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Bellevue woman turns personal tragedy into federal legislation

Posted at 6:22 PM, Aug 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-17 23:14:23-04

BELLEVUE, Neb. (KMTV) — After her parents died from carbon monoxide poisoning, a Bellevue woman turned her grief of her parents' death into a mission.

Thomas and Ann MacKinnon, a Bellevue couple, passed away in 2019 after accidentally leaving their keyless vehicle on before bed.

Their daughter, Sharon Shore, later began reaching out to members of Congress, going to town halls, and even Washington D.C, to change law and require automakers to engineer idling vehicles to turn off automatically.

“I made a promise to my parents that I would go as far as I could with this. I didn’t know if I could make this happen by myself and working with the groups, but I would just do it until there was not anything left that I could do,” said Shore.

3 News Now talked with Sharon and her brother David McKinnon in 2019 when those efforts began:

Bellevue woman pushes Congress for change after parents die by carbon monoxide poisoning

They got good news last week when they learned that included in the $1 trillion infrastructure bill was a little-publicized provision, tasking the federal government to finalize a rule that requires automakers to automatically shut off keyless vehicles after idling for a certain period of time.

“I started out just with overwhelming grief from their loss and that turned into a passion project and a mission,” said Shore.

She hopes it will save lives.

“I know it’s not the flashiest thing, but it’s meaningful for anyone who has lost someone or had that close scare," she said.

Shore had plenty to thank, including Sen. Deb Fischer who helped put the provision in the bill, and Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, who got the ball rolling on the House side.

“I saw what our elected officials can do and how helpful they are,” said Shore.

Now according to Fischer's office, the bill isn’t law yet.

While a similar version was previously passed in the House of Representatives, the House still needs to pass their version of the infrastructure bill and possibly merge it with the Senate’s before it gets on the president’s desk.

Fischer said in a statement that she worked closely with Shore on the legislation known as the SCOPE ACT and “I am hopeful the House of Representatives will pass this legislation and get it to the president's desk soon to prevent these tragedies from happening again.”

Assuming it does get done, and the relatively non-controversial provision is added, Shore said it can be a part of her deceased parents' legacy.

“Some people may never know my parents' names, but it’s in part because of them and all the other families that suffered that something really good happened,” said Shore.

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