LD 550 Smoke/CO Bill Gets Final Passage
"An Act To Protect Maine Residents from Home Fires and Carbon Monoxide", with a unanimous vote of 35-0. The bill will now go to the Governor’s desk for his signature.
On Thursday, May 14, 2009, the Maine Senate Enacted LD 550,
The Professional Fire Fighters of Maine targeted this bill as one of their legislative priorities over a year and a half ago. The PFFM worked closely during the entire process with Senator Bill Diamond, D-Cumberland, who was the sponsor of the legislation.
Senator Diamond took on the cause of requiring carbon monoxide detectors in Maine dwellings after two of his constituents were tragically killed in their home from CO poisoning. The bill also updates the states smoke detector law to now include that photoelectric detectors be required within 20 feet of the kitchen or a bathroom with a tub or shower.
As the bill worked through the Criminal Justice Committee, which oversees Public Safety law, there was compelling and emotional testimony from Christina Feldolfi of Brunswick and Tom Dibiase of South Portland, surrounding tragic deaths and severe carbon monoxide poisoning to family members. The personal stories from both these individuals had a visible and moving effect on all those present at the Public Hearing. It was the catapult for the Committee’s Unanimous Ought to Pass Report.
The PFFM partnered from the onset with Maine Fire Marshall John Dean, Dr. Dora Mills, Director of the Maine Center for Disease Control, and Andrew Smith, Director of Environmental and Occupational Health Programs. Their cooperation was instrumental in seeing that this bill received final passage and for bringing a number of key supporters to testify in support of LD 550.
There were some initial concerns from realtor and landlord interests around liability and implementation but all parties were able to find common ground and language that could be agreed upon.
The major revisions to Maine’s current law include the requirement of photoelectric smoke detectors within 20ft of a kitchen or a bathroom with a tub or shower. It will also require that carbon monoxide detectors be in all dwellings that would require a smoke detector under Maine law. Both smoke and CO detectors will now be required when an existing home is sold and in rental units. The bill can be viewed at the following link. This final legislation is viewed as Committee Amendment “A”.