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Teen driving bill moves in Senate

A proposal to place driving restrictions on teenagers, including prohibiting them from getting behind the wheels on certain hours after midnight, stalled in the House but its backers in the Senate found a way to keep it moving.
Senators approved H2033, sponsored by Rep. John McComish, R-20, on third reading today. The measure, which contains the original language of S1347, now goes to the House, where McComish can either accept or refuse the changes made to his bill.
If he concurs, the bill will go to the full House for a final reading. If he refuses, selected members of the two chambers will meet in a conference committee to try to hammer out an agreement.
S1347, authored by Sen. Barbara Leff, R-11 and which sought legislation on teenage driving, had received substantial opposition from other legislators. Six senators voted against it on the floor, and one representative said “no” to it in committee.
The House bill was approved, 21-6, with senior Republican leader Thayer Verschoor leading five others in voting against it.
“I believe this is something that parents can do, if they so desire,” Verschoor explained his “no’ vote, adding that by passing the bill, the Legislature is “telling everybody else what is best for them.”
Sen. Ron Gould, R-3, said while he realized that the bill “limits freedom of teenagers, we need to protect the other drivers that are on the road.”
Gould had offered the strike-everything amendment to H2033. A strike everything amendment replaces the existing language of a measure.
“Teenagers don’t just crash into inanimate objects. They crash into other people that are on the road,” he said, citing statistics that showed that when a teenage driver has other young men and women in the car, the rate of accident goes up.

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