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. Several doctors spoke in favor of the bill, including Dr. Kevin Nelson, a pediatrician at the University of Utah.
“We can come before you and say that Representative Arent’s bill, House Bill 13, is based on medical evidence and that there is evidence to support that," Dr. Nelson says. "Not just that it’s harmful to children. Not just that we’re doing our children harm by having them in a car in a small enclosed area.”
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.”
If passed, a violation of the law would come with a fine of up to $45. This is Arent’s second attempt at getting this bill passed through the legislature.