Hartnett and Branch said the bill went too far, because it made just reading your phone texts while driving a criminal act.
Former House Speaker Tom Craddick pushed hard for his bill and, frankly, depended on his supporters and his influence in the House to overlook the fact that an overwhelming majority didn't like the "reading" part of that and left it off the bill - only to have it staring them in the face on the conference committee bill.
He took a risk, it would seem, but then again - Craddick is the dean of the House. He knows how to work the floor. He knows what to expect and what's coming, and my guess is that he knew this whole time that the conference committee report would pass.
But the rest of us didn't. While he and other Republican House leaders beseeched their colleagues to remember why the bill was introduced in the first place - saving lives - and stop thinking of their own ability to read their phones while driving (Craddick even yelled at them for making light of it) Dems and Republicans objected to what they considered to be an overstepping of bounds, a potential opportunity for racial profiling, and a step toward a nanny state.
Hartnett fought hard, at one point demanding from the back mic whether you should do "nothing at all" while driving? Hands on the wheel, eyes straight ahead only? No eating a burger, drinking a Coke, adjusting your radio, "turning your head to talk to your kids in the backseat'?? Nothing? NOTHING?
The smart answer to that is "No, of course you shouldn't look into the backseat while you're driving, and particularly with kids in the car, and it's probably a good idea, yes, to keep hands on the wheel and eyes straight ahead, and honestly? YOU SHOULDN'T BE DOING ANYTHING WHILE YOU'RE DRIVING, BUT DRIVING."
But hey. They didn't ask me. Now ... should all that behavior turn one into a criminal? Well, they didn't ask me that, either.