On Wednesday, the Outdoor Stage Equipment Safety Committee met to discuss findings from investigative reports conducted following the 2011 State Fair stage collapse. The committee heard testimony from two independent consulting firms hired to provide analysis of the collapse and the procedures in place to ensure public safety. Information from the reports and testimony during the proceedings will be used to make recommendations for permanent outdoor stage equipment inspection and safety regulations during the 2013 General Assembly.
Download the State Fair stage collapse investigative reports (PDF)>>
Both firms pointed to lapses in the design, inspection and construction of the stage equipment involved in the tragedy. A failure in the ballast system designed to hold the stage upright following a 31mph gust of wind triggered the collapse.
Presenters also noted the lack of coordination between the companies designing the structure and actually installing the stage and the ambiguity over who was ultimately responsible for inspection.
View the presentation given during the Outdoor Stage Equipment Safety Committee hearing (PDF)>>
Recommendations included adopting internationally-recognized building standards for temporary structures, encouraging the thorough, and if necessary, third party inspection of as-loaded structures and the requiring of anchored ballast systems.
The committee will meet again on September 27 to discuss the implications outdoor stage equipment standards will have on small communities’ festivals and other events. Lawmakers will look to balance the need to for adequate safety measures and keeping the encumbrance of additional standards to a minimum.
Committee hearings have come to a close as the Indiana General Assembly works toward a March 14 legislative session deadline. Legislation that moves through the second house without amendments will proceed to the governor for final consideration. Bills amended by the opposite chamber must return to the house of origin for consideration of changes made. This summary highlights some of the House bills that have gained approval in Senate committees or by the full Senate.
Statewide smoking ban
The Senate Public Policy Committee has approved HB 1149
, a bill that would establish a statewide smoking ban in most public areas and places of employment. Exclusions in the bill include certain gaming facilities; cigar and hookah bars; fraternal, social and veterans’ clubs; tobacco stores; and cigar manufacturer facilities. Bars and taverns would have until September 15, 2013, to become smoke-free. The bill would make it a Class B infraction to violate the smoking prohibition or a Class A infraction if the person has committed three prior violations for smoking in restricted areas. In addition, the bill would prohibit firing or refusing to hire a person for reporting a violation, or exercising any right or performing any obligation under the smoking prohibition. Over the past several years, the smoking ban bill has passed the House, but never made it past Senate committee deliberations. HB 1149 now proceeds to the full Senate for further consideration.
New Family Friendly School Designation Program
Achieving student success through more parental involvement in schools is the goal of House Bill (HB) 1150
. The bill seeks to urge parents to become more involved with student success by encouraging meaningful engagement in schools. HB 1150 would establish the Indiana Family Friendly School Designation Program and require the Department of Education to develop a program for designating certain schools as being “Family Friendly.” Any school could voluntarily seek the designation by demonstrating that the school provides multiple opportunities for parents to engage in educational activities and programs offered by the school that foster high student achievement. The bill will now advance to the Senate floor for consideration by the full body. Continue reading ‘Week in Review: Smoking ban and education initiatives move’