Sen. Raptakis bill that protects children from being left alone in vehicles passes Senate
STATE HOUSE – Sen. Leonidas P. Raptakis’ (D-Dist. 33, Coventry, West Greenwich, East Greenwich) legislation (2021-S 0128) that will protect minors left unattended in a motor vehicle passed the Senate.
The legislation repeals the requirement that law enforcement issue only verbal warnings of the risks to persons leaving a child under the age of seven unattended in a motor vehicle. The removal of the warning requirement will allow law enforcement to charge an individual under the “cruelty to or neglect of child” statute for leaving a minor unaccompanied in a vehicle if necessary. First responders and law enforcement would also be allowed to notify the Department of Children, Youth and Families after an incident which is currently prevented under law.
“While child neglect and child endangerment are serious crimes,” said Senator Raptakis, “we had no law providing a penalty for children left unattended in cars and the law only authorizes law enforcement officials to provide a verbal warning. There is a serious danger of abduction and an even greater danger from excessive temperatures inside a car. Animals are protected from being left unattended in a car with extreme temperatures. In fact, the penalty is a $1,000 fine. It’s time we give our children the same protection. It’s time we protect our children.”
Senator Raptakis has been sponsoring similar legislation for the past seven years.
Senators Frank S. Lombardi (D-Dist. 26, Cranston), Cynthia A. Coyne (D-Dist. 32, Barrington, Bristol, East Providence), Dawn Euer (D-Dist. 13, Newport, Jamestown), Gordon E. Rogers (R-Dist. 21, Foster, Coventry, Scituate, West Greenwich), Thomas J. Paolino (R-Dist. 17, Lincoln, North Providence, North Smithfield), Walter S. Felag, Jr. (D-Dist. 10, Warren, Bristol, Tiverton), and Stephen R. Archambault (D-Dist. 22, Smithfield, North Providence, Johnston) are the cosponsors of the legislation.
The bill now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.
For more information, contact:
Andrew Caruolo, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903