SALT LAKE CITY — After considerable debate Monday, the Utah House of Representatives approved legislation making it illegal for Utah drivers to smoke in their cars if they have a child as a passenger.
The measure, approved on a 41-30 vote, would make it a secondary offense to smoke while driving with someone under 16 years old. It now advances to the House.
Critics of the bill said it has good intentions but is an overreach by government to change behavior.
Bountiful Republican Rep. Jim Nielson said the legislation could open the door to laws punishing parents for failing to put sunscreen on children.
The bill’s sponsor, Salt Lake City Democratic Rep. Patrice Arent, says the personal freedoms afforded to adults do not include the freedom to harm a child with secondhand smoke.