|SAME AS||No Same As|
|COSPNSR||Jaffee, Gottfried, Thiele, Rosenthal L, Cook, Galef, Dickens, D'Urso, Bronson, Solages, Montesano, Raia|
|MLTSPNSR||Miller B, Simon|
|Amd §§807-a & 807-c, Ed L|
|Relates to fire inspections in public and private schools; requires the annual fire safety reports.|
|01/17/2019||referred to education|
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NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY
MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION
submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
BILL NUMBER: A1906 SPONSOR: Zebrowski (MS)
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the education law, in relation to fire inspections of public and private schools   PURPOSE OF THE BILL: The bill will modernize the process of conducting annual fire inspection reports for public and private schools.   SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section one of the bill amends section 807-a of the education law as it relates to annual fire inspections in public and private school build- ings. The bill requires the schools to request inspection from the local fire department, county fire coordinator or certified fire inspector. The bill allows certain notices to be posted and mailed electronically. The bill provides for recourse if schools fail to comply with the annual fire inspection process. It clarifies the current power of the commis- sioner to deny the certificate of occupancy if a public school fails to correct deficiencies following an inspection. If a private school fails to comply with the requirement, the commissioner must inspect or request a local authority to inspect the building. If the school fails to provide access to an inspector or fails to correct violations in a time- ly manner then the commissioner notify, in writing, the local government of the school's failure to comply. The bill clarifies which authorities may inspect the schools at any reasonable time. Section two of the bill amends section 807-c as it relates to renumber- ing amended references. Section three of the bill relates to the effective date.   JUSTIFICATION: This bill modernizes the law to take into account changes in how these inspections are conducted. It will remove the ability of persons who are not qualified to conduct the inspection to do so. It also provides schools with flexibility in meeting the public notice requirements and eliminates the "hold harmless" provision which allow inspectors who made errors on an inspection reports to not be held liable. Current law requires schools to submit an annual fire safety report which includes an inspection of school buildings. There is no recourse for schools who fail to submit an annual fire safety report in a timely manner or at all. This bill requires the commissioner of education to take action if a private school does not comply with the inspection requirement. Currently, the commissioner has the ability to take action if a public school fails to comply with the inspection requirement but there is no similar process for private schools. Under the legislation, if a private school fails to comply, the commissioner shall order the school to be inspected and if the inspection is refused, they must notify the local government who has jurisdiction over the school of their non-compliance. This will provide the State Education Department with the necessary enforcement mechanism to ensure compliance with this requirement and the safety of school buildings.   PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: A.2985-A of 2017-18   FISCAL IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE: None.   EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect on the sixtieth day after it shall have become law.
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STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 1906 2019-2020 Regular Sessions IN ASSEMBLY January 17, 2019 ___________ Introduced by M. of A. ZEBROWSKI, JAFFEE, GOTTFRIED, THIELE, L. ROSEN- THAL, COOK, GALEF, DICKENS, D'URSO, BRONSON, SOLAGES, MONTESANO, RAIA -- Multi-Sponsored by -- M. of A. B. MILLER, SIMON -- read once and referred to the Committee on Education AN ACT to amend the education law, in relation to fire inspections of public and private schools The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem- bly, do enact as follows: 1 Section 1. Section 807-a of the education law, as added by chapter 871 2 of the laws of 1955, subdivision 1 as amended and subdivision 10 as 3 added by chapter 981 of the laws of 1963, subdivisions 2 and 3 as 4 amended by chapter 607 of the laws of 1964, subparagraphs 4 and 5 of 5 paragraph a of subdivision 3 and paragraph a of subdivision 10 as 6 amended by chapter 284 of the laws of 1971, paragraph b of subdivision 3 7 as amended by chapter 511 of the laws of 1974, subdivision 4 as amended 8 by chapter 225 of the laws of 1979, subdivision 5 as amended by chapter 9 700 of the laws of 1971, paragraph a of subdivision 5 as amended by 10 chapter 464 of the laws of 1975, subdivision 6 as amended by chapter 165 11 of the laws of 2006, subdivision 7 as amended by chapter 536 of the laws 12 of 1981, and subdivision 11 as amended by chapter 380 of the laws of 13 1976, is amended to read as follows: 14 § 807-a. Fire inspections. 