Many people are question the new Dui law signed by Governor Herbert, which question the impact it will have on those who visit Utah.
How will tourism be affected once the word gets out ?
SALT LAKE CITY — A state legislative committee took its first swing Wednesday at possibly tweaking Utah’s controversial new law dropping the legal blood alcohol content for driving from .08 percent to .05 percent.
“Do we look at leaving it the way it is? Do we look at making changes? Reducing the penalties between .05 to .08?” asked Rep. Mike Schultz, R-Hooper, co-chairman of the Transportation Interim Committee.
Utah became the first state in the nation to lower the DUI standard to .05 percent.
Gov. Gary Herbert, who signed HB155 into law in March, has said he might call the Legislature into special session to consider amending the legislation before it takes effect Dec. 30, 2018.
Rep. Robert Spendlove, R-Sandy, wondered about the need for the committee to revise a law that hasn’t been enforced yet.
“We’ve already made the change,” Spendlove said. “Why are questioning our decision?”
Schultz said the committee is charged with exploring any unintended consequences of the bill.
Rep. Norm Thurston, R-Provo, who sponsored HB155, said he’s been meeting with the hospitality and restaurant industries, law enforcement and “anybody and everybody who has my phone number” to talk about those issues.
“If there are really things that we had no idea, didn’t even think about, great. But we did intend to lower the BAC limit. We did intend to reduce the number of drunk driving trips a day,” Thurston said.
Criminal defense attorneys told the committee that more people would be arrested, more would appeal the loss of their driver’s licenses in court, and more would go trial with an argument that they’re not impaired at .05 percent.
“Our statute is a good statute, and it’s a tough statute,” attorney Richard Mauro said of the current law.
Some Democratic lawmakers on the committee raised questions about the impact on Utah’s tourism and hospitality industries. Rep. Lynn Hemingway, D-Millcreek, said the state’s liquor laws are already “notoriously close to strange.”