Silas Walker, Deseret News
FILE - A pedestrian walks by the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Friday, Jan. 25, 2019.

SALT LAKE CITY — A House committee moved a bill forward that would amend the law for vehicle idling in Utah to allow cities more freedom to enforce their own idling laws.

Rep. Patrice Arent, D-Millcreek, who is sponsoring HB148, said this is one of the few things the Legislature can do this session to make a difference with air quality.

"I have walked my district and I have seen people for many, many days in a row in 60 degree weather, idling in front of the schools. I want to give some tools to our cities to be able to try and discourage that kind of action," Arent said.

The current law requires three warnings before a citation is issued for idling and there is no system for the warnings to carry over between cities.

"My constituents have advocated to me that we need an anti-idling ordinance in Millcreek, and I've pushed back on that just because of this three warning requirement," said Jeff Silvestrini, Millcreek mayor.

He said eliminating the warnings, or only requiring one warning, would allow the city to implement an enforceable law and help build an ethic that idling is improper and should be avoided.

Members of the House Government Operations Standing committee listened to the bill for the second time Thursday after a 5-5 vote on Tuesday on a previous version of the bill, which at that time eliminated the need for warnings.

Thursday the committee voted unanimously to pass the amended bill, which requires only one warning before a citation.

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According to Ashley Miller, policy director for Breathe Utah, most idling occurs at schools where kids breathe in fumes while waiting for parents to pick them up.

"It's really important to change people's behavior when it comes to air quality because we are all a part of the problem," Miller said.

Zach Robinson, council member in Sandy, said the city passed an idling ordinance that has been very popular but is not as effective because of the enforcement laws.

"People know it takes a lot to get a ticket because of the way the law is written," Robinson said.