State Capitol: Aftermath of Shooter expulsion, Texting While Driving Law

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Officials in the State Capitol respond to the expulsion of Don Shooter that happened last week following allegations of sexual harassment and the unanimous passing of the texting while driving bill.

State Speaker of the House J.D. Mesnard originally planned to censure the former representative, but motioned to expel Shooter from the legislature after he gave his remarks. Rep. Rebecca Rios says Shooter was his own worst enemy and gave the speaker no choice but to move to expulsion.

“Don Shooter dug his own grave in this situation,” Sen. Martin Quezada says. “Had he taken it more seriously, had he gotten himself under control and not done some of those things at the last minute that he did [he could’ve gotten away with a censure].”

As a result, the House is working on a behavioral code of conduct to introduce into their rules. Mesnard has agreed to implement the code into the actual House rules rather than having it as a policy. This is protection so the next speaker will have to actively take the rule out and get the body to agree if they wish to have the code removed.

Sen. Steve Farley has worked for 12 years to get a texting while driving bill passed, and 2018 may be his year to do so. With former President Andy Biggs having moved to serve in Congress, it gets rid of Farley’s greatest obstacle as Biggs was a large criticizer of the bill. The bill was unanimously passed out of the committee on Tuesday, and now the next step is for the House to review it.

“I think the argument [from those who opposed the bill] was personal responsibilities and personal liberties,” Rios says. “If we outlaw texting, then we should outlaw eating in the car and fidgeting with the radio. They took it to an absurdity.”

Arizona will be the 48th state to pass such a law if it goes through. However, there are many exemptions to the bill. The fine for a first offense is $25-100, and there are specific details on sending versus receiving texts. If the law is passed, it will only be the first step toward banning phone use while driving.

Sen. Martin Quezada: (D) Senate Minority Whip
Rep. Rebecca Rios: (D) House Minority Leader

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