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Lawmakers Hold Out Hope for Texting Bill and Gas Tax

U.S. Department of Labor

The Chairs of the Iowa Senate and House Transportation Committees say they're still hopeful two key proposals can win approval in the final days of the legislative session.  A bill approved by the Iowa Senate would've made texting while driving a primary offense.  In other words, an officer could stop and ticket a driver for texting while driving, without the driver committing another moving violation.  That bill failed to win approval before a funnel deadline in the House, but Senator Tod Bowman, a Maquoketa Democrat, says the bill will likely come up again in future sessions and Representative Josh Byrnes says it could still be amended into a larger end-of-session bill.  Daniel McGehee, Director of Human Factors and Vehicle Safety Research at the University of Iowa's Public Policy Center says legislation is instrumental in changing driver behavior.  Byrnes, an Osage Republican says he also hasn't lost hope that an increase in the gas tax could win approval.  He says predictions that he would suffer political consequences for backing the tax have not come to pass.  Byrnes says that demonstrates growing support for a gas tax increase, and a recognition that Iowa's infrastructure needs more funding.

Katherine Perkins is IPR's Program Director for News and Talk