HB1014: Coal mine safety; reciprocal agreements with other states.

HOUSE BILL NO. 1014

Offered January 8, 2014
Prefiled January 8, 2014
A BILL to amend and reenact §§ 45.1-161.3 and 45.1-161.21 of the Code of Virginia, relating to mine safety, reciprocal agreements.

Patrons-- Chafin, Kilgore, Morefield, O'Quinn, Campbell and Rush; Senator: Carrico

Committee Referral Pending

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:

1. That §§ 45.1-161.3 and 45.1-161.21 of the Code of Virginia are amended and reenacted as follows:

§ 45.1-161.3. Powers of Department.

The Department shall have the following powers, all of which, with the approval of the Director, may be exercised by any division of the Department with respect to matters assigned to that division:

1. To employ the personnel required to carry out the purposes of this title;

2. To make and enter into all contracts and agreements necessary or incidental to the performance of its duties and the execution of its powers under this title, including, but not limited to, reciprocal agreements with responsible officers of other states and contracts with the private sector, the United States, other state agencies, and governmental subdivisions of the Commonwealth;

3. To accept grants from the United States government and agencies and instrumentalities thereof and any other source. To these ends, the Department shall have the power to comply with any conditions and execute any agreements that are necessary, convenient or desirable;

4. To promulgate regulations necessary or incidental to the performance of duties or execution of powers conferred under this title and other relevant chapters, which regulations shall be promulgated by the Department, the Chief, or the Director, as appropriate, in accordance with the provisions of Article 2 (§ 2.2-4006 et seq.) of the Administrative Process Act; and

5. To do all acts necessary or convenient to carry out the purposes of this title.

§ 45.1-161.21. Duties of the Chief.

A. The Chief shall supervise execution and enforcement of all laws pertaining to the health and safety of persons employed within or at coal mines within the Commonwealth, and the protection of property used in connection therewith, and to perform all other duties required pursuant to this Act.

B. The Chief shall keep a record of all inspections of coal mines made by him and the mine inspectors. The Chief shall make a comprehensive report to the Director. The Chief shall also keep a permanent record thereof properly indexed, which record shall at all times be open to inspection by any citizen of the Commonwealth.

C. The Chief is authorized to compel individuals to complete training that addresses the subject of a violation issued to the individual as a condition for abatement of the violation.

D. The Chief is authorized to require operators to submit for approval action plans to address hazardous conditions or practices.

E. For the purpose of investigating (i) an accident or (ii) a willful act resulting in a notice of violation or closure order, the Chief shall have the power to compel the attendance of witnesses and to administer oaths or affirmations. Any person who knowingly provides any false statement, representation or certification during investigations is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

F. The Chief shall supervise execution and enforcement of all reciprocal agreements made with responsible officers of other states that implicate any part of the Coal Mine Safety Act, Chapters 14.2 (§ 45.1-161.7 et seq.), 14.3 (§ 45.1-161.105 et seq.), and 14.4 (§ 45.1-161.253 et seq.) of Title 45.1.