HBA-GUM H.B. 3376 76(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 3376 By: Talton Urban Affairs 4/5/1999 Introduced BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Current law does not protect fire and police department records from a court action that requests access to personnel or investigatory files. H.B. 3376 requires a party to petition a court with specific requests for departmental file reviews. This bill also requires a judge to determine the relevance of the request, what information may be reviewed, and how that information may be used. H.B. 3376 requires a city to expunge documents from departmental investigatory files relating to entirely overturned disciplinary actions. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this bill does not expressly delegate any additional rulemaking authority to a state officer, department, agency, or institution. SECTION BY SECTION ANALYSIS SECTION 1. Amends Section 143.1214, Local Government Code, as follows: Sec. 143.1214. New title: RECORDS CONCERNING CHARGES OF MISCONDUCT AND DISCIPLINARY ACTIONS. (a) Requires the Human Resources Director, rather than the department head, to order the expunction of records of a disciplinary action from a police officer's or fire fighter's file if the action was overturned in its entirety. Deletes the prohibition of releasing the information to any agency or person from this subsection and redesignates it to Subsection (c). Requires that nothing contained herein under any circumstances may require Internal Affairs Division records to be expunged. Makes a conforming change. (b) Provides that the investigatory file be maintained whether the charge of misconduct was sustained or not. Authorizes a police or fire department (department) to release information from investigatory files under this section in the manner provided by Subsections (c) and (d). Authorizes the department to release information from the investigatory files only as set out in Subsections (c) and (d) except that the department may release the information to other law enforcement or fire departments and to the District or U.S. Attorney's office. (c) Requires the department head to forward only documents setting out discipline actually received to the personnel file maintained by the director. Makes a conforming change. (d) Prohibits a file, or any part thereof maintained pursuant to Section 143.089(g) (relating to the fire or police department's right to maintain a personnel file on a fire fighter or police officer), in cause of civil or criminal action, from being released until relevancy is judicially determined and the application for a protective order limiting the use of such file in that cause of action has been filed. Requires the director, prior to the release of a department file, to ascertain that an application for a protective order limiting the use of the record to the immediate litigation has been filed. Requires that this subsection be implemented each time such a file is sought in an action. (1) Requires the City of Houston legal department, or its designee, to be responsible for all legal representation related to the preparation, filing, and prosecution of any order required to carry out the purpose of this section. (2) Provides that nothing herein prevents the release of files to appropriate entities as provided by Subsection (b). (e) Requires that nothing in this section, with the exception of Internal Affairs Division files, be construed to prevent an officer from having access to the officer's personnel file maintained by the department. (f) Requires a supervisory intervention (SI) or policy/procedural inquiry (PPI) to be nonpunitive. Prohibits an SI or PPI from being considered as any form or manner of discipline. Provides that this section intends to correct or modify each action or behavior through positive encouragement, counseling, training, or reeducation. Provides that this section does not intend to punish or harm a police officer. Prohibits an SI or PPI from being the subject of a grievance or appeal. Requires documentation of an SI or PPI, except for departmental computer tracking information, to be retained exclusively at the divisional level in the employee's divisional file. Requires that documentation to be used for evaluating the police officer's performance during that evaluation period. Prohibits the documentation relating to an SI or PPI from being placed in the departmental file or the police officer's official file at the Human Resources Department. SECTION 2. Effective date: September 1, 1999. SECTION 3. Emergency clause.