Bill Summary for H 476 (2013-2014)

Summary date: 

Jun 19 2013

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2013-2014 Session
House Bill 476 (Public) Filed Thursday, March 28, 2013
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED AN ACT REWRITING THE LAWS REGULATING UNDERGROUND UTILITY DAMAGE PREVENTION.
Intro. by Hager, Moffitt, Murry.

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Bill summary

House committee substitute to the 2nd edition makes the following changes.

Amends GS 87-117 to change the definition of APWA to the American Public Works Association or its successors (was, or its successor organization or entity). Amends the definition of locator to require that the individual also be trained, with documentation. Amends the definition of Notification Center (Center) to also require that people be able to submit reports of alleged violations to the Center.

Amends GS 87-120 to add that the Center must also receive, maintain, and provide general administration of reports of alleged violations of the Article and responses. Provides that the Center is not responsible for resolving reports of alleged violations. Requires that the Center's board of directors develop a reasonable method of apportioning the costs of operating the Center among the member operators, which must be published to the member operators and approved by a majority of the member operators (was, the board must provide for a reasonable method of apportioning costs of operating the Center among the member operators). Amends the Center's duties to add (1) maintaining a record of reports of alleged violations for at least four years, including responses; (2) notifying a person against who reports of alleged violations have been made and maintain information submitted from those persons in defense against the allegations; and (3) prohibiting recovering damages from the Center arising out of the manner in which the Center receives, transmits, or otherwise administers a report of an alleged violation. Adds that the Center must contact persons against who reports have been filed to inform them of the alleged violation within 10 days of the filing of the report. Specifies information that the Center must maintain concerning alleged violations.

Amends GS 87-123 to exclude from specified notice requirements an excavation or demolition performed by a railroad entirely on land owned or operated by the railroad or, in an emergency, adjacent land. Provides that no provision of the Article applies to any railroad which owns, operates, or permits facilities under land which the railroad owns or operates.

Amends GS 87-126 to require a response within 10 (was, 15) working days after a design notice for a proposed project has been submitted to the Center. Amends one of the listed ways that an operator may respond to include providing to the person submitting the design notice the best available description of all facilities in the area designated by the design notice (was, all facilities in the area  of the proposed excavation) and specifies what that may include.

Deletes proposed GS 87-128 (Investigations; enforcement; civil penalties) and proposed GS 87-129 (authorizing the Office of the State Fire Marshall to receive funds for the US Department of Transportation).

Enacts new GS 87-128. Requires the Center to establish an Underground Damage Prevention Review Board (Board) to review reports of alleged violations. Specifies qualifications of the 15 Board members, who are appointed by the Governor. Requires the Board to meet at least quarterly and to act as an arbitrator between the parties to a report. Requires the Board to notify an individuals in writing upon determining that the individual has committed a violation and gives a violating party the chance to request a hearing before the Board. Allows a violating party to initiate an arbitration proceeding before the Utilities Commission, requiring a $250 filing fee. Allows for appeal after the conclusion of the binding arbitration process. Provides that violations of the Article are subject to penalties. Penalties are as follows: (1) training, education, or both, when the violation was the result of an accident; (2) $1,000, training, education, or a combination, if the violation was due to ordinary negligence; and (3) $2,500, training, and education if the violation was the result of gross negligence or willful or wanton conduct.

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