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Lifeguard requirements the focus of legislation in Frankfort

Stu Johnson

Kentucky lawmakers are taking up legislation to specify the number of lifeguards at certain public swimming pools. The bill pertains to public pools that are 2000 square feet or larger. It comes in reaction to a state regulation. GOP Bill Sponsor Kevin Jackson told committee members there were senior aerobic swimmers unable to participate without a lifeguard and practicing swim teams were also required to have lifeguards.

 “So we’re only talking about 16 percent of the total permitted pools in the state of Kentucky. And we’re not talking about private pools whatsoever. Home pools, nothing to do with this, just public pools,” said Jackson.

Louisville Democratic Representative Sarah Stalker expressed concern about a lack of lifeguard coverage at swim meets. Jackson said most coaches and many swimmers are lifeguard certified. Bryanna Carroll with Kentucky League of Cities said several municipal pools were forced to close some days last summer because of the lifeguard regulation.

“We recognize the concerns of the Cabinet but want to make sure with this bill that we still ensure safety while addressing obviously there are employment challenges. And I think this bill addresses those too,” said Carroll.

There was a discussion in committee about homeowner association pools. Carroll said lifeguards would be required at these class B pools if persons under 17 are unsupervised or they contain slide and diving board features. The legislation contains an emergency clause, so if passed, it could go into effect at the start of the swimming season.

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Stu has been reporting for WEKU for more than 35 years. His primary beat is Lexington/Fayette government.
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