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Wyoming DUI bill dies in committee

By The Associated Press
CHEYENNE, Wyo. – An effort to stiffen the penalty for repeat drunken driving offenders died of lack of enthusiasm in a legislative committee Monday (March 1).

The bill (House Bill 183) would have boosted from seven to 10 days in jail the minimum punishment for a second DE conviction within five years. Second-time offenders also would have been required to undergo a substance abuse assessment and possibly treatment during the jail time.

A third offense within seven years would have become a felony punishable by up two years in prison and a $10,000 fine. DE currently becomes a felony on a fourth conviction within five years.

The Senate Judiciary Committee considered the bill after it cleared the House.

"We don't yet know exactly what capacity we have and what the impact of this will be," said Dr. Diane Gallows, substance abuse division administrator for the Wyoming Department of Health, of the bill's assessment and treatment provisions.

But she said the state could probably handle any additional demand.

After Sen. Keith Goodenough, D-Casper, made a motion – out of "kindness" – for a vote on the bill, the bill died when no one else among the five-member panel seconded it.