A new bill has been filed in Texas that seeks to allow pregnant women to use the HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle) lane even when the other passenger seats are unoccupied.
Texas State Rep. Briscoe Cain, a Republican and lifelong resident of Harris County, filed bill HB 521, which would allow pregnant drivers to use the HOV lane “regardless of whether the vehicle is occupied by a passenger other than the operator ‘s unborn child.”
The proposed bill comes after a pregnant Texas woman got a traffic ticket for driving alone in the HOV lane in June.
Brandy Bottone, of Plano, was pulled over at a sheriff’s checkpoint after driving in the High-Occupancy Vehicle lane by herself. She made headlines for claiming her unborn child should count as a second passenger.
“I was driving to pick up my son. I knew I couldn’t be a minute late, so I took the HOV lane. As I exited the HOV, there was a checkpoint at the end of the exit. I slammed on my brakes and I was pulled over by police,” Bottone told the Dallas Morning News.
Bottone, who planned to fight the traffic ticket in court, had the ticket dismissed by the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office. She was later given a second ticket at the same location for the same reason.
Texas legislators were allowed to start filing bills this week for the upcoming session. Thousands of pieces of legislation are filed each session, but most never make it into law, according to the Texas Tribune.
More than 800 bills were filed Monday, including HB 521.
According to current Texas state law, all HOV lane vehicles must have two or more occupants. Motorcycles can also use the HOV lanes.
The Texas penal code states an unborn child is considered a person “at every stage of gestation from fertilization until birth.”
If Cain’s bill gets approved, it would go into effect on Sept. 1, 2023.
Cain is also known as a staunch supporter of anti-abortion legislation.
He and 13 other Republican members of the state House of Representatives have pledged to introduce bills in the coming legislative session that would bar corporations from doing business in Texas if they pay for abortions in states where the procedure is legal, the Texas Tribune reported.