Amish Building Code Waivers

Local News

Amish families in Wisconsin can now apply to not follow certain building codes they say
go against their religion. It’s a story we’ve been following for months…a clash between religion and government, Fox 25-48’s Jessica Bringe has the latest developments.

“They’re hot off the press.”

It’s a little piece of paper Eau Claire Representative Kathy Bernier says has a big impact

“It is the final piece that they need to have some peace and tranquility back in their life.”

This week Bernier says waivers are being distributed to exempt Amish families in Wisconsin from following uniform building codes they say go against their religion.  Bernier pushed for the provision.

“This gives me a wonderful feeling.”

It’s an issue Amish representative David Mortimer says came to light in part when an Amish family in Fairchild was ordered to leave their home for violating Eau Claire county building codes.

Now Mortimer says families will no longer need to install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in homes they build.

“There’s now clarity, they have a mechanisms to follow the law to sign a permit and to have a religious waiver so they could do it without violating their conscious or their religious beliefs.”

Mortimer says after fighting for this building code requirement waiver since June of 2014, it’s extremely gratifying to actually put that waiver in the hands of the Eau Claire Amish community this week.

“It’s very gratifying to see something come about that takes the burden off the counties in Wisconsin to enforce these codes on Amish families.”

Amish attorney Mathew Krische says while the waiver won’t restore fines already paid it will stop the collection of some fees. The law is actually retroactive which means it will actually go back to the date of violations and actually cure their original defect.

It’s a change Bernier is grateful for.

“Every Amish family in the state of Wisconsin can rest easy.”

For Fox 25-48 News at Nine, I’m Jessica Bringe.

Krische says the Borntregers will now remain in their home. He says the couple will likely have to pay late fees associated with the permit and says the amount is to be determined.

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