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The Latest: Lawmakers table bill on stricter seat belt law

HELENA, Mont. — The Latest on a proposed stricter seat belt law in Montana (all times local):

2:40 p.m.

A day after hearing emotional testimony in favour of a stricter seat belt law, the Senate Judiciary Committee tabled the bill.

Supporters of the proposed measure said it would save lives and money while opponents argued mandating seat belt use wasn't an appropriate role for government.

Montana law allows officers to issue citations for people not wearing seatbelts only if the driver had been pulled over for a different traffic violation.

The bill would have allowed police to pull over cars and ticket people just for not wearing seat belts. Supporters included family and friends of crash victims, doctors, Montana Highway Patrol troopers and other state officials.

The committee tabled the bill on Friday.

9 a.m.

Supporters of a primary seat belt law told legislators that it would save both lives and money, while those opposed say such a requirement is not the appropriate role of government.

Lawmakers heard testimony Thursday on Senate Bill 9, which would allow law enforcement officers to pull people over for not wearing a seat belt. Currently, a person can be cited for not wearing a seat belt if they are pulled over for another traffic violation.

Supporters included family and friends of those who have died in crashes while not wearing seat belts, as well as doctors, Montana Highway Patrol troopers and other state officials.

Lee Newspapers of Montana reports Montana's legislature has rejected a primary seat belt law several times and those opposed continued to argue such a law would infringe on their rights.

The Senate Judiciary Committee did not take immediate action on the bill.

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