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CS/CS/CS/HB 973 — Low-Voltage Systems

by Regulatory Affairs Committee; Local and Federal Affairs Committee; Business and Professional Regulation Subcommittee; and Rep. Brodeur and others (CS/CS/SB 1442 by Regulated Industries Committee; Criminal Justice Committee; and Senator Lee)

This summary is provided for information only and does not represent the opinion of any Senator, Senate Officer, or Senate Office.

Prepared by: Regulated Industries Committee (RI)

The bill creates s. 553.793, F.S., regarding Low-Voltage Systems. The bill adds an exemption from regulation and licensing for the sale of certain equipment when those sales are by employees, contractors, subcontractors, or affiliates of telecommunications companies certified under ch. 364, F.S., companies with a state-issued franchise for the provision of cable or video services under ch. 610, F.S., or under a local franchise or right-of-way agreement (certificate holders), if the items transmit data as part of a television, radio, communications or telecommunications system. 

The bill provides that employees, contractors, subcontractors or affiliates of certificate holders are not subject to any local ordinance or licensure for the performance of low-voltage electrical work. It clarifies that alarm system contractors are not exempt from contractor licensure requirements. The bill deletes an exemption previously granted to telecommunications companies, which allowed certain limited low voltage electrical work by employees, but not to work by subcontractors. 

The bill adds an exemption from regulation and licensing for employees and sales representatives of an alarm system contractor who do not work on end-user premises and are not granted access to passwords or codes to arm or disarm systems. The bill exempts employees and sales representatives who have access to passwords or codes to arm or disarm systems, but only if they work at out-of-state locations and have had a satisfactory background check from a state or federal agency. It does not affect existing exemptions or background checks. 

The bill defines a low-voltage alarm system project and states requirements for permitting by a local enforcement agency. The bill requires a local enforcement agency to issue uniform basic permit labels available for purchase by contractors. 

The bill regulates labels and the method of issuance and use of permit labels. Labels may be purchased in bulk for unspecified current or future projects and are valid for one year. The labels must be posted by a contractor in a conspicuous place on the premises of the project site before commencement of work on the project. The bill provides that a contractor must submit a uniform notice within 14 days after completing the project. 

The bill includes a format for a uniform notice of a low-voltage alarm system project and establishes a maximum cost for uniform basic permit labels of $55 per label. The bill provides that local enforcement agencies that charged more than $55 for such permits before January 1, 2013, may continue to charge the same amount until January 1, 2015. Local enforcement agencies that charged more than $175 before January 1, 2013, may charge a maximum of $175 until January 1, 2015. After January 1, 2015 all permit labels are limited to $55. 

The bill prohibits a municipality, county, district, or other local government entity from adopting or maintaining an ordinance or rule regarding a low-voltage alarm system project that is inconsistent with the provisions of s. 553.793, F.S. 

The bill provides that a uniform basic permit label may not be required for the maintenance, inspection, or service of an alarm system that was permitted in accordance with s. 558.793, F.S. The bill provides that no new or additional licensure requirements are imposed on those licensed as contractors in accordance with ch. 489, F.S.

If approved by the Governor, these provisions take effect October 1, 2013.

Vote: Senate 38-0; House 115-0