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10-28-2005

Page history last edited by PBworks 14 years, 1 month ago

October 28, 2005

ROMNEY CELEBRATES THE PASSAGE OF MELANIE'S BILL

Legislation puts Massachusetts in line with federal standards for drunk driving

 

Governor Mitt Romney today signed into law the toughest drunk driving legislation in the Commonwealth’s history.

 

Named in honor of 13-year-old Melanie Powell, the new law will stiffen penalties for drunk driving offenses in Massachusetts and close loopholes in the legal system that allow repeat drunk drivers to get back behind the wheel.

 

“Today we honor those who have lost their lives in senseless drunk driving tragedies and act to save the lives we could otherwise lose next year,” said Romney. “We have Melanie’s Law today because the citizens of the Commonwealth cared enough to make it happen.”

 

The new measure gives prosecutors the power to introduce certified court documents to prove that a repeat offender has been previously convicted of drunk driving. In addition, the mandatory minimum jail sentence for any individual found guilty of manslaughter by motor vehicle will be increased from 2 ½ to five years.

 

Repeat offenders will be required to install an interlock device on any vehicle they own or operate. These devices measure the driver’s Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) and prevent the car from starting if the driver is intoxicated. Any individual who tampers with the interlock device could face a jail sentence.

 

For the first time, Massachusetts will be in compliance with federal standards for drunk driving laws.

 

Romney was joined by Tod and Nancy Powell, the parents of Melanie Powell, and her grandfather, Ron Bersani to celebrate the passage of the new drunk driving measure.

 

“Today we should give thanks to all of those who have worked so hard to make this day possible,” said Bersani. “Governor Romney and the Legislative leadership have advanced the fight against repeat drunk driving to heights that seemed unattainable just six months ago.

 

Under the law, stiff penalties will be established for individuals who drive while drunk with a child under the age of 14 in the vehicle and those who drive with a BAC of .20 or higher, more than twice the legal limit.

 

Romney thanked the Legislature for enacting a tough bill that cracks down on repeat drunk driving offenders in Massachusetts.

 

“Public safety is one of our top priorities and Melanie’s Law will go a long way towards making our citizens and roadways safer,” said Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi. “I commend the my colleagues in the Legislature and the Governor for taking comprehensive and quick action on this very important issue.”

 

“Today we are sending a powerful message that Massachusetts is serious about keeping repeat drunken drivers off the road,” said House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones Jr. “I am proud of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and my legislative colleagues for joining together to pass tough laws to make our roadways safer.”

 

“I am pleased and proud that the Legislature did the right thing in the end and supported a Bill worthy of Melanie’s name and the sacrifices made by the Powell family and all victims of drunk drivers,” said Senator Robert L. Hedlund. “Melanie's Law will save lives and it would not have been accomplished if not for the tireless efforts and advocacy of the families.”

 

Representative Frank Hynes added, “I’d like to commend Ron, Tod, and Nancy for their tireless work in support of Melanie’s bill. As a family, they were able to turn the horrific tragedy in their lives into a greater measure of safety for all families on Massachusetts roadways.”

 

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