Monday, June 18, 2007

A first for me - a letter to the Governor

This letter concerned the ongoing efforts by Rep. John Kavanagh and others to repeal the ignition interlock device statute, written by Rep. David Schapira, that was recently signed into law.

The letter -

Dear Governor,

I am writing to urge you to veto SB1582, the bill that as amended, would repeal the recently enacted law requiring that first-time DUI offenders have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed in their vehicles.

Some of the supporters of the repeal of the law, such as Rep. John Kavanagh, argued that there is no evidence that IIDs prevent first-time offenders from using their vehicles.

While that particular point is debatable, I have to ask, with all due respect to Rep. Kavanagh, how often does this legislature pass a law creating a punishment for a violation of a law without having hard evidence that the punishment will have the intended effect? Witness the vast majority of immigration-related measures passed by the Arizona legislature in recent years.

Others, such as Rep. Ben Miranda, argued that the IIDs would financially impact the families of the offenders.

Perhaps so, but an IID has less of an impact than a term in jail, and it has nowhere near the impact that is experienced by the victims of a drunk driver, even if it was the very first time the driver operated their vehicle while under the influence.

In short, the IID law is a reasonable and measured law. It doesn’t try to prevent people from drinking, or take an overly punitive but ultimately irrelevant action against the offender.

Instead, it addresses the crime directly – get convicted of driving while under the influence, and society will take steps to ensure that you cannot drive while under the influence.

Is the new law perfect?

Almost certainly not (no law is), but it deserves a chance. Let the law work for the remainder of the year. Then, if there are flaws, the next session of the Legislature can fine tune or repeal the law if necessary.

If SB1582 actually makes it to your desk, it deserves your veto.

Thank you for your time.


There are a number of people who, like me, have been struck by the incongruity of a law-and-order Republican like Kavanagh pushing this repeal.

AZ Rep columnist Laurie Roberts weighs in on the issue, stating that liquor industry representatives have been lobbying hard against IIDs.

I strongly urge anyone else who is interested to contact the Governor and express your opinion.

Her contact info:

The Honorable Janet Napolitano
Governor of Arizona
1700 West Washington
Phoenix, Arizona 85007

Telephone (602) 542-4331
Toll Free 1-(800) 253-0883
Fax (602) 542-1381

The contact page on her website can be found here.


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