State chokes on texting ban

Well, at least the Texas Legislature saved itself from having to confront an expected veto from Gov. Rick Perry …

The object of the veto would have been a statewide ban on texting while driving. The Legislature didn’t even put the measure to a vote of the Senate, where the bill died a quiet death. It did get through the House of Representatives, with the Panhandle’s Republican House delegation voting in favor of the bill. Good for them.

Perry’s antagonism rests with what he calls government “intrusion.” It’s a popular phrase among conservatives, although one could argue – and I have done so – that the right wing is rather selective on which laws intrude too deeply into people’s personal lives. He vetoed a similar bill in 2011.

Statewide texting bans aren’t new. Other states have enacted them and have been able to enforce them. Texas, though, seems unwilling to go that far – which of course is the state’s prerogative.

But as it has been noted, cities have the option of passing such laws. Amarillo has done so. The absence of a statewide ban does not override the city’s ordinance banning the activity.

However, it’s a huge state outside the city limits and motorists will continue to have license to perform foolish acts behind the wheel of their motor vehicles. Remember that such foolishness doesn’t just put their lives in danger, it also threatens the rest of us on the road.

Nice going, lawmakers.

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