- Associated Press - Thursday, February 12, 2015

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - Legislation that would make it illegal for parents and others to smoke in a motor vehicle when a child is present has cleared its first hurdle.

The House Heath Committee voted 6-3 Thursday to advance the measure.

Democratic Rep. Jeff Steinborn of Las Cruces and Sen. Peter Wirth of Santa Fe are sponsoring the measure.

With all the research related to the dangers of secondhand smoke, Steinborn says smoking with a child strapped in the back seat really amounts to a form of child abuse.

The legislation would amend the state’s motor vehicle code to prohibit smoking in any motor vehicle when a minor is present. Smoking would include cigarettes, e-cigarettes and other tobacco products.

The penalty would be $250.

Some lawmakers had civil rights concerns and suggested the fine was too high.

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