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Assembly approves tougher OWI laws

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - All four-time drunk drivers would face felony convictions and prison terms, under a bill passed by the Assembly Tuesday. 

The lower house voted 88-7 to make four-time OWI a felony in all cases -- and to make all two-time drunk driving a criminal misdemeanor.  

On voice votes, the Assembly also required all drunk driving suspects to appear in court at least once -- and to toughen rules for those required to breathe into sobriety tubes before they can start their cars.

Mequon Republican Jim Ott proposed all three measures. He also proposed making three-time OWI a felony -- something which lawmakers balked at because of the high costs of sending more offenders to prison. 

Ott said he's still glad Tuesday's bills were approved. He said they would make a "substantial improvement" in the effort to curb drunk driving. 

All three bills now go to the Senate.

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