The Season of Light
December 4, 2013
This is the holiday season. It represents a time of joy and a time of hope. It is a season of light. However, a heart recently broken by the death of a loved one can often feel even more darkness and emptiness during these days that we think should bring moments of celebration.
I remember the first holidays following Alisa’s death, feeling as if there were no light at the end of the tunnel. Hope? That was a four-letter word. How could I smile or feel warmth and joy when such a huge hole was now forced on my heart and our family?
For some of you whose grief may be fresh, it is hard to see hope during these dark days. However, I do know your love endures for the person you grieve. It knows no bounds. Hang on to that love. It is your ray of hope, and it will serve you well until you can smile again.
Our loved ones are forever part of our hearts. As we remember them over the holidays, I ask you to think about the light that was in them – that is now in you – that you can share with others. You can share that light, even with the pain in you. They live on through us. What a beautiful way to honor them, by sharing their love, and the joy they gave us with others. What a gift that is. It is a shining star in the darkness, and in that I see hope.
Holiday Grief Tips
December 3, 2013
For many people, this is a season of celebrations. However, the holidays are often a difficult time for those of us who are bereaved and coping with loss. Many bereaved and injured people face this season with apprehension often in fear of their emotional reactions to what are supposed to be happy, memorable events.
A common question asked by those mourning a loved one or struggling to make sense of other losses is, “How can I get through the holidays?” There is no single answer of what we should or should not do, but it is important that we consider what activities are comfortable for us to participate in during the holidays.
Here are some suggestions for people experiencing bereavement and/or injury for coping during the holidays:
- Plan ahead for the approaching holidays. Accept that this might be a difficult time for you. The additional stress this season brings may impact you emotionally, physically and spiritually. These are normal reactions. Be prepared for rushes of emotions that may occur.
- Recognize that the holidays might not be the same as they were in the past. Expecting everything to seem the same might lead to disappointment. Modify or make new traditions if it feels right. Just remember to include others who are grieving, especially children, in decisions.
- Don’t overwhelm or over commit yourself. Give yourself a reprieve. Take time for yourself and take care of yourself. Take it slow and easy, one step at a time.
- Be careful not to isolate yourself. It is all right to take time for yourself, but try not to cut yourself off from the support of family and friends.
- The holidays may affect other family members. Talk to others as you make plans and share your feelings. Respect other’s choices and needs, and compromise if necessary.
- Expect to experience some feelings of emotional pain. When the feelings come, let them.
- Accept a few invitations to be with close family or friends. Choose the ones that sound most appealing at the time and decline the ones that feel more like an obligation.
- Talk about your feelings. Let people know if you are having a tough day.
- Share your favorite stories with others and make a toast or light a candle in honor and remembrance.
When everyone else appears so happy and cheerful, it is easy to feel alone. You may feel out of sorts with the holiday season. Recognizing that the holidays can be painful often helps ease that sense of isolation. If you need any additional assistance, please call 1-877-MADD-HELP (877-623-3435). MADD is just one call away.
2013 MADD Legislative Champions
November 19, 2013
We are excited to announce the “2013 Legislative Champions” – 89 lawmakers honored for their tireless work and commitment to advancing MADD’s mission.
Representative Farley and Senator Holtzclaw introduced SB 401/HB 477 implementing Alabama’s 2011 ignition interlock law requiring interlocks for repeat and first-time offenders with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15 or greater. Their 2013 proposals also incentivized the use of ignition interlocks for all first time offenders with a BAC of .08 to .14. The legislation currently is being discussed as part of an interim study session for 2014. MADD hopes legislation will be introduced in 2014 requiring or incentivizing the use of ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers.
HB 2182 was signed into law in 2013. The measure removes the ability of a person to be placed in a continuous alcohol monitoring program in lieu of getting an ignition interlock device. Arizona DUI ignition interlock law effective. HB 2182 prohibits a person from operating an employer’s vehicle without a certified ignition interlock device if the individual is otherwise required to use the device. HB 2182 makes Arizona’s ignition interlock law more effective.
