Senate Bill 149

Illinois Senate Bill (SB0149) extends elevator code requirement compliance by years, puts public at risk!

question%20markI had received an e-mail from a concerned elevator professional last week regarding SB0149 that if passed by those in the Illinois House would put the public at risk. Currently the bill has already passed the Senate and is up for short debate as of May 10th, 2009. The bill is pushing back the date that elevators must comply with the Elevator Safety Act to 2015 is a huge mistake. Can someone out there explain to me what the point of having an elevator safety act and code if we’re not going to adhere to it? We also have some very sharp people who sit on our Elevator Safety Board who could have provided some excellent insight on SB0149 which I don’t believe had the opportunity to. After contacting many of our House of Representatives and Senate Sponsors regarding the bill and that fact that it should have been reviewed entirely by the State Elevator Safety Board for their input I was surprised to have received an e-mail stating the following.

Mr. Sybert,  In response to SB149, this was negoatiated by the Lobbyists for Elevator Union, the Elevator Manufacturers, the Director of the Illinois Elevator Board and representatives from Otis and Koney over a 3 week period of time.  These individuals represented the elevator industries interest in this matter.  Any questions should be directed to these individuals on SB149,. (corrected on 5/15/09)

So I did as was asked, I reached out to the elevator community and directed my question, did we as an industry support this bill? The answer I got was NO.  While our legislators believe that the bill has the support and backing of the elevator industry the majority of the legislators do not realize that A17.3 Safety Code For Existing Elevator and Escalators was taken out of the Bill 2-3 days before the senate passed it.

Wow, this almost knocked me off my chair. While I can’t say the above is true or false as I was not at the hearings or meetings that might have taken place I am writing trying to figure out the logic that might have come from our industry. If I were a cartoon, I’d have a HUGE question mark over my head in a thought bubble.  

Why would the Elevator Union hire Lobbyists to extend the time that elevators are required to comply with the Elevator Safety Act? With record numbers of elevator mechanics on the bench/unemployed why would they hire Lobbyist to put even more of them out of work? This goes for the two major elevator manufacturers/contractors who were named, who shall remain nameless. Something smells fishy, that’s what I think.

Those who sponsored Senate Bill 0149, which I believe was backed by some very unhappy building owners and condo associations about having to spend money on their elevators, is wrong in there determination that the need for the Elevator Safety Act is not required.  

Mark my words, the first elevator death outside the City of Chicago, but in Illinois that relates to a blown out hydraulic cylinder, an unrestricted elevator door or a safety item not required by A17.3 needs to go back to the Senate and House Sponsors of this bill. Those who investigate out there look deep; determine if the accident or death could have been prevented had the bill not extended the compliance date. Then share what you found with the world.

What I believe that you’ll find is that the bill was backed originally by the building/elevator owners and condo associations. I’ll also bet you a nickel that you’ll find that all of the members of the Illinois State Elevator Board did not get the opportunity to fully review the bill and make recommendations to the State Legislators.