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Utah Governor Gary Herbert signed a bill that will give children more independence while not considering parents negligent. Herbert signed into law bill SB65, which gives children the freedom to develop self-sufficiency. The law states that children must be mature enough to handle each situation — though it does not specify an age. It will go into effect May 8. The bill determines situations that children can engage in that would not be considered parental neglect: traveling to and from school or recreational facilities, playing outside or sitting in a car unattended, provided safe conditions.
According to the Associated Press, Utah lawmakers were prompted to pass the law after witnessing cases in other states where parents were investigated or had their children removed because people reported seeing kids walking to school alone or playing sports without parental supervision. While it is not explicitly illegal to allow children to play or walk outside alone, Connor Boyack, president of the Libertas Institute of Utah that proposed the law, told Yahoo Lifestyle the bill makes it harder to penalize parents who allow their kids to go out without supervision. Utah is the first state in the country to pass a law like this, Lenore Skenazy, who coined the term free-range parent, told the Associated Press. Skenazy came up with the concept after writing an article for the New York Sun in 2009 that detailed her allowing her 9-year-old son to take the subway alone. Common activities like leaving a child in a car are often presented as though they pose enormous threats to our safety. But I hate the idea that imagination becomes the basis of law. Alexandra Deabler is a Lifestyle writer and editor for Fox News.