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Texas SB 1410

Is this a Challenge on Home Rule?

The Texas legislature moved through a final step and will move SB 1410 for the Governor’s signature.  This new law will remove a communities ability to adopt an ordinance on residential sprinklers which is retroactive back to January 1, 2009.

SB1410 amends the plumber licensing act to include multiple changes to address residential sprinklers systems and who installs them.  An addition was added which reads:

Section 12, Part E Amended to read:

Notwithstanding any other provision of state law, after January 1, 2009, a municipality may not enact an ordinance, bylaw, order, building code, or rule requiring the installation of a multipurpose residential fire protection sprinkler system or any other fire sprinkler protection system in a new or existing one or two-family dwelling. A municipality may adopt an ordinance, bylaw, order, or rule allowing a multipurpose residential fire protection sprinkler specialist or other contractor to offer, for a fee, the installation of a fire sprinkler protection system in a new one- or two-family dwelling.

The full text of the bill can be found here and the video of the amendment is found courtesy of you-tube in the upper right hand corner.  It seems that the Texas advocates of building and life safety came together on this issue. which included fire, building, management, municipalities, and many more.

The language found in section 12 does not appear to be apart of the original bill and is known as the Otto amendment added at a last minute.  It truly appears that the addition of this language was slid in and not heard in committee or deliberated appropriately (beyond what you see in the video).  Regardless of residential sprinklers or not, code development belongs in the hands of those experts the community and state have empowered to do so.

There will be more to come from Texas on this issue and we continue to give the code community our support during this time.

{ 4 comments… add one }

  • Nick Markowitz Jr. June 2, 2009, 7:10 am

    We have a similar issue Here in Pa with Firearms where local communities want to pass there own laws on Fire Arms carry etc. the state legislature passed laws which stopped all this so that there would be one uniform rule and not a patchwork quilt of laws.
    Imagine having to take off and on your concealed weapon 7 times during a trip across the state.
    This is probably the intent of the Texas law but for more nefarious reasons.

    The same thing happened when we went to ICC .Communities which wanted to keep
    certain rules in place needed to have them approved by our L&I division.Otherwise they went out the door which helped again to save countless trying to keep up with each communities rules.Allegheny County applied for and kept its plumbing rules becuse they were stronger than rules adopted under ICC etc.

  • Paul Dove June 3, 2009, 8:47 am

    This is a sad state of affairs for the State of Texas. At least the female senator had a basic education as to the constitutionality of their legislative rules for local control and made recorded argument on why local jurisdictions created historic ordinances to address their needs. Hopefully the AG will step in and rule against it before the Governor signs it into law. I hope the NAHB don’t have influence in the AG’s office.

  • Don Jansen June 3, 2009, 11:12 am

    This is an issue that we have all worked hard on. I am glad to see that it is seen around the country and that all are apalled. I love the opening statement concerning home rule. This is something we too are asking. I believe that if signed by the Gov. Perry, the constitutionality will be challenged. Our state constitution is written in a way to keep the State’s nose out of local affairs. Gov. Perry has been very vocal nationally about States rights. In my letter to him, I attempted to illistrate the similarities between his States rights issues and what the legislature is attempting with this bill. We shall all wait and see if he signes the bill into law.

  • Richard June 22, 2009, 9:56 am

    Folks in my opinion this is our friendly NHBA fighting what we fought for at the code hearings regarding home fire sprinkler protection. These folks just don’t either get it or care about fire safety in the home.

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