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SD Committee Reaches Compromise On Texting Ban Bill

March 13, 2014, 12:18 PM by Erich Schaffhauser

SD Committee Reaches Compromise On Texting Ban Bill

As the legislature's budget-writing committee puts the finishing touches on next year's state budget, a bipartisan committee hopes to reach a compromise so South Dakota can have a statewide texting while driving ban.

The ban now goes back to the House and Senate floors. Members of the committee said they made some changes that really make this a true-compromise bill.

For one, they changed the primary offense to a secondary offense. Lawmakers also took section four out. So now, cities and counties can have their own distracted driving laws. And they also changed the fine to $100. That fine has ranged anywhere from $25 to $500 in the various versions of the bill that have been proposed.

Senator Mike Vehle from Mitchell has been working on this issue for several years.

“I would have liked to have seen something stronger and I even proposed a compromise earlier, if you’ll recall. I always said if I had been a benevolent dictator, I would have something different. But this is a different process and I’m glad to have something here that I think is more credible," Vehle said.

Representative Charlie Hoffman, who chaired the committee, says he’s optimistic this bill will pass through both chambers. While Vehle says he isn’t sure. He says he feels likes he’s gone from the ten-yard line to the 20-yard line and has 80 yards to go.

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