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Minnesota Governor Vetoes Anti-Sprinkler Legislation

May 26, 2011
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Minnesota Gov. Mark Drayton recently vetoed and returned Chapter 47, House File 460.

Minnesota Gov. Mark Drayton recently vetoed and returned Chapter 47, House File 460, a bill that forbids the state building code and the state fire code or political subdivisions from requiring the installation of fire sprinklers in a new or existing single-family home.  

The National Fire Protection Association posted on its website that the bill sailed through the Minnesota legislature after heavy lobbying by the home building industry.  

Drayton, in a letter to Minnesota Speaker of the House Kurt Zellers, noted the requirement is part of the International Residential Building Code, which will soon be considered for adoption in Minnesota.  

“Any objections to such a policy are best considered through the regular code adoption process, allowing adequate notice and time for fact-gathering and a public hearing,” Drayton wrote in the veto letter.  

Drayton also outlined the safety implications of fire sprinklers in his letter to Zellers.  

“Evidence supports the use of sprinklers in promoting the safety of home residents and their property,” he wrote. “Further, the concerns brought forward by fire safety professionals need to be addressed. They cite the fact that newly built homes burn (quicker) and that more fire fighters are being injured when floors collapse during fires. With sprinkler systems in place, fires can be more easily contained, resulting in fewer injuries.  

“I simply do not see how we can further jeopardize the lives of the individuals whose mission is to protect the public and who risk their lives on a daily basis. For these reasons, I have vetoed this bill.”  

Pennsylvania and Montana have also drafted similar legislation. However, Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer vetoed his state’s proposed legislation that prohibited the adoption of a residential code mandating fire sprinklers. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett signed a bill to remove the sprinkler mandate in his state.

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