Idaho's Proposed Ban On Cell Phone Bans Inches Forward In Legislature

Jan 31, 2019

Republican Representative Chad Christensen is proposing a ban on cell phone bans at the local level in the state. He believes prohibitions on phone use like those in Idaho Falls, Blaine County and other locations are too restrictive. His proposed legislation will get a full hearing by the House Local Government Committee.
Credit Idaho Legislature

A push in the Idaho Legislature to ban cell phone bans is moving forward. Republican Representative Chad Christensen from eastern Idaho thinks there’s no issue with driving and holding a cell phone to your ear. He finds laws that prohibit the practice in Idaho Falls, Blaine County and other places in the state too restrictive.

“These laws punish those that are responsible,” Christensen told the committee. “For example, I’ve been driving for 20 years with a cell phone responsibly. I think it punishes those people that can do it responsibly.”

To combat what he sees as government infringement, Christensen introduced a bill this week in the House Local Government Committee that would prevent municipalities from enacting phone bans.

Some lawmakers expressed skepticism, like Democratic Representative John McCrostie of Garden City.

“In general, I’m a little wary of the state imposing restrictions on local municipalities,” McCrostie said.

His fellow Treasure Valley Democrat, Brooke Green of Boise, was more forceful.

“Quite frankly, I’d rather see this go the other direction,” Green told the group. “I think that we should explore ensuring the safety of our public by ensuring that a handheld is not necessarily the best way for them to be driving. Hands should be on the steering wheel.”

In spite of their reservations, both Green and McCrostie endorsed the proposed legislation. It advanced unanimously and will get a full hearing by the Local Government Committee.

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