However, the bill did not advance out of subcommittee. Rep. Joe Mitchell, R-Mount Pleasant, described it as a “statement bill” that needs work.
HANDS-FREE: Legislation that would make it illegal to use a mobile phone or other electronic devices while driving, except when using hands-free technology, was approved 18-2 by the House Transportation Committee and by a Senate subcommittee.
Lawmakers in recent years have considered a hands-free requirement to Iowa’s distracted driving laws. Sen. Eric Giddens, D-Cedar Falls, said during the subcommittee hearing that he believes lawmakers would have added the requirement last year, had it not been for a session shortened by the COVID-19 pandemic. No individual or advocacy group spoke in opposition to SF 46 during the hearing, and all three legislators — two Republicans and one Democrat — supported advancing it for consideration by the full Senate Transportation Committee.
The House bill, HF 75, would provide a six-month grace period for drivers to adjust to the new law. After that, violators could be fined $100.
The House Transportation Committee also approved a requirement for driver education programs to address the dangers of distracted driving.
BIRTH CONTROL: Over-the-counter oral contraceptives would be available to adult women without a prescription under HSB 121. The House Human Resources Committee approved it 15-4 to send it to the full House.