MONTGOMERY — Under Alabama law, a drunken driving conviction in another state has no impact here.

A proposed bill from Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, would change that, and prior convictions in Tennessee or Mississippi would factor into sentencing in Alabama.

“Being near Tennessee, we can’t look at those (out-of-state convictions) for sentencing purposes and say, ‘This person has a problem and is putting people in jeopardy,’ ” Orr said.

Orr has a bill for the 2014 legislative session that changes several parts of the state’s DUI laws.

“For border communities, this is a huge issue,” said Barry Matson, deputy director of the Alabama District Attorneys Association.

The association is a proponent of Orr’s bill, which also:

Strikes the current law’s five-year review, meaning any prior conviction, no matter when, could be considered at sentencing.

Increases the minimum mandatory sentence for a fourth or subsequent violation from 10 days to 90 days.

Says that anyone caught a third or subsequent time driving on a DUI-revoked or suspended license would receive a mandatory 30 days in jail.

Orr’s bill also modifies what is considered being under the influence of drugs. With alcohol, there is a set limit: 0.08 blood-alcohol level. Orr’s bill would set a measurable standard for drugs such as meth, cocaine, Oxycodone and morphine.

“Several states passed bills to give better clarity for those that use illegal drugs or prescription drugs,” Orr said. “The prosecutors don’t have a reliable standard for that right now in Alabama.”

Obamacare scams

Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange was warning people that there are only two ways to sign up for health-care coverage through the Affordable Care Act: Through its website,, or by calling 800-318-2596.

Consumers should not use another website or hotline, should not give out any personal information to anyone who contacts them and should not pay anyone to help them, Strange said in a written statement warning of potential scams to get people’s personal information.

Only two insurance companies are offering policies in Alabama through the exchange, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama and Humana. Other insurance policies that meet minimum requirements of the Affordable Care Act may be offered online by private insurance companies.

Suspicious websites or people claiming to be representing the Affordable Care Act can be reported to the Attorney General’s office at or by calling 800-392-5658.

Mary Sell covers state government for The Daily. She can be reached at

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(1) comment

Donald Edwards

We need to take whatever measures are necessary to keep drunks and dopeheads off the highways.

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