Eau Claire Co. judge rules Amish to comply with permits

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (AP) -- A Wisconsin judge has ruled that local Old Order Amish families must obtain building and sanitary permits in accordance with an Eau Claire County requirement.

Judge Michael Schumacher's 11-page decision reportedly says the families are not burdened by the county's application process. The judge ordered the families to apply for the permits within 30 days or risk being removed from their residences.

State law requires new homes to include smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, but the Amish don't use electronic devices.

None of the Amish involved in the case testified in the July trial. Schumacher said that was significant.

An assistant county attorney suggested that the defendants pay forfeitures roughly between $15,000 to $300,000.

The attorney who represents the Amish families says the court is essentially punishing his clients for their religious beliefs.