HB2356: Fire Marshal, Office of; transfers enforcement of Fire Prevention Code thereto.

HOUSE BILL NO. 2356
Offered January 10, 2007
Prefiled January 9, 2007
A BILL to amend and reenact §§ 2.2-4006, 9.1-203, 27-61, 27-95, 27-97, 36-99.3, 36-114, 36-118, 36-135, 36-139, and 38.2-401 of the Code of Virginia, to amend the Code of Virginia by adding sections numbered 9.1-203.1, 9.1-203.2, 9.1-206, 9.1-207, and 9.1-208, and to repeal §§ 36-139.2 and 36-139.3 of the Code of Virginia, relating to the Office of the State Fire Marshal; powers and duties.
Patron-- Cosgrove

Committee Referral Pending

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:

1. That §§ 2.2-4006, 9.1-203, 27-61, 27-95, 27-97, 36-99.3, 36-114, 36-118, 36-135, 36-139, and 38.2-401 of the Code of Virginia are amended and reenacted and that the Code of Virginia is amended by adding sections numbered 9.1-203.1, 9.1-203.2, 9.1-206, 9.1-207, and 9.1-208 as follows:

§ 2.2-4006. Exemptions from requirements of this article.

A. The following agency actions otherwise subject to this chapter and § 2.2-4103 of the Virginia Register Act shall be exempted from the operation of this article:

1. Agency orders or regulations fixing rates or prices.

2. Regulations that establish or prescribe agency organization, internal practice or procedures, including delegations of authority.

3. Regulations that consist only of changes in style or form or corrections of technical errors. Each promulgating agency shall review all references to sections of the Code of Virginia within their regulations each time a new supplement or replacement volume to the Code of Virginia is published to ensure the accuracy of each section or section subdivision identification listed.

4. Regulations that are:

a. Necessary to conform to changes in Virginia statutory law or the appropriation act where no agency discretion is involved;

b. Required by order of any state or federal court of competent jurisdiction where no agency discretion is involved; or

c. Necessary to meet the requirements of federal law or regulations, provided such regulations do not differ materially from those required by federal law or regulation, and the Registrar has so determined in writing. Notice of the proposed adoption of these regulations and the Registrar's determination shall be published in the Virginia Register not less than 30 days prior to the effective date of the regulation.

5. Preliminary program permit fees of the Department of Environmental Quality assessed pursuant to subsection C of § 10.1-1322.2.

6. Regulations of the Pesticide Control Board adopted pursuant to subsection B of § 3.1-249.51 or clause (v) or (vi) of subsection C of § 3.1-249.53 after having been considered at two or more Board meetings and one public hearing.

7. Regulations of the regulatory boards served by (i) the Department of Labor and Industry pursuant to Title 40.1 and (ii) the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation or the Department of Health Professions pursuant to Title 54.1 that are limited to reducing fees charged to regulants and applicants.

8. The development and issuance of procedural policy relating to risk-based mine inspections by the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy authorized pursuant to §§ 45.1-161.82 and 45.1-161.292:55.

9. General permits issued by the (a) State Air Pollution Control Board pursuant to Chapter 13 (§ 10.1-1300 et seq.) of Title 10.1 or (b) State Water Control Board pursuant to the State Water Control Law (§ 62.1-44.2 et seq.), Chapter 24 (§ 62.1-242 et seq.) of Title 62.1 and Chapter 25 (§ 62.1-254 et seq.) of Title 62.1, (c) Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board pursuant to the Virginia Stormwater Management Act (§ 10.1-603.1 et seq.) of Title 10.1, and (d) the development and issuance of general wetlands permits by the Marine Resources Commission pursuant to subsection B of § 28.2-1307, if the respective Board or Commission (i) provides a Notice of Intended Regulatory Action in conformance with the provisions of subsection B of § 2.2-4007, (ii) following the passage of 30 days from the publication of the Notice of Intended Regulatory Action forms a technical advisory committee composed of relevant stakeholders, including potentially affected citizens groups, to assist in the development of the general permit, (iii) provides notice and receives oral and written comment as provided in subsection F of § 2.2-4007, and (iv) conducts at least one public hearing on the proposed general permit.

