Monday, September 28, 2009

Legislature Should Deal With Drunk Driving...Then Discipline One Of Their Own

There are calls from some legislators and others for punitive action against Rep. Jeff Wood, an independent from Bloomer, because of another OWI arrest.

It's his fourth such arrest, and if convicted, would still only rate a misdemeanor, because under Wisconsin's 'You-Can-Drive-Drunk-And-Keep-Getting-Your-Wrist-Slapped-Laws' it takes a fifth conviction before your facing felony sentencing.

Wood's not the only OWI offender in the legislature, but he is certainly a high-profile, and repeat offender, and if he is convicted of the third-and-fourth offenses still pending, I think some in-house punishment should accompany the judicial, courtroom sentencing, too.

That is, unless his constituents recall him first, or he resigns.

But I have a problem with too much self-serving remonstrating on the part of legislators, because as a group they have dropped the ball when it comes to reacting to public pressure and seriously reforming the state's weak OWI statutes.

In fact, the Legislature's collective foot-dragging and capture by the liquor lobbies despite multiple, highly-publicized OWI fatalities is nothing short of scandalous.

So let's not pretend that one errant legislator who has abused a public trust is the problem.

It's far more institutionalized in Madison than that.

1 comment:

Anon Jim said...

Jeff Wood obviously should be punished, but there won't be any meaningful repercussions for Wood since he is an in-lock-step vote for the Democrats.

In addition absolutely nothing will be done to meaningfully toughen our OWI laws because the Democrats who have control of the state have zero interest in doing so.

But there is no reason for us to be surprised here, what with the "high" quality of legislator we have here in Wisconsin.