New rules … The new distracted driving law signed by Gov. Jay Insee. How does it work?

 There are two parts to the law.


One part, the Electronics DUI offense, prohibits people from holding any electronic device in their hand while driving,  stopped in traffic or stopped at a light. Officers who see drivers holding an electronic device in their hand will be able to pull the driver over as a primary offense. You are allowed to hold your phone to contact emergency services or if you are parked or pulled over and safely stopped out of the way of traffic. Troopers say the side of the freeway is not a good option.

The second part refers to other activities that could cause distracted driving, such as, but not limited to, eating, smoking, reading or grooming. This is a secondary offense, meaning you must be pulled over for another offense, such as a dangerous lane change, to be cited for such an activity, and the activity interfered with safe driving.

This part of the law only applies if an officer catches a driver being distracted while committing a standard traffic offense, such as running a stop sign because their coffee spilled.

How much is the E-DUI fine?

People caught holding a personal electronic device while driving or on the road will be fined $136. If a driver receives a second E-DUI ticket within five years, the fine will be $234.

How much is the fine for other types of distractions?  $99.

When does ticketing start?

  • The Washington State Patrol will not ticket people until after a six-month grace period. Ticketing by WSP begins January.  Other police agencies could ticket drivers starting Sunday.

What kinds of devices are prohibited?

  • All electronic devices, even tablets, laptops and video games.

If I’m cited, will it be reported to my insurance company?

  • Tickets for driving while using handheld electronics will go on your record and be reported to your insurance provider.

Can I talk on the phone with a Bluetooth earpiece?

  • Yes, as long as you don’t hold the electronic device in your hand.

Can I use a device on a car cradle or mount?

  • Yes, but the law only allows for “minimal use of a finger” to start an app or device. Drivers should start GPS or music before they start driving. Typing in a phone number on a mounted device, for example, is not allowed.
  • Drivers can use some functions of their phones as long as they can start use by no more than a single touch or swipe without holding the phone.  Examples would be making a voice-activated call or starting music.
  • You cannot use a mounted phone to do more complex functions such as read, type messages, type in a phone number, access information, watch videos, play games or use the camera. Basically, anything that would take more than a single touch.

Will officers be able to check my phone?

  • Officers will not check your phone when they pull you over.

What if I was looking down, but not at my phone? How will troopers check?

  • The driver must be seen by a law enforcement official with their phone or device in their hand before they pull them over. Other drivers must not try to take photos of distracted drivers because they will also be violating the law.

What about emergency calls?

  • You are allowed to hold your device to make an emergency call, such as to 911.

What’s not included in the law?

  • Transit and emergency vehicle drivers are exempt. Drivers of commercial vehicles must follow federal laws. Two-way radios, citizens band radios, or amateur radio equipment are not included in the law.

If I do get a ticket but have a reason for using the phone, how can I dispute it?

  • Like with any other ticket, drivers can go to court to argue their case.

How do you think this new law will affect traffic and safety on the roads?

  • The purpose of this law is to improve traffic and prevent crashes from happening.

If someone must answer a or place call while they’re on the road, how should they handle it?

  • You can answer or place a hands-free phone call using a Bluetooth earpiece.  If your phone is on a car cradle or mount, you can answer your phone with a single touch or swipe and speak using an earpiece or the speaker function. You can also place calls on a mounted device by using your phone’s voice function.

For more information, visit the TargetZero website.



on this day 7/24 1969 -Apollo 11 astronauts splashed down safely in the Pacific Ocean. &1974 – SCOTUS unanimously ruled Nixon had to turn over subpoenaed WH tape recordings to the Watergate special prosecutor. 

1847 – Mormon leader Brigham Young and his followers arrived in the valley of the Great Salt Lake in present-day Utah.

1847 – Richard M. Hoe patented the rotary-type printing press.

1849 – Georgetown University in Washington, DC, presented its first Doctor of Music Degree. It was given to Professor Henry Dielman.

1866 – Tennessee became the first state to be readmitted to the Union after the U.S. Civil War.

1923 – The Treaty of Lausanne, which settled the boundaries of modern Turkey, was concluded in Switzerland.

1929 – U.S. President Hoover proclaimed the Kellogg-Briand Pact, which renounced war as an instrument of foreign policy.

1948 – Soviet occupation forces in Germany blockaded West Berlin. The U.S.-British airlift began the following day.

1956 – Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis ended their team. They ended the partnership a decade after it began on July 25, 1946.

1969 – The Apollo 11 astronauts splashed down safely in the Pacific Ocean.

