Can Branstad Administration simply decide to not follow law on safety inspections?
For Immediate Release: June 29, 2012
Des Moines — On June 26, the Branstad Administration announced that, effective July 1, 2012, the law requiring electrical inspections would be “indefinitely suspended” when it comes to farm buildings.
Senate President Jack Kibbie has asked Attorney General Tom Miller if the Branstad action goes against existing state law.
“This is a safety issue and it is a state law,” said Kibbie, who farms near Emmetsburg with his two sons.
In 2009, the Electrical Examining Board asked the Attorney General whether farm properties were exempt from electrical inspections.
In response, the Attorney General’s office stated that “…there is no support in the Iowa Code for the notion that farms and farm properties are generally excluded from the electrical installation inspection provisions of the Iowa Code chapter 103 (2009). Such an exclusion would run contrary to the public safety objective of the legislation.”
Kibbie says there’s no excuse for the Governor’s actions.
“If Governor Branstad doesn’t like a law, he needs to ask the Legislature to send him a bill changing the law. It really doesn’t get much more black and white than this,” Kibbie said.
Evidence of this sudden reversal of existing policy can be found in a brochure titled “State Electrical Inspections: Frequently Asked Questions.” The brochure, which was available through the Department of Public Safety’s web site on June 28, 2012, contained the following information:
“Are electrical installations on farms exempt from inspections? NO. All new electrical installations on farms and other agricultural facilities are required to be inspected.”
In addition, as of 9:00 AM on June 29, 2012, Iowans reviewing the frequently asked questions page at the Online State Permitting and Inspection System could read the following under item 26:
“Are farms exempt from electrical inspections?
“Answer: Farms will not be exempt from electrical inspections. Farms will be inspected per the 2008 National Electrical Code.”
Senate File 478, approved by the Legislature during the 2009 session and signed by the Governor, specifically addressed this issue and the Branstad Administration had required inspections in compliance with the law. But on June 26, 2012, the Iowa Department of Public Safety sent a message to “Electrical Contractors, Utility Companies and Electricians” which stated that: “…we will be indefinitely suspending mandatory electrical inspections on a ‘farm facility’ while has been defined as a building or structure located on a farm other than a residential, industrial, or public-use building or facility”
endPosted Jun. 29th, 2012 at 10:02 am by Senate Staff