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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Frank Hornstein (DFL)

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Governor Walz Signs ‘Hands Free’ Legislation into Law

Friday, April 12, 2019


ST. PAUL, MN – Governor Tim Walz today signed the compromise ‘hands free’ legislation into law. Minnesota will be the 17th state, plus the District of Columbia, to require a ‘hands free’ device while driving beginning August 1, 2019.

Representative Frank Hornstein, chief author of the bill and the Chair of the House Transportation Finance and Policy Committee released the following statement:

“This work has been twenty years in the making,” remarked Rep. Hornstein. “The safety advocates and families of victims truly deserve all of the recognition for their hard work in getting this legislation passed. I’m glad we could make this a reality in a bipartisan, transparent way to keep all Minnesotans safe on our roadways.”

Representative Hornstein was the author of the current state law, which was enacted in 2008, bans emailing, texting, and using a web browser while driving. The hands-free cell phone bill applies the same enforcement and penalties to drivers who do not use their cell phone in a hands-free mode. There are exceptions for emergencies and one-touch activation functions.

Measures to address distracted driving began as early as 2001 when the first version of the bill was introduced at the Minnesota legislature. Since then, similar bills have been sponsored by various representatives, consistently each year, except for the 2011-2012 biennium.