In another attack on the boogeyman of “big government,” Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) is moving forward with a new measure to remove the requirement for electrical safety measures in state building codes. The proposal, which was approved by the governor in late June, is now subject to more in-depth study by state officials and testimony from experts.
The safeguards are designed to detect unsafe conditions and prevent electrical fires. And Walker is moving ahead with his plan to remove them, even though his own proposal finds they add barely anything to the cost of construction:
Mandatory requirements designed to detect fire-causing conditions, stop electric shocks and keep children from sticking foreign objects into electrical outlets have been targeted for removal from the state code, according to a governor-approved plan to rewrite the rules to administer the code. [...]
Joe Jameson [President of the South Western Wisconsin Electrical Inspectors Association] called the proposal “bizarre,” saying the safety requirements add about $200 to a typical $200,000 home, and even the proposal notes the “economic impact is minimal.”
This isn’t the first time that Governor Walker’s numbers haven’t made sense. After all, he plowed ahead with his attempt to dismantle unions in his state, in spite of the fact that such a radical policy change saved Wisconsin essentially no money.
In a response to concerns raised by electrical inspectors, the governor’s office offered little comfort, saying just that “the change to this rule simply reflects concerns that were raised to DSPS [Department of Safety and Professional Services] by individuals who construct homes. Instead of mandating the use of these products, this rule change would make it optional.”