A bill that would require drivers to use cell phones in hands-free mode passed off the Minnesota Senate floor today with strong bipartisan support on a vote of 56-10. Republican Senator Dan Hall of Burnsville voted for the measure, but with some reservations. He said, “I don’t like the way this is taking away my freedom, but it needs to be done for the sake of so many that are dying, because others are being selfish.” Addressing the concerns of Senator Hall and others, the bill’s author, Senator Scott Newman of Hutchinson, offered a reassurance that “this isn’t a personal liberty issue, this is a public safety issue.” Newman said on the Senate floor “all I’m asking for in this bill, just put your phone down, put your eyes back on the road where they belong. And in the end I know we’re going to save lives, statistically we will know that, what we won’t know is who didn’t die, because you put your phone down.” An amendment to the bill proposed by Democratic Senator Billy Joe Campion of Minneapolis passed allowing a driver to use of a scarf, hijab or other item of clothing to hold a phone–provided it is in hands free mode. The Minnesota House passed its version of the hands free bill last week. The measures now head to a conference committee for lawmakers to hash out the details on a final bill.