U.S. Representatives Doris Matsui (CA - D.) and Mario Diaz-Balart (FL - R.) have cosponsored and recently introduced a bill to the House of Representatives, entitled The Safe Building Codes Act of 2007. If enacted, the Bill would allow for approved states to each receive an additional 4% of federal disaster relief funds. In order to be eligible for the additional 4% of disaster relief funding, states must submit, at least once every 6 years, its building code to the President for approval. In turn, Presidential approval will be granted if: (i) that state's building code's is consistent with the most recent version of a nationally recognized model building code; (ii) that state's building code has been adopted by such state within the last 6 years of the most recent version of a nationally recognized model building code; and (iii) that state uses the nationally recognized model building code as the minimum standard.

In discussing the Bill, Rep. Matsui stated that state building codes need to be "strong" since they are "the backbone of a community's preparedness against natural disasters". Rep. Matsui pointed to the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina and the collapse of the I-35 West Bridge to exemplify why buildings and structures across the country need to be structurally safe in order to withstand natural disasters.

For a copy of the Bill, click here.