In 2013, Representative Jeremy Gillam and Senator Jon Woods authored HB 1694 which allows for immediate reinstatement of driving privileges for repeat offenders providing an ignition interlock is installed in the vehicle. At the request of prosecutors, Senator Jeremy Hutchinson authored SB 1133 which toughens penalties for repeat offenders and for those who drive drunk with a child passenger in a vehicle. Both measures were signed into law.
For their efforts on DUI child endangerment and ignition interlock legislation in 2013: Representative Themis Klarides, Representative Gerald Fox, III, Representative Richard Smith, Representative Al Adinolfi and Senator Leonard Fasano.
In 2013, Representative Dave Young and Senator Steve King authored House Bill 1240 that was signed into law expanding the use of ignition interlocks for refusals and repeat offenders as well as lowering the super drunk DUI level from .17 to .15.
Lawmakers also introduced legislation protecting the rights of victims of drunk driving. Representative Rhonda Fields and Representative Bob Gardner authored House Bill 1241 which was signed into law improves victim rights by helping to fund Colorado’s statewide victim notification system, which includes drunk driving related cases. Representative Libby Szabo authored House Bill 1217 or Jenna’s Law requiring vehicular homicide offenders to serve 75 percent of their time in prison as opposed to current 50 percent. The legislation would help make the punishment fit the crime. MADD hopes the proposal moves in 2014.
At the end of the 2013 session, Senate Majority Leader David McBride, Representative Helene Keeley and Representative Stephen Smyk introduced HB 201 and HB 212 which would require ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers. MADD hopes the legislation moves in 2014.
In 2013, Representative Baxley and Senator Hukill authored HB 479 and SB 796 requiring the use of ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers. MADD hopes similar legislation advances in 2014.
Senator Donzella James for introducing SB 15 and SB 18 legislation requiring interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers and increasing penalties for driving drunk with a child passenger in a vehicle. Representative Tom Rice for introducing HB 671 requiring ignition interlocks for first-time offenders with a blood alcohol concentration of .15 or greater.
Senator John Cullerton and Senator Kwame Raoul introduced SB 924 improving the current all offender ignition interlock law. One aspect of the proposal would better incentivize the use of ignition interlocks for first-time offenders by mandating a 12 month waiting period with no driving privileges for offenders who elect not to enter the six month interlock program.
Representative Cindy Kirchhofer introduced HB 1517 requiring ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers. MADD hopes lawmakers will take action on ignition interlock legislation in 2014.
House Judiciary Chairman Chip Baltimore for his support and leadership of HF 571 requiring ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers.
Senator Jeff King and Representative John Rubin for their leadership on HB 2218 which among other provisions made the crime of aggravated battery to include serious DUI crashes allowing offenders to be charged with a felony.
Representative Dennis Keene authored HB 286 requiring ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers. MADD hopes the legislation will advance in 2014. Representative Julie Raque Adams authored HB 32 eliminating the option of judges granting “shock probation” for offenders convicted of killing in a DUI crash. Shock probation allows judges to reduce sentences of convicted drunk drivers who cause the deaths of victims. Kentucky is one of only six states that allows for the practice of shock probation.
In 2012, Senator Jonathan Perry successfully authored multiple pieces of DWI reform legislation improving the state’s ignition interlock law including a measure that prohibited law enforcement from being subpoenaed to a driver’s license hearing, making the hearing a paper review only. Also he authored legislation that required DWI offender to serve entire driver’s license suspension upon arrest, if arrest occurred within 10 years of previous conviction, even if current arrest did not result in conviction. (Act 663)
Representative Bob Nutting authored LD 1260 that made Maine the 20th state to enact an all offender ignition interlock law. Beginning December 1, 2013, when the new law goes into effect, a first-time offender can either choose a six month license suspension with no driving privileges or a 30 day license suspension followed by 150 days on an interlock. .
Delegate Sam Arora authored HB 32 requiring the use of ignition interlocks for DUI offenders who drive drunk with a child passenger in a vehicle. MADD hopes lawmakers take action in 2014 on this lifesaving legislation as well as ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers.