10. The development and issuance by the Board of Education of guidelines on constitutional rights and restrictions relating to the recitation of the pledge of allegiance to the American flag in public schools pursuant to § 22.1-202.

11. Regulations of the Board of the Virginia College Savings Plan adopted pursuant to § 23-38.77.

12. Regulations of the Marine Resources Commission.

13. Regulations adopted by the Board of Housing and Community Development pursuant to (i) Statewide Fire Prevention Code (§ 27-94 et seq.), (ii) the Industrialized Building Safety Law (§ 36-70 et seq.), (iii) (ii) the Uniform Statewide Building Code (§ 36-97 et seq.), and (iv) (iii) § 36-98.3, provided the Board (a) provides a Notice of Intended Regulatory Action in conformance with the provisions of subsection B of § 2.2-4007, (b) publishes the proposed regulation and provides an opportunity for oral and written comments as provided in subsection F of § 2.2-4007, and (c) conducts at least one public hearing as provided in §§ 2.2-4009 and 36-100 prior to the publishing of the proposed regulations. Notwithstanding the provisions of this subdivision, any regulations promulgated by the Board shall remain subject to the provisions of subsection K of § 2.2-4007 concerning public petitions, and §§ 2.2-4013 and 2.2-4014 concerning review by the Governor and General Assembly.

14. Amendments to the list of drugs susceptible to counterfeiting adopted by the Board of Pharmacy pursuant to subsection B of § 54.1-3307.

15. Regulations adopted by the Board of Fire Services pursuant to the Statewide Fire Prevention Code (§ 27-94 et seq.), provided the Board (i) provides a Notice of Intended Regulatory Action in conformance with the provisions of subsection B of § 2.2-4007, (ii) publishes the proposed regulation and provides an opportunity for oral and written comments as provided in subsection F of § 2.2-4007, and (iii) conducts at least one public hearing as provided in § 2.2-4009 prior to the publishing of the proposed regulations. Notwithstanding the provisions of this subdivision, any regulations promulgated by the Board shall remain subject to the provisions of subsection K of § 2.2-4007 concerning public petitions and §§ 2.2-4013 and 2.2-4014 concerning review by the Governor and General Assembly.

B. Whenever regulations are adopted under this section, the agency shall state as part thereof that it will receive, consider and respond to petitions by any interested person at any time with respect to reconsideration or revision. The effective date of regulations adopted under this subsection shall be in accordance with the provisions of § 2.2-4015, except in the case of emergency regulations, which shall become effective as provided in subsection B of § 2.2-4012.

C. A regulation for which an exemption is claimed under this section or § 2.2-4002, or 2.2-4011 and that is placed before a board or commission for consideration shall be provided at least two days in advance of the board or commission meeting to members of the public that request a copy of that regulation. A copy of that regulation shall be made available to the public attending such meeting.

§ 9.1-203. Powers and duties of Virginia Fire Services Board; limitation.

A. The Board shall have the responsibility for promoting the coordination of the efforts of fire service organizations at the state and local levels. To these ends, it shall have the following powers and duties to:

1. Establish a process, involving state and local agencies, public and private, for setting priorities for implementing the Virginia Fire Prevention and Control Plan and coordinating the activities of state and local agencies, public and private, in implementing the Plan;

2. Develop a five-year statewide plan for fire education and training;

3. Establish criteria for the disbursement of any grant funds received from the federal government and any agencies thereof and any other source and to disburse such funds in accordance therewith;

4. Provide technical assistance and advice to local fire departments, other fire services organizations, and local governments;

5. Develop and recommend personnel standards for fire services personnel;

6. Develop and implement a statewide plan for the collection, analysis and reporting of data relating to fires in the Commonwealth, utilizing appropriate resources of other state agencies when deemed proper by the Board;

7. Make recommendations to the Governor and General Assembly concerning legislation affecting fire prevention and protection and fire services organizations in Virginia;

8. Evaluate all state programs or functions which have a bearing on fire prevention and protection and to make to the appropriate government officials any recommendations deemed necessary to improve the level of fire prevention and protection in the Commonwealth;

9. Provide training and information to localities relative to the Statewide Fire Prevention Code;

10. Study and develop alternative means of providing financial support for volunteer fire departments and to make appropriate recommendations regarding the implementation of such alternatives;

11. Conduct training schools for fire service personnel in various areas of the Commonwealth; and

12. Render assistance to local fire departments and volunteer fire companies in training firefighters; and

13. Promulgate the Statewide Fire Prevention Code (§ 27-94 et seq.) and regulations relating to the powers and duties of the State Fire Marshal.

