Gov. Jim Doyle said Thursday that an embattled state lawmaker must resign as the representative showed up in court after his arrest Wednesday for driving under the influence and bail jumping.
"When you're just simply not providing the basic representation, you've got to acknowledge that and step aside and allow somebody else to represent that district," Doyle told reporters after an event in Madison.
An effort to expel Rep. Jeff Wood, an Independent from Chippewa Falls, has been boosted by his fifth arrest on suspicion of driving while under the influence Wednesday - his second arrest in less than a month.
A criminal complaint filed Thursday in Monroe County court said that Wood was arrested in Tomah after driving erratically and falling down during a failed sobriety test.
After appearing in court, Wood posted a $1,000 cash bond and left the Monroe County Jail Thursday, according to a representative of the jail.
"Rep. Wood told me that he had admitted himself in an in-patient treatment program for his struggles with drug and alcohol abuse, and as a colleague, I wanted to support him in that process," Assembly Speaker Mike Sheridan, D-Janesville, said. "However, with this arrest, it seems clear that Rep. Wood has not been solely focused on recovery and has again endangered himself and the public. Now, we must take a very hard look at his case, and determine if he is truly able to serve the people of his district."
A resolution seeking to expel Wood is currently before Sheridan, who can appoint an ethics committee to consider it, said Mike Mikalsen, a spokesman for the resolution's author, Rep. Steve Nass, R-Whitewater.
Sheridan and Assembly Minority Leader Jeff Fitzgerald, R-Horicon, plan to move forward quickly with appointing three Democrats and three Republicans to the committee, which could hold hearings and vote on an expulsion resolution, Sweeney said.
It has been generations since such an expulsion and lawmakers were still trying to determine what powers the committee might have to request or compel evidence and how it would work. An expulsion resolution would still need 66 votes in the full Assembly, or two-thirds of the body, to pass.
Fitzgerald joined Doyle in calling for Wood's resignation Thursday, with his spokesman Jim Bender noting that lawmakers granted Wood a leave of absence from the Assembly floor session on Tuesday on the assumption that he was in treatment following impaired driving arrests in December and again on Sept. 23.
Wood was jailed in Monroe County after his arrest Wednesday afternoon. Police officers say they observed his vehicle swerving and drive over a curb.
The complaint said that another driver observed him drive into an intersection twice in spite of a red light and then back up as well as failing to move once after the light turned green. The witness said Wood's car later almost struck her car.
No alcohol showed up on a test of the lawmaker's breath Thursday, the complaint said. He initially told the arresting officer from the Tomah Police Department that he had taken two, and then later said only one, of his two prescribed anti-depressant pills.
Police found several prescription drugs in Wood's possession, including 22 capsules of fluoxetine, or Prozac, and 55 tablets of Naproxen, a drug used to treat pain and inflammation, as well as antibiotics.
Monroe County District Attorney Dan Cary said he had requested the $1,000 cash bond, calling it similar to how other impaired driving and bail jumping cases were handled in the county. Among the other conditions of his release, Wood was prohibited from having controlled substances without a valid prescription in his name and was required to follow his doctor's orders in taking them.
Prior to this fifth arrest, Mikalsen said Nass had been in talks with Sheridan about seeking to censure Wood, rather than expel him. Now, Nass will only accept Wood's resignation or expulsion, Mikalsen said.
Democrats control the Assembly over Republicans 52 to 46. Wood provided one of the key votes to help pass the state budget in the Assembly on June 13 by a 50 to 48 vote.
Wood's arrest last month in Rib Mountain was for allegedly driving under the influence of prescription and non-prescription drugs. He told officers he had taken twice his prescribed amount of an anti-anxiety medication and two doses of cough syrup that day.
Wood's attorney in the other two impaired driving cases, Tracey Wood, said she expected to be retained in this latest case as well but had not yet spoken to her client. She is not a relative of Wood's.
She said Wood is still waiting for the results of blood tests to determine the amount of drugs possibly in the lawmaker's system at the time of the latest two arrests.
Until then, "nobody knows where these cases will go," Wood said.
The Legislature has only twice ousted a colleague, in 1842 -- before Wisconsin was a state -- and 1917.
Wood won three terms as a Republican before declaring himself an Independent shortly before his re-election in 2008.
He was convicted of driving while intoxicated in 1990 and 1991.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.