Gov. Walker vetoes portions of violent sex offender bill

By Courtney Terlecki, WAOW


Governor Scott Walker signed a bill Wednesday impacting the placement of sexually violent persons (SVP). Before Walker signed it into law, he vetoed portions of the bill.

A SVP is a violent sex offender that meets a specific set of criteria including having a mental disability.

The bill ensures that once SVP's are released they are put into their home county for supervised release.

The original bill would have taken away restrictions on the distance a SVP has to be placed from schools, child care facilities, public parks, youth centers and places of worship.

Representative Katrina Shankland out of Stevens Point said she's worried that the bill will not be enforceable in places like Milwaukee County because the distance restrictions are still in place.

"I’m disappointed that Governor Walker put politics before policy today with his partial veto," Shankland said in a statement. "Assembly Bill 539 was drafted with broad input from stakeholders – including law enforcement, district attorneys, and public defenders – and received bipartisan support in the legislature. There is no reason to tamper with a bill that so many stakeholders support and so many families have hoped for."

Area representatives have been working on legislation because Portage County has seen numerous SVP's placed into the county who were not from Portage County. The Town of Alban, in rural Portage County, has had two SVP's placed inside one home that are from a different county. They are supposed to have another person placed into the home in April, however, Shankland is hoping the bill can help.

“My first priority is to try to leverage this new law to stop the pending SVP placement in the Town of Alban," she said. "While the timeline of the law is somewhat vague, there is reason for optimism for the Alban community, and I am pleased that a year of working across the aisle has created results."

The bill was authored by several area representatives, including Stevens Point State Senator Patrick Testin and Representative Scott Krug of Nekoosa.