When it comes to legislation, the pool and spa industry is bustling.

Following is a roundup of some of the most recent regulatory and legislative developments.

Keeping PACE in Florida

Florida’s solar rebate program may be short on funding, but newly signed legislation is expected to facilitate energy efficiency on a local level. 

The Property Assessed Clean Energy bill, or PACE, became law in late May.

It allows city and county governments to finance energy-efficient upgrades on residential and commercial properties. Municipal funds will pay for the work up-front. Then, the property owner pays the money back over the next 20 years via an assessment that’s added to their tax bill. If the property is sold, the tax liability is passed on to the new owner.

The program is expected to provide a boon to the state’s hard-hit solar and construction industries.

The Power of New York

The governor of New York is backing proposed legislation that will establish energy-efficiency standards for various appliances, including spas and pool pumps.

The bill had received heavy interest toward the end of the 2010 legislative session. If it passes, regulators then would hold public hearings to help determine what the energy standards should be.

“We think it’s a good thing because it gives us the opportunity to meet with the regulatory authorities and present our information on what the industry believes is the best way to make pool pumps and portable spas energy-efficient,” said Lawrence Caniglia, executive director of the Northeast Spa & Pool Association in Hamilton, N.J. “Plus, when New York gave it to regulators as opposed to the legislature, it made their system a little more streamlined.

Stinging California’s Underground

The California legislature is currently considering three bills that would help thwart illegal activity among the construction trades. At press time, the SPEC-supported bills had all passed their houses of origin and were waiting in committee in the second houses.

Assembly Bill 2770 would require the state’s labor commissioner to work with certain agencies to investigate contractors suspected of evading taxes or workers’ compensation, or breaking other laws pertaining to employee pay and treatment. Senate Bill 1254 would authorize the California Contractors State License Board to issue stop-work orders to those who don’t provide workers’ compensation coverage for employees, regardless of whether they have a license. Assembly Bill 2332 allows CSLB to suspend a license if a contractor fails to resolve all outstanding financial liabilities, such as taxes, penalties and fees imposed by certain agencies.

SPEC has created a fact sheet for the trade and a handout for consumers to provide more information on this topic.

Oregon, Maine, N.C. Embrace VGB

Though no states applied for federal grant money available through the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act, a few have taken on comparable statewide legislation.

Oregon added the ANSI/APSP-7 provision for suction entrapment avoidance to its Residential Specialty Code last fall, while officials in Maine and North Carolina have proposed or adopted VGB-inspired requirements.      

On June 1, North Carolina put in place new regulations clarifying its rules for public pool design and construction. The updated standards correspond to VGB’s provisions for main drain outlets, drain covers and suction entrapment avoidance.

In the meantime, officials in Maine have proposed public pool statutes governing drain covers as well as backup devices, but with two distinct variations: First, the only type of equipment referenced for public pools and spas with a single main drain — or dual drains that can be isolated by valves — is a safety vacuum release system (SVRS). VGB, by comparison, allows other systems as well. Second, the rule only requires VGB-compliant drain covers for pools with single main drains, or dual drains that can be isolated with a valve, while the federal law established a blanket requirement for the new covers on all pools.    

Rebecca Robledo contributed to this story.