B. Except for those policies established in § 38.2-401, compliance with the provisions of § 9.1-201 and this section and any policies or guidelines enacted pursuant thereto shall be optional with, and at the full discretion of, any local governing body and any volunteer fire department or volunteer fire departments operating under the same corporate charters.

§ 9.1-203.1.  Additional powers of the Board.

A. The Board shall have the power and duty to hear all appeals from decisions arising under application of the Code and to render its decision on any such appeal, which decision shall be final if no appeal is made therefrom. Proceedings of the Board shall be governed by the provisions of the Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.), except that an informal conference pursuant to § 2.2-4019 shall not be required.

B. The Board shall interpret the provisions of the Code and shall make such recommendations, which it deems appropriate, to the Board for modification, amendment, or repeal of any of such provisions. A record of all such recommendations and of the Board's actions thereon shall be kept by the Board. Such record shall be open to public inspection at all times during business hours.

§ 9.1-203.2. Notice and hearings on adoption of Code; amendments and repeals.

The adoption, amendment, or repeal of any Code provisions shall be exempt from the Administrative Process Act, Chapter 40 (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.) of Title 2.2, pursuant to subdivision A 15 of § 2.2-4006. Before the adoption, amendment, or repeal of any Code provisions, the Board shall hold at least one public hearing. In addition to the notice requirement contained therein, the Board shall notify in writing the building official or, where none, the local governing body of every city or county in the Commonwealth. At any such hearing all persons desiring to do so shall be afforded an opportunity to present their views. 

§ 9.1-206. Appointment of State Fire Marshal; qualification; powers and duties; power to arrest, to procure and serve warrants and issue summonses; limitation on authority.

A. The Secretary of Public Safety shall appoint a State Fire Marshal and other personnel necessary to carry out the provisions of the Statewide Fire Prevention Code (§27-94 et seq.). The State Fire Marshal and other personnel appointed pursuant to this section shall be selected upon the basis of education or experience in administering laws and regulations designed to prevent and eliminate hazards to life and property.

B. The State Fire Marshal shall have the powers and duties prescribed by the Statewide Fire Prevention Code, § 27-61, the regulations of the Fire Services Board, and the Secretary of Public Safety. The State Fire Marshal and those persons duly authorized to enforce the Statewide Fire Prevention Code shall have the authority to arrest, to procure and serve warrants of arrests, and to issue summonses in the manner authorized by general law for violation of the Statewide Fire Prevention Code. The authority granted in this section shall not be construed to authorize the State Fire Marshal to wear or carry firearms. All personnel appointed pursuant to this section shall meet the training requirements set forth for local fire marshals in § 27-34.2.  

§ 9.1-207. Inspection of certain state-owned, state-operated, or state-licensed facilities; enforcement of safety standards.

Notwithstanding any other provisions of this chapter, the State Fire Marshal, upon presenting appropriate credentials, shall make annual inspections for hazards incident to fire in all (i) residential care facilities operated by any state agency, (ii) assisted living facilities licensed or subject to licensure  pursuant to Chapter 18 (§ 63.2-1800 et seq.) of Title 63.2 that are not inspected by the local fire marshal, (iii) student residence facilities owned or operated by a public institution of higher education, and (iv) public schools that are not inspected by the local fire marshal. In the event that any such facility or residence is found to be nonconforming to the Statewide Fire Prevention Code, the State Fire Marshal or local fire marshal may petition any court of competent jurisdiction for the  issuance of  an injunction.

9.1-208. Agreements between Department and other agencies.

The Department is hereby authorized to enter into agreements with federal agencies, other state agencies, and political subdivisions for services related to enforcement and administration of laws, rules, or regulations or ordinances of such agencies affecting fire safety in public buildings.

§ 27-61. When Department or fire chief may remedy inflammable or unsafe conditions.

