Pretty sure this would never pass, but Vermont is making waves this week with a controversial bill that seems more about awareness than actual legislation. The bill, S.212,was introduced in the Vermont state Senate and would make it illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to use or possess a cellphone. You can read the bill here.
Among other things, it said cellphone use while driving is one of the leading killers of teenagers and that young people use cellphones frequently to bully and threaten each other. The bill's language would make such possession or use a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of a year behind bars and a $1,000 fine.
The bill notes, “The Internet and social media, accessed primarily through cell phones, are used to radicalize and recruit terrorists, fascists, and other extremists. Cell phones have often been used by mass shooters of younger ages for research on previous shootings."
"There are so many critical issues impacting the lives of working families in Vermont today," said Michelle Fay, the executive director of Voices for Vermont’s Children, an organization based out of Montpelier that promotes public policy that enhances the lives of children and youth in the state. "We urge the Legislature to focus on the important work at hand instead of getting tied up in hollow diversions.”
She said in an interview Wednesday there’s no question technology plays a role with children treating each other badly, but isolating cellphones doesn’t seem to make sense because they will still be able to use computers. Plus, parents rely on cellphone access to be able to get in touch with their kids.
The bill was introduced by Sen. John Rodgers, D-Essex-Orleans. Rodgers said Wednesday he introduced the bill to make a point.
“I have no delusions that it’s going to pass. I wouldn’t probably vote for it myself,” he said.
Can you imagine people under the age of 21 not being allowed to have a cellphone or text anyone? It'd be mayhem!