The Clarion-Ledger, 3/26/9

Whether some teenagers will be banned from texting while driving in Mississippi is up to Gov. Haley Barbour.

If caught texting, 15- and 16-year-olds who have learner’s permits or intermediate driver’s licenses could face a misdemeanor charge under a bill headed to Barbour for approval. The charge carries a $500 fine that can go up to $1,000 if there’s an accident while a young driver is texting.

State senators fell one vote short of sending Senate Bill 2280 to the governor on Tuesday after some expressed concern over the limited scope. The legislation was held on a technicality that could have allowed more debate on the issue, but a request to reconsider the bill no longer existed Wednesday morning.

“I think everybody knows the issues here,” Senate Judiciary B Committee Chairman Gray Tollison, D-Oxford, said. “I think this is a good bill. We’ve gotten it this far. I’d like to push it across the goal line and get it to the governor’s desk.”