Legislative Session Wrap Up
You win some, you lose some.
Many thanks to all of you who participated in the democratic process this spring to try to get the Vulnerable User bill (SB 191) passed. Despite passing unanimously in the Senate, the House again failed to bring the bill to vote.
Bike Walk Connecticut testified on a number of cycling and pedestrian-related bills during this year's legislative session. Wins in our column include the defeat of two bills that would have required single file riding for cyclists (SB 103 and HB 5246).
We supported the Comprehensive Energy Strategy Bill (HB 6360) for its inclusion of a transportation section that addressed bikeable, walkable communities and transit-oriented development.
We also supported distracted driving enforcement bills, one of which passed (HB 6033). That bill, enacted as Public Act No. 13-271, increases the fines for violating the ban on driving while operating a cell phone, texting, or engaging in any activity that interferes with a vehicle's safe operation. Fines are now $150 for a first offense, $300 for a second offense, and $500 for third and subsequent offenses.
Additionally, Public Act 13-271 makes those violations part of the driver's motor vehicle record and be available to insurers. The new law also requires the DMV commissioner to assess at least one point on the record of a driver who violates the law banning drivers from using a cell phone, texting, or engaging in any activity that interferes with a vehicle's safe operation.
Finally, the new law creates a task force to: evaluate the effectiveness of existing distracted driving laws; examine their enforcement; and make recommendations, including legislation, to prevent distracted driving in the state. The task force must report to the Transportation Committee by January 1, 2014 and terminates when it submits its report.
For the full list of bills on Bike Walk Connecticut's watchlist, see www.bikewalkct.org/advocacy or click here.
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