- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 30, 2018

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - State lawmakers are considering a bill to make leaving children alone in a car a crime punishable by jail time.

The General Assembly’s judiciary committees are reviewing a bill that would bar anyone from leaving a child under age 7 unattended in a motor vehicle for more than 15 minutes.

On New Year’s Day, a two-year-old girl was in the backseat of a car that was stolen and quickly recovered in Providence.

If the legislation passes, violators could be fined $150 for a first offense. Subsequent offenses would be punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and up to a year in jail.

A proposal to criminalize leaving children unattended in cars for longer than five minutes stalled last year. The ACLU and some parents felt it infringed on parental decision-making.

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