General Assembly ready to make stage rules permanent

Mar 15, 2013

A year and a half after the Indiana State Fair stage collapse, state lawmakers are ready to enact permanent rules aimed at preventing future tragedies at outdoor events.

Last session, the General Assembly gave emergency rule-making power to the state Fire Marshal and Department of Homeland Security to develop temporary regulations for outdoor event and stage equipment. 

This session, the legislature is prepared to make those rules permanent. 

Anderson Democratic Senator Tim Lanane says the new regulations give additional responsibilities to the Department of Homeland Security.

“What do you do if you have a calamity that occurs and what would be the proper procedures for handling that as far as crowd control, evacuation and that type of stuff,” Lanane said.

Indianapolis Republican Senator Jim Merritt says although the legislature is making the regulations permanent, the process won’t end this year.  He says changing technology, such as improved weather monitoring and more advanced stage equipment and support structures, will require the state to continually investigate improvements to the rules.

“This is a global problem that is happening all around the world and what you’re seeing is an ever-changing situation that we’re just trying to keep in front of,” Merritt said.

Merritt and Lanane say the legislature is also working to ensure small events are not overburdened by regulation.