House Judiciary Committee approves Pro Codes Act with strong bipartisan support

April 29, 2024

NFPA lauds committee’s endorsement of critical safety legislation

In a significant legislative move, the House Judiciary Committee has passed the Pro Codes Act (H.R.1631), garnering praise from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

The NFPA which is responsible for developing more than 300 safety standards, expressed gratitude towards the bipartisan support that the bill received, underscoring its potential to enhance safety measures and foster economic growth while conserving taxpayer money.

NFPA President and CEO Jim Pauley stated: “We’re enormously grateful to Chairman Jordan, Ranking Member Nadler, Chairman Issa, Rep. Ross and the many co-sponsors whose hard work and commitment led to the passage of this bill through the House Judiciary Committee.

“We were also gratified to see the committee’s overwhelming bipartisan support for the Pro Codes Act, which will help protect lives, power economic growth and save taxpayer dollars.”

Understanding the Pro Codes Act

Introduced by Subcommittee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Rep. Deborah Ross (D-NC), the Pro Codes Act supports public access to privately developed standards when adopted by governmental bodies.

It also aims to protect the rights of organizations like the NFPA to maintain the viability of their operations through copyright retention.

“The Pro Codes Act supports free public access when governmental bodies choose to incorporate by reference privately developed standards,” Pauley explained.

It also protects the ability of groups like ours to continue our important work for years to come.”

Legislative challenges and the role of nonprofits

The bill, which also has been introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senators Chris Coons (D-DE), John Cornyn (R-TX), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), reinforces existing laws to safeguard copyright without compromising public access.

This move comes amid criticisms from some quarters about the privatization of standards that benefit public safety.

Nonprofit organizations like the NFPA play a pivotal role in developing consensus-based standards critical for the safety and health of Americans.

These standards are often adopted by various government agencies, enhancing public safety and operational efficiency across the nation.

FSJA Comment

The bipartisan support for the Pro Codes Act highlights a collective acknowledgment of the importance of maintaining a robust, transparent, and accessible standards development system.

The passage of such legislation secures the operational continuity for nonprofits like the NFPA and ensures that the public continues to benefit from high-quality safety standards without undue financial burden.

The effort to protect such legislative measures is essential in upholding the integrity and effectiveness of safety standards that have a direct impact on public health and economic stability.

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