Thursday | November 7, 2019

Scott Speaks on Importance of CO ALERTS Act in Senate Banking Hearing

WASHINGTON — This morning, U.S. Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) spoke at the Senate Banking Committee hearing “Examining Bipartisan Bills to Promote Affordable Housing Access and Safety”. Sen. Scott questioned Ms. Ivory N. Mathews, Interim Executive Director of the Housing Authority of the City of Columbia, after she gave witness testimony regarding the January 2019 Carbon Monoxide deaths of Calvin Witherspoon Jr. and Derrick Caldwell Roper in a Columbia, SC public housing complex.

“This tragedy only galvanized my need to ensure that we are committed to protecting our most vulnerable citizens, like Calvin and Derek, and the 239 other families at Allen Benedict Court Public Housing Community in Columbia, South Carolina,” said Senator Tim Scott. “There have been over 14 carbon monoxide poisoning deaths in public housing across this country since 2003…14 too many.”

Sen. Scott reiterated the importance of his Carbon Monoxide Alarms Leading Every Resident to Safety Act (CO ALERTS Act), which would ensure that more than 1.3 million highly vulnerable Americans in federally assisted housing are protected from this silent killer. This bill aims to curb the over 50,000 people visiting the emergency room every year due to carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. At the most risk are children, the elderly, and people with disabilities.

“Even one preventable death in our public housing facilities is too many, and this important amendment will help put an end to the threat of Carbon Monoxide poisoning for families across the nation, especially as we go into the higher-risk winter season,” said Senator Tim Scott.

In addition to Ms. Mathews’ testimony, the committee also received letters of support from Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin, the South Carolina Association of Housing Authority Executive Directors, the Carolinas Council of Housing Redevelopment and Codes officials, and the National Association of State Fire Marshalls.

You can watch Sen. Scott’s full remarks here.


Background:

Last month, U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) today introduced his CO ALERTS Act as an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2019 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations Bill. This move came on the heels of the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) announcement that $5 million in grants are now available to housing authorities for the installation of Carbon Monoxide detectors. Senator Scott has worked diligently with HUD Secretary Ben Carson and Senator Menendez since this past January, when two men died of Carbon Monoxide poisoning in a public housing complex in Columbia, South Carolina.

This comes on the heels of the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) announcement that $5 million in grants are now available to housing authorities for the installation of Carbon Monoxide detectors. This past January, two men died of Carbon Monoxide poisoning in a public housing complex in Columbia, South Carolina. Senator Scott has worked diligently with HUD Secretary Ben Carson and Senator Menendez to prevent this sort of tragedy from happening again.

Bill text for the CO ALERTS Act can be found here, and the HUD Manufactured Housing Modernization Act can be found here.


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