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H.R. 4185 (113th): District of Columbia Courts, Public Defender Service, and Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency Act of 2014

The text of the bill below is as of Jul 14, 2014 (Passed the House).


IB

113th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 4185

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

AN ACT

To revise certain authorities of the District of Columbia courts, the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency for the District of Columbia, and the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the District of Columbia Courts, Public Defender Service, and Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency Act of 2014 .

2.

Authorities of District of Columbia Courts

(a)

Authorization To Collect Debts and Erroneous Payments From Employees

(1)

In general

Chapter 17 of title 11, District of Columbia Official Code, is amended by adding at the end of subchapter II the following new section:

11–1733.

Collection, compromise, and waiver of employee debts and erroneous payments

(a)

Collection of Debts and Erroneous Payments Made to Employees

(1)

Authority to collect

If the Executive Officer determines that an employee or former employee of the District of Columbia Courts is indebted to the District of Columbia Courts because of an erroneous payment made to or on behalf of the employee, or any other debt, the Executive Officer may collect the amount of the indebtedness in accordance with this subsection.

(2)

Timing of collection

Any debt authorized to be collected under this subsection may be collected in monthly installments or at officially established regular pay period intervals, by deduction in reasonable amounts from the current pay of the employee.

(3)

Source of deductions

Deductions described in paragraph (2) may be made from any wages, salary, compensation, remuneration for services, or other authorized pay, including but not limited to incentive pay, back pay, and lump sum leave payments, but not including retirement pay.

(4)

Limit on amount

The amount deducted with respect to an employee for any period may not exceed 20 percent of the employee’s disposable pay, except that a greater percentage may be deducted upon consent of the employee involved.

(5)

Collections after employment

If an employee's employment ends before collection of the amount of the employee’s indebtedness is completed, deductions may be made from later non-periodic government payments of any nature due the former employee, except retirement pay, and such deductions may be made without regard to the limit under paragraph (4).

(b)

Notice and Hearing Required

(1)

In general

Except as provided in paragraph (3), prior to initiating any proceedings under subsection (a) to collect any indebtedness of an individual, the Executive Officer shall provide the individual with—

(A)

a minimum of 30 days written notice, informing such individual of the nature and amount of the indebtedness determined by the District of Columbia Courts to be due, the intention of the Courts to initiate proceedings to collect the debt through deductions from pay, and an explanation of the rights of the individual under this section;

(B)

an opportunity to inspect and copy Court records relating to the debt;

(C)

an opportunity to enter into a written agreement with the Courts, under terms agreeable to the Executive Officer, to establish a schedule for the repayment of the debt; and

(D)

an opportunity for a hearing in accordance with paragraph (2) on the determination of the Courts concerning the existence or the amount of the debt, and in the case of an individual whose repayment schedule is established other than by a written agreement pursuant to subparagraph (C), concerning the terms of the repayment schedule.

(2)

Procedures for hearings

(A)

Availability of hearing upon request

A hearing under this paragraph shall be provided if the individual, on or before the fifteenth day following receipt of the notice described in paragraph (1)(A), and in accordance with such procedures as the Executive Officer may prescribe, files a petition requesting such a hearing.

(B)

Basis for hearing

Unless the hearing officer determines that the existence or the amount of the debt turns on an issue of credibility or veracity or cannot be resolved by a review of the documentary evidence, the hearing shall be on the written submissions.

(C)

Stay of collection proceedings

The timely filing of a petition for hearing shall stay the commencement of collection proceedings.

(D)

Independent officer

A hearing under this paragraph shall be conducted by an independent hearing officer appointed in accordance with regulations promulgated under subsection (e).

(E)

Deadline for decision

The hearing officer shall issue a final decision regarding the questions covered by the hearing at the earliest practicable date, but not later than 60 days after the hearing.

(3)

Exception

Paragraphs (1) and (2) shall not apply to routine intra-Courts adjustments of pay that are attributable to clerical or administrative errors or delays in processing pay documents that have occurred within the 4 pay periods preceding the adjustment and to any adjustment that amounts to $50 or less, if at the time of such adjustment, or as soon thereafter as practical, the individual is provided written notice of the nature and the amount of the adjustment and a point of contact for contesting such adjustment.

(c)

Compromise

(1)

Authority to compromise claims

The Executive Officer may—

(A)

compromise a claim to collect an indebtedness under this section if the amount involved is not more than $100,000; and

(B)

suspend or end collection action on such a claim if it appears that no person liable on the claim has the present or prospective ability to pay a significant amount of the claim or if the cost of collecting the claim is likely to be more than the amount recovered.

(2)

Effect of compromise

A compromise under this subsection is final and conclusive unless gotten by fraud, misrepresentation, presenting a false claim, or mutual mistake of fact.

(3)

No liability of official responsible for compromise

An accountable official is not liable for an amount paid or for the value of property lost or damaged if the amount or value is not recovered because of a compromise under this subsection.

