Senate approves handheld phone ban in school zones

A proposal to ban drivers from using handheld cell phones in school zones won passage in the state Senate, a day after senators stalled the idea.

House Bill 370 by Republican Rep. Jeff Thompson, of Bossier City, received state Senate passage Wednesday with a 25-8 vote, after Republican Sen. Robert Adley, of Benton, amended it so the prohibition would only apply if signs are posted advising drivers.

The measure failed to pass a day earlier, after senators raised concerns about the signs’ costs. Adley, who presented the bill, said his amendment would make the signs “purely optional” for school districts. Schools without signs would not have the law in place.

The rewritten proposal heads back to the House for consideration of the changes.