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house Bill H.R. 1914

Should the Feds Withhold Grants From States That Don’t Report DUIs to Federal Databases?

Argument in favor

Drunk driving is a serious offense, and states should share drunk or impaired driving arrests nationally in order to ensure that individuals cannot accrue multiple first-time violations, which carry relatively lighter punishments, when they should be accruing second or greater violations with harsher punishments.

burrkitty's Opinion
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last Wednesday
Get these dissolute sybaritic drunkards off the roads!! They need treatment, not drivers licenses.
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Rebekah 's Opinion
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last Wednesday
This is a simple requirement that takes little time but some states don’t bother. Only by putting teeth in these cooperative measures will we cut down on needless deaths.
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doingmypart's Opinion
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last Thursday
People have missed the point behind this proposal. States have zero incentive to share this information between states without being required to do so. We should withhold grants for failure to report DUI’s to the national database forcing states to comply.
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Argument opposed

The Interstate Driver License Compact and the National Driver Register already prevent people from obtaining driver’s licenses in any state if they have been convicted of multiple DUIs in the past and their license is suspended, cancelled, or revoked.

jimK's Opinion
···
last Wednesday
You have a system in place to do this that doesn't work as well as it should. FIX IT! Why introduce legislation that requires federal administration and arbitration of how much grants should be cut? This benefits no one except the army of lawyers lining up to file wrongful action claims in order to tap into federal grant funding.
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Ronald's Opinion
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last Wednesday
America must avoid "National Databases" Well intended, but Our Civil liberties are far more important.
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Cherie65's Opinion
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last Wednesday
As stated in the article...states are already doing this. Another money/power grab by democrats. Senate will see this and even if it made it to the floor (it won't), they would give it a thumbs down. STOP SPENDING OUR MONEY ON WORTHLESS LEGISLATION!
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
      Highways and Transit
    IntroducedMarch 27th, 2019

What is House Bill H.R. 1914?

This bill — the DUI Reporting Act of 2019 — would require the Dept. of Transportation (DOT) to withhold national priority safety program grant funds from a state that doesn’t appear on the most recent list provided to DOT by the Department of Justice (DOJ) identifying states that are appropriately reporting arrests for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI/DWI arrests) to the relevant federal repository.

An “appropriate federal repository” for DUI/DWI arrests could be determined by the Attorney General to be either the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) or the Next Generation Identification (NGI) system.

Funds would be withheld in the following manner:

  • 25% of the funds that would have otherwise been granted would be withheld from first-time offenders;
  • 50% of the funds that would have otherwise been granted would be withheld from second-time offenders; and
  • 100% of that funds that would have otherwise been granted would be withheld from third-time (or more) offenders.

States subject to withholding would have 90 days to cure their violation, in which case the funds withheld would be restored. If, at the end of the 90-day period, a state doesn’t comply with the reporting requirement for DUI arrests, then funds that would’ve been given to it would be reallocated to other jurisdictions.

By incentivizing states’ reporting of DUI arrests, this bill would harmonize law enforcement reporting of DUI arrests, allowing police officers anywhere immediate access to the latest and most accurate data, including pending cases, at the time of traffic stops. This would eliminate the accrual of multiple first-time DUI offenses in multiple jurisdictions due to inaccurate reporting.

Impact

Safety program grant funds; Department of Transportation; Department of Justice; National Crime Information Center; and Next Generation Identification system

Cost of House Bill H.R. 1914

A CBO cost estimate for this bill is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) reintroduced this bill from the 115th Congress to address the loophole in the U.S.' drunken-driving laws that enables repeat DUI offenders to be charged and tried as first-time offenders because of inconsistent reporting:

“This bill will save lives by enacting common-sense, bipartisan reforms to harmonize reporting standards for DUI offenses across the United States. Repeat drunk drivers should not be getting back out on the roads because of a reporting loophole. It should not matter where you are caught driving drunk. If you drive drunk, previous offenses should be recorded and penalties should increase so innocent lives can be saved. The accrual of multiple first-time DUI offenses is unacceptable and must be brought to an end.”

