Looks like conservatives in Oregon have found something else to get outraged about - government-mandated carbon monoxide detectors.
It seems state Rep. Carolyn Tomei (D-Milwaukie) has introduced a bill stipulating that no house that contains a carbon monoxide-emitting device (a gas fireplace or heater, for instance) can be sold unless it has a carbon monoxide detector. Tomei's measure also would require landlords to install and maintain such detectors in properties they rent.
Which has Steve Buckstein all bent out of shape. Writing on the conservative Oregon Catalyst blog, he asks: "Oregon legislators surely know that this recession has led to a slower housing market than most of us can remember. So why are some of them trying to dampen home sales even further?"
He goes on to argue that "the cumulative effect of such regulations will be to make selling - or buying - a home harder and harder."
Now, since you can buy a carbon monoxide detector for under $20 - even less in quantity - it doesn't appear to The Eye that the cost is likely to prevent anybody from buying or selling a home ... or even that the "cumulative effect" would amount to much if, say, the state required a carbon monoxide detector in every room.
But what seems to really bug Buckstein is that Tomei's legislation is an example of what conservatives love to call "the nanny state" sapping our "personal responsibility." He writes that "personal responsibility is apparently a fragile thing, and I fear that the risk of ceding too much responsibility to the government is a worse danger than [carbon monoxide] gas."
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, approximately 170 people are killed in the United States every year by carbon monoxide from malfunctioning heating devices and other sources in the home. We doubt that many are killed by "ceding too much responsibility to the government."
But tellya what, Steve - if anybody feels that having a carbon monoxide detector in his home or apartment is an act of intolerable tyranny by the "nanny state," he can always unplug it.