HBA-TYH H.B. 1059 76(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 1059 By: Keel Public Safety 3/11/1999 Introduced BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Currently, amusement rides cannot legally operate in Texas until insurance coverage is obtained and filed with the Texas Department of Insurance with an approved safety inspection certificate. An annual inspection is required under the Amusement Ride Safety Inspection and Insurance Act (Article 21.60, Insurance Code). The statute places responsibility on the operator to have insurance before the rides can be used by the public and on the insurance companies to ascertain that the amusement ride is in good operating condition before they issue the insurance and inspection certificate. However, if safety concerns are present or if there is a failure to comply with statutory insurance or inspection requirements, the only option available to law enforcement officials is to institute action in a court in order to shut down the ride. H.B. 1059 gives state and local law enforcement officials authority to conduct spot inspections and immediately shut down an amusement ride if safety concerns are present or for failure to comply with statutory insurance or inspection requirements. It increases penalties and enforcement measures for noncompliance with safety and insurance regulations and increases mandated insurance coverage to be consistent for all types of rides. This bill also eliminates the distinction between Class A children's rides and Class B adult rides and authorizes the owner of the amusement ride to file suit when the prohibition against the operation is enforced. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this bill does not expressly delegate any additional rulemaking authority to a state officer, department, agency, or institution. SECTION BY SECTION ANALYSIS SECTION 1. Amends Section 3(a), Article 21.60, Insurance Code, to raise the maximum annual fee for each amusement ride covered by this Act from $20 to $40. SECTION 2. Amends Section 4(a), Article 21.60, Insurance Code, to prohibit a person from operating an amusement ride unless the person: _has an insurance policy in an amount of not less than $1,000,000 per occurrence for each amusement ride insuring the owner or operator against liability for injury to persons arising out of the use of the amusement ride; and _files a photocopy of the inspection certificate and the insurance policy, rather than a certificate stating that the insurance required is in effect, to each sponsor, lessor, landowner, or other person responsible for an amusement ride being offered for use by the public. These two requirements are listed among other enumerated requirements. Deletes a distinction between insurance policies taken out by Class A or Class B amusement rides. Makes conforming and nonsubstantive changes. SECTION 3. Amends the heading of Section 9, Article 21.60, Insurance Code, as follows: Sec. 9. New title: PENALTIES. Deletes "; Local Enforcement" from existing title. SECTION 4. Amends Section 9, Article 21.60, Insurance Code, by amending Subsections (a) and (c), as follows: (a) Includes a person's failure to comply with any requirement under Section 4, 5, 10(e), 10(f), or 10(g) as a commission of an offense. Makes a conforming and a nonsubstantive change. (c) Provides that an offense under this section is a Class B, rather than a Class C, misdemeanor. SECTION 5. Amends Article 21.60, Insurance Code, by adding Section 10, as follows: Sec. 10. ENFORCEMENT. (a) Authorizes a municipal, county, or state law enforcement official (official) to determine compliance with Section 4 (Amusement Ride Operation Requirements) or 5 (Filing Affidavit) of this article in conjunction with the State Board of Insurance (board) and institute an action in a court of competent jurisdiction to enforce this article. (b) Authorizes an official to enter and inspect without notice any amusement ride at any time to ensure public safety. (c) Requires the operator of an amusement ride to immediately provide the inspection certificate and the insurance policy required by Section 4 of this article to an official requesting the information. Authorizes a photocopy of the inspection certificate or insurance policy to be provided instead of the certificate or policy. (d) Authorizes an official to immediately prohibit operation of an amusement ride if: (1) the operator of the amusement ride is unable to provide the documents or a photocopy of the documents required by Subsection (c); (2) the law enforcement official reasonably believes the amusement ride is not in compliance with Section 4; or (3) operation of the amusement ride, conduct of the operator, or any other circumstance causes the official to reasonably believe that the amusement ride is unsafe or the safety of a passenger on the amusement ride is threatened. (e) Prohibits a person, if the operation of an amusement ride is prohibited under Subsection (d)(1) or (2), from operating the amusement ride unless: (1) the operator presents to the appropriate municipal, county, or state law enforcement agency proof of compliance with Section 4; or (2) the commissioner of insurance or the commissioner's designee determines that on the date the amusement ride's operation was prohibited the operator had on file with the board the documents required by Section 4 and issues a written statement permitting the amusement ride to resume operation. (f) Prohibits a person, if on the date an amusement ride's operation is prohibited under Subsection (d)(3) the amusement ride is not in compliance with Section 4, from operating the amusement ride until after a person subsequently complies with Section 4. (g) Prohibits a person, if on the date an amusement ride's operation is prohibited under Subsection (d)(3) the amusement ride is in compliance with Section 4, from operating the amusement ride until: (1) on-site corrections are made to the satisfaction of the appropriate official; (2) an order from a district judge, county judge, judge of county court at law, justice of the peace, or municipal judge permits the amusement ride to resume operation; or (3) an insurance company insuring the amusement ride re-inspects the amusement ride in the same manner required under Section 4 on the date the amusement ride's operation was prohibited and delivers to the board and the appropriate officer a reinspection certificate containing the enumerated information. (h) Authorizes the owner or operator of the amusement ride to file suit for relief from an action taken under Subsection (d) of this section in a district court in the county in which the amusement ride was located when the prohibition against operation was enforced. SECTION 6. Repealer: Sections 2(3), 2(4), and 9(e), Article 21.60, Insurance Code. These sections pertained to the classification of "Class A" and "Class B" rides and the authority of a municipal or law enforcement official to determine compliance and institute an action in court to enforce this article. SECTION 7. Effective date: immediately. Makes application of this Act prospective. SECTION 8.Emergency clause. Effective date: upon passage.