Archive for February, 2010

Posted: February 24, 2010 in Victim's Rights
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Judiciary Committee

Nebraska Unicameral

February 24, 2010

LB 1075 – Support

Simera Reynolds, M.Ed., MADD State Executive Director

 Chairman Ashford and members of the committee, on behalf of MADD our members, victims and survivors, I am here to support Legislative Bill 1075.  MADD would like to see Nebraska join the other 42 states that currently have some component of a Dram Shop Law in place in their state. MADD supports LB 1075 as a measure to ensure equitable treatment from state to state for victims impacted by an alcohol-related crash.

Research clearly shows that when this law is implemented lives are saved. In 2001, researchers found a 5.8 percent decrease in fatal crashes from dram shop liability laws.* Researchers discerned that establishments found it was in the best economic interests to ensure solid and responsible serving practices.

 For Nebraska, a 5 percent decrease would mean approximately 3 lives saved.  It may seem cliché but at MADD we know that the legislative body repeatedly states that if “they can save one life it is worth our work as a body” to ensure the quality of life in the state of Nebraska.  Well the Unicameral, collectively, has an opportunity not only to save one life but three lives.  Three families will be spared the pain of losing a provider, a mentor and a caregiver.  We cannot put a financial dollar to what it means to have your loved one killed or injured in an alcohol-related crash. However, we can ensure that there is a means to recover damages when an establishment fails to follow the law as prescribed in the Nebraska Liquor Control Act.

 MADD knows, all too well, patrons are over served. Those very patrons then make the choice to get behind a wheel of 2,000 bullet and drive!

Nationwide, the median BAC (blood alcohol content) for alcohol-related traffic deaths is .17.  In Nebraska, there were a little more than 13,660 arrests in 2008 (NOHS). Research shows us that of those arrests, approximately one-third tested with a BAC of .15 or higher.  This is clearly not social drinking and is well past the point of intoxication.

 LB 1075 would provide for recourse for victims impacted by an alcohol-related crash.  Recourse that is already allowed in 42 others states in the United States.

The other day a donor wrote to me here at MADD about the “Plastic Cards” she receives when donating to organizations and how long it takes for the environment to break the plastic down. 

 The donor stated, “What I object to most is the use of plastic.  To my knowledge, it is neither recyclable nor biodegradable, and will end up in a landfill along with other items of accumulative waste.  I (probably along with many others) do not expect or want any tangible memento other than a thank you for my records.  I request that you eliminate all plastic from your mailings to supporters and that the use of paper be judicious.  I realize that the focus of your organization is not an environmental one, but I think that everyone should be conscious of and proactive in their impact on the Earth.” 

Here at MADD Nebraska we only provide paper products. Even though it is not our mission, I can assure you MADD strives to minimize our carbon footprint while ensuring MADD’s mission is met:  Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving, direct service to victims, policy issues are heard by our leaders and volunteers are welcomed into the fold of our organization.

MADD constantly strives to ensure that we use our donor dollars in the best way and without the generous support of individuals and our corporate sponsors we would not be able to reach across our great state the way we do today.  To that end, I would like to extend a BIG THANK YOU!

As a donor if you ever have a question about services MADD provides, our vision through strategic planning or how to support our work in Nebraska please know that the office is open!   www.maddnebraska.org

Simera Reynolds, M.Ed.

State Executive Director

I want to take a minute of your time to strongly encourage you to contact your state senator and let him or her know your support for LB 258, a bill that holds minors in possession accountable for multiple offenses. The bill provides for enhanced penalties much like our DUI statutes.

 MADD stands strong on the concept of Restrict, Repay and Recover.  As a community we want to ensure that an MIP offenders do not have the opportunity to re-offend year after year without increased penalties.

 LB 258, provides the appropriate avenue for offender accountability.  Currently, a young person can have multiple Minor In Possession(MIP) violations and the same consequence is in place – just as if it was a first offense. There must be a strong deterrent factor: tougher fines, community service, alcohol education. http://www.nebraskalegislature.gov/FloorDocs/Current/PDF/CS/LB258.pdf

   As a society, we must implement sanctions that hold the offender accountable in order to assure that the MIP offender does not go on to become a DUI offender that is in control of a 2,000 pound bullet.  A bullet that poses substantial risk to our wellbeing as we drive the roads to work, school & social functions.  Everyone in the community ought to have the right to travel safely without the worries of being impacted by a drunk driver.

 On behalf of MADD and our members, I want to encourage  you to contact your Nebraska State Senator ASAP and affirm your support for this legislation. http://www.nebraskalegislature.gov/senators/senator_list.php

Nebraska Unicameral

 Please take time to support this legislative issue that addresses the continued lack of attention to the repeat MIP issue. Additionally, thank Senator Harms for introducing it and Speaker Flood for his strong support on the floor during debate, Tuesday, February 16th.

Simera Reynolds, M. Ed.

MADD Nebraska

Here at MADD we are preparing to add a Volunteer Coordinator position to offer support to our volunteers across the state.  We have had a tremendous response to our website and blog.  More than 2,000 hits in January alone, whew!

I am so pleased that we have the opportunity to hire an individual to help us build capacity, support our current volunteers and build a strong base across the state for our volunteers to carry out MADD’s Mission: to stop drunk driving, support victims impacted by this violent crime and prevent underage drinking.

The MADD Nebraska State Office is anxious to add a new member to our team.  I am fortunate to work with a team of dedicated and loyal employees.

From Court Monitoring to Victim Service to Underage Drinking Prevention: we all step up to the plate and do important work to meet our mission daily, ensure good use of the donor’s dollar and grow MADD Nebraska steady and strong.

Thanks to all who volunteer, financially support MADD Nebraska and work to make our state a safer place by working to reduce alcohol-related incidents. 

If you are interested in working for MADD follow the link: http://www.madd.org/About-Us/About-Us/Careers/Midwestern-Chapter-Job-Opportunities/Job-Opportinities/Coordinator-of-Volunteer-Resources.aspx

Simera Reynolds, M.Ed.

State Executive Director