U.S. Senate Moves on Sprinkler Tax Incentive Legislation

According to the National Fire Sprinkler Assn., a pair of U.S. senators are moving to propose a bill that would provide tax relief for building owners that installed sprinklers.

Jim Dalton NFSA's director of public fire protection, says Senator John D. Rockefeller (D-WV) has agreed to cosponsor Senator Rick Santorum’s (R-PA) "Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act of 2004."

A companion to House Bill HR 1824, the bill has been held in abeyance for lack of a primary Democratic cosponsor.

“It gives me great pleasure to announce that we have now received confirmation from the office of Senator Rockefeller that he will cosign this landmark piece of fire-protection legislation,” says Dalton.

Rockefeller's agreement to cosign now clears the way for Santorum to submit the bill when the Senate returns to session after Labor Day.

Elsewhere, NFSA reports that Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich signed a bill Aug. 11, requiring the installation of fire sprinkler systems in all public and private college and university dormitories by 2013.

“ With his approval of this legislation, the governor has demonstrated his commitment to protecting the lives of college students on campuses across the state,” said Tom Lia, executive director of the Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board. “The bill's sponsors and the governor are to be commended for the roles they each played in taking this giant step forward in campus safety.”

Blagojevich affirmed his support of fire sprinklers by saying, “Quite simply, sprinkler systems save lives. As parents, we shouldn't have to worry that our college students might be killed in a dorm fire when something as simple as a sprinkler system could save their lives.”

“This is a proud day for our lawmakers, and a great day for Illinois,” Lia said. “Students here and all over the country now have another excellent reason for choosing a college or university in Illinois for their education.”

Local representatives Daniel Burke and Lawrence Walsh co-sponsored Illinois HB 4361.

But not all recent fire sprinkler news was good. NFSA also reports that Massachusetts also passed pro-sprinkler legislation Aug. 8, but that the law, in essence, affects no one. Because it was so poorly drafted with hastily added amendments, the bill, which requires fire sprinklers in nightclubs with an occupancy of 100 or more, contained skewed references to the commonwealth’s current law with the result that the legislation may be totally ineffective to bind anyone.e could recall the bill from the Governor but that would mean that the entire process would start anew in the next session.  Lastly, the Governor could sign the current bill and have the legislature enact a new bill that would cure the errors.

For more information visit the NFSA website at www.nfsa.org .

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