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Lawmakers disagree over fine for smoking in car with kids

Published: Jan. 27, 2022 at 5:47 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Two West Virginia state senators disagreed Thursday over whether penalizing adults for smoking with children in the car would be a violation of “parental rights.”

Senate Bill 139 would make it a misdemeanor to smoke in the car with a child under 16 present. The violation would be punishable by up to a $25 fine.

The violation would be a secondary offense, meaning people could not be pulled over just for smoking in the car with children. Instead, it would be something that could be tacked on if a person was already being pulled over for something else.

Republican Sen. Tom Takubo, a Charleston lung doctor, is the bill’s sponsor. During a Senate Health and Human Resources Committee meeting Thursday, he said the bill was inspired by a patient who was not a smoker, but lost half of her lung function. Her father was a heavy smoker, Takubo said.

“I promised her that I will always fight to try to look at this,” he said. Takubo has introduced similar legislation during past sessions.

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