Monday, February 25, 2013

Wrong Amendment to the State Fire Code

I am very concerned about the amendment placed on the fire code, 2013 HB 217, this morning in the House. I have dealt with building codes for 35 years and fire codes much of that time.

As an architect, it is important that I know what the building and fire codes are when designing a building. Currently, there is a process for a local amendment through the Utah Building Code Commission and their recommendations to the Business and Labor Committee. Today's floor amendment allows changes to go around this system and, effectively eliminates a state wide fire code. I am concerned similar attacks will be made on the Building Code and Energy Code.

I believe the solution to the various complaints should be in Chapter 1 of the Fire Code as well as the Building Code, 2012 IBC 104.10.

The House Floor amendment today I consider a disaster for life safety in the state. We can solve the concerns with a simple change and then the amendment made this morning can be deleted in the Senate. We don't need a new process.

This is from the 2012 IFC

 [A] 104.8 Modifications.
Whenever there are practical difficulties involved in carrying out the provisions of this code, the fire code official shall have the authority to grant modifications for individual cases, provided the fire code official shall first find that special individual reason makes the strict letter of this code impractical and the modification is in compliance with the intent and purpose of this code and that such modification does not lessen health, life and fire safety requirements. The details of action granting modifications shall be recorded and entered in the files of the department of fire prevention.

 [A] 104.9 Alternative materials and methods.
The provisions of this code are not intended to prevent the installation of any material or to prohibit any method of construction not specifically prescribed by this code, provided that any such alternative has been approved. The fire code official is authorized to approve an alternative material or method of construction where the fire code official finds that the proposed design is satisfactory and complies with the intent of the provisions of this code, and that the material, method or work offered is, for the purpose intended, at least the equivalent of that prescribed in this code in quality, strength, effectiveness, fire resistance, durability and safety.

The words "special individual reason" in the first paragraph I believe are the problem. The words also appear 2012 IBC 104.10.

They should be changed. We want the building and fire departments to use common sense. If we allow them to do so, we don't need to create new building and fire codes for each county.

Delete the words "special individual" from both the IFC and the IBC in these sections of chapter 1 and allow the building officials to use "reason" and keep the state amendment process we have with the codes.

[Update: The amendment was removed in the Senate Committee. ]

Friday, February 22, 2013

Could John Swallow be Impeached

What about the actions of John Swallow? I have ignored the statements of Mr. Johnson. I have not ignored the statements from John Swallow and the documents and recording already released. From the recording, I have focused on just John Swallows statements.

Do I believe that I believe that John Swallow was part of a plot to bribe Sen. Reid? No.

Do I have concerns? Yes. (The following is my opinion. I am not a judge or an attorney, nor currently serving in the legislature.)

What about the apparent intentional hiding of a potential required disclosure of a conflict of interest, P Solutions LLC, (3) times, which has ties to Richard Rawle, and whose only revenue initially came from the same account that Johnson paid Rawle from?  OK, I could believe that John Swallow just missed on March 9, 2012, but how do you explain the March 15, 2012 and January 10, 2013 forms with them not showing up, even under his wife? How do you explain the money being refunded by P Solutions LLC and being repaid by a different account less than 1 year from the filings?

As I stated before, 76-8-109 (4) doesn't have a penalty, as it is a protection from violating other subsections. I don't know if it could be proved he intentionally lied on the form. I have personally filled out that form several times and could give him a pass for missing something on the March 9, 2012 version, but I have not heard a defense on the other two versions.

Since that appears in this case not to have worked, (the incentive to fill out on the form all items required by 76-8-109 (4)  ) IF I were still in the Utah Legislature, I would have pulled a bill file already to add the same coordinating clauses and penalty as the other required financial disclosure forms, and I would have requested the House Judiciary Standing Committee to put John Swallow on the witness stand, and depending on his answers to questions on the committee, decide if this, or the House Boat, 67-16-5 . or the reported Pay to Play Campaign Fundraising for Mark Shurtleff , 76-8-105 , reach to the point of impeachment. IF warranted, I would have a committee report read to the House recommending the Speaker poll the members to see if they have the required 2/3 to impeach. If not, John would be clear of the threat of impeachment.   

