Bill-signing ceremony held for law inspired by Escanaba couple

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LANSING, Mich. – State Sen. Tom Casperson and the family of Barbara and Thomas Swift joined Gov. Rick Snyder on Tuesday for a special bill-signing ceremony at the Capitol for Senate Bill 434, now Public Act 243 of 2016, which became law in June.

The Barbara J. and Thomas J. Swift Law creates a one-year pilot program that will allow trained law enforcement officers to administer a saliva test to drivers suspected of being under the influence of drugs. Under Casperson’s bill and the companion SB 207, trained Michigan State Police troopers will be permitted to test suspected drugged drivers with a preliminary oral fluid test.

According to the Michigan State Police, more than 36 percent of all traffic fatalities involve alcohol or drugs. In 2013, the department reported 86 traffic fatalities involving marijuana, two of which were Tom and Barbara Swift, the law’s namesakes, who were residents of Casperson’s hometown. The Swifts were killed in a traffic crash after being hit by a driver who had THC in their system.

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Photo Caption: State Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, (second left) joined Gov. Rick Snyder, Brian Swift (far left), Patti Dringoli (far right), and Sen. Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township, (second right) for a special bill-signing ceremony at the Capitol on Tuesday. Senate Bill 434, now Public Act 243 of 2016, is known as the Barbara J. and Thomas J. Swift law, named after the Escanaba couple who inspired the bill.