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Montana DUI reform bill dies after missing return date

Montana DUI reform bill dies after missing return date

Sen. Keith Regier (R-Kalispell)

Sen. Keith Regier, R-Kalispell, responds to questioning during a Senate Rules Committee hearing on Jan. 8, 2019.

A bill outlining a lengthy reform of Montana’s DUI laws carried by Sen. Keith Regier, R-Kalispell, is dead after it did not appear on the Senate floor despite being scheduled for a second reading debate Monday. 

The House Judiciary committee tabled Regier’s Senate Bill 65 Friday, with committee member Rep. Casey Knudsen, R-Malta, remarking that its volume of amendments indicated “more problems than there are benefits.” The bill came back to life the next day when the Senate Finance and Claims Committee amended it into House Bill 685, a placeholder bill sponsored by Regier’s son, Rep. Matt Regier, R-Columbia Falls.

The new bill did not reach the Senate floor Monday despite being scheduled for second reading, and missed its Tuesday deadline to return to the House.

Montana Attorney General Tim Fox promised in a Tuesday statement to continue working toward “stronger, smarter DUI laws” despite the failure of the bill, which the elder Regier carried for the state Department of Justice.

“Montanans are sick and tired of hearing about someone getting their eighth, tenth, twelfth DUI,” Fox said. “They’re tired of hearing about new DUI fatalities every week. The opponents of my bill offered no solutions. But this crisis isn’t going away on its own, and so I’m not giving up.”

Fox, who began serving as state attorney general in 2013, announced in January that he will run for governor in 2020.


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