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Senator Jim Alesi (R/C-Perinton) today announced that DWI legislation, which he authored, passed the New York State Senate, March 1, 2006. The bill (S.2272) would increase penalties for criminalconvictions of drunk or drugged driving where a child, under the age of 17, is a passenger.

Passage of the bill followed a press conference held by Senator Alesi and Mothers Against Drinking and Driving (M.A.D.D). The press conference was organized to increase awareness of the ills of drinking and driving and to introduce Bill Heitz, a former Monroe County Deputy Sheriff, who was injured by a drunk driver while on duty and now serves as M.A.D.D New York’s first male chairman.

S.2272 imposes additional fines and imprisonment for individuals who drink and drive with children in the vehicle. Each offense increases the fine and term of imprisonment for those who put children at risk by driving under the influence.

"Endangering the welfare of a child by operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol is reckless and considered neglect or even abuse," said Senator Jim Alesi. "This bill will enhance the protection of our children by increasing penalties for drunk driving convictions in those cases where a child is present."