Va. Senate votes to limits smoking, cell phone use
By Laura Vozzella,
Smoking in public parks and using a cell phone while driving near a school would be illegal under bills that cleared the Virginia Senate Monday.
The Senate voted 26 to 14 to give localities the authority to ban smoking in public parks and beaches.
The bill was sponsored by Sen. Ralph S. Northam (D-Norfolk), a pediatric neurologist who is running for lieutenant governor. He has brought several health-related bills this session, including three ill-fated attempts to repeal or soften a 2012 law requiring women to get an ultrasound before an abortion.
Earlier this session, the Senate approved a bill prohibiting smoking in a car with a child present.
On Monday, the Senate also passed a bill to limit cell phone use by drivers near schools. It is legal in Virginia to use hand-held phones while driving, but the Senate bill would prohibit it for anyone driving on school property or in school zones. Sponsored by Sen. Janet D. Howell (D-Fairfax), it passed 32 to 8.