A proposed law that could pay for the publication of drunken drivers’ names in local newspapers might be just weeks away from going to the governor for her consideration.
Alberto Gutier, author of the bill and former director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, said HB2184 will be presented to the Senate National Resources and Transportation committee Tuesday.
"It was the first bill to come out of the House with a 60-to-0 vote, and I’m very proud of that," Gutier said. "Now we’ve got to start lobbying everybody in the Senate because we can’t take anything for granted."
Once the committee hears the bill, it will move to the full Senate, and, if it passes, the governor should get it shortly thereafter, Gutier said.
HB2184 would accomplish two things: Create a version of the now-defunct DUI Abatement Council and allow some of the funds used to operate the council to reimburse the cost of printing DUI offenders’ names.
The DUI Abatement Council was created five years ago to aid law enforcement agencies in their fight against impaired drivers. The council’s seven members, some of whom were political appointees, took court fees paid by impaired drivers and distributed the money to law enforcement agencies via grants.
The council disbanded Jan. 1, but HB2184 would create the Legislative Oversight Council on DUI Abatement.
Under the new council, 70 percent of the fees from convicted offenders would go toward enforcement. Twenty percent would be awarded to organizations that have designed new, innovative programs, and 10 percent would be used for administrative costs that could include paying for the printing of offenders’ names.
Rep. Linda Gray, RGlendale, is sponsoring the bill.
Advocates of the bill have been informally calling it "Robin’s Law" in honor of Robin Johnson, a 41-year-old mother of three who was killed when Poya Richard Reghabi, 21, ran a red light at Gilbert Road and University Drive in Mesa and hit Johnson’s vehicle Sept. 2, 2002. Reghabi’s blood-alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit of 0.08.
Among those testifying for the bill are Johnson’s husband, Mesa firefighter Gary Johnson, and Mesa motorcycle officer Brad Withrow.