SC texting ban, reading reforms head to House floor

05/13/2014 11:32 PM

05/13/2014 11:33 PM

A statewide texting ban, a bill that would bring emergency resuscitation training to high school classrooms and education reforms aimed at helping struggling readers sailed Tuesday through the House Education Committee.

The bills now head to the full House for debate.

If the House passes the texting ban, it will be for the second time this year. The body passed its own version of a statewide ban on texting while driving, with penalties ranging from $25 to $50, earlier this year. That bill now is in a Senate committee.

The Senate recently passed a limited texting ban. That bill would bar young drivers from texting or talking on a cellphone while driving, and all drivers from texting while driving in a school zone.

But when the Senate bill came to the House, legislators expanded the ban to reflect their own previously passed ban.

If the House passes the bill, differences between the Senate and House versions will have to be reconciled before the bill goes to Gov. Nikki Haley’s desk for her signature.

The House Education Committee also approved two other bills.

One bill, called “Read to Succeed,” would create a statewide focus on reading in schools. If the bill becomes law, struggling third-grade readers would be asked to repeat the grade for a year of reading-intensive instruction. The bill also calls for summer camps to help struggling readers.

Lawmakers also advanced a bill that would require high schools to offer training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, by partnering with organizations that can provide the training and equipment. Districts unable to create those partnerships could get a waiver from the State Board of Education.

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