[r63] Texting Ban and Smoking Ban Pass House

Posted by: Zach Weismiller  | Monday, February 8, 2010

We are about halfway through the 2010 session and we have already passed significant measures for Indiana.

These include a constitutional property tax cap referendum, an ethics reform package and a measure giving visitation rights to grandparents.

This week we passed two other bills out of the House which you'll be hearing a lot about in the news.

One is a statewide smoking ban with a few exceptions, one of which I proposed.

The first exemption is for bars or taverns that do not permit patrons under the age of 21.

Another exemption is for fraternal clubs, such as VFWs, and another exception was made for tobacco businesses.

The last exemption was the one I suggested.

It exempts a family owned and operated business from the smoking ban, but only if all employees are related to the owner and the enclosed areas of the business are not open to the public.

With these exemptions, I was pleased to vote yes on the smoking ban, and it passed by a vote of 73-26.

Another bill we passed this week is the ban on texting while driving.

This law would make it a Class C infraction to use a telecommunications device to transmit a text message or electronic mail message while operating a moving motor vehicle.

As with the smoking ban, there are a few exceptions.

Under the bill, you are still allowed to use hands-free or voice-operated technology to transmit a text message or electronic mail message while operating a moving motor vehicle.

I believe this bill will make our roads and highways much safer.

Texting while driving has already been banned for all drivers in Illinois and Tennessee, and in Missouri for drivers 21 and under.

If the smoking ban and the texting while driving ban are approved by the Senate, they will go into effect on July 1 of this year.

While I'm excited to have the first half of the session done, we now have Senate bills to work on. I'll give you an update on those next week.

As always, email me at h63@in.gov or call me at 1-800-382-9841 with any questions.