A bill that passed in the House of Representatives earlier this year has been killed on the Senate floor. The bill in question was one that proposed making weather radios a mandatory component of all new mobile homes, and unsurprisingly it has been vibrantly opposed by the Manufactured Housing Institute on the grounds that it singles out one type of housing for its effects.
It’s a bill I’ve had my eye on for awhile since I have a well known and geographically based interest in weather radios. Being a New Orleanian, I am very big on the idea of emergency radio services. I have had to rely on them during many hurricanes, including Katrina. Factor in the detail that my wife is from Indiana, a state known for tornadoes, and my interest becomes self-explanatory.
According to the National Weather Service, tornadoes alone have killed 125 so far in 2008, a number not surpassed in a decade. Of those, 55 of them lived in mobile homes.
Via Doug Abrahms of the Pal-Item in Indiana:
Rep. Brad Ellsworth, D-Ind., sponsored a House bill requiring weather radios in mobile homes after witnessing damage from a tornado with wind speeds of more than 136 mph that killed 25 people in 2005 in his home state. The House passed his bill last year by unanimous consent.
Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., introduced the Senate version of the bill in March, saying it would save lives. But the measure never got a hearing in the Senate banking committee, where Bayh is a member.
I must confess that I am not certain what I think of this. On the one hand, putting weather alert services into mobile homes as a standard has an almost certainty of reducing loss of life during extreme weather. For some people it may well be the only way that they would receive any warning at all. On the other hand, I am usually one who dislikes dictates of this nature. I guess I will have time to consider it since Ellsworth plans on reintroducing the legislation in the new year.