Poll gauges how Virginians feel about new laws

Kathy Stewart, wtop.com

WASHINGTON – The Virginia General Assembly session might be over for this year, but citizens have provided their feedback and reactions to new laws thanks to a poll conducted by Roanoke College.

The issue of texting while driving was a major change in Virginia this year. The state now has made it a primary offense meaning a driver can be pulled over if an officer sees the driver texting while driving or even reading an email while driving. The Roanoke College poll found that 82 percent of Virginians wanted it to become a primary offense. The new law takes effect on July 1.

Residents also expressed that they wanted to make driving while using a cell phone without a hands-free device a primary offense, but there wasn’t a bill introduced this year.

On the Voter ID front, the poll showed 83 percent were in favor of residents showing a voter registration card, driver’s license or an ID card from the Department of Motor Vehicles. A photo voter ID bill passed this year in the General Assembly but it will not go into effect until 2014.

There is another bill that gets introduced each year but fails each year. Nearly 70 percent of those polled want to see their governor be able to run for office for a second term.

The poll was conducted in January of nearly 600 Virginians from across the state.

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