May 13, 2004
Arizona won’t use money from fines on drunken drivers to publish their names in local newspapers.
The House of Representatives voted 36-20 on Wednesday to re-establish a special council that divides the money that comes from a $250 surcharge on all drunken-driving convictions.
That amounts to about $1.4 million annually.
But the version was different from what the House approved unanimously two months ago. Missing was a provision that permitted the council to use up to 10 percent of that money to buy space in newspapers around the state to publish not just the names but the blood-alcohol content of those found guilty.
Rep. Linda Gray, RGlendale, author of the plan, had said it appeared that everincreasing fines were having only a limited effect. She said there was evidence that public embarrassment would be a greater deterrent.
The idea, however, drew a cool reception in the Senate, where foes balked at paying for-profit newspapers.
They argued that newspapers should print that kind of information as a public service, as is being done by the Tribune.
Unable to persuade senators to change their minds in a conference committee, Gray and her House colleagues were forced to withdraw the idea.
The revised bill did not go through without debate.
Rep. Chuck Gray, R-Mesa, objected to a Senate-added provision that boosts the fine for refusing to submit to a blood-alcohol test from $750 to $1,250.
A final Senate ratification of the revised version will send HB2184 to the governor.