House votes to require carbon monoxide detectors

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(Host) The Vermont House has voted three-to-one to require the installation of carbon monoxide detectors in most homes throughout the state over the next few years.

Burlington Representative Kurt Wright says the bill is a direct response to an incident earlier this winter, when a case of carbon monoxide poisoning resulted in one death and several serious injuries. The rental units in this case were not equipped with carbon monoxide detectors.

Under the bill all new, single-family homes and all existing rental units must have the detectors installed by the fall. Existing homes must put them in place whenever they’re sold. Milton Representative Kevin Endres said he supported the mandate on rental units, but he thinks the requirements on single-family homes go too far:

(Endres) “I voted no because I’m reluctant to direct the state to reach into the private citizens’ homes and tell them yet again how to live their lives.”

(Host) But Representative Wright argued that the bill isn’t about the freedom of homeowners:

(Wright) “Madame Speaker, for the tiny burden and small cost of a carbon monoxide detector we can save lives that are needlessly lost. Carbon monoxide is odorless, silent and invisible. This bill is not about freedom but about the safety of unsuspecting citizens, who sometimes go asleep and don’t wake up.”

(Host) The measure will come up for final approval in the House later this week.

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