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August 9, 2002

Governor Signs Bill Allowing Cell Phones in Schools

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today signed House Bill 3938 allowing local school boards to permit students to have cell phones while in school or on school property.

HB 3938 repeals legislation bill that banned the use of cellular phones in school that is outdated. The current law prohibiting the use of cell phones was originally enacted more than a decade ago to discourage the presence of drug dealers who, at the time used cell phones to conduct their criminal trade. Since that time, cell phones have become more prevalent. Parents keep track of their children and cell phone users have assisted police officers and firefighters in emergencies.

"Parents use the phones to stay in contact with their children, " Gov. Ryan said. "Incidents involving school violence have also pointed out the importance of having access to cellular communication. It is important that we allow an avenue of communication for these parents and children."

"Times have changed and so the law must change. Cell phones now play a vital role in helping rescuers in the case of emergency, as we saw with the shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado and in the September 11th attacks. They are very important to parents and children who can better stay in touch with each other," said State Rep. Mary Flowers (D-Chicago), who supported the original ban and now sponsored House Bill 3938 to update the law.

House Bill 3938 was also sponsored in the House by Donald Moffitt (R-Gilson), Rick Winkel (R-Champaign), Monique Davis (D-Chicago) and Harold Murphy (D-Markham). HB 3938 was sponsored in the Senate by Sens. Bill Shaw (D-Chicago), Margaret Smith (D-Chicago), Walter Dudycz (R-Chicago), Kimberly Lightford (D-Maywood) and Lisa Madigan (D-Chicago).


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