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SF City Council Members Support Texting Ban Compromise

March 13, 2014, 9:55 PM by Jared Ransom

SF City Council Members Support Texting Ban Compromise

At points during this legislative session, it was hard for several council members to hold in their frustrations at what could've been a major change to the Sioux Falls texting while driving ban. Thursday's news of a compromise put all that tension in the rear-view mirror.

The new texting while driving agreement that sits on Governor Dennis Daugaard's desk allows cities to make their own texting bans, something Sioux Falls did in the fall of 2012.

"Sioux Falls was the leader in the texting ban right from the get go. It was the right thing to do with the technologies that we have available today," Sioux Falls City Council member Jim Entenman said.

Council members like Entenman were concerned their policy of having texting and driving as a primary offense would be weakened, which they took as a threat to local control.

"We need to be able to, as a municipal government, make our own decisions for our citizens, and we were so close to losing that," Sioux Falls City Council member Michelle Erpenbach said.

Throughout the session, council members did what they could to voice concerns to lawmakers.

"I know as a council, we had a number of emails that went out to our representatives and senators encouraging them to think about our local communities and the responsibility we have to our local citizens," Entenman said.

It even prompted several of them to visit the capitol.

"It just seemed like it was in a state of flux at the time. If anything was going to come out, it might be a weaker bill than what did come out, and we in Sioux Falls and the Municipal League were very much against that," Sioux Falls City Council member Rex Rolfing said.

Thursday's compromise now puts their fears at ease and they all agree it is a win-win situation for everyone.

"We're protecting the people of South Dakota and those people that come into our state from people who are not considerate enough to stop and look what they're doing while they're driving," Rolfing said.

"We have to treat our laws a little differently, and we have to be ok as a state with that idea that, you know what, it's not one size fits all," Erpenbach said.

All three council members had no indication that this compromise would have any issue getting the Governor's signature.

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