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Redwood Falls Gazette - Redwood Falls - MN
  • Legislators introduce ‘Drake’s law’

  • In July 2012, Drake Bigler, the five-month-old son of Brad and Heather Bigler of Marshall was killed in a car crash....
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  • In July 2012, Drake Bigler, the five-month-old son of Brad and Heather Bigler of Marshall was killed in a car crash. The driver of the vehicle who collided with them had been drinking, and it was not the first time he had been arrested for drinking and driving. Since that time, the Biglers have been on a mission to prevent DWIs however they can. That led them to St. Paul this past week where they met with leaders and talked about a proposal known as “Drake’s law.” The proposed law was introduced this past week by District 16 Sen. Gary Dahms and Dis-trict 16A Rep. Chris Swedzinski. The basic premise of the bill would strengthen the maximum penalty for repeat DWI offenders, with a maximum prison sentence increased from 10 years to 15 years. According to Swedzinski, the Biglers approached him about current DWI laws and the idea of making them more strict. “We want to send a message that drinking and driving is not acceptable,” said Swedzinski, adding the intent is to have the punishment fit the crime. For the law to be implemented, other aggravating factors, such as property damage or personal injury must have occurred, added Swedzinski. Dahms said the hope is people who see the state is serious about DWI prevention will think a little harder before getting in a vehicle after they have had too much to drink. “There are a lot of folks who have been impacted by drunk drivers,” said Dahms. Dahms added there has been strong support for the idea from others in the legislature, as well as other groups who work with these types of issues. “It would be good to get something done this year,” said Dahms, adding, however, with a fast-paced session taking place it might not happen until the 2015 legislative session. “If it doesn’t happen this session, we will introduce it again next year.” While the bill has been introduced in St. Paul it had not been scheduled for a hearing as of late last week. So, the Biglers, Dahms, Swedzinski and others involved in the bill wait for legislative leaders to set that up. Both Dahms and Swedzinski are positive about the ultimate outcome of this bill, because it has received such positive support since it was introduced. “We are going to work hard to get this done for Drake,” added Swedzinski.

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