Will texting and driving bill crash and burn in House? - KOTA Territory News

Will texting and driving bill crash and burn in House?


by Jack Siebold, MyTown editor

Years of wrangling over whether South Dakota should ban texting and driving was supposed to come down to a final vote in the state Senate Monday afternoon of House Bill 1177.  In debate, the theme was "keep your eye on the ball," but there is concern that the Senate just might be fumbling that ball by tweaking the bill with a tougher penalty.

Early in Monday afternoon's debate, Senator Mike Vehle (sponsor of a failed Senate version) was able to push an amendment toughening the proposed law.  By a 22-13 vote, the Senate approved his amendment to make texting while driving a primary offense, rather than the secondary offense laid out in the House bill.  "The House bill is so weak it demands to be fixed," Vehle said.  He pleaded with the Senate to "keep their eyes on the ball" and pass the texting ban bill; which it did – again 22-13.

This passage was despite warnings from some lawmakers, including Senator Mark Kirkeby who asked:  "When was the last opportunity we had to pass a texting ban?  Passing this amendment will ensure you that the great state of South Dakota will not pass a texting ban this year."

The bill now has to be returned to the House because of Senate changes.  Kirkeby doesn't give the amended version good odds on surviving another House vote.  "We know that our chamber across the hall will not concur with it.  Our opportunity will be lost for another year,' he said.

Powered by WorldNow

518 St. Joseph St.
Rapid City, SD 57701

Telephone: 605.342.2000
Fax: 605.342.7305

Couldn't find what you were looking for?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - WorldNow and KOTA. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.