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Regulations Will Require Inspections Of Outdoor Stages

A stage collapsed at the Indiana State Fair Saturday prior to a performance by the country music duo Sugarland.

In the wake of last year’s State Fair stage collapse, legislation mandating and regulating outdoor stage equipment inspection is now headed to the governor for his signature. Legislators say the bill provides a temporary fix and prepares for a long-term solution.

The bill directs the state Fire Marshall’s office to develop regulations for outdoor stage equipment within 60 days. Those regulations will be used in the upcoming year. But the law phases out those regulations at the beginning of 2014. So the legislature will have to put in place permanent regulations next session.

Indianapolis Republican Senator Jim Merritt, who co-wrote the bill, says reports from two independent investigations into the stage collapse will be released within the next couple months. And that was one of the main reasons legislators didn’t want to develop final regulations.

“We want a complete understanding from the reports what happened and once that we get the reports on the investigations, then we can start working on something permanent,” he says.

Anderson Democratic Senator Tim Lanane, the bill’s other author, says the legislation strikes a good balance:

“We’re able to do something immediately, putting some emergency type of regulations but also we’re going to get these important studies and move forward with them from there,” he says.

The bill establishes a study committee this summer that will begin to craft regulations that will be voted on next session.

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