Bill on public pool safety clears hurdle

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Personal Injury News

Article Date: 5/6/2009 | Resource: MLG

Bill on public pool safety clears hurdle

“LEGISLATURE: The measure, sponsored by Redlands GOP Assemblyman Bill Emmerson, targets drain entrapment.”

SACRAMENTO – An Inland lawmaker’s bill that would require anti-entrapment devices on some 80,000 public pools and spas in California cleared its first committee unanimously Monday.

Supporters said the bill would put the state in compliance with the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Safety Act, a federal law named for the granddaughter of former U.S. Secretary of State James Baker. She drowned in 2002 after being pinned against a hot tub drain.

“Pool drain entrapment is an unspeakable tragedy,” said Assemblyman Bill Emmerson, R-Redlands, the bill’s author.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission recorded 74 incidents of pool and spa entrapment between 1999 and 2007, including nine deaths.

It is unknown how many of the entrapment deaths and injuries were in California.

Victoria Young of the Riverside County Department of Public Health said she could not recall a drowning in the county caused by entrapment.

State law requires anti-entrapment covers on wading pools, new pools, and renovated pools. The proposed measure, beginning in December 2011, would extend the requirement to municipal pools and pools and hot tubs at apartment complexes, health clubs, and those operated by homeowners associations, among others.

It’s unknown how many pools and spas would be affected in Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

The bill, AB 1020, passed the Assembly Health Committee. It will be heard next in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

In 2001, legislation to require anti-entrapment covers on pools and hot tubs stalled in the state Senate amid allegations that the proposal would have benefited a specific manufacturer.

Tuesday, Glenn Takeoka of the California Department of Public Health said there are several types of devices that would qualify under this year’s bill, with the cheapest costing $1,000 to install.

Source: The Press-Enterprise

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Jeffrey Marquart