Text: H.R.4419 — 114th Congress (2015-2016)All Bill Information (Except Text)

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Public Law No: 114-257 (12/14/2016)

 
[114th Congress Public Law 257]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]



[[Page 1349]]

        DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA JUDICIAL FINANCIAL TRANSPARENCY ACT

[[Page 130 STAT. 1350]]

Public Law 114-257
114th Congress

                                 An Act


 
   To update the financial disclosure requirements for judges of the 
   District of Columbia courts and to make other improvements to the 
  District of Columbia courts. <<NOTE: Dec. 14, 2016 -  [H.R. 4419]>> 

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled, <<NOTE: District of 
Columbia Judicial Financial Transparency Act.>> 
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``District of Columbia Judicial 
Financial Transparency Act''.
SEC. 2. FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE REQUIREMENTS FOR JUDGES OF DISTRICT 
                    OF COLUMBIA COURTS.

    (a) Requirements Described.--Section 11-1530, D.C. Official Code, is 
amended to read as follows:
``Sec. 11-1530. Financial statements

    ``(a) Pursuant to such rules as the Commission shall promulgate, 
each judge of the District of Columbia courts shall, within 1 year 
following the date of enactment of the District of Columbia Court 
Reorganization Act of 1970 and at least annually thereafter, file with 
the Commission a report containing the following information:
            ``(1)(A) The source, type and amount of the judge's income 
        which exceeds $200 (other than income from the United States 
        government and income referred to in subparagraph (C)) for the 
        period covered by the report.
            ``(B) The source and type of the judge's spouse's income 
        which exceeds $1,000 (other than income from the United States 
        government and income referred to in subparagraph (C)) for the 
        period covered by the report.
            ``(C) The source and type of income which consists of 
        dividends, rents, interest, and capital gains received by the 
        judge and the judge's spouse during such period which exceeds 
        $200 in amount or value, and an indication of which of the 
        following categories the amount or value of such item of income 
        is within--
                    ``(i) not more than $1,000;
                    ``(ii) greater than 1,000 but not more than $2,500;
                    ``(iii) greater than $2,500 but not more than 
                $5,000;
                    ``(iv) greater than $5,000 but not more than 
                $15,000;
                    ``(v) greater than $15,000 but not more than 
                $50,000;
                    ``(vi) greater than $50,000 but not more than 
                $100,000;
                    ``(vii) greater than $100,000 but not more than 
                $1,000,000;

[[Page 130 STAT. 1351]]

                    ``(viii) greater than $1,000,000 but not more than 
                $5,000,000; or
                    ``(ix) greater than $5,000,000.
            ``(2) The name and address of each private foundation or 
        eleemosynary institution, and of each business or professional 
        corporation, firm, or enterprise in which the judge was an 
        officer, director, proprietor, or partner during such period.
            ``(3) The identity and category of value (as set forth in 
        subsection (b)) of each liability of $10,000 or more owed by the 
        judge or by the judge and the judge's spouse jointly at any time 
        during such period.
            ``(4) The source and value of all gifts in the aggregate 
        amount or value of $250 or more from any single source received 
        by the judge during such period, except gifts from the judge's 
        spouse or any of the judge's children or parents.
            ``(5) The identity of each trust in which the judge held a 
        beneficial interest having a value of $10,000 or more at any 
        time during such period, and in the case of any trust in which 
        the judge held any beneficial interest during such period, the 
        identity, if known, of each interest in real or personal 
        property in which the trust held a beneficial interest having a 
        value of $10,000 or more at any time during such period. If the 
        judge cannot obtain the identity of the trust interest, the 
        judge shall request the trustee to report that information to 
        the Commission.
            ``(6) The identity and category of value (as set forth in 
        subsection (b)) of each interest in real or personal property 
        having a value of $10,000 or more which the judge owned at any 
        time during such period.
            ``(7) The amount or value and source of each honorarium of 
        $250 or more received by the judge and the judge's spouse during 
        such period.
            ``(8) The source and amount of all money, other than that 
        received from the United States government, received in the form 
        of an expense account or as reimbursement for expenditures from 
        any source aggregating more than $250 during such period.
            ``(9) The source and amount of all waivers or partial 
        waivers of fees or charges accepted by the judge on behalf of 
        the judge or the judge's spouse, domestic partner, or guest 
        during such period.