I have not asked for John to step down, as I don't know all the answers to the above items. 

I have seen the March 9, 2012 , March 15, 2012 , and January 10, 2013  forms and have discussed the state law section I have quoted with individuals that know more about it than I do. I thought someone, a member of the legislature, was going to run the bill, but I haven't see it yet, which means it would be more apt to be done during interim.

Depending on how the above possible scenario plays out, and the results of the answers provided John could be impeached before the end of the year or that threat would be extinguished. I have no clue what the senate would decide with those charges if they decided them to be valid.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Utah State Republican Party Constitutional Amendments, v2

Utah State Republican Party Constitutional Amendments, v2
(If passed, to be effective at the 2014 Nominating Convention.)

Section 1. Precinct Caucuses

C. No subsequent election or ratification shall be required by county conventions for state delegates elected at the precinct caucuses or at a caucus of delegates at the county convention.  All state delegates shall be elected at a precinct caucus or at a caucus of delegates at the county convention.

Section 2. State and County Nominating Conventions

C. Delegates shall be apportioned based upon relative Republican strength of each county. Relative Republican strength shall be calculated by aggregating the total combined Republican votes cast at the previous election for governor/lieutenant governor, attorney general, state auditor, and state treasurer, excluding the vote for any
candidate who had no opposition. Each county's portion of the aggregate vote shall next be calculated on a strict percentage basis, without rounding. Each county whose allocation of delegates is smaller than the number of precincts in the county shall have its allocation of delegates increased to equal the number of precincts. In addition to the apportioned number of delegates, Republicans holding partisan elected offices and also county or state party officers, who are not elected as voting state delegates, may participate in the state conventions as credentialed Legislative, State, or County Representatives. Participation by these credentialed representatives is limited to speaking and voting on floor issues, but does not include voting for candidates.

Submitted by Fred C. Cox, Salt Lake County

Friday, February 1, 2013

Protect Utahns gun rights, save 2013 SB 120

S.B. 120    Target Shooting and Wildfire Regulations -- Dayton, M.

I believe this bill is needed. It is unwise to let the executive branch use constitutional power assigned to the legislature without statute.

It however appears that the changes proposed by SB 120 seem to be broader or at least less defined than those the Governor in consultation with the legislative leadership agreed to last summer.

Perhaps adding some clarifications, something like:

The closure may include the restriction or prohibition of the use of firearms for target shooting in unincorporated areas of the state where the banning of non-traditional rounds, or exploding targets or devices, are not sufficient to protect against the extreme fire danger.

The banning of target practice areas are only in very specific areas described or shown on a state website and by a signed notification by the state forester after consultation with county commissioners or officials and other local officials and sheriffs.

The banning of fire arm target practice shall not ban the legal carrying of fire arms as protected under Art. I, 6.

Article I, Section 6.   [Right to bear arms.]
            The individual right of the people to keep and bear arms for security and defense of self, family, others, property, or the state, as well as for other lawful purposes shall not be infringed; but nothing herein shall prevent the Legislature from defining the lawful use of arms.

Target shooting with traditional copper/lead bullets do not cause sparks. It is rare for a bullet to hit a rock, causing it to hit another rock and that rock to rock impact sparks and creates a fire, or the bullet stopping so fast by hitting a rock to heat up to a high enough temperature to cause a fire.

The great majority of the target shooting fires caused in 2012 were not caused by traditional bullets alone.

Shooting exploding targets or non-traditional rounds, such as steel jacketed or steel core or tracer rounds are main the problem.

Shooting old TV's around dry grass during a fire danger is just plain dumb.