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Wisconsin Assembly to consider drunken-driving bills

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The state Assembly is set to take up two bills that would stiffen penalties for drunken driving.

The first proposal would require anyone arrested for a first offense to appear in court. Currently a first offense is a civil violation, not a criminal one, and people can skip their initial court appearance.

The bill also would eliminate provisions in state law allowing second offenses to be treated as civil violations rather than misdemeanors if the first offenses took place at least 10 years earlier.

The second proposal would establish a minimum five-year sentence for anyone convicted of homicide by the intoxicated use of a vehicle.

Rep. Jim Ott, a Republican, is the author of both proposals. The Assembly is scheduled to take them up on Thursday.

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