Legislature(2003 - 2004)

02/26/2004 08:03 AM STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 351-CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTION DEVICES                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WEYHRAUCH announced that the  first order of business would                                                               
be  HOUSE  BILL  NO.  351,  "An  Act  relating  to  the  devices,                                                               
including   carbon  monoxide   detection  devices,   required  in                                                               
dwellings; and  providing for  an effective  date."   [Before the                                                               
committee was CSHB 351(L&C).]                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Number 0072                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CARL  GATTO, Alaska State Legislature,  one of the                                                               
two  prime sponsors  of HB  351, pointed  out that  the committee                                                               
packet  should include  a KTUU-TV  news  release [dated  2/25/04]                                                               
that relates  to a recent  death from carbon  monoxide poisoning.                                                               
He said the original idea behind  this legislation had more to do                                                               
with  [saving]   children  and  [keeping]  them   from  long-term                                                               
exposure to low levels of  carbon monoxide.  Representative Gatto                                                               
emphasized  that  children  have  a higher  metabolic  rate  than                                                               
adults;  therefore,  they  accumulate carbon  monoxide  in  their                                                               
blood at  a rate much faster  than adults.  He  posed a situation                                                               
in  which  there  is  a   malfunctioning  furnace  that  produces                                                               
continual low  levels of carbon  monoxide.  In such  a situation,                                                               
people could  unknowingly live with a  consistent, persistent low                                                               
level  of  carbon  monoxide  for   months  or  even  years.    He                                                               
continued, the  youngsters in this  house would have  a low-level                                                               
load  of carbon  monoxide and  when  outside the  house, say,  at                                                               
school,  would  tend   to  purge  some  of   that,  although  the                                                               
youngster,  once  returning home,  would  again  reload with  low                                                               
levels of carbon monoxide.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 0431                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO explained  that oxygen  is carried  through                                                               
the body via  hemoglobin, which is a molecule that  is capable of                                                               
attaching  to red  blood cells  to carry  the oxygen  through the                                                               
body.   However, the hemoglobin  can also carry  carbon monoxide,                                                               
which  is  very  difficult  to  release  [from  the  hemoglobin].                                                               
Therefore,  when  hemoglobin circulates  in  the  body with  only                                                               
carbon monoxide, one  is essentially starving the  body of oxygen                                                               
that should've been available.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO  said that  although  the  simplest way  to                                                               
purge  the body  of carbon  monoxide is  to get  fresh air  for a                                                               
period of time, the concern is  with regard to the persistent low                                                               
levels  of  carbon  monoxide.   Therefore,  Representative  Gatto                                                               
viewed requiring  carbon monoxide  detectors as  equally valuable                                                               
as having  smoke detectors.   The  goal is  to identify  when any                                                               
source of carbon monoxide is  detected, and thus this legislation                                                               
requests  that carbon  monoxide detectors  be dealt  with in  the                                                               
same  way as  smoke detectors.   He  pointed out  that when  fire                                                               
fighters  arrive  at  a  fire  in which  the  smoke  detector  is                                                               
ringing,  they are  able  to  fight the  fire  a bit  differently                                                               
because the  fire fighters are  fairly sure that the  people have                                                               
left the building and the fire  can be addressed.  In the absence                                                               
of  a ringing  smoke detector,  fire fighters  have to  perform a                                                               
search  and  rescue  before  addressing  the  fire.    A  similar                                                               
situation   could  occur   with  a   carbon  monoxide   detector.                                                               
Representative Gatto stressed that  carbon monoxide detectors are                                                               
enormously valuable  in protecting  people and usually  only cost                                                               
$25 to $50.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 0797                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO informed the committee  that he has a carbon                                                               
monoxide  detector in  every bedroom  in  his house,  one by  the                                                               
furnace, and  one in the  living room.  Occasionally,  the carbon                                                               
monoxide detector  in the basement  goes off  due to a  car being                                                               
started [before] leaving  the garage.  Also,  the carbon monoxide                                                               
detector in  the basement  goes off when  there is  a temperature                                                               
inversion.    He explained  that  a  temperature inversion  is  a                                                               
situation in  which the furnace  hasn't started in some  time and                                                               
the  chimney gets  cold  and  thus cold  air  can  come down  the                                                               
chimney and create a draft from the  top heading down.  In such a                                                               
situation when  the furnace  ignites, it's  not able  to overcome                                                               
the  downdraft and  thus the  combustion products  leak into  the                                                               
house.  He said that although  this situation is normal, one must                                                               
know that it's happening.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  WEYHRAUCH noted  that Representative  Gruenberg is  also a                                                               
prime [sponsor] of this legislation.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Number 0851                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO, in  discussing  a  tragedy resulting  from                                                               
