Public hearing takes place to toughen drunken driving laws [PHOTOS]
Wisconsin lawmakers hear from the public Wednesday on 13 different bills that aim to toughen drunken driving laws in our state.
State Sen. Fred Risser (D-Madison) is the first lawmaker to arrive at the public hearing.State Rep. Jim Ott (R-Mequon) speaking to the committee on bills he's sponsored. Ott wants to make the first OWI offense a criminal misdemeanor, punishable up to 30 days in jail and up to a $500 fine.State Sen. André Jacque (R-De Pere) testifies in front of the committee. He's worked on drafting bills that would close loopholes in Wisconsin, including one that allows for four first-time OWIs.State Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) had to go to a finance meeting and State Sen. Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee) is at an event in Milwaukee. At one point, there were only three members of the committee at the hearing.Dodge County Sheriff Dale Schmidt testifies in front of the committee. Dodge County has recently started publishing names and photos on Facebook of people arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.State Sen. Van Wanggaard (R-Racine) looks at pictures of a crash involving drunk driving victims in Outagamie County back in December 2017. He and four other senators will ultimately decide if the 13 bills should receive a vote on the Senate floor. Wanggaard opposes making a first offense a misdemeanor.Diane Urban testifies in front of the committee. A drunk driver drove through a stop sign and crashed into a vehicle, which killed her father, David, and family friend, Hazel. The driver, Joseph Konetzke, had a blood alcohol content of 0.262, more than three times the legal limit.Marla Hall testifies in front of the Senate committee. She lost her son Clenton, along with three others, in the fall of 2016. They were hit by a wrong-way drunk driver on I-94 just east of Madison. Hall and her sister, Caralee Butzine, launched the website, Eliminate Drunk Driving, in an effort to raise awareness about the effects drunk driving can have on families and why they think Wisconsin OWI laws need to be tougher.Project Drive Sober team interviews state Sen. Van Wanggaard (R-Racine) after the public hearing.