Bill would give NC's federal lawmakers ability to use 'blue lights' on cars

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- A new bill in the State Senate would allow Congress members to use blue lights in their cars just like police.

Congressman G.K. Butterfield, a Democrat, asked that the bill be put forward. It would be an amendment to a law already on the books.

Officials said this would provide an extra layer of security in an emergency for members of U.S. House and Senate -- not members of the State Legislature -- to allow them to escape from danger more quickly.

State Sen. Floyd McKissick, D-District 20, is putting Senate Bill 618 forward. He said he wanted to emphasize that the bill would not benefit him or any members of the legislature. Instead, it would aid just the 13 members of Congress and two senators from North Carolina.

The bill would allow these 15 people to display blue or red lights in emergencies while riding in a car that has official plates when they are in their home districts in NC.

"We have to be concerned about threats that occur all the time," Sen. McKissick said, and he added that this bill might not have been needed 20 years ago.

"There may be circumstances where they're confronted by a gunman -- a threatening condition we don't know how to anticipate," he said. "We need to look no further than what happened to Steve Scalise or Gabby Giffords who were shot serving in Congress. We need to be mindful of these circumstances."

Butterfield said "the General Assembly has much legislation to consider and I don't want this issue to become a distraction."
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