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Assembly Republicans move crime legislation at Wisconsin Capitol

Washington Examiner logo Washington Examiner 3/26/2023 By Benjamin Yount / The Center Square contributor
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(The Center Square) – Republicans in the Wisconsin Assembly are showing just how tough they want to get on crime.

Lawmakers on Wednesday took up a laundry list of proposals that include guaranteed prison time for convicted felons caught with guns, make it tougher for prosecutors to drop certain felony charges, define the difference between a riot and a protest, and get tougher on reckless drivers in Wisconsin.

Only the reckless driving proposals have a chance of actually becoming law.

Rep. Bob Donovan, R-Greenfield is the author of AB 55, which would double the fines and jail time for people convicted of reckless driving, and AB 56 which allows local governments to seize cars from reckless drivers who have not paid their fees and fines.

“I think the message needs to be sent out three fold,” Donovan said. “First to our constituents, that ‘Yes we’ve heard from you. We get it. We recognize how serious this problem is.'"

He also said the legislature needs to send the message to criminals and judges that there will be accountability.

“We’re getting our judges the tools to get the job done, and to hold individuals appropriately accountable,” Donnvan added.

Gov. Tony Evers’ office has said he will sign Donovan’s reckless driving plans. But the rest are expected to be vetoed.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said that’s a shame.

“I’m glad he is going to sign our [reckless driving] bills. They are the right public policy,” Vos said. “Why he wouldn’t sign all the bills? You’d have to ask him that.”

One piece of legislation that Vos the governor should sign is a plan that would clarify the definition of “serious harm” for the proposed constitutional amendment that would set new rules for judges when they are setting bail.

“In that constitutional amendment, the legislature needed to define ‘serious bodily harm’ and ‘violent crime.’ And that’s what this legislation does,” Rep. Cindi Duchow, R-Town of Delafield, explained. “There were three places in statue that defined violent crimes, and we pulled all of those together into one violent crime statue here. Which [includes] everything from child molestation to rape to kidnapping.”

Duchow says if the constitutional amendment passes on Election Day in April, and Gov. Evers vetoes the legislation, she says it will be “the wild west.”

“Every judge can decide what they think ‘serious harm’ is, every judge can decide what they think ‘violent crime’ is,” Duchow explained. “It’s to the governor's benefit to actually sign this, and put some guardrails on what judges are using to make decisions.”


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Tags: Wisconsin, Crime, Law, Police, Congress

Original Author: By Benjamin Yount / The Center Square contributor

Original Location: Assembly Republicans move crime legislation at Wisconsin Capitol


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