Bill Summary for H 553 (2019-2020)

Summary date: 

Jun 5 2019

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2019-2020 Session
House Bill 553 (Public) Filed Tuesday, April 2, 2019
AN ACT TO REQUIRE LICENSING AND PERMITTING FOR FIRMS AND PERSONS THAT INSTALL AND SERVICE PORTABLE FIRE EXTINGUISHERS AND FIRE SUPPRESSION SYSTEMS.
Intro. by Strickland, Barnes, Corbin, Hardister.

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Bill summary

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

Makes the following changes to proposed Article 82B of GS Chapter 58. 

Modifies the defined terms set forth in GS 58-82B-1. Adds alarm system contractor, electrical contractor, fire sprinkler contractor and plumbing contractor to the defined terms. Modifies the definitions provided for engineered special hazard fire suppression system, fire suppression system, industrial fire suppression system, kitchen fire suppression system, suppression agent, and firm. Deletes the term portable fire extinguisher. Makes further technical changes.

Makes clarifying and organizational changes to the provisions of GS 58-82B-2 concerning the Commissioner of Insurance's powers and duties. Removes the provision requiring all fire suppression systems and portable fire extinguishers to be installed, inspected, serviced, and tested in compliance with the Article and related rules. 

Makes organizational changes to the remainder of the Article. Makes conforming changes to internal cross-references.

Makes organizational change to separately provide for the Article's licensing and permitting requirements. Now requires firms to be licensed in order to install, inspect, repair, recharge, service, or test a fire suppression system or a portable fire extinguisher required by the Commissioner's rules or state or local rules (previously specified four fire suppression systems). Makes clarifying and technical changes to the requirements for licensure. Exempts the following from licensing: (1) a fire chief, fire marshal, fire inspector, or insurance company inspector with regard to the routine visual inspection of a fire suppression system or portable fire extinguisher and (2) specified contractors while performing activities governed by their respective occupational licenses, as specified (previously exempted certain inspectors from the entire Article's provisions). Now requires firms to be permitted to install, inspect, repair, recharge, service, or test a fire suppression system or a portable fire extinguisher required by the Commissioner's rules or state or local rules. Adds a requirement for permittees to be certified in such service of one or more systems in devices identified. Makes clarifying and technical changes to the requirements for a permit. Provides identical exemptions from permitting as provided for licensure. Modifies the previously provided permitting exemption for certain employees, now providing an exemption for employees making minor repairs or replacements, performing routine visual inspections, or recharging, servicing, or testing on property controlled by a firm or governmental entity (previously, identified the exempt activities to be installing, inspecting, recharging, repairing, servicing, or testing extinguishers or systems on the property; removes the specification that these individuals remain subject to rules and regulations adopted under the Article). Clarifies that firms and governmental entities remain subject to licensure requirements.

Combines the Article's provisions on license and permit fees and terms. Modifies the fee schedule, now providing for separate fees for license issuance ($375; was, $250) and renewal ($225; previously same as issuance), and permit issuance ($285; was $100) and renewal ($175; previously same as issuance), now separated by certification type. Requires permittees to renew each certification for which the permittee is certified. Maintains the previously specified exemptions from fees. Also maintains the provisions concerning failure to renew a license or permit, clarifying that annual renewal is required. 

Modifies the reciprocity provisions, now providing for reciprocity for firms or persons rather than individuals, as described.

Modifies the provisions regarding grounds for disciplinary action against licensees or permittees, now including among them rendering inoperative a fire suppression system covered by the Article (rather than a pre-engineered fire suppression system); retaining a person (rather than individual) who has a direct or indirect interest that has had his or her license or permit suspended or revoked; and serving or previously serving as an officer, director, stockholder, or owner of a firm whose license has been suspended or revoked or has a direct or indirect interest in a firm whose license has been suspended or revoked (previously, listed businesses and corporations in additions to firms, and included the revocation and suspension of permits). Makes further technical and conforming changes.

Concerning sanction and denial procedures, adds descriptors to the statute's subsections. Now requires the Commissioner to notify an applicant within 30 days of denial of an application (whether for initial issuance or renewal of a license or permit) of the reasons for the denial (previously did not give a time restraint). Specifies that license and permit applicants can be denied for any reasons that are grounds for disciplinary action under the Article. Now requires an applicant to be notified within 120 days after receipt by the Commissioner of the applicant's written demand of the outcome of a requested review of a denial. Makes further technical and organizational changes.

Concerning cease and desist orders, adds descriptors to the statute's subsections. Allows the Commissioner to issue cease and desist orders to any person or firm (rather than individual or firm) believed to be in violation of the Article. Eliminates the provision that establishes any violation to be grounds for application denial. Makes clarifying changes.

Modifies the civil penalty provisions, now referring to any "person or firm" (rather than "individual or firm"). Adds that the clear proceeds of a civil penalty under the Article are remitted to the Civil Penalty and Forfeiture Fund. Now requires the Commissioner to issue an order for a penalty within 30 days after giving written notice of the violation (was, after a reasonable period of time). Makes further clarifying and technical changes. 

Modifies the criminal penalty provisions, now referring to any "person or firm" (rather than "individual or firm"). Eliminates the provision which makes any willful or intentional violation of the Article or any rule or order of the Commissioner a Class 1 misdemeanor. Makes technical and clarifying changes. 

Regarding the Article's effect on state and local regulatory powers, specifies that the Article does not limit the power of the State or local governments from requiring the submission and approval of plans and specifications or to regulate the quality and character of work performed by any person, firm, or governmental entity (was, work performed by contractors) for the protection of the public health and safety.

Makes further technical and conforming changes.

Adds a reporting requirement for the Department of Insurance, requiring the submission of a report on licenses and permits under the Article to the specified NCGA committee, by October 1, 2020, as specified.

Changes the act's long title.

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