State Legislation

The latest news on federal and state legislation important to the
mobile amusement industry.

 
ILLINOIS

Senator Mike Noland (D-Elgin) introduced legislation on behalf of the OABA to expand the Carnival and Amusement Ride Safety Board to nine members so there would be an odd number for voting purposes and specified in the legislation that this spot would be held by an operator of amusement rides. Under Senator Noland’s proposal, there would be two amusement ride operator positions spelled out in statute on the board.
SB 3380 passed in the Senate 58-0 on March 30. Rep. Bob Rita is the House sponsor, who chairs the Licensing Committee, and will lead the charge in the House. This bill passed unanimously out of House Business and Occupational Licensing Committee and is on its way to the House for voting.

Our lobbyist, Margaret Vaughn, has informed us that Ryan Culton will be the new Illinois Chief Amusement Ride Inspector effective April 9. Culton has a degree in Civil Engineering and was recently a civil engineer consultant with Foth & Van Dyke in the Urbana-Champaign area. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering and a Masters in Business from the University of Illinois.
The Carnival-Amusement Safety Board held a meeting in Hinsdale, Illinois on May 17.

MINNESOTA

Thanks to the assistance of the Minnesota State Fair, the Governor signed into law on March 30 H.F. No. 2793, adding a new provision in the MNDOT Section 169.81, Subdivision 3 of the statute regarding length of vehicle combinations, making it legal to move twin semi-trailers (doubles) carrying property and equipment such as amusement rides, bunkhouses, concession equipment, etc. in the state. State Fair authorities worked with MNDOT to redefine “commodities” to now include “machinery, equipment or property.”

NEW JERSEY

Special thanks to attorney Lary Zucker, general counsel for NJAA, for the following update on NJDCA activity with respect to amusement rides in New Jersey. He may be reached at 856.414.6000.

The harmonization of New Jersey regulations with ASTM F2291 is moving forward. We scheduled a Working Group meeting in April to discuss the process. We invited Len Morrissey to represent ASTM International at the Working Group meeting.

CARSAB approved an amendment to the RCMT rules that would accomplish two goals. First, the amendment recognizes Certified Pool Operator and Aquatic Facilities Operator Certifications for those who operate aquatic facilities. The second change would allow an RCMT holding a NAARSO or AIMS Certification to be considered a New Jersey RCMT for the purpose of complying with continuing education requirements. This should open up training opportunities for RCMTs beyond the classes that are recognized by NAARSO or AIMS.

The DCA sent to the Governor’s office a proposed rule that would clarify the requirements for electrical disconnects and emergency stop devices on amusement rides. The rule would reconcile differences between various standards that have been adopted in New Jersey. After the proposed rule is reviewed by the Governor’s office, it will be published in the New Jersey Register for public comment. After 60 days, the DCA will consider the public comments and will either modify the rule or adopt it as written.

CARSAB approved a rule amendment that would eliminate the requirement for a manufacturer’s training certification at the time of original operation in the state. The DCA believes that the training certification is no longer necessary and may create a hardship for many inflatable ride operators where the manufacturer may be located in California. The rule will still require that ride owners provide adequate training for those who operate the rides.(This will now be sent to the Governor’s office and published in the New Jersey Register.)

CARSAB approved a rule amendment that requires ride manufacturers to notify the Department of serial numbers for all rides that are manufactured under a type certification issued by the Department. The Department currently requires this of the manufacturer as part of the type certification process but there is nothing in the rule that requires it.(This amendment will now be submitted to the Governor’s office and published in the New Jersey Register.)

CARSAB approved a rule amendment that would eliminate the requirement for an acceptance inspection of inflatable rides. The Department believes that for inflatable rides, an annual inspection is sufficient to determine compliance with the design.(This will now be sent to the Governor’s office and published in the New Jersey Register.)

CARSAB discussed a rule proposal that would eliminate the requirement for fire resistant fabrics and materials, except for amusement rides that are used within a building or which has a completely enclosed rider compartment where riders cannot get out of the compartment independently. CARSAB did not approve this rule proposal because of questions raised about the types of rides to which the rule would apply. The DCA will revise their proposal.

CARSAB discussed a rule proposal that would prohibit single riders in open gondola Ferris wheels. This was established as a policy last year and the Department wanted to make the policy a regulation. This proposal was discussed and tabled until it could be clarified.

There was a discussion about lead paint in vinyl materials used in inflatable rides. This may be the subject of a rule amendment in the future.

Due to reduced staffing levels for amusement ride inspectors, the Department is considering cross-training elevator inspectors and ride inspectors in basic inspection procedures. At the present time, the DCA has ten amusement ride inspectors with three supervisors. Cross-training inspectors would increase the number of available inspectors to do basic ride inspection.

FEDERAL REGULATIONS

H-2B Seasonal Foreign Labor

The OABA is urging all of you who participate in the federal Department of Labor’s H-2B temporary foreign worker program to continue to support this “Three or the Fee” lobbying and litigation funding initiative.

Please don’t sit back and wait for someone else to do this for you! Contact your U.S. State Representative and Senators ASAP. Contact the OABA office for more details.

Implementation of New H-2B Program Rules Halted

The H-2B stakeholder community had a victory on April 26 when Pensacola, FL federal court Judge Rogers issued a “preliminary injunction” halting DOL from implementing the new H-2B program rules until she can rule upon the merits of the case. These new program rules were scheduled to become “operative” on April 27 and now are on hold, as per Judge Rogers.

The H-2B program is still under attack by the Administration and DOL. They have unlimited resources and will appeal this decision and work to promote their quest to hire U.S. workers backed by labor unions and pseudo “worker’s rights” group’s agenda. It is up to all of us in the H-2B stakeholder community to protect this essential program that the seasonal amusement industry relies on, as we know the challenges of finding reliable U.S. workers who want these temporary jobs, lifestyle and travel.

Philadelphia H-2B Wage Rule Challenge Update

Our Joint Coalition’s challenge of DOL’s H-2B wage rule and their administrative authority scheduled to take effect on October 1, 2012 continues in federal court in Philadelphia. At issue is whether the DOL must take into account employer hardship and economic concerns when formulating regulations and whether or not DOL has authority to issue regulations on the H-2B program. Both the OABA and SBWA are funding this litigation and are supported by six other associations whose members also rely on the H-2B program. The legal team in this litigation is headed by Wayne Pierce, principal of The Pierce Law Firm, and Blank Rome attorneys in Philadelphia. Pierce filed his motion April 13 and opposing counsel were to file their motions May 7.