Updates on State Legislative Actions Affecting the Building Code

Several state legislatures wrapped up business in the past month. Below are summaries of actions taken that had an impact either on building codes or funds that may impact energy efficiency programs.

Alabama – legislators adjourned the 2017 regular session after a session which also saw the resignation of the state's governor, Robert Bentley. Governor Kay Ivey (R), who possesses a pocket veto, had until May 29 to sign or veto legislation that reached her desk.

Alaska – lawmakers ended the 2017 regular session without a new state budget, causing Governor Bill Walker (I) to call the legislature back into special session to close a $2.5 billion deficit and finalize a spending plan. Both chambers have their own deficit-reduction plan which, according to the Governor and legislative leaders, are fairly close in scope.

ColoradoHB 1227 was signed into law which extends to 2028 the state’s electric demand-side management program to encourage utilities to offer financial incentives for energy efficiency improvements in commercial and residential buildings.

MaineME LD 1392 was defeated. It would have allowed municipalities with less than 4,000 residents to opt out of enforcing either the Maine Uniform Building Code, the Maine Uniform Energy Code or the Maine Uniform Building and Energy Code died.

Missouri – legislators completed a special session after approving Governor Eric Greitens' (R) proposal to allow the Public Service Commission to offer lower electricity rates to companies. The legislation is designed to attract companies to the Bootheel area of the state. The Governor has also indicated he will call a special session beginning June 12.

Nevada – legislators completed the 2017 regular session, approving a budget deficit reduction package that includes a one-time $20 million infusion of tax credits for a scholarship program for underprivileged youth. AB 223 was signed into law this week and will help expand the implementation of more cost-effective energy efficiency programs for residents and businesses was signed into law. Legislators also approved was Assembly Bill 405 will make it worthwhile for homeowners to invest in rooftop solar and participate in net metering. Net metering is the term for when people with rooftop systems get a credit for the excess energy they return to the grid. Governor Brian Sandoval (R), who does not possess a pocket veto, has until June 16 to sign or veto legislation that reaches his desk.

Pennsylvania – recently introduced or advanced several bills that affect the building code: SB 269 passed the Senate and makes comprehensive changes to the process used by the UCC Review and Advisory Council, commonly referred to as RAC, to evaluate and adopt building code updates. It directs the Council to initiate a new review of the 2015 I-Codes. A similar bill (HB 409) passed the House with slight modifications. The bills will now go to conference committee.  HB 1380 was introduced and would separate the rule-making for the commercial and residential energy codes with the goal of hastening updates to the commercial code. It directs the council to review, within 90 days of the bill’s effective date, the triennial code revisions for the 2012 ICC codes for commercial buildings and issue a report. The Department of Labor and Industry is directed to adopt the triennial revisions for commercial buildings within three months of the receipt of the written recommendation by the council.

Texas – legislators adjourned the 2017 regular session after approving a $216.7 billion state budget but left several other items unresolved. Legislative leaders and the Governor's office have indicated that a special session will be called on July 18 to consider unfinished business from the regular session. SB 636 which has passed the Senate, failed to receive an affirmative vote in the House Urban Affairs committee this week but would require that certain municipalities conduct a “cost-benefit” analysis prior to adopting model building codes. Governor Greg Abbott (R), who does not possess a pocket veto, has until June 18 to sign or veto legislation that reaches his desk. Legislators in Texas will not meet again until early 2019.


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