Lawmaker proposing 'free range parenting' bill

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (News4Utah) - A bill is moving through the Utah Legislature that would allow more protections for parents who let their children walk places or play without supervision. Supporters said they want to avoid problems they've seen in other states.

Sen. Lincoln Fillmore (R-South Jordan) said he wants parents to be able to let their kids go out on their own without facing fear of penalties. While he admits there haven't been any cases like that happening in Utah, there have been cases in other states which promoted his bill SB 65.

"Parents are being arrested, prosecuted, and in some cases having their kids taken out of their homes and out of the parents custody for simple things like letting their kids play at the park," said Sen. Fillmore.

The bill would still allow police and child protective services to intervene in certain situations. Although parents would now have a defense when it comes to their kids being alone.

Connor Boyack is President of the Libertas Institute and helped with the bill. He notes many of us hear about bad things happening to children because of social media. Boyack said during their research they found things are much safer than they once were.

 "It is safer today for children to be out, to be walking to school, and to be outside parental supervision than it was decades ago when a lot of us had more independence."

The bill already passed committee unanimously in the Senate. It must be read two more times on the floor before going to committee in the House.

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