carbon  monoxide poisoning,  pointed out  that a  carbon monoxide                                                               
detector can be  set off by construction,  steam, and significant                                                               
amounts of dust.  In  response to Chair Weyhrauch, Representative                                                               
Gatto informed the committee that  as a fire fighter, whenever he                                                               
was called to a residence, he  would go through the home and look                                                               
for any  dangers that were  present.   He estimated that  in half                                                               
the  homes  there  was  a   smoke  detector  that  was  disabled.                                                               
However, the beauty of a carbon  monoxide detector is that it can                                                               
be  plugged  in  and  it   will  work  no  matter  the  location.                                                               
Furthermore, he noted that there are battery backups.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Number 1080                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LYNN turned  to  the  "installed and  maintained"                                                           
language  in  the legislation.    He  asked  if a  family's  life                                                               
insurance would be  impacted if it were determined  that a carbon                                                               
monoxide  detector wasn't  maintained  [in a  situation in  which                                                               
death resulted from carbon monoxide poisoning].                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO  stated  his belief  that  carbon  monoxide                                                               
detectors are maintenance-free.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG,  responding to  Representative  Lynn's                                                               
question, explained  that a carbon monoxide  detector that wasn't                                                               
maintained  wouldn't  impact  life insurance  because  the  death                                                               
would simply be considered an accident.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 1207                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG recalled  that in  the House  Labor and                                                               
Commerce  Standing Committee,  Representative Rokeberg  raised an                                                               
issue  with regard  to multi-family  dwellings  and whether  this                                                               
legislation would require  every hotel to have  a carbon monoxide                                                               
detector  in  every room.    He  said  that  the answer  to  that                                                               
question is no, because the  definition of "dwelling unit" refers                                                               
to AS 34.03.360, which specifies the following:                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     "dwelling  unit"  means a  structure  or  a part  of  a                                                                    
     structure  that  is  used  as  a  home,  residence,  or                                                                    
     sleeping place by one person  who maintains a household                                                                    
     or  by  two  or  more persons  who  maintain  a  common                                                                    
      household, and includes mobile homes, and if located                                                                      
      in a mobile home park, the lot or space upon which a                                                                      
     mobile home is placed;                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 1279                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG surmised,  then, that  this legislation                                                               
wouldn't apply  unless an individual  is permanently living  in a                                                               
hotel.   If an individual is  permanently living in a  hotel, the                                                               
hotel  would need  to place  a  carbon monoxide  detector in  the                                                               
room.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  recalled that  [in the House  Labor and                                                               
Commerce Standing  Committee] Representative Lynn inquired  as to                                                               
why  the legislation  didn't have  an  immediate effective  date.                                                               
Representative  Gruenberg explained  that  the legislation  takes                                                               
effect  on January  1, 2005,  because  it was  modeled after  the                                                               
smoke  detector  legislation which  had  an  effective date  that                                                               
allowed time for installation.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LYNN  clarified  that   his  query  regarding  an                                                               
immediate   effective  date   was   related   to  requiring   the                                                               
installation  of  a carbon  monoxide  detector  when there  is  a                                                               
transfer  of property  when other  requirements such  as a  smoke                                                               
detector are  required to be  installed.  However,  the effective                                                               
date for the general population [could remain January 1, 2005].                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  proposed that the effective  date could                                                               
be removed,  which would make  the legislation effective  90 days                                                               
after the governor signs it.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Number 1472                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  referred to page  2, line 19,  which says,                                                               
"is adjacent  to a parking space",  and inquired as to  what that                                                               
language  means.   Representative  Seaton  opined  that with  the                                                               
qualifications  [listed  on  page   2,  lines  16-19]  almost  no                                                               
[dwelling] is going to be excluded.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Number 1544                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  related  his thought  that  there  was                                                               
concern that one could be in  a motel room which sits adjacent to                                                               
a parking space and thus fumes could enter into the room.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON   pointed  out  that  earlier   there  was                                                               
testimony   that  a   motel  wouldn't   be  covered   under  this                                                               
legislation.   Therefore, Representative  Seaton surmised  that a                                                               
motel room  wouldn't be covered  unless the individual  is living                                                               
there on a  continual basis, regardless of  whether the equipment                                                               
is malfunctioning.   Representative Seaton  said, "I just  have a                                                               
concern  as to  the physical  attributes of  the situation  we're                                                               
