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Wisconsin OWI bills could toughen laws, if passed

Posted: 9:54 AM, Apr 04, 2019
Updated: 2019-04-04 19:52:54-04
Wisconsin OWI bills could toughen laws, if passed

MADISON — It was an emotional day at the State Capitol in Madison as families who’ve lost loved ones to impaired drivers pleaded with lawmakers to toughen the state’s OWI laws.

It was the first public hearing in front of the State Assembly’s Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee on four bills that would toughen the punishment for people convicted of driving while impaired.

Families feel their lives have been destroyed, while the people who chose to drive while impaired have suffered almost no consequences.

“I’m in favor of all the bills,” said Paula Patoka, whose husband was killed by a drunk driver. “For the first offense, it should be one and done. Dead people don’t get a do-over. Why should the murderers?”

Some of the bills being considered to toughen Wisconsin's drunk driving laws
Some of the bills being considered to toughen Wisconsin's drunk driving laws

Rep. David Crowley (D-Milwaukee) told the bills’ authors, Rep. Jim Ott (R-Mequon) and Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills), he is concerned about the costs that could be associated with stiffer penalties.

"For the first offense, it should be one and done. Dead people don’t get a do-over. Why should the murderers?” — Paula Patoka, whose husband was killed by a drunk driver

“One of these things we have to look at is the cost. Even though we know that many of these bills are greatly spirited, we know it is going to be a great burden on the taxpayer at the end of the day right now,” Crowley said.

For information about how to contact your lawmaker, visit tmj4.com/drivesober .