Bills would ban smoking in cars with kids
A bill to forbid smoking in cars carrying children is dead in the House, but a similar proposal remains alive in the Senate. House Bill 1366, sponsored by Delegate Joseph Morrissey, D-Richmond, would have made it illegal to smoke in a car if a child under 13 were in the vehicle.
The legislation would have made violations a secondary offense, meaning drivers could be cited only if pulled over for another reason. Violators could have been fined $100 under Morrissey’s bill.
A subcommittee of the House Committee on Militia, Police and Public Safety deadlocked 3-3 Thursday on whether to recommend approval of HB 1366. As a result, the motion failed.
Voting in favor of the bill were Delegates James Edmunds, R-Halifax; Israel O’Quinn, R-Galax; and Alfonso Lopez, D-Arlington.
Voting against it were Republican Delegates Benjamin Cline of Amherst, Christopher Head of Roanoke, and Tony Wilt of Harrisonburg.
There is still hope for anti-smoking legislation. Sen. Ralph Northam, a Democrat who represents parts of Norfolk and Virginia Beach, has introduced Senate Bill 975. It is like Morrissey’s proposal but would ban smoking when children under 15 are in the vehicle.
SB 975 initially was referred to the Senate Transportation Committee. Last week, that panel sent it to the Senate Courts of Justice Committee.
Northam is also sponsoring SB 1253, which would allow local governments to ban smoking in public areas such as parks and beaches.
It’s not uncommon for states to ban smoking in cars carrying children. Arkansas, Louisiana, California, Maine and Puerto Rico all have such laws. The age of the minor varies from state to state.
Anti-smoking advocates would like to see Virginia join that list.
“Virginia is far behind what other states have,” said Bronson Frick, an assistant director of Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights, a national advocacy group.
Virginia does ban smoking in restaurants, but the state law doesn’t cover other areas. “It’d help Virginia be a part of a trend with most of the United States,” Frick said.
Most states that have outlawed smoking in the car with a child present, Frick said, usually take an educational approach, too: They have a campaign to inform the public about the health risks of second-hand smoke.
“It’s not just about passing the law but also implementing it,” Frick said.
Both of Northam’s bills will be heard this week at the General Assembly.
The 10th Annual Filipino Festival will be held Aug. 7-8 at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, 8200 Woodman Rd., beginning with opening ceremonies at 5 p.m. Friday and continuing with live entertainment, food and exhibits until 10 p.m. On Saturday the festival will take place from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. with a full schedule of performances featuring traditional Filipino dance, music and song.
Filipino cuisine, including BBQ, pansit, lumpia, adobo, halo-halo, lechon, empanada and leche flan, will be available for purchase. The festival will also feature a children's area, church tours, exhibits, and health screenings. > Read more.
The Children’s Museum of Richmond last week opened its new Short Pump location at Short Pump Town Center, to the delight of children who attended a sneak preview of the location July 10. The new facility, located under the forthcoming LL Bean store (formerly the food court) is 8,500 square feet in size – much larger than CMoR’s former Short Pump location at West Broad Village, which opened in 2010. The new space includes The CarMax Foundation Service Station, the Silver Diner, a grocery store, a performance stage and an art studio, as well as a giant Light Bright Wall. > Read more.
The Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Henrico Police are both presenting community events tomorrow, Aug. 1. The Feria Community Resource Fair at Richmond International Raceway brings together community service providers, embassies/consulates from Latin American countries, government agencies, nonprofit organizations and corporations that impact the Latino community. The Division of Police’s Community Day will feature demonstrations and displays from police, fire, animal protection and sheriff’s office, as well as family activities, food, entertainment and more. Other events this weekend include wine, chess and theatre! For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.
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Jul. 16, 2015Click here to read the print edition.
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