Minnesota State Representative Noor Introduces High-Rise Retrofit Bill

Minnesota State Representative Mohamud Noor (DFL 60B) represents the Cedar Riverside area of Minneapolis. He knew the five victims of the fatal high-rise fire in the Cedar High Apartments on November 27th. As a result of that fire and Representative Noor’s desire to ensure a safer future for high-rise residents around the state, he has introduced HF 3003 that would require sprinkler installation in all existing high-rises in Minnesota by August 1, 2032. Read his bill here.

He introduced the draft legislation to the Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform Finance and Policy Division at a hearing on February 13th. Representative Noor provided moving testimony for the bill’s support, stating “We have waited for too long to address this issue.” The Representative introduced the son and a friend of one of the victims. They provided very moving and personal testimony about the fire’s devastating impact to their family, their friendships, and their community. Abdi Mohamed testified, “There is no price, no number, you can put on human life, on those who died in the high-rise on November 27th, including my beloved Ma.”

NFSA State Coordinator Tom Brace provided a historical perspective on previous high-rise retrofit initiatives in the State and presented information on sprinkler effectiveness and operations. Sprinkler Fitters Local 417 Business Manager Trinidad Uribe also testified, and State Fire Marshal Jim Smith provided powerful testimony, citing the fact that the Minnesota Fire Marshal’s office “always has and always will” be a strong advocate for fire sprinklers.” His testimony debunked many of the myths perpetrated by Hollywood movies about how fire sprinklers operate. Mr. George Sherman, the property owner of several residential structures – and the manager who retrofitted several of the Cedar Riverside neighborhood high-rises – also testified and addressed some of the committee’s questions about cost.

The Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform Finance and Policy Division Chair, Representative Carlos Mariani, allowed members to ask questions before a vote was cast to adopt the bill and refer it to the Housing Finance and Policy Division for further discussion and action. That Committee has not yet scheduled a hearing for the bill.

HF 3003 already has a number of House authors, including Representatives Noor, Richardson, Hassan, Dehn, Christensen, Moller, J. Xiong, Cantrell, Lislegard, Howard, Edelson, Klevorn, Hornstein, Mann, Jordan, and Long. There is no companion bill in the senate yet.