1974 – The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that President Nixon had to turn over subpoenaed White House tape recordings to the Watergate special prosecutor. 

The Voter Fraud Commission: facing seven lawsuits

The Daily Kos Elections Voting Rights Roundup is written by Stephen Wolf and edited by David Nir.


• Voter Fraud CommissionOn Wednesday, Donald Trump’s “Election Integrity Commission” held its first official meeting, which was closed to the public and only available via online broadcast. Vice-chair Kris Kobach, one of America’s most notorious vote-suppressors, inaugurated the proceedings with a brazen lie in order to undermine public confidence in our electoral system, claiming that we “will probably never know” whether Hillary Clinton won the popular vote in 2016. There is utterly no evidencethat millions of illegal voters cost Trump the popular vote, but that hasn’t stopped the administration and Kobach from furthering the notion.

The commission is already facing at least seven lawsuits against its proceedings for a variety of legal violations, chiefly over privacy—a concern there’s good reason to think the panel has little regard for. In a breach of confidence that could lead to harassment, the commission recently released thousands of comments submitted by the public and failed to redact accompanying personal information, making email addresses and even home addresses available for all to see.

Even more concerning, states began reporting last week that they’ve seen a surge in voter requests to cancel their registrations after Kobach requested that election officials send the commission their full registration records. New data from Colorado, for instance, shows that nearly 4,000 voters have done so there, with 54 percent of cancellations coming from Democrats and just 12 percent from Republicans. While that represents just a small fraction of the voter pool, no voter should have to fear for their privacy to exercise their right to cast a ballot.

This commission’s end goal is for Congress to amend the 1993 National Voter Registration Act (better known as the Motor Voter law) and impose new voting restrictions at the federal level for the first time in the modern era. Indeed, a newly released email discovered in an ongoing ACLU lawsuit against Kobach revealed that he had emailed a Trump transition team member the day after last November’s election to explicitly propose amending the NVRA. However, his scaremongering is already having its intended effect by diminishing public confidence in our very democracy and even inspiring people to opt out entirely—and the commission has barely even begun its work.

Voter Suppression

• North Carolina: Earlier this year, North Carolina Republicans sought to overturn a longstanding law that would allow Gov. Roy Cooper to appoint Democratic majorities to the state elections board and its counterparts in each county—a law that the GOP had no problem with when it held the governorship. The motive was simple: Republicans simply wanted to prevent Democrats from being able to roll back past voter suppression measures that the GOP had imposed when they were in charge prior to 2017. Cooper sued to block the new law, but a trial-level state court dismissed his lawsuit, prompting him to appeal the matter.

On Thursday, the state Supreme Court refused to grant Cooper a stay pending the appeal, meaning the new law will remain in effect for now. However, the court also barred Cooper from making any new appointments, leaving the revamped state board of elections vacant. Since the state board is responsible for naming members to the county boards, though, Republicans will maintain their two-to-one majorities on those panels. But some of those local boards have vacancies and even lack the minimum votes needed to take action, which could throw this fall’s municipal races into chaos.

The high court has scheduled a hearing for August 28 on Cooper’s appeal. While the court blocked the new law from taking full effect thanks to its freeze on appointments, the judges’ refusal to grant a stay until the litigation is resolved is potentially a bad sign for Cooper’s chances of overturning the law. This in fact is already the second time since Cooper’s 2016 election that Republicans have attempted to neuter his control over the election boards; courts ruled their first attempt unconstitutional back in March. That effort, though, was enjoined while the case against it was proceeding, so it’s concerning that this revised version wasn’t.

Democrats won a majority on the Supreme Court last fall, but as their latest ruling on the stay request shows, that’s no guarantee of victory. Indeed, the trial-level court that had dismissed Cooper’s latest lawsuit—which is what he’s now appealing—did so unanimously on a bipartisan basis, so Republicans may very well ultimately succeed in their efforts to force deadlocks.


• Rhode Island: Rhode Island became the latest state to enact automatic voter registration after Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo signed the policy into law on Wednesday. This new measure will automatically register any eligible voter who interacts with the state Division of Motor Vehicles, unless they opt out. It will eventually expand to include other state agencies once those agencies demonstrate they can verify voter eligibility requirements, which is critical for reaching the large number of unregistered citizens who don’t drive.

Despite having had veto-proof Democratic legislative majorities for several decades, Rhode Island’s voting laws are surprisingly restrictive. The state lacks early voting and excuse-free absentee voting, and it only allows same-day registered voters to cast a ballot for president, not downballot races. It’s also the lone state where Democrats enacted a voter ID law, although that measure is much less stringent than the vast majority of Republican-initiated ones. In that context, automatic registration could go a long way toward making voting easier in the Ocean State.


