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Mothers Against Drunk Driving New Mexico (MADD) Monday announced its “2013 Legislative Champions” and recognized Speaker W. Ken Martinez, Representatives Liz Thomson, Stephanie Garcia Richard, and Tim Lewis for their leadership within the New Mexico Legislature to stop drunk driving and protect the rights of victims.
“MADD thanks Speaker Martinez and Representatives Thomson, Garcia Richard, and Lewis for authoring legislation improving New Mexico’s drunk driving law. MADD appreciates their dedication and commitment to advancing MADD’s mission in New Mexico,” said MADD National President Jan Withers.
In 2013, a package of bills were authored, reforming the state’s drunk driving laws. Speaker Martinez authored the first all offender interlock law in 2005, which spurred a movement across the nation, and helped to spark MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving.
“As a freshman in the New Mexico Legislature,” Garcia Richard said, “it was my goal to help strengthen our ‘Driving While Intoxicated’ laws and ensure all offenders are held accountable for their actions. I will continue to fight for tougher laws to protect New Mexicans and am honored to be a 2013 MADD Legislative Champion.”
Garcia Richard authored HB 479, which expands the options available when sentencing convicted drunk drivers, and helps allows for the use of home ignition interlocks if a judge orders house arrest. Representative Tim Lewis authored HB 31, which aims to close loopholes in New Mexico’s drunk driving law, preventing repeat offenders from falling through the cracks. The legislation adds mandatory incarceration for offenders with previous felonies.
Thomson authored HB 349 which as introduced improves standards interlocked offenders must met in order to have the device removed. House Bill 349 was amended to include provisions from other DWI reform measures House Bill 31 and House Bill 479. The legislation ran out of time in 2013, but MADD hopes the bill advances in a future legislative session.
Thomson said “New Mexico continues to have a major problem with drunk driving. I plan to continue to work on this legislation and any other legislation that will help keep New Mexico families and drivers safer.”
Martinez, Thomson, Garcia Richard, and Lewis will be honored as being among MADD’s 2013 Legislative Champions Feb. 6 during the short session at the Roundhouse in Santa Fe.
“Drunk driving is an especially dangerous problem in our state, and these lawmakers are on the front line, working to protect New Mexico families from this violent, preventable crime.” said MADD New Mexico State Executive Director, Ben Lewinger. “MADD appreciates and honors their collective efforts to stop drunk driving and save lives.”