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January 24, 2011

Bullock Commends Legislative Panel for Unanimous Support of 24/7 Sobriety Project

HELENA – Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock released the following statement after the House Judiciary committee unanimously passed HB 106 – the statewide 24/7 Sobriety Project for repeat DUI offenders:

“I’m pleased to see unanimous, bi-partisan support for this simple, effective and low-cost approach to combating DUI in Montana. All across our state, folks are demanding change. This morning, the judiciary committee took a big first step toward saving lives, making our highways safer and holding drunk drivers accountable for their actions.”

Under the 24/7 legislation, which is being carried by Rep. Steve Lavin (R-Kalispell), anyone who is arrested for a second or subsequent DUI is required to take to a breath test twice a day, every day, and stay sober 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from the time of their arrest until the completion of their sentence. The tests are paid for by the offenders.

Bullock introduced the 24/7 Sobriety Project as a pilot program in Lewis and Clark County earlier this year. Since May, county officials have administered over 5,000 breath tests. Over 99.9 percent of those tests have returned a BAC of 0.00 percent.

The 20 – 0 vote on the initiative came after a “Do Pass” motion from Rep. Krayton Kerns (R-Laurel) who called the program, “a whole new approach…with an ability to fix the problem.”

The House Judiciary Committee includes Chairman Ken Peterson (R-Billings), Krayton Kerns (R-Laurel), Diane Sands (D-Missoula), Liz Bangerter (R-Helena), Robyn Driscoll (D-Billings), Kristin Hansen (R-Havre), Bill Harris (R-Mosby), Ellie Boldman Hill (D-Missoula), David Howard (R-Park City), Cleve Loney (R-Great Falls), Margaret MacDonald (D-Billings), Mike Menahan (D-Helena), Michael More (R-Gallatin Gateway), Jesse O’Hara (R-Great Falls), Carolyn Pease-Lopez (D-Billings), Joe Read (R-Ronan), Keith Regier (R-Kalispell), Dan Skattum (R-Livingston), Bob Wagner (R-Harrison), Wendy Warburton (R-Havre).