From the ICC: Two bills to watch on Capitol Hill

icc-logoElection season may be in full swing and the legislative session may be winding down, but that doesn’t mean that the Government Relations staff in Washington, D.C., is kicking back their heels. There’s still a number of bills that the federal team is tracking that could have a big impact on building codes. Two of these bills will likely gain momentum when Congress returns in September.

The first bill is known as the Comprehensive Energy Bill, but it’s actually two pieces of legislation, the Energy Policy Modernization Act, out of the Senate, and the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act, out of the House. Both have passed their respective chamber, but there are some conflicting amendments, and so it’s in a conference committee now as legislators try to hammer out the details. Throughout the process, ICC has been working with allies like the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) and the High Performance Building Congressional Caucus Coalition (HPBCCC) to ensure energy codes remain an important piece of American energy policy moving forward. The House bill contains an amendment limiting the participation of the US Department of Energy in the ICC code development process, which would deprive it of the voice of an important stakeholder with a good deal to contribute in terms of science-based research and data. ICC has not taken an official position on these bills.

The second bill, the National Mitigation Investment Act, is gaining momentum in the House right now. The idea behind the bill is to reduce federal post-disaster spending by providing money and other incentives to states to adopt strong building codes, enforce them, and use the money they’d have spent on disasters on the front end to help save lives and property, among other provisions. ICC has been working with the BuildStrong Coalition to help it get it enacted, directly participating in dozens of meetings on Capitol Hill this summer to promote it. One of the most important things it has going for it is that it was introduced with bipartisan support and has 15 cosponsors from both sides of the aisle, proving that building safety is a priority that cuts across party lines.

If you’re interested in finding more about these or other federal legislation the GR staff is tracking in D.C., check out ICC’s Federal Activities page, featuring video breakdowns of bills, national happenings, and a real-time legislative tracker so that you can follow along with us about legislation that affects the building code industry.