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Texting-While-Driving Ban Approved By Florida Budget Committee

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Florida's Budget Committee on Tuesday unanimously approved Bill 416, which makes texting-while-driving a secondary offense.

It's the first step towards a statewide ban that could go into effect on October 1 if passed on the Senate floor.

Republican Senator Joe Negron was the only member against the bill on Tuesday, but voted "nay" after official roll call.

Although 71 percent of Florida voters are in favor of a texting ban, many think Bill 416 will stall just like the House version, HB 299, which was filed in October 2011 but hasn't been schedule for any committee hearings.

Critics of such legislation are wary about government intrusion into personal lives. House Speaker Dean Cannon reacted to HB 299 with "I think a lot of our members have concerns about both the remedy and the structure of any bill that regulates individual behavior. I've got personal liberties concerns."

After Tuesday's overwhelming support, Republican Senator Nancy Detert, who sponsored Bill 416, told Herald-Tribune she was surprised by the staunch opposition to the House bill.

"I wish they would hear it. Then they would understand it's a secondary offense. It's strictly texting. I'm not trying to take the cell phone out of your cold dead hand. I'm just saying stop weaving into lane."

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