SALT LAKE CITY -- A local lawmaker's bill forcing school districts to conduct a seismic study on old school buildings in the event of a bond election to build new structures will get a second chance in the House.
A day after HB 278, sponsored by Rep. Gage Froerer, R-Huntsville, failed to get the needed 38 votes by one vote, an effort by Rep. Joel Briscoe, D-Salt Lake City, to bring the issue back to the floor for another review was approved.
Briscoe said he found his vote on the bill was recorded differently than he intended.
Froerer's bill would create an inventory for the Utah Seismic Commission on the structural soundness of school buildings built before 1975 in the Beehive State.
He said the data will cost about $250 to $500 per report to districts that have old buildings that haven't undergone the review. The bill was defeated 37-35.
Similar legislation passed last year but was vetoed by Gov. Gary Herbert.
The measure lost a key supporter between its review in committee and the floor vote. Rep. Dana Layton, R-Orem, said she changed support for the measure after finding the seismic review could be done without ever entering a building.
She called the inspections a waste of money.
Froerer disputed the claim, saying the seismic review included review of the history of building records with the county. He said his bill would potentially save lives in the event of an earthquake.
Regarding his measure, he said, "Most of us agree, it's not a question of if, it's a question of when we see that earthquake. If we can save one child in this state in the event of an earthquake, we've done our job."