trying to cover,  and yet now we're saying it's  not the physical                                                               
situation  that we're  covering  but it's  the  duration of  your                                                               
occupancy."                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 1694                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  reiterated that motels  aren't covered,                                                               
but announced that  he wouldn't have a problem  with accepting an                                                               
amendment  specifying that  this  legislation  would cover  motel                                                               
units adjacent to a parking space.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO noted  that  generally at  a motel,  people                                                               
will start  their car  and then  let it idle.   And  although the                                                               
exposure  time  is probably  limited,  he  highlighted that  cold                                                               
starts  of   automobiles  are  [major]  contributors   of  carbon                                                               
monoxide.   In the  case of  a motel, he  anticipated that  a car                                                               
would be  idling for a  brief period and  it would be  a one-time                                                               
exposure  versus [an  exposure  from, for  example,] a  defective                                                               
furnace.    However, he  didn't  believe  that amount  of  carbon                                                               
monoxide  exposure  in this  situation  would  cause death.    He                                                               
explained  the  goal  of  this  legislation  is  to  address  the                                                               
continuous low-level carbon monoxide exposure in a home.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Number 1841                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOLM noted that in  the Fairbanks area there is an                                                               
ambient air  restriction of 9  parts per million (ppm)  of carbon                                                               
monoxide and  yet all the  data specifies  that 35 ppm  for eight                                                               
hours is tolerable.  He inquired  how many ppm of carbon monoxide                                                               
would cause a carbon monoxide detector to go off.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO  answered,  "They're  time-weighted."    He                                                               
specified that  an instant spike  will cause the  carbon monoxide                                                               
detector to  go off, and  continuous low-level exposure  will set                                                               
it  off as  well.   Representative Gatto  said he  didn't believe                                                               
carbon monoxide detectors  would be triggered at  35 ppm [because                                                               
it is believed to be] tolerated.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 1968                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HOLM returned  to the  fact that  carbon monoxide                                                               
exposure is  cumulative, and  he inquired  as to  when the  9 ppm                                                               
would  accumulate to  the point  at which  the detector  would be                                                               
triggered.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  explained that  the steady [exposure]  is 9                                                               
ppm, and one can have exposure at  9 ppm and never reach 10 or 11                                                               
ppm.  In further response  to Representative Holm, Representative                                                               
Gatto  specified  that the  carbon  monoxide  detectors read  the                                                               
ambient air quality and maintain a reading of the highest level.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  WEYHRAUCH  inquired as  to  why  the language  "qualifying                                                               
dwelling unit" was used rather than "qualified dwelling unit".                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   GRUENBERG  responded   that  was   the  language                                                               
[Legislative Legal  and Research  Services] suggested,  but noted                                                               
that  he didn't  have a  problem with  a change  to the  language                                                               
"qualified dwelling unit".                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 2111                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO, in response  to Chair Weyhrauch, noted that                                                               
there  are  no  carbon  "monoxide   detector  police"  or  "smoke                                                               
detector  police,"   although  there   is  usually   an  advisory                                                               
committee.     However,   in  the   case  of   a  landlord-tenant                                                               
[relationship]  it's  clear  that   the  landlord  must  make  it                                                               
available  to the  tenant on  the first  day of  occupancy, after                                                               
which  it becomes  the tenant's  responsibility  to maintain  it.                                                               
Representative Gatto characterized this  [legislation] as more of                                                               
an alert.  For instance, firemen  can come into a home, point out                                                               
a  violation, and  distribute information  [on the  requirement].                                                               
Representative  Gatto said  he wasn't  anticipating any  level of                                                               
enforcement.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Number 2150                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  pointed   out  that  this  legislation                                                               
amends  AS  18.70.095, and  a  violation  of  that statute  is  a                                                               
misdemeanor.   This requirement would  be tacked on to  the smoke                                                               
detector law.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON returned  to  the "adjacent  to a  parking                                                               
space" language, asking  whether all the floors  of a multi-level                                                               
unit with  parking spaces adjacent  to the ground level  would be                                                               
considered adjacent to the parking space.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG answered that  the upper levels wouldn't                                                               
be  considered  adjacent  to  the parking  space.    However,  he                                                               
requested  that  the  committee  address  this  question  to  Mr.                                                               
Nicolello, Department of Public Safety.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 2234                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WEYHRAUCH  mentioned that every  time there  is legislation                                                               
requiring  people  to  do  new   things,  the  reaction  is  that                                                               
government   is  replacing   [an  individual's]   responsibility.                                                               
