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5/8" dia. a.b.

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Does anyone know why sill bolting in residential construction in zones 3 & 4 is now required to be 5/8" dia. anchor bolts instead of 1/2" dia.?
 
For some time now, I beleived 5/8" dia. were required only if utilizing the prescriptive measures for construction. This belief was due to my attending a seminar on the 97 UBC at which the speaker said "Section 1806.6 only applies to conventional construction, in a designed structure 1/2" dia. a.b. is o.k." I even wrote down this quote in my code book during the seminar.
 
I have not yet run into a plan checker who buys into this statement.
 
Anyone have some insight to this issue?
 
Thanks,
 
Mark