Legislative Update

March 9, 2018

Exceeding Expectations

I recently had the exciting opportunity to attend the Brown County United Way Annual Meeting. The event highlighted the incredible work that Brown County United Way is doing in our community to improve the lives of our residents through volunteerism and coordinating community engagement. During the annual meeting, we also learned the exciting news that Brown County United Way had exceeded is campaign goal by approximately $100,000! The organization raised more than $4 Million in 2017, which will be critical in helping it reach its new goal, which is to help 10,000 individuals over the next ten years in achieving financial stability. The message during the annual meeting stressed that it's important to know and understand those who are struggling financially in order to be able to help, and that this may mean expanding upon the traditional understanding of poverty. It was an honor to help celebrate Brown County United Way's accomplishment and take time to recognize the men and women who have dedicated so much to improving the everyday lives of Brown County residents. Congratulations, Brown County United Way, and thank you for the outstanding work you do in our community!

 It was a full house at the KI Convention Center for the 2018 Annual Brown County United Way meeting.

Criminal Justice Reform

This session, I focused on one very important piece of criminal justice reform in our state, expungement. Expungement is an option available to one-time, low-level, youthful offenders which allows such offenders to request that their record be publicly cleared (the record is still available to those within the criminal justice system), and a judge can either deny or grant their request. The goal of expungement is to allow these types of youthful offenders an opportunity at a clean record and a fresh start, without the barriers to employment that a lifelong record may entail. Wisconsin's outdated expungement law requires that judges make this determination at the time of sentencing, essentially requiring them to make a decision without knowing if the individual has reformed, and how the public would be impacted. Those directly involved in the expungement process (courts, defenders, prosecutors), have voiced issues with this "time-of-sentencing" requirement, and indicated that it makes more sense for the offender to come back to the court, after they've completed their sentence, and then request expungement. This allows a judge to review post-sentencing behavior and make a better determination as to whether the individual and the public would benefit from granting expungement. The product of my efforts on this reform culminated in 2017 AB 331. Recently, the Assembly took up an alternative expungement reform bill. I authored a floor amendment to that bill which significantly improves it by allowing the reform to apply retroactively. In other words, the amendment allows for individuals who have already passed through the court system the opportunity to petition the court for expungement. The amendment is a critical piece to ensuring that this reform is effective, and allows those young, one-time, low-level offenders who have reformed and are currently trapped by this outdated law, an opportunity for a fresh start. The legislation as amended now moves to the Senate for consideration. You can check out my floor speech regarding this bill and my amendment by clicking the photo below.

Wisconsin Conservation Congress

Are you interested in natural resource management? If so, you may want to check out the 2018 Wisconsin Conservation Congress Spring hearing questionnaire, which is now available online. And on April 9, 2018 a DNR public hearing and Wisconsin Conservation Congress County Meeting will be held at NWTC, room SC130 (2740 W. Mason St., Green Bay) to allow interested individuals an opportunity to share their thoughts and input on local and statewide conservation issues. I encourage you to stop by and share your thoughts!

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Office of Rep. David Steffen-State Capitol-21 North-Post Office Box 8953-Madison, WI 53708-8953

(608)-266-5840 Toll Free (888) 534-0004 Fax (608) 282-3604    Rep.Steffen@legis.wi.gov

Website: http://legis.wisconsin.gov/assembly/04/steffen/