(d)

Waiver of Claim

(1)

Authority to waive claims

Upon application from a person liable on a claim to collect an indebtedness under this section, the Executive Officer may, with written justification, waive the claim if collection would be—

(A)

against equity;

(B)

against good conscience; and

(C)

not in the best interests of the Courts.

(2)

Limitations on authority

The Executive Officer may not exercise the authority under this subsection to waive a claim if—

(A)

in the Executive Officer’s opinion, there exists, in connection with the claim, an indication of fraud, misrepresentation, fault, or lack of good faith on the part of the employee, former employee, or any other person having an interest in obtaining a waiver of the claim; or

(B)

the application for waiver is received in the Executive Officer’s office after the expiration of 3 years immediately following the date on which the erroneous payment was discovered or 3 years after the date of the enactment of this section, whichever is later, except if the claim involves money owed for Federal health benefits, Federal life insurance, or Federal retirement benefits.

(3)

Denial of application for waiver

A decision by the Executive Officer to deny an application for a waiver under this subsection shall be the final administrative decision of the District government.

(4)

Refund of amounts already collected against claim subsequently waived

If the Courts have been reimbursed for a claim under this section in whole or in part, and a waiver of the claim is then granted, the employee or former employee shall be entitled to a refund of the amount of the reimbursement upon application for that refund, so long as the application is received not later than 2 years after the effective date of the waiver.

(5)

Effect on accounts of Courts

In the audit and settlement of accounts of any accountable official, full credit shall be given for any amounts with respect to which collection by the Courts is waived under this subsection.

(6)

Validity of payments

An erroneous payment or debt, the collection of which is waived under this subsection, is a valid payment for all purposes.

(7)

No effect on other authorities

Nothing contained in this subsection shall be construed to affect in any way the authority under any other statute to litigate, settle, compromise, or waive any claim of the District of Columbia.

(e)

Regulations

The Executive Officer’s authority under this section shall be subject to regulations promulgated by the Joint Committee on Judicial Administration.

.

(2)

Clerical amendment

The table of contents of chapter 17 of title 11, District of Columbia Official Code, is amended by adding at the end of the items relating to subchapter II the following new item:

11–1733. Collection, compromise, and waiver of employee debts and erroneous payments.

.

(3)

Effective date

The amendments made by this subsection shall apply with respect to erroneous payments made and debts incurred before, on, or after the date of the enactment of this Act.

(b)

Authorization To Purchase Uniforms for Personnel

Section 11–1742(b), District of Columbia Official Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new sentence: Under the authority of the previous sentence, the Executive Officer may purchase uniforms to be worn by nonjudicial employees of the District of Columbia Courts whose responsibilities warrant the wearing of uniforms, so long as the cost of furnishing a uniform to an employee during a year does not exceed the amount applicable for the year under section 5901(a)(1) of title 5, United States Code (relating to the uniform allowance for employees of the Government of the United States)..

3.

Authorities of Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency

(a)

Authority To Develop and Operate Incentive Programs for Sentenced Offenders

Section 11233(b)(2)(F) of the National Capital Revitalization and Self-Government Improvement Act of 1997 (sec. 24–133(b)(2)(F), D.C. Official Code) is amended by striking sanctions and inserting sanction and incentive.

(b)

Permanent Authority To Accept Gifts

Section 11233(b)(3)(A) of such Act (sec. 24–133(b)(3)(A), D.C. Official Code) is amended to read as follows:

(A)

Authority to accept gifts

The Director may accept, solicit, and use on behalf of the Agency any monetary or nonmonetary gift, donation, bequest, or use of facilities, property, or services for the purpose of aiding or facilitating the work of the Agency.

.

(c)

Permanent Authority To Accept and Use Reimbursements From District Government

Section 11233(b)(4) of such Act (sec. 24–133(b)(4)) is amended by striking During fiscal years 2006 through 2008, the Director and inserting The Director.

4.

Authorities of Public Defender Service

(a)

Acceptance and Use of Services of Volunteers

Section 307(b) of such Act (sec. 2–1607(b), D.C. Official Code) is amended by striking the Service may accept public grants and private contributions made to assist it and inserting the Service may accept and use public grants, private contributions, and voluntary and uncompensated (gratuitous) services to assist it.

(b)

Treatment of Members of Board of Trustees as Employees of Service for Purposes of Liability

(1)

In general

Section 303(d) of such Act (sec. 2–1603(d), D.C. Official Code) is amended by striking employees of the District of Columbia and inserting employees of the Service.

(2)

Effective date

The amendment made by paragraph (1) shall take effect as if included in the enactment of the District of Columbia Courts and Justice Technical Corrections Act of 1998 ( Public Law 105–274 ).

Passed the House of Representatives July 14, 2014.

Karen L. Haas,

Clerk.