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Two BIAW priority bills advance: SBCC reforms and WUI fixes

March 5, 2024

Two BIAW priority bills have cleared major hurdles in the Legislature.

One, a measure to improve the State Building Code Council, heads to the Governor’s desk for signature.

The other, a bill to address problems with the state’s Wildland-Urban Interface Code, returns to the Senate to review amendments added by the House of Representatives. If the Senate approves the amendments, that bill will advance to the Governor’s desk as well.

BIAW priority bills improve building code processes, WUI maps

Senate Bill 6291 improves the transparency and predictability of the building code process so people can better understand how to get involved.

Sponsored by Sen. Linda Wilson, R-Vancouver, and Sen. John Lovick, D- Everett, both ex officio members of the SBCC, the measure came out of close collaboration between interested parties like BIAW and the SBCC.  SB 6291passed the House 95-0 with three excused. It passed the Senate Feb. 7 with a vote of 47-2. With the governor’s signature, it will go into effect 90 days after the legislative session ends.

Among other things, Senate Bill 6120 improves the state’s Wildland-Urban Interface code by allowing local jurisdictions more input into the development of the wildfire hazard and base-level wildfire risk map. BIAW members and local jurisdictions struggled to interpret the boundaries established in the state’s current WUI, making it difficult to plan ahead to build the homes the state needs.

Senators Kevin Van De Wege (D-Lake Sutherland), John Braun (R- Centralia)  and Shelly Short, R-Addy, sponsored SB 6120. It passed the House and Senate unanimously. If the Senate agrees with the House amendments, the bill will also go to the Governor’s desk for final approval. This bill includes an emergency clause, meaning it becomes effective as soon as the governor signs it.

The 2024 legislative session ends March 7.

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