Republicans deride ski-helmet bill as ‘nanny government’

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Kids who ski or snowboard without a helmet could be hit with a $25 fine under a measure approved Wednesday by state lawmakers, despite opposition from Republican legislators who said it is an unwarranted intrusion into parenting.

‘This is nanny government at its worst,’’ said Sen. Jeff Denham (R-Atwater). ‘What happened to personal responsibility?’'

Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) said the bill he wrote is necessary because the state and counties often have to pay for medical care when children are seriously injured on the slopes after ignoring advice from parents and others to wear a helmet. “California’s ski slopes are perhaps the last area of recreation where we do not have basic safety standards in place for children,” Yee said. ‘With this legislative package, we can significantly reduce instances of traumatic brain injury or death for such a vulnerable population.”

SB 880, which now goes to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a longtime skier, would impose a $25 fine if children younger than age of 18 violate the helmet rule and would hold parents liable for paying the penalty.


-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento