RICHMOND – Lighting up with a child in your car would lighten your wallet under legislation moving through the General Assembly this winter.
Punishing with a $100 fine motorists who smoke tobacco while a youth under age 15 is in the vehicle is the latest anti-smoking bill from Sen. Ralph Northam, a Norfolk physician.
Monday, an amended version of his SB 975 wafted out of the Senate Courts of Justice Committee on a 10-5 vote after it was modified to specify that in addition to the fine violators would pay associated court costs.
Northam, a Democrat, said the idea bill for the bill came from an Eastern Shore boy in the third grade.
Citing medical studies, Northam said second-hand smoke is particularly harmful to youngsters and can lead to health problems for them later in life such as asthma.
Even if his bill clears the Senate, it faces consideration in the House of Delegates that hasn’t always been receptive to anti-smoking measures.
“Having watched the other bills in the House, I think the chances aren’t that good, but we’ll keep up the good fight,” said Northam. “It’s really in the best interest of our children.”
- Julian Walker, The (Norfolk) Virginian-Pilot