LINCOLN — A former legislative page said Friday that he saw a bottle of rum and an open case of beer in the State Capitol office of a state senator accused of drunken driving.
Alex Wunrow of Lincoln, who served as a page last year, said that he saw a half-empty bottle of Captain Morgan rum and an open case of beer in a refrigerator in the office of Omaha Sen. Scott Lautenbaugh.
“I never saw him drink in his office, but his is the only office that I found beer and hard liquor,” Wunrow said Friday.
Lautenbaugh was ticketed early Wednesday on West Maple Road near his northwest Omaha home.
Wunrow, a student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, said that he saw the alcohol after he’d been asked by Lautenbaugh to get a cup of ice from the refrigerator in his legislative office.
State law prohibits consumption of alcohol on state property, unless the appropriate liquor licenses are obtained, such as those required for ceremonial dinners.
Speaker of the Legislature Sen. Greg Adams said Friday that his advice to senators about having alcohol in their office is “not to.”
Lautenbaugh, on Friday, said that he knew there was beer in the refrigerator — it was left over from an event. He said he has no recollection of seeing Captain Morgan in the refrigerator.
“Nobody sits around my office and drinks. That is not true,” Lautenbaugh said.
Lautenbaugh, a 48-year-old Republican, sponsored the law in 2009 that legalized cigar bars in Nebraska.
Among the 20 bills he proposed this year is one to allow taverns to sell jug-like “growlers” of tap beer for takeout. Currently, only brew pubs can sell their beer in growlers. Lautenbaugh said that regular taverns ought to be able to sell them, too. A committee hearing on the proposal is scheduled Monday.
The senator was stopped by a Douglas County deputy about 2 a.m. Wednesday for driving erratically near 147th Street and West Maple Road. He registered a blood-alcohol level of 0.234 percent— nearly three times the legal limit.
World-Herald staff writers Joe Duggan and Maggie O'Brien contributed to this report.
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