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State senator stopped for drunk driving

By   /   February 27, 2013  /   36 Comments

Joe Jordan | Nebraska Watchdog

UPDATE: 4:05 p.m.

An Omaha lawmaker was ticketed early Wednesday morning for drunk driving.

Scott Lautenbaugh

Scott Lautenbaugh

State Sen. Scott Lautenbaugh, a Republican, released a statement saying he’s embarrassed and takes “full responsibility.”

Lautenbaugh, 48, tells Nebraska Watchdog he took a breathalyzer test but declined to release any details of the incident.

According to Chief Deputy Marty Bilek of the Douglas County Sheriff’s office, Lautenbaugh was driving erratically at 2 a.m. near 147th and West Maple Road in Omaha and had a .234 blood alcohol content—nearly three times the legal limit.

“I will seek an immediate alcohol evaluation, and I will follow whatever recommendation or path that it mandates,” said Lautenbaugh.

Lautenbaugh’s initial court hearing is scheduled for June 26 at 9 a.m.

According to the Nebraska Constitution state senators cannot be prosecuted for crimes 15 days before or after a legislative session. Lawmakers are scheduled to adjourn June 5.

Lautenbaugh was not on the floor of the legislature this morning. He also did not attend an afternoon committee hearing.

Lautenbaugh, who was appointed to the Legislature in 2007 by Gov. Dave Heineman to represent northwest Omaha, is a former Douglas County Election Commissioner.

A longtime critic of Omaha Public Schools, earlier this month Lautenbaugh successfully pushed through a bill downsizing the Omaha School Board from 12 members to nine.

Contact Joe Jordan at [email protected]

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Joe formerly served as staff reporter for Watchdog.org.

  • Alex

    I was a page at the legislature last year, and one time Lautenbaugh sent me to his office to get some a cup of ice from the freezer in his office. Any guesses as to what I found in the freezer? A bottle of Captain Morgan.

  • Kirk Welch

    While this is a Misdemeanor Offense, a State Legislator should certainly be held to a higher degree of accountability than an average citizen. That aside, Lautenbaugh made the choice to put others in harms way by his own actions. As a State Legislator I’m certain he would be in favor of stiffening fines for DUI all in the interest of public safety. My thought on this is he should be impeached.
    We have seen far too much of this type of civil disobedience propagated by those that we vote into Office just to have them offer an apology and a promise to seek “help” In this case Lautenbaugh has not even said that he would seek treatment but rather that he would undergo a ” Alcohol Evaluation”.
    I personally don’t care what the recommendations of the evaluation team are, the damage has already been done.
    If He were a Cop or Firefighter he would immediately be put on a Civil Service suspension pending the outcome of the trial. In Lautenbaugh’s case , he has already admitted he was driving under the influence and he tested @ nearly 3 times the legal limit so he cannot make the excuse that he had “one too many”. On the Contrary, he had several too many and then decided to break the law that he as a State Representative has sworn to uphold. There is no excuse and no apology will make this right. He needs to do the right thing and step down.

    alcohol evaluation
    alcohol evaluation

  • Government Observer

    The public seems to no longer hold drunk driving as a serious offense as it once was. An example of this was the City Attorney of Plattmouth was arrested for drunk driving nothing happened to him! It was in the news, in the paper, yet the City continues to keep him employed as their lead law enforcement employee.

  • Wow a .234 that is some heavy drinking. What good judgement. I think all the Senator should follow the good judgement of Lautenback (and Justin Wayne).

  • Hal

    Totally agree with the thread of these statements. A close family member got “nailed” really hard for a second offense; she couldn’t afford a bigtime attorney, and she wasn’t “somebody.” It still pains her to see these people getting 4-5-6 convictions and they’re still on the road.

  • Montsho Rakeletso

    This is a strange situation. Why is Justin Wayne name include in one of the comments. Were they driving together?