The Department of Housing and Community DevelopmentFire Programs, by its representative, or the chief or other head of the fire department of any county, city or town or district thereof, shall have the right, at all reasonable hours, for the purpose of examination, to enter into and upon any public school building or any other building or premises not at the time occupied and used as a dwelling house, within their respective jurisdictions, for examination as to combustible materials or inflammable or unsafe conditions in any such building or upon any such premises. Upon complaint of any person having an interest in any building or premises or property adjacent thereto, in his jurisdiction, an officer shall make an immediate investigation as to the presence of any combustible materials or the existence of inflammable or unsafe conditions in such buildings or upon such premises. Whenever any officer finds in any building or upon any premises combustible, inflammable or unsafe conditions, dangerous to the safety of the building or premises, or other property, he shall order the same to be removed or remedied, and the order shall, within a reasonable time to be fixed in the order, be complied with by the owner or occupant of the building or premises.

Any owner or occupant aggrieved by such order may within five days after notice of such order, appeal to the Department of Housing and Community DevelopmentFire Programs, and the cause of his complaint shall be at once investigated by the Executive Director of the Department of Housing and Community DevelopmentFire Programs, and unless by its authority such order is revoked, the order shall remain in force and the owner or occupant shall comply with the order.

Any owner or occupant of any building or premises failing to comply with any final order made or given under the authority of this section, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and punished by a fine of not less than $5 nor more than $100 for each offense.

§ 27-95. Definitions.

As used in this chapter, unless the context or subject matter requires otherwise, the following words or terms shall have the meaning herein ascribed to them:

"Board" means the Board of Housing and Community Development.

"Code provisions" means the provisions of the Fire Prevention Code as adopted and promulgated by the Board, and the amendments thereof as adopted and promulgated from time to time by such Board.

"Enforcement agency" means the agency or agencies of any local governing body or the State Fire Marshal charged with the administration or enforcement of the Fire Prevention Code.

"Fire Prevention Code" or "Code" means the Statewide Fire Prevention Code.

"Fire prevention regulation" means any law, rule, resolution, regulation, ordinance or code, general or special, or compilation thereof to safeguard life and property from the hazards of fire or explosion arising from the improper maintenance of life safety and fire prevention and protection materials, devices, systems and structures, and the unsafe storage, handling and use of substances, materials and devices, including explosives and blasting agents, wherever located, heretofore or hereafter enacted or adopted by the Commonwealth or any county or municipality, including departments, boards, bureaus, commissions or other agencies.

"Fire Services Board" or "Board" means the Virginia Fire Services Board as provided for in § 9.1-202.

"Fireworks" means any firecracker, torpedo, skyrocket, or other substance or object, of whatever form or construction, that contains any explosive or inflammable compound or substance, and is intended, or commonly known as fireworks, and which explodes, rises into the air or travels laterally, or fires projectiles into the air.

"Inspection warrant" means an order in writing, made in the name of the Commonwealth, signed by any judge or magistrate whose territorial jurisdiction encompasses the building, structure or premises to be inspected or entered, and directed to a state or local official, commanding him to enter and to conduct any inspection, examination, testing or collection of samples for testing required or authorized by the Virginia Statewide Fire Prevention Code.

"Local government" means the governing body of any city, county or town in this Commonwealth.

"Permissible fireworks" means any sparklers, fountains, Pharaoh's serpents, caps for pistols, or pinwheels commonly known as whirligigs or spinning jennies.

"State Fire Marshal" means the State Fire Marshal as provided for by § 36-139.2 9.1-206.

§ 27-97. Adoption of Fire Prevention Code.

The Board of Housing and Community Development Virginia Fire Services Board (Board) is hereby empowered to adopt and promulgate a Statewide Fire Prevention Code which shall be cooperatively developed with the Fire Services Board of Housing and Community Development pursuant to procedures agreed to by the two Boards. The Fire Prevention Code shall prescribe regulations to be complied with for the protection of life and property from the hazards of fire or explosion and for the handling, storage, sale and use of fireworks, explosives or blasting agents, and shall provide for the administration and enforcement of such regulations. The Fire Prevention Code shall require manufacturers of fireworks or explosives, as defined in the Code, to register and report information concerning their manufacturing facilities and methods of operation within the Commonwealth in accordance with regulations adopted by the Board. In addition to conducting criminal background checks pursuant to § 27-97.2, the Board shall also establish regulations for obtaining permits for the manufacturing, storage, handling, use, or sales of fireworks or explosives. In the enforcement of such regulations, the enforcing agency may issue annual permits for such activities to any state regulated public utility. Such permits shall not apply to the storage, handling, or use of explosives or blasting agents pursuant to the provisions of Title 45.1.

