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Summary: In 2011, the 81st Legislature passed a series of laws designed to improve emergency preparedness for state controlled facilities. Among the measures to be taken was for certain "critical" facilities to be built with combined heating and power systems that are better able to withstand natural disasters. The statutes also require that when any already existing critical facilities are renovated, a cost analysis be done to determine if installing a combined heating and power system would be more cost-effective over the next 20 years.
HB 1864 adds higher education facilities to the list of critical governmental facilities. HB 1864 delegates responsibility to the State Energy Conservation Office for evaluating whether or not to install the combined system.
Analysis: Hospitals, prisons, communication centers, and utilities facilities are currently considered critical facilities that should be properly prepared for the possibility of natural disasters. Because these facilities are likely to contain or affect many citizens if a natural disaster strikes, the state has a compelling interest in ensuring their dependability. Higher education institutes should be included in this category, subject to the same cost benefit analysis as the other facilities.
While HB 1864 neither uplifts nor offends any of our liberty principles, it does represent a good government practice. We recommend legislators support HB 1864.