BILL WOULD MANDATE SEATBELTS FOR BACKSEAT PASSENGERS
|Finance Committee Chair Senator Steve Ogden of Bryan and House Appropriations Committee Chair Representative Jim Pitts of Waxahachie discuss the state budget during a conference committee meeting.|
(AUSTIN) — Every passenger in a car on Texas roads would have to wear a seatbelt if the seat is equipped with one under a bill approved Thursday by the Senate. Current law mandates seatbelts in the front seat for adults and in the backseat for passengers under 15, but SB 1028 by Austin Senator Kirk Watson would require passengers of all ages to buckle up, wherever they sit. "This is about safety; it's about making sure that people don’t end up dying or in the hospital," said Watson.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, said Watson, in 2006 there were nearly 400 traffic fatalities that could have been prevented by wearing a seatbelt, and that passengers not wearing seatbelts are twice as likely to be hospitalized after a crash. If approved by the House and signed by the Governor, Texas would join 35 other states in requiring seatbelts for all passengers.
The Senate also approved a bill Thursday that would help lawmakers get a handle on the extent of stem cell research being performed by state agencies in Texas. SB 2573, by Bryan Senator Steve Ogden, would require all state agencies involved in biomedical research to submit a report detailing any research involving stem cells or human cloning. "All of us, regardless of where you stand on the merits of this issue, I think, will benefit if we have more information," said Ogden. He added that his bill will not take action against any institutions that are conducting embryonic stem cell research.
The Senate will reconvene Friday, May 15 at 9:30 a.m.