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Assembly passes drunken driving bills

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – The Wisconsin Assembly has passed three bills designed to toughen the state’s notoriously weak drunken driving laws.

One measure passed 88-7 on Tuesday would make all second offenses misdemeanors. Under current law, a second offense committed more than 10 years after a first offense is considered a first offense.

The bill would also make all fourth offenses felonies, no matter how far back the previous offenses occurred. Currently, fourth offenses committed more than five years after a third offense are misdemeanors.

Another proposal passed on a voice vote would require all first-time offenders to make an appearance in court. A third bill passed would ensure that ignition interlock devices are promptly installed when ordered by a court.

Wisconsin is the only state where first offense drunken driving isn’t a crime.

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