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State Rules Amish Can Build A Home Without A Smoke Detector, Indoor Plumbing

First Religious Exemption To Universal Dwelling Code Goes Against Eau Claire County Decision

Amish farm
Bob Jagendorf (CC-BY-NC-ND)

After being denied by Eau Claire County, an Amish man has gotten approval from state officials to build a home without smoke detectors or indoor plumbing.

The state Department of Safety and Professional Services has overruled Eau Claire County and has granted the state’s first religious exemption waiver from the state’s Universal Dwelling Code. A provision in the state budget created the waivers, which allow Amish families to construct homes without smoke or carbon monoxide detectors.

David Mortimer, a member of the National Committee for Amish Religious Freedom, said the ruling is good for religious freedom.

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“Hopefully, this approval by the state of this first religious waiver application is going to mark the end of a years-long David and Goliath battle,” he said.

Mortimer said 13 Amish families have been in Eau Claire County court for refusing to comply with the dwelling code prior to the waivers’ existence.