State Senator wants drunk driving enforcement addressed

MADISON (WITI) -- The state Legislature will meet for a "special session" to deal with health insurance enrollment issues in Wisconsin -- but one Milwaukee senator asks -- as long as lawmakers are meeting, why not take up another serious issue: drunk driving? But Gov. Scott Walker says it won't happen.

"I don't want to be part of a Legislature that didn't do anything on drunk driving," Sen. Tim Carpenter (D - Milwaukee) said.

Sen. Carpenter is asking Gov. Walker to include drunk driving bills in this week's special session on healthcare.

"I'm concerned that we're going to run out of time and this legislative session will end and will conclude without doing anything on drunk driving," Sen. Carpenter said.

Three OWI bills have already passed in the Assembly, and are now awaiting votes in the Senate.

The measures would force first-time drunk drivers to appear in court, make a fourth OWI a felony and a second OWI a misdemeanor and ensure ignition interlock devices are installed shortly after judges order them.

Gov. Walker supports stiffer OWI laws, but he says they should be addressed and debated in the normal Legislative process.

"A special session is special for a reason," Gov. Walker said.

Gov. Walker says this special session is meant to deal with enrollment deadlines on the Affordable Care Act. Because of all the problems with the website, Gov. Walker wants to change his original deadline from December 15th to March 31st.

"We need these things passed before the middle of December, so they can go into effect at the start of the year. The other measures that Sen. Carpenter and others mentioned are important, but they're not time specific, so we'll let them work through the normal Legislative process," Gov. Walker said.

Sen. Carpenter says there should be urgency surrounding the OWI bills too.

"The Legislature can walk and chew gum at the same time," Sen. Carpenter said.