The Fire Prevention Code shall prohibit any person, firm, or corporation from transporting, manufacturing, storing, selling, offering for sale, exposing for sale, or buying, using, igniting, or exploding any fireworks except for those persons, firms, or corporations that manufacture, store, market and distribute fireworks for the sole purpose of fireworks displays permitted by an enforcement agency or by any locality.

The Fire Prevention Code shall supersede fire prevention regulations heretofore adopted by local governments or other political subdivisions. Local governments are hereby empowered to adopt fire prevention regulations that are more restrictive or more extensive in scope than the Fire Prevention Code provided such regulations do not affect the manner of construction, or materials to be used in the erection, alteration, repair, or use of a building or structure, including the voluntary installation of smoke alarms and regulation and inspections thereof in commercial buildings where such smoke alarms are not required under the provisions of the Code.

In formulating the Fire Prevention Code, the Board shall have due regard for generally accepted standards as recommended by nationally recognized organizations including, but not limited to, standards of the Southern Building Code Congress, the Building Officials and Code Administrators International, Inc. International Code Council, the National Fire Protection Association, and recognized organizations issuing standards for the protection of the public from the hazards of explosives and blasting agents. Such standards shall be based on the companion document to the model building code referenced by the Uniform Statewide Building Code.

The Fire Prevention Code shall require that buildings constructed prior to 1973 be maintained in accordance with state fire and public building regulations in effect prior to March 31, 1986, and that any building which is (i) more than seventy-five feet or more than six stories high and (ii) used, in whole or in part, as a dormitory to house students by any public or private institution of higher education shall be required to comply with the provisions of § 36-99.3. The Fire Prevention Code shall also require annual fire drills in all buildings having floors used for human occupancy located more than seventy-five feet above the lowest level of fire department vehicle access. The drills shall be conducted by building staff personnel or the owner of the building in accordance with a plan approved by the appropriate fire official and shall not affect other current occupants. The Board may modify, amend or repeal any Code provisions as the public interest requires. Any such Code changes shall be developed in cooperation with the Fire Services Board of Housing and Community Development pursuant to procedures agreed to by the two Boards.

§ 36-99.3. Smoke detectors and automatic sprinkler systems in colleges and universities.

A. College or university buildings containing dormitories for sleeping purposes shall be provided with battery or AC powered smoke detector devices installed therein in accordance with the Uniform Statewide Building Code. All public or private college and university dormitories shall have installed and use due diligence in maintaining in good working order such detectors regardless of when the building was constructed.

B. The Board of Housing and Community Development shall promulgate regulations pursuant to item (ii) clause (ii) of subdivision C5 A 13 of section§ 2.2-4006 establishing standards for automatic sprinkler systems throughout all public or private college or university buildings which are (i) more than seventy-five feet or more than six stories high and (ii) used, in whole or in part, as dormitories to house students. Such buildings shall be equipped with automatic sprinkler systems by September 1, 1999, regardless of when such buildings were constructed.

C. The chief administrative office of the college or university shall obtain a certificate of compliance with the provisions of this section from the building official of the locality in which the college or university is located or in the case of state-owned buildings, from the Director of the Department of General Services.

D. The provisions of this section shall not apply to any dormitory at a state-supported military college or university which is patrolled twenty-four hours a day by military guards.

§ 36-114. Board to hear appeals.

The Review Board shall have the power and duty to hear all appeals from decisions arising under application of the Building Code, the amusement device regulations, the Fire Prevention Code adopted under the Statewide Fire Prevention Code Act (§ 27-94 et seq.), the Industrialized Building Safety Law (§ 36-70 et seq.), the Virginia Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Law (§ 36-85.2 et seq.), and the Virginia Certification Standards adopted by the Board of Housing and Community Development, and to render its decision on any such appeal, which decision shall be final if no appeal is made therefrom. Proceedings of the Review Board shall be governed by the provisions of the Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.), except that an informal conference pursuant to § 2.2-4019 shall not be required.

