Legislation/Bills Archives - Page 4 of 6 - DGR Legal

Amended Statute Helps Florida Process Servers

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Florida process servers have benefited from the amendment to Florida Statute § 48.03(1)(b). The statute states Florida employers must allow the service of process on an employee or face a fine. With a fine up to $1,000.00 this will have employers thinking twice about denying a process server the ability to serve an employee.

The employer can still designate a private area for the employee to be served in, reducing disruption to the work place.

Florida process servers

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Illinois Process Servers Gain Access to Gated Communities

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Illinois recently passed a bill allowing process servers access to gated communities.

Filed in February, SB 3286 moved quickly through the legislative process. The bill passed both Houses on May 21st and was sent to the Governor to be signed on June 19th.

The Illinois Association of Professional Process Servers (ILAPPS) has supported the passing of this bill throughout the process, and believe the bill will help to avoid obstruction of justice, make service of process more efficient and provide clear instructions to gated community employees and local law enforcement, all while making sure Illinois’ residents are given the right to respond to papers involving them.

Congratulations to ILAPPS and all Illinois process servers!

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Help New York Pass Legislation Protecting Process Servers

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The New York State Professional Process Servers Association (NYSPPSA) has been working diligently to gain support for the passage of Senate Bill S2599/Assembly Bill A3091-13. This bill would make assault on a process server a Class D felony. 

After a recent meeting with Raymond Bennardo, Chief of Staff for NYS Senator John Flanagan, NYSPPSA has received the official word that they will have the Senator’s full support.  Senator Skelos has directed the State Senate to put the bill on the floor for a vote and also expressed his support.

To generate even more support for the bill, NYSPPSA is asking everyone to contact their respective Assemblyperson to show support for the bill.

To find out who is your Assemblyperson and how to contact them, you can search on the New York State Assembly website.

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Florida Association of Process Servers Goes Full Steam Ahead with Legislation

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The Florida Association of Process Servers currently has two pieces of legislation pending that would change some process server rules and limit trespassing offenses.

SB620/HB627, co-sponsored by Ray Pilon and Walter “Skip” Campbell in the Senate, have a number of important changes for process servers:

  • Sheriffs shall now receive payment for each service at the same address, rather than one payment of $40 for summons or writs from the same action upon the same defendant at the same time
  • Employers who fail to comply with the rule allowing a process server to serve an employee in a designated area at the business can now be fined up to $1,000 (noncriminal violation)
  • Changes some of the language surrounding rules for serving sole proprietorships

Part of the reason attorneys still use sheriffs is their cost. Requiring sheriffs to charge for every service to individuals may encourage more attorneys to utilize private process servers.

SB912/HB1177, sponsored by Charles S. Dean, seeks to limit trespassing offenses for authorized persons attempting to serve process.  As long as entrance onto the property is necessary to serve process, a process server  will not be subject to civil liability.

More states continue to introduce legislation regarding trespassing laws, and is something the New Jersey Process Servers Association has attempted to get passed multiple times. Unfortunately we have not yet had success in New Jersey, but we’ll be rooting for Florida.

FAPPS is currently asking process servers to write letters to our Representatives and Senators in support of these bills. To help them out click https://www.fapps.org/news.asp and utilize the templates that have been provided and then mail out your letters. Let’s help FAPPS accomplish their goal!

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NYSPPSA Receives Clarification for Agencies Renewing Licenses

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NYSPPSA continues to stay on top of the DCA requirements, requesting important clarifications that garner a relatively quick response from them.

The latest clarification comes in reference to the PROCESS SERVING AGENCY ELECTRONIC DEVICE CERTIFICATION form in the renewal application, which cites 6 RCNY section 2-233b. This rule creates an option for agencies for third party contractors for electronic records, but not a mandate. However, the form states it must be filled out or the license would not be renewed.

In Larry Yellon’s letter to the DCA, he inquires about the contradiction found in the form which seems to imply agencies and not only process servers are required to have a third party contractor for their electronic records.  The DCA’s concise response acknowledges this form is not applicable to agencies unless they have entered into a contract with a third party to provide these services on behalf of their process servers.

See Larry Yellon’s Letter here: Clarification Request

See the DCA’s response here: DCA Response

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Attempts to Increase Server Assault Charges Stall

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While Illinois, Florida and California are the only states where assault on a process server is a felony, Arizona, New York and New Jersey are all other states who have tried to up the charges for assault on a process server. Both New York and New Jersey sought to increase assault on a process server to a felony while Arizona attempted to have it deemed aggravated assault.  

All three states were unsuccessful in their attempts, which shows process servers still have a way to go in gaining the protection of the law offered to many others in public service industries, such as bus drivers and UPS delivery people.  Initially when Illinois and California achieved success in their legislation the process service industry was hopeful there would be a ripple effect, with momentum pushing forward other states’ similar bills into rules.                                          

Here are the pieces of legislation which thus far have not passed:

New York

New Jersey

Arizona

  • SB 1053

In New York the assault bill is still in committee. The New Jersey bills were introduced in February 2012 and then referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee where they’ve seen no action. In Arizona the bill moved quickly through the first and second readings, but then was referred to the Senate RULES committee where it’s remained since January 17th.

