One of the bills awaiting a decision by Governor Jay Nixon (D) would protect anyone who frees a child trapped in a hot car.
According to San Jose State University, so far this year eight children have died of heatstroke in the U.S. because they were left in a hot car. Since 1998, an average of 37 children have died that way each year.
The state legislature voted to protect from being sued anyone who forces his or her way into a car to free a child believing that child is in danger. The bill was sponsored by Springfield Republica Elijah Haahr, who calls it the “Rescue the Forgotten” law.
“Somebody who performs that service should never have to worry about the liability,” said Hahhr.
“But two, just the act of moving the legislation – of putting that in case law – raises awareness among people that they are protected in those actions.
The bill requires that a person who breaks into a car to free a child contact emergency responders and stay with the child until they arrive.
Haahr said the proposal was based on a civil immunity law in Tennessee. The idea to propose it stemmed from a case in Kansas City last year.
“There was a store and somebody came into the store and said there was a child in the car. The assistant manager of the store went out and saw the child in distress, sweating, crying, windows up, and she used a tire iron to break through the window and rescue the child,” Haahr explained. “The driver of the car returned … and their first question was not about how the child was. Their first question was whether the manager of the store was going to pay for the damage to their vehicle.”
Nixon could sign the bill into law, let it become law without his action, or veto it.