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Washington State Lawmakers Consider Tougher DUI Laws

Lawmakers are considering tightening up the state’s laws against driving under the influence after two recent cases that left three dead and two, including an infant, critically injured.

Rep. Roger Goodman held a work group meeting Tuesday morning to discuss a variety of ideas to stop more impaired drivers. The working group comprised more than 20 people, including judges, attorneys, law enforcement, and victims of impaired drivers.

Ideas discussed at the meeting included making driving under the influence a felony on the third or fourth conviction, rather than the current law that has it at five within 10 years. Also discussed were lifetime driving bans after a certain number of DUIs, roadside sobriety checkpoints and mandatory installment of interlock devices installed on cars after someone is charged, rather than convicted.

Goodman noted the significant costs that would be associated with lowering the felony threshold, saying that lowering it to the third conviction would cost about $200 million for construction of a new prison to confine the number of drunken drivers.

“These proposals are tough in our current fiscal climate,” he said. Lawmakers are nearing the end of a 105-day legislative session where they are tasked with balancing a budget deficit of more than $1.2 billion while adding more money to the state’s basic education system.

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Sentry Names Adams Sales Territory Manager for Northwest

Brandon Adams will be joining Sentry Insurance a Mutual Co.’s national accounts sales team as a territory manager for the Northwest.

The change is effective April 1.

Adams will remain based in Portland, Ore. and be responsible for all broker and client relationships in Northern California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Utah and Montana.

Adams has been with Sentry since 2004, as a business products specialist, and most recently as the sales manager for the Northwest business products team.

Sentry, a provider of casualty insurance for large, complex risks, specializes in a variety of lines, including auto, liability and workers’ compensation.

Accident Medical Expense Benefit

After only a $100 deductible, the Accident Medical Expense program through Zurich American Insurance Company pays for the usual and customary expenses for medically necessary covered medical services resulting from an accident. Members can elect accident medical benefits in increments of $2,500 up to $10,000. All payments for accident medical expense claims will be made directly to the medical provider(s).

Accdential Benefits

Senate Faces Increasing Pressure To Repeal IPAB

“In its “”Healthwatch”” blog, The Hill (3/1, Pecquet) reports the Senate is facing “”increasing pressure”” to repeal the healthcare law requirement for “”a Medicare cost-cutting panel.”” House Republicans were joined by two Democrats in pressing a subpanel on Wednesday to eliminate the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), referred to by opponents as a “”rationing board.”” A vote of 17-5 “”underscored the bipartisan support for repealing the board, which Obama has made the centerpiece of his efforts to reduce Medicare spending. It also provided evidence the legislation could have a shot at passing the Senate.”” In an election year, the Hill says that if a vote to repeal the panel came to the Senate, many Democrats “”would be in a tight spot.”” “