Today, the Montana House Judiciary Committee heard testimony on HB 194, a bill sponsored by Rep. Jeremy Trebas, R-Great Falls, that would prohibit local governments from imposing “restrictions on [the] use of mobile communications devices while operating a motor vehicle.” We published Trebas’ prepared remarks two days ago.
In testimony opposing Trebas’ bill, City Commissioner Bill Bronson included a letter from our very good police chief (and arguably the City’s finest department head), David Bowen. It reads:
Members of the House Judiciary Committee:
In order to take a proactive step in reducing distracted driving crashes that result in property loss, personal injury and even death, cities like Great Falls have passed local ordinances to prohibit the use of electronic hand-held devices in order to equip law enforcement with the tools necessary to address this rising problem.
By prohibiting the ability of the local communities to help curb this problem, you are endangering the welfare of our citizens that we have taken an oath to safeguard. I am opposed to HB 194 and would strongly encourage our lawmakers to consider the consequences of how this bill affects the motoring public.
Great Falls police chief
Trebas thinks his bill will make it out of committee, but is unsure of its chances on the House floor.
Even if it does, we can’t imagine Governor Bullock would sign it into law.