May 7, 2010

 

Governor approves major criminal justice bills, signs into law three Taylor bills


Bills on DNA Collections, Restraining Orders Improvements, Mental Health Commitments Approved

(MADISON) As Wisconsin paused to remember the contributions of law enforcement officers and those who died in the line of duty today, Governor Doyle signed major pieces of criminal justice and justice system related legislation into law.

Senator Lena C. Taylor (D-Milwaukee), chair of the Committee on Judiciary, Corrections, Insurance, Campaign Finance Reform and Housing and co-chair of the Joint Review Committee on Criminal Penalties, applauded today’s actions and recounted the positive effect they will have on the justice system. “These bills were crucial pieces of legislation that will provide for accountability of offenders, safety and protection for victims, and wise use of state resources to rehabilitate and treat incarcerated offenders. Of special note is SB 631. Without Attorney General Van Hollen’s and the Doyle administration’s cooperation the DNA collection legislation (SB 631) would not have been able to advance through the Legislature.”

The Governor signed three of Senator Taylor criminal justice initiatives into law:

SB 631, clarifying the collection of DNA by offenders released from incarceration. The bill was authored by Senator Taylor and Representative Tony Staskunas (D-West Allis) at the request of the Attorney General.

SB 464, the Restraining Order Improvement Act, modernizes the procedures affecting restraining orders to improve the safety of victims under those orders. The bill was authored by Senator Taylor and Rep. Ann Hraychuck (D-Balsam Lake).

SB 478, Orders to Commit an Inmate for Mental Health Treatment, provides for the same mental health treatment for inmates as those civilly committed. Mental illness is one of the leading illnesses undertreated in the corrections system.

Senator Taylor and Representative Sandy Pasch (D-Whitefish Bay) authored the legislation.

In addition, the Governor signed other important bills that affect the justice system:

AB-633, which allows use of county jail funds for costs related to providing educational and medical services to county jail inmates, authored by Representative Fred Clark (D-Baraboo) and Senator Luther Olsen (R-Ripon).

SB-325, requiring notification to a parent before chaperoning a sex offender, authored by Senator Pat Kreitlow (D-Chippewa Falls) and Representative Jeff Smith (D-Eau Claire) SB-573, which clarifies the agency responsible for open records requests of law enforcement records, authored by Senator John Lehman (D-Racine) and Representative Garey Bies (R-Sister Bay).

AB-269, the Police Officer Protection Act, which increases the penalty for causing injury to a law enforcement officer while resisting or obstructing an officer or while attempting to flee, authored by Senator Jim Sullivan (D-Wauwatosa) and Representative Chris Danou (D-Trempealeau).

SB-44, which requires a mental health check as part of DOJ background check requirements for handgun purchases, authored by Senator Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) and Representative Scott Gunderson (R-Waterford).