Lawmakers press for stricter DUI laws as budget negotiations continue


Legislator: Rep. Brad Klippert
Run Time: 1:05
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Nearly a dozen people, including families whose loved ones have been killed by drunk drivers as well as several lawmakers, are asking for public support of tougher DUI legislation.  It is legislation that some say--without support--could be axed as budget negotiations come down to the wire in Olympia.  Ruth Johnson reports from Olympia.

Cassie Lindsay: It's not just my family that's been affected (sobs)…

Johnson: That is Cassie Lindsay.  She's sixteen.  Her aunt killed by a drunk driver.

Cassie Lindsay: “I don't want other families to go through what my family has gone through.”

Johnson: And there's Dale Panatonni. His father in law: gone.

Dale Panatonni, Yakima:  “He was hit from behind by a lady who was drunk and on drugs.  He never saw her coming.” 

Rep. Brad Klippert: “It makes me angry when I see the pain and suffering that is so unnecessary.  All they have to do is take a taxi, take a bus, ask a friend for a ride home.”

Johnson: Representative Brad Klippert. He introduced legislation this year to make DUI laws tougher. Right now, in Washington, a person is not charged with a felony until he's convicted five times of driving drunk.  Klippert and other lawmakers, a bipartisan group, are attempting to make it four.

Most disturbing to the families of the victims is that that measure may never make it through budget negotiations, which are currently underway.

Dan Shulte: “Of all types of tragedy, this is one of the most preventable type of tragedy.  These things, they keep happening, but they don't have to.”

Ruth Johnson, Olympia.

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