Firm partner Laura M. Manning-Hudson is quoted in an article that appears in today’s edition of the Daily Business Review, South Florida’s exclusive business daily and official court newspaper, on Gov. Rick Scott’s veto of a bill that would have relaxed fire-protection requirements for older Florida condominium towers. The article, which is titled “Scott Cites London High-Rise Fire in Vetoing Condominium Bill,” focuses on the Governor’s stance that the recent horrific tragedy of the deadly London apartment tower blaze has spotlighted the need for strong fire safety in residential buildings. The article reads:
Pointing to a high-rise fire in London that killed dozens of residents, Gov. Rick Scott vetoed a bill that would have eased fire-protection requirements for older condominium buildings in Florida.
House Bill 653, which passed the Legislature with only one dissenting vote, dealt with requirements for retrofitting high-rise condominium buildings with fire sprinklers and other types of safety systems. The bill would have pushed back deadlines for the work and provided an avenue for condominium residents to vote to opt out of retrofitting.
Supporters pointed to potentially high costs for condominium residents, but the state fire marshal’s office and fire-protection groups asked Scott to veto the measure.
In doing so, he cited the June 14 fire at Grenfell Tower in London that killed dozens of people.
“Since my first day as governor, I have fought to make Florida the safest and most affordable place to live and raise a family,” Scott wrote in a veto message. “Decisions regarding safety issues are critically important, as they can be the difference between life and death. Fire sprinklers and enhanced life safety systems are particularly effective in improving the safety of occupants in high-rise buildings and ensure the greatest protection to the emergency responders who bravely conduct firefighting and rescue operations. While I am particularly sensitive to regulations that increase the cost of living, the recent London high-rise fire, which tragically took at least 79 lives, illustrates the importance of life safety protections.”
Laura M. Manning-Hudson, a partner in the West Palm Beach office of Siegfried, Rivera, Hyman, Lerner, De La Torre, Mars & Sobel, said it was “easy to understand” the governor’s reasoning in the wake of the fire.
“The governor made an important statement about the need to strike a better balance between cost-of-living and safety considerations with this veto,” she said. “The Legislature should revisit the matter during next year’s session.”
A House staff analysis said condo buildings that are three stories or more and have been constructed since 1994 are required to have sprinkler systems and, as a result, comply with the requirements. But the bill would have affected older high-rise buildings.
Our firm salutes Laura for sharing her insights into the veto of this legislation with the readers of the Daily Business Review. Click here to read the complete article in the newspaper’s website (registration required).