Committees Approve Laughlin Bills to Improve Day Care Safety

In a rare and unusual series of events, two Senate Committees met back-to-back today (February 5) to approve bills introduced by Senator Dan Laughlin (R-49) to improve day care safety, measures he introduced in response to a tragic fire that claimed the lives of five young children.

First, the Senate Health & Human Services Committee met in a room just off the floor of the Senate Chamber to consider and approve Senate Bill 934, Senator Laughlin’s measure requiring the Department of Human Services to include the inspection of all smoke detectors in their annual inspection of child care facilities. It was the only bill on the agenda.

Immediately after that committee recessed, the Senate Labor & Industry Committee took over the room to consider and approve Senate Bill 935, Senator Laughlin’s companion bill to Senate Bill 934 that amends the state Fire and Panic Act regarding smoke detectors. It was the only bill on that committee’s agenda as well.

“I appreciate that these committees held special meetings to advance these bills,” Senator Laughlin said. “I joined with the Erie community in mourning for the children whose lives were cut short by that fire in August. What made it even more tragic was the fact that it may have been prevented if the home had been properly equipped with more smoke detectors. Only one smoke detector was found in the home and it was in the attic. It is government’s responsibility to learn from these tragic cases and act to prevent them in the future.”

Senator Laughlin’s legislation designates the locations where smoke detectors must be installed and requires that they are interconnected so that if one is triggered, they all go off. Child care facilities will be subject to legal penalties in cases where a smoke detector is found to have been tampered with or disabled.

The bills now go to the full Senate for consideration.


Contact:           Matt Azeles          (717) 787-8927 

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