Cell Phone Bill Legislation Update from K3HI State Government Liaison

Hello to all..

The following is an update from State Government Liaison Shawn O’Donnell-K3HI on the Cell Phone Bill Legislation:

Last Thursday, I was told by a Senate Ways & Means staffer that there was no schedule for hearing the bill; by Friday, they had edited & published an amended version of the bill.

The Senate’s version of H4475 is called S2290.  It removes the requirement for hands-free cell phones for the over-18 crowd.  It still bans all cell phone use for junior drivers, and it still prohibits text messaging for everyone, but the hand-held phone/radio rule is gone from this version of the bill.

Full text is available at http://www.mass.gov/legis/bills/senate/186/st02pdf/st02290.pdf

The Senate is expected to debate & vote on this tomorrow, 2 March.  If they approve this altered version of the bill, then the House & Senate will have to go to a conference committee to hammer out a mutually agreeable version that they can both approve.  Once a bill makes it out of conference, it moves rapidly.

It’s impossible to say what S2290 will look like if it makes it through the Senate.  There could be numerous amendments introduced from the floor during debate.  At this point, however, it looks like the part of the bill that was most threatening to us has been removed. Whether it will stay removed after debate, or after conference committee–who knows.  So it might still be nice for a ham radio exemption to make it in there.  If it doesn’t, we’ll just have to hope that the Senate version prevails.

Phone calls to Senators’ offices today, Monday the 1st, or early tomorrow, the 2nd, could be helpful.  Please pass the word.  For today & tomorrow, we need calls to Senators, not Representatives.  We can call the Representatives once we learn what happens in the Senate.



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