Calif. bill requires home carbon monoxide monitors
The California Air Resources Board has determined that 30 to 40 'avoidable deaths' occur in California each year because of unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning
By Samantha Young
The Associated Press
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Californians would be required to install carbon monoxide monitors if their home has an attached garage or fireplace under legislation the state Assembly adopted Monday, although one lawmaker said the bill reached too far into people's private lives.
The bill by Sen. Allen Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, also would mandate the devices in homes that are heated by oil or other fossil fuels. The Assembly passed it on a 47-19 vote, sending it to the Senate.
Monitors that detect the odorless, lethal gas already are required in new homes. The bill would extend the requirement to all houses, apartments and condominiums meeting the requirement but would exempt college dorms at state colleges and universities.
The California Air Resources Board has determined that 30 to 40 "avoidable deaths" occur in California each year because of unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning, according to an analysis of the bill.
Assemblywoman Connie Conway, R-Tulare, said 24 other states have a similar mandate.
"Carbon monoxide is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in the United States, claiming 400 lives," she said before voting for the bill.
The legislation would require owners of single-family homes to install a monitor by July 1, 2011. Owners of apartments, hotels and private college dormitories would have until 2013.
Property owned or leased by the state, including California State University and community college campuses, the University of California or a local government agency would be exempt. Those college dorms are not part of the mandate because of the projected cost to the state for installing the monitors.
Assemblyman Charles Calderon, D-Whittier, described the measure as a worthy idea but voted against it, calling it another example of government intrusion into people's private lives.
"I don't know how far the Legislature can go to ask families to protect themselves," Calderon said during Monday's brief floor debate. "There are a lot homes with fireplaces in them, and this is going to be, it may be, a substantial burden to them."
Supporters said the monitors cost about $20 each.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a similar bill last year, saying such standards ought be vetted by the state's building commission. Spokesman Mike Naple said Monday the governor had not taken a position on this year's bill.