Gov. Haley expected to sign Emma's Law

Published: Oct. 1, 2014 at 10:26 AM EDT
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Emma's dad, David Longstreet.
Emma's dad, David Longstreet.
Emma's Law, a bill which cracks down on first time and continuing DUI offenders if they have a blood alcohol content above .15 at the time of their arrest, passed the Senate on a unanimous vote Wednesday.

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Senators passed the bill without any changes.

The bill's passing comes as a win for David Longstreet, the father of 6-year-old Emma Longstreet. Emma was killed on a New Year's Day DUI crash.

The Longstreet family has been pushing for this law since then.

"Something needed to be done this year," said David Longsreet. "More needs to be done and should be done, and can be done."

Longstreet has been working tirelessly to get Emma's Law passed.

"It's finally shown that all the love that everybody was able to do could actually be generated into something good," Longstreet said.

The bill passed in the House on April 3, six days later, the Senate said yes.

"I think it's one of the most important pieces of legislation that we'll pass this year," Sen. Joel Lourie said.

For the Longstreet's, seeing the bill, named after their daughter Emma, pass with unanimous support, means the world.

"I feel like it's amazing, because I feel like she didn't die in vain," said Noah Longstreet.

While David Longstreet is excited, he's also quick to say that while this is a good first step, it's not enough. He's not happy that the blood alcohol content level has been upped from .12 to .15.

He also wishes it didn't take two years to get to this point.

"I feel so sorry for the families that it took so long to get this bill passed," Longstreet said. "There's over 500 deaths that have occurred since the bill was really introduced."

For the Longstreet's, this is a win. They want even stricter DUI laws, but for now they're happy the process is moving forward, and that their daughter's memory is saving other families from going through pain they've experienced.

The bill would require certain DUI offenders to install ignition interlock devices in their cars in an effort to prevent drunken driving.

The bill appeared to have stalled earlier this year in the House, but it eventually made its way to passage in the lower chamber following several changes and three readings.

The bill now moves to Gov. Nikki Haley's desk.

"The governor congratulates Mr. and Mrs. Longstreet on passing this legislation and honoring Emma's memory in a way that will protect South Carolina families for generations to come," said Haley's spokesman Doug Mayer. "It took an awful lot of hard work and Governor Haley will proudly sign this bill."

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