  • Watching_From_Lincoln

    Just another shining example of Modern Republican Hypocrisy at work. Run on a straight and narrow Conservative Morality platform in public, debauchery and drunkenness in private. Whether it is foot-tapping the man in the next bathroom stall to signal the desire for a homosexual encounter, drunk driving, inappropriate relations with pages/staff or under the table business transactions while in office, the “We don’t practice what we preach” disease seems to be rampant Nation-wide in the GOP of late.

    When are the sheeple who vote for these rejects going to finally learn that these people are NOT “Conservatives”, they are elitist Neo-fascists who see themselves above the laws they enact on the rest of us?

  • Libertarian01a

    And the Dems are different how?

  • Watching_From_Lincoln

    Impeachment, followed by conviction and incarceration. Lautenbaugh is NOT above the law, nor should ANY elected official be, regardless of Party. If Average Joe or Jane faces fine, jail and loss of license for a first offense DWI at 0.081 BAL and usually gets that sentence without the benefit of a $3,000 lawyer at their side, then at nearly three times the legal limit while operating a motor vehicle Lautenbagh DESERVES a dose of his own medicine and a week in the Gray Bar Hotel being Bubbah’s Jailhouse Bitch at taxpayer’s expense.

  • Watching_From_Lincoln

    The Dems don’t run on a morally superior to thou platform and advertise that as a reason to vote for them. The Neo-Fascists (Modern Republicans) do.

  • Watching_From_Lincoln

    Or take Deb Fischer’s three sons, DWI’s all three, one of whom attempted to bribe a law enforcement official to get out of his DWI ticket, another of whom tried to impersonate another brother to cover for his DWI. What a scurrilous family that is, just chips off of the old back-stabbing block.

  • Libertarian01a

    True. The Dems run on their own set of lies to get you to vote for them. If you don’t see they are the same, just different sides of the mirror, I feel sorry for you. Let’s see, how many rich/Liberal Dems live off of Hollywood while pedaling filth to any age group they can? Not to mention being the stingiest givers to charity in this country. Moral high ground is when one is more moral than the other. In this case, both are at the bottom. Unless of course you are like all of them and use only your standards of morality. Which we can see from your writing is not overly high as standards go, along with your inability to state a coherent argument without resulting to name calling. I see the same thing everyday in my daycare. Have you written anything lately that did not include name calling? It really isn’t funny, it is pathetic. If you were really watching, I would hope you would start learning.

  • topdog

    Give me a break people!! A couple of years ago we had a Senator Nantkes (now Conrad) run into a snowplow around Valentines Day in downtown Lincoln. Ms Nantkes not only refused the breath test but flipped off the Police. Drunker than a skunk she was yes indeed. This was her 3RD DUI! She hired a shwankie lawyer and got off like she was made of peaches and cream. Ms. Nantkes was also involved in some shaddy financial matters if I remember correctly and not once did you hear from anyone about removing this senator from office! So whats good for the goose is good for the gander. Mr. Lautenbaugh find out who the attorney was for Nantkes, go have lunch with him and get into rehab.

  • shameless_1

    there is no reason to name call or to call out one party over the other on this issue. That in and of itself is simply a means to an end and that end would be to turn attention away from the real issue. I am a Democrat and I will give you one very glaring example of a Democrat that, while he didn’t break the law was irresponsible in his duties to his Office [Clinton]. I still support his policies and think he was a very good President, nevertheless his Tenure in Office was marred by his unethical behavior.
    This is a different issue, Lautenbaugh put others at risk by his choice to break the law.
    Libertarian01a, by your chosen screen name I can only assume that you are a Libertarian? I have heard many of your party talk about the evils of both the Democratic and Republican Party’s , while I may agree with much of what you say I always come away thinking I have escaped from a Romper Room Finger Pointing Party where you call out everyone in Office and slam both sides but never offer anything in the way of Constructive Criticism. Criticism yes, but not Constructive as all you want is to throw them all out. So where do we go from there? Maybe a Monarchy or Dictatorship? As “43” said “it would be much easier if it were a Dictatorship” meaning he could then circumvent Congress and he damned near did in many respects. Good luck with that, but again I digress, this is not about one party or the other it’s about a man that made a poor choice that put other peoples lives at risk and broke not only the law but the oath he took to defend and uphold it and he should be held accountable for those grievances.


