Pa. committee votes to help children left alone in hot cars

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A House panel has moved legislation that would encourage people to help children left alone in hot cars.

House Bill 1152, approved Wednesday by the Judiciary Committee, says people aren’t liable for damage when they force their way into a car to rescue someone.

The immunity would only apply when the person has a “good-faith, reasonable belief” that someone in the car is in imminent danger of harm and cannot get out on their own.

The rescuer would first have to make a reasonable effort to find the driver, and they would have to call or attempt to call police, firefighters, or emergency responders. They could use no more force than is necessary, and they would have to stay with the person until police or emergency responders arrive.

Judiciary chair Rep. Ron Marsico (R-Dauphin) said the bill is vital to helping children who may be in real danger.

“This bill will give people a chance to help without worrying about the ramifications of their actions if they see a traumatic situation like this happening,” Marsico said in a statement.

The committee also moved House Bill 1216 that would provide civil immunity to police officers, humane society police officers, and firefighters for property damage when they forcibly enter a car to rescue an animal in imminent danger of harm.

Both bills are awaiting a vote in the full House.

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