A bill that could come before before the South Carolina legislature next year would make it a misdemeanor for someone to leave a child in a car unattended.
Representative Wendell Gilliard (D-Charleston), who is the primary backer of the legislation, said the bill is important. “We must protect our children at any cost. We must make the parents accountable and responsible,” he said, “You wanna call it an intrusion of government? Then so be it, because when an elected official takes office we are sworn to protect.”
The issue of leaving children in cars draws concern in a state that often sees temperatures climb above 90 or 100 degrees in the summer. Several children have died in recent years. Recently, an 8-month-old died from overheating in Columbia on Father’s Day. Gilliard said he believes incidents like these are caused by young parents, “who were never taught how to be responsible.”
Gilliard believes there needs to be more laws protecting children. He says making it a crime to leave a child unattended is a law that “without a doubt” needs to be put in place, “I strongly believe we’ve got better laws to protect animals than children, not only in the state of South Carolina, but all over the country.”
This bill cannot be taken up by the house until next year, but Gillard said he thinks it will be addressed when the time comes because of the issue’s importance.
South Carolina Radio Network’s Tripp Girardeau contributed to this report