Thursday, February 7, 2013

HB13 Protection of Children Riding in Motor Vehicles

From kuer 90.1: A bill making it illegal to smoke in a car with children is one step closer to becoming law after getting a favorable recommendation from the House Health and Human Services Committee. Democratic Representative Patrice Arent says her bill is aimed at helping the thousands of children without a voice who are being harmed by second hand smoke in cars.

As someone who was exposed to secondhand smoke as a child, I support this bill. If this bill passes, people would be charged with a $45 fine. For some reasons, many of our lawmakers are against this bill. This is Arent's second attempt at getting this bill passed. The bill went to the House Health and Human Services Committee on the 5th and was given a favorable recommendation. Republican Representative Mike Kennedy of Alpine was one of two members of the committee to vote against the legislation. He’s concerned passage would eventually lead to government overreach. “I could also enforce the candy bar in the car," Kennedy says. "I could outlaw trick-or-treating, which is probably one of the most toxic holidays that we have for the long term obesity issues, the cavities, and the other troubles that come.”

Seriously?! I just don't know what to say to his response. I very much disagree that this is government overreach. For one, people can only be fined with this as a secondary offense (if they have gotten pulled over for some other reason and are found to be smoking in a car with children). Also, Arent made it clear in the text of the bill that this violation can not be used as a basis or evidence of child abuse or neglect.

We need to protect our children. Contact your Representative to urge them to support this bill.

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