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Foster Care Smoking Ban Proposed

Posted at: 01/31/2013 9:40 PM
Updated at: 01/31/2013 10:22 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- One Minnesota lawmaker is fighting to protect foster children from second-hand smoke.

On Thursday, Rep. Tina Liebling (D) of Rochester proposed a bill that would ban people from smoking in foster care facilities, meaning foster parents could not smoke in their own homes.

Technically, foster homes are licensed state facilities and foster children are under the care of the state, which is why Liebling says the state has an obligation to protect them.

"This is not an enormous change,” Rep. Liebling said. “But it does level the playing field for everybody and it sends a clear message that kids need to be raised in an atmosphere that's as healthy as we can make it."

Many counties already ban smoking in foster homes as a licensing requirement, but the practice is not universal. In contrast, in-home child day care facilities are required to be smoke-free under state guidelines.

Liebling introduced the same bill last year, but it was too late in the legislative session to pass. But Liebling said she is confident the bill will have enough support to pass this year.