Lawmakers have overwhelming approved legislation that includes tougher penalties for drunk drivers. The bill makes fourth offense OWI a felony, requires ignition interlock devices for repeat offenders, and expands treatment programs. State Representative Tony Staskunas (D-West Allis) says it’s the most comprehensive reform of Wisconsin’s drunk driving laws ever. He says it’s a tough and smart way to combat drunk driving in the state.
The bill passed unanimously in the Senate and on a 93-1 vote in the Assembly. State Representative Marlin Schneider was the lone no vote, arguing the bill won’t do anything to actually reduce the problem.
While Republicans did support the proposal, state Representative Dean Kaufert (R-Neenah) raised concerns about increasing criminal court fees to help fund the changes. The bill increases those fees from $20 to $163. Kaufert says most counties are already owed millions in unpaid fees, and he doubts collections will be any better when they go up.
The bill now heads to Governor Doyle, who has said he will sign the measure.
AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (1:11)