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Last updated 5:23PM ET
February 27, 2021
Bachus Weather Radio Bill Gains House Approval
(APR - Alabama Public Radio ) - New manufactured homes would be required to come equipped with weather radios to warn occupants of severe storms under a bill sponsored by Rep. Spencer Bachus of Alabama that passed the House Tuesday.

Bachus, a Republican from Vestavia Hills, said the measure would help prevent deaths from tornadoes that disproportionately occur in mobile homes and other manufactured housing. The bill would require builders to install National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather radios capable of picking up direct broadcasts from the National Weather Service. Such broadcasts provide official storm warnings and watches as well as general weather information 24 hours a day.

With today's technology, we have the science to predict a severe storm, sometimes as much as a half hour before it arrives, Bachus said. We are building more storm shelters. Now, we address the missing link for people who live in manufactured housing, making sure that people get emergency warnings in time to seek shelter.

The bill passed by voice vote without opposition. It has not passed the Senate.

Bachus sponsored the measure with Democratic Rep. Brad Ellsworth of Indiana. During floor debate, Ellsworth said the radios would cost $30 to $80 apiece.

The cost of installing these radios is very small, but it will save lives, Bachus said.

The bill is named CJ's Home Protection Act after a two-year-old Indiana boy who was killed by a tornado in 2005. His mother helped push through a state law in Indiana and has lobbied Congress to adopt a similar measure.

Bachus cited National Weather Service figures showing that Alabama averages nearly two dozen tornadoes per year. According to the bill, some 20 million Americans live in manufactured homes.
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