Fight to Preserve Public Health Regulations
Many in the industry believe third-party inspectors play an important role in protecting those who swim in pools, as well as those who maintain them.
In recent weeks, industry associations have combated measures in at least two states that aimed to diminish the roles inspectors play in enforcing compliance with federal and local regulations. Many in the industry believe third-party inspectors play an important role in protecting those who swim in pools, as well as those who maintain them.
Recent instances in Georgia and Florida brought the issue to light. Georgia House Bill 219, sponsored by Rep. Jeff Jones (R-Brunswick), aimed to exempt semipublic pools, such as those found at condominiums and apartments, from licensing and inspection requirements. The bill arose from the frustrations of a condo owner who fell victim to an overzealous health inspector.
The bill sailed through the House with a vote of 152-8 last month, prompting the APSP Georgia Chapter into action. Industry officials tried to convince senators that the bill posed a safety threat to the approximately 6.9 million people who swim in pools at multifamily properties.
“It’s not that health inspections necessarily make things safer,” he said. “But it gives you a forced reset that everything is working properly. … It’s checks-and-balances for us, too.”
The chapter hired a Washington, D.C.-based lobbying firm called Dentons to help thwart the effort. APSP, at the national level, issued a call to action, urging members to contact state senators.
An insurance lobbying group also became involved, fearing that the bill could increase liability.
Still worked with Rep. Jones to amend the bill so it only applies to pools with a bather load capacity of 75 or fewer. Those pools will simply require an annual inspection. The Realtors association is satisfied because it should protect properties from overbearing inspectors. The revised bill is expected to pass both houses, Still said.
Meanwhile in Florida, FSPA is grappling with a law that effectively stripped inspectors of their authority to shut down pools.