May, 2004
Legislative News
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors



Updates on Key Bills

BOB KOCIOLEK

California SB 31 is a certification bill. February 5, it was placed on inactive file status at the request of Assembly Member Chan. March 8, a motion was made to remove it from inactive file status, and it was amended by the Assembly March 12. The amendment deleted all home inspector
language.

AB 2142 As previously reported, this bill would change the provision that a home inspector or home inspector company may not perform, for an additional fee, any repairs to a structure on which the inspector, or the inspector’s company, has prepared a home inspection report in the past 12 months. March 31, the author of AB 2142 amended the bill to include the provision that the consumer is entitled to seek a second opinion or have another contractor make the repairs identified in the home inspection report. The bill was then re-referred to the Business and Professions Committee. AB 2142 was on the agenda for the House Business and Professions Committee’s April 13 meeting.

AB 1976 would amend the existing law that regulates persons who perform home inspections. The bill makes a technical change to the law by adding the word “any” in reference to energy efficiency items. The bill was referred to the House Business and Professions Committee. March 25, AB 1976 was amended and re-referred to the House Business and Professions Committee. The amendment deletes all language from the original bill. The bill now requires the Contractor’s State License Board to develop an examination and licensure process for a home inspector. The bill would prohibit anyone who does not obtain a license from performing a home inspection. The bill would make a violation of requirements pertaining to home inspectors a misdemeanor. AB 1976 was on the agenda for the House Business and Professions Committee’s April 13 meeting.

Florida S 2016 and its companion H 0979 are previously reported licensing bills. March 17, S 2016 was reported favorably out of the Senate Regulated Industries Committee by a vote of 12-0. The bill was then referred to the Senate Finance and Taxation Committee. March 25, the Senate Finance and Taxation Committee amended S 2016 to exclude master septic contractors and energy auditors from provisions in the bill. The amended version of S 2016 was reported favorably out of the committee by a vote of 4-0, and referred to the Appropriation Subcommittee on General Government.

H 0979 was assigned to the House Business Regulation Committee. March 22, the House Business Regulation Subcommittee on Trades, Professions, and Regulated Business held a workshop on the bill. Then, it was placed on the agenda for the March 29 meeting of the Subcommittee on Trades, Professions, and Regulated Business. March 29, it was reported favorably out of the House subcommittee on Trades, Professions, and Regulated Business with an amendment by a vote of 11-0. The bill is now in the House Business Regulation Committee.

Kentucky SB 34 was referred to the House Labor and Industry Committee on March 1. March 9, it was reported favorably out of the House Labor and Industry Committee with an amendment. The House amendment revised the Board of Home Inspectors to require two members to be licensed home inspectors or owners or managers of a home inspection company. The bill then was sent to the House floor for a first reading, where a floor amendment was filed on March 19 changing the grandfathering provisions to include a real estate agent who has been licensed for at least 20 years. March 23, a second floor amendment changed the title of the bill to “An Act Relating to Licensing.” It received a third reading where the first floor amendment was rejected. The House passed SB 34 by a vote of 63-32. March 26, the Senate received SB 34 from the House and passed the House version by a vote of 36-0. It was sent to the governor for his consideration.

Maryland HB 883 is officially dead. As previously reported, it was to authorize the State Commission of Real Estate Appraisers and Home Inspectors to suspend or revoke a license or assess a civil monetary penalty not exceeding $5,000 against a home inspec-tor licensee or applicant for violating the law. March 23, it received an unfavorable recommendation from the House Economic Matters Committee.
Massachusetts S 396 amends current law by permitting the completion of a home inspec-tion course to count as 25 home inspections. S 396 was combined with other bills in the Government Regulations Committee to form a study order on March 24. These bills will now be referred to as S 2289. A study order allows a Committee to further review bills.   

S 415 amends a liability clause for home inspectors. It seeks to allow civil/criminal action to be taken only within one year from the date of the home inspector’s report. Current law allows three years. It was referred to the Senate Steering and Policy Committee on March 3.

H 1660 would modify time limits within which actions can be taken against a home inspector from three years to one year. March 3, it was referred to the Senate Steering and Policy Committee.

H 3645 is a bill regarding the commencement of actions for filing complaints with the Board of Registration of Home Inspectors concerning home inspections. March 3, it was referred to the Senate Steering and Policy Committee.

