant may not speak on the applicant's behalf at such hearing unless there is good cause shown as to why the applicant is unable to speak on his or her own behalf. If a respondent is under eighteen years of age and appears for such hearing without a parent or guardian, the court may appoint a responsible adult as next friend. If the court finds that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the respondent has committed acts constituting grounds for issuance of an order under this section and will continue to commit such acts or acts designed to intimidate or retaliate against the applicant, the court, in its discretion, may make such orders as it deems appropriate for the protection of the applicant. If the court finds that there are reasonable grounds to believe that an imminent danger exists to the applicant, the court may issue an ex parte order granting such relief as it deems appropriate. In making such orders, the court, in its discretion, may consider relevant court records if the records are available to the public from a clerk of the Superior Court or on the Judicial Branch's Internet web site. Such orders may include, but are not limited to, an order enjoining the respondent from: (1) Imposing any restraint upon the person or liberty of the applicant; (2) threatening, harassing, assaulting, molesting, sexually assaulting or attacking the applicant; and (3) entering the dwelling of the applicant.

Sec. 5. Section 52-148d of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(a) All witnesses or parties giving depositions shall be cautioned to speak the whole truth and be carefully examined, and shall subscribe their depositions, and make oath before the authority taking the depositions.

(b) The authority taking a deposition shall: (1) Attest the subscribing of the deposition and oath of the person deposed, (2) certify whether each adverse party or his agent was present and notified, (3) certify the reason for taking the deposition, and (4) seal the deposition and direct it to the court where it is to be used and deliver it, if requested, to the party at whose request it was taken.

(c) The party on whose behalf the deposition of an adverse party is taken shall be subject to having his deposition taken on behalf of such adverse party. The party on whose behalf a deposition is taken shall [at his expense provide a copy of the deposition to each adverse party] bear the cost of the original transcript, and any permanent electronic record including audio or videotape. Any party or the deponent may obtain a copy of the deposition transcript and permanent electronic record including audio or videotape at his or her own expense, except that in proceedings before the Workers' Compensation Commission, the party on whose behalf a deposition is taken shall, at such party's expense, provide a copy of the deposition to each adverse party.

Sec. 6. Subsection (f) of section 52-259 of the 2016 supplement to the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2016):

(f) There shall be paid to the clerk of the Superior Court for [receiving and filing an assessment of damages by appraisers of land taken for public use or] the appointment of a commissioner of the Superior Court, two dollars; for recording the commission and oath of a notary public or certifying under seal to the official character of any magistrate, ten dollars; for issuing a certificate that an attorney is in good standing, ten dollars; for certifying under seal, two dollars; for exemplifying, twenty dollars; for making all necessary records and certificates of naturalization, the fees allowed under the provisions of the United States statutes for such services; and for making copies, one dollar per page. Any fee set forth in this subsection shall be payable in accordance with subsection (m) of this section.

Sec. 7. Subsection (j) of section 45a-717 of the 2016 supplement to the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(j) In the case where termination of parental rights is granted, the guardian of the person or statutory parent shall report to the court within thirty days of the date judgment is entered on a case plan, as defined by the federal [Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980] Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997, as amended from time to time, for the child. At least every three months thereafter, such guardian or statutory parent shall make a report to the court on the implementation of the plan. The court may convene a hearing upon the filing of a report and shall convene a hearing for the purpose of reviewing the plan no more than twelve months from the date judgment is entered or from the date of the last permanency hearing held pursuant to subsection (k) of section 46b-129 if the child or youth is in the care and custody of the Commissioner of Children and Families, whichever is earlier, and at least once a year thereafter until such time as any proposed adoption plan has become finalized. If the Commissioner of Children and Families is the statutory parent for the child, at such a hearing the court shall determine whether the department has made reasonable efforts to achieve the permanency plan. In the case where termination of parental rights is granted, the guardian of the person or statutory parent shall obtain the approval of the court prior to placing the child or youth for adoption outside the state. Before ordering or approving such placement, the court shall make findings concerning compliance with the provisions of section 17a-175. Such findings shall include, but not be limited to: (1) A finding that the state has received notice in writing from the receiving state, in accordance with subsection (d) of Article III of section 17a-175, indicating that the proposed placement does not appear contrary to the interests of the child, (2) the court has reviewed such notice, (3) whether or not an interstate compact study or other home study has been completed by the receiving state, and (4) if such a study has been completed, whether the conclusions reached by the receiving state as a result of such study support the placement.

Sec. 8. Subdivision (1) of subsection (o) of section 21 of public act 13-239 is amended to read as follows (Effective from passage):

(1) Alterations, renovations and improvements to buildings and grounds at state-owned and maintained facilities, not exceeding $7,500,000, provided not more than $4,500,000 shall be used for repairs, improvements and acquisitions for a juvenile court in Waterford;

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Section 1

from passage

17a-112(k)

Sec. 2

from passage

17a-112(o)

Sec. 3

October 1, 2016

46b-15(a) and (b)

Sec. 4

October 1, 2016

46b-16a(a) and (b)

Sec. 5

from passage

52-148d

Sec. 6

October 1, 2016

52-259(f)

Sec. 7

from passage

45a-717(j)

Sec. 8

from passage

PA 13-239, Sec. 21(o)(1)

JUD

Joint Favorable Subst.