Bills to ban handheld cell use while driving, allow online sports betting to become law

Capitol View
Posted at 10:49 AM, Apr 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-01 00:00:33-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A bill to ban handheld cell phone use while driving, and a bill that would allow online sports betting in the state of Tennessee are both going to become law.

The first bill would ban any use of a cell phone in a driver's hand while behind the wheel -- that includes calls, texting and any app usage, but would allow navigation or calls if the phone is in a cupholder or in a hands-free device.

The second bill allows sports betting -- buy only online after state representative Rick Staples introduced an amendment that changed much of the bill's language. Rep. Staples believes the state will raise $21.6 million in the first year, and more than $40 million in the second year. Only 10 companies will be allowed to take up business in Tennessee.

The Governor will sign the bill for the cell phone ban, but not for sports betting. Despite that -- that bill will also become law.

“The Governor has said he does not believe that the expansion of gambling is best," Laine Arnold, a spokesperson for the governor said, "but he recognizes that many in the legislature found this to be an issue they want to explore further. He plans to let this become law without signature.”