Wood Seeks Favoritism in California Construction
By Julie Trost
Get used to hearing about AB 2842. On February 16, 2018, this bill was introduced in the California legislature.
The especially troubling language is bolded for emphasis:
- This bill would require GO-Biz [aka the Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development] to work with state academic institutions and certification organizations to perform additional product testing that accelerates the development, use, or commercialization of new wood products, as provided.
- This bill would require the [California Building Standards Commission] to work with local planning offices, developers, and architects to consider the feasibility of expanding the use of wood and mass timber in California buildings. The bill would require the commission to identify additional seismic, fire, or other testing of mass timber that is necessary for the use of mass timber in building construction.
- This bill would require the [Department of Forestry and Fire Protection] to develop the California Wood Innovations Small Grants Program to provide grants and low-interest loans or loan guarantees, upon appropriation by the Legislature for these purposes [purposes such as employment in rural and urban areas and economic development for rural communities], to entities that expand the use of wood products and increase in-state wood product processing and manufacturing, as provided.
- This bill would appropriate $20,000,000 to the Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development for purposes of providing grants, loans, and loan guarantees for projects that add mobile or stationary sawmill capacity for the in-state processing and production of wood products from forest and vegetation management projects that are intended to reduce the risk and intensity of wildfires.
We are rallying the troops to combat this measure. Washington and Oregon states have been down this road, and we are working with the masonry experts that were involved in those efforts. Our national association, the Mason Contractors Association of America (MCAA), has already offered their voice.
AB 2842 is tentatively scheduled for its first hearing on March 19, 2018. Be prepared to lend your voice to this fight by telling your local district legislators how it stands to hurt your business opportunities and could pose public safety concerns especially in the area of fire protection.
We will keep you updated.
About the Author
Julie Trost is the Executive Director of the Mason Contractors Association of California, Inc.