Gov. Mark Dayton took a strong stand against a proposal that would prohibit the state from being able to require sprinklers in new homes, saying he would veto an $850 million package of new construction if it includes the sprinkler measure.
“I will not have something rammed down my throat,” Dayton said at a news conference Monday to kick off the last week of the legislative session.
Dayton is siding with state fire officials who have been blasting the provision that was slipped into the borrowing bill, which outlines projects to be paid for with state debt.
The governor said it was “unwise and unacceptable” to have the measure in the statewide building and road construction proposal.
The measure would prevent a fire sprinkler mandate from being added to the state’s building codes. The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry last year approved a new rule requiring fire sprinklers be built in homes larger than 4,500-square-feet.
Supporters of the measure say requiring sprinklers would add enormous costs to the price of new homes and ultimately do little to prevent fires in modern homes.
They say that smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors will save far more lives than sprinklers.
Fire fighters have packed hearings pressing for tougher sprinkler requirements, saying that the latest research shows that the risk of dying in a home fire drops by 80 percent when sprinklers are present.
Dayton has vetoed the sprinkler mandate ban twice before, saying he places enormous weight on the recommendation of the fire-fighting community.