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Eye On Olympia

Night recap II…

The House went late again Tuesday night, debating until about 11:30 in a rush to try to get bills through before today’s 5 p.m. cutoff.

Among the things that passed: Rep. Joyce McDonald’s HB 1214, which bans people from trying to text-message someone on a cell phone, Treo or Blackberry — while driving down the road.

“This bill is targeted at anyone who thinks it’s safe to text message while driving,” said McDonald, R-Puyallup. Hunting and pecking for tiny keys and reading a tiny keyboard — again, while driving — is even more distracting than chattering away on a cell phone, she said.

She cited a Puget Sound crash in December involving three cars and a bus. The cause? A 53-year-old man sending a message on his Blackberry.

“I know that we don’t like to have our rights restricted,” she said. “This is America and we like to be free. But there are some things that are just not acceptable.”

The bill passed 73 to 23.

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Richard Roesler covers Washington state news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Olympia.

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