State Senator Van Wanggaard's eNewsletter 2015
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Senate Passes John Doe - Protects Constitutional Rights

To watch my speech in support of Senate Bill 285, click on the photo above. 
Senate Bill 285, which would change John Doe laws to protect constitutional rights, passed the State Senate this week. This bill would increase transparency into government affairs and protect our most important freedoms.

I have used the John Doe process as an Investigator with the Racine Police force, and have worked on over 150,000 investigations ranging from shoplifting to homicides. I can tell you from personal experience that the John Doe is a very valuable tool when investigating certain crimes. However, this process can be abused, and the recent John Doe in Milwaukee is a prime example of misuse. In fact, the Federal Court of Appeals called some John Doe procedures "screamingly unconstitutional."

The Milwaukee case not only violated witnesses' 1st amendment rights but also their 4th, 5th, 6th and 14th amendment rights. Military style tactics, seizure of family photographs, and children’s computers violated the protection against unreasonable search and seizure in the Fourth Amendment. Someone was temporarily jailed, allegedly for exercising their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. And, children were denied the ability to call their parents or an attorney. This case went on for five years, denying suspects their Sixth Amendment right to impartial justice and speedy trials. These are just a few examples of the blatant violations of basic freedoms that can occur when John Does are misused. 

The protection of constitutional rights should not be a political issue, and I'm not sure how anyone could say a process that violates basic freedoms isn't in need of reform. Many brave men and women have given their lives to protect these freedoms, and I took an oath when I was sworn into office to protect and uphold the constitution. The bill my colleagues and I passed does just that by preserving the John Doe process while increasing transparency into government affairs and protecting constitutional rights. I am proud to uphold my oath by supporting this legislation. You can watch my speeches from this week's Senate Session in favor of this legislation by clicking here and here.

 RUSD School Board Bill Signed Into Law


This week, my bill to break the deadlock on the Racine School Board Bill got the final stamp of approval from the Senate. The Board has been stuck at a standstill, with no resolution in sight, since Lisa Parhem resigned in June. Unfortunately, state statute gives school board members the authority to fill a vacancy, but it does not provide any options should a board reach an impasse. 

To fix the problem, I authored a bill with Representative Weatherston that would allow the School Board president to fill a board vacancy if the position has been open for more than 60 days. I am happy to say the Governor signed the bill into law today. The Board can now get back to the important business of serving our schools and students. 

 In the District


On Monday, October 19, I met with Cory Hooten at Northern Lights Gallery in Racine as part of the "Bring Your Legislator to Work Campaign" which is organized by the WI Board for People with Developmental Disabilities. I always enjoy meeting hard working people like Cory through this program. Keep up the good work, Cory!

 Congratulations to Julia Keeran!


I would like to say a big congratulations to my grand-niece, Julia Keeran, who was elected Student Council Treasurer this week. Julia is a 5th grader at Fratt Elementary School and she won her election with overwhelming support from her classmates.

Fine job, Julia! It may be a few years out, but I wouldn’t rule out a future run for the Legislature.
Me and my pal, Chance the Cheetah, from Giese Elementary - Happy 50th Anniversary Giese!
Connect with Van:


State Senator Van
21st Senate District 

Wisconsin State Capitol 
P.O. Box 7882
Madison, Wisconsin 53707
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Local Events

Great Pumpkin Chuckin Festival
Racine County Fairgrounds
October 24 - 25

Kenosha Public Museum
October 24, 1 - 4 pm

Downtown Holiday Parade
Main and 6th Streets, Racine
November 14, 5:30 pm

Wisconsin History Tour Exhibit
Southwest Library, Kenosha
October 1 - November 30

If you would like to add an event to the Local Events calendar, please send information to: Colleen.Moran@legis.wi.gov
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