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Tyre Sampson Act clears first Senate committee hurdle

State Sen. Geraldine Thompson.
State Sen. Geraldine Thompson.

A bill to improve the safety of amusement park rides in Florida won bipartisan approval in the Senate Agriculture Committee on Monday.

Orlando Democratic Senator Geraldine Thompson named Senate Bill 904 the Tyre Sampson Act after a 14-year-old who died when he fell from the Orlando FreeFall at ICON Park last March.

State investigators blamed modifications that were made to the ride.

Thompson's bill adds several changes, including a commissioning certification for new rides, annual affidavits of safety compliance, signage that shows height and weight limits, new accident reporting requirements, unannounced inspections and training for operators.

The committee also added a requirement for seat belts in addition to other restraints for rides that go up more than 100 feet.

Thompson expects widespread approval for the bill, saying it's not a partisan issue but a "life, health and safety issue."

Joe Byrnes came to WMFE/WMFV from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.
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