D.C. Law 23-153. Standby Guardian Amendment Act of 2020.

D.C. Law 23-153. Standby Guardian Amendment Act of 2020.

AN ACT

To amend Chapter 48 of Title 16 of the District of Columbia Official Code to expand the standby guardianship law to enable a parent, legal guardian, or legal custodian who is, or may be, subject to an adverse immigration action or who has been exposed to COVID-19, to make short-term plans for a child without terminating or limiting that person's parental or custodial rights.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, That this act may be cited as the "Standby Guardian Amendment Act of 2020".

Sec. 2. Chapter 48 of Title 16 of the District of Columbia Official Code is amended as follows:

Amend § 16-4801

(a) Section 16-4801 is amended as follows:

(1) Paragraph (1) is amended by striking the phrase "or who is periodically incapable of caring for the needs of a child due to the parent's incapacity or debilitation resulting from illness," and inserting the phrase "who is periodically incapable of caring for the needs of a child due to the parent's incapacity or debilitation resulting from illness, or who may be subject to an adverse immigration action," in its place.

(2) Paragraph (2) is amended by striking "ill parents" and inserting "parents who may be ill or subject to an adverse immigration action" in its place.

Amend § 16-4802

(b) Section 16-4802 is amended as follows:

(1) Paragraph (1) is redesignated as paragraph (1A).

(2) A new paragraph (1) is added to read as follows:

"(1) "Adverse immigration action" includes any of the following events:

"(A) Arrest or apprehension by any local, state, or federal law enforcement officer for an alleged violation of federal immigration law;

"(B) Arrest, detention, or custody by the Department of Homeland Security or a federal, state, or local agency authorized or acting on behalf of the Department of Homeland Security;

"(C) Departure from the United States under an order of removal, deportation, exclusion, voluntary departure, or expedited removal, or a stipulation of voluntary departure;

"(D) The denial, revocation, or delay of the issuance of a visa or transportation letter by the Department of State;

"(E) The denial, revocation, or delay of the issuance of a parole document or reentry permit by the Department of Homeland Security; or

"(F) The denial of admission or entry into the United States by the Department of Homeland Security or other local or state officer acting on behalf of the Department of Homeland Security.".

(3) A new paragraph (5A) is added to read as follows:

"(5A) "COVID-19" means the disease caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.".

(4) Paragraph (6) is amended to read as follows:

"(6) "Debilitation" means those periods when a person cannot care for that person's minor child as a result of:

"(A) A chronic condition caused by physical illness, disease, or injury from which, to a reasonable degree of probability, the designator may not recover; or

"(B) A serious medical condition caused by COVID-19.".

(5) Paragraph (8) is amended by striking the phrase ", who has been diagnosed, in writing, by a licensed clinician to suffer from a chronic condition caused by injury, disease, or illness from which, to a reasonable degree of probability, the designator may not recover." and inserting a period in its place.

(6) Paragraph (10) is amended to read as follows:

"(10) "Incapacity" means:

"(A) A chronic and substantial inability, as a result of a mental or organic impairment, to understand the nature and consequences of decisions concerning the care of a minor child, and a consequent inability to care for the minor child; or

"(B) A substantial inability, as a result of COVID-19, to understand the nature and consequences of decisions concerning the care of a minor child, and a consequent inability to care for the minor child.".

(7) Paragraph (13) is amended to read as follows:

"(13) "Triggering event" means any of the following events:

"(A) The designator is subject to an adverse immigration action; or

"(B) The designator has been diagnosed, in writing, by a licensed clinician to suffer from a chronic condition caused by injury, disease, or illness from which, to a reasonable degree of probability, the designator may not recover and the designator:

"(i) Becomes debilitated, with the designator's written acknowledgement of debilitation and consent to commencement of the standby guardianship;

"(ii) Becomes incapacitated as determined by an attending clinician; or

"(iii) Dies; or

"(C) The designator has been diagnosed, in writing, by a licensed clinician to suffer from COVID-19 and the designator:

"(i) Becomes debilitated, with the designator's written acknowledgement of debilitation and consent to commencement of the standby guardianship;

"(ii) Becomes incapacitated as determined by an attending clinician; or

"(iii) Dies.".

Amend § 16-4804

(c) Section 16-4804(a) is amended by striking the phrase "the designator's health" and inserting the phrase "the designator's health or immigration status" in its place.

Amend § 16-4805

(d) Section 16-4805 is amended as follows:

(1) Subsection (b) is amended as follows:

(A) Paragraph (3) is amended as follows:

(i) Subparagraph (B) is amended by striking the phrase "; or" and inserting a semicolon in its place.

(ii) Subparagraph (C) is amended by striking the semicolon and inserting the phrase "; or" in its place.

(iii) A new subparagraph (D) is added to read as follows:

"(D) An adverse immigration action against the designator.".

(B) Paragraph (4) is amended by striking the phrase "that the designator suffers" and inserting the phrase "that the designator experienced an adverse immigration action or suffers" in its place.

(C) A new paragraph (7A) is added to read as follows:

"(7A) If an adverse immigration action is the triggering event, documentation demonstrating that an adverse immigration action occurred;".

(2) A new subsection (d-1) is added to read as follows:

"(d-1) Except by order of the Court, no records in an action filed on or after July 31, 2019, over which the Court has jurisdiction under this section shall be open to inspection by anyone other than the parties or authorized Court staff. The Court, upon a proper showing of reasonable grounds, may furnish certified copies of the records, or portions thereof, to the parties.".

Amend § 16-4806

(e) Section 16-4806 is amended as follows:

(1) Subsection (b) is amended by striking the phrase "or dies." and inserting the phrase "dies, or is subject to an adverse immigration action." in its place.

(2) Subsection (c) is amended as follows:

(A) Paragraph (2) is amended by striking the phrase "; or" and inserting a semicolon in its place.

(B) Paragraph (3) is amended by striking the period and inserting the phrase "; or" in its place.

(C) A new paragraph (4) is added to read as follows:

"(4) The documentation demonstrating that an adverse immigration action occurred against the designator.".

(3) Subsection (l) is amended by striking the phrase "medically unable to appear" and inserting the phrase "unable to appear for medical reasons or due to an adverse immigration action" in its place.

Sec. 3. Fiscal impact statement.

The Council adopts the fiscal impact statement in the committee report as the fiscal impact statement required by section 4a of the General Legislative Procedures Act of 1975, approved October 16, 2006 (120 Stat. 2038; D.C. Official Code § 1-301.47a).

Sec. 4. Effective date.

This act shall take effect following approval by the Mayor (or in the event of veto by the Mayor, action by the Council to override the veto), a 30-day period of congressional review as provided in section 602(c)(1) of the District of Columbia Home Rule Act, approved December 24, 1973 (87 Stat. 813; D.C. Official Code § 1-206.02(c)(1)), and publication in the District of Columbia Register.