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House extracts emergency personnel exemption from anti-texting bill

House extracts emergency personnel exemption from anti-texting bill

Dustin Hurst
March 2, 2012
Dustin Hurst
Author Image
March 2, 2012

In short order Friday, the House, through its amendment process, removed an emergency personnel exemption from a bill designed to ban texting by Idaho drivers.

The exemption would have carved out an allowance for emergency personnel to continue to text while driving, but lawmakers didn’t see the point of giving police special treatment. “There was no reason to have that exemption at all,” said the bill’s floor sponsor, Rep. Rich Wills, R-Glenns Ferry, a former police officer himself.

Several governments around Idaho have already enacted texting bans, but this would be the first statewide measure. Twin Falls and Meridian outlawed texting behind the wheel in 2010, while Boise city enacted a ban for its police officers in the same year.

The measure cleared the Senate in its pre-amended form, but will need to be sent back there if the House passes it. The measure will likely face the stiffest hearing in the House, which has killed anti-texting bills two years in a row over concerns they were unenforceable.

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