New proposal for sexually violent persons after Walker veto

By Maria Szatkowski, WSAW News 

WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) --- Republican Senator Patrick Testin of Stevens Point announced new legislation Friday morning, proposing that the relocation of sexually violent persons remains to the county where they committed the crime. This follows a very similar budget proposal made by Democratic Representative Katrina Shankland, also from Stevens Point.

On Thursday, Governor Scott Walker signed the state's new two-year budget, almost three months past its deadline. One of his 99 budget vetoes included Representative Shankland's proposal, which would redistrict sexually violent persons to the county where they committed the crime.

"I'm really disappointed that the governor vetoed what was a bipartisan solution to a very pressing and urgent problem," said Representative Shankland.

"I was a little disappointed that the provision was vetoed," said Senator Testin.

"The language eliminated restrictions on how close it could be to schools and childcare centers and playgrounds and things of that nature. And I thought most people in the public would like to have restrictions in places where kids are at," said Governor Walker of his veto.

It's a concern in Portage County, where two sexually violent persons were placed, even though they are not from the area. Citizens in the Town of Alban were concerned and legislators have been working to fight this issue. Friday, Senator Testin released a new bill proposal which would do just that.

"This proposal is essentially the language that was in the budget, but what we did is I sat down with the counties association to make sure that their membership is okay with the proposal," said Senator Testin.

"I would hope that in the future we could work together on issues so vital to our communities, since I've already reached across the aisle with my Republican colleagues to work on this issue," said Representative Shankland.

Senator Testin said he's optimistic this bill will pass, but Representative Shankland isn't so sure.

"Given that he's already vetoed this budget motion, I don't know that having a separate bill is the right course of action. What I want to find out is what the Governor can support and how we can move forward to actually create solutions," said Representative Shankland.

She added that she has plans to meet with Governor Walker soon and hopes to discuss this matter further.