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February 22, 2019  

What's Inside:

-Criminal Justice Reform

-Homelessness

-Listening Sessions Next Week 

Criminal Justice Reform

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Criminal Justice Reform

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This past Monday, colleagues of mine and I rolled out an initiative focused on improving the criminal justice system which present comprehensive reforms that directly address an individual’s access to a fair trial and re-entry into the workforce.


“Ultimately, our criminal justice system is in place to ensure those who commit crimes are held accountable,” said Representative Tony Kurtz (R-Wonewoc). “But it must also be a place to rehabilitate individuals to become successful, contributing members of our society.”


Representatives Loren Oldenburg, Nancy VanderMeer and myself were joined by Monroe County District Attorney Kevin Croninger and Araysa Simpson, a Regional Attorney Manager with the State Public Defender’s office to make the announcement regarding the package. 

Essentially, we are asking Governor Evers to include the following initiatives in his state budget request to the legislature that:


• Ensure quicker access to a fair trial: fund new Assistant District Attorney (ADA) positions, increase pay for ADAs and State Public Defenders (SPD), increase private bar rate for county court appointments and SPD appointments


• Expand Treatment Alternatives and Diversion (TAD) programs to help offenders who suffer from alcohol and drug issues


• Invest in the retention of correctional officers


• Promote the successful transition back into society through expanded worker training, reentry programs and health initiatives

Homelessness

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Thursday, Rep. Tony Kurtz (R-Wonewoc) joined other area lawmakers and homelessness advocates to announce the introduction of a package of bills aimed at curbing homelessness in Wisconsin called, “A Hand for the Homeless.” Rep. Kurtz is the author of LRB 1852/1, which seeks to increase funding for skills enhancement grants.

“Homelessness is a problem in our communities,” said Rep. Kurtz. “If there is something we as legislators can to do to curb this problem, I am happy to be a part of the solution to do so.”

Last session, the Wisconsin Legislature passed various pieces of legislation along with 2017-19 budget priorities aimed at addressing homelessness in Wisconsin. These bills passed with broad bipartisan support and one of those bills which became law created the Interagency Council on Homelessness.

When chaired by the then Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, the council worked with stakeholders throughout Wisconsin to create an action plan to address homelessness.  A Hand and a Home: Foundation for Success, is a statewide, comprehensive plan aimed at addressing homelessness in Wisconsin.

“The Skills Enhancement Program has been a success,” said Rep. Kurtz. “Taken directly from the plan’s recommendations my bill will double the funding for this critical program. It will also have a direct benefit to people in my Assembly District as both Central Wisconsin Community Action and Southwestern Community Action Program currently utilize this grant.”

 

I'd Like to Meet You - Listening Session Next Week!

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9-10 am at Mauston City Hall, Council Chambers

303 Mansion St.

Mauston, WI 53948

1-2 pm at Reedsburg City Hall

134 S Locust St

Reedsburg, WI 53959