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Alaska Senate OKs bill easing texting-while-driving penalty

JUNEAU — A bill aimed at boosting the enforcement of Alaska's ban on texting while driving has passed the state Senate.

The bill makes it a violation, subject to a $500 fine, for texting while driving in cases that do not involve physical injury or death to another person. Stiffer penalties would remain for those more severe cases.

It is currently a misdemeanor to text-while-driving in cases not involving injury or death. In his sponsor statement, Senate President Kevin Meyer has said that the reduced penalty proposed by the bill is intended ease prosecution of distracted drivers by allowing officers to issue tickets on site rather than pursue a case through the court system.

The bill unanimously Wednesday and next goes to the House.

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