June, 2003
Legislative News
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors



Legislation Update

BOB KOCIOLEK

Following are important developments in key legislation ASHI is tracking for our membership.

Alaska HB 9 On March 27, the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee held a second hearing for HB 9 at which time they recommended that it be passed. On April 8, the Senate Finance Committee held a public hearing for HB 9. On April 22, the Senate Finance Committee held a second hearing for HB 9, at which time the Committee placed the bill on ‘hold.’ The Senate Finance Committee must hear HB 9 again before further action can be taken.  

Arkansas HB 2336 On April 1, HB 2336 was ‘re-referred’ to the Senate Committee on State Agencies & Governmental Affairs. On April 3, the Senate Committee on State Agencies & Governmental Affairs amended HB 2336 and recommended that it be passed as amended. The Committee amendment outlines certain actions that are unlawful for home inspectors to engage in, including performing a home inspection without proper certification. On April 7, the Senate passed HB 2336 by a vote of 25-2-8. On April 10, the House concurred in the Senate amendments.  

On April 16, the Governor signed HB 2336 into law. This bill is now known as Act 1328.

California SB 31 SB 31 received a public hearing on March 24 by the Senate Committee on Business and Professions. The Committee amended SB 31 and recommended it be passed as amended. On April 3, the Senate amended SB 31 so that Sec. 5, which outlined insurance requirements for home inspectors and what needed to be in a inspection report to be deemed a report by an other expert, has been omitted, and a section was added requiring a certified home inspector to conduct a home inspection with “the degree of care that a reasonably prudent certified home inspector would recognize.” SB 31 now awaits further Senate floor action.

Connecticut HB 6347 would amend current law to provide for the presale inspection of residential septic systems and to require that any inspection be conducted by a licensed home inspector, or a septic system installer or pumper. The bill was introduced on January 29 by Rep. Ruwet and was referred to the Committee on General Law.

Because the deadline to refer bills out of committee has passed and HB 6347 did not receive a committee recommendation, this bill is technically ‘dead’. However, the language from the bill could be attached to an active bill or it may once again be given an active status.

Florida SB 1902 On April 9, the Senate Committee on Regulated Industries held a public hearing for SB 1902 at which time the Committee recommended that the bill be passed.         

On April 23, SB 1902 was withdrawn from the Senate Committee on Criminal Justice and referred to the Senate Appropriations Sub-Committee on General Law. On April 28, SB 1902 was withdrawn from the Senate Appropriations Sub-Committee on General Law and placed on the ‘Special Order Calendar’. On April 30, the Senate voted to pass SB 1902 by a vote of 39-0. SB 1902 has been messaged to the House where it awaits further action.  

Indiana HB 1515 Earlier we reported that the Senate amended this bill. On April 10, the House dissented from the Senate Amendments. On April 24, the Joint Conference Committee appointed to reach a compromise between the houses on HB 1515 filed a report which stated that: “the House recedes from its dissent from all Senate amendments and that the House now concurs in all Senate amendments to the bill and that the bill be further amended.” The amendment, dealing primarily with real estate appraisers, allows for the real estate commission to charge a fee to appraisers for investigations into fraud and outlines the supervision of this fund. Also, associate home inspectors have been deleted from line 30, of Sec. 1. IC 25-1-2-2.1, leaving only licensed home inspectors to be issued a license biennially.  

On April 25, the Senate voted to accept the Conference Committee report by a vote of 43-0 and the House voted to accept the Conference Committee report by a vote of 83-4. HB 1515 will now go to the Governor where final actions will be taken.

Iowa SF 400 According to the Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, the Committee to which this bill was referred, SF 400 is dead. However, SF 400 has been re-referred to the Senate Commerce Committee so that it may be re-introduced next session.

Louisiana HB 176 As reported earlier, Louisiana introduced a legislative proposal that would amend certain provisions of the Louisiana Home Inspector Licensing Law. HB 176 was introduced on February 26 by Rep. Bruneau and referred to the House Commerce Committee. On April 22, the House Commerce Committee amended HB 176 and recommended that it be passed as amended. The Committee amendment makes some technical clarifications, defines home inspection as a written inspection of two or more components in a resale residential building, initiates that a home inspector may not advertise or solicit repairs to a home that he has inspected until after the sale of the home, and explains that a person who performs a warranty evaluation for a home is NOT performing a home inspection. HB 176 now awaits further action on the House floor.

Massachusetts H 1660 The state of Massachusetts has introduced a legislation that would modify time limits within which actions can be taken against a home inspector. Current law states that a complainant may have up to three years to take action against a home inspector. H 1660 seeks to shorten that time limit from three years to one year. H 1660 was introduced by Rep. Tobin and was referred to the House Committee on Government Regulations. A hearing has been held on the bill, but the Committee has not yet submitted a report stating whether or not they will recommend passage.

New York S 04616 New York has introduced a bill to be known as the “Home Inspection Professional Licensing Act” which would amend the New York State
Real Property Statutes.

If enacted, it would provide for the creation of a State Home Inspection Board under the Secretary of State. S 04616 outlines the duties of the board, which provides that the board adopt an examination designed to test the competency of home inspector applicants, establish standards for the training and continuing education of home inspectors and develop a code of ethics, among other duties. S 04616 would further establish the qualifications necessary for the licensure of home inspectors including the completion of high school or its equivalent, the completion of an examination designed to test the competency of the applicant, the completion of a course of not less than 96 hours in length which outlines the principle requirements of the home inspection profession and the completion of not less than 75 home inspections under to supervision of a home inspector. S 04616 also restricts home inspectors from engaging in certain activities, including but not limited to, performing, for any additional fee, any repair in a residential building and inspecting any residential building in which such inspector has a financial interest in the transfer of that property.  

S 04616 was introduced by Sen. Libous and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. However, because of the high volume of bills in the Senate Judiciary Committee, S 04616 will never receive a formal hearing. Rather, the Judiciary Committee Chair, Sen. John A. DeFrancisco, will call for a vote on the bill and it will be referred out of committee with a favorable or unfavorable recommendation. This action could occur at any time.

Tennessee HB 541 On April 2, the Judiciary Committee held a public hearing for HB 541 at which time they determined that the bill would be heard again before being referred out of committee. On Wednesday, April 9, the Judiciary Committee held another public hearing for HB 541. The House Judiciary Committee recommended that HB 541 be passed as amended.

SB 882 On April 15, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a public hearing for SB 882 at which time they recommended that it be passed as amended. On April 21, the Senate passed SB 882 by a vote of 30-0. SB 882 will now be referred to the House.

Oregon HB 2232 and HB 2326 The deadline for House committees to refer bills out of committee has passed. Therefore, these bills are technically ‘dead’. However, House committees may seek special permission from the Speaker of the House to continue working on certain bills, which remain in committee. Special permission to continue work on bills will be awarded on a bill-by-bill basis.  
State Sessions Adjourned

The following states have adjourned sine die: Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Dakota, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wyoming, Idaho, Maryland, Iowa and Montana.

North Dakota and Washington have finished their regular sessions but have called special sessions, meaning they will continue to work on bills for a predetermined time before adjourning or calling another special session.