The Alabama Senate and House on Thursday passed a bill that removes state oversight from some public school and state park construction projects.
Proponents of the bill have said the change is needed to reduce costs and speed up projects, but the Alabama Association of Fire Chiefs, the Associated Builders and Contractors of Alabama, the Subcontractors Association of Alabama, the American Institute of Architects Alabama and the Alabama Contractors Association came out against the bill.
The legislation removes oversight by the Alabama Department of Finance’s Division of Construction Management for construction and repair projects under $500,000 at K-12 schools and universities and state parks.
The trade associations opposed to the bill said in a letter that removing oversight could lead to hazards and injuries.
Tim Love, president of the Alabama Association of Fire Chiefs and chief of the Alabaster Fire Department, told APR earlier this month that the bill would put students’ and first responders’ lives at risk.
“It’s really really disheartening because this is a very critical safety issue for the future of building of educational facilities,” Love said.
The House approved HB220 in February, and the Senate voted 25-4 Thursday to approve a substitute bill as amended to include state parks, which then went back to the House for concurrence, and House members voted 96-0 to approve. The bill now awaits Gov. Kay Ivey’s signature.