Three Lassa Bills Receive Hearings

Sexual Assault, Novelty Lighters, Exotic Animals bills advance

Madison — Three bills sponsored by State Senator Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point) received public hearings by the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety today.  The hearing clears the way for committee executive action on the bills.

            The criminal statute of limitations on second- and third-degree sexual assault would be increased from six to ten years under a provision Sen. Lassa introduced with Sen. Devin LeMahieu (R-Oostburg), Rep. Samantha Kerkman (R-Salem) and Rep. Evan Goyke (D-Milwaukee).

            “This bill will give victims of date rape and sexual assault under threat of violence greater opportunity to bring their attackers to justice,” Sen. Lassa said. “Given the trauma suffered by sexual assault victims, we need to give them ample time to report the crimes committed against them. I’m pleased that we have such strong bipartisan support for this bill.”

A bill to prohibit the sale of novelty lighters to minors was also heard by the committee today.  Sen. Lassa introduced the bill at the request of Pittsville Fire Chief Jerry Minor and a group of Pittsville elementary school students after one of their classmates was killed in a house fire where the cause was possibly due to a novelty lighter. 

“These lighters look like toys and are highly attractive to children,” Sen. Lassa said. “Some of these lighters play music, have flashing lights or resemble cartoon characters.”

The bill has already passed the State Assembly, and supporters are hopeful that the bill will pass the full Legislature quickly. The proposal was approved unanimously by consumer protection committees in both the Senate and Assembly in 2014. Sen. Lassa introduced the bill along with Rep. Scott Krug (R-Nekoosa).

“I hope this common-sense legislation will also clear the Senate this session and be signed into law, so we can protect our children from this fire hazard,” Sen. Lassa said.

A third bill, co-sponsored by Sen. Lassa, would outlaw private possession of exotic animals, including tigers, bears, lions, gorillas, and crocodiles.  Currently, Wisconsin is one of only five states that does not regulate private possession of dangerous wild animals.

“When these animals escape or are encountered by emergency first responders, they pose a real public safety threat,” Sen. Lassa said. “Only trained professionals should have the care of animals who are dangerous to humans.”

“I hope the Judiciary and Public Safety Committee will pass all three bills quickly and that they can come to the Senate floor yet this fall,” she said.