Bill of the day: No texting while driving

H9 : No Texting While Driving


AN ACT to make it unlawful to use additional technology associated with a mobile phone while operating a vehicle on a public street or highway or public vehicular area.

The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:

SECTION 1. G.S. 20‑137.3(a)(1) reads as rewritten:

“(1) Additional technology. — Any technology that provides access to digital media such asincluding, but not limited to, a camera, electronic mail, music, the Internet, text messaging, or games.”

SECTION 2. Chapter 20 of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new section to read:

“§ 20‑137.4A. Unlawful use of additional technology.

(a) Offense. — It shall be unlawful for any person to use additional technology, as defined in G.S. 20‑137.3(a)(1), associated with any mobile phone, while operating a vehicle on a public street or highway or public vehicular area.

(b) Exceptions. — The provisions of the section shall not apply to any of the following while in the performance of their official duties: a law enforcement officer; a member of a fire department; or the operator of a public or private ambulance.

(c) Penalty. — A violation of this section shall be an infraction and shall be punishable by a fine of one hundred dollars ($100.00) and the cost of court. No drivers license points or insurance surcharge shall be assessed as a result of a violation of this section. Failure to comply with the provisions of this section shall not constitute negligence per se or contributory negligence by the operator in any action for the recovery of damages arising out of the operation, ownership, or maintenance of a vehicle.”

SECTION 3. This act becomes effective December 1, 2009, and applies to offenses committed on or after that date.

Well, then when?

The most common response to the idea that the budget crisis may necessitate raising some tax or fee here or there is something along the lines of “this is not a good time to raise taxes on businesses or people.”
The answer seems to imply that there is a good time to do so.
So, when is a good time?

Holliman and 2nd hand smoke bill

Here’s an op-ed penned by Hugh Holliman on why he introduced a second hand smoke bill.
The Davidson Democrat introduced the measure – the “Prohibit Smoking in Public and Work Places” – on the first day of the session.

I have never been a smoker, but I grew up in North Carolina when it was home to the largest cigarette makers in the nation and maybe even the world. I understand what tobacco has meant to this state, its economy and our institutions.

I have also seen the horrifying damage it can do. I am a two-time survivor of lung cancer, a disease caused quite possibly by secondhand smoke. The same disease killed my sister.

It is senseless and unfair for our state to continue to allow this threat to our health to go unchecked. As a state lawmaker, it is my job to improve the lives of the people of this state and one clear way to do that is to eliminate smoking in the workplaces and public places of North Carolina.

I propose this not as a simple matter of preference for the majority of us who are non-smokers. This is clearly nothing short of a threat to public health. None of us should have to breathe in the carcinogens and poisons of secondhand smoke.

In a groundbreaking report issued in June 2006, U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona stated, “The debate is over. The science is clear: Secondhand smoke is not a mere annoyance, but a serious health hazard that causes premature death and disease in children and nonsmoking adults.” The report also states that that there is no safe level of exposure because secondhand smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals, 69 of which are known to cause cancer in humans.

My first act upon returning to Raleigh for the 2009 legislative session, was to introduce a strong bill to make all workplaces, restaurants and bars in the state smoke-free. It’s time North Carolina joined the growing movement across our nation to protect the rights of our citizens to breathe clean, smoke-free air. No one should have to risk their health as a condition of employment or while enjoying a night out.

Businesses have nothing to fear from such a law, despite arguments to the contrary. Dozens of studies and hard economic data have shown that smoke-free laws do not harm sales or employment in restaurants and bars and sometimes have a positive impact. As a business owner, I am sensitive to concerns about excessive regulation and private property rights, but when it comes to health and safety, government has an obligation to protect the public and workers when businesses fail to do so.

Generally, the people of this state would never stand by while a business continually threatened its workers with the emission of toxic fumes. But unlike other occupational hazards, which may be costly or complicated to remove, secondhand smoke exposure is completely unnecessary and easily eliminated. We simply ask smokers to refrain from smoking inside where they are harming others.

Twenty four states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico have taken strong action to protect their citizens from secondhand smoke. Why shouldn’t we? I ask that you join me in supporting this measure. Your health and the health of our families is at stake.

The last of the Reuters

At some point it’s not the newest, shiny thing but what you do with it that counts.
Baroness Reuters passed on this weekend – the last of the line.
From her obit on – where else? – Reuters:

A patron of the arts, she was the widow of Oliver, 4th Baron de Reuter, whose grandfather Paul Julius Reuter established his news service in London in 1851 after starting out in Aachen, Germany, using telegraph cables and carrier pigeons.

In addition to the use of carrier pigeons, the company has a rich history of riding tech waves and with that changing the worlds of finance and journalism.

Paging Senator Hagan

Just got this from the Justice Center:

PLEASE CALL SENATOR KAY HAGAN, D-NC and ask her to vote for the SCHIP (State Children’s Health Insurance Program) reauthorization legislation. Senator Hagan is a strong supporter of this program but we have learned that she is hearing from many tobacco advocates in our state who are opposed to the increased tax on tobacco as a means of financing SCHIP.

You can read the following Progressive Pulse blog post on how North Carolina stands to gain more than $100 million in federal funding if children’s health insurance is reauthorized.

You can call Senator Kay Hagan at 202-224-6342 or visit her website to send her an email at

What would be a real wow about this is that this is one of those things (voting against SCHIP) that made Liddy Dole vulnerable.