Sorry for the short notice but we just found out about this issue over the weekend.
On Wednesday July 19, 2017, the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security will hold a hearing on several bills. The most important to this associations membership is House Bill 1317. This bill establishes a Building Code Coordinating Council. In essence any regulation the that is promulgated by the Board of Fire Prevention Regulations would have to pass through this board when it comes to issues involving a construction code. This new BCCC would have the authority to reject, by majority vote, proposed regulations that are inconsistent, redundant, conflicting or overlapping with any other existing or proposed construction codes.
Inconsistent and conflicting are the dangerous words.
The Fire Service has worked hard to promulgate laws and regulations to protect citizens and firefighters. This new BCCC would be a new layer of bureaucracy that would hinder our efforts. We all know the struggles we have when trying to modify the Building Code to make buildings safer. We ask that you take a moment and send a message to the members of the committee urging them to defeat this bill.
Visit https://malegislature.gov/Bills/190/H1317 to read the Bill.
Visit https://malegislature.gov/Committees/Detail/J22 to find a list of members of the joint committee. If you click on their name it will provide you with telephone numbers and email addresses.
President Steve Lavoie will be offering testimony at the hearing as will Vice President Chris Dowling. This is a Public Hearing. If you have the time please attend and support them and maybe even testify!
The following is the text of a letter that President Lavoie sent to the members. We would ask that you do the same.
July 15, 2017
Dear Members of the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security,
Two years ago, the State of Massachusetts adopted its first uniform fire code for statewide code enforcement; this was done to ensure that the latest standards were being used in a fair and non-conflicting manner. This code went through a strict vetting process which allowed the State to have a maintenance code dealing with fire prevention. After reading the description of the proposed house bill H.1317, our Association believes that this process would not be in the best interest of public safety. The Fire Prevention Association of Massachusettsvehemently opposes H. 1317 for the reasons stated below.
House bill H.1317 would make it harder to promulgate much needed life safety regulations in an effective and efficient time frame.
House bill H.1317 denies any specialized codes, rules, or regulations a right of an appeal process. This would create the State of Massachusetts vs the State of Massachusetts within our judicial system.
House bill H.1317 is inconsistent with the current State laws, andwill conflict with our current M.G.L. Chapter 143 sections 96 & 97.
House bill H.1317 does not provide a means for emergency promulgations. An example would be the State's quick and effective passing of Chapter 304 Of The Acts Of 2004 "An Act Relative To Fire Safety In The Commonwealth" in response to the tragic Rhode Island station night club fire in 2003.
We believe that the proposed House bill H.1317 would fail us as Public safety officials, and would create multiple issues due to its inconsistency with the current laws. Westrongly urge you to oppose House bill H.1317.
Thank you for your consideration.
Steven R. Lavoie, President, FPAM
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT AND TAKING THE TIME TO LET THE COMMITTEE KNOW THIS IS NOT IN THE BEST INTREST OF PUBLIC SAFETY!