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Moolenaar: Penalize smokers in vehicles with youths


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http://ourmidland.com/site/news.cfm?new ... 2542&rfi=6

Moolenaar: Penalize smokers in vehicles with youths

Stuart Frohm, Midland Daily News 11/04/2005

Exposing youths under age 18 to tobacco smoke in a vehicle would be illegal in Michigan if a bill Midland Republican Rep. John Moolenaar proposes becomes state law.

The penalty hasn’t been set, Moolenaar said Thursday. That would be done by the state court administrator’s office.

Moolenaar proposes that state lawmakers make it a civil infraction – like a traffic ticket – if a driver or passenger uses a lit tobacco product in a motor vehicle while a person under 18 years of age is with them.

"Much like not wearing a safety belt, being exposed to secondhand smoke in the close quarters of a car puts children at tremendous risk," Moolenaar said in a prepared statement. He referred to pneumonia, bronchitis, lung cancer, ear infections and children’s prolonged colds, coughs, sinus infections and asthma.

The House hasn’t yet voted on an August proposal by Detroit Democratic Rep. LaMar Lemmons III. He proposed penalizing motor vehicle operators – but not passengers – who smoke a cigar, cigarette or pipe tobacco while a minor is in the vehicle. The bill also would make it a civil infraction to eject a cigar, cigarette or pipe tobacco from a motor vehicle.

Lemmons’ bill – House Bill 5085 – went to the Transportation Committee and hasn’t received a House vote. Moolenaar said today that he’s been promised a hearing on his own bill by the Transportation Committee’s chairman. And Lemmons is a cosponsor of Moolenaar’s bill, House Bill 5407, Moolenaar said.

Another proposal by Lemmons – against smoking in an enclosed indoor area in which a minor is present – went to the Commerce Committee. That is House Bill 5085.

When asked today about his own bill’s chances for enactment, Moolenaar said he’s encouraged that House Majority Floor Leader Chris Ward, R-Brighton, signed on as a co-sponsor.

No single event prompted him to propose the bill, Moolenaar said. But seeing an adult smoking in a car outside a convenience store, with children in car seats, is "a troubling sight," Moolenaar said.

The proposal doesn’t tell people they can’t smoke in their vehicles, but rather "to be responsible," Moolenaar said.

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