There's trouble ahead for state Sen. Nancy Detert's sensible and overdue legislation to ban texting while driving in Florida, a simple public safety measure to hopefully halt such reckless and irresponsible behavior. To make the bill more palatable and passable, the Venice Republican included exceptions -- such as entering a number to place a call and receiving weather alerts.
A bipartisan group of leading senators support this common sense bill, which is only a secondary offense and thus not one where law enforcement can ticket a motorist solely for this infraction.
But over in the House, an identical measure -- co-sponsored by Detert's fellow Sarasota County Republicans, Reps. Doug Holder of Venice and Ray Pilon of Sarasota -- must pass through three committees.
Rep. Jimmy Patronis, R-Panama City, sits on two and chairs one, the Economic Affairs Committee. This is the same lawmaker who voted to repeal Florida's red-light camera law by stating, "I'm not for growing government." As if smart public safety means that. His Economic Affairs Committee approved the repeal bill on a 10-8 vote last week.
In stating his opposition to the texting ban, he echoed that rationale: "I don't want to give people one other reason ... to have government on their shoulder."
Patronis also likened the ban to government regulating "getting a French fry out of a bag." That logic defies the imagination.
Thus, the texting ban may never get out of his House committee. Heaven forbid Floridians enjoy sensible government.