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Published January 12 2011

Proposed ND bill would ban smoking with kids under 13 in car

BISMARCK – Smoking with kids in the car could soon be illegal.

A group of North Dakota lawmakers has submitted a bill to make it unlawful for drivers or passengers to smoke if kids under 13 are in the car.

House Bill 1150 says this is regardless of whether a window is down or if the vehicle is parked or on private property. The proposed fine is $50.

Bill co-sponsor Sen. Stan Lyson, R-Williston, said the bill stems from a group of Williston students.

“They said to us, ‘We feel like we’re captive in our vehicle when our parents smoke, and it’s not right,’ ” Lyson said. “It’s certainly not healthy. We agree completely with the children that brought it to our attention.”

Last session, the bill failed with an age limit of 16. Sponsors decided to try the bill again with an age of 13, Lyson said.

Bill co-sponsor Rep. Joyce Kingsbury, R-Grafton, supports the bill but doubts the Legislature will approve it.

“In the view of how they usually vote for people’s rights, I would probably say it’s going to fail again,” she said.

Repeated attempts to reach registered lobbyists for cigarette maker Philip Morris for comment were unsuccessful.

Finneman is a multimedia reporter for Forum Communications Co.