UPDATE: Despite pleas from the hospitality industry and even the gun-rights lobby—Gov. Gary Herbert told reporters at the monthly KUER radio press conference that he will sign HB255 (aka DUI Bill) into law.
When the 2017 Legislature ended, the smart money was on Gov. Herbert signing HB255, a measure that would lower Utah’s blood-alcohol level for DUI from 0.08 to 0.05. Herbert even said he’d sign it, giving Utah the lowest blood-alcohol level in the nation.
The bill’s proponents claimed it would reduce drunk driving by making people think harder about their state of sobriety before getting behind the wheel. (As if no one ever thought about that under the 0.08 limit.)
Restaurant and bar groups are lobbying Herbert to veto the bill, arguing it would be disastrous to their businesses because as little as one drink could put a diner—particularly a woman—in the red zone. See SLmag‘s segment with Salt Lake Area Restaurant Association’s Michele Corigliano on Channel 4’ Good4Utah here.
The American Beverage Institute ran ads in the Trib, DNews and USA Today with the headline: “Utah: Come for Vacation, Leave on Probation.”
Meanwhile, Herbert is still suffering gastric distress after seeing what going along with the 2017 Legislature’s stupidity can do to Utah’s economy. Despite year after year of warnings from the Outdoor Retailers trade show, the GOP Legislature insisted on passing a resolution asking Trump to rollback the Bears Ears National Monument. Herbert, thinking OR was again bluffing, supported it. Now, the outdoor advocates are taking their $100 million ball and leaving town—probably for Utah’s nemesis, Colorado.
But what might finally give Herbert the political cover to veto the so-called DUI law came from right field. The Utah Shooting Sports Council—basically the local chapter of the NRA—opposes the 0.05 limit. Chairman Clark Aposhian says that while the group doesn’t advocate shooting while drunk, they fear that simply having a beer could make the gun on a Second-Amendment patriot’s hip illegal.
“They could be in their own home,” Apposhian told the DNews. “There are no exceptions.”
This makes it very easy for Herbert, who has political capitol to burn anyway, to veto the bill saying it needs further study.