Legislature(2003 - 2004)
02/20/2003 01:45 PM FIN
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE BILL NO. 9 An Act relating to the registration of individuals who perform home inspections; relating to regulation of contractors; relating to registration fees for specialty contractors, home inspectors, and associate home inspectors; relating to home inspection requirements for residential loans purchased or approved by the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation; relating to civil actions by and against home inspectors and to civil actions arising from residential unit inspections; and providing for an effective date. Vice-Chair Meyer MOVED to ADOPT the committee substitute, #23-LS0029, Lauterbach, 2/19/03, as the version of the bill before the Committee. There being NO OBJECTION, the committee substitute was adopted. REPRESENTATIVE NORM ROKEBERG outlined the changes made to the committee substitute. · Page 1, Line 6: Added language to the title reflecting the repeal in Section 41 of the bill. · Page 5, Line 27 & Page 6, Line 8: Added a requirement that the home inspector put his registration number on the pre-inspection contract, as well as the final report. · Page 10, Lines 12 & 13: Included exception to the statute of limitations for intentional acts or gross negligence by the home inspector. TAPE HFC 03 - 22, Side B Representative Rokeberg continued highlighting the changes made to the committee substitute. · Page 10, Line 15: Rewrote subsection © to be in the affirmative. Only a party to the real estate transaction, or someone who received written permission to use the home inspection report could sue the home inspector. Representative Whitaker referenced Page 10(C), #2, and asked if he should assume that would be the attorney for the person who is a party to the transaction. Representative Rokeberg explained that the provisions of the bill assume that anyone that has the report must have a written consent of the person that paid for it. There has been a problem with the reports being 'passed' around to various people. It is conceivable that the manner in which the legislation is drafted, the report could be in possession of that person and it would be 'legal'. Subsequently, that is under appeal. Representative Stoltze distributed a document, which had been submitted by one of his constituents. (Copy on File). Representative Joule referenced the letter in member's packets from Husky Enterprises. (Copy on File). He noted the statements on Page 2, indicating that the legislation would drive the cost of home inspections up in rural Alaska. Mr. Huss noted that construction in Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau and other large cities would not be affected by the legislation, as the municipal inspectors are 'exempt' from licensing. He indicated that the legislation would only target new construction in rural Alaska. Representative Rokeberg advised that it was not his intent to create higher costs for inspections; that process was accomplished by not providing a board. He noted that the costs of a bond would be $5,000 dollars. Representative Rokeberg indicated that it is not inappropriate to add inspectors to the contractor's licensure. The actual licensure would cost $125 dollars per year. He added that regarding the issue of continuing education, the bill does provide the Division of Occupational Licensing draft regulations as a form of communication. The bill is not intended to avoid those costs and that the level of costs for the licensure is small. Representative Rokeberg addressed concerns with focusing. It is true that local building code is enforced by the building officials, however, are not enforced in all areas of the State. The point is that the bill does exempt local inspectors under municipal licensure. He pointed out that Alaska Housing Finance Corporation (AHFC) has supported the bill since inception. Representative Joule reiterated concerns voiced by Mr. Huss of Husky Enterprises, noting how the legislation could 'drive' rural inspectors out of business. Should that scenario happen, village areas would be faced with bringing inspectors in from Anchorage to perform the inspections, which would incur additional costs. Vice-Chair Meyer asked if the costs to the State would be recouped through the fees paid by the homebuilders. Representative Rokeberg agreed and reiterated that there would be no impact on the general fund. Representative Foster MOVED to ADOPT Amendment #1. (Copy on File). The amendment would delete "homebuilders" on Page 7, Line 7, and insert "home building". Representative Rokeberg acknowledged that the change was minimal. There being NO OBJECTION, it was adopted. Representative Foster MOVED to report CS HB 9 (FIN) out of Committee with individual recommendations and with the accompanying fiscal notes. There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered. CS HB 9 (FIN) was reported out of Committee with a "do pass" recommendation and with zero fiscal note #1 by the Department of Revenue, zero fiscal note #2 by the Department of Law, zero fiscal note #3 by the Department of Labor & Workforce Development, and fiscal note #4 by the Department of Community & Economic Development.