SALT LAKE CITY — A bill that would make it illegal to smoke in a vehicle in the presence of a minor, age 15 or younger, has passed the House.
HB 13 passed the House 41-30 following almost an hour of debate Monday. The legislation now moves to the Senate for further consideration.
Debate on the measure focused on the health of children versus personal freedom.
Rep. Jeremy Peterson, R-Ogden, voted against the measure, saying law enforcement shouldn’t be used as a blunt instrument to educate parents on the dangers of secondhand smoke.
Rep. Dixon Pitcher, R-Ogden, voted for the measure, saying children are a class of citizens who have rights.
Rep. Jim Nielson, R-Bountiful, said it is not the role of government to change behavior.
“If we say it takes a law to change behavior, we are going down a path where we are saying government knows all,” he argued.
Under provisions of the bill, a person convicted of the offense could face a possible fine of up to $45.