As a way to address the State Fair accident this past session, the General Assembly enacted legislation mandating the creation of temporary outdoor stage equipment regulations and establishing a summer study committee to look into more permanent regulations that could be passed next year.
Legislators had been waiting to implement permanent rules until after two reports investigating the cause of the collapse were released. Indianapolis Republican Senator Jim Merritt sits on the State Fair Commission and co-authored the bill. He says, now that the reports are out, they validate that reasoning.
“It’s just a reminder that we have to be vigilant and diligent in having safety first and we’ve got some situations to take care of in that regard,” he says.
Anderson Democratic Senator Tim Lanane, the bill’s other co-author, says the issues are complex and will be difficult to tackle in a relatively short time frame. But he says the legislature has to pass something next session.
“At a minimum, we need to figure out what are the appropriate specifications and who should be drawing up specifications for these stages and, you know, how should inspections occur, too,” he says.
And Lanane says, the General Assembly should consider including an emergency management plan and chain of command structure for the Fair in future legislation.