Therefore, he questioned why this legislation is good policy.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO agreed  that  individuals  are entitled  to                                                               
live as they  wish.  However, one isn't entitled  to damage other                                                               
members of the family by the  same activity.  He pointed out that                                                               
the government requires that people take care of their children.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  WEYHRAUCH  asked, then,  if  the  legislation should  only                                                               
apply to those dwellings with children.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  opined that  doing so would  complicate the                                                               
legislation.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Number 2382                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  returned  to  the  question  regarding                                                               
whether there  is an  enforcement penalty,  pointing out  that HB
351 amends AS 18.70.095, which is covered in statute as follows:                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Sec.   18.70.100.      Criminal  penalty;   appeal   of                                                                    
     administrative orders.                                                                                                     
          (a) A person who violates a provision of AS                                                                           
     18.70.010  - 18.70.100  or a  regulation adopted  under                                                                    
     those sections,  or who fails  to comply with  an order                                                                    
     issued under AS  18.70.010 - 18.70.100, is  guilty of a                                                                    
     class  B misdemeanor.   When  not otherwise  specified,                                                                    
     each  10  days  that  the  violation  or  noncompliance                                                                    
     continues is a separate offense.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Number 2430                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  highlighted that a class  B misdemeanor                                                               
is  currently  the lowest  misdemeanor.    In response  to  Chair                                                               
Weyhrauch's earlier question,  Representative Gruenberg specified                                                               
that this  legislation is  a home-safety  measure of  which there                                                               
are many  in order to  make a home  safe.  The  policy throughout                                                               
the nation has been that it's  important to make one's home safe.                                                               
Returning  to  the  motel/hotel issue,  Representative  Gruenberg                                                               
opined  that  local  building  codes   address  motel  and  hotel                                                               
situations.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 2510                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON noted that many  new houses are being built                                                               
with "fresh air  exchange systems."  He asked  if the legislation                                                               
includes any mitigation measures for those devices.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO  specified  that the  legislation  is  only                                                               
interested in whether carbon monoxide accumulates in the home.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Number 2596                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
KELLY NICOLELLO,  Assistant State  Fire Marshal,  Central Office,                                                               
Division of  Fire Prevention, Department  of Public  Safety, said                                                               
that  Representatives   Gatto  and  Gruenberg  did   a  good  job                                                               
answering the  questions and  he would've  answered them  much in                                                               
the same way.  He indicated  that [the intent] of the legislation                                                               
was to  address apartments  with adjacent  parking, more  so than                                                               
motels.  However, a motel could  fall under the same provision if                                                               
someone was living there.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON pointed out that  the parking spot in front                                                               
of a hotel room may not  necessarily be used by the individual in                                                               
that room; someone from an upper  floor could start his/her car -                                                               
which may  be parked  in front  of an  occupied room  adjacent to                                                               
that parking space - and let it warm up for quite some time.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Number 2706                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  asked   whether  the  above  situation                                                               
should be covered in the legislation.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. NICOLELLO  characterized it as  a judgment call,  noting that                                                               
there is  no empirical data  demonstrating that people  have lost                                                               
their  lives  [due to  carbon  monoxide  poisoning from  adjacent                                                               
parking spaces]  in motels.   He mentioned  that Anchorage  is in                                                               
favor of "that  particular issue also."  Mr.  Nicolello said that                                                               
he  didn't  have any  objection  to  including the  motel  issue.                                                               
However, he  noted [his assumption] that  the [legislation] would                                                               
be limited to  those parking directly in front of  or adjacent to                                                               
the motel  rooms.  "Outside of  that, there'd be no  other reason                                                               
to include those," he said.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 2792                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  commented that  in extreme  environments it                                                               
would be unlikely  for there to be an open  window on a minus-30-                                                               
degree  day.   Therefore, the  air exchange  in a  motel room  is                                                               
probably  governed  more  by the  building's  heating  system  to                                                               
protect  it.    Therefore,  he suspected  that  the  building  is                                                               
already pretty tight.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. NICOLELLO  said that he  believes Representative Gatto  has a                                                               
good  point  with  regard  to   the  tightness  of  construction,                                                               
especially in  those homes built  in the  last five or  so years.                                                               
He pointed out  that the tighter the house, the  more probable it                                                               
is that  carbon monoxide that  leaks from equipment in  the house                                                               
