04/01/2011 02:15 pm ET | Updated Jun 01, 2011

Alan Hale: DUI Laws 'Destroying A Way Of Life' (VIDEO)

HELENA, Mont. -- A Montana lawmaker's speech railing against drunken driving laws is outraging activists and political opponents who say it perpetuates the state's dangerous boozy culture.

Bar owner Alan Hale said in a speech on the House floor this week that DUI laws are harmful to small businesses. The Republican from Basin implied that people need to drive home after drinking at their local bars.

"These DUI laws are not doing our small businesses in our state any good at all," he said. "They are destroying them. They are destroying a way of life that has been in Montana for years and years."

Mothers Against Drunk Driving reacted strongly against the representative's remarks. The group says Hale's statements bring Montana back to a dangerous time when drunken driving was acceptable in the state.

Several recent high-profile drunken driving deaths have created momentum for changing the state's laws. Those arguing for stiffer penalties say it's too easy for repeat offenders to get behind the wheel again.