BIRMINGHAM, Alabama (WBRC) – The study group to review House Bill 220 held its first meeting this week to consider a bill passed by state lawmakers who some say could create safety risks in schools.
House Bill 220 included executive amendments from Governor Ivey to establish this task force after leaders of fire associations and construction companies opposed it. The group held its first meeting on Tuesday.
âCompare what other states and federal agencies are doing, and get started with the process of code review and on-site inspections in educational buildings,â said Chief Tim Love, Alabaster Fire.
Love is one of 12 members now tasked with reviewing the law and making recommendations for change. The study group includes four lawmakers, state and local education officials, members of the construction industry and the Alabama Fire Chiefs Association.
âWe have to file a report that has to be sent to the governor,â Love said. âA summary and what we would recommend for a legislative change. “
Love argued against House Bill 220 before it was passed.
It removes state oversight on construction projects of $ 500,000 or less at K-12 schools and institutes of higher education. This responsibility would be transferred to the board of directors of each institution.
Some of the topics discussed at Tuesday’s meeting included ways to streamline the surveillance process, the costs of code compliance efforts, and the potential increase in the monetary threshold that would trigger state surveillance.
Love says he hopes to find more compromises by adding oversight on even cheaper construction projects.
âWe see what happened in Florida. We have no idea what caused this, but we see how catastrophic it is, âLove said. âWe now have the ability to make sure buildings are built to the best possible standards. “
The study group offers recommendations for changes to the law. The official changes would require additional legislation. There is another meeting scheduled for July 19 where the public can weigh in.
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