Six bills generating debate, disagreement in the Utah Legislature this year

Published: Tuesday, March 5 2013 8:15 a.m. MST

Smoking in cars with children poised to become illegal in Utah Next » 1 of 6 « Prev
A bill that would stop drivers from smoking in cars with passengers under 15 years old has passed the House and Senate and is now going to the governor for consideration.

HB13 would impose a $45 fine on anyone found violating it. First-time offenders could avoid the fee if they took a class about quitting smoking.

One bill advocate, Utah pediatrician Dr. Tom Metcalf, said exposing a child to secondhand smoke is similar to child abuse because it is "non-accidental trauma."

"It is every bit as traumatic as broken bones and bruises and longer lasting," Metcalf said.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Patrice Arent, D-Millcreek, said the bill is similar to laws against drinking and driving and serves a "very important, public health and safety purpose . . . to protect vulnerable people who cannot protect themselves."

Similar restrictions have been attempted before but opposing parties, like the Utah Eagle Forum, said the proposals impose on personal property rights.

"There are a lot of things that go on on personal property that would be dangerous," said Gayle Ruzicka, an Eagle Forum officer. "Private property is private property and we cannot protect children from all danger."

The Senate narrowly passed the bill with a vote of 16-13.
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Salt Lake City, UT

Article, quoting Sen. Christensen: "He said cockfighting is not wonderful, but the birds 'NATURALLY want to do this thing in their lives...'" [emphasis added]

Funny. In all my years raising poultry, I never once saw a rooster strap a blade to its leg and hop into an arena to fight another bird. A certain amount of aggression is natural in fowl and they can be harsh to the sick and weak, but the forced duel to the death world of cockfighting is not the least bit natural.

Roosevelt, UT

If Utah has cockfighting or not I am betting it is not going to be a mecca for gamblers etc.

The state is going to allow anyone to carry concealed weapons because some hunters fear geting their guns wet? Instead of punishing the entire state how about requiring those hunters to carry guns that are all weather? Really.....just think about it.

Instead of getting guns back in the hands of disturbed individuals why not make it mandatory that anyone who commits a crime punishable by jail that they receive a lifetime ban on any guns. I have noted that guns and crimes are connected in many cases but not all. Lead the pack in a new direction Utah.

And for blowing smoke on kids in a vehicle people will be fined $45? Really that is it? $45 is not an amount that strikes fear into the hearts of the population. If it was a $500 figure it would help the children and pay for the officer to write the citation. The $45 does not even pay for an officer to write the ticket or the gas to put in his car.

Healthy Skeptic
Saratoga Springs, UT

It is not the role of the State to "allow" certain activities. The presumption is that an individual has the liberty to perfrom ANY action that pleases. The Government's role is to protect that liberty, while protecting the liberties of other individuals. Bearing a firearm does not infringe upon any other individual's right of life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. Rather than outlaw guns, the government should pass a law that they cannot be used to harm others...

Outlawing guns would likely be as successful as outlawing drugs.

The question "should government allow..." might well be asked in a dictatorship, but here in the USA, the question is "should government DIS-allow". If the activity does not infringe upon another's rights, the answer to that question should be "NO". We the people have not granted the government that power.

Kaysville, UT

You left a really big one off the list: Moving the State Prison. But it seems like the Leg and the Deseret News want to quiet things so it can be push through.

casual observer
Salt Lake City, UT

The permissive gun bills defy rational comment since they have not passed the smell test.

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