After introducing this bill, Rep. Cohen added, "Repeat offenders are the problems, and repeat offenders need to be known and charged that way. They need to get some guaranteed jail time and guaranteed treatment to protect the driving public.”

Original cosponsor Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) adds

“One of the most impactful steps we can take to combat the serious threat to our families and communities posed by drunk and impaired drivers is to facilitate the ability of states to share information about DUI convictions. By most estimates, approximately a third of all DUI offenses are committed by repeat offenders.  Unfortunately, the lack of a centralized list of DUI offenses that states can reference can lead to older convictions or charges from other states being overlooked, which in turn can lead to lighter punishments or a quicker restoration of driving privileges than the law would otherwise allow. The legislation we are introducing today will help make our communities safer by providing states with an accurate and complete list of DUI convictions, thereby making it easier for states to keep habitual drunk drivers off our streets.”

When he introduced this bill in the 115th Congress, Rep. Cohen said:

“This bill will save lives by enacting common-sense, bipartisan reforms to harmonize reporting standards for DUI offenses across the states. A DUI somewhere should be recognized as a DUI anywhere. It should not matter where you are caught driving drunk. If you drive drunk, previous offenses should be recorded and penalties should increase so innocent lives can be saved. The accrual of multiple first-time DUI offenses is unconscionable and must be brought to an end.”

Christopher P. Cavazos, an attorney in Edinburg, Texas, points out that this bill would dramatically escalate the potential consequences for drunk drivers:

“Technology has made the world a smaller place. It has also changed the way people are affected by criminal charges. If this bill becomes law, with a quick search, a person can possibly go from facing a misdemeanor to being charged with a felony. With this bill, a conviction today for a DWI in one state can dramatically alter the punishment range for all future DWIs across the country."

The Law Office of Ivan O.B. Morse, which opposes this bill, points out that it is duplicative with the existing Interstate Driver License Compact and the National Driver Register:

“Most states are members of The Driver License Compact, except for Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, Tennessee, and Wisconsin… [T]here is no need for more legislation as it would be duplicative of an existing law. The Interstate Driver License Compact and the National Driver Register prevent people from obtaining drivers licenses in any state if they have been convicted of multiple DUIs in the past and their license is suspended, cancelled, or revoked at the present time… [The Driver License Compact] is a compact to exchange data motorist's home state. If an out-of-state motorist violates the law it is reported to their home state. Each state has a distinct set of standards by which they handle individuals convicted of DUI, and we believe it should remain as such.”

This bill has eight bipartisan House cosponsors, including four Democrats and four Republicans, in the 116th Congress. In the 115th Congress, there were 13 cosponsors of this bill, including seven Republicans and six Democrats. It didn't receive a committee vote last CongressMothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) endorses this bill.


Of Note: Some estimates suggest that approximately a third of all DUI offenses are committed by repeat offenders. Despite this, not all police report DUI arrests to either the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) or the Next Generation Identification (NGI) database. Consequently, there isn’t a centralized list of DUI offenses for states to reference when determining the appropriate punishment for those convicted of driving while intoxicated. As a result, older convictions or charges from other states can be overlooked, leading to lighter punishments or a quick restoration of driving privileges than the law would otherwise allow.

This bill was sparked by a case where two Memphis teenagers were killed by a drunk driver who had seven DUI charges, but was allowed to plead guilty as a first-time offender five times.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang
(Photo Credit: iStock.com / kali9)

AKA

To amend title 23, United States Code, with respect to national priority safety programs, and for other purposes.

Official Title

To amend title 23, United States Code, with respect to national priority safety programs, and for other purposes.

