Bill Text: NH HB331 | 2021 | Regular Session | Introduced


Bill Title: Relative to a forfeiture of personal property.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Republican 7-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2021-02-24 - Ought to Pass with Amendment 2021-0188h: Motion Adopted Voice Vote 02/24/2021 [HB331 Detail]

Download: New_Hampshire-2021-HB331-Introduced.html

HB 331-FN - AS INTRODUCED

 

 

2021 SESSION

21-0409

08/10

 

HOUSE BILL 331-FN

 

AN ACT relative to a forfeiture of personal property.

 

SPONSORS: Rep. Sylvia, Belk. 6; Rep. T. Lekas, Hills. 37; Rep. Bean, Belk. 2; Rep. Greene, Hills. 37; Rep. Aron, Sull. 7; Rep. Spillane, Rock. 2; Rep. A. Lekas, Hills. 37

 

COMMITTEE: Judiciary

 

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ANALYSIS

 

This bill limits the conditions under which seized property may be transfered to a federal agency.

 

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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.

Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]

Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.

21-0409

08/10

 

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

 

In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Twenty One

 

AN ACT relative to a forfeiture of personal property.

 

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

 

1  New Section; Forfeiture of Personal Property. Amend RSA 617 by inserting after section 12 the following new section:

617:13  Limiting Federal Forfeiture Litigation under Equitable Sharing to Seizures That Include More than $100,000 in Currency.

I. No state, county or municipal law enforcement agency or prosecuting authority may enter into an agreement to transfer or refer seized property to a federal agency directly, indirectly, by adoption, through an intergovernmental joint task force or by other means for the purposes of forfeiture litigation unless the seized property includes United States currency in excess of $100,000.

II.  All state, county or municipal law enforcement agencies shall refer seized property to the appropriate state, county or municipal prosecuting authority for forfeiture litigation under this chapter unless the seized property includes United States currency in excess of $100,000.  If seized property includes United States currency in excess of $100,000, the state, county or municipal law enforcement agency has the option but is not required to refer or transfer the seized property to a federal agency for forfeiture litigation under federal law.

III.  Nothing in paragraph I or II shall be construed to restrict state, county or municipal law enforcement agencies from collaborating with a federal agency to seize contraband or property that the law enforcement agency has probable cause to believe is the proceeds or instruments of a crime through an intergovernmental joint task force.

2 New Section; Anti-Circumvention of State Forfeiture Jurisdiction.  Amend RSA 318-B by inserting after section 17-f the following new section:

318-B:17-g  Limiting Federal Forfeiture Litigation under Equitable Sharing to Seizures That Include More than $100,000 in Currency.

I.  No state, county or municipal law enforcement agency or prosecuting authority may enter into an agreement to transfer or refer seized property to a federal agency directly, indirectly, by adoption, through an intergovernmental joint task force or by other means for the purposes of forfeiture litigation unless the seized property includes United States currency in excess of $100,000.

II.  All state, county or municipal law enforcement agencies shall refer seized property to the appropriate state, county or municipal prosecuting authority for forfeiture litigation under this chapter unless the seized property includes United States currency in excess of $100,000.  If seized property includes United States currency in excess of $100,000, the state, county or municipal law enforcement agency has the option but is not required to refer or transfer the seized property to a federal agency for forfeiture litigation under federal law.

III.  Nothing in paragraph I or II shall be construed to restrict state, county or municipal law enforcement agencies from collaborating with a federal agency to seize contraband or property that the law enforcement agency has probable cause to believe is the proceeds or instruments of a crime through an intergovernmental joint task force.

3 Effective Date.  This act shall take effect January 1, 2022.

 

LBA

21-0409

12/15/20

 

HB 331-FN- FISCAL NOTE

AS INTRODUCED

 

AN ACT relative to a forfeiture of personal property.

 

FISCAL IMPACT:      [ X ] State              [    ] County               [ X ] Local              [    ] None

 

 

 

Estimated Increase / (Decrease)

STATE:

FY 2021

FY 2022

FY 2023

FY 2024

   Appropriation

$0

$0

$0

$0

   Revenue

$0

Indeterminable

Indeterminable

Indeterminable

   Expenditures

$0

Indeterminable

Indeterminable

Indeterminable

Funding Source:

  [ X ] General            [    ] Education            [    ] Highway           [    ] Other

 

 

 

 

 

LOCAL:

 

 

 

 

   Revenue

$0

Indeterminable

Indeterminable

Indeterminable

   Expenditures

$0

Indeterminable

Indeterminable

Indeterminable

 

METHODOLOGY:

This bill limits the conditions under which seized property may be transferred to a federal agency.  The Department of Justice indicates the bill prohibits state and local law enforcement agencies from entering into agreements with the federal government to allow the federal government to take custody of property valued at less than $100,000.00 for the purposes of forfeiting that property pursuant to federal law.  In the context of drug-related crimes, the Attorney General’s Office handles all forfeiture proceedings.  This bill would increase the number of forfeiture proceedings the Attorney General’s Office must handle because state and local law enforcement would no longer be able to work with the federal government to forfeit money or property.  It is not clear how many additional forfeiture cases this bill would create.  Therefore, this bill’s fiscal impact is indeterminable.

 

The New Hampshire Municipal Association states this legislation bars state, county, and municipal law enforcement agencies from entering into agreements with federal agencies to allow the federal government to engage in “adoptive forfeiture”; the process by which the federal government brings a forfeiture case without being involved in building the case except where $100,000 in U.S. currency is involved, and unless the seizure of the property took place under the auspices of an intergovernmental joint task force.  The Association indicates the bill would, presumably, cut some portion of the incoming equitable share due to the restriction on how municipal law enforcement agency may turn over property to the federal government. The impact on county revenue and expenditures cannot be determined.

 

AGENCIES CONTACTED:

Departments of Justice, Administrative Services and New Hampshire Municipal Association

 

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