Iowa's Vilsack Signs Driveoff Bill

Governor had vetoed earlier legislation

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Driveoff gasoline thieves convicted for the second or subsequent time could lose the right to drive for up to 30 days under a bill signed Friday by Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack, said the Quad City Times.

The governor vetoed a bill last year that would have allowed the penalty after one offense, said the report. He said the option of issuing the penalty after two or more offenses "provides a greater degree of flexibility" to judges.

"I'm happy that the governor reconsidered his position from last year," State Senator [image-nocss] Bob Brunkhorst (R), who argued for the bill when it passed the Senate, told the newspaper. "I think this will make Iowa safer. We won't have people running off from the gas pumps, filling up and then dashing off.

The Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Stores of Iowa (PMCI) told the paper that the state's approximately 1,700 fuel retailers lose more than $2.75 million per year in gasoline thefts. High-volume sellers can have annual losses of more than $15,000, it added.

Fuel prices had climbed to record highs this year, the report said, leading to renewed calls for the penalty because thefts rise when prices rise.

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