What Governor Bill Ritter Is Taking Heat for Now

September 2009

ritter-billIn just one day, Governor Bill Ritter reversed his plans to cut money from efforts to curb drunken driving and says he will look elsewhere to address the state's cash-strapped budget. You might be able to thank moms for that---specifically, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, which protested the move. As MADD's Emily Tompkins tells CBS4, "Alcohol-related crashes could go up, preventable deaths and injuries could go up, and I think Governor Ritter will have to answer to that if that happens." It is unclear, however, if the governor really changed his mind due to MADD's concerns. Ritter's spokesman, Evan Dryer, tells The Denver Post only that "the governor was concerned about it. He has directed that the campaigns remain fully funded for the rest of this year." The cut to the program would have reaped $1.3 million for the state, which has a budget gap of roughly $320 million. The state's massive "Heat Is On" campaign will continue at least until the end of the year, with heightened awareness around holidays such as this Labor Day weekend. During the 2009 Memorial Day weekend alone, Colorado's "100 Days of Heat"---a campaign to save lives from drinking-involved accidents between Memorial Day and Labor Day---reaped 599 arrests, according to a press release.