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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Jeff Backer (R)

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Legislative Update from Rep. Jeff Backer

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Dear Neighbors,

I hope you and your family enjoyed the 4th of July holiday earlier this month. It’s hard to believe that July is almost over, we’ll be talking about “back to school” preparations soon!

On August 1st, a new law will go into effect that puts prohibitions on holding cellphones and other wireless communication devices while behind the wheel.

As cell phones have become more prevalent in our daily lives, it has become clear that steps needed to be taken to ensure that folks pay less attention to their phones and more attention to the road while driving. For many, this new law will dramatically change the way they use their cellphone while driving and I strongly encourage everyone to take the time to become familiar with this new law as we work to make our roads safer.

The new law allows a driver to use their cell phone to make calls, text, listen to music or podcasts and get directions, but only by voice commands or single-touch activation without holding the phone.

Individuals will no longer be able to physically hold a cellphone while operating a vehicle. Also, a driver may not use their phone at any time for video calling, video live-streaming, Snapchat, gaming, looking at video or photos stored on the phone, using non-navigation apps, reading texts and scrolling or typing on the phone.

Exceptions are allowed for individuals to obtain emergency assistance if there is an immediate threat to life and safety, or when in an authorized emergency vehicle while performing official duties.

GPS and other systems that can only be used for navigation are exempt from the Hands-Free law as well as in-car screens.

Please reach out to my office if you have any questions or concerns regarding the new law or visit the Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s website:

A full list of laws going into effect is available here.

Staying in Touch

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any legislative questions, concerns, or ideas. I can be reached on my office number at 651-296-4929 or my cell phone at 701-361-1909. You can also reach via email at, or via U.S. Mail at 203 State Office Building, St. Paul, MN 55155.

Have a good weekend,


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