  • JoeSixPack56

    Senator Scott Lautenbaugh should resign, just like the Lt. Gov.
    Governor Heineman appointed both of them.
    He can really pick some winners can’t he?!?

  • JoeSixPack56

    Where was Senator Scott Lautenbaugh driving from and to?
    Was he at a bar where they illegally served him alcohol past the time he was visibly drunk?
    Why isn’t the source of the alcohol ever mentioned in media stories?
    Why isn’t the source of the alcohol ever mentioned in media stories?
    Why isn’t the source of the alcohol ever mentioned in media stories?
    Why isn’t the source of the alcohol ever mentioned in media stories?
    I think that last question warrants some investigative reporting and repeating!

  • ToucheTurtle

    Is this anything like holding Brenda Counsel to a “higher standard” by making her resign from her office? Or how about the fact that she pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and received probation? Where were your definitive comments on Brenda Counsel when she CHOSE to “steal” nearly $100,000 campaign donations to finance her gambling habit??? Didn’t see nary a word from you, my friend!!!

    What is good for the goose is good for the gander!”

  • ToucheTurtle

    Did you condemn Brenda Counsel to the same end??? Don’t recall seeing your comments on her felony theft of money!!!

  • ToucheTurtle

    Are you SURE about that???? I don’t recall ANYONE from the Dem side meting out equal condemnation of Brenda Counsel . . . perhaps you don’t remember she was a “minority” legislator that Ernie Chambers ran against in North Omaha!!! Neo-Fascists indeed . . . boy, if THAT isn’t the pot calling the kettle black!!!!

  • ToucheTurtle

    Boy, I am duly impressed by your knowledge about Fischer’s three sons!!! I think perhaps you should visit your physician . . . your brain has been infected with some kind of virus that causes you to bring her into the discussion, no matter what it is!!! This mysterious disability . . . is it related to rabies because I am certain I can see you “foaming at the mouth” from here!!!!!

  • ToucheTurtle

    By all means, let’s hold the bartender responsible for what the Good Senator did!!! It is interesting that once again we are ready to place the blame for the Senator’s CHOICES on someone else!!! That is like holding a parent accountable when the adult child robs a bank, don’t you think!!!!

    Perhaps it is TIME for the GOOD SENATOR to stand up and be a man! Face the music and take the consequences that he has earned by making a POOR choice – NO EXCUSES! That is what SHOULD BE required of every single one of us! At least that is the way things were handled BEFORE the current PC police arrived and made it legal to blame anyone but the person who did the dirty deed!

    Fair is fair . . . the law should be applied equally to everyone, no matter their station in life. Unless they are mentally challenged they should be held accountable to the letter of the LAW!!!

  • westernread

    Ole Scott needs to hit the treadmill.

  • Joan

    I don’t care how you cut it or what you say, State Senator Lautenbaugh is an alcoholic and he needs to be off the streets before he kills some one. Alcoholism is an incurable disease, only controlable thru programs like AA. After he has gone thru an in house treatment program like Hazelton, then he will need weekly meetings to maintain sobriety. Alcoholics are dysfunctional people and need professional help.

  • Joan

    What part of Lautenbaughs crime vs Counsel don’t you get? Lautenbaugh was 3 x’s over the legal limit DRUNK, he could have killed a number of humanbeings, like your wife & kids! Get over your self Touche, Brenda has been sentanced, she lost the race and it is now March and the Sequester is about to screw the middle class thanks to you stupid Republicans.

  • Joan

    Gambling is an addiction, it affects the individual and their family. We as a community lost a beloved politcal friend and she is suffering for her crime. However, I repeat, no ones life was in danger, she was not driving while drunk. Differant addiction Mr Touche, diffent out come.

