Mitchell considers repealing its texting while driving ban
A year ago, the Mitchell city council was hoping the state would enact a state ban on texting while driving.
It didn't happen.
So, the council and the mayor enacted their own bill, calling texting while driving a primary offense with a $120 fine.
Fast forward a year later.
"Now that the state has implemented a texting ban and the governor has signed it into law, I think it's time for the city ban to be taken out of the books," said city councilor Phil Carlson.
"I was pleased that the state legislature finally did enact a texting ban, but my main concern is that their law would make it a secondary offense," said mayor Ken Tracy.
City councilor Carlson is an attorney by day. He believes keeping the city ban could have legal ramifications.
"I think there's a possibility it could go all the way to the South Dakota Supreme Court. In the end, the city could end up picking up the legal tab for that. And, that's an expense that I really don't want the city to have to cover," Carlson said.
That's why Carlson brought an ordinance, repealing the city's ban on texting while driving, to Mitchell's city council meeting Monday night.
"So, the council will then have the opportunity to weigh in on the proposal to repeal it or whether or not we make changes to our existing ordinance to more mirror the state law with the exception of making it a primary offense rather than a secondary offense," said mayor Tracy.
He says he still prefers the city's primary offense ban.
Considering Monday was the first reading of the bill, further discussion and a vote wouldn't take place until April 21st.