Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:
1. That §§ 9.1-201, 27-61, 27-97, 27-97.2, 27-99, 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 in Chapter 2 of Title 9.1 sections numbered 9.1-206, 9.1-207, and 9.1-208 as follows:
§ 9.1-201. Powers of Executive Director.
The Executive Director shall have the following powers to:
1. Supervise the administration of the Department;
2. Prepare, approve, and submit all requests for appropriations and be responsible for all expenditures pursuant to appropriations;
3. Employ such staff as is necessary to carry out the powers and duties of this chapter, within the limits of available appropriations;
4. Accept on behalf of the Department grants from the United States government and agencies and instrumentalities thereof and any other sources. To these ends, the Executive Director shall have the power to execute such agreements in accordance with the policies of the Virginia Fire Services Board;
5. Do all acts necessary or convenient to carry out the purpose of this chapter and to assist the Board in carrying out its responsibilities and duties;
6. 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 chapter, including, but not limited to, contracts with the United States, other states, and agencies and governmental subdivisions of the Commonwealth;
7. Appoint a director of fire services training;
9. Administer the Thermal Imaging Camera Grant Funds established pursuant to § 9.1-205; and
10. Administer the provisions of the Statewide Fire Prevention Code (§ 27-94 et seq.).
§ 9.1-206. State Fire Marshal; qualifications; powers and duties; power to arrest, to procure and serve warrants and to issue summonses; limitation on authority.
The Executive Director of Fire Programs shall employ 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 employed 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 arising from fire.
The State Fire Marshal shall have the powers and duties prescribed by the Statewide Fire Prevention Code (§ 27-94 et seq.), by § 27-61, by Board regulation and by the Director. 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 employed 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
Any owner or occupant aggrieved by such order may within five
days after notice of such order, appeal to the Department of
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.
§ 27-97. Adoption of Fire Prevention Code.
The Board of Housing and Community Development is hereby empowered to adopt and promulgate a Statewide Fire Prevention Code which shall be cooperatively developed with the Fire Services Board 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
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 75
§ 27-97.2. Issuance of permit; background investigations.
B. No permit under this section shall be required of any person holding a certification or permit issued pursuant to the provisions of Title 45.1.
§ 27-99. State buildings.
The Fire Prevention Code shall be applicable to all
state-owned buildings and structures. Every agency, commission or institution,
including all institutions of higher education, of the Commonwealth shall
permit, at all reasonable hours, a local fire official reasonable access to
existing structures or a structure under construction or renovation, for the
purposes of performing an informational and advisory fire safety inspection. The
local fire official may submit, subsequent to performing such inspection, his
findings and recommendations including a list of corrective actions necessary
to ensure that such structure is reasonably safe from the hazards of fire to
the appropriate official of such agency, commission, or institution and the
State Fire Marshal. Such agency, commission or institution shall notify, within
The State Fire Marshal may enter into an agreement as is
provided for in §
§ 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.).
§ 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.
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.
3. That the provisions of this act shall become effective on July 1, 2008.