Emma's Law passes SC House Judiciary Committee Tuesday after passionate debate
Todd Rutherford passionately suggests a stricter amendment to Emma's Law
Karen Longstreet tearfully says she hopes something good will come from the tragedy that struck her family.
By: Kathleen Jacob
The South Carolina House Judiciary Committee passed Emma's law Tuesday night. The proposed law is named after Emma Longstreet who was just 6 years old when she died in a wreck caused by a drunk driver.
The bill would require anyone who blows a .15 or higher blood alcohol content and is convicted of drunk driving to install an ignition interlock system in their car.
The author of the bill, Joel Laurie, was happy with the outcome.
"We are one of the leaders in the nation of alcohol related fatalities on our highways and this bill has been very successful as to cutting DUI fatalities by 40 or 50% in other states and by having a successful ignition interlock program in south Carolina I think we can expect the same results," says Senator Laurie.
But State Representative Todd Rutherford passionately called for more action. He proposed a bill that requires anyone who pleads guilty to DUI, no matter what they blow, to have an ignition interlock system in their car.
"My problem is the only way to stop people from driving and drinking is that interlock device saying you cant start your car," argues Rutherford. "What we've done so far is make it a conviction above a .15 and what I just did is make it for anybody that is charged with DUI, tell me how that's a bad idea?"
Lawmakers rejected Rutherford's proposed amendment saying it would complicate the law and delay the law's passage.
Emma's parents, David and Karen Longstreet, said they just pray something good comes out of the tragedy that plagued their family and spawned this movement to get drunk drivers off of the roads.
"We weren't doing anything wrong, we were wearing our seat belts and on our way to church," said a teary eyed Karen Longstreet.
The bill was passed through the Senate last year and now has to go through the House. It then must go back to the Senate for a re-vote.