NEWS BLOG (WSAU) State Representative Marlin Schneider (D-Wisconsin Rapids) has a point. He was the only state lawmaker to vote against the new drunk driving bill. By targeting only repeat offenders, it does nothing to solve Wisconsin's drinking and driving problem. Schneider's way of thinking makes the bill worse than doing nothing. It fails to solve the problem, but adds tremendous enforcement and incarceration costs. In voting no, he argues that scarce state dollars should be directed towards other problems that might actually get fixed.
Steve Meinel has a point too. We're approaching the one-year anniversary of the death of his daughter at the hands of a drunk driver who was so blitzed that he didn't realize he was driving in the wrong direction on a divided highway. He's watched his daughter's killer plea-bargain down to a ridiculously-light five year sentence. And Meinel now stands up to say it's wrong that if the driver simply manged to avoid his wife and daughter's car, he would have only been issued a non-criminal traffic citation as a first-time offender.
His proposal: 30-days in jail for a first-OWI. 2-years for a second. Not only does that proposal not even get out of the blocks, only two of our state lawmakers have the courage to sign Lacey's pledge, where they personally promise not to drink and drive.
State lawmakers will head home and tell you they're really cracked down on drunk driving. I hope Governor Doyle invites Steve Meinel to the signing ceremony, and I hope a man who's suffered a great loss gets a chance to speak his mind.
Operations Manager-Midwest Communications, Wausau