The legislature is working to prevent another Anderson Guest House tragedy.

What started out as a tougher elder abuse law took on an entirely new identify after the group home in Anderson burned last November and left 12 people dead.

Now the proposal will require all group homes to have sophisticated smoke, fire, and heat alarms within two years, and modern sprinkler systems within six years. Sponsor Michael Gibbons thinks a majority of Missouri’s group homes lack modern sprnkler systems.

Senator Bill Stouffer of Napton fears the sprinkler requiremenst will drive operating costs so high that some homes will close. He says many of the facilities are old and the sprinkler installation costs will be "tremendous." He cites one 60-bed facility that has received a bid of almost $650,000 for a sprinkler system.

One of his fellow senator has suggested it’s too bad, but sprinkler systems should be a cost of doing business.

Gibbons has built in a program to help group homes finance the sprinkler systems. He says he wants places to be safe but he also wants places that can afford to stay open.

Gibbons’ plan has the state loaning the group homes half of the costs of installing the systems.

Stouffer has failed to get the sprinkler requirement removed.

download Bob Priddy’s story (:60 mp;3)