    ``(b) For purposes of paragraphs (3) and (6) of subsection (a), the 
categories of value set forth in this subsection are--
            ``(1) not more than $15,000;
            ``(2) greater than $15,000 but not more than $50,000;
            ``(3) greater than $50,000 but not more than $100,000;
            ``(4) greater than $100,000 but not more than $250,000;
            ``(5) greater than $250,000 but not more than $500,000;
            ``(6) greater than $500,000 but not more than $1,000,000;
            ``(7) greater than $1,000,000 but not more than $5,000,000;
            ``(8) greater than $5,000,000 but not more than $25,000,000;
            ``(9) greater than $25,000,000 but not more than 
        $50,000,000; and
            ``(10) greater than $50,000,000.

    ``(c)(1) Reports filed pursuant to this section shall, upon written 
request, and notice to the reporting judge for purposes of making

[[Page 130 STAT. 1352]]

an application to the Commission for a redaction pursuant to paragraph 
(2), be made available for public inspection and copying within a 
reasonable time after filing and during the period they are kept by the 
Commission (in accordance with rules promulgated by the Commission), and 
shall be kept by the Commission for not less than 3 years.
    ``(2) This section does not require the public availability of 
reports filed by a judge if upon application by the reporting judge, a 
finding is made by the Commission that revealing personal and sensitive 
information could endanger that judge or a family member of that judge, 
except that a report may be redacted pursuant to this paragraph only--
            ``(A) to the extent necessary to protect the individual who 
        filed the report or a family member of that individual; and
            ``(B) for as long as the danger to such individual exists.

    ``(d) The intentional failure by a judge of a District of Columbia 
court to file a report required by this section, or the filing of a 
fraudulent report, shall constitute willful misconduct in office and 
shall be grounds for removal from office under section 11-1526(a)(2).''.
    (b) Effective Date.--The amendment made by subsection (a) shall 
apply with respect to reports filed under section 11-1530, D.C. Official 
Code, that cover periods beginning during or after 2016.
SEC. 3. AUTHORITY OF PROBATE DIVISION TO USE MAGISTRATE JUDGES.

    (a) In General.--Section 11-1732(j)(5), District of Columbia 
Official Code, is amended by striking ``Family Divisions'' and inserting 
``Probate Divisions, and the Family Court,''.
    (b) Technical and Conforming Amendment.--Section 11-1732(j)(4)(A), 
District of Columbia Official Code, is amended by striking ``Family 
Division'' and inserting ``Family Court''.
SEC. 4. AUTHORITY OF DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA COURTS TO ACCEPT CERTAIN 
                    TYPES OF PAYMENTS.

    (a) In General.--Subchapter III of chapter 17 of title 11, District 
of Columbia Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:
``Sec. 11-1748. Authority of courts to accept certain types of 
                      payments

    ``(a) Definitions.--In this section, the term `electronic funds 
transfer'--
            ``(1) means a transfer of funds, other than a transaction by 
        check, draft, or similar paper instrument, that is initiated 
        through an electronic terminal, telephone, or computer or 
        magnetic tape for the purpose of ordering, instructing, or 
        authorizing a financial institution to debit or credit an 
        account; and
            ``(2) includes point of sale transfers, automated teller 
        machine transfers, direct deposit or withdrawal of funds, 
        transfers initiated by telephone, and transfers resulting from 
        debit card transactions.

