ELK GROVE --
The eighth-grade class at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic School was congratulated by State Senator Richard Pan for doing the legwork in producing a bill aimed at banning smoking within 250 feet of youth sporting events.
"We wanted something we could relate to, " said student Brianna McCarley.
The bill was a project of a social studies class, but Pan bought in after he was approached.
"We want to make sure that youth sports are about promoting good habits, promoting the kind of habits that lead to success and good health and tobacco is no part of that," said Pan, who is a pediatrician.
Pan says this is a tremendous teaching moment that will expose students to how a bill becomes law. He also says he's not indulging students with their idea. He asked them if they were willing to testify at hearings and gather support for the legislation.
"We have been editing, contacting schools, researching ever since," said McCarley.
Pan says the bill labeled Senate Bill 977 has a long way to go and will likely see some opposition or even indifference by critics who object to the introduction of too many bills. After all, some might not even be able to see if someone were smoking 250 feet away let alone breathe smoke from that distance.
But Pan says the bill will send a message about what is appropriate near youth sporting events. He says he it will help that he is just a partner in sponsoring the bill.
"Student themselves are saying 'we need this,'" said Pan.