he video: The Republican Party — particularly its Tea Party contingent — is steadfastly opposed to many kinds of government oversight, from pollution laws to health insurance mandates. But one lawmaker took that anti-regulatory zeal a step farther this week than usual when he stood up in the Montana House and argued that drunk-driving laws hurt the economy. (See video below.) The argument came during debate over a new bill that would allow prosecutors to take into account 10 years of driving history when prosecuting drunk drivers, instead of the current five. "These DUI laws are not doing our small businesses in our state any good at all. They are destroying them," said Rep. Alan Hale, a Tea Party-supported freshman Republican, who also owns a bar. He argued that getting behind the wheel while intoxicated is simply a part of rural life in Montana. "These taverns and bars in these smaller communities connect people together," he said. "They are the center of the communities. I'll guarantee you there's only two ways to get there: Either you hitchhike, or you drive, and I promise you they're not going to hitchhike."
The reaction:. "It's crazy" to say DUI laws hurt small businesses, say Mothers Against Drunk Driving National President Laura Dean-Mooneys, as quoted by AOL. "He needs to do a little more fact checking before he makes statements like that and insults those who have lost loved ones to drunk driving." Besides bars, let's consider some other businesses that harsher drunk driving penalties might cripple, says Robin Marty at Care2.com. "Extra ambulances, auto repair shops, morticians..." See Hale's spirited defense:
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