would stay there longer than in  a home built in, say, the 1970s.                                                               
The  aforementioned  is another  reason  to  advocate for  carbon                                                               
monoxide detectors (indisc. - coughing).                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Number 2869                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
JOHN  BITNEY,  Lobbyist  for  the   Alaska  State  Home  Builders                                                               
Association (ASHBA), informed the  committee that the state board                                                               
of  ASHBA  has unanimously  voted  to  support this  legislation.                                                               
With regard to the effective  date, Mr. Bitney related that ASHBA                                                               
believes  a simple  effective date  is best.   However,  ASHBA is                                                               
indifferent  to  how  the  effective date  is  established.    In                                                               
response  to Chair  Weyhrauch, Mr.  Bitney explained  that carbon                                                               
monoxide detectors look  similar in size to a  smoke detector and                                                               
sound  an  alarm  similar  to  that of  a  smoke  detector.    He                                                               
clarified that carbon  monoxide detectors can be  plugged into an                                                               
outlet or used with a nine-volt battery.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG said that he  wanted to have at least 90                                                               
days  [after passage]  for people  to get  up to  speed on  this.                                                               
Furthermore, he  said he wanted  to have the same  effective date                                                               
for   everyone.      In  light   of   Mr.   Bitney's   testimony,                                                               
Representative  Gruenberg related  that he  would be  comfortable                                                               
with the  January 1st  effective date  or removing  the effective                                                               
date from the legislation.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 2985                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN indicated  that, practically speaking, having                                                               
no effective date and thus  having the legislation take effect in                                                               
90 days [would be appropriate].                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 04-23, SIDE B                                                                                                            
Number 2982                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  said [the  legislation] would  be effective                                                               
right after Christmas.  He  indicated that "these would be decent                                                               
Christmas presents"  that people would  be encouraged to  give as                                                               
small gifts.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Number 2937                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON asked  how many units would  be required to                                                               
service Alaska.   He  pointed out  that once  the bill  goes into                                                               
effect, it  will be a class  B misdemeanor not to  have [a carbon                                                               
monoxide detector] in place.  He stated his concern that a 90-                                                                  
day effective  date may be too  short [for people to  comply with                                                               
the new law], thus resulting in "a lot of criminals."                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  responded that he doesn't  know the number;                                                               
however, he opined that in  the free market, stores will probably                                                               
take advantage of advertising time and keep a supply in stock.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Number 2877                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WEYHRAUCH  noted that  there are  also problems  with other                                                               
gases in  the air, such  as radon.   He asked if  the legislature                                                               
should also require detectors for radon gas.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Number 2861                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BITNEY responded,  "Perhaps  we should."    He reminded  the                                                               
committee  that   the  state  does  have   an  energy  efficiency                                                               
standard,  under  Alaska  Housing  [Finance  Corporation],  which                                                               
requires  "higher  levels  of  air   tightness"  in  homes.    He                                                               
mentioned that  there are residential  code areas.  He  said, "In                                                               
the case of  radon gas, ... [regardless] of your  code or some of                                                               
these other issues, I think  you're facing a situation there that                                                               
really can't be addressed."                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 2766                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO proffered that the  test for radon is a one-                                                               
time test; either a home has radon leaking or it doesn't.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   GRUENBERG   indicated   he   is   grateful   for                                                               
[Representative Gatto's work on] this legislation.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON referred  to a  list of  manufacturers [of                                                               
carbon monoxide  detectors] and  asked if all  of them  have been                                                               
approved for "satisfying the requirements of this bill."                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Number 2721                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. NICOLELLO  replied that the  requirement is that the  unit be                                                               
"UL [Underwriters Laboratories Inc.] listed  for use."  He added,                                                               
"And if that's the case, then it would be approved by us."                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  remarked  that the  proposed  legislation                                                               
states  that the  devices  must  be approved  by  the state  fire                                                               
marshal, and he said he wants to make certain that they are.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. NICOLELLO responded  that that may be an  issue, because then                                                               
the state would carry a liability  for the type of device that is                                                               
being used.  He continued as follows:                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     We have  all kinds  of different  types of  systems and                                                                    
     facilities -  fire alarms,  fire suppression  systems -                                                                    
     and we do  not recommend any of  these products either,                                                                    
     because  we're not  a testing  facility  to say,  "Yes,                                                                    
