By JENNIFER MILLER
A state Senate committee approved legislation Wednesday morning that would reverse a mandate requiring new single-family and duplex homes to be equipped with residential sprinkler systems.The bill will now move to the full Senate.
In 2010, Pennsylvania added the provision to the Pennsylvania Construction Code, which went into effect Jan. 1. The measure was adopted after the International Code Council recommended in 2009 that states and municipalities require sprinkler systems in homes. The code has been widely supported by fire officials.
Now several Chester County lawmakers support efforts to repeal the mandate.
Home builders have argued the rule is unfair to consumers, and lawmakers have argued the measure has worsened an already struggling housing market.
At the same time, fire officials maintain the mandate is in the best interest of public safety.
Earlier this year, state Rep. Garth Everett, R-Lycoming County, introduced House Bill 377, which would repeal the mandate. Two Chester County lawmakers co-sponsored the bill: state Reps. Steven Barrar, R-160th of Upper Chichester, and John Lawrence, R-13th of Franklin.
The House approved the bill March 7 with a vote of 154-39.
The Senate’s labor and industry committee approved the legislation Wednesday. Committee Chairman Sen. John Gordner, a Republican from northeastern Pennsylvania, said Tuesday he supports the bill.
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