Tuesday, January 24, 2012

H.B. 58 SPIKED: Status Quo Steeple Statute

Those of you who have followed the blog are aware of my efforts to change state law regarding the construction code to allow for more free market mechanisms to operate when it comes to seismic upgrades.  My effort on this issue stems from constituent complaints originated back in October.    This statute change was embodied in my proposed H.B. 58.

The first day of session was hectic as I tried to prepare a substitute bill.  I had negotiated a compromise with members of the Structural Engineers Association of Utah.   Unfortunately, I worked up the draft only to learn at the last minute that those I had negotiated with reneged on their proposed compromise.  Members of my committee were also uncomfortable with some of the compromise provisions.  Since we appeared to be making no one happy, we scrapped the compromise and pushed for the original wording of the bill.  I invited the caretaker of the church to testify in committee today.  In opposition, the Structural Engineers Association of Utah showed up in force.  The conversation was contentious at times and it finally came to a vote.

Our proposal failed: 5-7.  A couple of my colleagues surprised me with their vote.  Interestingly, after interviewing the folks who I felt were on the fence, it became apparent that our cause would fail even if we amended the bill and tried to bring it back for reconsideration.

I am now trying to put together some Ogden area stakeholders to see if there are some other means available to help the Baptist Congregation fix their roof and seismically upgrade their property.  Hopefully we can find a coalition of folks here locally who would be willing and able to help preserve this beautiful landmark and worship center.

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