(credit: Troy Larkins – CBS11)

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The Texas Senate has approved a beefed-up texting while driving ban that pre-empts existing ordinances against distracted driving in 45 cities statewide.

In May, the Republican-controlled Legislature made Texas one of the country’s last states to outlaw texting while driving. But Gov. Greg Abbott convened a special session and called for superseding a “patchwork” of previous local rules.

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Wednesday’s 20-11 approval means a final, largely formulaic vote will send the measure to the state House.

The Legislature first approved a statewide texting while driving ban in 2011, but then-Gov. Rick Perry vetoed it.

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The issue won momentum after a March church bus crash killed 13 people. Federal investigators say the driver of the pickup truck that hit the bus was checking for a text when the crash occurred.

church bus crash (credit: CBS)

Governor Abbott signed the original texting while driving ban into law in June.

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