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Top lawmakers disagree over .15 alcohol level

January 19, 2000
By: Jessica Carter
State Capital Bureau
A top lawmaker disagrees with the governor's proposal to make the blood alcohol level of .15 into a felony offense. Jessica Carter has the story from Jefferson City.
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Rural Republican Senator Morris Westfall says he's glad that Governor Mel Carnahan is interested in the issue of drunk driving.

But Westfall says the governor's proposal to make a .15 blood alcohol level into a felony for first time offenders is a bit too harsh.

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Contents: Westfall says to go with a felony offense when an accident or nothing has happened doesn't agree with his principles.

St. Louis County Senator Wayne Goode has already introduced a bill that would focus more on rehabilitation than penalties. Westfall said he would be satisfied with a bill that would combine both Goode's and Carnahan's proposal. From the state capitol, I'm Jessica Carter.


The legislature's leading drunk driving opponent says he thinks the governor has gone too far in one of his latest proposals. Jessica Carter has the story from Jefferson City.

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Governor Mel Carnahan said in his annual State of the State address that he would like to see .15 blood alcohol levels become a felony offense.

But Rural Republican Senator Morris Westfall says that there are better alternatives than putting a first time offender in prison for a year or more.

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Contents: Westfall says he wouldn't mind seeing some mandatory jail time like a few days or a few weeks in prison or some community service.

Westfall said he's glad the governor addressed the subject of drunk driving in his speech, but that he thinks the legislature should consider other options. From the state capitol, I'm Jessica Carter.


A top lawmaker wants to concentrate on rehabilitation rather than tougher penalties when dealing with drunk driving offenses. Jessica Carter has the story from Jefferson City.

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St. Louis County Representative Wayne Goode has introduced a bill that would focus on drunk drivers with blood alcohol levels above .15.

Instead of concentrating on penalties for first-time offenders, like Governor Mel Carnahan has proposed, Goode says the state should focus on a larger issue.

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Contents: Goode says the real problem is with repeat drunk drivers, because if you look at the statistics they are the ones who are causing the most problems.

Goode introduced a similar bill last year, but failed to get the required number of votes. From the state capitol, I'm Jessica Carter.