Cell phones ring through legislature - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Cell phones ring through legislature

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DES MOINES (KWWL) -- This year state legislators considered a bill that would ban the use of cell phones while driving, but while they were debating the issue, many of them were breaking cell phone rules of their own.

Inside the gleaming dome, under the ancient rotunda, within the exclusive walls, you'll find the same modern menace we're all grappling with -- Blackberrys, cell phones and email.

You think they control your life, try being an elected official, where your contact information is as public as your office.

"I don't like 'em either, but I have to have one because everybody's got my number," said Rep. Delores Mertz.

"I have Twitter updates, Facebook on my phone--all that stuff and so it's a really a useful tool, but I spend a lot of time on the phone," said Rep. Chris Hagenow.

It's the most honored building in Iowa, but it looks a bit like any high school -- the Blackberry is king.

"There'll be settings where you'll have a half-dozen people having a meeting and just one of those things goes off, starts bouncing on a table and they all automatically, like Pavlov's dog look at their Blackberry, but it's only one of them," said Rep. Rod Roberts.

"In every committee, there is a rule saying you cannot use cell phones while you're at the table they're supposed to be shut off," said Sen. Bill Dotzler.  But, he said the rule's broken "about 20 times" each day.

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