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No ring tones in chambers.

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As lawmakers consider prohibiting the use of cell phones while driving, some legislators already are under a cell phone ban--in the capitol. More and more legislative assemblies are prohibiting legislators from using electronic devices, most often cell phones, while on the floor.

Some parliamentary practitioners believe that using electronic devices on the floor diverts members from conducting legislative business.

In addition, some think prohibiting the use of electronic devices prevents outside influences during debate and voting, preserves decorum, and encourages respect for the legislative institution and its work.

More than half of the 99 legislative chambers, by chamber rule, restrict the use of electronic devices in some form.

* Thirty-eight chambers prohibit the use of cell phones on the floor.

* Nine of those 38 also prohibit the use of other electronic devices, such as computers, cameras or recording devices.

* Nine other chambers allow cell phones to be used on the floor only if they are turned to a "non-audible mode."

* Eight chambers allow electronic devices on the floor, but prohibit the use of cell phones in committee meetings or the gallery.

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Title Annotation:TRENDS AND TRANSITIONS
Publication:State Legislatures
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2009
Words:182
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