Texting drivers caught by police in Idaho will face a fine come midsummer.
Gov. Butch Otter on Thursday signed a statewide ban on texting-while-driving, an infraction that will set violators back $85.
The measure bars motorists from using smartphones and other handheld devices to review, prepare or send written communications. After three years of trying, the measure generated broad support in the Legislature this year, backed by endorsements from law enforcement and auto insurers.
With the new law, which takes effect July 1, Idaho joins 35 states and Washington D.C. in prohibiting drivers from texting.
Meanwhile, Gov. Otter has signed off on a $35 million tax cut for Idaho corporations and high-income earners.
Otter signed the measure Thursday, essentially marking a victory after making tax relief one of his chief priorities for lawmakers in the 2012 Legislature.
The measure cuts the top individual tax rate from 7.8 percent to 7.4 percent and the corporate rate from 7.6 percent to 7.4 percent.
Idaho’s improving economy is projected to generate a $105 million surplus in fiscal year 2013. The extra cash enabled lawmakers on the final day of the session to strike a deal splitting the funds between Otter’s tax cut, rainy-day savings and restoring cuts to teacher salaries.
The benefit to a family of four with a gross income of $100,000 is about $71. (AP)