In recent years, conflict has grown between modern government regulations and Amish communities, where religious beliefs often require a lifestyle that rejects technological conveniences. In Wisconsin, the legislature has taken a step toward increased accommodation of those religious views by allowing waivers from the state’s dwelling code requirements.
Associated Press reports:
Republican state Rep. Kathy Bernier of Lake Hallie introduced the amendment after Eau Claire County pursued actions against several Amish families for noncompliance with the code. She said many Amish families weren’t willing to sign the code promising they would install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors because they believed it was dishonest since they didn’t plan to follow through due to religious reasons.
“I think this is going to set a standard, not just for Eau Claire County but for the entire state and the nation,” she said. “It will be a good model as to how to have a good structure and yet recognize the rights of a group of people who have religious beliefs they have held for hundreds of years.”
About 17,000 Amish people live in Wisconsin, according to the Young Center for Anabaptist & Pietist Studies.