Interim Joint Committee on Licensing and Occupations

 

Minutes of the<MeetNo1> 1st Meeting

of the 2014 Interim

 

<MeetMDY1> June 13, 2014

 

Call to Order and Roll Call

The<MeetNo2> 1st meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Licensing and Occupations was held on<Day> Friday,<MeetMDY2> June 13, 2014, at<MeetTime> 10:00 AM, in<Room> Room 129 of the Capitol Annex. Senator John Schickel, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.

 

Present were:

 

Members:<Members> Senator John Schickel, Co-Chair; Representative Dennis Keene, Co-Chair; Senators Tom Buford, Morgan McGarvey, R.J. Palmer II, Dan "Malano" Seum, and Damon Thayer; Representatives Julie Raque Adams, Tom Burch, Denver Butler, Jeffery Donohue, David Floyd, Dennis Horlander, Adam Koenig, Reginald Meeks, Charles Miller, Brad Montell, David Osborne, Sal Santoro, Arnold Simpson, and Diane St. Onge.

 

Guests: Representative John Tilley, J. Michael Brown, Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Secretary; Jack Coleman, Deputy Commissioner and Michael Davis, General Counsel, Department of Housing, Buildings and Construction; Gary Feck, Director, Division of Building Code Enforcement.

 

LRC Staff: Tom Hewlett, Bryce Amburgey, Jasmine Williams, Michel Sanderson, and Susan Cunningham.

 

Approval of minutes

A motion to approve the minutes from the November 8, 2013 meeting was made by Representative Burch and seconded by Representative Osborne. The motion carried by voice vote.

 

Offender Reentry

††††††††††† Michael Brown, Secretary for the Justice and Public Safety, said he was Chairman of the Governorís Reentry Task Force. There are approximately 21,000 people incarcerated in Kentucky. Reentry is a vital issue because all who have gone through the criminal justice system, served time and been released from court supervision either through serve out, probation, or parole do not become repeat offenders.

 

††††††††††† Kentucky recently received national attention for its mandatory reentry supervision program. Removing barriers for those seeking employment is an issue the task force is seeking to address. Some institutions have training programs including water filtration, barbering, Emergency Medical Technician programs and other basic skills. One barrier identified to employment is being able to hold occupational licenses. Offenders need the opportunity to find public employment or receive an occupational license, unless there is a connection between their offenses and the occupations to which they are applying. For instance, people who have a background in fraud would not be suitable for financial institutions. However, people with expertise in water filtration would be employable in a number of areas confined to that profession. A job aids the individuals in becoming taxpaying citizens, helps them support their children, and helps their communities. It also means the state is not supporting them. If these barriers are not removed, and individuals cannot find work, they are more likely to reoffend.

 

††††††††††† Representative John Tilley said HB 384 from the 2014 Regular Session sought to amend existing law. To deny someone the right to work, it must be done based on a clear connection (a nexus), directly related to the crime committed. The bill only applied to public hiring or licensing institutions that the state controlled. If a denial is made, the bill would have required an explanation of why there is a nexus. Additionally, the applicant must be allowed an administrative hearing under KRS Chapter 13B. Federal exemption supersedes local law and was noted in the bill. In the last three years Kentucky has moved below the national average regarding re-offense, down from 41 percent to 36 percent. Nationally, four out of ten offenders come back to prison within three years.

 

††††††††††† Representative Floyd stated that he did not know why there would be any objection to this bill. The Commonwealth should lead the way, and employers should know that, in spite of an offense being on someoneís record, it should be relevant to the job being hired for.

 

††††††††††† Representative Koenig stated he thought it was a good idea; however, he was concerned about the employerís right to be aware of who was being hired, particularly with the expungement of a record.

 

††††††††††† In response to Representative Meeks, Representative Tilley said this would not be any type of expungement, and the employer would be aware of the record. This bill encouraged employers to give individuals a fresh start.

 

††††††††††† Senator Schickel commented that he appreciated the intent of the bill; however, his concern is the issue of what employers have the right to know. The fact that the bill speaks to public employment and professional licenses narrows the scope. The concern is that Frankfort is going to mandate a professional association prove a nexus on good moral character.

 

††††††††††† Representative Tilley responded that an administrative board made up of officers trained to mediate in these situations would handle appeals from either party. Relating to the private sector, a license might be granted, but that would not guarantee employment. The employer would still have the option to hire an individual, but the licensure board would be required to license qualified applicants.

 

††††††††††† Senator Buford wondered who would be deemed appropriate to be on a board for an employer to make an application to be granted an exemption to hire an individual.

 

††††††††††† Representative Floyd said the bill deals only with the licensing and hiring authority, not with the actual hiring of an individual.

 

Inspection of Tents and Temporary Structures

Senator Schickel said staff had updated him on the 2012 Building Code, which did not go into effect until early 2014, and created a new section of the building code, Section 430, relating to temporary structures. This section pulled regulations from various places in the building code and placed them in one relative section. However, there was also new language put into Section 430 that did not exist prior to the revision of the Building Code. The revised Building Code was then incorporated by reference into administrative regulations for the Office of Housing Buildings and Construction (HBC). It was not noted that new language for temporary structures had been added or a new fee structure established for the inspection program. The department has noted that the fees established for the tent inspection program are lower than the fees that could have been charged by the department for inspections in places of assembly. However, it is not clear that these fees were previously charged for inspections of temporary structures throughout the Commonwealth. These fees may be lower than what could have been charged, but in many instances they represent new fees that were not charged previously for an inspection that was not required before.

