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"Bar fight" over DUI: Montana rep. says drunk driving laws hurt businesses like his bar

Alan Hale, Montana state legislator KXLH

(CBS/AP) 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 last week that DUI laws are harmful to small businesses. The Republican from Basin, Mont. implied that people need to drive home after drinking at their local bars.

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 toughening the state's laws. Those arguing for stiffer penalties say it's too easy for repeat offenders to get behind the wheel again.