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Proposal to scrap two DSPS councils ready for Assembly vote

As early as next week the state Assembly could be taking up a proposal that would eliminate two councils that help state officials both with reviewing complaints made against building inspectors and with drawing up rules used to verify the financial soundness of home builders.

The legislation, Assembly Bill 483, seeks to eliminate the Building Inspector Review Board, which is charged with reviewing complaints and revoking the certification of inspectors of commercial buildings and one- and two-family homes if those inspectors have been found to be engaging in incompetent or unethical conduct. Separately, the same bill  would scrap the Contractor Certification Council, which helps the Department of Safety and Professional Services draw up rules for certifying the financial responsibility of contractors who wish to build one- and two-family dwellings.

If the bill is adopted by the Legislature and eventually signed into law, the duties of both councils would be transferred to the Uniform Dwelling Code Council. Some argue that if the panels were useful, they would be meeting more often.

“These haven’t been terribly active councils,” said Brad Boycks, executive director of the Wisconsin Builders Association.

Robert DuPont, founder of the Alliance for Regulatory Coordination, pointed out that the Building Inspector Review Board was set up more than a decade ago and has yet to meet even once.

State officials have been looking for years for ways to make the DSPS’ inspection and certification services more efficient. Gov. Scott Walker, in his initial version of the state’s current budget, had called for the elimination of both the Building Inspector Review Board and Contractor Certification Council, along with various other panels. Lawmakers later removed that proposal, saying they would take up the matter further down the road.

Of the councils Walker had identified for elimination, they all had this in common: They had not met at least since September 2015.

Kirsten Reader, a spokeswoman for DSPS, said the department is in favor of the latest proposal. Home builders have warmed up to the idea as well.

Boycks noted that his group had initially supported the councils when they were first set up. Now that they are to be eliminated, his members are eager to ensure that their central functions won’t disappear as well. Hence the proposal to transfer those duties to the Uniform Dwelling Code Council, which is a more active group, Boycks said.

DuPont also said he is also in favor of scrapping the two councils.

“It streamlines state government in getting ride of two councils that, one has never met and the other meets very infrequently,” he said.

AB 483 has already received approval from the Assembly’s Committee on Regulatory Licensing Reform. Boycks said he expects the proposal to be taken up by the full Assembly when it meets on Tuesday. Should the bill be approved by the Legislature, it would still need the governor’s signature to become law.

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