For a residential eviction action filed in county court, the act:
- Requires the court to allow either party or any witness to choose to appear in person or remotely at any return, conference, hearing, trial, or other court proceeding and to allow either party to change their designation until up to 48 hours before the proceeding;
- Authorizes a pro se defendant to file an answer to a summons electronically through an e-filing system; and authorizes either party, if the party is pro se, to file a motion or other documents electronically through an e-filing system;
- Prohibits the court from assessing an e-filing fee or service fee on a motion to waive filing fees, or from assessing an e-filing fee, service fee, or any other fee associated with the electronic filing or e-mailing of motions, answers, or documents for an indigent party; and
- Requires the court to comply with federal and state law or regulations, including state supreme court directive or policy, regarding accommodations for people with a disability or for people with limited English proficiency.
If a party is appearing remotely and is disconnected, the act requires the court to make all reasonable efforts to contact the party and allow reasonable time for the party to reestablish connection. If the party is unable to reestablish connection, the act requires the court to reschedule the hearing for the first available in-person date after the date of the originally scheduled hearing, but no later than one week after the originally scheduled hearing, to the extent practicable. The act prohibits the court from entering a default judgment if a party is unable to participate remotely due to a technological disconnection or failure.
The act requires the complaint to include a designation of whether the plaintiff elects to participate in any hearing in person or remotely and a box indicating if the eviction is for a residential or commercial tenancy.
The act requires the summons to include a statement in bold-faced type notifying the defendant that either party has a right to appear in person or remotely, include a place for the defendant to indicate whether the defendant will appear in person or remotely, and provide information for how a pro se party can file documents related to the case.
The act appropriates $418,118 from the general fund and the judicial department information technology cash fund to the judicial department for trial court programs, capital outlay, and information technology infrastructure.
APPROVED by Governor June 7, 2023
EFFECTIVE January 1, 2024
NOTE: This act was passed without a safety clause.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as enacted.)