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Wisconsin roundup: Legislature expected to take up drunk driving bills this week; more state news stories

Legislation which would put drivers convicted of at least five OWI charges behind bars is expected to be taken up at the state Capitol this week.

Backers point out nearly 42,000 Wisconsin drivers have been convicted of operating while intoxicated at least five times — and some of whom have never served a single day in jail. Republican State Rep. Jim Ott is the author of a bill that increases the punishment. It would have a mandatory 18-month sentence for anyone found guilty of OWI at least five times.

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Time of turmoil at state Capitol

Wisconsin's governor and Republican lawmakers don't agree on much these days.

Lawsuits have been filed and Republicans have been accused of sexism. Democratic Gov. Tony Evers has been called "out of touch" and there really isn't much discussion going on. The lawsuits are centered on the lame-duck legislative session that majority Republicans called last December where they weakened the powers of Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul.

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Eau Claire firefighters rescue kayaker from Chippewa River

Eau Claire emergency responders were able to rescue a person holding on to an overhanging branch in the Chippewa River Monday afternoon.

Three people had been tossed from their kayaks into the fast-moving water. Two of the three made it to shore, but a fire department boat had to be used to help the third victim. No names have been released and no injuries were reported in the incident near the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire footbridge.

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OWI suspect relieves himself on side of road during sobriety test

A 48-year-old driver who nearly rear-ended a Madison police squad car has been arrested on suspicion of fourth-offense operating while intoxicated.

In the state of Wisconsin, a fourth-offense OWI is a felony charge. The man's name hasn't been released. Police say he pulled his pants down and started to relieve himself on the side of the road while officers were conducting a field sobriety test on him. Officers say he admitted he had been drinking.

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Wis. DOJ handling case of 3 people found dead in Kiel home

State investigators are handling the case involving three dead bodies found in a home in Kiel Sunday evening.

Kiel police were responding to an emergency call, but no one answered the door. When officers forced their way inside they found the bodies. No names have been released and the Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation took over the case at the invitation of Kiel police.

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Federal judge sides with Miller-Coors over ‘corn syrup’ ads

A federal judge has sided with Miller-Coors over the so-called "corn syrup" ads which started running during the last Super Bowl.

The judge ruled Bud Light can't run those ads about its rival without more context. Miller-Coors says many beers use corn syrup in fermentation, but it isn't in the final product. The ruling doesn't mean Anheuser-Busch can't run the ads anymore and the beer maker says it may put them back on television in less than a week.

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Ginseng farmers feel trade-war pinch

Chinese tariffs on American ginseng continue to put a squeeze on the vulnerable market in Central Wisconsin.

The state's ginseng farmers are continuing to struggle as Chinese tariffs ramp up more. Experts like William Hsu, vice president of Hsu's Ginseng, say the war is tough because ginseng takes such a long time to grow that you have to predict many years in advance how much you're going to grow without knowing what the price at the sale is going to be.

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Farmers losing out while rain keeps them out of fields

This is the time of the year when many Wisconsin farmers would be well into the fertilizing portion of the growing season.

Farmers in southeastern Wisconsin are said to be losing thousands of dollars while the rain keeps them out of their fields. Meteorologists say that portion of the state has received rainfall about 3 inches above the norm for this time of year. The situation means dozens of Wisconsin farmers will be depending on crop insurance to make it through a bad season.

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Suspected drunk driver spits on rescuers after they pull her from wreckage

Madison police say a 22-year-old suspected drunk driver spit on three officers after they rescued her from her wrecked car.

The woman's name hasn't been released. She lost control of her vehicle Saturday afternoon and was trapped in it after hitting two parked cars. The woman is being treated at a hospital, but she is expected to survive. She faces charges of operating while intoxicated and discharging bodily fluids at officers.

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