Joined by dozens of firefighters from across Pennsylvania, Sen. Tim Solobay (D-Washington) Tuesday urged colleagues and safety experts to band together to prevent special interests from watering down Pennsylvania's new sprinkler requirements.
"Years ago we decided to keep politics out of it and leave the question of safety and building codes to the experts," Sen. Solobay said. "Now there are special interests who don't like what the experts have to say so they want to put the politics back in it. That's bad for our communities and it's downright dangerous to firefighters."
In 1999, Pennsylvania replaced hundreds of local building standards with a statewide building code based on the internationally recognized Uniform Construction Code, and all of its updates. In 2009, the international code required sprinkler systems in all single family homes built after January 1, 2011.
Last year, Senate Republicans inserted an amendment into House Bill 1196 (Boyd-R-Lancaster), attempting to suspend the requirement, but the House failed to concur in the amendment and the bill died at the end of the session.
This year, recently introduced House Bill 377 (Everett-R-Lycoming) is another attempt to defy the experts and make an end-run around the construction code," said Solobay, who was a member of the House last session and was elected to the Senate in November.
"We were able to stop this last year, and we're going to do it again," Sen. Solobay said. "Every day the firefighters of Pennsylvania answer the call for us and we will answer this call for them. We're not going to put politics and special interests back into safety requirements and we're going to make our firefighters as safe as we can."
In addition to the firefighters, Solobay was joined by Sen. Mike Stack (D-Philadelphia) along with Reps. Mike McGeehan (D-Philadelphia), Bill Keller (D-Philadelphia) and Brendan Boyle (D-Philadelphia, Montgomery).