• Michigan: A group of activists in Michigan called “Voters Not Politicians” is attempting to put a constitutional amendment on the 2018 ballot that would establish an independent redistricting commission for the state and require support from Democratic, Republican, and unaffiliated commissioners to pass any maps. The group recently submitted petition language to election officials and is awaiting approval that would start a 180-day clock to gather the 316,000 valid signatures needed to send the proposal to voters.

Organizers say they’ve already raised $100,000, though they’ll need much more. They also say they plan to use volunteers to gather signatures, which could prove to be a major hindrance—most such efforts rely on paid canvassers. The group does not yet appear to have the backing of key supporters of redistricting reform like Common Cause and the League of Women Voters, so it’s unclear just what their prospects of success are. Well-funded initiatives like those in California and Florida have met with success in recent years, but underfunded ones in states like Ohio have crashed and burned amid GOP opposition.

But Michigan desperately needs change. Republicans have made it one of the most effectively gerrymandered states in the country: Since gaining complete control over the redistricting process, the GOP’s maps have helped Republicans to maintain legislative majorities despite losing the statewide popular vote in at least one chamber in four of the past eight election cycles. Consequently, the success of this initiative would strike a crucial blow against one of the worst gerrymandering regimes in the country.

• North Carolina: The U.S. Supreme Court upheld a ruling striking down North Carolina’s Republican-drawn state legislative districts as unconstitutional racial gerrymanders back in early June and ordered new maps be put in place. However, the district court that will oversee the redrawing of the lines is only just now planning to hold its first hearing on July 27 on whether to require 2017 special elections for these redrawn districts. Even if the lower court orders elections to take place this year, GOP legislators could again appeal to the Supreme Court, further delaying the process.

Thanks to the Supreme Court’s delay in returning jurisdiction over the case back to the district court, each passing day makes the prospect of special elections this fall less feasible. The July 21 filing deadline for regularly scheduled municipal races in North Carolina has now passed, so holding legislative elections this November could require either a compressed calendar or separate elections a month or two later, which would impose additional costs on the state.

Republican legislators are undoubtedly pleased that the slow gears of justice could help them maintain their ill-gotten gains until after the regularly scheduled elections in November of 2018. They finally scheduledthe first meeting of the state House’s redistricting committee for July 26, but their self-imposed November 15 deadline to redraw the maps is an obvious ploy to prevent special elections from taking place this year.

• Wisconsin: The U.S. Supreme Court announced on Wednesday that it will hear a major case against partisan gerrymandering, Gill v. Whitford, on Oct. 3. As we’ve previously explained, this lawsuit seeks to invalidate Wisconsin’s Republican-drawn state Assembly districts as an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander, a step the Supreme Court has never taken before despite issuing rulings in the past saying that such gerrymanders could theoretically violate the Constitution.

The high court could set a sweeping national precedent if it upholds a lower court ruling that struck down the map last last year. And since the justices will hear the case at the very start of their next term, the court could feasibly issue a ruling by the spring of next year. If the plaintiffs prevail, that should give Wisconsin enough time to be required to redraw the lines in time for the 2018 elections.

Electoral Reform

• Maine: Last month, Maine’s ongoing saga over instant-runoff voting (IRV) appeared to result in the law surviving unchanged for the time being, but in August, legislators will once more consider whether to alter the voter-approved statute. Back in May, the state Supreme Court issued a non-binding advisory opinion that held that the new measure was unconstitutional for state-level general elections (but not primaries or federal races), prompting a flurry of legislative action in the face of near-certain lawsuits over implementing the law.

Republican legislators tried to repeal the statute entirely, and their bill did indeed pass the GOP-controlled state Senate. However, the Democratic-run state House unexpectedly passed a competing measure to implement IRV with a “trigger” that would suspend its use in state-level general elections until the passage (at any future point) of a state constitutional amendment that would permit IRV in such instances. The two chambers failed to reach a compromise, leaving the ballot measure intact—but also leaving litigation looming.

However, an independent state representative has introduced a bill to take another shot at passing the “trigger” provision so that the state can avoid lawsuits, and the House will likely vote on it when it reconvenes next month. It’s unclear whether the Senate will be more inclined to go along with this proposed modification now that the only alternative appears to be costly lawsuits and legal uncertainty over next year’s elections.

