Saturday, May 17, 2008

Get Tough On Repeat OWI Offenders? Here Comes The Pushback

And it's not from liquor interests.

It's coming from some District Attorneys.


Anonymous said...

While I agree that the whole matter of Wisconsin's culture of drinking needs to be seriously addressed and I agree that driving while intoxicated needs stiffer penalties, I also question the wisdom of the approaches being proposed by the Governor and pending legislation being created in part by Assembly District 1, Representative Garey Bies who was a guest on the Joy Cardin (WPR) early morning show last week, discussing this topic.

A neighbor of mine, a father whose young adult child was killed in a car crash along with the driver, another young adult, summed up during the last four minutes of the broadcast the point completely ignored by Rep. Bies throughout the entire hour. This father pointed out that the bar and servers who had served these two underage patrons that evening had almost complete blanket immunity from prosecution and received nothing more than an extremely mild slap on the wrist for their actions in this tragedy.

In this year where Mr Bies and others are up for re-election, I am sure there will continue to be plenty of tough talk about punishing the drinker, but don't ever expect to see any further regulations to hold responsible in any fashion those breaking current laws about serving patrons too much alcohol, or serving underage patrons, that would in any way further regulate sales and distribution of alcohol, or put any further restrictions on tavern league members.

When we cannot even get legislation to ban smoking in restaurants that serve alcohol, I doubt any legislator in this state has the moxie to go up against the tavern league lobby with so much as a suggestion for stricter enforcement of current law or harsher penalties for those who serve already intoxicated patrons or underage young adults.

We are also faced with the problem of the apparent schizofrenic notions of someone like Mr. Bies. He touts in his press release the importance of the tradition of beer and cheese for Wisconsin's economy as a precursor to explaining his initial vote against the Great Lakes Compact in March. Then with what I can only conclude is some sort of a misplaced personal response to a guilty conscience, he comes back with requests for stiffer penalties for drinkers, those who have grown up with or been influenced by the promotion of the culture of, "drinking with every activity," in this state. Need I say more?

Fish Creek, WI

James Rowen said...

To Anonymous;

Thanks for a very well-argued comment. As to the pass given bar owners and their bartenders, I agree completely.