- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 7, 2016

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Woodbury County officials have asked Iowa lawmakers to allow people convicted of drunken driving to stay out of jail if they pass twice-daily sobriety tests.

The program would allow people convicted of alcohol-related offenses to continue living with their families and go to work. Participants would pay for the Breathalyzer tests and the sheriff’s office would administer them, the Sioux City Journal (https://bit.ly/2gaXcB2 ) reported.

Democratic Rep. Dave Dawson of Sioux City first introduced legislation in 2014, specifying that sobriety testing would meet the standard of probation. He tried again last year, but the bill stalled in the House.

Sheriff Dave Drew has advocated for the program since 2013, and he has been unimpressed that state lawmakers haven’t approved the program.

The program could have a better chance of passing during next year’s legislative session because the governor plans to make the fight against impaired driving a priority, Woodbury County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeremy Taylor said.

Taylor said the program could lessen the inmate count in the county jail, which has been facing issues related to overcrowding and staffing.

He said the program, called 24-7, “would be a boost to Woodbury County because it is a jail diversionary program that calls for personal responsibility and is emulated after what works in South Dakota.”

About two-thirds of the county jail’s inmates have alcohol- and drug- related problems. Drew said if fewer people incarcerated, the jail could save tens of thousands of dollars in operating costs.

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Information from: Sioux City Journal, https://www.siouxcityjournal.com

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