March 9, 2011 - SALT LAKE CITY - The Utah House of Representatives passed Substitute HB89 late Monday, March 7th a bill that would make it illegal for adults to smoke in cars carrying children age 15 and under. In a close 39-35 vote, the bill was sent to the Senate for their consideration.
The bill was originally sent to the House Transportation committee, but did not make it to the House floor. It passed through the House Health and Human Services committee with a 7-2 vote and then moved to the floor.
Sponsored by Representative Patrice Arent-D, Salt Lake City, the bill allows up to a $45 fine that would be waived if the driver enrolls in a course to stop smoking. Arent pointed out that children’s lungs, sinuses and ears are damaged by second-hand smoke, and the purpose of the bill is to protect “those who cannot protect themselves.”
Arguments against the bill include an infringement of personal freedom, and concerns that legislation of this nature could lead to a “slippery slope.” A suggestion by Representative Brad Daw-R, Orem to have law enforcement provide an offender with a brochure about the dangers of smoking instead of a ticket was voted down.
Representative Lee Perry-R, Perry, is a lieutenant with the Utah Highway Patrol. He remarked about the irony of the Utah Legislature’s fight against abortion and how it seems to conflict with their objections to HB89. According to Perry, lawmakers spend a lot of time protecting the unborn, but “the second they come out we can start poisoning them and killing them.” Representative Carl Wimmer-R, Herriman had his three anti-abortion bills pass the House yesterday as well. He voted against HB89.
Reference: Utah house says no smoking in cars with kids, Alison Peek - Salt Lake City Political Buzz Examiner,Examiner.com, 3/8/2010.
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