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Following Yelling Match, Texas House Passes Texting Ban

Chris Eudaily

At times house members were shouting over each other as they debated HB 63, a bill that would outlaw the practice of texting while driving. 

One of the more heated moments was between Rep. Eddie Lucio, D-Harlingen, and Dan Branch, R-Dallas, over an amendment that allows a driver to read a text during an emergency.

Branch: "There is a new generation that communicates through texting - even on emergencies."  

Lucio: "And I have nieces and nephews that are part of that generation and when its an emergency they are going text, but in addition they are going to pick up the phone and call."

That amendment to exempt texts related to an emergency situation passed.

Despite the arguing and the dozens of amendments considered, the bill passed in the House on a vote of 98 to 47. There still remains the strong possibility of a veto from Gov. Rick Perry, who vetoed a texting ban last session.

"If the house and senate bill are identical and get to the governor soon enough then there is a potential that if he were to veto it that the legislature would still in session we’d be able to consider an override," said Rep. Chris Turner, D-Arlington.

Turner voted in favor of the bill, and is hoping that the changes added to the legislation will satisfy the governor enough for Texas to outlaw texting while driving statewide. 

HB 63 now heads to the Senate.