Reforms to the state’s drunken driving laws, a move to criminalize putting bodily fluids in someone else’s food or drink, and enhanced penalties for sex trafficking are among dozens of measures tucked into an omnibus bill likely to head to the House floor soon.
The House Public Safety and Crime Prevention Policy Committee passed the bill Tuesday. It heads next to the House Finance Committee. Here are some highlights:
Drunken Driving: A measure proposes lowering the threshold for advanced drunken driving penalties from a blood alcohol level of .20 to .16. Another would make legal the necessity defense, a measure that stems from a lengthy court battle in the case of Jennifer Axelberg, who had no choice but to drive legally drunk to escape her husband during a domestic dispute. Some of the proposals are the results of recommendations by the state’s DWI Task Force.
Adulteration by Bodily Fluid: This bill would make it a gross misdemeanor to knowingly add blood, semen, vaginal fluid, urine to any substance intended for human consumption. Saliva would make it a misdemeanor. This move stems from a recent incident where the perpetrator avoided more serious prosecution because there were no applicable laws on the books. Read Jon Tevlin’s recent column on the measure.
Sex Trafficking: A measure to list sex trafficking as a violent crime, rendering it eligible for more enhanced criminal penalties.
Synthetic Drugs: The bill expands the definition of controlled substances to include new chemical compounds used in the manufacture of synthetic drugs. This is a move frequently needed to catch up with synthetic drug makers, who tweak the compounds to avoid prosecution.
The bill also authorizes funding for various state departments. Here’s the spreadsheet.