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PA General Assembly sends new bill designed to improve safety in state-regulated facilities to Gov. Tom Wolf's desk

Introduced by Republican State Sen. Dan Laughlin, Senate Bill 563 was crafted in response to a fire that killed five children in Erie three years ago.
Credit: FOX43

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Pennsylvania lawmakers have sent a new bill designed to improve safety in state-regulated childcare facilities to Governor Tom Wolf's desk, the General Assembly announced Wednesday.

Introduced by Republican State Sen. Dan Laughlin, Senate Bill 563 was crafted in response to a fire that killed five children in Erie three years ago, according to Senate Republicans.

“Many of the bills introduced in the General Assembly are in response to real life events that take place in our hometowns and local communities,” said Laughlin, who represents Erie County. “Tragically, in this case, I introduced this legislation because of a Aug. 11, 2019 child-care facility fire that claimed the lives of La’Myhia Jones, 8; Luther Jones Jr., 6; Ava Jones, 4; Dalvin Pacley, 2; and Jaydan Augustyniak, age 9 months.

“What made this horrific incident even more tragic was the fact that these young lives may have been saved if the home had been properly equipped with smoke detectors. As it turned out, only one smoke detector was found in the home and it was in the attic.”

To help avoid another such tragedy, SB 563 amends the state Fire and Panic Act to designate the locations where smoke alarms must be installed in child care facilities and require the alarms be interconnected so that if one is triggered, they all go off.

“This bill will not restore the lives that were tragically lost, nor will it ease the pain those grieving families endured,” said Laughlin. “However, it is government’s responsibility to learn from these tragic cases and to act to prevent them from ever occurring again in the future.”

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