We’ll keep you posted as to what happens next. Hopefully there will soon be three states where assault on a process server is a felony.

 

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New NYC Process Server Regulations and Rules Cut Down Industry

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An article in the most recent edition of the New York Professional Process Servers Association (NYSPPSA) by Director Joey Knight highlights the impact of the recent rulings and DCA involvement has had on process servers there. The article title “Decimation of an Industry” accurately sums up the staggering number of process servers who have been put out of business by the new requirements.

The following quote shows just how much the server landscape has changed for NYC process servers in the past two years:

“As of September 2011 there were 144 licensed agencies in NYC. There are currently 121 licensed agencies; of those, 56 are newly licensed agencies (within the past year or two). That means 79 agencies are no longer in business.

As of September 2011 there were 1,760 licensed individual process servers in NYC. There are currently 967; of those, 269 are newly licensed (within the past year or two). That means 1,062 process servers gave up their licenses”.  That’s a little more than 60%!

NYSPPSA’s president Larry Yellon talks about the issues process servers have faced in the wake of  DCA involvement in a latter with Counsel at the Office of New York City Council.  Among them involve:

  • Agencies with bad credit being able to get the $100,000 bond required and not having the option to get a bond to quality with the city with a “Trust Fund” as individual servers can.
  • An extreme increase in fines from the past, with some servers being fined closed to what they make in an entire year.
  • The fines faced by servers as a result of inaccurate GPS locations or the inability to even record a GPS location when there is no signal.
  • Repetitious recordkeeping caused by the need to have written log books in addition to the logs kept by the newly required third party providers.

In this blog we constantly talk about the need for active state associations, with members who participate and are aware of pending legislation. What has happened in New York should be an indicator of just how important that is. Even though the final outcome has had a serious effect on the industry and servers, it would have been even worse if there hadn’t been considerable financial backing and action on the part of NYSPPSA.

 

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How To Search For Legislation Affecting Process Service

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Being knowledgeable about ongoing legislation across the country and particularly in your state is extremely important in our industry. Without the careful attention of process servers themselves, legislation can become laws without any opposition and bills can die in the Senate or House without the proper support. With awareness of ongoing legislation comes the ability to create an impact.

But how do you know what legislation is even going on? Where do you begin? Fortunately there is a site that compiles all of the ongoing legislation across the country and is searchable by keywords: www.billtrack50.com. You can search by state or nationwide and can even exclude search terms. This comprehensive site also includes the last action date.  In order to use the service you will have to create a free account, but it is simple and well worth it.

process server legislation

To search for a particular keyword simple enter the phrase in quotes in the “contains all of” box. For example, “process server” or “sheriff”. While the sheriff search may pull up a sizable number of results, there may be pending legislation regarding service which doesn’t necessarily use the phrase “process server” or “service of process”. The site shows a brief description is its listing so you can tell whether or not it is relevant to process servers.

For state associations and those who are members, this is a great way to find bills that can be opposed by the associations or should receive association backing. For those who don’t have state associations, such a bill may be a good catalyst to starting a state association and banding together for a common cause. Either way, being informed and knowing what is coming down the pipeline that could impact the future of your profession is always useful and very critical.

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Hawaii Seeking Process Server Registration

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While there exists a wide array of server licensing and registration requirements, some states are making the move toward certifying and registering process servers. Hawaii is one of the most recent with HB 1280, proposing legislation that would create a group to look more deeply into the issues of certification and registration.

The interesting part about this bill is that it does not move immediately to implement such a system but instead looks to a number of individuals associated with the industry to provide input as to the best possible development and process. The group, which would be composed of ten members, is to include two process servers who are to be appointed to the governor. While there’s no compensation it’s a great opportunity to make sure the recommendations are influenced by those who have field experience.

Another piece of this legislation would allow the director of public safety to keep a list of all independent process servers. If passed, process servers could submit to be added to the list, provided they aren’t serving a criminal sentence or have been convicted of a crime within the past 10 years, are subject to any legal restriction such as a restraining order or are required to register as a sex offender.

The bill has passed the House as well as the first reading in Senate. It’s apparent it will be some time before Hawaii sees any type of registration requirement, but it certainly appears to be a part of the future of process servers in the Aloha State.

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Process Service Legislation in Washington

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In the interest of keeping everyone apprised of recent legislation affecting the process serving industry, we wanted to pass on some information provided by the Washington State Process Server Association (WSPSA) in their recent newsletter.

One of the most noted pieces of legislation is HB 1131, which would make assault against a process server a third degree provision. Registration with an auditor of the county where the process server lives or operates their principal place of business is required with some exceptions, such as if the process server is court appointed or is a sheriff or constable. If passed this law would only extend protection to those who have registered or who are exempt.

The bill was recently reintroduced and retained on May 13th after seeing no action since it was referred to the Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government on February 4th. Hopefully Washington will soon be another state where the law offers an increased level of protection for process servers.

Two other bills were mentioned which allow for alternate service after only two attempts: HB 1307, which was signed by the Governor on April 25th regarding sexual assault protection orders, and HB 1383 which was signed by the Governor on April 27th and involves stalking protection orders.  Both bills will become effective on July 28th.

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