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VERIFY: Is Vermont banning cellphones for anyone under 21?

A Vermont state senator filed a bill with no intention of getting it passed.

A Vermont lawmaker stirred up all sorts of talk online after filing legislation that would ban people under 21 from using cellphones.

Soon after, people on social media began sharing their thoughts on the proposed law. But could the discussion be missing a key part of the legislation?


THE QUESTION

Is Vermont banning people under 21 from using cellphones?

THE ANSWER

While there is a bill introduced that was introduced in the Vermont state senate that proposes this, the author of the bill didn't intend for it to pass. 

WHAT WE FOUND

The bill banning cellphone use for people under 21 has indeed been introduced. It’s up on the Vermont General Assembly website and was written by Democratic Senator John Rodgers.

However, he told Vermont newspaper The Barre Montpelier Times Argus, “I have no delusions that it’s going to pass. I wouldn’t probably vote for it myself.” 

He told the paper that he wrote it to make a point about gun control measures the state legislature has recently passed. According to the newspaper, Rodgers said info presented in his bill shows that "a cellphone is much more dangerous than a gun." 

The information in the bill he’s referring to includes automobile accidents caused by phones, the role cellphones play in cyberbullying, social media’s role in radicalizing young people.

While the bill itself doesn’t directly say it was written in protest of other laws, it does hint at it. 

“It is clear that persons under 21 years of age are not developmentally mature enough to safely possess them, just as the General Assembly has concluded that persons under 21 years of age are not mature enough to possess firearms, smoke cigarettes, or consume alcohol,” the bill states.

So while the bill is real, it has almost no shot of becoming a law. 

In fact, Rodgers didn’t write it with the intention of making it a law.

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