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Madison – Today State Senator Tim Carpenter (D-Milwaukee) released the following statement in response to reports that Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald will not bring up bills passed almost unanimously by the Assembly to crack down on drunken driving this session, and that he will instead support the idea of increased funding for Operating While Intoxicated courts.

In my letter last week to Senator Fitzgerald, I gave him my support for the idea of funding OWI courts, but told him this idea should not be used as an excuse to ignore passing available legislation to protect the health and safety of our friends and families from drunken driving. I said, “We can do both.” 
The Republican Speaker of the Assembly, Rep. Robin Vos has also told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “We could do all of them.  I don’t understand why it has to be either/or.”
On January 4th, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Editorial Board expressed its opinion that, “the legislature can do both.”
The end of this legislative session is rapidly approaching, and protecting the health and safety of our friends and families on the road should be a priority.  It is time to get serious with laws to keep offenders – especially repeat offenders – off the road now.  The fiscal notes on these bills are not unduly onerous, and my constituents have, over the years, overwhelming stated that they are willing to bear such costs for increasing the penalties. 
We can do both.
I call again for Senator Fitzgerald to reconsider adding the Assembly’s bills cracking down drunken driving to the Senate’s calendar for January 2014.