  • Troy

    I have walked past that little room behind the Legislative Chamber before and think I saw an ice machine or something. If they have an ice machine, why would he send you to his office to get ice?

  • To be blunt, I was shocked but Scott has also lost lots of weight over the last sixth months and it may have contributed to his drunken state.

  • resistwemuch

    WFL = LIbEralS.

  • made up name

    Wow that’s a lot of booze of someone who is as obese as him! Did he polish off the whole keg? What women was he with? It sure wasn’t his wife. Was he with a sex prostitute? Well at least he fixed OPS b/4 his political career ended.

  • made up name

    Agreed! Her kids are a bunch of punks and she’s a POS.

  • ToucheTurtle

    Yeah, it sure is!!! Everyone makes choices, and when those choices cause one to break the law, then they should be subject to equal treatment under the law . . . NO MATTER what they did OR who they are!!! I find it interesting that you find the need to JUSTIFY Ms Counsel’s crime while condemning Mr. Lautenbaugh by a different standard.

    And your assessment of Ms. Counsel’s consequences are dead WRONG! What Ms. Counsel did DOES effect those outside her family because she is setting a terrible example for all who are watching and learning from that example! How many young people know think they can steal and walk away with a slap on the hands and a little probation? Really, she is “suffering” from her crime? A woman in rural Nebraska stole $14,000+ from her church, and served two years at the State facility at York! Do you honestly think that she is “suffering” the same as other Nebraskans would if they had done the same thin? Give me a break!

    Mr. Lautenbaugh PUBLICLY apologized and says he will accept what comes next! What did Brenda do? Why, she tried to repay part of her felony BEFORE anyone found out, and then said she was running for office anyway!!!

    So from your comment, I can only assume that there are different kinds of addictions, and some are acceptable and some are not!!! How convenient for you!!! How about this Brenda Council BROKE the law the same as Mr. Lautenbaugh. Are you saying that she deserved less punishment because her “addiction” was more acceptable? No wonder this country is in such deep trouble!!!

  • Pat Boyle

    What set of lies do democrats run on? We’re not stingy, we’re critical of buying homes and cars for false prophets. Your dogma is flawed.

  • Pat Boyle

    He wouldn’t tell them where he was drinking.

  • Joan

    You just don’t get it Mr Turtle, Brenda’s & Laughtenbaugh’s crimes both set poor examples for young people but Laughtenbaugh was DRUNK and driving. He was an endangerment to others. The degree or depth of his crime was more severe. How he or Brenda are punished by the legal system is not up to you or me.

  • Randall

    Because when pages are working in committees, senators offices are closer than the room in legislative chamber.

    Source: also a former page

  • Libertarian01a

    Let’s start with, everyone can own a home. Where did that get us? I am my brothers keeper. Yet you don’t believe in the Bible. Money and power are bad yet you will do anything to gain them. Note the change in our President who was going to change the system but became the ultimate player. Believing Dems don’t lie. Only big corporate money is behind the Republicans. So who is George Soros? The sequester will hurt air traffic control. I was a controller for 25 years starting right after the strike. In the end the worse day schedule we worked was a an hour on and a half hour off. During slow times it was an hour on an hour off. Things have not changed. There is more than enough to cut in the FAA that harms no one, yet your guy can’t handle a 2.3% reduction in the increase. In the real world that is called incompetence. Notice how they have backed off on their lies on how bad it will get? That is so they can lie about lying. Are the Republicans any different? Essential no. But then to convince the ideologues, you?, is not something they would wish us to do for them. It takes them out of their comfort zone of non-reality and shakes their faith. It takes a lot of faith to believe and follow either party. More than I have. However, you do have as much right to worship your god, the Dem. party, as I do mine, and I will not try to force my beliefs on society like you do. So it would seem we have come full circle to the real false prophets. You have meet the enemy and it is you.