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Legislative Victories

Featured legislation authored by Jesse James

Senator James is proud to have had dozens of great bills signed into law during his time in the legislature. Read on about some of his favorites, or click here for his full legislative page.


Above: The "Last Name Change" / "The 4" bill was inspired by real constituents who came to Jesse advocating for the best interests of children who had been deeply affected by their parent's actions.

Working for the 23rd

Jesse is committed to fighting for his district and representing the people of the 23rd.

He passed legislation enabling local governments to secure bridge funding, and voted in favor of a historic increase in shared revenue for local governments. Some budget motions he successfully authored include securing funds to finish the new science building at U.W. Eau Claire, complete a building expansion at U.W. Stout, and help operate a much-needed Lake Altoona sediment collector.

He loves when bill ideas come from constituents, such as allowing homeschoolers to become election inspectors, providing medical testing for first responders who come into contact with bodily fluids, and making September 11th an observance day in Wisconsin schools.

Shielding the Vulnerable

One constituent-inspired bill that is near and dear to Jesse's heart is 2021 WI Act 182, which enables a parent to change the last name of their child when the other parent has been convicted of certain heinous crimes, including child sexual abuse. Changing a child's last name allows them to have a fresh start away from the negative press and reputation of their parent.

When Lily Peters went missing in Chippewa Falls, many constituents were frustrated that no missing child alert was issued, since her disappearance didn't meet the Amber Alert requirements. In honor of Lily and Prince McCree, Jesse passed legislation to get an alert added to cover these missing children.


Standing Against Predators

In 2024, Jesse's bills banning AI Child Porn and Child Sex Dolls were signed into law. 2023 Wisconsin Act 224 and 225 make sex dolls resembling a minor illegal in Wisconsin and add a new section in our state statute banning computer-generated/AI child porn. Artificial intelligence models learn from real images of real victims. Closing the door on these activities will help put a stop to child sexual abuse.

Sen. James also authored legislation clarifying sexual misconduct and harassment between a school employee and a pupil. As a dad and grandpa, protecting kids is one of Jesse's highest priorities, and he will always fight to keep them safe.


Senator James values keeping schools safe, and authored legislation to provide grants to schools to map out their campuses with new technology designed for efficient emergency responses. He received a School Bus Association Legislative Champion award for his bill to raise penalties on cars who fail to stop for a school bus. James legislation also made it possible to keep Narcan and glucagon in schools, both life-saving medications.

Jesse also authored a bill that established a grant program for the growth of recovery high schools in Wisconsin. Recovery high schools provide a sober environment and deep-end intervention for teens struggling with substance abuse and other issues.

Above: Rep. Barbara Dittrich (R - Oconomowoc) and Sen. James testify on their bill to establish financial support for recovery high schools in Wisconsin.



Above: Wisconsin mothers Sharon and Michelle, who lost their children Erin and Cade to lethal fentanyl poisoning, and both advocate for fentanyl awareness and change.

Crime and Justice for Victims

As a police officer, Jesse deeply cares about safety and justice for victims. He authored legislation to prevent backlogs in processing sexual assault kits in Wisconsin, as well as securing $10 million for crime victim services in Wisconsin after a critical federal source of funding dried up. He also was able to author a bill that defines and penalizes the crime of carjacking.

Sen. James passed the Kelsey Smith Act, which allows first responders to more easily access the cell phone location data of people in immediate danger. Also signed into law is his legislation allowing underage witnesses in human trafficking cases to be allowed to testify outside of the courtroom. Shielding a child from the pressure and  intimidation of their trafficker can help protect their safety and mental health.

The Opioid Crisis

The opioid crisis has claimed thousands of lives in Wisconsin. Jesse authored legislation to legalize fentanyl and xylazine testing strips, which were previously considered drug paraphernalia.

Fentanyl is an odorless, tasteless synthetic opioid and has become a leading killer of people aged 18-45. Xylazine is an animal tranquilizer that does not respond to the reversal agent naloxone. Both drugs can be laced into any substance and have claimed lives. These testing strips are inexpensive, disposable paper tests that can identify hidden fentanyl or xylazine in various substances, helping prevent overdose deaths. Sen. James also authored legislation that allows nurses in our Wisconsin schools to keep naloxone on hand.

Expanding Needed Services

Senator James is the Chair of the Senate Mental Health Committee, and is always looking to address the mental health crisis we are experiencing. He passed legislation to increase peer support programs among first responders, as well as create a pilot program that would provide officers with virtual help from a trained professional when answering mental health calls.

Jesse is an advocate for encouraging people to speak out when they are struggling, especially his fellow first responders.