Louisiana Legislative Wrap-UpBy
There were a number of bills that were introduced during the Louisiana Legislative Session. The Louisiana Home Builders Association (LHBA) has put together a summary of the ones that were important to the home building industry. Below is a list of bills that LHBA monitored during the session and their outcome.
New Home Warranty Act:
HB 341 by Rep. Thompson provides for the application of the New Home Warranty Act (NHWA) to only the new attached and unattached structures and foundation upon which such structures are located. Thus, “home” does not include the unimproved land beyond the foundation upon which all new attached and unattached structures are located. Case law was already clear on land not covered by the NHWA. HB 341 would have created confusion in court and increased insurance costs in an already unstable economy. LHBA Position: Oppose. Status: After a full hearing, voluntarily deferred by the author in House Commerce Committee.
HB 798 by Rep. Ponti (HB 1029) makes the NHWA applicable to new manufactured homes or modular homes. A substitute bill was introduced which has builder, building standards and home definitions written to manufactured and modular specifications. LHBA Position: Support as amended (substitute bill HB 1029). Status: HB 1029 passed the both houses, Act 112.
HB 1014 by Rep Hoffman provides for appraisal reviews by licensed appraisers; establishes guidelines for fees to be paid to appraisers and requires a surety bond as a condition for obtaining and maintaining an appraisal management company license. LHBA Position: Support. Status: Passed both houses, Act 429.
Many workers compensation reform bills were filed. SB 763 was the bill amended and backed by the business community. SB 763 balances the interests of employees and employers under the law, eliminates the almost automatic awarding of thousands of dollars in penalties and attorney fees for errors and good faith disputes, and provides some benefit enhancements for claimants. LHBA Position: Support. Status: Passed both houses, Act 860.
HB 776 by Rep. Fannin establishes the LA State Uniform Construction Code Council as the authority for promulgating fees for the enforcement of the state construction code. Position: No position. Status: Never heard in committee.
HB 450 by Abramson provides that a claimant under the Private Works Act must file suit to enforce his claim or privilege within one year after filing his claim or privilege. LHBA Position: Monitor for amendments. Status: Passed both houses, Act 394
HB 941 by Abramson provides that priority be given to a privilege acquired through reliance on an affidavit executed by certain persons involved in the modification of an immovable if the document creating the right is filed before or within four days of the effective date of the affidavit. LHBA Position: Monitor for amendments. Status: Passed both houses, Act 425.
HB 386 by Rep. Ponti prohibits a home improvement contractor from promising to pay or rebate any portion of an applicable insurance deductible as an inducement to the sale of goods or services; authorizes a person who has entered into a written contract with a home improvement contractor to provide goods or services to be paid from the proceeds of a property or casualty insurance policy to cancel the contract within 72 hours after the insured party has been notified by the insurer that any part of the claim has been denied. Home improvement contractors shall have written agreements for services over $1,500 and general liability for $100,000. Status: Passed both houses, now Act 193. The bill was amended for the contract provisions to apply only for roofs.
HB 79 by Rep. Arnold exempts any person performing life safety and property protection contracting by the fire marshal from the definition of electrical contractor. LHBA Position: Oppose. Status: Voluntarily deferred in Commerce Committee.
HB 25 by Rep. Burns allows licensed arborists to be exempt from additional exam requirements to be licensed as building contractors in order to bid on arborist work statewide. The exemption is for the landscaping, grading and beautification contractors classification. A technical amendment was added, “sub” was added before classification. LHBA Position: Monitor/amend. Status: Passed both houses, now Act 163.
SB 393 by Sen. Murray proposes that a party may make a written request or motion for a new trial on certain grounds, if the new trial is applied for within 24 hours after the rendition of the judgment of eviction. SB 393 also proposes that an appeal under present law may be taken if applied for within 24 hours after the rendition of the judgment of eviction, or within 24 hours after the denial of a motion for new trial if such motion is made. This legislation also states that in the case of a judgment of eviction rendered against an unrepresented defendant appearing at trial, that the court shall advise him of his right to seek a new trial and to appeal. LHBA Position: Oppose. Status: Failed in House Civil Law Committee.
SB 472 by Sen. Murray was heavily amended in committee to issue a written warning before administrative penalties are due. The amendment also states that the penalty is not more than $250 per each individual. Thereafter, any such failure by an employer to properly classify shall be subject to a penalty of not more than $500 per individual. SB 472 by Sen. Murray’s original bill provides that if an employer failed to properly classify an individual as an employee and failed to pay unemployment contributions but the failure was not knowing or willful, the employer shall be assessed, in addition to any contributions, interest and penalties otherwise due, an administrative penalty not to exceed $10,000 per employee, not to exceed $25,000 per audit. LHBA Position: Amend. Status: Passed both houses, Act 786.
HB 26 by Rep. Connick proposes that if residential property expropriated by the state or a political subdivision remains in the possession of and is maintained by the original owner or his heir for a period of more than 30 years, the expropriated property shall be transferred back to the original owner or his heir upon payment of the fair market value of the property. LHBA Position: Support. Status: Passed both houses, Act 445.
SB 265 by Sen. Morrell provides that the state fire marshal may condemn and cause to be demolished or removed any building or structure within a parish or municipality when it is in a dilapidated and dangerous condition that endangers the public welfare. LHBA Position: Monitor after amended. Status: Did not pass in House Commerce Committee.
HB 703 by Sen. Amedee authorizes Ascension Parish governing authority to expropriate property when it cannot amicably acquire property needed for a road or sewage project. LHBA Position: Oppose. Status: Did not pass in Civil Law Committee.
Residential Real Estate
HB 403 by Rep. Lorusso requires that the residential property disclosure statement inform the purchaser of any applicable building restrictions or restrictive covenants which may provide for restrictions as to the use of the property or as to the type of construction or materials to be used in the construction of any structure on the property. Position: No position taken. Status: Never heard in committee.
SB 425 by Sen. Claitor prohibits any contract to sell or purchase residential real estate executed in this state from containing any provision requiring the purchaser, as a condition of such sale, to use a specific provider of settlement services. LHBA Position: Oppose. Status: Never heard in committee.
HB 48 by Rep. Harris creates the crime of theft of copper and other metals. The penalties are calculated on the fair market value of the metal and the cost of replacing and repairing property which was damaged as a result of the theft. Criminal penalties based upon the value of the copper or other metals:
When the value is $1,000 or more – A maximum fine of $5,000, imprisonment for five – 10 years, or both.
- When the value is between $500 and $1,000 – A maximum fine of $2,000, imprisonment for two – five years, or both.
- When the value is less than $500 – A maximum fine of $1,000, imprisonment for one – two years, or both.
- For a second or subsequent conviction – A maximum fine of $5,000, imprisonment up to 10 years, or both.
LHBA Position: Support. Status: Passed both houses
HB 1187 by Rep. Richardson and HB 1188 by Rep. Anders prohibits any cash sale for copper. Checks for copper sales must be mailed to the seller’s address on the photo ID with a waiting period of at least five days. LHBA Position: Support. Status: Both passed, HB 1187 is Act 292 and HB 1188 is Act 827.