Mississippi lawmakers took steps in Jackson to help ensure that new construction in five coastal counties will protect residents from catastrophic events by passing tougher building codes, according to the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America.
House Bill 1406 requires Harrison, Hancock, Jackson, Pearl River and Stone counties to adopt the International Building Code for new construction. Other counties may voluntarily adopt this building code but it is up to the discretion of the local authorities.
“This is an important first step in the effort to save lives, reduce economic losses and speed up the recovery process for future hurricanes,” William Stander, PCI assistant vice president and regional manager said. “While we would have preferred the Legislature to enact a statewide building code, we are pleased with this accomplishment.
“Although the coastal counties experienced the most significant damage from Hurricane Katrina this year, the entire state is susceptible to natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes and flooding,” Stander said.
Earlier this session Gov. Barbour signed legislation (HB 409) which made Mississippi the 22nd state to enact primary seat belt enforcement legislation. This law allows law enforcement to stop and ticket a driver for not wearing a seat belt.
However, the legislative session, which adjourned Friday, March 31, was notable for what did not pass.
Two bills (HB 1311 and SB 2800) that would have allowed consumers to freeze access to their credit report died in the final days of the session. PCI had worked to ensure that any legislation contained a provision that would allow insurers to have access to credit information. .
The Legislature also defeated bills that would have provided consumers with written notices explicitly stating that flood coverage is excluded from their homeowners policy.
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