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NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY
MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION
submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
BILL NUMBER: A2595 SPONSOR: Brindisi
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the general business law, in relation to the layout, installing, servicing, repairing, inspecting, testing and maintaining of automatic water-based fire protection systems; and providing for the repeal of certain provisions upon expiration thereof   PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: To protect, promote, and preserve the public health, safety, and general welfare by providing for the establishment of minimum standards for licensure of water-based fire protection system installation and inspecting   SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: SECTION XX-C. Contractor License and RME Requirements; Scope of Prac- tice; Penalties for Non-Compliance Part (1)(a) defines the requirements for a RME, including the scope of duties, which include both onsite installation and preventative maintenance of the fire protection systems. Outlines of the requirements for who can participate in the program as a RME, including prohibitions as well as minimum standards of employment are also discussed herein. Part (1)(b) - (c) discusses the applicability and use of NICET certifications in conjunction with the licensure act. Part 1(d) discusses the applicability of New York State Codes in conjunction with the application of the licensure act. Part 1(e) caps a local governments ability, not within the jurisdiction, to implement additional standards on top of the proposed licensure act. Parts (2) - Part (4) discusses non-compliance with the licensure program with respect to the program rollout and benchmark dates from twenty-four (24) months to one (1) year after implementation. Part (5) discusses contractor responsibilities as of one (1) year post rollout of the program. Part (6) discusses requirements and standards for retrofitting of a backflow prevention device. Parts (7) - (9) discuss penalties for non-compliance with the act as well as terms of revocation of a license for non-compliance. Parts (10) - (11) discuss the affirmative responsibilities of a license holder under the proposed act. Part (12) establishes that nothing shall prohibit a principal of a busi- ness entity from qualifying as a RME as long as the entity meets the other requirements noted within this section. Part (13) this section establishes, for purposes of identification, that a license issued by this act shall be visible on the jobsite Part (14) charts the license applicability overview of Class I - Class IV distinctions Part (15) provides a description of the requirements and specialties that are required of a person identified as qualified to properly install and maintain water-based fire protection systems. SECTION XX-D. Powers of the Department and Board Parts (1) - (11) addresses the powers granted to the Department and the Board under the act. Part (1) addresses the adequacy of employees on each jobsite. Part (2) addresses the examination of qualifications for employment under the licensure agreement. Part (3) appoints the record keeper responsible for overseeing filings under the licensure act. Part (4) discusses the preparation and publication of a manual for stan- dards under the act. Part (5) directs the responsibilities for performance under the act, the promulgation of such rules and their regulation. Part (6) directs the responsibility of creating an entity called the New York State Fire Protection Advisory Board. Subparts (a) - (i) designate the roll of members who sit on the Board and designate length of time of appointments for reach respective board position. Part (7) designates the Chair of the Board to be the Secretary of State or department's designee. Part (8) establishes a meeting schedule for the Board and discusses member terms of the Board members. Part (9) establishes that motions shall not move ahead without at least (1) vote in consensus from the fire sprinkler fitter representative and from a water-based fire protection system contract representative of the board. Part (10) establishes a program of filter testing. Part (11) promotes the establishment of due diligence practices to uphold scheduled meetings and meeting minutes. SECTION XX-E. New Licensure Requirements Part (1) establishes a list of prerequisites for licensure as a Contrac- tor I. Part (2) establishes a list of prerequisites for licensure as a Contrac- tor II. Part (3) establishes a list of prerequisites for licensure as a Contrac- tor III. Part (4) establishes a list of prerequisites for licensure as a Contrac- tor IV. Part (5) allows a New York State Professional Engineer to substitute for the NICET requirements if all other obligations and requirements are met under the PE guidelines. SECTION XX-F Licensure for Existing Businesses at Time of Enactment Part (1)(a) the business entity shall provide the department sufficient evidence that the business has been engaged in the proper class of contracting for the scope of the license applied. Additionally, proof of proper insurance shall be provided. Part (1)(b) provides that a new business formed within five (5) years prior to the effective date of the act shall show proof of regularly performing fire sprinkler work or successfully completed in a fire sprinkler apprenticeship program provided by a fire sprinkler local or other nationally recognized fire sprinkler associate program. The Board and proof of NCCI insurance ratings must be shown to approve such a program. Part (1)(c) of the provision for filing for a license, as an existing business entity, is repealed one (1) calendar year after the effective date of this act. Part (2) Provisions are repealed (2) years from the date of enactment. SECTION XX-G Specialists Part (1) lists a class of specialists under the program. Part (2) provides the department the authority to implement rules and regulations to cover the list of specialists. Part (3) mandates that the applicants SSN shall be printed on any appli- cation for registration submitted under the act Part (4) provides that the Department shall organize the receipt of applications under this act and additionally has the discretion to determine if the requisite requirements are met per each application. Part (5) establishes the requirement of a competency test to given to each applicant who applies after one (1) year of the date of enactment under the act. Part (6) provides that the Department shall establish guidelines for approval of