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Novstrup Fails to Over-Regulate Competitors’ Inflatable Amusement Devices

If you think Al Novstrup is an effective legislator, this is bad news. If you think bouncy houses are a menace to children’s safety requiring big-government regulation, this is bad news.

If you’re a rational citizen who loathes self-serving bills, this is good news.

Senate Majority Whip Al Novstrup (R-3/Aberdeen) has once again failed to wield his whip well. On Valentine’s Day, he lost Senate Bill 95, his son David’s proposal to regulate certain inflatable amusement devices that compete with their amusement park empire. After David’s pitiful and unpersuasive performance before Senate Commerce and Energy, his dad Al came back to committee with a hoghouse. Instead of making bouncy-house providers follow certain proprietary (yet already obsolete) standards not clearly enumerated or explained in statute, Senator Novstrup scratched his son’s failed proposal and replaced it with a million-dollar insurance requirement for anyone who “may inflate or provide for the inflation of the device for public use.”

That hoghouse got out of committee, but Senator Novstrup’s hoghouse went flat in the Senate, receiving only 16 of the necessary 18 votes. Strangely, a couple Democrats, Kennedy and Wismer, actually voted for Novstrup’s bill, but the Majority Whip lost 13 members of his own party on Senate Bill 95, and his effort to hyperregulate his competitors failed.

Jeepers, Al—when you can’t even win on trying to keep kids safe from killer bouncy houses, what good are you?


  1. Certain Inflatable Rubber Devices 2019-02-21

    So, does that mean I am still free to memorialize Novstrup’s genius whenever I make a post?

  2. Porter Lansing 2019-02-21

    Wylie Park Go-Slow Karts should have hired a lobbyist who appreciates 3 Stooges haircuts. The Bullfrog could have fit ’em in between the booze pushers and the back crackers. Too late, boys.
    PS … Bounce houses are way safer than trampolines.

  3. grudznick 2019-02-21

    grudznick is a big fan of the haircut style of Mr. Novstrup, the elder.

  4. Porter Lansing 2019-02-21

    As bald as you are Jeremiah, you’re easily impressed.

  5. Donald Pay 2019-02-21

    In windy conditions, as occurs often in South Dakota, improperly secured bouncy equipment can be a problem. Children have been injured as the inflatable rolls away in the wind with the kids tossed around and bouncing their heads on the ground. Of course, there’s the usual problems with unwatched kids getting a little too rambunctious. Whether it’s bouncy houses, trampolines, bicycles, go-karts or skateboards, kids are going to find a way to injury themselves. That doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be some regulation or some insurance requirement for companies who rent and set these bouncy houses up.

    It’s too bad Novstrup, father and son, brought this bill, mainly because they seemed to have a special interest ax to grind and they didn’t do adequate homework. Although their interest in this matter was suspect, it also is likely to have been genuine and they could have a valid issue here. They do have some expertise in running these sorts of enterprises, and they likely have been privy to concerns about the safety and legal ramifications of operating these bouncy houses. But, legislative fails happen when you don’t do your homework, and rely only on your “relationships.” A badly written bill isn’t going to save you.

    I think Sen. Kennedy probably has some valid reasons for voting for the bill. He is an attorney, after all, and probably knows that kids have been permanently injured in these bouncy houses with relatively little ability to have medical bills covered.

  6. Porter Lansing 2019-02-21

    Five years ago, John Clark, specialty lines manager for Thomco Insurance of Kennesaw, Ga., introduced an insurance policy called Fun Pro to inflatable operators across the country, one of many such surplus lines products. Fun Pro’s average annual premiums run $2,500 to $3,000 for $1 million liability, $2 million aggregate coverage for a small operator with four or five bounce houses, slides or rock walls.

  7. grudznick 2019-02-21

    Mr. Kennedy probably does have valid reasons. He’s not blinded with hate for Mr. Novstrup, the elder, nor blinded with envy of the haircut of Mr. Novstrup, the younger.

    My good friend Bob^H^H^HMr. Bouncy House has a pick to grind because of the lickings Mr. Novstrup has delivered to certain bills related to the demon weed over the years.

  8. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-02-24

    The majority of the Senate isn’t blinded with hatred for Novstrup… but the practical Republicans among them may perhaps wonder why they picked a whip who can’t whip his own bills.

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