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Environment panel approves update to motorboat, recreational vehicle DUI provisions

A bill ensuring motorboat and recreational vehicle DUI provisions are the same as motor vehicle DUI provisions has been approved by a House panel.

HF695, sponsored by Rep. Jamie Becker-Finn (DFL-Roseville), on Friday was approved 17-0 by the House Environment and Natural Resources Finance and Policy Committee and referred to the House Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform Finance and Policy Committee.

Its companion, SF703, sponsored by Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen (R-Alexandria), awaits action by the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Finance and Policy Committee.

The bill has its roots in "Little Alan's Law," passed in 2018 after 8-year-old Alan Geisenkoetter Jr. was struck and killed by a drunken snowmobiler while preparing to ice fish.

That law ensured the two categories of DUI statutes were largely the same. But the Department of Natural Resources says there are still small differences between them that can be confusing to interpret.

Provisions in the new bill include:

  • suspending an individual’s license to operate a recreational vehicle if they are revoked for impairment in a motor vehicle and vice versa;
  • ensuring impaired-driving incidents in a recreational vehicle (motorboat, ATV, side-by-side, etc.) are processed the same as a highway licensed motor vehicle; and
  • ensuring that people in the ignition interlock program can only operate off-road vehicles or motorboats that are equipped with ignition interlock devices.

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