1. It shall be the duty of the school 15 authorities in general charge of the operation of any public or private 16 school to cause the buildings of such school containing classroom, 17 dormitory, laboratory, physical education, dining or recreational facil- 18 ities for student use to be inspected at least annually for fire hazards 19 which might endanger the lives of students, teachers and employees ther- 20 ein. 21 2. The annual fire inspection shall be made prior to the first day of 22 December of every school year and the report thereof shall be filed by 23 the school authorities in the places required by subdivision five of 24 this section no later than the sixteenth day of December of every such 25 year. EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD01579-01-9A. 1906 2 1 3. a. The school authorities shall cause any fire inspection pursuant 2 to this section to be made by one of the following methods, or any 3 combination of such methods: 4 (1) [ Employing, either regularly or specially, persons who, in the5 judgment of the school authorities, are qualified to make such an6 inspection, or any phase thereof.7 (2) Contracting for the making of such inspections, or any phase ther-8 eof, by persons who, in the judgment of the school authorities, are9 qualified.10 (3)] Requesting inspection by the fire department of any city, town, 11 village or fire district in which the building is located. 12 [ (4)] (2) Requesting inspection by a fire corporation which is subject 13 to the provisions of section fourteen hundred two of the not-for-profit 14 corporation law, if such building is located within the area described 15 in the certificate of incorporation of any such corporation. 16 [ (5)] (3) Requesting inspection by the county fire coordinator, or the 17 officer performing the powers and duties of a county fire coordinator 18 pursuant to a local law, of the county in which the building is located, 19 or by any deputy county fire coordinator or deputy of such other officer 20 so performing the powers and duties of a county fire coordinator desig- 21 nated to make the inspection by the county fire coordinator or such 22 other officer so performing the powers and duties of a county fire coor- 23 dinator, if the building is located outside a city, town, village, or 24 fire district, which has its own fire department and outside the area 25 described in the certificate of incorporation of any fire corporation 26 which is subject to the provisions of section fourteen hundred two of 27 the not-for-profit corporation law. 28 (4) Requesting inspection by a fire inspector, who holds a valid 29 certification. 30 b. [ If any such inspection, or phase thereof, is to be made by either31 of the methods specified in subparagraphs (1) and (2) of paragraph a of32 this subdivision, the school authorities shall give reasonable notice of33 the date and time such inspection is to be made to the chief, or other34 comparable officer, of any fire department, or fire corporation, which35 has the regular duty of fighting fire in the building to be inspected.36 Such officer, or any subordinate designated by him, may be present37 during the inspection and may also file a report of inspection in the38 manner provided in this section.39 c.] If any fire department, certified fire inspector or fire corpo- 40 ration described in subparagraphs [ (3)] (1), (2) and (4) of paragraph a 41 of this subdivision shall fail or refuse to make a fire inspection 42 promptly after having been requested to do so by the school authorities, 43 the request shall be denied in writing to the school authorities [ may44 request the county fire coordinator, or the officer performing the45 powers and duties of a county fire coordinator pursuant to a local law,46 of the county in which the building is located to make such inspection.47 It shall be the duty of the county fire coordinator, or such other offi-48 cer so performing the powers and duties of a county fire coordinator, in49 such case to make such inspection or cause it to be made by a deputy50 whom he shall designate] with an explanation of why such request was 51 denied. In no event may an authority who is otherwise required by law to 52 conduct fire inspections in such municipality or a county fire coordina- 53 tor refuse a request by a school authority for such inspection. 54 [ d.] c. Regardless of the method or methods used to accomplish the 55 inspection required by this section, the [ person] authority making theA. 1906 3 1 inspection shall file the report thereof with the school authorities no 2 later than the first day of December. 3 4. The state fire administrator shall prescribe the form of the fire 4 inspection report and the commissioner [ of education] shall furnish a 5 supply of such form to school authorities annually, either by mail or 6 electronically. In prescribing such form the state fire administrator 7 shall consider standards for fire safety set forth in the state building 8 construction code, the state building conservation and fire prevention 9 code, the regulations of the commissioner [ of education] and other safe- 10 ty standards. 