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Illinois Carbon Monoxide Detector Act

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    The Law

    • Known as Public Act 94-741, the law mandates that at least one detector must be placed in a home within 15 feet of each bedroom. The law was enacted to address the problem of carbon monoxide most especially in cities, where traffic, industry and home heating furnaces produce this odorless poison. Furnaces that are broken or improperly vented are a common source of the gas.

    Exceptions

    • The only exceptions allowed under the law are for houses that do not use fossil fuel sources to heat the home or heat water for the home. For example, if a house uses a natural gas or oil-burning furnace or a water heater that uses natural gas, it cannot be exempted. Houses that have attached garages, no matter what kind of fuel sources are used, are not exempted because vehicles parked in attached garages can emit carbon monoxide. In short, only dwellings that have electric-powered furnaces and water heaters and have a detached garage are exempted. If unsure about whether a detector is required, Illinois residents should contact local building commissioners or the Office of the State Fire Marshal.

    Responsibilities

    • The law states that it is the responsibility of the owner of a dwelling to supply all of the required alarms. Renters are required to test the units and notify the owner if a problem exists. Tenants are required to keep batteries in housing units up-to-date.

    Penalties

    • Failing to install and maintain a detector is subject to a Class B misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,500. Tampering with a detector is subject to a Class A misdemeanor on the first conviction. Class A misdemeanors are punishable by up to 364 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. If convicted of tampering a second time, the law states a person can be punished with a jail term of up to three years.

    Legislative History

    • The legislation was approved in the 2006 legislative session. Its sponsors in the House of Representatives were state representatives Bob Molaro and Susana Mendoza, Democrats from Chicago. It was approved on a 85-15 vote. It was sponsored in the Senate by state senators Don Harmon and Martin Sandoval, also Democrats from Chicago. In the Senate, the measure was approved on a 32-22 vote, with most Republicans opposed to the measure on grounds that it constituted an unfair intrusion of a government mandate into private homes. Former governor Rod Blagojevich signed the legislation into law on May 8, 2006.

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