Utah governor signs law legalizing ‘free-range parenting’ - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Utah governor signs law legalizing ‘free-range parenting’

Posted: Updated:
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah -

So-called free-range parenting will soon be the law of the land in Utah after the governor signed what appears to be the country's first measure to formally legalize allowing kids to do things on their own to foster self-sufficiency.

The bill, which Gov. Gary Herbert announced Friday that he'd signed, specifies that it isn't neglectful to let kids do things alone like travel to school, explore a playground or stay in the car. The law takes effect May 8.

Utah's law is the first in the country, said Lenore Skenazy, who coined the term free-range parent. A records search by the National Conference of State Legislatures didn't turn up any similar legislation in other states.

Utah lawmakers said they were prompted to pass the law after seeing other states where parents had been investigated and in some cases had their children temporarily removed when people reported seeing kids playing basketball in their yards or walking to school alone.

Headline-grabbing cases have included a Maryland couple investigated after allowing their 10- and-6-year-old children to walk home alone from a park in 2015.

Republican Sen. Lincoln Fillmore of South Jordan has said allowing kids to try things alone helps prepare them for the future, though some have raised concerns the law could be used as defenses in child-abuse cases if not carefully deployed.

The law states the child must be mature enough to handle those things but leaves the age purposely open-ended so police and prosecutors can work on a case-by-case basis, Fillmore has said.

Skenazy, who wrote the book "Free Range Kids" after writing about letting her 9-year-old ride the New York City subway alone, has said the law is a good way to reassure parents who might be nervous about their parenting decisions.

Arkansas lawmakers considered a similar bill last year but ultimately rejected it.

On the federal level, another Utah politician, U.S. Sen. Mike Lee, added an amendment to a 2015 federal education bill supporting the concept. It said kids shouldn't be stopped from biking or walking to school alone with a parent's permission, and parents shouldn't face charges for letting them.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Health advisory issued for Fernan Lake

    Health advisory issued for Fernan Lake

    Wednesday, July 18 2018 7:25 PM EDT2018-07-18 23:25:34 GMT
    Panhandle Health DistrictPanhandle Health District

    KOOTENAI COUNTY, Idaho - Panhandle Health District (PHD) and the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) have issued a health advisory for Fernan Lake. PHD is urging the public to use caution when recreating in or near the water. Water quality monitoring confirmed the presence of cyanobacteria, commonly known as blue-green algae. Blue-green algal blooms have the potential to produce dangerous toxins in areas of the lake. 

    >>

    KOOTENAI COUNTY, Idaho - Panhandle Health District (PHD) and the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) have issued a health advisory for Fernan Lake. PHD is urging the public to use caution when recreating in or near the water. Water quality monitoring confirmed the presence of cyanobacteria, commonly known as blue-green algae. Blue-green algal blooms have the potential to produce dangerous toxins in areas of the lake. 

    >>
  • Illinois man stabs himself after jury's guilty verdict

    Illinois man stabs himself after jury's guilty verdict

    Thursday, July 19 2018 1:21 AM EDT2018-07-19 05:21:16 GMT

    BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (AP) - Authorities say a central Illinois man stabbed himself in a courtroom shortly after a jury found him guilty in a sexual assault case. The Pantagraph reports 78-year-old Johnny Icard was sitting alone Wednesday at a defense table in Bloomington where he had represented himself at trial. When the judge said he was revoking Icard's bond, the Bloomington man said he had family affairs to attend to and wasn't expecting the verdict.   

    >>

    BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (AP) - Authorities say a central Illinois man stabbed himself in a courtroom shortly after a jury found him guilty in a sexual assault case. The Pantagraph reports 78-year-old Johnny Icard was sitting alone Wednesday at a defense table in Bloomington where he had represented himself at trial. When the judge said he was revoking Icard's bond, the Bloomington man said he had family affairs to attend to and wasn't expecting the verdict.   

    >>
  • Spokane man facing involuntary manslaughter charges

    Spokane man facing involuntary manslaughter charges

    Wednesday, July 18 2018 10:52 PM EDT2018-07-19 02:52:50 GMT

    COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - A judge has picked the jury for the trial of a man charged in the deaths of three people who died in a 2016 boat crash on Lake Coeur d'Alene, but the start has been delayed. Wednesday, both the prosecutors and the defense were hoping to begin opening arguments, but they are still tied up in motions that have delayed the start. The jury was selected in the case for Dennis Magner, but they were asked to leave while both sides continue their motions. 

    >>

    COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - A judge has picked the jury for the trial of a man charged in the deaths of three people who died in a 2016 boat crash on Lake Coeur d'Alene, but the start has been delayed. Wednesday, both the prosecutors and the defense were hoping to begin opening arguments, but they are still tied up in motions that have delayed the start. The jury was selected in the case for Dennis Magner, but they were asked to leave while both sides continue their motions. 

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/
  • Top Stories from KHQHomeMore>>

  • Ohio pup with terminal cancer gets free cheeseburgers for the rest of his life

    Ohio pup with terminal cancer gets free cheeseburgers for the rest of his life

    Thursday, July 19 2018 9:45 AM EDT2018-07-19 13:45:00 GMT

    TOLEDO, Ohio - An Ohio Burger King wants a dying dog to have it "his way." 10-year-old Cody only has a few months to live after being diagnosed with terminal bone cancer. Heartbroken by the news, Cody's family decided to keep him comfortable and happy by filling his belly with daily cheeseburgers from Burger King. When employees found out about Cody's cancer, they decided to grant him free cheeseburgers for the rest of his life. 

    >>

    TOLEDO, Ohio - An Ohio Burger King wants a dying dog to have it "his way." 10-year-old Cody only has a few months to live after being diagnosed with terminal bone cancer. Heartbroken by the news, Cody's family decided to keep him comfortable and happy by filling his belly with daily cheeseburgers from Burger King. When employees found out about Cody's cancer, they decided to grant him free cheeseburgers for the rest of his life. 

    >>
  • Upriver/Beacon Fire now 20 percent contained

    Upriver/Beacon Fire now 20 percent contained

    Thursday, July 19 2018 9:09 AM EDT2018-07-19 13:09:30 GMT

    SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - Firefighters on the front lines of the Upriver Beacon fire are making progress on the 115-acre fire that started Tuesday evening.  Megan Hill, Public Information Officer for the fire, tells KHQ the fire is 20 percent contained as of Wednesday evening.

    >>

    SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - Firefighters on the front lines of the Upriver Beacon fire are making progress on the 115-acre fire that started Tuesday evening.  Megan Hill, Public Information Officer for the fire, tells KHQ the fire is 20 percent contained as of Wednesday evening.

    >>
  • Spokane Police searching for missing 62-year-old man

    Spokane Police searching for missing 62-year-old man

    Thursday, July 19 2018 8:26 AM EDT2018-07-19 12:26:05 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Spokane Police are asking for your help finding a missing 62-year-old man who suffers from dementia.  Roxell Mosley was last seen walking on N. Superior Street in the Gonzaga University neighborhood, just south of Mission Park, Wednesday night at around 8:00 pm.  Mr. Mosley is black, 5'10" and 170 pounds. He is possibly wearing a white hat, grey or white shirt, and basketball shorts or sweatpants. 

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Spokane Police are asking for your help finding a missing 62-year-old man who suffers from dementia.  Roxell Mosley was last seen walking on N. Superior Street in the Gonzaga University neighborhood, just south of Mission Park, Wednesday night at around 8:00 pm.  Mr. Mosley is black, 5'10" and 170 pounds. He is possibly wearing a white hat, grey or white shirt, and basketball shorts or sweatpants. 

    >>