Minnesota SF 2442 would establish a voluntary home inspector certification program. March 22, the Senate Commerce Committee held a meeting with SF 2442 on their agenda.

SF 2248 also is entitled the “Homeowners Protection Act.” It establishes residential home building contractor regulations. Included in the bill is a requirement for building code enforcement reporting and continuing education. SF 2248 also was referred to the Senate Commerce Committee and placed on its  agenda for the committee’s March 22 meeting. It was amended by the Commerce Committee March 24, and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. SF2248 now requires the commissioner to create a Web page providing a list of home inspectors and their contact information. A home inspector must request inclusion on this list. The Web page must state that there are no state certification or licensing programs for home inspectors, and that the commissioner has not investigated the qualifications of the persons listed. Furthermore, the Web page must include advice on how to select and make best use of a home inspector.

New Hampshire SB 492 requires home inspectors to annually register with the state building code review board. The Act would take effect 60 days after the bill’s passage. March 12, the committee reported SB 492 favorably out of committee. March 17, it passed the Senate with a voice vote. March 23, it was referred to the House Executive Departments and Administration Committee. The House Executive Depart-ments and Administration Committee held a public hearing on SB 492 on March 31.

New Jersey A 2519 makes technical changes to the “Home Inspection Profes-sional Licensing Act” that pertain to those individuals qualified to be grandfathered as licensed home inspectors. It extends the deadlines for grandfathering requirements. A 2519 was introduced and referred to the Assembly Regulated Professions and Independent Authorities Committee on March 11. It was placed on the Regulated Professions and Independent Authorities Committee agenda for its March 18 meeting.

According to those in the know in N.J., this is yet another attempt to completely gut the N.J. law by a legislator determined to do exactly that. It would effectively delay licensing for another 18 months, if passed.

Oklahoma HB 2627 was introduced by Representative Miller in the Oklahoma House on February 2. It originally was drafted as a minor technical change to the Home Inspection Licensing Act. The bill was then assigned to the House Committee on Commerce, Industry and Labor.  February 19, the Committee on Commerce, Industry and Labor approved a substitute to HB 2627 that made drastic changes to the original bill. It now requires that any single item inspection requested by a client, whether or not the item to be inspected is specifically included or excluded in the definition of a home inspector according to the Home Inspector Licensing Act, must be performed by a professional craftsman whose expertise is in the specific area or by persons qualified by education or training to conduct that specific inspection. The substitute of HB 2627 was authored by Senators Coffee and Snyder.
March 10, HB 2627 passed the House by a vote of 99-0. It received its first reading in the Senate March 11, and was referred to the Senate Business and Labor Committee. March 29, the HB 2627 was reported favorably out of committee. It now awaits a reading on the Senate floor.

Pennsylvania SB 427 would amend Title 68 of the Pennsylvania Statutes, allowing architects and engineers to engage in home inspections when acting pursuant to registration or license and exempt them from most aspects of ACT 114. SB 427 was placed on the House Committee on Consumer Affairs’ agenda for its March 23 meeting. It received a first reading in the House March 23. However, the bill was tabled, meaning the debate and vote on it were postponed. The bill is not dead as House leadership could remove the bill from the table at any time.

South Carolina S 1061 is part of a resolution by the South Carolina Senate Committee on Labor, Commerce and Industry that would approve regulations by the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulations. S 1061 would approve Regulation Document Number 2887, which makes technical changes to qualification requirements for home inspectors. Specifically, it raises fees for applications and annual renewals, late renewal fees, the examination, and more.
S 1061 received a second reading in the Senate on March 17. The bill awaits placement on the Senate calendar for a third reading and vote.

Tennessee HB 2434 creates a board to license home inspectors and sets requirements for obtaining a license. HB 2434 has been placed on the agenda for the March 31 meeting of the House Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Small Business.

SB 2323 creates a board to license home inspectors and sets requirements for obtaining a license. HB 2434 has been placed on the agenda for the March 31 meeting of the House Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Small Business.

Utah SB 28 is officially dead. Its purpose was to clarify the practice of home inspections by setting guidelines and definitions, listing exclusions and specifying written home inspection report requirements. The bill made home inspectors liable for home inspections not performed in compliance with the law, limited the time in which a client could file a grievance, and set a code of ethics for home inspectors. the March 3, the Rules Committee sent SB 28 to the defeated bill file.