Carbon Monoxide Devices for School Facilities and Conflict of Interests

KMTG continues its series of updates on new legislation signed by Governor Brown.  All laws became effective January 1, 2014, unless otherwise stated.

Carbon Monoxide Devices for School Facilities—AB 56

According to the Legislative Counsel’s Digest, the Leroy F. Greene School Facilities Act of 1998 currently provides that specified new school facilities construction projects that are subject to the approval of the Department of General Services must include an automatic fire detection, alarm, and sprinkler system.  Also, under existing law, an owner of a dwelling unit that is intended for human occupancy must install a carbon monoxide device in existing dwelling units that have “a fossil fuel burning heater or appliance, a fireplace, or an attached garage.”  The California Building Standards Commission must approve or adopt proposed building standards that have been submitted by state agencies during an 18-month code adoption cycle.

AB 56 adds Article 7 to Chapter 1 of Part 19 of Division 1 of Title 1 of the Education Code,   relating to the installation of carbon monoxide devices in public and private school buildings.   AB 56 provides that by July 1, 2015, the State Fire Marshal must propose standards for adoption by the California Building Standards Commission for the installation of carbon monoxide devices in school buildings.  The standards must require installation of carbon monoxide devices in school buildings, both public and private, that meet the following criteria:  (1) the building was constructed to the 2016 California Building Standards Code or any amendments to that code, (2) the building is used for educational purposes for kindergarten or grades 1 through 12, and (3) the building has a fossil fuel burning furnace.  A public or private school that includes a building that was built before the 2016 California Building Standards Code was adopted and that has a fossil fuel burning furnace located inside is encouraged to have a carbon monoxide device installed in that building.

Conflicts of Interest Involving Public Officials--AB 1090

The Governor signed AB 1090, which will give the Fair Political Practices Commission (“FPPC”) the authority not only to provide written advice on conflicts of interest issues pursuant to Government Code Section 1090 but also to enforce violations of section 1090 both civilly and administratively.  Pursuant to existing law, state and local officers and employees are prohibited from having any financial interest in contracts made by them in their official capacity or by any board or body of which they are members.  Currently, the law provides that a willful violation of the financial interest in a contract provision is a crime but enforcement can only be accomplished by the Attorney General or a District Attorney.

AB 1090 makes a person who violates the prohibition against financial interest in a contract subject to civil and administrative actions and fines. AB 1090 now requires that the District Attorney in the county in which the alleged violation occurred authorize the FPPC to pursue the action, but prohibits the FPPC from filing a civil action if the Attorney General or District Attorney is pursuing a criminal prosecution of the person. If a civil action is filed, a person found violating the prohibition against financial interest may be subject to a fine of not greater than ten thousand dollars or three times the value of the financial benefit the person received. 

What This Means To You

Board policies and administrative regulations should be reviewed to ensure compliance with the newest changes in the law.  School administration and staff should be updated as to any changes so that the appropriate policies are consistently followed. 

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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