[LA HOUSE BILLS 249 & 250]
For the past year, the Louisiana Dig Law Advisory Committee has worked on revising the Louisiana Underground Utility and Facility Damage Prevention Law (Dig Law). The purpose of these discussions was to define the intent of the law. On June 2nd at the 2016 Regular Legislative Session House Bill 249 (which became Act 85) and House Bill 250 (which became Act 245) were both signed into legislation.
Certification of Non-Profit Regional Notification Center
When the dig law was enacted in 1988, it was not envisioned that there would be competition between multiple non-profit regional notification centers (one call programs). On behalf of the stakeholders who utilize Louisiana One Call, the Dig Law Advisory Committee requested that the Louisiana State Legislature address concerns that relate to public safety, cost effectiveness and ease of use for multiple one call programs. Act 85 states that, a regional notification program shall have specifically defined geopolitical services areas that are coterminous with parish boundaries and do not overlap any other defined service area. This provision in the law helps to ensure that there should be a single non-profit regional notification center that operates in the State of Louisiana.
Notification Center Holidays Added
The legislature also added holidays to be observed by regional notification center. These additional holidays include Memorial Day and Christmas Eve.
As a result of an accident involving an offshore pipeline, the definition of “excavation or excavate” has changed. The new definition is, “Excavation” or “excavate” means any operation causing movement or removal of earth, rock, or other materials in or on the ground or submerged in a marine environment by the use of powered or mechanical or manual means, including but not limited to pile driving, digging, blasting, auguring, boring, back filling, dredging, compaction, plowing-in, trenching, ditching, tunneling, land-leveling, grading, and mechanical probing or any other activity that could reasonably result in damage to underground or submerged utilities or facilities. “Excavation” or “excavate” shall not include manual probing or any force majeure, act of God, or act of nature.