ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) _ A bill to require motorists to use hands-free devices when talking on the phone while driving has passed its first committee stop in the Minnesota Legislature.

A House transportation committee approved the bill on a unanimous voice vote Tuesday after hearing emotional testimony from several people who lost loved ones in crashes caused by drivers who were distracted by their cellphones.

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Committee chairman and sponsor Frank Hornstein says the experience of other states with similar laws shows that enacting the hands-free requirement will save many lives.
Legislative leaders have said they expect hands-free legislation will be enacted this year, and with bipartisan support.

The bill has at least one more committee stop before it reaches the House floor. A Senate committee has a hearing scheduled on a similar bill Wednesday.