applicant qualifications. Part (7) provides that the Department has the authority to deny an applicant. Part (8) provides that the Department has the authority to suspend, revoke or otherwise made a determination on an applicant's current or applied for license based on the findings of the department, complaint or by other means. Part (9) provides that judicial review is entitled to anyone who has a complaint. Part (10) provides that persons who enter a jobsite without meeting the qualifying guidelines either under false pretenses otherwise may be charged with a misdemeanor offense. Part (11) provides that any work performed by an individual to be deemed unfit by the Secretary of State or other provision of this act, causing a safety or health hazard, shall be subject to court civil action in the appropriate jurisdiction as provided for under this act. Part (12) no municipality or county may require an additional license or subject additional requirements for work or applicants, who are subject to the requirements of this act, in addition to the already provided requirements under the licensing process. Part (13) cards issues by the Department shall be clear to understand and marked whether the cardholder is an Apprentice or Journey person. Part (14) no person shall falsely hold himself or herself out to be licensed under this act. Part (15) Upon applying for renewal, sixteen (16) hours of approved continuing education units shall be completed in a continuing education unit or other applicable course of study from a third party. Safety courses shall be of a minimum of eight (8) hours and shall be OSHA sanc- tioned or approved programs. Part (16) this provision authorizes the administration of a temporary license to a fitter prior to them taking the exam if such person meets the requirements as provided under this article. Part (17) this provision discusses the proper procedure for those indi- viduals who are members of the military in conjunction with requirements set forth in the act. SECTION XX-H Licensure: application; insurance; display; duplicates Part (1) After a representative RME meets the provisions of this act as a businesses qualifier, any business entity desiring a license may make application to the department. The RME shall be subscribed by the license applicant and affirmed by him as true under the penalties of perjury. Part (2) establishes that a license shall be valid for a period of two (2) years. Part (3) establishes that no license shall be assignable or transferable except as hereinafter provided. Part (4) establishes the requirements of licensing a limited liability company or a corporation Part (5) establishes perquisites that a company must show or meet in order to be considered for approval of a license. Part (6) all insurance coverage must be current and valid for the license to remain in effect. Part (7) at any time, a request may be made on the license holder to furnish insurance information as proof of coverage. Part (8) any license issued under this act shall be displayed by the license holder on the premises where the holder is engaged in business. Part (9) within one (1) year of enactment and after obtaining license, all documents or receipts issued by or on behalf of a business licensed pursuant to this article must contain the identification number issued to such business in the phrase "New York State License It. Part (10) within one (1) year of enactment and after obtaining license, all advertising placed by a business entity licensed under this article must contain the following statement: "New York State License Part (11) provides for the issuance of a duplicate license. Part (12) provides the requirements when a change of address occurs and/or the license is lost where the license shall be returned. Part (13) provides that upon death of a RME the license may be used for a period of not more than (60) days. SECTION XX-I License: renewals and RME's Part (1) The contractor shall submit application for license renewal with current RME information and qualifications. SECTION 301-J Implementation of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems Part (1) The Department of OFPC shall have the right to inspect the jobsite and work. Part (2) develops guidelines for the inspection of jobsites that include premises, which are public or privately held properties, with exceptions of family or two-family dwellings. Part (3) a Security or Fire Alarm License shall not be required to perform this portion of inspection, testing, and maintenance of any fire suppression system. Part (4) some fire protection systems may require maintenance and repair activity beyond the scope of practice of the Inspector and accordingly maintenance and repair personnel will work on the system whose work typically is approved by the owner prior to repairs. Part (5) describes the process for building owner representatives to contract with a New York State Licensed Contractor for the means of scheduled Inspection and Testing before any Certificate of Occupancy is issued. Part (6) makes the building owner further responsible for requesting service from a licensed New York State Contractor I or IV when any defi- ciency exists. It is further intended that the NFPA-25 inspection of exposed underground piping supplying a water-based fire protection system from point of private service to be conducted under control of a Contractor I. Part (7) makes maintenance as well as corrective actions on deficient system the responsibility of the owner of the system or the private hydrant. Part (8) effective twenty-four (24) months from enactment, the depart- ment shall require the NICET II "Inspection and Testing of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems" or equivalent training and education as deter- mined by the department for the RME(s) qualifying a Contractor IL Part (9) establishes the responsibility of the Contractor II RME to maintain NICET II "Inspection and Testing of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems" certification or equivalent. Part (10) establishes that no municipality or county shall require any forms or documents for fire protection system inspections, testing, and maintenance beyond what is in the scope of the Fire Code of the State of New York and document NFPA 25. Part (11) within thirty (30) days of inspection building owners or their legal representatives shall cause a copy of all fire protection system inspection forms for their properties. Part (12) authorizes code enforcement offices to review all fire protection inspection, testing, and maintenance forms and documents for system deficiencies that are noted and determine time