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SDPB Radio Coverage of the South Dakota Legislature. See all coverage and find links to audio and video streams live from the Capitol at www.sdpb.org/statehouse

State Texting Ban Passes House

The South Dakota House of Representatives passed HB 1177 on Wednesday. This bill bans texting and driving. Select cities throughout the state already have texting bans of their own.

Communities like Sioux Falls, Brookings, Watertown and Mitchell currently have city ordinances in place, banning text messaging while driving. State lawmakers have debated this issue for a few years and sponsors believe they’ve finally come up with a good bill. Republican State Representative Brian Gosch is one of the lawmakers behind this legislation.

"We’ve heard from a lot of people from around the state who want a bill like this and I think this version of it is in the form that we can pass out of the House of Representatives, move it over to the senate, and get it over to the Governor’s desk," Gosch says.

But Republican State Representative Jim Bolin says he opposes this bill because it gives the state the final say on texting and driving. He says the bill takes away local control.

"As a former city official, I cannot support this bill in its current form with the restrictions on city government as encapsulated in section four. Therefore I’ll be voting against this bill and I urge others to do so as well," Bolin says.

Republican State Representative Charlie Hoffman disagrees with Representative Bolin. Hoffman says this bill is a step in the right direction to keeping the roads safe in South Dakota, because it includes an education component for young people.

"With the passage of this, as we see time going on, we’ll see fewer and fewer people texting. We know the young people polled are in favor of it and I urge you, with all due respect, to go against the last speaker who wanted this to go red," Hoffman says.

House Bill 1177 passed the State House of Representatives 53-17. It goes next to the State Senate where more debate is expected.

Nate Wek is currently the sports content producer and sports and rec beat reporter for South Dakota Public Broadcasting. He is a graduate of South Dakota State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism Broadcasting and a minor in Leadership. From 2010-2013 Nate was the Director of Gameday Media for the Sioux Falls Storm (Indoor Football League) football team. He also spent 2012 and 2013 as the News and Sports Director of KSDJ Radio in Brookings, SD. Nate, his wife Sarah, and two kids Braxan and Jordy, live in Canton, SD.