HB 614: Preempting local control of EV infrastructure – 2022
ICL's position: Oppose
Current Bill Status: Dead
Issue Areas: Building Codes, Clean Energy, Climate Change
Introduced by Rep. Brent Crane (R-Nampa), House Bill 614 would make it harder to update Idaho’s building, residential, electrical, mechanical and plumbing codes by removing them from administrative rules and placing them into Idaho statute. This takes the authority away from the Idaho Building Code Board to update the Idaho building, residential, electrical, mechanical and plumbing codes through the negotiated rulemaking process. And the bill would prevent local cities or counties from adopting updates that meet local needs.
If HB 614 passes, both House and Senate chambers and the Governor would have to agree on any updates, thereby circumventing the standard rules process. This will make it harder to update these rules, which undergo regular revision by the Idaho Building Code Board to incorporate best practices and new technologies that benefit consumers and our environment alike.
The House Business Committee has long sought to make it impossible for cities in Idaho to update their building codes. In 2018, Idaho cities lost the ability to amend energy conservation codes due to the passage of HB 547.
Because the electrical codes are not in the energy conservation codes, the City of Boise was able to pass an ordinance that requires a 240-volt branch circuit to be installed in garages in newly constructed single-family homes and townhouses. In 2021, the city of Ketchum followed Boise’s lead and passed a similar ordinance. These electrical code updates ensure that Idaho homeowners won’t have to spend two to four times the amount to retrofit their homes to accommodate EV charging.
Idaho electrical, mechanical, plumbing, and other codes matter because homebuyers and renters want comfortable, healthy homes that don’t require expensive retrofitting to benefit from improvements in energy, plumbing and mechanical fields.
While building homes to standards may cost a few more dollars upfront, these regulations save Idaho homeowners thousands of dollars, easily paying off the initial investment and resulting in significant savings over the life of the home. Adopting new technologies into our electrical, mechanical, plumbing codes ensures that new buildings are applying modern construction practices that save homeowners money and prepare Idaho to benefit from new technology, while protecting our clean air and water.
The bill passed the House but was never considered by the Senate Commerce & Human Resources Committee.