Tag Archives: penalty

Tougher drunken driving law takes effect Jan. 1

Repeat drunken drivers will face tougher penalties in Wisconsin starting with the new year.

A new law signed by the governor in April makes a fourth drunken driving offense a felony regardless of when it’s committed.

Currently a fourth offense is a felony only if committed within five years of a third offense.

The law also increases the maximum sentence for fifth and sixth offenses from three years to five.

Maximum sentences for seventh, eighth and ninth offenses will increase from five years to seven and a half. The maximum sentence for a 10th or subsequent offense will move from seven and a half years to a decade behind bars.

The measure goes into effect Jan. 1.

Wisconsin remains the only the state that doesn’t criminalize a first offense, however.

On the web

Read about drunken driving laws from MADD.

Sierra Club opposes Wisconsin transportation budget request

The state organization of the Sierra Club opposes the recently released Wisconsin Department of Transportation 2015-17 biennial budget request.

In addition to a “highway-use fee” for new vehicles, the budget recommends a 5 percent increase to the fuel tax, with part coming from a sales tax, meaning it will increase as the price of gas increases.

The proposed budget also diverts transit funding to the General Fund from the now constitutionally segregated Transportation Fund. 

“This budget proposal is an attempt to penalize those that prefer to reduce their dependence on oil by driving less and driving more fuel-efficient vehicles while rewarding the highway building lobby,” said Elizabeth Ward, the Wisconsin group’s conservation programs coordinator. “With huge revenue increases that will go towards unnecessary highway projects, the DOT is ignoring trends that Wisconsinites are driving less and demands that we prefer options to driving.” 

The budget proposal also includes a $50 registration fee for hybrid and electric vehicle drivers.

“The proposed fee discourages innovation and punishes consumers who are trying to do the right thing by investing in cars and trucks that benefit everyone by cleaning up our air, reducing greenhouse gases, and reducing Wisconsin’s dependence on oil. It also hurts American auto-makers like Chevy who are working hard to innovate to meet new fuel efficiency standards.” said Shahla Werner, the director of the Sierra Club–John Muir Chapter.

A statement from the group added that the Sierra Club opposes moving transit funding from the Transportation Fund to the General Fund.

“Although the increases to transit systems are critical, given that systems across Wisconsin are struggling to meet the demand for options and the demand for access to jobs, doctor’s appointments and other needs. However, by funding transit systems through the General Fund, these increases and even the current funding levels are jeopardized by forcing transit to compete with schools, police, fire, and other needs,” said Ward. “Instead, we should be emphasizing funding necessities like local road maintenance and transit systems through the Transportation Fund before taking money from the General Fund.” 

Soccer’s Burch says he deserved suspension for anti-gay slur

Seattle Sounders defender Marc Burch said this week that the suspension he received for using a homophobic slur during a playoff game last season needed to be harsh and was deserved.

“I think it will always be on the back of my mind. You make a mistake and you want to fix it as much as you can. That’s what I’ve tried to do. It’s the only thing I can do,” Burch said, his first time speaking with reporters since being suspended last November. “I can’t make up for what I did. All I can do is just prove from here on out that nothing like that is ever going to happen again. That’s not who I am. That’s not what I do. That’s not part of my game. That’s not part of this team’s game. I made a mistake and since then I think I’m doing the right things. That’s the only thing I can do from here on out.”

Burch received a three-game suspension last November for using “unacceptable and offensive language” in a playoff game against Real Salt Lake. Burch was forced to sit out both games of last season’s Western Conference Finals against Los Angeles and will miss Saturday’s season opener against Montreal.

Burch says he can’t make up for what he said – which was caught by television cameras – and is focused on proving that is not who he is. It’s been made even more difficult for Burch by his surroundings. His older sister is openly gay and one of his friends from college at Maryland is former Columbus Crew and U.S. national team player Robbie Rogers, who recently wrote in a blog post that he is gay and is stepping away from soccer.

After Rogers’ announcement, Burch tweeted, “So much love and respect for my fellow Terp and friend (at)robbierogers hope to see you on the pitch again soon!”

Burch said he believes MLS will be the first league to accept an openly gay player.

“I think we’ll be the first league to definitely accept it. I think it will come and go a lot easier than people think,” Burch said. “I would hope that Robbie comes back, but if his passion is in what he’s doing now, I completely support him. It’s going to happen, and I think this is a perfect league for it.”

Burch was ordered to attend diversity and sensitivity training as part of his suspension. He also has reached out the local gay and lesbian community in Seattle. On one day last December he arranged to play in Sunday scrimmage with a local gay soccer club.

“Obviously they knew of the incident, but it wasn’t something that needed to be spoken about,” Burch said. “They understood I wasn’t coming out there to make myself look good. I just wanted to let them know that it wasn’t something that (reflects) who I am. When I went up there, I think everyone just appreciated the fact that I was there to enjoy the game and enjoy the game with them.”