It’s now illegal to text, tweet or surf while driving in New York. Gov. David Paterson announced yesterday that he signed the anti-texting law among many, including one to ban the use of the ethnic term “Oriental” in state documents. The governor also vetoed 13 bills that he said would have mandated state spending that was “not absolutely necessary.”
The ban on texting while driving comes with fines up to $150 for using handheld devices or laptops to send text messages or read, view or transmit images or data while a vehicle is moving. Fines could be imposed only as a secondary offense after a driver is pulled over for appearing to break another law. It’s already illegal in the state to talk on a cell phone while driving.
The new measures include Amanda’s Law, which requires all homes to be outfitted with carbon monoxide detectors. The previous law applied only to homes built or sold after July 30, 2002.
The bill is named for Amanda Hansen, a 16-year-old from West Seneca who died in January of carbon monoxide poisoning from a defective boiler while at a sleep-over at her friend’s house.
The detectors can be found in home improvement hardware stores for under $100. Under the law, contractors who replace a hot water tank or furnace would have to install the detectors, too.
Paterson also said the state can’t afford the measures he vetoed. He noted the Legislature must tackle a $2.1 billion deficit a September session and also figure out how to remedy a projected $4.6 billion deficit for the 2010-11 fiscal year.
“We will not reach that destination by undertaking expenditures that are not absolutely necessary,” Paterson stated in vetoing a bill that would create a 24-member commission to celebrate a War of 1812 victory. He said existing boards as well as state and local agencies should instead work together to avoid the estimated $2 million cost of the commission.