Republican state lawmaker Francis "Chip" Baltimore has worked hard to keep drunk drivers off the roads in Iowa, but last month he was one of those drunk drivers himself. Baltimore was arrested on January 19 and charged with driving while intoxicated and possessing a firearm while under the influence.
Baltimore, 51, a lawyer who chairs the Iowa House Judiciary Committee, told an Ames police officer he had been en route to his home in Boone after attending meetings in Des Moines, according to court records.
A police report obtained by the Des Moines Register stated Baltimore consented to a chemical breath test on a state certified device which registered his blood alcohol content at 0.147. The legal limit for operating while intoxicated is .08.
Ironically, Baltimore had worked on anti-drunk driving legislation in the past:
As chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Baltimore has presided over discussions on proposals to curb drunken driving. Two years ago, lawmakers began considering a bill to required people convicted of an alcohol-related offense, including driving while intoxicated, to check in at a law enforcement office twice a day and take a breath test. Those who tested positive for alcohol or some other drug would face immediate consequences, including being taken to jail.
The measure failed to pass, but Baltimore made his position on the issue clear:
“I think there’s a big group of caring people who want to make sure we keep drunk drivers off the street,” he said. “There’s just disagreement on how we are going to do that and who is going to pay for it.”