§ 36-118. Interpretation of Code; recommendation of modifications.

The Review Board shall interpret the provisions of the Building Code, and the Fire Prevention Code, and shall make such recommendations, which it deems appropriate, to the Board for modification, amendment or repeal of any of such provisions. A record of all such recommendations, and of the Board's actions thereon, shall be kept in the office of the Review Board. Such record shall be open to public inspection at all times during business hours.

§ 36-135. Board of Housing and Community Development; members; terms; chairman; appointment of ad hoc committee.

A. The Board of Housing and Community Development within the Department of Housing and Community Development shall consist of 1415 members as follows: 11 members, one representing each congressional district in the Commonwealth, who are appointed by the Governor, subject to confirmation by the General Assembly, the Executive Director of the Virginia Housing Development Authority and  the State Fire Marshal as anex officio voting membermembers; a member of the Virginia Fire Services Board, to be appointed by the chairman of that Board; and the Director of Regulatory Compliance of the Virginia Building Officials Association, who shall be a member of the Board's Codes and Standards Committee, but shall not serve as either the chairman of such committee or of the Board. Members shall serve for four-year terms and no member shall serve for more than two full successive terms, except for the Director of Regulatory Compliance of the Virginia Building Officials Association, who shall serve no more than one four-year term. A chairman of the Board shall be elected annually by the Board.

B. Whenever the Board of Housing and Community Development proposes a change to statewide building and fire regulations, the Board may convene an ad hoc committee, including but not limited to representatives of those industry groups directly affected by such change, to advise the Board on such matters.

§ 36-139. Powers and duties of Director.

The Director of the Department of Housing and Community Development shall have the following responsibilities:

1. Collecting from the governmental subdivisions of the Commonwealth information relevant to their planning and development activities, boundary changes, changes of forms and status of government, intergovernmental agreements and arrangements, and such other information as he may deem necessary.

2. Making information available to communities, planning district commissions, service districts and governmental subdivisions of the Commonwealth.

3. Providing professional and technical assistance to, and cooperating with, any planning agency, planning district commission, service district, and governmental subdivision engaged in the preparation of development plans and programs, service district plans, or consolidation agreements.

4. Assisting the Governor in the providing of such state financial aid as may be appropriated by the General Assembly in accordance with § 15.2-4216.

5. Administering federal grant assistance programs, including funds from the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Economic Development Administration and other such federal agencies, directed at promoting the development of the Commonwealth's communities and regions.

6. Developing state community development policies, goals, plans and programs for the consideration and adoption of the Board with the ultimate authority for adoption to rest with the Governor and the General Assembly.

7. Developing a Consolidated Plan to guide the development and implementation of housing programs and community development in the Commonwealth for the purpose of meeting the housing and community development needs of the Commonwealth and, in particular, those of low-income and moderate-income persons, families and communities.

8. Determining present and future housing requirements of the Commonwealth on an annual basis and revising the Consolidated Plan, as necessary to coordinate the elements of housing production to ensure the availability of housing where and when needed.

9. Assuming administrative coordination of the various state housing programs and cooperating with the various state agencies in their programs as they relate to housing.

10. Establishing public information and educational programs relating to housing; devising and administering programs to inform all citizens about housing and housing-related programs that are available on all levels of government; designing and administering educational programs to prepare families for home ownership and counseling them during their first years as homeowners; and promoting educational programs to assist sponsors in the development of low and moderate income housing as well as programs to lessen the problems of rental housing management.

11. Administering the provisions of the Industrialized Building Safety Law (§ 36-70 et seq.).

12. Administering the provisions of the Uniform Statewide Building Code (§ 36-97 et seq.).

13. Administering the provisions of the Statewide Fire Prevention Code (§ 27-94 et seq.).

14.Establishing and operating a Building Code Academy for the training of persons in the content, application, and intent of specified subject areas of the building and fire prevention regulations promulgated by the Board of Housing and Community Development.

15.14. Administering, in conjunction with the federal government, and promulgating any necessary regulations regarding energy standards for existing buildings as may be required pursuant to federal law.

16. 15. Identifying and disseminating information to local governments about the availability and utilization of federal and state resources.

