November, 2001
Legislative News
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors



Monitor Current Activities; Prepare for January Push

BOB KOCIOLEK

As we go to press, only 12 states are still technically alive for new legislation. However, the chances of any new legislation being introduced are slim to none. Therefore, most states can  anticipate new bills in the next session, generally in the first two weeks of January. That is the time to watch for the bills that died during this past year. The bottom line is not much is going on right now. That being said, there are some things to watch and report.

Action on California legislation—AB 1574
As reported earlier, AB 1574 was amended in the California Senate on September 12, and referred back to the floor for further action on September 14. For a thumbnail of the Bill, please see the September issue of the Reporter.

On September 14, the Senate passed AB 1574 on a vote of 23-9 and sent the bill back to the Assembly for concurrence. The Assembly agreed to the Senate amendments and forwarded the bill to California’s Governor for review and executive action.  

If the Governor did not take action by October 14, the bill automatically became law.
We will continue to monitor AB 1574.

Alabama
As reported in the October issue, the Alabama legislature entered a third special session on August 28. It was widely expected that SB 291, a licensing bill sponsored by Senator Barron that died in the regular session, would be revisited  and pushed through. However, we now know that SB 291 is dead until next session. It will have to be reintroduced in January to start the process over again.

Massachusetts law amended
On June 14 SB 1856 was signed, amending the Massachusetts licensing law. Chapter 17 of the Acts of 2001 modifies the effective date of existing law, postponing it until November 1, 2001, and establishes additional criteria for temporary licensure of home inspectors.  Under the legislation a temporary license may be issued to an applicant if: 1) an individual has been engaged in the practice of home inspection for not less than three years prior to the effective date in the bill, and has performed at least 100 inspections for compensation; or 2) an individual has been engaged in the practice of home inspection for not less than one year prior to the effective date and has performed at least 125 inspections for compensation. Chapter 17 also contains a termination date for temporary licenses of 90 days or whenever the applicant furnishes proof that he/she has passed an examination approved by the Board of Registration of Home Inspectors—whichever comes first.

Still alive and kicking
The following bills are still alive and bear monitoring.

Massachusetts HB 2899 is another “emergency bill”, which would amend existing Massachusetts law as it relates to the standards of practice for home inspectors. It makes changes to the section of the law relating to the Board of Home Inspectors Registration and its duties. The new language states that the board shall: 1) establish requirements for licensure and for standards of ethical conduct; 2) authorize and conduct appropriate examinations to determine qualifications; 3) grant licenses to qualified applicants; 4) establish continuing education standards; 5) establish and administer
penalties for deceptive and unsafe practices; and 6) establish technical standards for the practice of home inspections.  

On August 2, the Government Relations Committee referred the bill to the House Rules Committee  for “an investigation and study of certain House documents.” We will continue to monitor the status of the bill in case the referral has not effectively killed the legislation.

Ohio HB 29 is a licensing bill,  that would create the State Board of Home Inspectors within the Department of Commerce, and would require the licensure of home inspectors, provisional home inspectors and associate home inspectors.

HB 29 was introduced by Representative DePiero, on January 31, and was referred to the House Committee on Labor.  The lead author (Rep. DePiero) has testified in support of the bill, but no further action was taken. Ohio’s legislative floor period has come to an end, although HB 29 is still alive.  It is awaiting action in the House Labor Committee and will carry over into the next floor period, which is expected to begin in January 2002.

South Carolina SB 237 is a licensing bill that would require home inspectors to become licensed by the South Carolina Residential Builders Commission. Introduced by Senator Leatherman on February 1, it was referred to the Senate Committee on Labor, Commerce and Industry.  The South Carolina Legislature’s floor period has come to an end; however, SB 237 is still alive. The bill is awaiting further action in Committee and will carry over into the next floor period, which is expected to begin in January 2002.