WWI Joins Hospitality and Brewers in Testifying in Strong Opposition to HB 2196 the .05 BAC Bill

The House Community Safety, Justice, and Reentry Committee held a public hearing on Thursday for HB 2196 the .05 BAC bill. We are communicating with all of our members and the industry to join us in vocal opposition to the bill.

We joined the Washington Hospitality Association and the Washington Brewers Guild testifying in opposition to the myriad of reasons why this policy proposal will not achieve the laudable goal of reducing DUI-related fatalities in Washington.

Instead, we believe the bill will only harm our hospitality industry, especially wineries and other liquor licensees located in rural areas of our state. We spoke to such valid points as: 

– 49 of 50 states in our country have a .08 BAC law that is based in scientific research and was set with guidance from law enforcement many years ago. Utah is the only state with a .05 BAC law.

– Utah’s own data shows that for three years after the law’s implementation, 2020-2022, the unfortunate reality for their state was seeing alcohol-related fatalities increase each year.

– There is no scientifically valid training for a server to identify a customer at a .05 level, making this practically impossible to implement as a useful tool.

– Washington State Patrol and police officers overall are currently legally allowed to arrest any person for a DUI at any level of impairment, giving them discretion before making an arrest. This law would significantly narrow that discretion.

– High BAC drivers and repeat offenders are the real problem. Focusing on getting these people off the road who clearly have complete disregard for the safety of others should be our state’s top priority. Let’s work together to strengthen existing DUI laws and reduce the number of these instances on our roadways.

We will continue to speak to Democrats and Republicans on the Committee and as many as we can in the State House asking to oppose this bill and instead work with all stakeholders on solutions that will meaningfully lower DUI-related arrests and fatalities and make Washington State roads safer for all to use each year.

A big “THANK YOU” to every WWI member willing to use our Action Alert in last week’s newsletter to sign in “Con” on HB 2196 and add your voice to the process in hopes we together can make a difference. We are incredibly grateful, and we will likely ask for your help again if this bill advances to the next step in the legislative process. We will as always keep our members up to date as is possible on the current status of this bill and all bills we are engaged on during the 2024 legislative session.