17.16. Administering, with the cooperation of the Department of Health, state assistance programs for public water supply systems.

18.17. Advising the Board on matters relating to policies and programs of the Virginia Housing Partnership Revolving Fund.

19.18.  Designing and establishing program guidelines to meet the purposes of the Virginia Housing Partnership Revolving Fund and to carry out the policies and procedures established by the Board.

20.19. Preparing agreements and documents for loans and grants to be made from the Virginia Housing Partnership Revolving Fund; soliciting, receiving, reviewing and selecting the applications for which loans and grants are to be made from such fund; directing the Virginia Housing Development Authority as to the closing and disbursing of such loans and grants and as to the servicing and collection of such loans; directing the Virginia Housing Development Authority as to the regulation and monitoring of the ownership, occupancy and operation of the housing developments and residential housing financed or assisted by such loans and grants; and providing direction and guidance to the Virginia Housing Development Authority as to the investment of moneys in such fund.

21.20. Advising the Board on matters relating to policies for the low-income housing credit and administering the approval of low-income housing credits as provided in § 36-55.63.

22.21. Establishing and administering program guidelines for a statewide homeless intervention program.

23.22. Administering 15 percent of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) Block Grant and any contingency funds awarded and carry over funds, furnishing home weatherization and associated services to low-income households within the Commonwealth in accordance with applicable federal law and regulations.

24.23. Developing a strategy concerning the expansion of affordable, accessible housing for older Virginians and Virginians with disabilities, including supportive services.

25.24. Serving as the Executive Director of the Commission on Local Government as prescribed in § 15.2-2901 and perform all other duties of that position as prescribed by law.

26.25.  Developing a strategy, in consultation with the Virginia Housing Development Authority, for the creation and implementation of housing programs and community development for the purpose of meeting the housing needs of persons who have been released from federal, state, and local correctional facilities into communities.

27.26. Carrying out such other duties as may be necessary and convenient to the exercise of powers granted to the Department.

§ 38.2-401. Fire Programs Fund.

A. 1. There is hereby established in the state treasury a special nonreverting fund to be known as the Fire Programs Fund, hereinafter referred to as "the Fund." The Fund shall be administered by the Department of Fire Programs under policies and definitions established by the Virginia Fire Services Board. All moneys collected pursuant to the assessment made by the Commission pursuant to subdivision 2 of this subsection shall be paid into the state treasury and credited to the Fund. The Fund shall also consist of any moneys appropriated thereto by the General Assembly and any grants or other moneys received by the Virginia Fire Services Board or Department of Fire Programs for the purposes set forth in this section. Any moneys deposited to or remaining in such Fund during or at the end of each fiscal year or biennium, including interest thereon, shall not revert to the general fund but shall remain in the Fund. Interest earned on all moneys in the Fund and interest earned on moneys held by the Commission pursuant to subdivision 2 of this subsection prior to the deposit of such moneys into the Fund, including interest earned on such moneys during any period when the Commission is reconciling payments from insurers, shall remain in or be deposited into the Fund, as the case may be, and be credited to it. Such interest shall be set aside for fire service purposes in accordance with policies developed by the Virginia Fire Services Board. Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, policies established by the Virginia Fire Services Board for the administration of the Fund, and any grants provided from the Fund, that are not inconsistent with the purposes set out in this section shall be binding upon any locality that accepts such funds or related grants. The Commission shall be reimbursed from the Fund for all expenses necessary for the administration of this section. The balance of moneys in the Fund shall be allocated periodically as provided in this section. Expenditures and disbursements from the Fund shall be made by the State Treasurer on warrants issued by the Comptroller upon written request signed by the Executive Director of the Department of Fire Programs (Director) or his designee.

2. The Commission shall annually assess against all licensed insurance companies doing business in the Commonwealth by writing any type of insurance as defined in §§ 38.2-110, 38.2-111, 38.2-126, 38.2-130 and 38.2-131 and those combination policies as defined in § 38.2-1921 that contain insurance as defined in §§ 38.2-110, 38.2-111 and 38.2-126, an assessment in the amount of one percent of the total direct gross premium income for such insurance. Such assessment shall be apportioned, assessed and paid as prescribed by § 38.2-403. In any year in which a company has no direct gross premium income or in which its direct gross premium income is insufficient to produce at the rate of assessment prescribed by law an amount equal to or in excess of $100, there shall be so apportioned and assessed against such company a contribution of $100.

