SPRINGFIELD, IL — Illinois is poised to become the first state in the United States to require health clubs to have AEDs on the premises. After considering Senate Bill 777 since mid-June, Gov. Rod Blagojevich issued an amendatory veto, returning the bill to the legislature with several specific changes. The House and Senate will vote on these changes during a special veto session in November. No further action is necessary to pass the bill following this vote. The legislature has indicated that it will approve the governor's changes, making S.B. 777 the first law of its kind in the country. The bill would still require clubs to obtain an AED, as well as to implement a plan for responding to medical emergencies and file a copy with the Department of Public Health (DPH). A $300 tax credit related to the AED purchase and liability protection for clubs also remain in the bill after intense lobbying from IHRSA.

“We were able to change some language to ensure that there doesn't need to be someone certified in the use of AEDs present at all times, just that there would always be someone on staff. The logistics of ensuring that someone would always be there is just too difficult to maintain,” said Kevin F. Buckley, government relations manager for IHRSA. Additionally, we had the bill amended to include language that no action could be taken against a club for the use or non-use of AEDs that goes above and beyond Good-Samaritan laws.”

Buckley said the impact of this law could reach far beyond the Illinois borders in time.

“We have seen AED legislation emerge in Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey and Michigan during this legislative session. We expect to see it introduced in more state legislatures in 2004.”

The governor made the following recommendations:

  • The DPH will issue an administrative warning, not a fine, for the first violation. The amounts of the fines for subsequent violations, however, have been raised.
  • The bill will not go into effect until Jan. 1, 2005.
  • Facilities that serve fewer than 100 individuals will not be required to have an AED.