A roundup of what’s making news in South Carolina state government
The House on Wednesday gave overwhelming approval to a bill that would ban texting while driving in South Carolina, after opponents won some concessions on lighter penalties and a prohibition on cops searching a phone for evidence.
It marks the third time in five years that the House has passed some sort of ban on handheld devices behind the wheel. Previous versions have died without a vote in the Senate.
The move to pass the bill comes a week after the city of Greenville’s cell phone ban took effect. While the House proposal only deals with sending “text-based communications” behind the wheel, the Greenville law bans any use of a cell phone at all while driving. Nearly 20 other cities and municipalities in South Carolina have separate bans on texting.
State Rep. Phil Owens, R-Easley, said he would prefer a uniform law across the state. “We can listen to the people of the state of South Carolina,” he told lawmakers from the floor Wednesday. “You’ve got 80 or 90 percent of people telling you that they’re concerned we’re one of only two states that has not addressed the dangers of texting while driving.”