B. After reserving funds for the Fire Services Grant Program and Dry Fire Hydrant Grant Program pursuant to subsection D, 75 percent of the remaining moneys available for allocation from the Fund shall be allocated to the several counties, cities and towns of the Commonwealth providing fire service operations to be used for the improvement of volunteer and career fire services in each of the receiving localities. Funds allocated to the counties, cities and towns pursuant to this subsection shall not be used directly or indirectly to supplant or replace any other funds appropriated by the counties, cities and towns for fire service operations. Such funds shall be used solely for the purposes of training volunteer or career firefighting personnel in each of the receiving localities; funding fire prevention and public safety education programs; constructing, improving and expanding regional or local fire service training facilities; purchasing emergency medical care and equipment for fire personnel; payment of personnel costs related to fire and medical training for fire personnel; or for purchasing personal protective equipment, vehicles, equipment and supplies for use in the receiving locality specifically for fire service purposes. Notwithstanding any other provision of the Code, when localities use such funds to construct, improve or expand fire service training facilities, fire-related training provided at such training facilities shall be by instructors certified or approved according to policies developed by the Virginia Fire Services Board. Distribution of this 75 percent of the Fund shall be made on the basis of population as provided for in §§ 4.1-116 and 4.1-117; however, no county or city eligible for such funds shall receive less than $10,000, nor eligible town less than $4,000. The Virginia Fire Services Board shall be authorized to exceed allocations of $10,000 for eligible counties and cities and $4,000 for eligible towns, respectively. Allocations to counties, cities, and towns receiving such allocations shall be fair and equitable as set forth in Board policy. Any increases or decreases in such allocations shall be uniform for all localities. In order to remain eligible for such funds, each receiving locality shall report annually to the Department on the use of the funds allocated to it for the previous year and shall provide a completed Fire Programs Fund Disbursement Agreement form. Each receiving locality shall be responsible for certifying the proper use of the funds. If, at the end of any annual reporting period, a satisfactory report and a completed agreement form have not been submitted by a receiving locality, any funds due to that locality for the next year shall not be retained. Such funds shall be added to the 75 percent of the Fund allocated to the counties, cities, and towns of the Commonwealth for improvement of fire services in localities.

C. The remainder of the moneys available for allocation from the Fund shall be used for (i) the purposes of carrying out the powers and duties assigned to the Department of Fire Programs under Chapter 2 (§ 9.1-200) of Title 9.1, which shall include providing funded training and administrative support services for nonfunded training to localities and (ii) the payment of the compensation and costs of expenses of the members of the Fire Services Board in performing their official duties; however, the Fund shall not be used for salaries or operating expenses associated with the Office of the State Fire Marshal or other functions of state government.

D. The Fire Services Grant Program is hereby established and will be used as grants to provide regional fire services training facilities, to finance the Virginia Fire Incident Reporting System and to build or repair burn buildings as determined by the Virginia Fire Services Board. Beginning January 1, 1996, $1 million from the assessments made pursuant to this section shall be distributed each year for the Fire Services Grant Program to be used as herein provided, and $100,000 shall be distributed annually for continuing the statewide Dry Fire Hydrant Grant Program. Moneys allocated pursuant to this subsection shall be used for the purposes stated in this subsection, and for no other purpose. All grants provided from these programs shall be administered by the Department according to the policies established by the Virginia Fire Services Board.

E. Moneys in the Fund shall not be diverted or expended for any purpose not authorized by this section.

F. The Director shall establish written standards for determining the extent to which clients outside the Commonwealth shall be financially responsible for the cost of fire and emergency services training provided by the Department of Fire Programs. Revenues generated by such training shall be retained in the Fire Programs Fund and may be used solely for providing additional funded direct training to members of Virginia's fire and emergency services.

2. That §§ 36-139.2 and 36-139.3 of the Code of Virginia are repealed.

3. That all rules and regulations adopted by the Board of Housing and Community Development pertaining to the Statewide Fire Prevention Code that are in effect as of the effective date of this act shall remain in full force and effect until altered, amended, or rescinded by the Virginia Fire Services Board.