The Associated Press reports (the Corpus Christi Caller-Times had it first, but it is paywalled) that Attorney General Greg Abbott, the Republican nominee for Governor, would veto a proposed ban on texting-while-driving. As many will recall, Governor Rick Perry vetoed such a bill in 2011, and in 2013 the bill languished in the Legislature and never made it to his desk. Perry claimed that educational campaigns were preferable to changing the law and that it amounted to governmental micromanaging of one’s life. Indeed, Abbott has taken up the same point of view.
In 2011, both Houses of the Legislature passed the bill –which would have made it a moving violation citation (Class C misdemeanor) to send ANY type of communication from your cell phone while it is in motion, including not only texting, but email, messaging and any type of general internet usage– by supermajorities, veto-proof margins. However, because the Legislature adjourned before Perry could offer a final adjudication on the matter, his veto could not be overridden. The bill was heralded in the Legislature, of all people, by State Representative Tom Craddick (R-Midland County), a firebrand Republican who once served as Speaker of the House. He introduced the bill in 2013, where it was passed by a supermajority, though no vote was ever taken in the Senate.
Click here to read more about future prospects!
My old friends at City Hall were all over Facebook a few days ago, when an individual named “Bun-B,” who evidently is some sort of local rapper (I’ve never heard of him) showed up at Bagby Street to shoot a PSA with Mayor Parker about the dangers of texting while driving.
Since our Governor still has the delusion of believing that banning texting while driving is unnecessary government intrusion, the prospects for a Statewide ban on the practice may still elude us this year. The City of Houston may have to act on its act, then. The Chron reports that the Mayor wants the City Council to discuss an ordinance banning texting while driving citywide, similar to cities like Austin, El Paso and San Antonio, if the legislature’s second attempt to ban it statewide fails.
I haven’t seen any recent movement on the subject from the State Legislature, which is disappointing, to say the least. I think the Texting while driving ban would be easily passed in the City Council (and I would LOVE to hear Helena Brown’s reaction/opposition to the measure). That would probably be just as well as a statewide ban, assuming that Dallas follows suits soon as well. The only time I really ever spend outside of those cities is on the interstate. Maybe a good compromise bill in the legislature would be to just ban the practice on the freeway (defined as Interstates and US Highways).
Texting while driving is one of those issues where I can see the need for the follow, and I agree with it, even though I’m not especially a beaming light of solving the problem. I will fiddle around with my phone changing the song on my iPod, quickly reading a text (only responding at a light, though), etc. I am almost positive that, over the years, if the infraction is not a secondary offense, that I will be given a ticket at least once. Still, I see the absolute need for it, especially in the city.