     this  will meet  the requirement."   We  rely on  third                                                                    
     party  testing to  determine whether  or not  a product                                                                    
     can be used  (indisc. - coughing).  And  ... any third-                                                                    
     party testing reference using  a national standard that                                                                    
     certifies that  the product does  as the  standard says                                                                    
     that it should  do would be authorized  for use through                                                                    
     our office.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 2650                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON turned to the  language on page 1, lines 7-                                                               
8, which read:  "The devices shall  be of a type and installed in                                                               
a manner approved  by the state fire marshal."   He said he wants                                                               
to  know  if  that language  is  or  is  not  a problem  for  Mr.                                                               
Nicolello.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR.  NICOLELLO answered  that  it  could be  a  problem from  the                                                               
standpoint  of  "putting  our  mark  on  something  to  say  it's                                                               
approved"  and determining  which models  are appropriate  versus                                                               
those that are  not.  He explained that could  create problems in                                                               
the  marketplace.   He said  "we" would  rely on  the third-party                                                               
testing  reference.   He noted  that  each manufacturer  includes                                                               
instructions   for   installation   [of   the   carbon   monoxide                                                               
detectors].  He  said, "We would defer to that,  because they are                                                               
the expert on their own product  and have the liability for their                                                               
own product.   We don't want to assume any  of their liability in                                                               
that area."                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 2590                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  WEYHRAUCH asked  Mr. Nicolello  if he  is saying,  "If you                                                               
have  to approve  it,  ...  it's going  to  increase your  fiscal                                                               
note."                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR.  NICOLELLO answered  no, it's  more  of "a  liability on  the                                                               
state."                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 2579                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   GRUENBERG  began   discussion  of   what  became                                                               
Conceptual Amendment 1.   He indicated that a change  made to the                                                               
legislation  on page  1, lines  7-8,  would also  apply to  smoke                                                               
detection  devices.    He explained  that  the  language  already                                                               
states that  [the devices] must  be installed in a  manner that's                                                               
approved by [the state fire marshal].                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR.  NICOLELLO responded  that "that  part is  easy on  the smoke                                                               
detector," because the  building code states where  and what type                                                               
of smoke  detector "you will  install in  your home."   He added,                                                               
"It makes no mention of a carbon monoxide detector."                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Number 2531                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG asked  Mr. Nicolello  if he  would like                                                               
[the previously cited language on page  1], line 7, to be changed                                                               
to  read:   "Smoke  detection  devices shall  be  of  a type  and                                                               
installed in  a manner approved by  the state fire marshal."   He                                                               
added, "And  we have  another sentence  relating to  these carbon                                                               
monoxide devices."                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. NICOLELLO responded that that would be appropriate.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 2502                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HOLM said  he suspects  what would  be looked  at                                                               
would  be the  manufacturers' recommendations,  "and then  that's                                                               
what  should be  maybe put  into  the statute  here, rather  than                                                               
putting the onus on the state."                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 2482                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   HOLM  offered   the  foregoing   as  [Conceptual                                                               
Amendment 1].                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. NICOLELLO replied that he  would recommend "something to that                                                               
effect."                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG stated  that  that  would be  agreeable                                                               
with the sponsors of the bill.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Number 2460                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  WEYHRAUCH   offered  his  understanding   that  Conceptual                                                               
Amendment 1 would read as follows:                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     Page 1, line 7:                                                                                                            
     Between "The" and "devices"                                                                                                
     Insert "smoke detection"                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WEYHRAUCH  asked if there  were any objections  to adoption                                                               
of Conceptual Amendment 1.  There being none, it was so ordered.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 2441                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOLM  suggested [Conceptual Amendment 2],  to say,                                                               
"The carbon  monoxide detection devices  shall be installed  in a                                                               
manner consistent with manufacturers' recommendation[s]."                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Number 2417                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR.  NICOLELLO  responded  that  if the  language  were  to  say,                                                               
"installed and  maintained to manufacturers'  specifications", it                                                               
would "cover you on both accounts."                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Number 2390                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON noted that there  are a couple of different                                                               
kinds of  devices.  For  example, there are devices  with warning                                                               