11 5. a. The report of any fire inspection shall be filed in the office 12 of the school authorities and with the commissioner [ of education]. All 13 such reports [ so] filed in any public office shall be kept as public 14 records for at least three years after which period they may be 15 destroyed. 16 b. Within twenty days after the [ filing of the] report is filed with 17 the school authorities, the school authorities shall cause public notice 18 of the filing of such report to be given in substantially the following 19 form: "Notice is hereby given that the annual inspection for 20 (year) of 21 the school building (or of the 22 and school buildings) of (name of school district or private 23 school) for fire hazards which might endanger the lives of students, 24 teachers and employees therein, has been completed and the report there- 25 of is available at the office of (school district or private school) 26 at for inspection by all interested persons". If the inspection 27 was not made for the school authorities by the fire department or fire 28 company responsible for fire protection of the building, such authori- 29 ties shall cause a copy of such notice to be mailed or electronically 30 transmitted to the chief of such fire department or company. 31 c. The school authorities of public schools shall cause such notice to 32 be published on the school's website or at least once in the official 33 newspaper, or if there is no official newspaper, in a newspaper having 34 general circulation in the school district, and if there is no newspaper 35 having general circulation in the district, shall cause such notice to 36 be posted in ten conspicuous places in the district. Proof of publica- 37 tion or posting of such notice and of the mailing of a copy of such 38 notice to the fire chief shall be filed in the office of the district. 39 d. The school authorities of private schools shall cause such notice 40 to be published on the school's website or at least once in a newspaper 41 having general circulation in the postal area in which the school build- 42 ing is located, and if there is no newspaper having general circulation 43 in such postal area, shall cause such notice to be posted in ten 44 conspicuous places in such postal area. Proof of posting or publication 45 of such notice and of the mailing of a copy of such notice to the fire 46 chief shall be filed in the school office. 47 e. If the report shows any alleged deficiencies, the school authori- 48 ties shall [ give at least five days notice by mail to the chief of the49 fire department or fire company responsible for fire protection of the50 school building of the date and place of a meeting of the trustees,51 board of education, or corresponding officers by whatever name known, to52 be held within thirty days following the publication or posting required53 by this section, and shall at such meeting confer with the fire chief54 concerning the alleged deficiencies appearing on the inspection report55 and the measures proposed to be taken by the school authorities to56 correct such deficiencies.A. 1906 4 1 f. In each such school district subject to the jurisdiction of a2 district superintendent under the provisions of article forty-five of3 the education law, such district superintendent shall ascertain that the4 notices required by this subdivision have been published or posted, and5 mailed, and any conference with the fire chief required by this subdivi-6 sion has been had] provide the details of such deficiencies and the 7 proposed actions to be taken to correct such deficiencies to the local 8 government that administers and enforces the uniform fire prevention and 9 building code for the municipality in which the building is located. 10 6. a. It shall be the duty of the commissioner to ascertain annually 11 whether the inspections of school buildings required by this section 12 have been made and the reports of the inspection have been filed in 13 their respective offices. The commissioner shall review the reports of 14 inspection filed pursuant to this section and may make recommendations 15 to the school authorities with respect to any problems relating to 16 school fire safety noted in such reports. The commissioner shall require 17 a re-inspection of school buildings where a report of inspection identi- 18 fied violations [ that, if uncorrected, would cause the department to] 19 until it is demonstrated to the satisfaction of the commissioner that 20 said violations have been corrected. In the event that a public school 21 fails to correct violations following a re-inspection, the commissioner 22 may deny an annual certificate of occupancy to such school building[ ,23 and shall require additional re-inspections until it is demonstrated to24 the satisfaction of the commissioner that said violations have been25 corrected]. The commissioner may inspect or cause to be inspected at any 26 reasonable time for fire prevention and fire protection purposes the 27 school buildings required to be inspected by this section. 28 b. In the event a private school has failed to file an annual fire 29 safety report with the department within ninety days of the sixteenth of 30 December, the commissioner shall inspect or request an appropriate local 31 authority, described in subdivision seven of this section, to inspect 32 the school. If a private school either refuses access for an inspection 33 pursuant to this paragraph, or does not correct violations identified in 34 such report in a timely manner, the commissioner shall immediately noti- 35 fy, in writing, the local government who issues the certificate of occu- 36 pancy for the school of their failure to file a fire safety report. 