3 drunken driving bills up for hearing

Three measures designed to toughen Wisconsin’s notoriously weak drunken driving penalties are up for a hearing before a legislative committee.

The Assembly’s Judiciary Committee scheduled a hearing Thursday on the bills, which could be taken up by the full Assembly this fall or next year.

One bill makes third and fourth offense drunken driving offenses felonies. Currently, they are misdemeanors. Another proposal would increase the penalty for injuring someone in a drunken driving accident, raising the minimum jail sentence from 30 days to six months.

The third measure requires at least a 10-year prison sentence for anyone who kills another person while driving drunk. Current law has no minimum prison sentence in those cases.

All three bills are sponsored by Republican Rep. Jim Ott, of Mequon.