Minnesota House backs lifeguard training standards

The Minnesota House passed legislation Monday setting minimum training standards for all lifeguards working at public beaches.

If a city or county provides lifeguards at a beach it owns, those lifeguards would need certification in first aid and CPR. Communities would still have the option of letting people swim at their own risk with no lifeguards on duty.

The bill was inspired by a drowning in the district of Rep. Mike Freiberg, DFL-Golden Valley.

"One of the things we discovered while researching the issue of safety at public beaches was that under state law lifeguards at public beaches are not under state law public pools are not required to have any training," Freiberg said.

"Lifeguards at public pools on the other hand are required under state law to have CPR training and to be certified by the Red Cross or a comparable organization," he added.

Rep. Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa, criticized the bill as an "unfunded mandate. " He warned that it could result in fewer communities hiring lifeguards.

The House vote was 110 to 10. The Senate passed the bill earlier. It now goes to Gov. Mark Dayton for his signature.

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