limitations of correction of deficiencies noted on fire protection system inspection reports with the appropriate building owner or their legal represen- tative. SECTION XX-K FEES Part (1) - (6) of this section lays out the appropriate fee schedules for all components of obtaining, holding, registering or otherwise list- ed actions taken where a charge shall apply. SECTION XX-L Suspension and Revocation of Licenses Part (1) outlines the ability to revoke, suspend or charge for non-com- pliance under the act for a list of actions that is not an exclusive list of all possible offenses. Part (1)(a) - (1)(1) represents a non-exhaustive list of offenses Part (2) describes suspension under this act and the description of what a suspension under this act looks like including restrictions and possi- bility of revocation. Part (3) restricts the Department from granting a new license as long as revocation or suspension of an old license is in existence for that same individual or entity, including employees, agents and others. Part (4) in the event that a license is revoked, the license shall not be reinstated or reissued until after five (5) years form the revocation date. Part (5) the filing of bankruptcy may be considered by the Department as just cause for suspension of a license. Part (6) lapse or suspension of a license by operation of law or by order of the department or a court or its voluntary surrender by a license holder does not deprive the department to investigate or act in disciplinary proceedings against the license holder. Part (7) if applying for a new license after revocation of a previous license all other requirements must be met under this act as they normally would under an initial application. SECTION XX-M Hearing on Charges; Decision Part (1) establishes guidelines for hearings based on suspension, revo- cation or other conflict. Such hearings require that notice be provided to the license holder and the license holder shall have the opportunity to prepare and make a defense in accordance with the provisions of this section. SECTION XX-N Judicial Review Part (1) any actions of the department that the licensee wishes to chal- lenge may be brought forward to a court under an Article 78 judicial proceeding. SECTION XX-O Violations and Penalties Part (1) establishes a provision for penalizing persons or entities that engage in unauthorized, criminal or otherwise stated actions not allow- able by law or this licensing act. Such penalties may be proposed fees and charges as set forth in this section, or as provided for in other sections of the act. SECTION XX-P Official Acts Used as Evidence Part (1) this section provides that the Secretary of State and the Department have the authority to use evidence of fact or other in the process of brining, arguing or other processes necessary in conjunction with legal proceedings in any court or before any board, body or offi- cer. SECTION XX-Q Disposition of Moneys Derived from Operation of Article Part (1) fees paid pursuant to the act shall be paid in accordance with the State Finance Law. All remaining funds shall be held in a fund of the state treasury to the credit of the state purposes account on the 10th day of each month. SECTION XX-R Separability Part (1) should any portion of this article or application thereof be deemed invalid by a court, the invalidation does not leak over to the rest of the article. SECTION XX-S Applicability Part (1) this provision sets the parameters for the application of the act including restrictions for New York City and Nassau County. Part (2) this provision sets areas where this article does not apply Part (3) this provision establishes that this act shall govern, notwith- standing any other laws to the contrary. The provision sets forth a hierocracy of mandatory law that may have some effect on the article as well as others that are deemed simply persuasive. Part (4) this provisions limits the power of a municipality or county to regulate the quality and character of the work performed. This provision also sets forth enforcement of public health and safety. Part (5) nothing in this act limits the power of a municipality or coun- ty to adopt a system of permits as described under this part. Part (6) this provision discusses elected or appointed officials with regard to the regulation and issuance of permits or the like. SECTION XX-T Contractual Agreements Part (1) this provision sets forth language descriptive of issues aris- ing or competing contractual agreements or other guarantees in connection with work performed, services or other duties as described in this article. Indemnification with regard to works performed shall be handled in accordance with the terms of this provision including Parts (1)(a) - (1)(c). Part (2) provides for the process of entering into a contract with a public agency and with rest to indemnification of any contractual party. Part (3) holds that this section does not affect any contracts, agree- ments or guarantees entered into before the effective date of this section. Part (4) contracts shall be granted time to inspect any jobsite prior to starting work for any defects in a building. If a contractor takes responsibility for any defects, reasonable time shall be granted to them for cure. Part (5) provides that the owner has an obligation to install fire protection systems in compliance with adopted fire protection system standards and all applicable law.   JUSTIFICATION: It is declared that there exists and may in the future exist within the State of New York locations where water-based fire protection systems are installed and improper installation and/or improper inspection, testing, and maintenance of existing fire protection systems may adversely affect the public health, safety and general welfare. It is further acknowledged that fire protection systems are critical life and property safety systems and said systems whose layout, install- ing, servicing, repairing, inspecting, testing, or maintenance require specialized knowledge and experience. Therefore the purpose of this Act is to protect, promote and preserve the public health, safety and general welfare by providing for the establishment of minimum standards for licensure of water-based fire protection system installation and inspecting contractors as well as designating and utilization of Responsible Managing Employees as qual- ifiers of said license, and registering of fire suppression specialists along with establishment of penalties for improper layout, installing, servicing, repairing, inspecting, testing, or maintaining of water-based fire protection systems and prohibit unlicensed activities.