House Votes to Allow Arson Charges in Meth-Related Fires

By  | 

People who start fires while making drugs could be charged with arson under legislation approved today by the Illinois House.

The bill was approved 98 to 15 and now goes to the Senate. It would expand the definition of arson to include fires and explosions started in the process of making drugs. It targets people who make methamphetamines although they know it's dangerous.

The offense would be considered a "forcible felony." That means if someone is killed in the fire, the offender might be eligible for the death penalty.

Chicago Rep. Larry McKeon says that would be a mistake when Illinois is trying to overhaul its capital punishment system, but Rep. Lisa Dugan says she does not consider her bill an expansion of the death penalty.