ANNAPOLIS, Md. - A Maryland bill named after a Montgomery County police officer who was killed by a suspected drunk driver has passed both Senate and House in the final hour of the state's legislative session. It has been sent to Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, which he is expected to sign.
Noah's Law will require ignition interlock devices for anyone convicted of drunk driving in Maryland.
However, a political tug of war in Annapolis had supporters of the bill worried that time would run out before a midnight deadline as the General Assembly's 90-day session ended.
On Monday, negotiators worked out their differences between two different versions of Noah's Law from the House and Senate.
"It's something we feel very strongly about," said Gov. Hogan. "I spent some time this afternoon both of Noah's parents and we have been as supportive as we can on the bill. I think there is a lot of people in both the House and Senate who agree this makes a lot of sense and will save a lot of lives."
The father of Montgomery County Police Officer Noah Leotta, who has been here for every step of this process, told FOX 5 he is relieved that the bill would be passed.
"I have to live with the devastation and the hole in my heart," said Rich Leotta. "This can't fill that. It can't fill what I'm missing for the rest of my life, but it can give me some solace that his sacrifice wasn't in vain."
Previously in Maryland, interlock ignition devices were only required for drivers if they were convicted for drunken driving with a .15 blood alcohol level. The legal limit in the state is .08.
Supporters said this new stricter law would still allow convicted drunk drivers to drive their cars, but it won't let them drive if they are intoxicated.
Noah Leotta was struck and killed last year by an alleged repeat drunk driver while the officer was taking part in a drunk driving task force operation for Montgomery County police.
"Both the House and Senate are moving towards passing the strongest possible interlock program, which would basically say that anyone convicted and hopefully anyone arrested for drunk driving would have the interlock device imposed on their car," said Maryland State Senator Jamie Raskin (D-Montgomery County).