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Republican goes after diners behind wheel
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2007, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Sen. Scott Jenkins hung back and watched as a car ahead of him on Interstate 15 swerved in and out of the lanes. Then he decided to pass the erratic driver. As he did, Jenkins watched the driver bend down to get a fork full of salad. Police can already bust drivers for swerving between lanes, but Jenkins, R-Plain City, wants them to be able to bust drivers for eating, too. A Senate committee unanimously approved a bill Tuesday that would allow police to give an extra ticket to "careless drivers." Jenkins' bill would also increase the speed limit by 5 mph to 70 mph in the Salt Lake Valley and to 80 mph in the rest of the state. The bill defines careless driving as being distracted by a handful of activities while behind the wheel including smoking, eating, talking on the phone, primping in the mirror or searching for a lost item. After some committee members expressed concern over troopers' ability to enforce the bill, Jenkins said drivers could only be ticketed if they are first pulled over for another offense. "You have to commit some sort of violation that you could be cited for," Jenkins said. Next step: House agrees mass shoplifting a felony

The House unanimously passed a bill Tuesday that would allow prosecutors to charge organized shoplifting as a felony. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clearfield, targets organized theft rings that steal items, such as iPods or baby formula, to later sell on the black market. "This will not affect someone who shoplifts a candy bar," Ray said. "This will affect people who steal on a massive level and try to sell it later." Next step: goes to Senate floor for vote.

- Dustin Gardiner

moves to a Senate Committee for debate.

- Matt Canham

New holiday

The House passed a bill Tuesday creating a state holiday commemorating the freeing of the slaves following the Civil War.

Representatives voted 44 to 24 to create Juneteenth Independence Day, which would be observed on the third Saturday in June each year.

Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865 when Union General Gordon Granger read the proclamation freeing slaves in Galveston, Texas.

The holiday is observed nationally.

Next Step: to a Senate Committee for debate

- Matt Canham

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