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      Senate, House pass versions of texting ban

      By ANDREW COFFMAN SMITHAssociated Press

      COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina is closer to having its first statewide ban on texting while driving.

      The Senate voted 38-2 Wednesday in favor of a bill that would levy fines starting at $75 on drivers who text while driving and would also penalize them with points on their licenses. It also would ban drivers with a beginner's permit or restricted license from using a cellphone.

      The House later voted 97-16 in favor of a bill that would ban drivers from texting while driving and could fine them $25. But it would not place any points on the offenders' licenses. Both bills would prohibit police from searching or confiscating cellphones.

      Republican Rep. Raye Fender of Fort Mill says the House bill is a disappointment for the family members of those who died due to texting behind the wheel. She says the $25 fine is not much consolation for them.

      Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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