Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tougher DUI Laws - Price tag 2 Million

Representative Kris Hansen’s HB 299 which would cause a person receiving a third DUI be charged with a felony passed the house on a vote of 57-47. Currently a person cannot be charged with a felony for driving impaired until the fourth offense. I have no problem with getting drunks off the road but I am a little taken back by the fact that the legislative fiscal note is setting the cost to this bill at an additional 2 million dollars. What do our readers think? Will this make a difference? Are you willing to spend an additional 2 million bucks to tighten up the DUI enforcement?

Also in the following KRTV News video is a report of a bi-partisan bill to place a referendum on the ballot to shorten the number of days the legislature meets to 80 days but allow convening every year. Read the text for SB 261 here and tell us what you think of this proposal

KRTV News Link
Related Billings Gazette Annual Session story


  1. The idea of the legislature meeting every year is a bit scary. I feel like I should hide the women and children every time they convene. Nothing is safe until they go home. I think that if there is a real need for them to come back early the Governor can call an emergency session to address any other problems.

  2. Felony ..... state. Throw every stooge in havre in jail and charge 50 mil. Too much BS. Listening to you folks chastise Bob and Tim tellls me not to get down on these reps. Butt comein.

  3. If someone has such disregard for people’s safety to actually get three DUI’s they deserve to have to pay the price. What we are doing now isn’t working to deter offenders so I agree something new should be tried. I also find it hard to believe that ramping the law up would actually cost the taxpayers an additional 2 million. What are drunk drivers costing us now in lost lives and wrecked property?

    I am also ok with going to a 40 day legislative term. Maybe we could find some people to run for office that actually have some sense instead of people that have nothing better to do for 4 months out of the year.

  4. what does 100+ deaths yearly by dui cost?
    how far can the party go before it is too expensive?
    then there's the "other" duis...
    ask denny.

  5. The DUI issue is a move in the right direction, IMO. The additional costs, I assume, have to do with the increased load on an already overburdened Dept. of Corrections.

    As to the legisilature going to every year - Hell no.

  6. Oh just great. Our reps want to throw away 1400 jobs and 12 million dollars a year by getting rid of medical marijuana AND they want to spend more money putting people in jail for it. Oh and now they want to spend yet MORE money from an already thin corrections budget? Where is this money going to come from. Im all for felony dui charges but whats the real cost?

  7. Dose the DUI law include under the influance of all mind altering things or just booze?

  8. it costs @ $24000/yr to incarcerate someone in prison. That means that $2,000,0000 will cover 83 prisoners for one year. Ummm... i think there gonna need more money.

  9. ax it's cheeper in mexico how about we send them our prisoners and we take their cheep workers

  10. @axslinger

    24K is way too low of a number. This may include the basic charges of incarceration which is housing, feeding, clothing, medicating, and educating these people.

    In the case of felony DUIs, the number must also include the counseling charges that are involved under the WATCH program.

    However, in addition to these basic charges is the much larger number, as the state is removing a taxpayer and replacing it with a ward of the state.

    In addition, and I am guessing many of these people are not career minded, most of them do have families. At the point of felony incarceration, the inmates families have lost a breadwinner, and then will need to be substidized through various social programs. This should be added to the cost of incarceration, as with the loss of child support (no matter how small), that loss will be substidized by increased section 8 housing, food stamps etc.

    In addition, the WATCH program, uses a 12 step methodology,as does over 90% of US rehabs, which is the dogma of the AA faith. This has a 95% failure rate according to corporate AA's OWN INTERNAL NUMBERS.

    The state should consider accepting the use of the Sinclair Method in conjunction with the Naltrexone, which is by far the most effective method for a person to stop drinking, with a 78% verifiable efficacy rate.

    Unfortunately, the Sinclair Method is dicouraged by members of the AA faith, and therefore most of the recovery industry cartel as it does not promote the AA faith, and the worship of the AA god. Many times apologists for the AA faith will even purposely substitute the drug antabuse 'accidently' when refering to Naltrexone, as antabuse was an ineffective drug with severe side effects. Many of the rehabs actually will do anything to discourage the use of this method as it makes their faith and jobs obsolete.

  11. since repeal is in these daze and prohibition actually didn't fail, remember?...
    maybe it is time to repeal the 21st amendment...
    instead of paying so much for the party in deaths, illness and crime.

  12. Johnson, I don't think alcohol is going away. So railing for prohibition is a waste of time.

  13. As far as prohibition, it was a failure. It was also the golden age of organized crime.

    The one thing society should have learned from the history of prohibition is that once the black market activity was legalized, the violence instantly stopped. The criminal element could not compete economically with legit business.

    Perhaps this should be considered in the 'war on drugs'.

  14. Dear All,

    Thanks for your comments on this post. The 2 million dollar fiscal note is DOC's most recent guess about what the costs could be. As the bill's sponsor, I am entitled to rebut the fiscal note. I did that in this case because I believe the DOC made some inaccurate assumptions in coming to their 2 million conclusion. This bill would keep people in their own communities, would get them a "mandatory detox" for 13 months, and would give them a chance to begin recovery from their addiction. I believe the real cost to DOC would be less than $500,000 because the initial results in from South Dakota's 24/7 program show less than 8% failure rate. Thanks for paying attention.
    Kris Hansen

  15. cranky...

    prohibition was such a miserable failure that it couldn't have been more so if it had been planned.

    indeed alcohol is never going away.
    we are willing to pay tens of billions for our endless booze bash...

    but med marijuana needs repeal???

    great amelikan hypocrisy, no?

  16. I feel the governor’s first assessment of the lowering the felony level was correct. I’m still not sure they need to charge them with a felony because of all the punishment for the rest of their lives that comes with it. We are putting too much power in the hands of too few people that have the “All Mighty power and have no qualms about using it on any one no matter what they do. If we could separate the county attorney, judges and the DOC we could accomplish a lot more for the good on the tax paying public. But they continue to play their mind games and we have to stand by like a bunch of Eunuch’s and say yes sire and no sire.
    It looks like the plan laid out in the 24/7 law can work. I only hope there is a provision for people to reclaim their constitutional rights rather than a life time punishment: For Pete sake we forgave the Japanese and the Viet Cong! ~!!...
    It seem funny, and I don’t mean humors, the DOC worries about the money when it is something they don’t want to do but they will take all the time they want to discharge an inmate after their time is up and deny parole to deserving inmate it apse county attorneys. If it is 500.00 it is a good deal if legislators would take look at the “Good Old Boys” network in the DOC.

  17. forgave the viet cong???
    for what???

  18. We put so much money in punishment and not prevention. There is rarely discussion of how we can prevent people from getting a third DUI...just trying to make it easier to get a felony offense.