Late last year, a St. Louis Post-Dispatch investigation uncovered inconsistencies of drunken-driving enforcement in the St. Louis area and led Governor Nixon to form a task force. Through this task force, a bill has been proposed. This bill would require repeat offenders or those accused of injuring someone while driving drunk to be tried in a state circuit court instead of a local municipal court. Supporters of this bill have stated that municipal courts have failed to adequately punish drunken drivers and have allowed chronic offenders to keep driving. The proposed legislation would also increase penalties for suspects who refuse a blood test, and limit removal of drunken-driving offenses from criminal records after 10 years to offenders who were not convicted more than once. Another provision of the bill would stiffen penalties for drunk drivers with children in the vehicle. The bill has been proposed by Republicans in both chambers and has bipartisan support.
The House bill stalled in the Rules Committee for some wording issues and the Senate bill is awaiting a final vote.
We have contacted both our State Representative and our State Senator to urge them to support this bill. Representative Mike Thomson has expressed to us that he had spoken with the sponsor of the bill and will be supporting the proposed legislation.
We ask that you too request your local Representative and Senator support this bill, so that other families will not have some of these injustices to face.
**eta** I am looking for the acutal bill number and will post it soon. Here is a link to Gov Nixon's site telling a bit more about it.
**eta** The bill is HB 1695 sponsored by Bryan P Stevenson.