What: All Issues : Health Care : HR 3. Surface Transportation Reauthorization/Vote to Encourage States to Enact Motorcycle Helmet Laws.
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HR 3. Surface Transportation Reauthorization/Vote to Encourage States to Enact Motorcycle Helmet Laws.
senate Roll Call 120     May 11, 2005
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Conservative

Congress generally reauthorizes transportation spending every five or six years to provide direction to the nation's transportation projects. During debate on legislation to reauthorize congressional spending priorities in the area of surface transportation, Senator Lautenberg (D-NJ) introduced an amendment which would have encouraged states to enact motorcycle helmet laws by requiring states without helmet laws to invest in motorcycle safety programs. Progressives supported Lautenberg's effort as a way to reduce motorcycle injuries and deaths on the nation's roadways. Progressives pointed out that since Congress repealed the motorcycle helmet law in 1995, motorcycle deaths have nearly doubled. Conservatives opposed Lautenberg's amendment and argued that it should not be debated in the context of a transportation spending bill. "The highway bill is important for addressing real transportation infrastructure needs, but I question it is a place to spend a lot of time for other policies," said Senator Inhofe (R-OK). Inhofe also questioned the need for additional motorcycle helmet laws: "Currently, 21 States and the District of Columbia have helmet laws; 26 States have limited helmet laws, including my State of Oklahoma. Ours are for 17 and under. Only four States, as I understand, have no helmet requirement." On a 28-69 vote, the Lautenberg amendment was torpedoed and states were not provided a financial incentive to enact motorcycle helmet laws.

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