Senator Robert Hedlund authored SB 1666 requiring requiring the use of ignition interlocks for convicted drunk drivers who drive during a license suspension.
Representative Andrea LaFontaine authored HB 4093 and Representative Klint Kesto authored HB 4131 that extended Michigan’s 2013 sunset clause of their .08 BAC law to 2018. Without their leadership, the state of Michigan would have lost 50 million dollars of federal funding.
In 2012, Representative Andy Gipson and Senator Chris McDaniel authored successful legislation (HB 681 and SB 2590) which creates extra penalties for DUI offenders who drive drunk with a child passenger in a vehicle. The new law made Mississippi the 42nd state to enact a child endangerment law.
In 2013, these lawmakers all worked to require ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers with HB 481: Speaker Philip Gunn, Representative Andy Gipson, Representative Kevin Horan and Senator Hillman Terome Frazier. MADD hopes lawmakers will take action on this lifesaving legislation in 2014.
Representative Caleb Jones helped push through SB 23 helping to implement the state’s all offender interlock law starting March 2014.
Senator Sue Malek attempted to introduce legislation requiring ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers. However, due to push back from judges, the legislation was not introduced.
In 2013, Senator Les Seiler authored LB 158 improving on the state’s effective ignition interlock law. The measure was signed into law. LB 158 complies with new federal highway funding standards of MAP-21 requiring one year of ignition interlock usage for repeat offenders.
As a result of a 2011 Nebraska law, interlock use for first-time offenders has increased from 17 percent to 50 percent. The law allows for immediate installation of an ignition interlock following an arrest if an offender waives their Administrative License Hearing. This has increased interlock installations dramatically soon after arrest while also saving the state money with less Administrative License Hearings. Nebraska’s law is a model for other states as it cost effective to the state and gets DUI offenders on an interlock as soon as possible after a DUI.
In 2013, Representative Stephen Shurtleff for authoring HB 496 expanding the use of ignition interlocks to all convicted drunk drivers who choose to drive during a license suspension. Currently, ignition interlock are required for repeat and first-time convicted drunk drivers with a blood alcohol concentration of .16 or greater.
Senator Nicholas Scutari authored legislation S 2427 which requires ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers. MADD applauds Representative Linda Stender for introducing companion legislation A 3835. The legislation is pending in the House Judiciary Committee.
In 2013, For their efforts in improving the states drunk driving law: Speaker W. Ken Martinez, Representative Liz Thomson, Representative Stephanie Garcia Richard, Representative Tim Lewis. In 2013, a package of bills were authored reforming the state’s drunk driving law. Speaker Martinez, the author the first all offender interlock law in 2005 and helped spark MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving and a movement throughout the Nation leading to 19 states passing similar laws also voiced strong support for the package of DUI bills.
Representative Garcia Richard authored HB 479 which expands the options available when sentencing convicted drivers and helping to ensure sobriety by allowing for the use of home ignition interlocks of DWI offenders if a judge orders house arrest. Representative Tim Lewis authored HB 31 which aims to close loopholes in New Mexico’s drunk driving law where repeat offenders are able to fall through the cracks. The legislation adds mandatory incarceration drunk driving sentences for offenders with previous felonies.
Representative 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.
These lawmakers were crucial in the original passage of Leandra’s Law in 2009. In 2013, they helped advance A 2285/S 5859 improving Leandra’s law by closing preexisting DWI loopholes which hindered implementation of Leandra’s Law : Senator Chuck Fuschillo, Senator Martin Dilan, Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg, Speaker Sheldon Silver. The 2013 improvements include the following:
- Extends the period of interlock restriction to one year (from the 6 month minimum) for people who claim they don’t own and will not operate a car. (This functions as a disincentive to just try and “wait out” the 6 month minimum.)
- Allows interlocks to be installed pre-sentence (giving prosecutors and the courts more control on making sure it gets done).
- Requires any claim that a defendant won’t own or operate a car during the one year license suspension to be made under oath, potentially subjecting the offender to additional charges if he or she lies.
