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Speaker of Assembly promises action on drunken driving laws

The speaker of the Wisconsin Assembly promises long-awaited action next month to crack down on drunken driving.

Democrat Mike Sheridan says his house will pass a bill in mid-to-late September to make four-time OWI a felony in most cases.

It would also make repeat offenders be sober when they drive, by making them breathe into ignition interlocks to start their cars.

That would also apply to first time offenders with blood alcohol levels of 0.15 or more.

The Assembly package would also create tougher sentences for drunken drivers who cause injuries, longer license suspensions for those serving jail time, and more treatment.

But the Assembly has still not reached an agreement with the Senate.

Democrats in the upper house are thinking about making three-time OWI a felony in some cases, with fewer offenders having to use ignition interlocks.

The main sponsors of both packages are meeting to work out their differences. They are Rep. Tony Staskunas, D-West Allis, and Sen. Jim Sullivan, D-Wauwatosa.