Indiana House passes bill requiring stage inspections

All large, temporary outdoor stages like the one in last summer's deadly Indiana State Fair collapse would face temporary state inspection standards under a bill approved Monday by the Indiana House.

The House voted 92-5 in favor of the bill after making changes to a version that previously cleared the state Senate 45-5. The bill now returns to the Senate for consideration of the House changes.

Strong winds blew over stage rigging onto fans awaiting an Aug. 13 concert by the country duo Sugarland, killing seven people and injuring more than 40 others.

The bill would require Indiana's Fire Prevention and Building Safety Commission to adopt rules for stage equipment used for outdoor performances that would remain valid through no later than Jan. 1, 2014. It also requires the state to adopt permanent rules after a legislative study panel reviews reports expected in April from two out-of-state companies hired by the state to review the collapse.

A House sponsor, Bob Cherry, R-Greenfield, says the state currently has no regulations for outdoor stage equipment, so It needed a temporary fix until it comes up with permanent rules.

"It's important to take our time in reviewing this matter as it relates to the safety of all Hoosiers and our visitors," said Cherry, who was at the Sugarland show with his wife and had just left the grandstand seating area when the collapse happened.

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