House Bill 5152 and Senate Bill 14: Fire Drills

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Last Updated: July 15, 2013
House Bill 5152 and Senate Bill 14: Fire Drills
House Senate
Sponsors:
Representatives Gallison, Azzinaro, Messier, Serpa, and Marshall
Sponsors:
Senators DiPalma, Gallo, Metts, Ottiano, O'Neill
Summary:

House Bill 5152 would require at least one emergency fire drill per month for occupants of “all schools or buildings used for educational purposes through the twelfth grade by six (6) or more persons for four (4) or more hours per day or more than twelve (12) hours per week.” The bill also specifies procedures for these monthly fire drills, which include the elaborate staging of different “emergency scenarios,” including blocking off at least one exit or stairway to the building.

Because the bill does not grant an explicit exemption to homeschoolers, a private home would be subject to these requirements if (1) six or more persons are receiving instruction in the home (2) for more than 12 hours per week. Families who fail to comply with these monthly requirements could be convicted of a misdemeanor and be fined up to $500 per offense.

Summary:

Senate Bill 14 would require at least one emergency fire drill per month for occupants of “all schools or buildings used for educational purposes through the twelfth grade by six (6) or more persons for four (4) or more hours per day or more than twelve (12) hours per week.” The bill also specifies procedures for these monthly fire drills, which include the elaborate staging of different “emergency scenarios,” including blocking off at least one exit or stairway to the building.

Because the bill does not grant an explicit exemption to homeschoolers, a private home would be subject to these requirements if (1) six or more persons are receiving instruction in the home (2) for more than 12 hours per week. Families who fail to comply with these monthly requirements could be convicted of a misdemeanor and be fined up to $500 per offense.

Status:

01/24/2013     House     Introduced and referred to House Health and Safety Committee.
02/05/2013     House     Scheduled for hearing and/or consideration on February 13, 2013.
02/13/2013     House     Committee recommended measure be held for further study. Bill effectively dead.

Status:

01/16/2013     Senate     Introduced and referred to Senate Education.
03/15/2013     Senate     Scheduled for hearing and consideration on March 20, 2013.
03/20/2013     Senate     Committee recommended measure be held for further study.
03/20/2013     Senate     Scheduled for hearing and / or consideration on April 3, 2013.
04/03/2013     Senate     Committee Recommends Passage.
04/04/2013     Senate     Placed on Senate Calendar for April 11, 2013.
04/11/2013     Senate     Senate passed SB 14 as amended.
04/23/2013     House     Referred to House Committee on Health, Education, and Welfare.
07/03/2013     House     Substitute A passed by House Committee on Health, Education, and Welfare; Substitute A passed by House.
07/09/2013     Transmitted to Governor.
07/09/2013     Signed by Governor.

HSLDA's Position:

HSLDA opposes House Bill 5152 as written. Although the bill’s intent is likely not to regulate homeschools, the bill’s unamended language clearly would apply to large homeschooling families where “six or more persons” are meeting for educational purposes for more than 12 hours per week. There is no statutory exemption for homeschooling families. Thus, families with four or more children may fall within the ambit of the act, depending on whether both parents provide home instruction. In addition, families who open their homes to homeschool co-ops, multi-family tutoring sessions, or other group educational activities may also find themselves subject to this law.

While fire-drills are an excellent policy in traditional business and work environments, requiring families to conduct monthly drills in their own home is both an invasion of a family’s privacy and an unnecessary burden. HSLDA opposes HB 5152 unless a homeschooling exemption is added.

HSLDA's Position:

HSLDA opposes Senate Bill 14 as written. Although the bill’s intent is likely not to regulate homeschools, the bill’s unamended language clearly would apply to large homeschooling families where “six or more persons” are meeting for educational purposes for more than 12 hours per week. There is no statutory exemption for homeschooling families. Thus, families with four or more children may fall within the ambit of the act, depending on whether both parents provide home instruction. In addition, families who open their homes to homeschool co-ops, multi-family tutoring sessions, or other group educational activities may also find themselves subject to this law.

While fire-drills are an excellent policy in traditional business and work environments, requiring families to conduct monthly drills in their own home is both an invasion of a family’s privacy and an unnecessary burden. HSLDA opposes SB 14 unless a homeschooling exemption is added.

Action Requested:
None at this time
Action Requested:
None at this time

 Other Resources

House Bill Text

House Bill History

 Other Resources

Senate Bill Text

Senate Bill History

Senate Bill 14 as Introduced