Senator Bill Nelson Calls On Florida Legislature To Reverse Construction Code Law

Oct 17, 2018

U.S. Democratic Senator Bill Nelson fields questions from reporters before flying to rural North Florida counties to assess need after Hurricane Michael devastated the region.
Credit Ryan Dailey / WFSU-FM

U.S. Senator Bill Nelson is calling out the Florida Legislature for passing a 2017 bill he says allows builders to strip international building standards from Florida codes.

Before flying out of Tallahassee to visit rural Panhandle areas devastated by Hurricane Michael, Senator Nelson had some words for the Florida Legislature.

"The Legislature passed and the Governor signed a law that allows flexibility to pull off the international building code standard," Nelson said. "That will be shown to be a huge mistake."

The law mandates updates be made to a state-specific building code every three years, which must consider the International Building Code when making revisions. But Nelson maintains the Florida legislature should revisit, and overturn the measure in its coming session.

"The Florida Legislature should reverse that at next year’s session," Nelson said. "Because the proof’s in the pudding. Just go to Mexico Beach."

Kerri Wyland, a spokesperson for Scott's senatorial campaign, says Nelson's comments are disengenuous.

"If Bill Nelson wants to use devastation in huge swaths of the Panhandle and the deaths of Floridians as an opportunity to score cheap political points, that’s his prerogative," Wyland said. "Governor Scott has more important things to do like help the Panhandle rebuild and getting people back in their homes and jobs."

Wyland adds Florida's codes will not be updated under the new law until 2020, saying "Nelson’s statement that this new law is somehow responsible for the devastation in Mexico Beach isn’t just inaccurate, it’s insensitive and offensive."

The 2019 legislative session will convene March 5 of next year.