SB 1410 Signed By Governor, ‘Assault On Local Control’ Says Boehme

June 22, 2009

Despite opposition from fire chiefs and others around the state, Governor Rick Perry has signed Senate Bill 1410, which includes an amendment that disallows municipalities from requiring residential sprinklers in new home construction. The passage of the bill comes about a month after West U. City Council passed an ordinance requiring the systems.

 

“I have a rule that I don’t let one issue make the decision of who I vote for, but I have to say this is such an assault on local control that I cant see how I would ever support Governor Perry again,” said Councilman George Boehme, who opposed the bill and co-authored a letter with Mayor Bob Kelly asking Perry for a veto.

 

The bill, authored by District 11 Senator Mike Jackson, relates to the regulation of plumbers, but an amendment to the bill prohibits municipalities from enacting ordinances or building codes requiring residential sprinkler systems. The amendment was authored by District 18 Representative John Otto and adopted on May 19.

 

Many in opposition to the bill say the builders’ lobbyists are to blame for the success of the amendment, and say builders are against the requirement because of the additional cost the sprinkler systems add to new home construction.

 

When the bill first passed, representatives of the city including the City Manager Michael Ross and Fire Chief Steve Ralls, contacted Jackson’s office and local Senator Joan Huffman’s office to express the city’s opposition to the bill. Ross and Ralls also contacted various other cities and senators around the state as well as Representative Ellen Cohen’s office. Ralls also joined others in Austin recently urging Perry to veto the bill.

 

Boehme recently wrote an editorial published in the Houston Chronicle refuting an earlier commentary written by Otto.

 

“We worked hard to get this passed, and the state comes in and basically takes it away from us,” said Ralls earlier this month. “They did it under the guise of homeowners’ rights, and the state itself doesn’t even have a fire code or a building code, so essentially once you get outside a municipality, builders can build whatever they want to build. If the state is not going to have a code anyway, I don’t think they should have the right to take away from a city’s rights to decide how they want to build and the safety features they want to have in the homes.”

InstantNewsWestu Staff

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