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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Committee deadlocks on decision on Wood’s expulsion

Rep. Jeff Wood, I-Chippewa Falls, sits before the Wisconsin Special Committee on Ethics as they ultimately tie on four votes: one to reprimand, two to expel, and one not to expel.[/media-credit]

After four tied votes, the Wisconsin Special Committee on Ethics gave no recommendation to the State Assembly Tuesday on whether Rep. Jeff Wood, I-Chippewa Falls, should be expelled for being charged with five OWIs, three of which occurred during his term.

Rep. Steve Nass, R-Whitewater, filed a resolution to expel Wood from the state Assembly last October because of these arrests.

Before the committee began discussion, Wood gave an update on the state toxicology reports from his September arrest.


He said toxicology reports said he had about 71 mg of Lorazepam, an anti-anxiety medication, in his system, adding the legal maximum is 250mg.

He said he was also on about 200 mg of a non-narcotic anti-depressant that has a therapeutic range of 50-300 mg.

He said the one thing he was over the therapeutic range of was over-the-counter cough syrup.

He said these results look very good for his case.

“I am expecting the district attorney to release the charge of OWI,” Wood said.

Committee Chair Rep. Mary Hubler, D-Rice Lake, said the committee could not in good conscience move to expel Wood, adding he had taken responsibility for his actions.

She also said she did not think the committee could expel him knowing the results of the toxicology report.

“He might not end up being charged with anything at all,” Hubler said. “It would be an embarrassment to this Legislature to expel him and then find the charges have been dropped.”

Rep. Gary Hebl, D-Sun Prairie, said he was even second-guessing the idea of an official reprimand taking the results of the toxicology reports into consideration.

He added if Wood was expelled, his district would be unrepresented for the remainder of the term, adding if the people of his district did not want him as a representative any longer, they would have called for a recall.

Rep. Joan Ballweg, R-Markesan, said the fact no recall has been called for should not be used as evidence for or against expulsion.

She said she has heard from people in Chippewa Falls who expect the Assembly to deal with the matter so they will not have to go through the expense of a recall election.

Rep. Mark Gundrum, R-New Berlin, pointed out Wood typically drives between 400 and 500 miles per month on Assembly business, and one April he drove more than 900.

He said if Wood held another job dependent on this amount of driving, such as a delivery driver, he would be fired immediately.

“At the end of the day, the real issue here is whether or not there’s a real danger to the public,” Gundrum said.

However, Hebl pointed out Wood still holds a valid driver’s license in Wisconsin and expelling him would not affect his ability to drive.

The committee tied 3-3 on every vote it held: one to reprimand Wood, two to expel him and one not to expel him, which means it made no official recommendation to the Assembly.

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