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Top Stories: Special Session Next Month Also Seeks To Strengthen Texting Ban

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The top local stories this morning from KERA News: Gov. Greg Abbott has called Texas lawmakers back to Austin for a special session to address legislation keeping major state agencies open.

Once that’s taken care of, the House and Senate can move on to 19 other items on Abbott’s agenda. That includes strengthening a measure Abbott just signed into law – a ban on texting while driving.

“I am calling for legislation that fully preempts cities and counties from any regulation of mobile devices in vehicles,” Abbott said yesterday at a press conference. “We don’t need a patchwork quilt of regulations that dictate driving practices in Texas.”

Dozens of Texas cities already have outlawed texting while driving.

Beginning Sept. 1, the statewide ban prevents drivers from texting while driving. Drivers could still talk on the phone if they have a hands-free device, and the measure doesn’t cover GPS systems or music apps. Violators face a misdemeanor charge and a fine of up to $99 for first time offenses. 

Other stories this morning:

  • In Texas, one in three men report facing intimate partner violence in their lifetime. This month, the Dallas nonprofit The Family Place opened one of the country’s first shelters exclusively for battered men and their families.

You can listen to North Texas stories weekdays at 8:22 a.m. and 6:20 p.m. on KERA 90.1 FM. 

Former KERA staffer Krystina Martinez was an assistant producer. She produced local content for Morning Edition and KERANews.org. She also produced The Friday Conversation, a weekly series of conversations with North Texas newsmakers. Krystina was also the backup newscaster for the Texas Standard.