Texting ban hits speed bump (roadblock?) in Florida House

3:45 PM, Apr 30, 2013   |    comments
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Tallahassee, Florida -- A bill banning texting while driving in Florida was sailing through the Florida Legislature, until Tuesday.

Now supporters of the legislation are concerned a late amendment to the bill will kill it.

Rep. Jose Oliva pushed for an amendment to the texting bill on Tuesday. He wants to prohibit police from being able to subpoena your cell phone records if you're caught texting and driving.

His amendment makes exceptions for cases involving an injury or death. But otherwise, police could not check your cell phone records.

Oliva, R-Miami Lakes, said he supports the overall texting bill, but doesn't want people's rights trampled in the process.

"Any law that seeks to give up our civil liberties, or asks us to, I will look to amend so it doesn't do that."

The amendment passed. That means the amended texting bill must go back to the Senate, which passed its version a month ago.

The last-minute change upsets Rep. Irv Slosberg, D-Boca Raton, because there are only three days left in the legislative session.

"Every committee had options to put on amendments. This amendment never showed up and now all of a sudden at the last second, hopefully this isn't retribution against Nancy Detert, the Senate sponsor. I really don't know what's going on but whatever's going on, it's not good."

Rep. Daniel Davis, R-Jacksonville, tried to assure his colleagues that there still would be plenty of time to pass the texting bill.

"This bill is not going to go over to the Senate and die because we understand that this is very, very important to the citizens of our state. Members, join with me today, support this amendment today to make sure that we make a good bill better."

The Senate passed the texting bill a month ago. The measure makes texting a secondary offense, which means police would have to pull you over for something other than texting and driving.

Drivers would face a $30 fine plus court costs for the first offense. A second violation would cost $60 dollars and add points to your driver's license.

Dave Heller

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