Legislature(2003 - 2004)

02/20/2003 01:45 PM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= 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.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                

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