Gaffney Bill Would Reduce Burden on Consumers & Merchants

From the campaign to re-elect State Rep Kent Gaffney (52nd District)…

Springfield, IL… A new law that took effect on January 1st of this year is already causing headaches for consumers and merchants across Illinois.

Public Act 97-0565 (House Bill 2193) is aimed at preventing acid attacks, but merchants are finding that new regulations overreach the Act’s intended goal. The new law makes possession of caustic chemicals a Class 4 felony, while also requiring consumers to provide identification and sign a registration log when purchasing caustic materials.

While the law is aimed at sulfuric acid, lye, and similar industrial strength chemicals, merchants are finding that the vague language in the bill might require them to ask for identification for items such as drain and toilet cleaners and pool chemicals. Faced with up to a $1,500 fine, merchants are playing it safe and requiring consumers to sign the chemical registration log.

State Representative Kent Gaffney (R-Lake Barrington) says the new regulation overshot its original goal and is now a burden to local small business.

“The intent of the original legislation was good,” said Gaffney. “However, much of the new regulation is very vague and a burden to merchants and consumers alike. The General Assembly effectively regulated cleaning your house while aiming at criminal acid attacks.”

The original legislation contains vague language which has led to confusion among what products require identification to purchase. The Act requires that, for all products required by federal law to have the warning “causes severe burns,” a purchaser must show identification and sign a purchase log. While most common household chemicals do not contain that exact wording, they typically contain similar warnings that give merchants pause when selling the product.

Gaffney has introduced House Bill 4523 which will add clarity to the law. The bill will allow exemptions for common household products so consumers looking to purchase common cleaning products will not have to show identification and merchants will not be facing a hefty fine.

“Small businesses already have enough to deal with when it comes to regulation from state government,” said Gaffney. “This legislation is just common sense. No one is going to their local supermarket to buy drain cleaner as a weapon. We shouldn’t have to inconvenience them because others have chosen to use industrial chemicals illegally.”

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