Chip Baltimore Removed From Judiciary Committee after OWI Arrest

DES MOINES, Iowa  —  Rep. Chip Baltimore was removed from an important committee chair position on Monday morning after he was arrested on drunk driving and weapon charges last Friday.

Speaker of the House Linda Upmeyer released this statement on Monday morning:

“I have removed Rep. Baltimore as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee.  Rep. (Zach) Nunn will take over as Chairman for the remainder of session.

Serving as a committee Chairman is a privilege that requires a higher level of trust and responsibility.  Drinking and driving is unacceptable behavior that endangers the lives of all Iowans who wish to travel our roads safely. Rep. Baltimore’s actions were clearly irresponsible and he is being held accountable.”

Baltimore was arrested near Ames early Friday morning after his vehicle was spotted driving erratically and reported to police.  Baltimore had a blood alcohol level of 0.14%, nearly twice the legal limit, and was charged with OWI First Offense.  Baltimore was also carrying a handgun in his car.  He is licensed to carry the gun, but that license is void if the holder is intoxicated.  He was given an additional charge of Carrying Weapons While Intoxicated.

Baltimore also released a statement on Monday reading:

“From the moment I made the horrible decision, I have taken full responsibility for it and accepted any and all consequences resulting from it.

Speaker Upmeyer and I have spoken several times over the last few days, and I wholeheartedly agree with and support her decision concerning the chair position of the House Judiciary Committee, as it is the right thing to do.  I will work with Chairman Nunn to make the transition as smooth as possible.”