    ``(b) Authority To Accept Credit Card Payments and Electronic Funds 
Transfers.--
            ``(1) In general.--The District of Columbia courts may 
        accept payment of fines, fees, escrow payments, restitution,

[[Page 130 STAT. 1353]]

         bonds, and other payments to the courts by credit card or 
        electronic funds transfer.
            ``(2) Use of vendors and third party providers.--The 
        Executive officer--
                    ``(A) may contract with a bank or credit card 
                vendor, or other third party provider, for purposes of 
                accepting payments by credit card or electronic funds 
                transfer; and
                    ``(B) shall make every effort to find the lowest 
                cost vendor for purposes of accepting such payments.
            ``(3) Responsibility for paying fees.--Under any contract 
        entered into under paragraph (2), the person making the payment 
        shall be responsible for covering any fee or charge associated 
        or imposed with respect to the method of payment.
            ``(4) Completion of payment.--If a person elects to make a 
        payment to the District of Columbia courts by a method 
        authorized under paragraph (1), the payment shall not be deemed 
        to be made until the courts receive the funds.

    ``(c) Authority To Accept Checks.--
            ``(1) In general.--The District of Columbia courts may 
        accept payment of fines, fees, escrow payments, restitution, 
        bonds, and other payments to the courts by check.
            ``(2) Use of check guarantee vendor.--The Executive 
        Officer--
                    ``(A) may contract with a check guarantee vendor for 
                purposes of accepting payments by check; and
                    ``(B) shall make every effort to find the lowest 
                cost vendor for purposes of accepting such payments.
            ``(3) Responsibility for paying fees.--Under any contract 
        entered into under paragraph (2), the person making the payment 
        by check shall be responsible for covering any fee or charge 
        associated or imposed with respect to the method of payment.

    ``(d) Liability for Non-Payment.--If a check or other method of 
payment, including payment by credit card, debit card, or charge card, 
so received is not duly paid, or is paid and subsequently charged back 
to the District of Columbia courts, the person by whom such check or 
other method of payment has been tendered shall remain liable for the 
payment, to the same extent as if such check or other method of payment 
had not been tendered.''.
    (b) Technical and Conforming Amendment.--The table of sections for 
subchapter III of chapter 17 of title 11, District of Columbia Code, is 
amended by adding at the end the following:

``11-1748. Authority of courts to accept certain types of payments.''.

SEC. 5. INCREASE IN MAXIMUM AMOUNT IN CONTROVERSY PERMITTED FOR 
                    CASES UNDER JURISDICTION OF SMALL CLAIMS AND 
                    CONCILIATION BRANCH OF SUPERIOR COURT.

    (a) In General.--Section 11-1321, District of Columbia Official 
Code, is amended by striking ``$5,000'' and inserting ``$10,000''.
    (b) Effective Date.--The amendment made by subsection (a) shall 
apply to any case filed in the Superior Court of the District of 
Columbia on or after the date of enactment of this Act.
SEC. 6. AUTHORITY TO APPROVE COMPENSATION OF ATTORNEYS IN EXCESS 
                    OF MAXIMUM AMOUNT.

    (a) In General.--

[[Page 130 STAT. 1354]]

            (1) Criminal defense appointments.--Section 11-2604(c), 
        District of Columbia Official Code, is amended by striking the 
        last sentence and inserting the following: ``Each chief judge 
        may delegate such approval authority to an active or senior 
        judge in the court in which the chief judge sits.''.
            (2) Child abuse and neglect appointments.--Section 16-
        2326.01(f), District of Columbia Official Code, is amended--
                    (A) by striking ``(f)(1)'' and inserting ``(f)'';
                    (B) by striking paragraph (2); and
                    (C) by adding at the end the following: ``Each chief 
                judge may delegate such approval authority to an active 
                or senior judge in the court in which the chief judge 
                sits.''.

    (b) Effective Date.--The amendments made by subsection (a) shall 
apply with respect to any case or proceeding initiated on or after the 
date of enactment of this Act.

    Approved December 14, 2016.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY--H.R. 4419 (S. 2966):
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

HOUSE REPORTS: No. 114-745 (Comm. on Oversight and Government Reform).
SENATE REPORTS: No. 114-359 (Comm. on Homeland Security and Governmental 
Affairs) accompanying S. 2966.
CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 162 (2016):
            Sept. 20, 22, considered and passed House.
            Nov. 29, considered and passed Senate.

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