State Rep. Rolanda Hollis said she got the idea to ban smoking in cars with children after a ride in her husband’s truck.
“I couldn’t hardly breathe and I told him there should be a law against it,” said Hollis, a Democrat from Birmingham who was elected last year.
Hollis said her husband laughed but has also stopped smoking in his truck.
On Thursday, the Alabama House Judiciary Committee will consider Hollis’ bill.
It would make it a violation punishable by a fine of up to $100 to smoke in a vehicle with a minor, which means anybody under 19.
Hollis said adults have a choice about whether to ride with a smoker, but children don’t. She said enacting a law would raise awareness about second-hand smoke and its effect on children with allergies and other problems.
The Legislature is scheduled to return to work Thursday after taking today off because of hazardous driving conditions caused by snow across the state.
Some committee meetings that were scheduled for today were moved to Thursday.
Hollis said she has gotten mostly positive feedback on her bill and expects it to win committee approval on Thursday.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, eight states and Puerto Rico have restrictions on smoking in vehicles with minors. The states vary on the ages at which the bans apply.
- California, Oregon and Puerto Rico, under 18
- Maine and Utah, under 16
- Arkansas, under 14
- Louisiana, under 13
- Vermont, under 9
- Virginia, under 8
Another state lawmaker, Rep. Chris Pringle, R-Mobile, has introduced a bill that would raise the minimum age to buy tobacco products from 19 to 21. Pringle’s bill is not on the Judiciary Committee’s agenda for Thursday.
Other committee meetings on Thursday:
The House Education Policy Committee will consider a bill by Rep. Terri Collins, R-Decatur, that would add four non-voting members to the state Board of Education. They would include the two most recent Alabama teachers of the year and students who are delegates to Alabama Boys State and Alabama Girls State. Collins bill would make state BOE members subject to new training and accountability requirements. Collins is the Education Policy Committee chairwoman.
The Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee will consider a bill by Sen. Trip Pittman, R-Montrose, that would allow out-of-state sellers with affiliates in Alabama to participate in the Simplified Sellers Use Tax program. The SSUT helps Alabama collect use taxes on purchases made from companies that aren’t required to collect them because they don’t have a brick-and-mortar presence in Alabama. Use taxes are sales taxes on products bought from out-of-state sellers, including Internet and catalog sales. Some city officials are concerned about expanding the SSUT because they think it shortchanges cities struggling with the loss of sales tax revenue because of online sales.
The Senate Finance and Taxation Education Committee will consider a bill by Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston, that would allow more people to take the optional standard deduction on their state income tax, a change that would apply to low-income families with an adjusted gross income of up to $23,000. The fiscal note says it would reduce revenues to the Education Trust Fund by an estimated $4 million a year.