Wyoming committee drops one cell phone bill, tables another

2013-01-21T20:11:00Z 2013-01-22T00:20:18Z Wyoming committee drops one cell phone bill, tables anotherBy LAURA HANCOCK Casper Star-Tribune The Billings Gazette
January 21, 2013 8:11 pm  • 

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — The Senate Transportation Committee considered two bills Monday targeting cellphones and drivers — voting against one and asking the sponsor of the other to perform more research and return another day.

Senate File 93, sponsored by Sens. Floyd Esquibel, D-Cheyenne, and Charles Scott, R-Casper, and Rep. Dave Zwonitzer, R-Cheyenne, would prohibit using a cellphone unless contacting an emergency response vehicle or using hands-free technology.

The committee initially accepted an amendment suggested by a lobbyist for At&T that clarified some language and allowed cellphone navigation. But ultimately, three of the committee’s five members shot down the bill.

Esquibel said he’s undeterred. He has sponsored the bill at least five times in the past and will bring it back next year. He sponsored the bill that ultimately became law that prohibits texting while driving in the Cowboy State.

The committee delayed voting on Senate File 116, which would slap school bus drivers with a $750 fine, 30 days behind bars, or both, if caught using a cellphone without a hands-free device. Exceptions would be made in emergencies.

Some school districts have internal policies that prohibit drivers from using cellphones. The committee asked bill sponsor Sen. Wayne Johnson, R-Cheyenne, to call the state’s school districts and learn more about policies and whether there are frequent incidents of drivers chatting while driving.

After he completes the research, he will present it to the committee, which will vote on the bill.

Rep. Patrick Goggles, D-Ethete, also sponsored the bill.

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