Does the proposed bill to make it illegal to smoke with kids in the car cross the line?
(WDAY TV) - North Dakota lawmakers may make it illegal to smoke if there are kids in your car. House Bill 1150 carries a $50-dollar fine for smoking with kids under 13 in the car, even if a window is down. It even applies to your vehicle, if it's parked, or if it's on private property.
SEN. STAN LYSON(R) Williston: "I believe that children at that age should not have to be kept captive in the car with parents or other adults smoking and having to breathe their secondhand smoke."
A group of Williston students is behind the bill. At least one lawmaker doubts the bill will get enough support to pass. Does this law cross the line? Some say it gives children a voice. Others say the law would restrict what you can do on your personal property.
We found smokers on both sides of the hot topic. So is government going too far, infringing on a basic right? Or is it about time we look into this sort of law to protect our children.
"The kid doesn't have its own voice and there for you should be the voice for that kid."
Surprisingly, far more smokers we talked to today support this bill than oppose it. Bailey Boulduc (bull-dock) has a 4 year old girl. Bouldoc says she never smokes in the car with her daughter inside, window down or not.
"I kind of feel bad for the kids you know when you see people honestly drive with their windows up and you got 2, 3 people smoking in that car, I don't think that's right."
Dennis Zimdars, a smoker, was for banning smoking in public places. Years ago when he could smoke on the job at the post office he even signed a petition to ban smoking in the building. Still, he doesn't want the government telling him what he can or can't do in his personal vehicle.
"Ludicrous, in a word it's just plain going too far the next logical progression is I can't smoke in my house, can't have my grandchildren over, can't smoke if they're in the house it's absurd."
Public Health officials say people opposing smoking bans often argue, why don't you put bans on fast food burgers or chips, these also have health risks, but they say these items don't harm the ones not using them.
"Sometimes the addiction controls what people do and how they don't necessarily consider what they may be doing to other people and that's just the power of the addiction."
The 4 states you see here in red currently have a ban on people smoking with children in the car; the minimum age of a passenger is the only difference. It is 7-years old in Arkansas, 14 in Maine, 16 in Louisiana and 18 in California. This year Kentucky, Washington and North Dakota will all look into passing the ban.
Public Health Officials say rolling a window down in a vehicle doesn't even come close to eliminating all of the second hand smoke.