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Ivey signs Sadie Grace Andrews Act into law

Brandon Moseley

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Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed senate bill 258, which mandates that commercial grease traps have appropriate and secure covers. The bill was sponsored by state Senator Tom Whatley, R-Auburn, and was named for Sadie Grace Andrews who died because an Auburn business did not have an appropriate cover on their grease trap.

“Each day, I’m reminded of the impact I have on the people I serve,” Ivey said. “With Sadie Grace Andrews’ family by my side, I signed SB 258 in her honor today. My prayers continue to be with this family, & I hope by passing this act no one else ever has to experience a similar tragedy.”

SB258 requires restaurants and other commercial food service establishments to securely cover their grease traps to prevent unauthorized access.

This legislation was introduced in response to the tragic death of three-year-old Sadie Grace Andrews. In Oct. 2017, Sadie drowned in a 6-foot deep grease trap outside of Bruster’s Real Ice Cream on East University Drive in Auburn.

That day, Sadie was with her father, Tracy Andrews. Mr. Andrews said that he looked away for a moment and the child had disappeared. He began searching. Andrews thought that Sadie had been abducted when he became aware of the grease trap. What apparently happened is that the child walked across a simple plastic cover on top of the grease trap and fell through. The cover fell back in place. By the time Mr. Andrews found little Sadie, she was dead.

After the tragic, accidental death at the ice cream parlor, Whatley promised to work with Sadie’s family to find a way to prevent further accidents.

“It’s always a tragedy when a life is lost due to an oversight. It’s even more tragic when that life is a child’s,” Whatley said. “This legislation will ensure nothing like this happens again.”

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When the bill was before the Senate Health Committee, Andrews said he was “unaware that something so dangerous even existed.”

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“I hope this law will help bring awareness to this issue and that it would prevent something like this from ever happening again,” Andrews said.

Whatley said that he is pro-business; but he is bringing this because it is a public safety issue.

The committee unanimously gave a favorable report to the bill, which defines how a commercial grease trap must be secured.

Ivey signed a number of bills on Thursday.

“Today, I’m proud to join legislators & bill sponsors for the signing of 17 bills from the 2018 legislative session,” Ivey said on Twitter. “I appreciate the Alabama Legislature for bringing forth conservative policies & moving Alabama forward.”

Brandon Moseley is a senior reporter with six and a half years at Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Facebook.

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