Monday, June 08, 2009

Phil's Building Code

Bills like this one are precisely why it is good to have a greater Republican presence in the House:

House lawmakers will revisit on Tuesday a bill to create a statewide residential building code and to set energy efficiency standards for state buildings and vehicles.

SB230 was delayed Thursday after extensive debate in the House, with lawmakers filing dozens of proposals to exempt their home districts from the code requirement. All but one of those efforts presented on the House floor failed. But with numerous similar proposals pending, the House decided to go home for the weekend.

"A lot of times we beat a dead horse to death," said House Speaker Kent Williams, R-Elizabethton. "We're very redundant at times."But Williams said he understands the desire of the representatives of the 60 counties without building codes to go on the record about their opposition. The speaker said he's even carrying a similar proposal on behalf of officials in his native Carter County.

In Tennessee, building codes have always been a local prerogative. The overwhelming majority of our counties do not have building codes, and with good reason-most are still rural counties where the houses that are built are older, and new ones sometimes need to serve as more than just residences in the suburban sense. The Governor is supposed to be budget-conscious, so his version of fiscal responsibility includes a bill creating a State building code, while essentially making our counties be responsible for the code-worse yet, dictating to property owners what they may do with their property? While Phil preaches fiscal responsibility, he would cause others to spend money they may not have executing his plan.

There is bipartisan opposition to this rediculous measure in the Tennessee House, as there should be. The bill is unpopular enough that I cannot find any reference to it in the subject search engine, and the only bill listed under SB230 is legislation that would classify any operation as a dairy farm in Tennessee which raised any milk-giving animals, not just cows.

A State building code is an imposition by Nashville on local affairs which reflects a severe lack of understanding of the desire of most people to be governed locally, especially in East Tennessee. Nashville may have a constitutional option to impose a building code if it pleases, but that doesn't mean that doing so is either a prudent or right thing to do.



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