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New push for Nick's law

Burlington, Vermont - January 4, 2011

Reporter Kristin Kelly: Thanks so much for being here.

Rep. Brian Savage/R-Swanton: Thank you for having me.

Kelly: This is called Nick's law. Tell me about Nick.

Savage: Nick Fournier was a young man who graduated Missisquoi High School in 2007. In the fall, following his high school graduation, he was home for the weekend on break from college in Maine, and he and some buddies came down into the Burlington area. When they were returning home, he was in Colchester, and the car he was in was struck by a drunk driver, repeat offender who was going to the wrong way on interstate 89. Nick died of his injuries; the other people in the car did survive.

Kelly: Tell me about Nick's law.

Savage: Nick's law will stiffen the penalties. There are provisions in there that if it's a DUI with death resulting, there is a mandatory 5-year sentence. That is mandatory. Other provisions include vehicle forfeiture; that is somebody is caught they may have their vehicle confiscated. There are also provisions in the law for people who may knowingly give or loan their car out to somebody whose license is suspended; they could also be facing some penalties. There is also a mandatory 6-month jail sentence for repeat DUI offenders, rather than right now it's community service.

Kelly: This will be the third or fourth time that you have tried to get this passed. What's the resistance been? What's the problem with getting this law passed?

Savage: This will be the third time that this bill will be introduced. The resistance appears to be in the judiciary committee. That is the mandatory sentencing. Vermont for whatever reason has traditionally has not had mandatory sentencing in their laws.

Kelly: So why do you think that you may have a better shot at it this time around?

Savage: In the events that have occurred in the last few days in Burlington I've noticed there has been a real public outcry for stiffer penalties, even stiffer than what has been proposed in this piece of legislation. So I am hoping and I'm telling everyone to call their legislator and demand action. We need tougher DUI legislation and if it involves mandatory sentencing, so be it. Let it be mandatory sentencing.

Kelly: Representative Savage thanks for joining us.

Savage: Thank you.


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