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Spring Legislative Update



Ethan's Law Heads to Governor's Desk

Children in protective care would no longer be subject to placement with admitted child abusers under “Ethan's Law,” which cleared the State Assembly this week and is on its way to the Governor’s desk.

State Sen. André Jacque (R-De Pere), primary author of the bi-partisan measure along with State Rep. Paul Tittl, said the bill closes loopholes in state law that allowed Ethan Hauschultz, a seven-year-old Manitowoc boy, to be killed in April 2018.  He had suffered a deadly pattern of cruel abuse at the home where he had been lawfully placed by county workers, despite a lengthy record of violence by his designated ‘caregiver’.

“What happened to Ethan is unbelievably tragic,” Sen. Jacque said.  “If the loopholes didn’t exist, Ethan and his two siblings could not have been placed in this home, and presumably Ethan would still be alive today.  The system failed him, and we owe it to his memory to put proper guidelines in place.”

Due to neglect in their home, the children were placed with a great uncle who had been found guilty of felony child abuse in 2009, among several other violent past offenses. But because of a plea bargain, his record showed the conviction as disorderly conduct, a non-violent misdemeanor. 

Under Sen. Jacque's bill, human services workers could not place a child with any adult who had been found guilty of abusing a child, entered a plea of “no contest" to a child-abuse charge, or plea-bargained that crime down to a lesser offense. 

“Red flags were everywhere," Sen. Jacque said.  “Ethan’s senseless, preventable murder highlights the vulnerability of our children. "


Sen. Jacque's Clean Water Agenda Clears Senate

Bipartisan legislation expanding and eliminating backlogs in the grant program that helps cover the costs of repairing or replacing failing private wells for lower income households passed the State Senate 29-4 this week, encouraging greater participation in addressing failing septic systems and strategies that protect our groundwater.

The measure marks the third installment of Sen. Jacque's Clean Water Agenda passed by the Senate so far this year.  Earlier, the Chamber passed his bills to standardize state and federal environmental audits, and to avoid excessive nutrient spreading to reduce runoff into our waters.

“Wisconsin residents, employers and farmers want to protect our water because they know it’s the right thing to do, and that their livelihoods depend on it,” Sen. Jacque said.  “State government needs to remove as many barriers as possible and promote these efforts.”


Public Safety PTSD Coverage Act Signed into Law 

Lt. Melissa Wiesner of the Two Rivers Police Department (fifth from left) joined Sen. Jacque at signing ceremony.

Over 50 years ago, President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation designating May 15 as Peace Officer's Memorial Day and the surrounding days as Police Week. 

Help for these and other heroes who protect our communities is on the way after Gov. Evers recently signed Sen. Jacque's “Public Safety PTSD Coverage Act.”

Increasing suicide rates for first responders suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are now outpacing on-duty deaths.  Unfortunately, they were not covered under Wisconsin’s workers compensation law due to a 1974 Wisconsin Supreme Court Case that required “a situation of greater dimensions” than experienced by those within the same profession- essentially punishing them for choosing an occupation where they must routinely rush toward, rather than away from, danger. 

Sen. Jacque's bill eliminated the “greater dimensions” requirement for these professions, because while a single event can trigger PTSD, so can repeated everyday exposure to dangerous high stress events.

"PTSD can be treated effectively and allow those affected to return to protecting and serving the public,” Sen. Jacque said.  “It is critical that the men and women we depend on as first responders who are affected by PTSD have access to this treatment.” 


Sen. Jacque's Paddlewheel Bill Goes to Governor

The State Assembly this week gave final passage to Sen. Jacque's paddlewheel bill, giving Gov. Evers the opportunity for a “do-over” of his veto last year.

Paddlewheel raffles are very popular and raise money for important causes throughout the state. However charitable groups across Wisconsin may be unknowingly and unintentionally committing a felony-level offense under current law. 

“Wisconsin’s many sporting clubs, civic and veterans’ organizations, churches, and numerous other non-profits throughout our state have fun and have supported many charitable causes through paddlewheels,” Sen. Jacque said.  “Paddlewheels are frequently used for ‘meat raffles,’ a crowd favorite seen at events from church festivals to veteran’s hall fish fries.”

However, Sen. Jacque said groups who hold paddlewheel raffles at special events under their raffle license have been informed by Wisconsin’s Department of Justice, at the request of the Department of Administration, that they are fostering illegal gambling and are subject to up to a Class I Felony penalty.

“People are understandably shocked when they find out,” Sen. Jacque said. “Here they are trying to do good in their community, and they find out they may be committing a felony.”

Sen. Jacque's bill provides relief by allowing entities with Class B raffle licenses to run paddlewheel raffles.  He expressed hope that Gov. Evers would sign the bill this time around.

“These games are also popular in Minnesota, which has already legalized paddlewheel raffles for charitable groups,” Sen. Jacque said.

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Stay in Touch!

If you have any comments regarding the content of this E-Update or any other issue, please feel free to contact me.


Senator André Jacque

District Office
320 Main Ave. 

 De Pere, WI 54115
(920) 420-9570

State Capitol, Room 7S
PO Box 7882

 Madison, WI 53707
(608) 266-3512

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