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Minnesota Senate backs hands-free phoning-while-driving bill

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Senate has passed a bill to require drivers to use hands-free devices when they want to use their cellphones on the road.

The 56-10 vote Monday sent the bill back to the House for further work because senators added some provisions that weren’t in the version the House passed last week. Gov. Tim Walz has said he’d sign a hands-free bill if it reaches his desk.

The Senate version allows drivers to hold their phones to operate popular GPS navigation apps, while the House requires voice-activation. And the Senate version makes it acceptable to hold a phone in place with a headscarf such as a Muslim hijab.

Minnesota would become one of 18 states plus the District of Columbia that require drivers to use hands-free devices while phoning.

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