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Minnesota Legislature passes bill to make foster homes smoke-free

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SOURCE ClearWay Minnesota

Bill passage is a victory for children

ST. PAUL, Minn., May 16, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Late last night, the Minnesota Legislature passed the Health and Human Services (HHS) Policy Omnibus Bill, which included a provision making Minnesota's foster homes smoke-free.

"Smoke-free foster care means protecting Minnesota children from dangerous secondhand smoke," said Molly Moilanen, Director of Public Affairs at ClearWay Minnesota. "This bill becoming law will ensure healthier homes for children in foster care throughout our state."

Nearly 8,000 Minnesota children are in the foster care system. Research shows they are more likely to suffer from chronic medical conditions, and secondhand smoke is a known cause of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), respiratory infections, asthma attacks and ear infections. Nine Minnesota counties and more than half of U.S. states already have similar smoke-free policies in place, and the measure is supported by 93 percent of Minnesotans and the National Foster Parent Association.

Governor Mark Dayton is expected to sign the bill into law in the coming days.

"We want to express our sincere gratitude to Representative Tina Liebling and Senator Jeff Hayden, who championed this bill, and to all those who helped pass it," added Moilanen. "Smoke-free foster care is long overdue in Minnesota and a win for the 2014 Legislative Session."

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