City and State Government
8:00 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

Texting Rules: State Laws or City Ordinances? Amarillo Weighs In

Credit polhudson.lohudblogs.com

This year the Texas legislature did not pass a measure prohibiting texting, but Amarillo passed a city ordinance a year ago prohibiting all use of hand-held devices while driving according to the Amarillo Globe-News. 

“We studied that very thoroughly and we concluded we wouldn’t be effective with the texting ban only,” Amarillo Mayor Paul Harpole said. “It is not perfect, but it is working. We think the texting ban doesn’t go far enough.”

Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo was the mayor of Amarillo prior to being elected to the Texas Senate nine years ago.  He said, “We can pass state laws on everything, even speed limits on residential streets,” but, “it would be horrible big government to do that.  The fact that we have some diversity in those local laws is not necessarily a bad thing.”

Rep. Four Price, R-Amarillo, said he has mixed feelings about local control.  “I think local control is preferable to implementing statewide laws affecting everybody all the time,” Price said.  “However, the fact is not every community will implement similar standards.”

Price also said statewide laws provide a standard that avoids confusion when traveling from one jurisdiction to another, and that standardization can be useful.