A controversial bill aimed at reducing DUI in South Carolina has taken another step forward.
The House Judiciary Committee unanimously passed a stronger version of Emma's Law on Tuesday, named after 6-year-old Emma Longstreet of Lexington, killed in a crash on New Year's Day 2012 involving a drunk driver.
The legislation would require some first-time offenders to use an ignition interlock device for one year.
The mini-Breathalyzer would prevent a vehicle from starting if blood alcohol content exceeds .15%.
The current bill also closes some loopholes that would have made it easier for those convicted of DUI to get back behind the wheel without having to use an interlock device.
Richland County Representative Todd Rutherford stirred things up when he offered an amendment that would allow past and present first-time offenders to get their record expunged if they use an ignition interlock and had no other DUI offenses for three years.
But the amendment failed on a tie vote, with some lawmakers worried that introducing such a change now would not provide enough time for additional debate and doom the bill for another year.
Emma's Law next goes to the House floor, then on to the Senate for a review of any changes.
It's expected a conference committee will ultimately forge a compromise measure to be presented for the governor's signature.