Eerily reminiscent of the 55 mile-per-hour speed limit legislation, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) plans today to announce new legislation aimed at forcing states to enact laws banning cell phone texting while driving (story here). States that fail to do so within a prescribed period of time stand to lose 25 percent of their federal highway funds. In describing the legislation, Schumer said, “The federal government ought to pass a law banning this dangerous and growing practice to protect the millions of Americans on our nation’s roads. It is a matter of public safety.”
While texting is known to increase the risk of accidents, the question is whether or not this legislation encroaches even further on the powers of the states. Is federal action necessary? Should states be free to legislate according to the will of their own citizens, or should they be forced, at federal gunpoint, simply to acquiesce to each and every demand that comes out of Washington? Is this yet another federal power grab, or can we clearly identify the specific article and section of the Constitution that vests such power in the federal government (that is, which of the oft-abused clauses–commerce, general welfare, or necessary and proper–will Congress claim as the authority)?
Sound off and make your opinion known!