Nevada Legislature Overrides Local Controls on Cell Phones

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Local governments won't be able to prohibit drivers from using cell phones, under a bill approved Wednesday by the Nevada Assembly.

SB10, which now goes to the governor for his signature, states that local governments cannot ban drivers from talking on the phone. The Clark County Commission tried to pass a ban in incorporated areas of the county, but it failed.

Lobbyists for cellular phone companies fought hard for the bill, with four testifying against it in the Assembly Commerce and Labor Committee. They all said administering the ban is unfeasible.

Clark County's proposal would have made it illegal to talk on a cell phone while driving down one side of some streets, while it was still legal while driving down the other side because of jurisdictional changes.

Lobbyists said it's too much to ask of motorists for them to know every time they cross a boundary. Law enforcement also supported the bill.

Local governments spoke out against the measure. They said it was inappropriate for the state to usurp local government's authority to set its own laws.

The measure passed the Senate unanimously and the Assembly approved it by a vote of 39-2.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)