Tuesday, January 02, 2007

OP's Don Harmon a go-to man in senate

Ill. state Sen. Don Harmon (D.-Oak Park) is co-sponsor of a new law making it a misdemeanor not to install carbon monoxide detectors.  Enforcement is another matter, but people die from monoxide poisoning, so the lawmakers felt they had to do something.
"The last thing we want is to be known as the carbon monoxide police, meaning we're looking for detectors every time we go in someone's home,"
said Robert Buhs, executive director of the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association, adding,
"But it's the [homeowner's] responsibility, and for the safety of their family, to have these devices installed."
If it's the homeowner's responsibility, why is the state shouldering it, and ineffectually at that?  
"It seems like an easy risk to protect ourselves against, by creating an expectation that you have one,"
said Harmon, offering a garbled but perhaps helpful answer: the state speaks, and homeowners listen.  It's how they make (and score) points in Springfield, with new laws.  But an ad campaign would do the job at least as well, and without giving us the opportunity to ignore yet another one or giving law enforcement something else to do by way of interfering with people's lives.

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