- Associated Press - Thursday, February 23, 2017

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - A Democratic-control House committee blocked a proposal Thursday that would have banned alcohol for New Mexico’s repeat drunken drivers and created one of the most restrictive DWI laws in the country.

By a 3-2 vote along party lines, The House Consumer and Public Affairs tabled a bill that would have mandated a lifetime alcohol ban for those convicted of a third drunken driving conviction.

Under the legislation, those convicted of a second drunken driving offense would be prevented from purchasing and consuming alcoholic beverages for a year. A lifetime ban would be imposed after a third conviction with a chance for an appeal after a decade.

Those placed on alcohol bans would have been required to get driver’s licenses like those issued to people under the age of 21.

Rep. Jane Powdrell-Culbert, R-Corrales, the bill’s sponsor, said the law was needed as a preventative measure for a state that has one of the highest rates of alcohol-related traffic deaths in the nation.

But Rep. Deborah Armstrong, D-Albuquerque, said treatment was the answer and not regulating someone’s behavior that had nothing to do with driving.

“I just don’t know how we can enforce this,” Rep. Eliseo Lee Alcon, D-Milan, the committee chair, said.

A similar proposal that addressed ignition interlocks as well as the purchase of alcohol by offenders won House support in 2013 but languished in the Senate.

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