The Iowa Senate voted Tuesday to earmark $200,000 in the fiscal 2015 transportation, infrastructure and capitals budget for education programs to foster public awareness about the dangers and consequences of driving while distracted. Before approving the expenditure, senators turned down an option offered by Sen. Mark Chelgren, R-Ottumwa, to take the money from the $242,000 designated to produce transportation road maps next fiscal year. Sen. Tod Bowman, D-Maquoketa, said the distracted driving education money was in lieu of a bill the Senate passed to toughen the state’s law on texting while driving that stalled in the Iowa House due to lack of time. The issue was part of a $358.2 million budget bill that cleared the Senate by a 27-22 vote en route to the House for consideration. Sen. Rick Bertrand, R-Sioux City, joined 26 Senate Democrats in passing the budget measure.


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