Back in May 2012, it appeared that the state of California was prepared to adopt legislation requiring “flesh detection technology” on all new table saws sold in that state after January 2015. The legislation was introduced this spring, and passed the California house by a wide margin. In late June the bill was approved by a Senate committee and at the time it was expected that there would be a vote on the issue in August. According to the Los Angeles Times, the bill was allowed to die at the end of the legislative session because there weren’t enough favorable votes in the Senate for passage.
The proposed bill faced heavy lobbying by the Power Tool Institute and by retailer Home Depot. Supporters of required safety devices will now wait to see if the Consumer Product Safety Commission will act on Federal regulations to require devices to detect when the saw blade makes contact with the human body and stop the blade in time to prevent injuries. Currently SawStop is the only manufacturer using such technology, and lengthy battles over patent issues and the mandate to CPSC that their rules not give a monopoly to any one company are expected.