The South Carolina Senate has begun debate on a bill that would override a regulation to require fire sprinkler systems in all newly constructed homes.
The South Carolina Association of Fire Fighters says the requirement would save lives. Home builders argue that it would price new homes out of the reach of lower income home buyers.
Late Wednesday, Georgetown County Republican Raymond Cleary wants to postpone the initial impact of the regulation, allowing it to apply to homes of 5000 square feet or more in July of next year, and then would apply to smaller homes the following years. Cleary says his gradual implementation would require sprinklers in 2012 for houses of 3500 square feet or larger, and in 2013 for houses of 2500 square feet or larger. In July of 2014, the regulation will apply to all new homes.
(Cleary on sprinklers MP3 3:20)
Cleary on sprinklers
Cleary said the more the sprinklers are installed, the lower the price will go, and he added that having the sprinkler systems will help to keep insurance costs low.
Cleary asked for his amendment to be carried over until Thursday’s tay’s debate.
Lancaster County Republican Mick Mulvaney questioned Cleary about his support of the bill, why he had not installed a sprinkler system in his own home if he believes in the regulation. “I probably wouldn’t have put it in my dental office if I didn’t have to,” said Clearly. “But there are a lot of things I haven’t done in my own home. You should see the to-do list my wife has.”
In other business Wednesday, the Senate voted 41-1 to approve the House’s proposed 50 cents per pack increase in the cigarette tax. Gov. Mark Sanford is expected to veto the increase.