Senate Appropriations Committee Holds Bill To Ban Smoking in Vehicles with Young Children Present
The Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday held without a vote a bill (AB 1569) that would fine motorists for smoking in vehicles with young children present, the Copley/San Diego Union-Tribune reports (Copley/San Diego Union-Tribune, 8/13). The original measure (AB 2997) was defeated in May by an Assembly vote of 36-30, with 14 abstentions; 41 votes were needed to approve the bill. However, the bill's sponsor, Assembly member Marco Firebaugh (D-South Gate), revived the measure by attaching a revised version as an amendment to a bill that had passed the Assembly as a child-care measure.
Like the original bill, the revised measure would prohibit smoking a pipe, cigar or cigarette in vehicles with a child who is required to ride in a protective seat -- anyone younger than age six or who weighs less than 60 pounds. However, the revised bill would take effect Jan. 1, 2006 -- not Jan. 1, 2005, as originally proposed -- and would require that any fines generated by the measure be used for public education programs about the effects of secondhand smoke.
In addition, the revised bill would require law enforcement officers to issue only a warning for a first offense, with subsequent violations resulting in a $25 fine, although other assessments and enhancements could cause the fine to reach as much as $116. The Senate Health and Human Services Committee in June voted to approve the bill (California Healthline, 6/17).