- Clarifies that the law applies to Youthful Offenders .
- Establishes an E felony for drivers who were given the benefit of a conditional license after a DWI incident and then drive impaired again.
In 2013, Representatives Jordan, Jackson, and Faircloth were primary sponsors of H 536 that required ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers. Senator Bill Rabon authored a similar measure with S 434. MADD hopes lawmakers take action on this lifesaving legislation (H 536, S 434) in 2014.
Senator Jim Davis and Senator Tom Apodaca authored legislation in 2013 which provides for all hospitals to test for BAC and provides $500,000 in funding. The new law will cut down on the wait time to obtain blood tests from months to days (http://www.citizen-times.com/article/20131114/NEWS/311140067/Haywood-hospital-test-blood-DWI-cases?nclick_check=1). For years, the law enforcement community, hand-in-hand with MADD Western North Carolina, has campaigned for a full-service crime lab in the area. Up to 48% of DWI cases involving blood testing have been dismissed annually, due to the 2009 Melendez v Diaz ruling, along with inadequate resources at the state lab. Ellen Pitt, Chapter Leader of MADD Western North Carolina wrote a documentary entitled "Angela's Story" which poignantly demonstrates the human cost paid by a Western North Carolina family for the absence of adequate lab services.
Representative Ed Gruchalla and Senator Tim Mathern authored SB 2240 that originally required ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers. The legislation was eventually amended to study ignition interlocks.
Representative Jim Thompson authored a slew of DUII reform bills in 2013 after heading up 25 person DUI working group leading up to the start of session. Senator Rod Monroe authored SB 94 legalizing sobriety checkpoints.
Senator John Rafferty authored S 1036 requiring ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers. Representative Anthony DeLuca authored H 1810 requiring ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers.
In 2013, these Senators helped advance Emma’s Law (S 137) requiring ignition interlocks for all repeat and first-time offenders with a BAC of .12 or greater: Senator Joel Lourie, Senator Brad Hutto, Senator Larry Martin. MADD also thanks these house members for their support Emma’s Law: Representative Eddie Tallon, Representative Todd Atwater, Representative Rick Quinn. Additionally, MADD would like to thank Representative L. Kit Spires for authoring the House version of Emma’s Law. MADD would like to also thank Representative Eddie Tallon for authoring H 3191 creating penalties for DUI on a moped.
Representative Tony Shipley and Senator Mae Beavers authored H 353 and S 670 making Tennessee the nineteenth state to require ignition interlocks for six months all convicted drunk drivers who obtain restricted driving privileges during a license suspension.
Senator Wendy Davis authored SB 1418 legalizing the option of sobriety checkpoints. Representative Bill Callegari authored HB 260 expanding the use of ignition interlocks.
In 2012, Senator Donald McEachin authored HB 279 and SB 378 requiring ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers for a period of at least six months. The law went into effect July 1, 2012 when there were 4,567 interlocks installed in Virginia. In July 2013, that number rose to 8,456 representing a significant increase in installations and safer Virginia roadways.
Former Representative Margaret Cheney authored H 305 in 2013 which required ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers. In 2012, Senator Eldred French (a State Representative at the time) carried H 768 reforming the state’s ignition interlock law by providing for compliance based removal of offenders on the device and providing penalties for circumventing the interlock order.
Representative Roger Goodman and Senator Mike Padden for their efforts with Impaired Driving Working Group and for their leadership in advancing DUI reform SB 5912 in 2013 which among many provisions included requiring repeat offenders to install an ignition interlock within five days of arrest.
Representative Jim Ott and Senator Alberta Darling authored many drunk driving reform bills including legislation that helped advance victim rights by setting forth mandatory minimums in fatal and injury related OWI crashes. Representative André Jacque introduced AB 273 allowing search warrants to be issued in order to obtain a blood test for suspected OWI offenders who refuse a chemical test. Representative Jon Richards has voiced his public support for ignition interlocks and requiring these devices for all convicted drunk drivers.