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How California’s top-two primary could wind up saving a vulnerable Republican

The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, and Carolyn Fiddler, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, and David Beard.

Leading Off

● CA-48: Ugh. This is some very frustrating news—and yet another reason why we hate top-two primaries with a passion. GOP Rep. Dana Rohrabacher is looking decidedly vulnerable next year after his Southern California House seat swung from a 55-43 win for Mitt Romney to a 48-46 win for Hillary Clinton, and no fewer than four notable Democrats have jumped in to challenge the incumbent, who has only won by less than double digits once in his three-decade career.

But a new candidate in the race could screw everything up, and that’s because businessman Stelian Onufrei is a Republican. In any normal state, Onufrei, who’s pledged to self-fund $500,000, would simply run in the GOP primary against Rohrabacher, while Democrats would go about nominating their own candidate—no problem.

In California, though, all candidates from all parties run together on a single primary ballot, and the top-two vote-getters advance to the November general election—regardless of what party they belong to. That means that two Democrats or two Republicans could win any given primary, something that happens with some frequency. Most of the time, one-party races take place in dark blue or dark red districts and no one really complains. But sometimes, when dark stars align, they happen in swing districts, and it’s always been to the detriment of Democrats.

The most poignant example took place in 2012, when GOP Rep. Gary Miller faced five opponents: one fellow Republican, then-state Sen. Bob Dutton, and four Democrats. While the 31st District was decidedly blue, turnout in California primaries always tilts more Republican. That allowed Miller and Dutton to neatly split half the vote while the four Democrats fought over the other half. In a catastrophic outcome, the leading Democrat, Pete Aguilar, wound up 2 points behind Dutton in third place, completely locking Team Blue out of the general election in a seat Barack Obama won 57-41. (Dutton wound up losing to Miller, who retired a cycle later and was belatedly succeeded by Aguilar.)

You’ll notice that the arrangement of candidates on each side in the 48th is the same as it was in the 31st: a Republican incumbent, a non-Some Dude challenger, and four seemingly credible Democrats. That’s a formula for disaster, especially since the 48th, located in Orange County, is more Republican than the 31st. That means the primary pie for Democrats to squabble over starts out smaller—and the biggest slice could very well not be big enough.

Even when they’ve managed to avoid calamity, California Democrats have had to spend time, money, and resources in order to do so. A good illustration came last cycle when the Democratic-held 24th District was open: The DCCC had to shell out over $450,000 to make sure at least one Democrat would advance. If Onufrei really follows through, and if Democrats don’t unite behind a single standard-bearer, the party may have to do something like that again.

But it shouldn’t have to. To give voters a proper choice in November should not require political parties to limit the choices they give to their own members in June. And Republicans should hate top-two just as much as Democrats. Last year, in the most high-profile breakdown yet, Republicans wound up with no candidate in the general election for Senate, which almost assuredly hurt them downballot as well—and the same thing could happen to them again next year with the governor’s race.

Not only has the top-two system failed to reduce partisanship, as its naïve proponents had argued it would, but it introduced a major flaw into California’s elections, one that’s very unhealthy for democracy. But it’s one we don’t have to live with: Voters approved this change at the ballot box back in 2010, and they can get rid of it the same way.


● 2Q Fundraising: Be sure to check out our second quarter Senate fundraising chart, which has now been updated to include the numbers for nearly every noteworthy candidate. We’re also including the totals for House members who are publicly or reportedly considering Senate bids. Daily Kos Elections will publish its big board of second quarter fundraising for every competitive House race on Monday.

● HI-Sen: Observers of Hawaii’s political scene have long speculated that Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard wants to run for higher office, and with $2.1 million now stockpiled in her House campaign account, her most obvious target would be the Senate, since she could use her funds for such a race as well. However, Gabbard ruled out what would have been the quickest possible route to a promotion—a primary challenge to Sen. Mazie Hirono next year—when she endorsed Hirono for a second term last month.

Hirono is currently battling kidney cancer, though she has said she is running again “without question.” If Hirono’s plans should change, however, Gabbard would be a likely candidate to succeed her.


● HI-GovThis is weird. Some random blogger at Huffington Post’s community section named Robert Wintner recently claimed in a rambling, semi-unhinged post that Rep. Colleen Hanabusa had told Gov. David Ige she might challenge him in next year’s Democratic primary, allegedly as part of an effort to pressure Ige to veto a bill that would phase out the collection of tropical fish for aquariums. This is obviously not the kind of thing Digest entries rely on, but for whatever reason, Hanabusa felt compelled to respond and released a lengthy statement denying that she’d ever contacted Ige’s office in connection with the bill.

