Wasted in Wisconsin

Dan Dineen

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Today, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel published a front-page editorial as part of their weeklong "Wasted in Wisconsin" series, which calls attention to Wisconsin's problem with drunken driving and advocates for new, tougher laws in Wisconsin.From the editorial: Among the points underscored in the series: Wisconsin has led every state in the percentage of drinkers and in binge drinking since at least 1995. Wisconsin treats first-offense drunken driving as a traffic ticket - the only state to do so - and does not consider it a felony until the fifth offense. As a native Wisconsinite, I give credit to the Journal Sentinel for addressing this issue (although I wonder if doing so two weeks before a presidential election is the best time), while recognizing that any legislative measures -- including softening the influence of the powerful Tavern League, Wisconsin’s alcohol lobby -- have to be aimed at changing Wisconsin’s drinking culture to quell the problem.The Journal Sentinel will also run a series called “Sobering Reminders” dedicated to the victims of drunken driving, in the same style as the Chicago Tribune’s Pulitzer Prize winning "Killing Our Children" series.

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Dan Dineen, a graduate of Loyola University Chicago, is Deputy Publisher of In These Times.
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