Terry Martiesian, RIICA lobbyist, and David Burnham monitored Bills and tracking committee hearings.
RIICA testified in opposition to a DIG SAFE Bill submitted on behalf of RI PUC. This Bill would create changes for all RIICA members that move the earth. If you would
like to review a particular Bill you can go to the following web sites and read the Bill on-line and/or print them out.
For Senate & House Bills go to:
BILLS WE OPPOSE - Relating to Public Utilities and Carriers - Excavation Near Underground Utility Facilities. (DIG SAFE BILL)
- Senate Bill S-0058 & House Bill H-5163 are companion Bills submitted in both chambers of the legislature.
These Bills, if passed would:
- Change the 48 hours notification time to 72 hours;
- Require excavators to Pre-Mark the area of excavation prior to calling in a location request.
- Increase penalties for first and subsequent violations.
The most disturbing part of this legislative process is the lack of communication by the PUC officials. RIICA participated in the drafting and passage of the original DIG
SAFE LAW in 1984 and has been represented on several committees since 1984 that met to discuss problems, real or imagined, by both excavators, the utility companies and the PUC. In 2001 and 2002 the PUC convened
extensive meetings that were attended by several RIICA members, utility company rep, Utility Contractors Assoc.of RI and the Construction Industries of RI (Road Builders Assoc.). Proposals were offered from all
sides on how to improve notification requests, identify excavation sites more accurately, provide marking of utilities on private property to improve on the issue of safety for the excavator and the public and limit
liability for the utility provider. Language changes were proposed that we felt would save time on renewal calls and re-marking. We requested reimbursement for downtime due to lack of marks and miss-marking that
costs us time and money. The utility companies would not compromise and PUC did not stand up for the construction industry. We don't like the 72 hour proposal, it takes away our flexibility; pre-mark is a good
thing. It should save time for the locators doing the marking. We have not heard any good reason to increase the fines other than " other states have higher fines." We have stated that in order to compromise on the
72 hours we want: private property marking (this is electric company issue); depth of the utility; reimbursement for downtime; abandon & new installations recorded promptly & marked as such; mandatory that
all water, sewer & cable service providers and RI DOT be required by law to participate in Dig Safe; and finally we proposed that the requirement for work to be "performed" in thirty days be changed to
"commenced" in thirty days. This one word alone would limit renewal calls & re-marks.
OTHER BILLS WE ARE FOLLOWING:
- H 5182 - vehicle snowplow equipment removal. We have this already, trying to see what's different.
- S 0094 - prohibits cell phone use while driving except hands free devices - Support
- S 0218 - creates sales tax holiday in RI, good for small business - Support
- S 0220 - voter disaffiliation Bill - shortens span for disaffiliation - Support
- S 0221 - no political phone call Bill - Support
- S 0243 - Cesspool phase out Bill - Support
- We expect to see several Bills relating to Contractors Registration Board. We will let you know the proposed impacts when we see these Bills.
- RIICA BILL S 0297 - Introduced to provide for a statewide sewer license that would eliminate the need for a license from each and every city or town. $ 75.00 annual license fee; covers sewer & storm drainage mains, laterals, installations & repairs. Has 12-month grandfather clause, bond requirement, municipalities would be able to issue permits & charge permit/inspection fees. Please let any RIICA officer or board member know your position on this Bill.