House Judiciary had a lengthy discussion and many questions on HB 4540 which would authorize the appointment, qualifications, certification, authority, compensation, and training of hospital police officers and hospital police departments by licensed public and private hospitals. The bill permits hospital police officers to assist local law-enforcement agencies and provides for limitations on the civil liability of hospital police officers in certain circumstances. Discussion centered on private entities having their own law enforcement employees, liabilities, private entities accessing state training, and the “ripple effect” that this might have if other private entities seek law enforcement authority. One delegate who supported the bill pointed out that this is enabling legislation with no requirement that any hospital implement it, stating “I would be very careful if I were a hospital taking on this responsibility.” The bill passed with a request that the second reference to Finance Committee be waived.
HB 2164 was quickly passed in House Judiciary because the same bill has passed the House twice in previous sessions but was not taken up in the Senate. The purpose of this bill is to clarify that appeals to the Supreme Court are a matter of right and that every party has an opportunity to be heard and to obtain a written decision on the merits of the appeal. This codifies current court policy for civil and criminal actions. This bill does not established an Intermediate Appellate Court.
The committee ran out of time before it could take up the committee substitute for SB311, which relates to court-ordered community service. It will be taken up at the next meeting.