Can legislation in Congress, specifically in the U.S. Senate, impact the type of devices that are sold and perhaps installed by customers or ESA members? Can Congressional legislation get as specific as detailing UL or NFPA or ANSI
standards for a device?
You bet, and these efforts do not arise overnight. Nor are they thought up by senators or staffers, some of whom do not know what UL/ANSI or NFPA stand for. In fact, most citizens think that the U.S. Senate only deals with very important national and international issues and would never get involved in such matters. However, the industry has worked with Congressmen for years to present and develop legislation that influences the types of devices that are sold and installed in the market. One example is a bill designed to impact carbon monoxide alarms.
The most recent version was introduced on May 7, 2015, by Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). S. 1250, “The Nicholas and Zachary Burt Memorial Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act,” setting up a state grant program administered by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) for carbon monoxide alarm devices. The bill has been referred to the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, on which Sen. Klobuchar is a member. In addition, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) have signed on as co-sponsors. ESA is working with other industry organizations and representatives on this legislation to get it passed through the process into law.
If passed, S. 1250 would authorize a four year, $2M per year (for Fiscal Years 2015 to 2019) appropriation to states that adopt a statute, or a rule, regulation or similar measure with the force and effect of law requiring compliant carbon monoxide alarms to be installed in residential homes and dwelling units, and that the grant monies be used to purchase or install these alarms impacting children, low income and the elderly. The monies could also be used to educate the public about the risk associated with carbon monoxide, purchase and install compliant carbon monoxide alarms, train state or local fire code enforcement officials, and develop and disseminate training materials and instructors.
The bill provides for “compliant” carbon monoxide alarm devices that would be required at the state level to be installed in dwelling units once that state adopted a law or rule providing for the requirement. Once the law was passed, the state could submit a request for federal grant money to the CPSC for standards relating to compliant carbon monoxide alarm devices. The bill references the American National Standard for Gas and Vapor Detectors and Sensors (ANSI/UL 2075), the American National Standard for Single and Multiple Station Carbon Monoxide Alarms (ANSI/UL 2034), and the Standard for the Installation of Carbon Monoxide Detection and Warning Equipment in NFPA 720. The grant monies would be provided by the CPSC to states whose law requires installation of compliant CO alarms in educational facilities, childcare, health care, adult dependent care, government buildings, restaurants, theaters, hotels and residential units. Many states are considering bills along these lines in 2015. While the bill is not final, ESA is monitoring the status and involved in the process.