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Deadly Fires From Phone, Scooter Batteries Leave Lawmakers Playing Catch-Up on Safety

For a decade, Illinois state Sen. Sue Rezin has recognized the technological and economic potential of lithium-ion batteries. Rezin, a Republican who serves in a district that is a major chemical and energy industry hub southwest of Chicago, also recognizes the possible dangers.

Lawmakers in other states are hoping to better equip their firefighters, with bills in New Jersey and Rhode Island that would offer money for training on how to respond to lithium-ion battery fires.

Jon M. Williams, an energy expert and CEO of Viridi, a battery energy storage system, told Stateline that such policies are encouraging manufacturers to build safer products. Still, he added, lawmakers should think ahead about how to prevent disasters when new products—and knock-off alternatives—hit the market.

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