State lawmakers draft legislation for fire victims

Hope to change heat pump regulations

SPOKANE COUNTY - Representative Mike Volz and Representative Suzanne Schmidt are proposing legislation for the upcoming 2024 legislative session to make building homes after wildfires easier.

The two state representatives represent th 6th and 4th legislative districts. Districts 6 and 4 include areas that suffered by the Grey Fire and the Oregon Road Fire.

Many residents who lost their homes and facing the realization new state building regulations mean more time and money goes into building homes.

In many cases, citizens either didn’t have insurance or has insurance that won’t cover the new requirements. Heat pumps are an example

Heating pumps can range From $8,000 to more than $40,000 Depending on how much duct, insulation, electrical, and other work that would need to be done.

For a 2,500 square foot house with a 5-ton heating pump size, cost $10,000. So for the bill to go into effect the victims that lost their houses can build new homes and not have to pay for the heating pump system.

The bill covers property owners that apply for building permits by June 20, 2025. The two legislators say they are finalizing their draft and will have it ready on the first day of 2024 legislative session. The 2024 session begins Monday January 8, 2024.

January 8, 2024, the representatives will present the bill and if it passes would potentially go into effect in April.


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