Illinois Fire Marshal Larry Matkaitis was to release a statement on Friday which seeks to defuse a battle over his efforts to force owners of older condo buildings to install costly fire sprinkler systems through an administrative rules process. According to Illinois Observer, he said:
“I believe that any new sprinkler mandate should include open and full discussions with all stakeholders. As long as I am Fire Marshal, I intend to work with local government officials, public safety officials, and all stakeholders to pass any new sprinkler laws through the General Assembly.”
The statement comes after a bruising battle last year when he attempted to implement rules changes which would have mandated the fire suppression systems in older condo buildings and new homes. Bypassing a full vote by the Illinois General Assembly, Matkaitis tried to get the rules changes through the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR). The result was a storm of controversy that saw broad opposition form that ultimately killed the effort.
The fight didn’t end there.
IAR backed a bill (HB4609) filed by State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz this year which sought to force any future changes in the fire codes to go through the full General Assembly rather than go through JCAR. The bill won committee approval, but hasn’t made it out of the House.
Illinois REALTORS® have long opposed the fire sprinkler mandates, and many had called lawmakers last year and again this year.