    Get these dissolute sybaritic drunkards off the roads!! They need treatment, not drivers licenses.
    Like (19)
    Follow
    Share
    You have a system in place to do this that doesn't work as well as it should. FIX IT! Why introduce legislation that requires federal administration and arbitration of how much grants should be cut? This benefits no one except the army of lawyers lining up to file wrongful action claims in order to tap into federal grant funding.
    Like (37)
    Follow
    Share
    America must avoid "National Databases" Well intended, but Our Civil liberties are far more important.
    Like (25)
    Follow
    Share
    As stated in the article...states are already doing this. Another money/power grab by democrats. Senate will see this and even if it made it to the floor (it won't), they would give it a thumbs down. STOP SPENDING OUR MONEY ON WORTHLESS LEGISLATION!
    Like (19)
    Follow
    Share
    You already have two databases that work towards stopping people from obtaining Drivers licenses in another state if they are convicted of DUI or DWI in their own states it seems redundant to waste money on a bill already in place! Beef it up some! Make it $15,000 if you have a DUI!
    Like (12)
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    Are you kidding me? Let people get over their mistakes if there was no one harmed. Jesus!! Stop screwing with people’s lives all the time. We’re becoming a goddamn dictatorship and I’m sick of it!! The constant suffocating citizens over minuscule infractions needs to stop now and it’s only going to anger people. Stop making people angry, it’s not helping our society.
    Like (11)
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    This is a simple requirement that takes little time but some states don’t bother. Only by putting teeth in these cooperative measures will we cut down on needless deaths.
    Like (10)
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    Stop overtaxing people and redistributing the money through grants. Get the fed out of state business.
    Like (7)
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    DUIs aren’t a federal issue.
    Like (6)
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    People have missed the point behind this proposal. States have zero incentive to share this information between states without being required to do so. We should withhold grants for failure to report DUI’s to the national database forcing states to comply.
    Like (5)
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    Do not give any more power to the leftist establishment power abusing socialist democrats in the Washington DC swamp. Let freedom reign and get the corrupt federal government out of our lives. WIN Win win 2020
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    I can always tell between Conservatives and Liberals today. Conservatives care about civil liberties, Liberals do not. I will debate, not argue, with anyone that thinks differently. If I'm wrong, I don't mind changing, the opposite isn't true, even a little. Also, IF you really want ot correct things the the STATES, not the Feds, need to take the licence from the individual charged with DUI. If they go to another state then let that state deal with the issue. The Federal Government was NEVER intended to have the authority they do now. Not ever. And all the sheeple are just fine with things they don't even understand. STUDY more than just what your professors tell you. Most of them are communist anyway. So these jerks get away with crapping on the constitution but Trump they try and indict. LOL! WOW, you guys need help.
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    This doesn’t sound like a smart idea. We’ll withhold safety funds, if you don’t report your unsafe people? ...so, things become MORE unsafe?
    Like (4)
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    Already a law.
    Like (4)
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    We must take DUIs seriously.
    Like (4)
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    What business is it of the federal government if someone gets a DWI ?
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    Not only DUI'S but all drugs
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    Why would you do this? It’s not the federal governments concerns, this a state issue in my eyes so let the states handle it.
    Like (3)
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    Grants for health, welfare, education, research, law enforcement, etc. should not be withheld because of someone in the State bureaucracy did not report drunk drivers. That would be an abuse of federal power. Congress should not allow this to happen!
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    You can read the responses and she who reads the additional information under the “Why vote Yay or Na” sections. Why Vote NA... “The Interstate Driver License Compact and the National Driver Register already prevent people from obtaining driver’s licenses in any state if they have been convicted of multiple DUIs in the past and their license is suspended, cancelled, or revoked.” There is already a system in place to capture offenders. This is just another reason to create another database to take away our liberties. Yes DUI and DWI are serious problems, but remember it’ll only get worse now that everyone want recreational POT heads driving on our overcrowded roadways. A lot has changed since the ‘60’s and ‘70’s. Speeds have increased as did the population, more cars per household, more aggressive drivers and a generally less tolerant population. Sounds like the next 10-20 are going to be really fun filled!
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