37 7. a. Every public or private school required to be inspected as 38 hereinabove provided may be inspected for fire prevention and fire 39 protection purposes at any reasonable time by: 40 (1) the chief of the fire department of the city, town, village or 41 fire district in which the school is located, 42 (2) the chief of a fire corporation having its headquarters outside a 43 village or fire district, if the school is located in the area described 44 in the certificate of incorporation of such company, 45 (3) the chief of the fire department or fire company affording fire 46 protection to a fire district, fire protection district, or fire alarm 47 district pursuant to a contract, if the school is located in any such 48 district, 49 (4) the member of any fire department or fire company listed in 50 subparagraph one, two or three of this paragraph assigned by the chief 51 thereof the duty of inspecting school buildings[ .], 52 (5) the fire inspector, who holds a valid certification, of any city, 53 town, village or fire district in which the building is located, 54 (6) the county fire coordinator, or the officer performing the powers 55 and duties of a county fire coordinator pursuant to a local law, of the 56 county in which the building is located.A. 1906 5 1 b. In no event shall the school authorities of any public or private 2 school, required to be inspected as hereinabove provided, refuse access 3 at any reasonable time to any person described in subparagraphs one, 4 two, three [ and], four, five or six of paragraph a of this subdivision, 5 who appears for the purpose of conducting an inspection for fire 6 prevention or fire protection purposes; provided, however, that the 7 administrator or the designee of the administrator of the school to be 8 inspected shall be given the opportunity to be present during the 9 inspection. 10 8. [ Any person, or any public or other corporation for which any such11 person acts, shall not be liable for any error, omission or lack of12 thoroughness in the making of the inspection and report required or13 permitted by this section.14 9.] The term "school authorities", as used in this section, means, in 15 relation to public schools, the trustees, or board of education, or 16 corresponding officers, whether one or more, and by whatever name known 17 of a city school district, or other school district however created, or, 18 in relation to private schools, the board of trustees, board of direc- 19 tors, or other governing board in general charge of the operation of any 20 such school. 21 [ 10.] 9. The term "private school", as used in this section, means: 22 a. Any nursery school or kindergarten attended by six or more pupils 23 three years of age or older which may apply for registration by the New 24 York state education department pursuant to part one hundred twenty-five 25 of title eight of the official compilation of codes, rules and regu- 26 lations of the state of New York; provided, however, that this section 27 shall not apply to day care facilities possessing a valid permit as 28 required by section three hundred ninety of the social services law; or 29 b. Any establishment, other than a public school, attended by twenty- 30 five or more pupils for the purpose of receiving the instruction of 31 academic grade at the elementary or secondary level required by part one 32 of article sixty-five of this chapter. 33 [ 11.] 10. This section shall not apply to the school authorities in 34 the cities of New York, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Yonkers or to 35 colleges and universities. 36 § 2. Subdivision 1 of section 807-c of the education law, as amended 37 by chapter 1015 of the laws of 1974, is amended to read as follows: 38 1. The school authorities designated in subdivision [ nine] eight of 39 section eight hundred seven-a of this [ chapter] article in charge of the 40 operation of any public school or of any private school designated in 41 subdivision [ ten] nine of such section, located in an area within which 42 a fire department or fire company is responsible for fire protection and 43 within which there is no electrically or electronically operated fire 44 alarm reporting system provided for public use may cause the internal 45 fire alarm, fire detection, or fire extinguishing system of each build- 46 ing in which is contained classroom, dormitory, laboratory, physical 47 education, dining or recreational facilities for student use to be 48 interconnected with the fire alarm reporting location or system which is 49 provided for such fire department or fire company to receive alarms from 50 the public so that upon activation of such internal fire alarm, fire 51 detection, or fire extinguishing system a signal will be automatically 52 transmitted to such fire alarm reporting location or system. 53 § 3. This act shall take effect on the sixtieth day after it shall 54 have become a law.
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