The Clarion-Ledger, 3/11/9

Teenagers new to driving may have to postpone text-messaging, while other teens may have to find a new way to tan under separate bills that advanced Tuesday at the state Capitol.

The bills prohibit 15- and 16-year-olds from texting while driving and require parental permission for teens 17 and younger to use tanning beds. Parents also would have to stay at the tanning facility while teens 13 and younger are tanning.

The measures must clear several more hurdles before becoming law, and some believe they could help save lives or prevent health problems. But the proposals also have sparked debate among lawmakers over the extent to which government should be involved in people’s lives.

As House lawmakers debated the text-messaging ban, House Judiciary A Committee Chairman Ed Blackmon suggested banning “all watches, so you can’t look down at your watch.”

Lawmakers came fairly close to banning all drivers from using cell phones while driving.