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Abigail Taylor Pool Safety Act

Published (5/16/2008)
By Patty Ostberg
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House members hope a bill they passed 133-0 May 12 will prevent a tragedy like what happened to the girl for whom the act is named.

The Abigail Taylor Pool Safety Act is named for the 6-year-old Edina girl whose injuries ultimately took her life after a 2007 pool incident in which her intestines were sucked out of her body after sitting on a pool drain.

Sponsored by Rep. Paul Thissen (DFL-Mpls) and Sen. Geoff Michel (R-Edina), HF3812/SF2833* would require all public pool construction plans submitted for review after Jan. 1, 2009, to be certified by a registered engineer with the state, and it creates new regulations for drains and suction outlets.

“The bill is intended to broaden the application of our pool safety regulations to more of our public pools and to strengthen them,” Thissen said.

Thissen added an amendment that would require the commissioner of health to report to the Legislature by Jan. 15, 2009, the number of public pools and spas under license in the state, the type of ownership of public pools, the type of drains at all licensed public pools and spas as reported by owners and licensees, and the number of pools and spas that require drain modification due to this act. The report should also include the estimated economic impact and costs of installation of a second main drain and cover for pools.

As amended, the bill returns to the Senate, where it initially passed 64-0 April 28.

Under the bill, a pool operator would be required to conduct a physical inspection of the drain covers and grates on a daily basis and record the inspection. If an outlet cover or grate is missing, broken or loose, the pool must be closed immediately.

Public pools less than 4 feet would be required, beginning Jan. 1, 2009, to have an unblockable suction outlet or drain; at least two suction outlets, connected in parallel with suction outlet covers that meet certain standards; or a gravity outlet or drain.

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