There’s debate at the statehouse over whether to toughen Iowa’s drunken boating law. The Iowa House has so far refused to make the drunken boating law mirror the state’s drunken driving law which sets the "too drunk" standard at .08 blood alcohol content. Senator David Johnson, a Republican from Ocheyedan, isn’t happy.
"With all due respect to a great American, the late Charleton Heston, I’m going to keep fighting for this common sense legislation until they pry the Mercury outboard motor out of my cold, dead hands," Johnson says. According to Johnson, 40 states now have a .08 standard for drunken boating.
"And every surrounding state of Iowa has it, except for Missouri," Johnson says. Senator Dick Dearden, a Democrat from Des Moines, ridicules House Leader Kevin McCarthy — a fellow Democrat — for appointing a group of lawyers to examine the issue.
"You know if you get a couple of attorneys over there, you know how tough it is to get anything done," Dearden says. And Senator Dennis Black, a Democrat from Grinnell, says it doesn’t take a "rocket scientist" to figure out a drunken boater is a danger to others.
"Someone intoxicated, going across the water and with the horse power we’ve got in these boats these days while they’re doing many other things: talking, looking around, etcetera," Black says. House Democratic Leader Kevin McCarthy, the man the senators blame for holding up a vote on the drunken boating issue, refused to comment on the controversy.