Legislating Islamic supremacism. The Minnesota Senate on Monday voted 56-10 to advance a House-passed cell phone ban bill (SF 91 – see bill here). But the Senate added an amendment that exempts hijabed Muslims. Equality for all before the law? Not under sharia law – special rules for a special class, Muslim special privilege under new Minnesota law.
Minnesota Senate approves ban on using cellphone while driving
By Dana Ferguson | Forum News Service: March 25, 2019:
A proposal to ban holding a cellphone while driving in Minnesota remains on track to become law.
The Minnesota Senate on Monday voted 56-10 to advance a House-passed distracted-driving bill. But the Senate added an amendment that would exempt those who place a phone to their ear using a scarf, hijab or another article of clothing from the penalty.
Families who’d lost loved ones to distracted-driving-related crashes cheered from the Senate galleries. The group spent years urging change at the Capitol.
The Minnesota House of Representatives approved the bill last week. But due to the tweak on the Senate floor, it will not go directly to the governor’s desk. It will head to a conference committee so members of both chambers can work out a deal.
Gov. Tim Walz has said he will sign the bill into law once it gets there.
WHY DO WE NEED A NEW LAW?
Texting while driving is banned under current law and those found in violation face petty misdemeanor charges and a $50 fine for the first offense. But law enforcement officers have had trouble enforcing the law, as drivers have said they’re handling their phones behind the wheel for other reasons.
The bill would set petty misdemeanor charges and a $50 fine for drivers found using their phones without using a hands-free or one-touch setting. Use of a phone for emergency communication would be exempt under the proposal.
Supporters said passing the bill was key to getting Minnesotans to put the phone down while they’re driving and, in turn, reducing distracted-driving-related fatalities.
“All I’m asking for in this bill is put your phone down, put your eyes back on the road where they belong,” Sen. Scott Newman, R-Hutchinson, said. “I know we’re going to save lives.”
OPPONENTS: BAN LIMITS PERSONAL FREEDOM
Opponents raised concerns about not going far enough to combat using phones on Minnesota’s roadways and about limiting drivers’ personal freedoms in their vehicles. And Sen. Torrey Westrom, R-Elbow Lake, said he was worried about a constituent who works as a carpenter and uses his time in the car to field phone calls.
“That is not as unreasonable as eating a Big Mac or putting your makeup on (while) driving here in the metro,” Westrom said. “For that small-business person, now it’s going to be illegal for them to use their cell phone if they at all have it in their hand.”
Texting and driving citations jumped 30 percent in one year, from 7,357 tickets in 2017 to 9,545 tickets in 2018, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety reported earlier this year.
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