UNIONTOWN, Pa. — A new proposed piece of legislation would allow residents to register for self-imposed sanctions when it comes to purchasing alcohol.
The bill was proposed this week by outgoing state Rep. Matthew Dowling (R-51st District). Dowling chose not to run for re-election after his DUI arrest following a crash in June.
“I think it’s an important piece of legislation because it adds another tool to an addict or alcoholic’s arsenal to help them live through recovery,” Dowling said.
The bill is similar to the current options available to gamblers through the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.
Dowling said an individual can choose to register to be on the list and would be unable to purchase alcohol in the state for five years. Signing up for the list would be voluntary, and Dowling said the bill was written so that it cannot be used in court proceedings or potential plea deals.
“I didn’t want this to be forced upon a person, because if it is forced it’s not really going to work as intended,” Dowling said.
Dowling is in his second term as a state representative. He sought treatment for alcohol abuse following the crash in June and announced a few weeks later he would not seek re-election. Dowling has admitted he was drunk at the time of the crash in June and has reached a tentative agreement to enter the state’s diversionary program that would ultimately clear his record as a first-time offender.
With the current legislative session winding down, Dowling said he doesn’t expect the bill to pass before he leaves office, but he’s hopeful his colleagues will consider the bill in the future.
“If a bill like this can save one life, whether it’s the life of the alcoholic or the life of a victim of a drunk driving episode, it’s worth doing this,” Dowling said.