For Immediate Release
AUGUSTA - The House of Representatives today voted on two bills regulating motorists' behavior. LD 66, "An Act To Require That Motorcyclists Wear Helmets," and LD 68, "An Act To Prohibit the Use of a Handheld Mobile Telephone while Operating a Motor Vehicle," came to the floor with divided, majority "Ought Not to Pass" reports from the Transportation Committee.
"These are areas where big government doesn't need to be making decisions for people," said House Republican Leader Ken Fredette (R-Newport). "One of the nice things about Maine is that we can generally expect some level of personal freedom, and it's important to preserve that."
Every Republican voted against the bill to mandate helmet use while riding a motorcycle, while 21 Democratic and liberal unenrolled members voted in favor of it. All but six Republicans voted against the prohibition on phone use while driving, while 32 Democratic and liberal unenrolled members voted in favor.
"Maine has a sort of libertarian streak to it," said Assistant House Republican Leader Alexander Willette (R-Mapleton). "I think that showed in the votes today."
Both bills were sponsored by Rep. Paulette Beaudoin (D-Biddeford). They will next face votes in the Senate where, if the majority reports are accepted, the bills will be dead.
"If you're driving down the road perfectly well, you shouldn't be pulled over just for having a phone to your ear," said Rep. Wayne Parry (R-Arundel), House Republican Lead on the Transportation Committee. "Maine already has distracted driving laws on the books for people who violate traffic laws while also talking on the phone, doing their makeup, reaching in the backseat, or doing any number of distractive activities."
David Sorensen, Communications Director
Maine House Republicans
Tel: (207) 205-7793