A bill which sets new penalties for operating a boat while drunk or drugged has cleared one hurdle at the statehouse. If the bill becomes law, a first-time drunken boater would be sent to jail for 48 hours — and be subject to fine of up to one-thousand dollars. That boater would also lose their boating privileges for a year. The bill also sets a 25-year prison sentence for drunken boaters who kill someone. Bill Sanders of Des Moines was boating with his wife, Dona, last summer, when their boat was struck by a drunken boater. Dona died. Her husband was in the House Judiciary Committee meeting room yesterday when the bill passed on a 20 to zero vote.Sanders calls this bill a first step which he hopes will become law this year. Next year, Sanders will push for suspension of a drivers license for drunken boating offenses.Sanders says some opponents tell him they’re concerned D-N-R officers will be over-zealous in cracking down on drunken boaters.Iowa is one of just two states which do not have a blood alcohol level set to determine illegal, drunken boating.
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