Governor Rick Scott came to Fort Myers Monday to sign legislation that requires emergency generators at all Florida nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
Scott signed Senate Bill 7028 and House Bill 7099. The bills require all nursing homes and assisted living facilities in the state to have backup power for four days while also sustaining a temperature under 81 degrees Fahrenheit for the same duration.
This comes after twelve people died at the Rehabilitation Center of Hollywood Hills when temperatures soared to 99 degrees Fahrenheit after Hurricane Irma knocked out power for days.
"Which rocked our state," Scott said. "You just couldn’t believe that would happen in our state.”
Right after Irma, Scott implemented an emergency law that made nursing homes have four days worth of emergency power. With the signing of these bills, that emergency provision becomes permanent.
In the past, Scott has been criticized when it comes to rules for the nursing home industry—most recently was the limiting of information the public could easily glean from inspections.
When asked if this new legislation was an about-face from his stance of fewer regulations, Scott said people's safety comes first.
“I think it’s very important when you see a tragedy like the rehabilitation center in Hollywood Hills, you gotta figure out what you can do to keep people safe," he said. "I think all of us expect that if someone’s going to be in a nursing home or assisted living home, they’re going to be protected.”
Facilities have until June 1, the first day of hurricane season, to have those generators in place.