Enacts "Sammy's law"; requires every person, firm, corporation or limited liability company engaged in the business of furnishing public lodging accommodations in hotels, motels or motor courts who are not in compliance with current New York state uniform fire prevention and building code requirements for open guards (balcony railings) to notify purchasers of rooms of certain safety issues.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the general business law, in relation to certain hotels, motels and motor courts with balconies
PURPOSE: To protect young children by requiring hotels, motels and motor courts whose balconies have railings which are spaced more than 4" apart to notify the families of this condition and potential for young children to slip through the railings.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1 states legislative findings and intent.
Section 2 provides that the act shall be known as "Sammy's Law".
Section 3 amends section 204-b of the general business law to require that hotels, motels and motor courts, that are not in compliance with current New York State building code, or the building code of the City of New York, if applicable, requirements pertaining to the space between railings, shall post in all covered rental units the following notice, or a substantially similar notice, in a conspicuous location at eye level on the door used to access the balcony from the unit in such a manner that a person exiting the unit through the door is most likely to see such notice. Such notice shall state:
"WARNING": The potential exists for young children to slip through spaces between the balusters or ornamental patterns of this balcony." Such notice shall be printed in no less than forty point type, except that the word "WARNING: shall be printed in at least seventy-two point type. Such notice shall be printed in English and in the second most popular language spoken by residents in the county in which the public lodging accommodation is located.
Section 4 provides for an effective date 60 days after it shall have become law.
JUSTIFICATION: Current New York State Building Codes require that the spacing between railings on balconies be no larger than 4", however buildings created prior to this standard were grandfathered in. As a result many hotels and motels do have balconies which may pose a risk to young children who can slip through the railings. Tragically, in January 2006 a 3 and 1/2 year old boy from New York named Sammy fell to his death from an 8th floor balcony. The space between the railings at the hotel his family was staying at were 4 5/8" and Sammy slipped through. While Sammy can not be brought back, New York State can protect other young children by making sure that families of young children are warned by hotels and motels of railings that are spaced more than 4" apart. This bill will make sure that the public is made aware and can take the necessary precautions.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2009: S.5162/Passed Assembly 2008: S.2443-A/Passed Senate 2007: S.2443-A/Passed Senate
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None to State.
EFFECTIVE DATE: On the 60th day after enactment.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 2995 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE February 4, 2011 ___________Introduced by Sen. CARLUCCI -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Consumer Protection AN ACT to amend the general business law, in relation to certain hotels, motels and motor courts with balconies THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Legislative findings and intent. The legislature finds and declares that public lodging accommodations with rental units that include balconies with railings containing balusters spaced more than four inches apart pose a threat to the safety of young children. The legislature further finds that parents of young children occupying rental units with such balconies should be made aware of the potential danger such balconies may pose to young children. Therefore, it is the intent of the legislature to require hotel, motel and motor court operators with balconies that do not meet the current requirements set forth in the New York state uniform fire prevention and building code or building code of the city of New York, if applicable, to post a notice in informing lodgers of such condition. This legis- lation shall not be construed to mean that hotel, motel or motor court buildings lawfully grandfathered under the laws creating the New York state uniform fire prevention and building code and building code of the city of New York are in any way out of compliance with such codes. S 2. This act shall be known and may be cited as "Sammy's law". S 3. The general business law is amended by adding a new section 204-b to read as follows: S 204-B. HOTELS WITH BALCONIES; REQUIREMENTS. 1. FOR THE PURPOSE OF THIS SECTION: (A) "COVERED RENTAL UNIT" SHALL MEAN ANY ROOM OFFERED TO THE PUBLIC FOR LODGING ACCOMMODATION THAT INCLUDES A BALCONY, SOLELY ACCESSIBLE BY THE OCCUPANT OR OCCUPANTS OF SUCH ROOM, THAT:EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD07462-01-1 S. 2995 2
(I) WAS BUILT BEFORE THE CURRENT VERSION OF THE NEW YORK STATE UNIFORM FIRE PREVENTION AND BUILDING CODE, OR THE BUILDING CODE OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK, IF APPLICABLE, BECAME EFFECTIVE; (II) CONTAINS BALUSTERS OR ORNAMENTAL PATTERNS SITUATED IN SUCH A WAY THAT SUCH BALCONY DOES NOT MEET THE CURRENT REQUIREMENTS FOR OPEN GUARDS CONTAINED IN THE NEW YORK STATE UNIFORM FIRE PREVENTION AND BUILDING CODE, OR THE BUILDING CODE OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK, IF APPLICABLE. (B) "NEW YORK STATE UNIFORM FIRE PREVENTION AND BUILDING CODE" MEANS THE UNIFORM FIRE PREVENTION AND BUILDING CODE PROMULGATED UNDER SECTION THREE HUNDRED SEVENTY-SEVEN OF THE EXECUTIVE LAW. (C) "BUILDING CODE OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK" SHALL MEAN THE BUILDING CODE OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK AS DEFINED IN TITLES TWENTY-SEVEN AND TWEN- TY-EIGHT OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE CODE OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK. 2. EVERY PERSON, FIRM, CORPORATION OR LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY ENGAGED IN THE BUSINESS OF FURNISHING PUBLIC LODGING ACCOMMODATIONS IN HOTELS, MOTELS OR MOTOR COURTS WITH COVERED RENTAL UNITS SHALL POST IN ALL COVERED RENTAL UNITS THE FOLLOWING NOTICE, OR A SUBSTANTIALLY SIMI- LAR NOTICE, IN A CONSPICUOUS LOCATION AT EYE LEVEL ON THE DOOR USED TO ACCESS THE BALCONY FROM THE UNIT IN SUCH A MANNER THAT A PERSON EXITING THE UNIT THROUGH THE DOOR IS MOST LIKELY TO SEE SUCH NOTICE. SUCH NOTICE SHALL STATE: "WARNING: THE POTENTIAL EXISTS FOR YOUNG CHILDREN TO SLIP THROUGH SPACES BETWEEN THE BALUSTERS OR ORNAMENTAL PATTERNS OF THIS BALCONY." SUCH NOTICE SHALL BE PRINTED IN NO LESS THAN FORTY POINT TYPE, EXCEPT THAT THE WORD "WARNING" SHALL BE PRINTED IN AT LEAST SEVENTY-TWO POINT TYPE. SUCH NOTICE SHALL BE PRINTED IN ENGLISH AND IN THE SECOND MOST POPULAR LANGUAGE SPOKEN BY RESIDENTS IN THE COUNTY IN WHICH THE PUBLIC LODGING ACCOMMODATION IS LOCATED. 3. THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE SHALL PROMULGATE SUCH RULES AND REGULATIONS AS ARE DEEMED NECESSARY TO EFFECTUATE THE PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, AND SHALL PROVIDE WRITTEN NOTIFICATION OF THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION TO: (A) EVERY PERSON, FIRM, CORPORATION OR LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY ENGAGED IN THE BUSINESS OF FURNISHING PUBLIC LODGING ACCOMMODATIONS IN HOTELS, MOTELS OR MOTOR COURTS LOCATED IN THE STATE; AND (B) THE CHIEF PRESIDING OFFICER OF A STATEWIDE ASSOCIATION REPRESENT- ING THE INTERESTS OF BUILDING CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS. S 4. This act shall take effect on the sixtieth day after it shall have become a law.