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Will Republicans again play politics with legislation to curb drunk driving?

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Will Republicans again play politics with legislation to curb drunk driving?

SAINT PAUL, MINN –Today, Mothers Against Drunk Driving volunteers and Minnesota legislators from both parties will hold an informational event on ignition interlock legislation that would make Minnesota roads safer from drunk drivers. This legislation was passed yesterday out of the House Transportation Committee on a unanimous voice vote.

However, while the bill appears to enjoy bipartisan support in the legislature, it’s a reminder that House Republicans used similar ignition interlock legislation during the final days of the 2014 campaign to falsely attack several Democrats in competitive legislative districts for supposedly weakening drunk driving laws. At the time, Jon Cummings, the founder of Minnesotans for Safe Driving, said, “These misleading ads are playing politics with people’s lives. It’s just plain wrong.

House DFL Leader Paul Thissen is asking House Transportation Chair Tim Kelly to disavow these attacks and calling on Speaker Daudt to tell Minnesotans now if they can expect the same disgusting attacks this fall:

"All the experts, as well as victims of drunk drivers, will tell you that ignition interlock legislation will make our roads safer from the scourge of drunk driving. Ignition interlock devices prevent a driver from even starting his car if he is impaired. Studies show that in the absence of this ignition device, approximately 75 percent of the people convicted of DUIs continue to drive on our roadways, jeopardizing both their life and the lives of others.

But this bill is a good reminder to all Minnesotans of how low Minnesota Republicans will stoop to win an election. In the last few days before the 2014 election, the Minnesota Republicans dropped tens of thousands of mail pieces in competitive legislative districts filled with lies about an earlier ignition interlock bill, claiming that legislators who supported the bill put people's lives at risk.

I am calling on Representative Kelly to denounce these baseless tactics. And I am calling on Speaker Daudt to tell Minnesotans if they should expect to see more of these baseless attacks in 2016.

Minnesotans were disgusted by the blitzkrieg of negative and false political advertising in the last election. They certainly deserve better. But at a minimum, they deserve to know if Republicans will pull the same stunts again”


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