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Legislators argue for drunken driving bills

Assembly committee to hold hearing Thursday

MADISON, Wis. - Two Republican lawmakers are trying to make the case for another set of bills that would create tougher penalties for drunken drivers in front of a legislative committee.

The measures would make a first offense a misdemeanor if the driver's blood alcohol level is at least 0.15 percent, allow authorities to seize drunken drivers' cars starting with their third offense and require mandatory court appearances.

The bill's authors, Rep. Jim Ott and Sen. Alberta Darling, told the Assembly Judiciary Committee the measures will deter drunken driving. Committee Democrats questioned whether the moves would make any real difference.

Ott and Darling have introduced three other bills that would make third and fourth offenses felonies and set mandatory sentences for drunken drivers who injure or kill someone.

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