The state Senate decided today that Attorney General Marty Jackley should be allowed to proceed with a new program that would provide another way for some convicted drunk- and drug-influenced drivers to get back behind the wheel.
The legislation, SB 33, would authorize a pilot project using ignition interlock devices in vehicles of people who had a previous drunk-driving conviction in the past 10 years or a conviction for having a blood-alcohol content of 0.17 percent or greater.
Interlock legislation was defeated last year because of questions about a funding source.
Jackley subsequently tried to start the program as a rules change, but that move was blocked by the Legislature’s rules review committee.
The attorney general’s latest plan calls for a pilot project in Lincoln County. Judges could impose the interlock devices as a condition of sentencing. Drivers would need to blow an alcohol-free sample into the device for the vehicle to start.
The legislation now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.
An amendment from Sen. Corey Brown, R-Gettysburg, sets a range of fees for all alcohol and drug testing and monitoring, sets the charges for drivers using the ignition interlock devices, and restricts the uses of the fee revenue.
Brown said the amendment was developed in consultation with the state Department of Public Safety, which oversees driver licensing. The Senate debate previously had been deferred four times since Jan. 26.
The ignition device will include a video recorder to show who is blowing into the alcohol tester, Sen. Jean Hunhoff, R-Yankton, said.
Senators voted 33-0 today after Brown’s amendment.