 

Jack Coleman, Deputy Commissioner of the Department for Housing, Buildings and Construction (HBC) told the committee that in August of 2011, a stage collapsed at the Indiana State Fair killing five people. HBC decided to look at the inspection process in Kentucky, and found there was no consistent enforcement statewide. While larger events like Rolex, the World Equestrian Games, and the Kentucky Speedway were inspected and permits issued, smaller events were held without inspections. Additionally, since 1980, the Kentucky Building Code has required all tents and temporary structures comply with the same requirements as more permanent buildings.

 

Terry Bryant, Bryantís Rent-All, and the American Rental Association invited HBC to attend a meeting regarding concerns for temporary tents. The meeting included rental companies, tent companies, and code officials from around the state. As a result the Tent/Temporary Structures Advisory Committee was established. A group of approximately 18 people, including representatives from the Kentucky Horse Park, the Kentucky Fair Board, tent rental companies and catering companies, as well as code enforcement officials formed a task force to develop a model approval program, consolidate existing temporary structure requirements, and ensure public safety. A final report was delivered to the HBC Board on November 15, 2012, for its approval. The state model program established a system that eliminated repetitive submission of engineering documentation for each site placement. It also preapproved tent models to streamline the approval process for building officials, the tent industry, tent rental companies, and consumers.

 

Gary Feck, Director, Division of Building Code Enforcement said that the concern for tent and temporary structure is the structural capabilities of the tent. Site placement exemptions were also a concern. Section 430.4 was specifically established by the committee to provide flexibility for private events, particularly on short notice. As long as an admission is not charged and the occupancy of the tent is less than 1,000, on public or private property, there is no requirement for a site placement permit. The tent committee also developed a fee structure from the building code and placed it in Section 430 for temporary structures, as well as fees for groups of tents. The minimum fee for a site placement was reduced from $250 to $125. The committee also reduced fees across the board for inspections on all sizes of tents and multiple tents in one location.

Another change the committee made was in the fire code, to increase the permitting threshold from 200 square feet to 400 square feet for approval and permitting. All tents are also required to be anchored to withstand elements of the weather and prevent collapsing. The anchoring shall be in accordance with the Industrial Fabrics Association Procedural Handbook for the safe installation and maintenance of tentage, or other methods as approved by the authority having jurisdiction. The committee also discussed an inspection similar to the Department of Agriculture. They inspect an amusement ride set up once and allow that inspection to be used multiple times. However, due to varying site conditions and the tent staking guide, a rubber stamp inspection would not work for tents.

 

In consideration of small town festivals, there are two exemptions that will not require an engineer certification for tent placement. One exemption is for a temporary stage or platform that is less than 1,000 square feet with a weight limit of 8,600 pounds, limited to 12 individuals, plus lights, sound, scenery and equipment. The second exemption is for a temporary stage or platform not exceeding 600 square feet that is on a wheeled vehicle not designed as a temporary platform, if the weight per axle does not exceed the total weight of all persons and items on the stage.

 

Mr. Davis, General Counsel for HBC, said that when this regulation was filed in December of 2012, the summary of material incorporated by reference did not include any of the changes that are included in Chapter 430. The regulation filing was to transfer extensive changes of the 2007 Building Code to what is now the 2013 Building Code. Because the changes were recited in a 90 page document, that document was attached to the regulation. It is not the feeling of HBC that anyone tried to circumvent the regulation process.

 

Senator Schickel commented that too often the process is not fully disclosed and business feels caught off guard. Even though tents may need to be inspected, full disclosure is important.

 

Mr. Davis said that primary enforcement, in most cases, lies with local jurisdictions. The department has become aware of a number of jurisdictions that have not been enforcing this existing code provision.

 

In response to Senator Buford, Mr. Feck said the goal was to have a database with approved models of tents. A site placement for a private event does not require fees or permitting. Churches are open to the public, but funerals are private events. Typically, elevated platforms are inspected by a Kentucky licensed architect or a licensed engineer, unless the exceptions of 430.16 are met.

 

In response to Senator Schickel, Mr. Feck said that large festivals at churches are deemed to be public events.

 

In response to Representative Floyd, Deputy Commissioner Coleman said that in local jurisdictions, such as Nelson County, fees for permits are paid to local code inspectors.

 

In response to Representative St. Onge, Mr. Davis said that any jurisdiction can apply to the department for expanded jurisdiction thus taking over the inspections from the state. Also, any local jurisdiction can choose to pass a local ordinance to require permitting and inspection. Certain provisions of the departmentís code prohibit local jurisdictions from having a stricter ordinance than the department.

 

In response to Senator Seum, Mr. Davis said the individual placing the tent is responsible for knowing the inspection process. The department strives to educate the public as issues arise.

 

In response to Representative Keene, Mr. Feck said one site visit will cover multiple tents at the same site. Mr. Davis said that the department is compiling a comprehensive database that will be available on the departmentís website to verify various tent models that have been certified and will not require inspection.

 

In response to Representative Koenig, Mr. Davis said there are areas in the state where local jurisdictions have not been enforcing tent inspections. Therefore, people who have previously not been inspected will believe there is a new fee.

 

In response to Representative Horlander, Mr. Feck said that anything up to a 400 square foot tent would not be subject to permitting. Last year, Kentucky Speedway had an evacuation plan for a temporary structure. Because the tents were rated for 45 mph wind speeds, the plan was to evacuate the VIP tent when the wind was sustained at 35 mph. During a spring storm, several tents collapsed; however, no one was injured because the evacuation plan worked and people had already left the tent.

 

In response to Representative Adams, Deputy Commissioner Coleman said in Northern Kentucky the local jurisdiction fee was only slightly higher. Mr. Davis replied that KRS 198B.990 covers fines for violations.

 

Deputy Commissioner Coleman told the committee that the department appreciated the opportunity to explain the program and the direction that it was going.

 

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 11:18 AM.