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Tears shed light onto proposal to implement more stringent safety standards on rock walls.

March 2, 2004
By: Matt Johnson
State Capital Bureau
Links: HB 788, RSMO 316

Tears shed light onto Representative Chuck Graham's proposal to implement more stringent saftey standards on rock climing walls. Matt Johnson shares the emotional witness testimony.

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Tears rolled down Jamie Elder's face as she stood before a Missouri House committee Tuesday. She was a friend of Christine Ewing, who died last year falling twenty five feet from an unsafe rock wall in Columbia. She says a law needs to be in place immediately to protect these accidents from occuring in the future.

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"When I learned that that cable snapped because somebody put duct tape around a rusted wire...I was so mad...because it could have been prevented."

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Representative Graham's bill would require all rock walls over ten feet tall to be subject to annual inspection and licensing by the state.

Current statutes require only amusement park rides with mechanical devices to be subject to the standards.

Graham's bill, he says will prevent accidents like these.

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"What concerns me is not the ninety eight or ninety nine people who are going to actually license these things, who care about the people who climb on them...it is those people who are going to find those loopholes in the state law that are going to allow people to climb over ten feet in the air and risk injury and even death."

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From the state Capitol, I'm Matt Johnson.