signals and  those with passive  meters with buttons  that change                                                               
color.   He asked  if it  is the  sponsors' intention  that these                                                               
devices will  have an  audible signal.   He  added, "If  we don't                                                               
have  something,  we're  going  to have  little  79-cent  passive                                                               
devices on the wall that you have to see that they turn black."                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 2354                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO agreed.   He said he has  "had those devices                                                               
in flying  airplanes."  He said,  "They wouldn't be of  any value                                                               
in a home.   It didn't even  occur to me that they  would even be                                                               
marketed, and they  certainly wouldn't be approved  by [the] fire                                                               
marshal  or  be  UL-listed.    So, I'm  guessing  they  would  be                                                               
excluded under  those bases."   He indicated that  language added                                                               
to elicit an audible alarm would be excellent.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Number 2317                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  WEYHRAUCH turned  to page  1, line  8, and  clarified that                                                               
proposed Conceptual Amendment 2 would read as follows:                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Page 1, line 8:                                                                                                            
     After "fire marshal."                                                                                                      
      Insert:  "The carbon monoxide detection device shall                                                                      
     have an audible alarm and be installed and maintained                                                                      
     according to manufacturers' recommendations."                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Number 2295                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG revealed  that he  comes from  a family                                                               
that is  almost totally deaf and  can't even hear doorbells.   He                                                               
asked  if  there  are  other  kinds of  devices  [that  would  be                                                               
effective for a deaf person's use].                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Number 2276                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. NICOLELLO responded that the  basic alarm mode in [the carbon                                                               
monoxide detection  devices] is  sound.   However, they  are also                                                               
available with visual devices for  the hearing-impaired.  He said                                                               
he  imagines   that  a   home  built   to  ADA   [Americans  with                                                               
Disabilities  Act] requirements  would  have both  the sound  and                                                               
visual alarm;  however, most [hearing] people's  homes would only                                                               
have the sound-alarm device.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Number 2250                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG said,  "With that,  Mr. Chair,  I would                                                               
request that we just leave  it as [Representative Holm] suggested                                                               
initially."                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 2240                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
THOMAS G. KEMPTON, Deputy Fire  Chief, Anchorage Fire Department,                                                               
Municipality  of Anchorage,  told the  committee that  yesterday,                                                               
the department responded to a  carbon monoxide call.  He referred                                                               
to  the man  who  was found  dead  and the  woman  who was  found                                                               
poisoned.   He stated that a  vehicle left running in  the garage                                                               
had been the source  of the carbon monoxide in the  home.  If the                                                               
carbon monoxide detector had been  present, he said, those people                                                               
at  least  would  have  received  some  alert  to  the  odorless,                                                               
colorless gas that was produced by that vehicle.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 2170                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WEYHRAUCH  asked, "Do  we agree that  there should  be some                                                               
sort of alarm,  whether it's visual or audible?"   [No objections                                                               
were stated.]                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Number 2159                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WEYHRAUCH  restated Conceptual  Amendment 2  [text provided                                                               
previously].   He asked  if there was  any objection  to adopting                                                               
it.  There being none, it was so ordered.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Number 2086                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  moved to remove the  effective date [by                                                               
deleting line 10 on page 4].                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Number 2071                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  WEYHRAUCH  asked, "Why  not  have  an immediate  effective                                                               
date?  Somebody could die between  the passage of the bill and 90                                                               
days."                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG withdrew his motion.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WEYHRAUCH stated that he  thinks the committee is trying to                                                               
meet  the  public's  interest  in  having  safe  homes  that  are                                                               
protected  from carbon  monoxide, as  well as  [to consider]  the                                                               
people's ability to get [carbon  monoxide detectors] installed in                                                               
their houses and get educated "as to the requirement."                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Number 2051                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG asked  if the  committee would  like to                                                               
change  the   word  "qualifying"   [on  page   2,  line   15]  to                                                               
"qualified".                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Number 2015                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL stated,  "Since we are going to  make it a                                                               
criminal offense, 'qualified'  might mean that we have  to go and                                                               
inspect people's houses.  I would object to that."                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WEYHRAUCH closed public testimony.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Number 1970                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN  moved to report  CSHB 351(L&C),  as amended,                                                               
