senate Bill S3567

2011-2012 Legislative Session

Requires state officer investigating a subordinate to issue, to such subordinate, a copy of any subpoena duces tecum issued to a party who is not a state employee

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Archive: Last Bill Status - In Committee


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor

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Assembly Actions - Lowercase
Senate Actions - UPPERCASE
Jan 04, 2012 referred to investigations and government operations
Feb 25, 2011 referred to investigations and government operations

S3567 - Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A4300
Current Committee:
Law Section:
Public Officers Law
Laws Affected:
Amd §61, Pub Off L
Versions Introduced in 2009-2010 Legislative Session:
S6077A, A9092

S3567 - Bill Texts

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Requires a state officer investigating a subordinate to issue, to such subordinate, a copy of any subpoena duces tecum issued to a party who is not a state officer or employee in connection with such investigation.

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BILL NUMBER:S3567

TITLE OF BILL:
An act
to amend the public officers law, in relation to investigation of state
officers and employees

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL:
Establishes procedure for the issuance of a subpoena duces tecum by a
state officer in an investigation of a state employee

SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:
§ 61. Investigations by state officers. Every state officer, in any
proceeding held before him or her, or in any investigation held by
him or her for the purpose of making inquiry as to the official
conduct of any subordinate officer or employee, shall have the power
to issue subpoenas for and require the attendance of witnesses and
the production of all books and papers relating to any matter under
inquiry. All such subpoenas shall be issued under the hand and seal
of the state officer holding such proceeding. A subpoena issued under
this section shall be regulated by the civil practice law and rules.
The testimony of witnesses in any such proceeding shall be under oath
and the state officer instituting the proceeding shall have power to
administer oaths. In the case of state boards or commissions, any
member of the same, or, when duly authorized by resolution, the
secretary of such board or commission, shall have power to issue
subpoenas and administer oaths for the purposes of this section. A
subpoena duces tecum issued by the state officer instituting the
proceeding to a party other than a state officer or employee shall be
accompanied by a court order unless the state officer issuing the
subpoena serves a copy of the subpoena
on the officer or employee who is the subject of the investigation at
least seven days prior to the date when the subpoena requires the
production of books or papers.

JUSTIFICATION:
A State officer conducting an investigation of a subordinate has the
unchecked power to unilaterally issue a subpoena requiring the
production of documents, even those unrelated to the subject's
official duties. As a result there are often cases, when the personal
documents of state employees are subpoenaed including phone bills or
bank accounts. This constitutes an unwarranted invasion of privacy
when the subject of such an investigation is not even given notice
that his or her private records have been disclosed. It further
deprives state employees of any due process. as state officers are
not required to show cause for such subpoenas. This is a unique power
that is unparalleled in any other employer-employee relationship.

Public Officers Law Section 61, which grants state officers this
subpoena power, is too broad and fails to provide reasonable checks
on the authority of state officers. It should be amended to add due

process without unduly limiting the ability to conduct an
investigation. This can be accomplished by requiring that a State
officer who issues a subpoena in the investigation of an employee
either obtain a court order or give the employee at least seven days
notice. The notice gives an employee time to object if he or she
feels the subpoena is unjustified and invades privacy. In cases where
the notice is not feasible the officer
has the option to obtain a court order by showing a judge
sufficient reason why it is warranted.

Enacting these modest constraints on the subpoena powers of state
officers will rightfully ensure that the privacy and due process of
state employees is protected without improperly inhibiting an
investigation.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
2010: A.9092/S.6077-A; Held in Senate Investigations and Government
Operations Committee

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS:
None to the state.

EFFECTIVE DATE:
This act shall take effect immediately.

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                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                  3567

                       2011-2012 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                            February 25, 2011
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sen.  ADAMS  -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
  printed to be committed to the Committee on Investigations and Govern-
  ment Operations

AN ACT to amend the public officers law, in relation to investigation of
  state officers and employees

  THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND  ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section  1. Section 61 of the public officers law, as amended by chap-
ter 310 of the laws of 1962, is amended to read as follows:
  S 61. Investigations by state officers. Every state  officer,  in  any
proceeding  held  before him OR HER, or in any investigation held by him
OR HER for the purpose of making inquiry as to the official  conduct  of
any  subordinate  officer  or  employee,  shall  have the power to issue
subpoenas for and require the attendance of witnesses and the production
of all books and papers relating to any matter under inquiry.  All  such
subpoenas  shall  be issued under the hand and seal of the state officer
holding such proceeding. A subpoena issued under this section  shall  be
regulated  by  the  civil  practice  law  and  rules.  The  testimony of
witnesses in any such proceeding shall be under oath and the state offi-
cer instituting the proceeding shall have power to administer oaths.  In
THE  case  of  state  boards or commissions, any member of the same, or,
when duly authorized by resolution,  the  secretary  of  such  board  or
commission, shall have power to issue subpoenas and administer oaths for
the purposes of this section. A SUBPOENA DUCES TECUM ISSUED BY THE STATE
OFFICER INSTITUTING THE PROCEEDING TO A PARTY OTHER THAN A STATE OFFICER
OR  EMPLOYEE  IN  CONNECTION WITH AN INVESTIGATION OF A STATE OFFICER OR
EMPLOYEE SHALL BE ACCOMPANIED BY A COURT ORDER UNLESS THE STATE  OFFICER
ISSUING  THE  SUBPOENA  SERVES  A COPY OF THE SUBPOENA ON THE OFFICER OR
EMPLOYEE WHO IS THE SUBJECT OF THE INVESTIGATION  AT  LEAST  SEVEN  DAYS
PRIOR  TO THE DATE WHEN THE SUBPOENA REQUIRES THE PRODUCTION OF BOOKS OR
PAPERS.
  S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD03949-01-1

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