Bill would require automakers to install alarms so kids aren't left in hot cars

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State Rep. Robert Kosowski introduces bills that would require carmakers to install back seat baby

LANSING — Since 1998, 737 children, including 10 in Michigan, have died after being left in hot cars.

State Rep. Robert Kosowski, R-Westland, wants to make sure that the tragedy ends.

“Every time you turn around, you see people are leaving kids in their cars. Sometimes in this fast-paced world, it’s an honest mistake,” he said. “But our whole goal is to make people slow down and make sure they take their kids with them.”

So he introduced a bill last week that would require auto manufacturers to install an alarm in new cars that would alert people to check their back seats.

There are plenty of backseat alert gadgets that parents already can buy and General Motors’ has included alert systems in 20 vehicle models. In addition, bills similar to Kosowski's bill have been introduced in both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate.

But Kosowski wants Michigan to be pro-active.

“There is a lot of work to be done on this one,” he said. “We just think it’s a good idea.”

 

 

This year, 37 children have died in hot cars, although there have been none in Michigan, according to statistics compiled by the Meteorology and Climate Science Department at San Jose State University in California. Texas has reported the most deaths since 1998 with 107, followed by Florida with 77 and California with 45.

Another bill from Kosowski would require fireworks’ retailers to only sell silent fireworks. Yes, there really is such a thing as silent fireworks. 

The animal rights group — People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals — has been asking cities around the country to use quieter fireworks to help reduce the level of stress in animals who head for hiding places on  holidays such as the Fourth of July. And the city of Collecchio in Italy has passed a law calling for silent fireworks to appease pet owners.

It’s not the first fireworks bill to be introduced in the last few years as lawmakers contend with hundreds of complaints from constituents when the pyrotechnics start to fly.

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A crowd watches a fireworks display at Hart Plaza in downtown Detroit in June 2014 during The Ford Fireworks.  (Photo: Ryan Garza, Detroit Free Press)

Forty-one bills have been introduced to repeal or modify  Michigan’s fireworks law in the last three legislative sessions. But none have even gotten a hearing.

“I’m a big fan of fireworks. I don’t want them to go away. But maybe there’s a way for manufacturers to do something about it,” Kosowski said. “Everybody likes fireworks, they just don’t like the noise.”

Bills introduced last week:

HB 4895: Allow for the possession and application of sunscreen at schools. Sponsor: Rep. Kevin Hertel, D-St. Clair Shores.

HB 4896-4899: Allow for the voluntary contribution of money for the sexual assault kit initiative through the driver license application and renewal process and income tax returns. Sponsor: Rep. Robert Kosowski, D-Westland.

HB 4900: Allow immediate family members to renew vehicle registrations for a relative. Sponsor: Rep. Robert Kosowski, D-Westland.

HB 4901: Require automobile manufacturers to install a backseat child safety alarm in vehicles. Sponsor: Rep. Robert Kosowski, D-Westland.

HB 4902: Require fireworks sold in Michigan to be silent. Sponsor: Rep. Robert Kosowski, D-Westland.

HB 4903: Prohibit insurance companies from refusing to provide coverage to victim of criminal sexual conduct. Sponsor: Rep. Robert Kosowski, D-Westland.

HB 4904: Prohibit insurance companies to charge a different rate based on sex. Sponsor: Rep. Robert Kosowski, D-Westland.

Senate bills

SB 513: Prohibit medical and fringe benefits to go the unmarried partner or a state employee. Sponsor: Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge.

SB 514: Provide for the appointment of conservators for abandoned and blighted real property. Sponsor: Sen. Coleman Young II, D-Detroit.

SB 515: Require that state contracts be awarded to Michigan based companies. Sponsor: Sen. Curtis Hertel, D-East Lansing.

SB 516-518: Provide for mediation in the foreclosure of mortgages and land contracts for agricultural property. Sponsor: Sen. Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City.

SB 519: Create a fund-raising vehicle registration plate for Blue Star Mothers of America. Sponsor: Sen. Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair.

SB 520: Revise the requirements for the bulk sales of secured transaction records. Sponsor: Sen. Darwin Booher, R-Evart.

SB 521: Clarify the procedures to deal with traffic at an intersection during a power failure. Sponsor: Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge.

SB 522: Provide for compensation for directors of a village or township community center. Sponsor: Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba.

SB 523: Revise the distribution of funds for a state convention facility. Sponsor: Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba.

SB 524: Provide for fingerprinting and background checks by the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards for law enforcement training academies. Sponsor: Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge.

SB 525: Modify the reorganization of the courts and the number of judgeships. Sponsor: Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge.

SB 526: Modify the nominating petitions and filing deadline for candidates for city offices. Sponsor: Sen. Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City.

SB 527: Allow foster parents to carry concealed weapons as long as they have a permit. Sponsor: Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba.

SB 528: Increase the penalties for failure to stop for a school bus displaying flashing red lights. Sponsor: Sen. Curtis Hertel, D-East Lansing.

SB 529-530: Establishment reimbursement procedures for child care fund appeals. Sponsor: Sen. Peter MacGregor, R-Rockford.

SB 531-539: A package of bills dealing with the scandal surrounding the Unemployment Insurance Agency in which more than 44,000 recipients on unemployment benefits were falsely accused of fraud. The bills include: increasing weekly benefits; restitution and an appeals process for benefits that were improperly garnished; increased penalties for deficient contributions; creating a database security breach policy; a modification on the statute of limitations; and creating a contingent fund to pay affected claimants. Sponsors: Sens. Jim Ananich, D-Flint; Ian Conyers, D-Detroit; Steven Bieda, D-Warren; Bert Johnson, D-Highland Park; David Knezek, D-Dearborn Heights; Vincent Gregory, D-Southfield; Curtis Hertel, D-East Lansing; Rebekah Warren, D-Ann Arbor; Morris Hood, D-Detroit.

SB 540: Modify the definition of transfer of property ownership. Sponsor: Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton.

SB 541: Provide for the licensing and regulation of dental therapists. Sponsor: Sen. Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake.

SB 542: Limit the geographic scope of the pesticide notification registry. Sponsor: Sen. Tom Casperson.

Contact Kathleen Gray: 313-223-4430 or kgray99@freepress.com 

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