Texas Toughens Prison Cell Phone Penalties

Texas State Senator John Whitmire last year received a call from a convict on death row. Cell phones are not permitted in the state's prisons, so Whitmire reported the violation and in return was threatened with death by the convict. Today, the Senate unanimously passed HB 3228 which increases the penalties for those who smuggle cell phones and other contraband into prisons, and also authorizes electronic detection of cell phone signals.

Maryland Group Uses Internet to Organize Opposition to Speed Camera Law

Maryland for Responsible Enforcement is gathering signatures in opposition to a new law allowing automated speed cameras in high-risk areas such as school zones. The state allows citizens to petition to stop new laws before enactment, and the group has marshaled support online -- via its Web site, Facebook as well as through more traditional petition-gathering channels -- very effectively according to media reports. Tickets for excessive speed run about $40, but the knowledge that cameras are present is a deterrent to speeding, say proponents.