out  of   committee  with  individual  recommendations   and  the                                                               
accompanying fiscal notes.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 1960                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL objected  for  discussion  purposes.   He                                                               
revealed that some  good friends of his died  because they didn't                                                               
have a  [carbon monoxide] detector;  thus he is sensitive  to the                                                               
need [for this legislation].  He  said he is and will continue to                                                               
be an advocate for people  putting [carbon monoxide] detectors in                                                               
their  houses.   He said  he understands  "why manufacturers  ...                                                               
[and] housing  builders should  do it,"  and why  it might  be "a                                                               
code issue,"  but he struggles with  the government's involvement                                                               
in mandating  the requirement.   He  said he  is probably  in the                                                               
minority on this viewpoint, but would  like to have the chance to                                                               
vote on it.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 1840                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  responded, "In  those areas  where they                                                               
are  covered by  code, I'm  sure  there's already  a penalty  for                                                               
violating that."   He explained  that [the  proposed legislation]                                                               
would  bring "the  areas  where there's  no  building code"  into                                                               
compliance.    He  said  he  hopes  the  majority  party  of  the                                                               
legislature would  feel that although  this may be  an intrusion,                                                               
it would be a small intrusion that may save some lives.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 1785                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL  said  he   actually  agrees  with  that.                                                               
However,  he offered  an example  of a  public campaign  that was                                                               
called for  by the mayor  of Anchorage, whereby the  American Red                                                               
Cross got involved,  donations were made by the  companies, and a                                                               
huge  public awareness  campaign took  place.   He said,  "To me,                                                               
that's society  working together.   This  is government  making a                                                               
mandate -  putting a criminal  offense on it  - and I  don't know                                                               
that it helps that much."                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Number 1730                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOLM  concurred with  Representative Coghill.   He                                                               
stated  that while  he has  no problem  with telling  people that                                                               
[using a carbon  monoxide detector] is something  they should do,                                                               
he  struggles with  the issue  of creating  a class  of criminals                                                               
because they may  choose not to [use a  carbon monoxide detector]                                                               
or  cannot afford  one.   He  said  he  and his  wife,  who is  a                                                               
schoolteacher,  see   numerous  cases  where  people   put  their                                                               
children at  risk, and yet  "we don't  make criminals out  of the                                                               
parents."   He  said he  thinks  it is  sometimes problematic  to                                                               
suggest that  parents are criminals  because they may not  do the                                                               
thing  that "we,  in our  zeal to  protect people"  think is  the                                                               
right thing.   He added that he doesn't know  how far "we" should                                                               
go, and  he is  glad that Representative  Coghill brought  up the                                                               
issue.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Number 1621                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  said  he   has  plug-in  carbon  monoxide                                                               
detectors, but  many people live  without electricity.   He noted                                                               
that although  there is  a battery backup,  it doesn't  last many                                                               
days.    He  said  he  wants to  ensure  that  reasonably  priced                                                               
battery-operated carbon  monoxide detectors will be  made readily                                                               
available to those who live without electricity.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 1555                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO noted that  some smoke detectors have eight-                                                               
year batteries.   He stated his  belief that "a great  many homes                                                               
simply will not  comply with this law."  He  added that there are                                                               
no carbon monoxide police.  He  said he thinks that [the proposed                                                               
legislation]   would  give   a  level   of  awareness   [through]                                                               
advertising campaigns,  for example.   He explained that he  is a                                                               
defender  of  [the  legislation],  because people  who  take  the                                                               
single  action  to  provide themselves  with  a  carbon  monoxide                                                               
detector now could be thankful for that action in the future.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Number 1390                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. NICOLELLO, in response  to Representative Seaton's previously                                                               
stated concern  about those living without  electricity not being                                                               
able to  comply with the  proposed law, stated that  both battery                                                               
backup  and  fully  battery-operated  carbon  monoxide  detectors                                                               
exist and are approved for use.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 1357                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
A roll call vote was  taken.  Representatives Holm, Seaton, Lynn,                                                               
Berkowitz,  Gruenberg, and  Weyhrauch  voted in  favor of  moving                                                               
CSHB  351(L&C), as  amended, out  of  committee.   Representative                                                               
Coghill voted against it.   Therefore, CSHB 351(STA) was reported                                                               
out of  the House State Affairs  Standing Committee by a  vote of                                                               
6-1.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects