FY 2018 End of Session Legislative Update

FY 2018 End of Session Legislative Update

Below is a recap of bills of interest for the session.  Those marked as “studied,” were not passed during this legislative session, but instead were referred to staff for additional study. If the bill is marked with a “favorable report,” then it will be referred to a secondary committee (likely Ways and Means for further review).

H1317, An Act establishing the building code coordinating council
(Rep. Chris Walsh)

Eliminates the technical code council in GL 143:94 and establishes the Building Code Coordinating Council in a new section 101 of GL Chapter 143. The BCCC will be comprised of 12 members and is tasked with comparing and coordinating all existing and proposed construction codes to eliminate redundancies and conflicts. The BCCC will have the power to reject proposed regulations that are inconsistent, conflicting or redundant. Further, the BCCC is directed to establish procedures for considering public comment and for submission and approval of proposed regulations.

Note: Unfortunately, Representative Chris Walsh, sponsor of the bill, passed away recently, so the future of this bill is unclear.  MSCA’s legislative team will be contacting Ways and Means on the bill, and we will advise if any action should be taken.

STUDIED:  H136, An Act relative to apprentice electricians
(Rep. Thomas Calter)

Amends GL 141:8 (Electrician Apprentices) to require such apprentices to register with the Massachusetts Division of Apprentice Training; requires such registration to be renewed annually; establishes a $20 annual fee; prohibits an apprentice from sitting for the licensing test without such registration; requires companies employing apprentices to pay $300 annually to the board of state examiners of electricians.  Since many if not most low voltage contractors are unlicensed, this bill would place further regulatory burden only on the minority of the already overregulated and overburdened compliant licensed C/D holders.  This further tilts the playing field unfairly against license holders.

 STUDIED:  H155, An Act to strengthen enforcement of Chapter 141 and 147 licenses
(Rep. Colleen Garry)

Amends various GLs to significantly increase fines for: (1) practicing a trade or profession without the requisite license, certificate, registration or authority, (2) practicing a trade or profession with an expired, suspended, revoked or canceled license, certificate, registration or authority, (3) the unlawful practice of a profession or occupation requiring licensure by a corporation and (4) installing electrical wiring or electrical fixtures for hire without notifying a wiring inspector.

STUDIED:  H1275, An Act relative to fire protection systems for buildings and structures
(Rep. Louis Kafka)

Amends GL 6, 143 and 148 in several sections to rename the automatic sprinkler appeals board the fire protection and life safety systems board; provides that the provisions of the fire safety code apply to all buildings and structures in the Commonwealth, except the State House; exempts buildings for which a building permit was issued before January 1, 2012 from the provisions of this Act; adds new definitions of ‘Fire Protection and Life Safety Systems’ and ‘Fire Safety Code’ to the statute; transfers regulation and inspection of fire safety code matters from the Board of State Building Regulations to the Fire Protection and Life Safety Systems Board.

 STUDIED :  H1992, An Act relative to telecommunications systems contractors and technicians
(Rep Harold Naughton, Jr.)

Amends GL 141 regulating the licensing and supervision of electricians, to include work performed on telecommunication systems used to send and/or receive voice, sound, video, telephony, digital, data, and/or video transmissions; directs the State Examiners of Electricians to issue limited C and D certificates to those with at least 3 years of verifiable and continuous telecommunications systems experience, even if applicants lack sufficient experience for fire warning or security systems; restricts holders of limited C and D certificates to working in the business or occupation of installing telecommunications systems.