Hi all — There has been some sort of shift in the Rhode Island legislature, pushing this bill off today’s agenda. I will keep you posted! – L.
RHODE ISLAND: The bill criminalizing parents who let their kids wait in the car a few minutes keeps coming back like a bad penny. (Or bored cop! Or eager busybody!)
In fact, it’s having a hearing again tomorrow — Thursday, Mar. 23. Here’s your chance to let your lawmakers know that parents should be allowed to determine whether or not it makes more sense to drag the kids out of the car on a brief errand. Please recall that anytime a child is waiting in a car for a few minutes you can be assured he or she faced more danger before the interlude. Car accidents — in moving cars — are the #1 way kids die. We don’t criminalize parents who deliberately choose to drive their kids places, because we understand the overwhelmingly safe odds.We just don’t understand the overwhelmingly safe odds of letting kids wait in the car a short while.
This note comes from Randall Rose, an activist in Providence, Rhode Island.
Dear Free-Range Kids:.The bill that criminalizes leaving kids in cars, S72,is having a hearing Thursday in the Senate JudiciaryCommittee at the State House, Room 313. Peoplecan come and sign up to tell the committee whatthey think of the bill at this hearing, which startsat 4:30 or 5 Thursday. This is the second of twohearings on this bill..If you can’t make the hearing, Rhode Island residentscan call the committee clerk at 401-222-6625 to saythey’re against this bill. It’s best to give your nameand town..Almost all cases of leaving children in cars are harmless,and parents sometimes face situations where theyreasonably decide that having the child remain in thecar is safe enough. The S72 bill would make it a crimein Rhode Island to leave a child under 7 in a car forover 5 minutes, even if the child was accompanied bya 13-year-old sibling.Penalties could include a $1000fine or a 1-year jail sentence, even if the child wasunharmed..This bill is too judgmental. Current RhodeIsland law already says that police can issue a warningto parents in this situation, and that’s better thanhaving fines or criminal penalties for what are almostcertainly harmless parenting choices..Also, please share the petition against this bill withothers: