The Iowa House has reversed course and decided against setting up a new appeal process to help truckers who’ve lost their commercial drivers license due to a drunken driving arrest that was later tossed out.
House Republican Leader Christopher Rants of Sioux City railed against the idea shortly after nine o’clock this morning, but Democrats overrode his objections and approved the move. "I think after they read the various stories that were published that they’d made a terrible, terrible mistake," Rants says. "They weren’t paying attention to debate on the floor."
House Democratic Leader Kevin McCarthy of Des Moines says legislators decided to take a "second look" at the issue. "There is a legitimate discussion to have on C.D.L. ramifications…but there’s no consensus on that issue," McCarthy says.
Rants, the Republican leader in the House, suggests Democrats found out there was a whole lot of opposition to the idea. "County attorneys, the D.O.T., even the Iowa Motor Truck Association — they’re with us, with me saying that these people shouldn’t be behind the wheel," Rants says.
Representative Rick Olson, a Democrat from Des Moines, had argued an appeals process should be established for truckers who lose their commercial drivers license for a drunk driving conviction that’s eventually overturned due to a faulty blood alcohol test or an unconstitutional traffic stop. Olson says in some cases truckers regain their driving privileges for personal vehicles, but still can’t legally drive a semi because their commercial drivers license is automatically suspended for a year due to a drunken driving charge.
The new appeal process for truckers was included in a budget bill the House debated this morning.