Drunk-driver legislation passes house committee

Legislation sponsored by State Rep. Nan Baker to strengthen penalties on drunk drivers passed unanimously by the Ohio House Judiciary Committee on Nov. 2. The committee’s passage sends the bill to the House floor for a full chamber vote.

House Bill 300 would prevent drunk drivers from reclaiming their driver’s license immediately after their release from prison. The bill protects innocent people by keeping aggravated vehicular homicide offenders, those who cause the death of another as a result of driving while intoxicated, from behind the wheel.

“It just doesn’t make sense,” Baker said, referring to current Ohio law. “Why suspend someone’s license for 15 years when most of that suspension will be served while that person is in prison? The offender cannot drive a car in prison.”

Under current state law, OVI (operating a vehicle under the influence) offenders can serve a prison sentence and a driver’s license suspension at the same time. In some cases, OVI offenders have been able to legally regain their license shortly after being released from prison. HB 300 provides that, in order for OVI offenders to terminate their license suspension with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, they must provide documentation that the entirety of their license suspension was served out of prison.

Baker co-sponsored the bill with State Rep. Nathan Manning of North Ridgeville. “I am thankful to have had Rep. Manning as a primary sponsor of House Bill 300,” Baker said. “His background and insight was a valuable asset in creating this bill.” Manning is leading a subcommittee to further research other needed changes to OVI laws.

WBVO Staff

Office of State Representative Nan Baker

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Volume 7, Issue 22, Posted 9:20 AM, 11.17.2015