State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz has launched a petition calling for Illinois residents to show support for a bill she’s sponsoring that would change the process the state’s Fire Marshal would have to use to alter fire sprinkler laws.

Illinois Rep. Sara Feigenholtz

The petition, which can be found here, states that supporters want to “ensure that any potential changes to state fire sprinkler laws are created with more transparency, adequate public input and open discussion in the General Assembly.”

The bill, which is supported by the Illinois Association of REALTORS®, would require that any fire sprinkler mandate would have to be voted on by the Illinois General Assembly. Currently, the state’s Fire Marshal has to go through the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules.

The bill is in response to Fire Marshal Larry Matkaitus’ effort to force Illinoisans to install fire sprinkler systems in new residential construction and in older residential apartment and condominium buildings. The fire marshal’s effort met widespread opposition last year, and he was forced to withdraw the proposal.

Sprinkler mandates are of particular concern to homeowners. They layer costs into new construction, as a result making housing less affordable. And in the case of older apartment and condo buildings, retrofitting could cost millions of dollars. Those costs would have to be passed onto renters and homeowners.