The U.S. House approved legislation Wednesday mandating federal safety standards for rechargeable lithium-ion batteries used in e-bikes and scooters, with the goal of preventing fires.

The bill passed with wide bipartisan support, 378 to 34. It now heads to the Senate.

In a statement, Bronx Rep. Ritchie Torres, the bill’s lead sponsor, said, “The electric micro mobility devices that lithium-ion batteries power have quickly spread far and wide across our cities and many service workers rely on them. However, we must ensure that the proper safety standards accompany this heightened usage."

What You Need To Know

  • The Senate still needs to sign off on the legislation

“It is incumbent upon us as elected officials to do everything in our power to put a stop to future preventable fires, which is exactly what this legislation will do," he continued. 

Torres’ bill gives the Consumer Product Safety Commission a year to issue safety standards for the batteries.

FDNY officials had been pushing for lawmakers to pass the bill. In 2023 alone, there were 268 fires caused by the batteries, resulting in the deaths of 18 people and injuries to another 150.

Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh and Chief Fire Marshal Daniel Flynn traveled to Capitol Hill in recent months, meeting with House and Senate lawmakers, urging them to support the legislation.

Kavanagh joined NY1's "Live At Ten" Wednesday to talk about the bill passing the House.

"We are very optimistic about its hope in the Senate. And, you know, really, time is off the essence, right? I think you've heard us say that over and over," she said. "As long as these batteries are here, they're dangerous."

Kavanagh pointed out that these fires aren't just happening within the state, but throughout the country.

"We've led the charge on tracking these nationally so people actually know the reason for the fire and how to prevent it," she said. "Certainly it's going to save lives across the nation, but I think most of all here in New York."

At a February hearing, Flynn called for federal action, telling lawmakers, “We have regulated it within New York City. And we've seen many violations of that law that we put in place locally. We cannot regulate devices that are coming into the city from the surrounding area.”

New Yorkers from both parties are co-sponsoring the legislation. They include Democrat Reps. Yvette Clarke, Pat Ryan, Jamaal Bowman, Dan Goldman, Greg Meeks, Jerry Nadler, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Grace Meng, and Republican Reps. Andrew Garbarino, Anthony D’Esposito, Nick Langworthy, Nicole Malliotakis, and Marc Molinaro.

New York Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer have introduced companion legislation in the upper chamber. It is unclear when the Senate may act on it.