Hanabusa also demanded Wintner (who runs an ocean-sports business and supported the bill, which Ige did ultimately veto) retract his post and apologize, but her real beef appears to be with Ige. Hanabusa seemed to accept Wintner’s claim that his source was an Ige staffer named Brandon Asuka, warning that she “questions the appropriateness of anyone from Governor Ige’s office mentioning her name” in connection with the governor’s deliberation over the fish bill. The final paragraph of her statement was the strangest, though:

If as portrayed in the article, Congresswoman Hanabusa also respectfully requests Governor Ige’s office refrain from using her name and/or her potential to challenge Governor Ige with respect to any official discussion regarding executive decisions of the Governor’s office.

The phrasing is very awkward, but it sure sounds like Hanabusa is notruling out a gubernatorial run, based on that line about “her potential to challenge” Ige. The governor has looked potentially vulnerable, and a number of names have popped up as potential opponents, including Hanabusa’s. Until now, though, she hadn’t said anything publicly, but this is certainly one of the oddest ways to float a bid for higher office we’ve ever seen.

● NJ-GovMarist: Phil Murphy (D): 54, Kim Guadagno (R): 33. Chris Christie job approval: 16-73.

● TN-Gov: Rutherford County Property Assessor Rob Mitchell, a former Democrat who switched parties three years ago, says he will not join the GOP primary for Tennessee’s open gubernatorial race next year. Mitchell had been considering a bid and promised a decision by July 1, but announcing three weeks late practically rates as prompt for a politician. The Republican field to succeed termed-out GOP Gov. Bill Haslam is already jam-packed, likely dissuading a smaller fry like Mitchell, though some other big names are still weighing the race.

● WI-Gov: State education superintendent Tony Evers had been publicly considering a bid against GOP Gov. Scott Walker, and on Fridayhe filed paperwork to run … but he insists that he still hasn’t made a “final decision,” nor did he offer a timetable for making one. However, if Evers goes through with it, he’d be by far the most prominent candidate Democrats could put up. So far, the only notable announced Democrat is wealthy businessman Andy Gronik, who said he has the “utmost respect” for Evers but added that he “love[s] competition.”


● AZ-02: Former Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, who’d been considering a bid against GOP Rep. Martha McSally, officially entered the race on Thursday. Kirkpatrick represented northern Arizona’s 1st District for three terms but moved south to the 2nd after losing to Sen. John McCain last year, apparently sensing an opportunity that McSally could be vulnerable.

But despite her experience winning tough House races, Kirkpatrick does not have the primary to herself. Her most notable opponent is former state Rep. Matt Heinz, who was Team Blue’s unsuccessful nominee here last year. However, Heinz recently announced that he raised a quick $180,000 in just the last two weeks of the second quarter, and he previously released a PPP poll conducted in May that showed him leading Kirkpatrick 40-30 in what was then a hypothetical primary.

Arizona’s primary is a long way off, though, and Kirkpatrick has barely begun to get her name out in her new hometown of Tucson, so this is as good an example as any that showcases how polls are only snapshots in time, not predictions of the future.

● IA-02: Iowa’s 2nd District, like the rest of the state, swung sharply toward Donald Trump last year, so Rep. Dave Loebsack, the last Democrat in Iowa’s congressional delegation, ought to be a natural target for the GOP. So far, though, the only candidate to emerge is physician Christopher Peters, who lost 54-46 to Loebsack last year and just announced he’d seek a rematch. But despite the somewhat close nature of his race last year, Peters doesn’t have the makings of a strong challenger, since he raised just $217,000 for his entire campaign. A couple of Republican state legislators haven’t completely ruled out bids of their own, but one of them, state Rep. Bobby Kaufmann, said he’d be less likely to run if Peters did so himself, so he’s probably out.

● WV-03: State House Majority Whip Carol Miller, who’s served in the legislature for a decade, just became the latest Republican candidate to join the race for the House seat left open by GOP Rep. Evan Jenkins, who is running for Senate. She joins one current and one former member of her chamber: Del. Rupie Phillips and ex-Del. Rick Snuffer, who was the GOP’s nominee in West Virginia’s 3rd Congressional District back in 2012, when the seat was still held by Democrat Nick Rahall.

Interestingly, while this once-blue region has lurched to right to an almost unparalleled extent—Trump won the district 73-23—several notable Democrats are also running here. Still, despite the fact that Democratic Gov. Jim Justice carried the 3rd en route to victory last year, Republicans are the overwhelming favorites to keep this seat.

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