Senate may not revive alcohol bill this year

Inaction outrages advocates of stiffer penalties for DWIs

Posted: Monday, May 07, 2001

A legislative package on drunken driving has stalled in the state Senate.

Sen. Pete Kelly, co-chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said the committee won't be taking up the bill, passed by the House a week ago. Lawmakers will finish this year's session Tuesday night.

"The House just took so long on that," Kelly, a Fairbanks Republican, said Sunday. "I'm getting it so late - it's such a big bill - I just don't think I'm going to be able to get that through."

"I hope he gets all the heat in the world," said Rep. Norm Rokeberg, the Anchorage Republican who sponsored the bill.

But Rokeberg said he was not optimistic about reviving the bill before adjournment. It could be taken up in 2002, the second year of this legislative session.

Cindy Cashen, a leading member of the Juneau chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, said Kelly was doing "a little grade-school dance" because Rokeberg hasn't moved an unrelated bill of Kelly's in the House Judiciary Committee.

"He will have a lot of people, including a lot of victims of drunk driving, to answer to," Cashen said.

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