by Chris Heaton - Vice President for Advocacy and Public Affairs
May was a particularly busy month as states conclude their sessions and rush to pass bills prior to sine die (the end of session). Licensing and school security bills were the most prominent monitored legislation this month. Here are some of the more significant bills you should know:
Louisiana HB 372 establishes an occupational licensing review process that places all occupational licensing boards under "active supervision" and it establishes a process whereby all boards will review current regulations with the goal to apply the "least restrictive" licensing requirements necessary to maintain public health and safety. It also establishes reciprocity standards. A previous version of this and another bill (HB 748) had language that would have restricted the use of "certified" and "registered" in a way that would have diminished some certifications held by license holders, but that language was removed prior to enrollment.
Pennsylvania SB 1178 This bill was introduced at the end of the month and it would create statewide licensing and regulation of persons engaged in the business of installing, altering, inspecting, repairing, servicing, maintaining or testing fire alarm systems or fire equipment and suppression systems. It includes certification of technicians and recognizes NTS training for technician certification.
In Maryland, HB 1117 and SB 927 were enacted into law on May 8, 2018. These bills will allow alarm companies to be fined for requesting a dispatch to a premise with a lapsed registration only after the local jurisdiction provided the alarm system contractor with notice that the alarm system’s registration expired or under other limited circumstances.
In Michigan, HB 5955 creates the Local Government Occupational Licensing Act. It was filed in conjunction with several other bills that amend local subdivisions statutes and states that "If an occupation is subject to licensing requirements imposed by the department of licensing and regulatory affairs or any other licensing authority of this state, a political subdivision of this state shall not impose any regulations on that occupation that add additional licensing requirements to those already imposed by the licensing authority of this state."
OK SB 1475 was enacted on May 7th and it creates an Occupational Licensing Advisory Commission with members appointed by the Legislature and Governor with the purpose of reviewing all occupational licenses in the state and making recommendations on whether such licenses be maintained, modified or repealed.
The most significant bill enacted was Indiana HB 1230, which funds $35 million for school security infrastructure improvements, including advanced notification to law enforcement, restricted building access and improved school security. This will was introduced, passed both houses and was signed by the Governor on the same day.
Michigan SB 1030 creates a school safety grant program that will allocate grants dedicated to increasing school resource officers, mental health professionals and provide improvements to school security technology through 3-year grants.
In New Jersey AB 3902 was introduced after SB 2293 was passed and sent to the Assembly on May 7th. The Senate version was amended to authorize the issuance of $1 billion in bonds under the "Securing Our Children's Future Bond Act". The bonds would be allocated as follows:
a. $450,000,000 for county vocational school district career and technical education grants;
b. $50,000,000 for county college career and technical education grants; and
c. $500,000,000 for school facility security grants.
New Jersey AB 4026 would increase funding for security services, equipment, or technology to nonpublic schools from $75 per pupil to $148 based on a different formula spelled out in the bill.
New Jersey SB 2615 was introduced on May 31st and it establishes a new assessment on criminal offenders to assist in funding school safety and security by assessing a $10 fee for each criminal conviction.
Governors vetoed two bills in the last week. In Vermont, Republican Governor Phil Scott vetoed HB 196, passed by a Democratic controlled legislature, which would have created a paid family leave insurance program. And, in Minnesota, Democratic Governor Mark Dayton vetoed a Republican tax bill, HF 947, that included a temporary increase in school security funding because it did not put money where he felt was necessary and because he claimed it contained tax breaks to rich multi-national corporations, rather than cuts for working families.