Matt Rothschild
Campaign Cash

Walker Donors Oppose Fire Safety Proposal

Construction industry gave him $5 million, oppose safety proposal backed by fire fighters.

By - Feb 24th, 2017 02:03 pm
Scott Walker. Photo from the State of Wisconsin.

Scott Walker. Photo from the State of Wisconsin.

The construction industry opposes requiring new homes to be built with more devices to prevent electrical fires and shocks. But state firefighters have told Gov. Scott Walker’s administration that the proposed state requirement would save lives and prevent serious injuries.

The proposal to expand the use of arc-fault and ground-fault circuit interrupters in new homes was approved 9-1 last year by an advisory committee to the Department of Safety and Professional Services. The department initially rejected the committee’s recommendation, but announced last week that the package of administrative rule changes to the electrical code, which would need Walker’s approval, were not yet final.

The Wisconsin Builders Association says it opposes expanding the number of the electrical devices required in newly built houses because it would add $400 to $600 to the cost of an average home.

Wisconsin Fire Incident Reporting System data shows an estimated 1,070 electrical fires in the state between 2010 and 2014 could have been prevented if arc-fault circuit interrupters had been present, according to Cumberland Fire Chief Barry Kuenkel, secretary-treasurer of the Wisconsin State Firefighters Association.

The construction industry is among the top special interest contributors in the state, doling out $7.8 million to candidates for statewide office and the legislature between January 2011 and December 2016. Walker accepted nearly $5 million in contributions from the industry during that time.

On Tuesday, GOP Rep. Adam Jarchow, of Balsam Lake, urged the governor to reject the requirement, calling it “an unnecessary regulation on hardworking taxpayers.”

Jarchow, an attorney who also identified himself as a volunteer firefighter, received about $21,600 in campaign contributions from the construction industry between January 2014, the year he was first elected, and December 2016. Jarchow’s construction industry contributions were second only to the $21,850 he accepted during that time from GOP candidates and state and local Republican Party committees.

In a related matter, last week the department abruptly abandoned plans to stop requiring that fire sprinklers be installed in apartment buildings with three to 20 units after the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported on the proposal.

Matthew Rothschild is executive director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.

15 thoughts on “Campaign Cash: Walker Donors Oppose Fire Safety Proposal”

  1. Sam says:

    “[A]n unnecessary regulation on hardworking taxpayers.”

    They won’t be taxpayers if they die in preventable fires though, will they Mr. Jarchow?

  2. Wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    We can build cars that are incredibly safe and homes that are fantastic, but no one can afford them. Most of these things are trying to be put in by lobbyists. Milwaukee has tons of rules that are only there to make sure union employees are working driving up costs.

  3. Vincent Hanna says:

    No one can afford them? This is a seller’s market. People are buying homes like crazy. You like in an alternative universe WCD. And this issue isn’t the fault of Milwaukee or unions. You are a hateful and small person.

  4. Ryan N says:

    As expected, WCD endorsing not preventing preventable fire deaths. Disgusting, but not unexpected coming from him and his ilk.

  5. Wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    You can get a nice house up north built fro far less money cause you can put up prefabs.

  6. Vincent Hanna says:

    WCD are you day drinking? Or is senility setting in?

  7. Tom D says:

    Even on a cheap $100,000 house, these safety features add 0.5% or less to the total price. This is a lower percentage than normal car safety features like seat belts, air bags, or stability control.

    I’m surprised WCD doesn’t also argue against other safety features (like mandatory circuit breakers and smoke/CO alarms) which also increase house prices.

  8. Sue says:

    Isn’t this kind of old news? Walker and co. have been doing this for awhile, unless I am remembering incorrectly. I believe the last time I heard this type of news the concern was that Wisconsinites would be paying higher insurance rates due to lower construction standards. Any statistics to support that? I couldn’t find any followup information.

  9. Wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    C Since the Lefties with thie nutty ideas. Hanna claims that calif is in boom, yet the auditors show a 121 billion dollar deficit, their infrastructure, dams are disaster, Halfast train is way over budget. Only Ill. is worse. All the Left’s cities, states are mess.
    Thankfully Walker does not bend over for all of these made work job by the lobbyists.
    So all the left can do is whine while the GOP solves all the rpoblems

  10. Ben says:

    How long until the government tells us what kind of toilet paper we can use….or how many squares we can use…

    We have too much government regulation.

  11. Karl says:

    @Wisconsin Conservative. I’m surprised as Walker has bent over for everything else.

  12. A Bus Driver says:

    Walker is a political prostitute. Can’t say I’m surprised. As WCD he’s just another troll.

  13. Wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    The Left has a new regulation, every minute but Walker has saved us from all this crap.
    If it had not been for Walker we would be Illinois, billions in defects pensions plans. Auditors show that Calif. has 122.5 billion dollars deficit and the Halfast Train is three times over budget and a mess.
    Walker took us from a 3.6 billion dollar deficit to a 744 million dollar surplus so we can resume more normal budgets. Made the govt. employees, like Bus drive,r pay their fair share to health and pension like the rest of us, so they whine all the time. Poor dears, have be equal to the rest of us, plus we can’t fire them.

  14. Vincent Hanna says:

    I can’t even count the number of times I’ve explained to WCD that when I worked in MPS several teachers at the small high school I taught at were fired over a three-year period. And California has a nearly $3 billion budget surplus.

    Those pesky facts WCD, always getting in the way of your alternative ones.

  15. Wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    good more should have been fried cause they are incapable of teachignkids, everything show that. MPS will never work nd you are nuts the suit reports of California were rereleased alstweek.

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