We’d like to take a moment to thank the state legislators who’ve made a difference in the fight against drunk driving and underage drinking. These legislators have crafted and fought for laws that have a direct effect on the lives of their constituents, keeping them safe and their children healthy. We’re very grateful for their efforts, and proud to work with them.

Representative Bryan P. Stevenson (R-128) of Missouri sponsored H.B. 1695—a substantial reform of Missouri’s DWI law. This legislation provides for the establishment of DWI courts to deal with cases involving repeat offenders and those convicted with a BAC of .15 or more. Such courts may grant limited driving privileges to participants after 45 days in the program. This legislation also improves the reporting and tracking of intoxication-related traffic offenses and includes DWI education in the required course of instruction for all municipal court judges. The new law went into effect on August 28.

In Alabama, Representative H. “Mac” Gipson, Jr. (R-88) sponsored H.B. 65 (enacted) and Senator Quinton T. Ross, Jr. (D-26) sponsored S.B. 46 (cross-filed) which strengthen Alabama’s existing graduated driver licensing (GDL) system by implementing a 3-stage process for teens to obtain a restriction-free license. This legislation limits the hours of operation and number of passengers, and prohibits the use of handheld communication devices among teen drivers. The new provisions went into effect on July 1.

The following Michigan state legislators worked tirelessly to enhance DWI enforcement: Senator Alan L. Cropsey (R-33) sponsored S.B. 794, Senator Patricia L. Birkholz (R-24) sponsored S.B. 795, Representative Marc R. Corriveau (D-20) sponsored H.B. 5273, and Representative Ellen Cogen Lipton (D-27) sponsored H.B. 5274. This legislation creates a three-year DWI/sobriety court interlock pilot project beginning on January 1, 2011 that allows repeat DWI offenders to get restricted licenses if they are participating in a DWI/sobriety court program and have an ignition interlock installed on their vehicle(s). The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility thanks its judicial partners, especially The Honorable Harvey J. Hoffman, who pioneered this effort, and applauds Governor Jennifer M. Granholm who signed this life-saving legislation into law today.

Representative David Derby (R-74) of Oklahoma sponsored The Aaron Gillming Act (H.B. 3240), requiring drivers convicted of DUI to participate in an evaluation and assessment program prior to sentencing. Reinstatement of driving privileges will be contingent upon compliance, and the court shall require offenders to follow all program recommendations as a condition of any sentence. This act becomes effective on November 1.

Senator Tony Ross (R-4) of Wyoming sponsored Senate File 19, addressing hardcore drunk drivers. This legislation doubles the “look back” period from five years to ten years in which prior DUI offenses are counted for purposes of enhanced penalties. The new law became effective on July 1.