Day care building code alignment proposed

The Urban Affairs Committee heard testimony Feb. 7 on a bill intended to align the state building code with state agency regulations.

Sen. Sue Crawford

LB590, introduced by Bellevue Sen. Sue Crawford, would bring the state building code occupancy classifications relating to in-home day cares into alignment with state Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) regulations. The bill also would clarify that state agencies may adopt and enforce regulations that conflict with the building code when authorized by state law to do so.

Crawford said the state building code, which was adopted most recently in 2015, classifies a care facility with more than five occupants under the commercial code rather than the residential code. The commercial code is more restrictive, she said, and would require in-home day care providers to have sprinkler systems and storm shelters, among other requirements.

The bill would raise the number of occupants for a care facility to 12, which conforms with DHHS regulation for in-home child care providers.

“LB590 will ensure that licensed in-home day cares that provide much needed care — especially in our rural and under-served communities — can continue to do so under appropriate residential classification,” Crawford said.

Jay Davis, assistant planning director for the city of Omaha, testified in support of the bill, saying the city does not want to burden home day care providers due to a “glitch” in the code.

“We’re putting people out of business and that’s certainly not what we want to do,” Davis said.

No opposition testimony was offered and the committee took no immediate action on the bill.

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