State Code Amendments

The Tennessee General Assembly has recently made changes to statutes which may impact you as a holder of a license with the Tennessee Contractor’s Board. These new changes as set out in the following Public Chapters specifically amend the Tennessee Code Annotated as follows:

Public Chapter No. 122, amends Tenn. Code Ann. § 4-3-1304, relative to boards and commissions. This chapter requires that each board attached to the Division of Regulatory Boards establish a procedure to expedite the issuance of a license, certification, or permit for a person licensed in another state to perform those services who is a qualifying spouse of a member of the armed forces or is a qualifying member of the armed forces applying within one hundred eighty (180) days of retirement, receiving a discharge other than a dishonorable discharge, or being released from active duty into a reserve component of the United States armed forces. The chapter also requires the commissioner and each regulatory board to accept military education, training, or experience completed by certain qualifying persons towards the qualification to receive a license or certification if the education, training, or experience is determined to be substantially equivalent.

Public Chapter No. 180, amends Tenn. Code Ann. § 62-6-120(a)(2), to permit the Board for Licensing Contractors discretion in deciding whether a person, firm or corporation that engages in unlicensed contracting is eligible to receive a license. Accordingly, the Board may deem the person ineligible to receive a license until six (6) months after the date the person, firm or corporation engaged or offered to engage in contracting without proper licensure.

Public Chapter No. 355, amends Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 62-6-102, 103 and 605, relative to licensing requirements. This change specifically requires a contractor to have a contractor’s license even if the contractor is working as a subcontractor when performing a roofing project where the total cost of the project is $25,000.00 or more. Acceptable license classifications to bid roofing projects would be as follows: BC (residential, commercial and industrial); BC-B (commercial); BC-b (small commercial); BC-A (residential); BC-12 (roof decks); and BC-21 (roofing-includes gutters and vinyl siding). This Act became law on May 13, 2013, but did not go into effect until January 1, 2014.

Public Chapter No. 424, amends Tenn. Code Ann. § 50-6-411, relative to worker’s compensation law by adding a new subsection. The new subsection states that a construction services provider will be in violation of the section if the provider misclassifies employees to avoid premium calculations by concealing information pertinent to the computation and application of an experience rating modification factor; or by materially understating or concealing the amount of the provider’s payroll, the number of the provider’s employees, or any of the provider’s employee’s duties. The chapter also provides penalties for violations to be enforced by the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development or the Commissioner’s designee.

Public Chapter No. 469, amends Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 62-6-102 and 103, relative to the construction industry. The new law states that no contractor shall engage in a construction project unless the contractor has a monetary limit sufficient to engage in that project. However, the law also allows the Board to grant a ten (10%) percent tolerance on license monetary limitations. Additionally, the chapter states that no lien shall be available to any person, firm, or corporation engaged in construction in violation of the chapter. The public chapter also amends Title 66, chapter 11, section 1 relative to when a lien on real property takes effect. Liens currently take effect upon visible commencement of operations and the definition of visible commencement of operations has been amended to exclude the placement of utility lines.

Public Chapter No. 528, amends Tenn. Code Ann. § 62-6-111, by providing a means to prevent licenses being issued in the same name of an existing licensee. In addition, a license cannot be issued in a name so similar to another licensee if it is likely to cause confusion. However, the law allows granting a license to those having an exclusive right to use the name as a registered trademark, such as a licensed franchise. This law became effective on March 12, 2014.

Public Chapter No. 644, amends Tenn. Code Ann. § 62-6-119, relative to the bid document requirements. The law did not affect the information currently required to be listed. Therefore, the name, license number, expiration date and license classification of the prime contractor, as well as their subcontractors for electrical, plumbing, HVAC, geothermal and masonry must continue to be listed. However, the awarding authority now has forty-eight (48) hours, excluding weekends and state-recognized holidays, to have corrections made to any typographical errors or omissions found, such as the spelling of the bidder’s names or transposed license numbers. This law will become effective on July 1, 2014.

Public Chapter  No. 815, amends Title 40, Chapter 29, relative to restoration of citizenship. This Act allows certain persons beginning on January 1, 2015, who have had their rights of citizenship restored to petition the court for a certificate of employability. If a person obtains such a certificate, an agency may not deny the issuance, restoration or renewal of an occupational license solely on the person’s past record of criminal activity but, instead, must consider each such applicant on a case-by-case basis. The certificate of employability preempts any existing rule that authorizes or requires the denial or refusal to issue, restore or renew a license based on the person’s past record of criminal history; however, any agency may promulgate new rules which allow or require such a denial or refusal to issue, restore or renew a license notwithstanding the certificate based on the time elapsed since the criminal offense or the nature of the offense having a direct bearing on the fitness or ability to perform any duty or responsibility necessarily related to the sought license. Further, employers that hire individuals holding a certificate of employability may be provided with defenses to certain civil actions based on such hiring. This law became effective on April 28, 2014.
A copy of the new law is available for review on the website of the Tennessee General Assembly here:  http://state.tn.us/sos/acts/108/pub/pc0815.pdf